The reason it is so big, is not just the contents. I think it has something to do with keeping the rain off the shoulders, I don’t like rain on the shoulders. Feels the coldest of all the places that rain settles, the wind just brushes it a certain way there. Makes it more bitter, harsh – but that did not matter.
I have an umbrella head, and I am not talking about a head like a big one, or a round one. I mean a head, that was actually stretched into looking like a hammerhead shark tried to come out the vajayjay and got caught on some sixties untrimmed bush, creating this bone like frame similar to that of the inside of an umbrella, and it was to that my skin and brain formed in the baby years.
My name is Umbrellahead.
Hard to grasp, but just imagine an umbrella that is over your head, but it is not over really, it starts right at the top crown of my abdullus camelgotta. The good news, it is not convex to the body, but concave. I came out head first, got that to be thankful for.
I won’t bore you with all of the details that became challenges in life. Early in it, pretty much called cute. It was a novelty, and it was amazing. I was special, and loved it. The kids always picked me first for soccer and baseball teams knowing I could keep them dry in the field if they ran under my head. Wind was not a problem in those days.
As other people waited for the rain to stop, I happily stood beside the BBQ, eating the hot dogs innocently with the chosen few to stand around under the “halo”. We would laugh, and laugh.
Of course, this began to change more as I got older. The cruel comments started in grade 6 to be exact. I commented on Becky’s Road Runner jeans, and she said the first mean thing to me that day. I never really understood it. I knew it made me feel bad, but why?
“If your second head looks anyone near as fuqtarded as that umbrella one you are never getting laid Umbrellahead.”
The words still ring in my head. Did she mean my umbrella head was my second head, and the first one made me ugly enough that no girl would ever let me touch, let alone get into those Road Runner jeans? Was there some kind of hidden meaning here? Was she talking about the head of the magic souvlaki that I was gifted with? No, that was shaped like the smile of an angel. Odd, very odd.
I am sure most of us know the coming of age for a young boy will start in and around grade 6. This is the time that he begins to discover the sexy raincoats in the JC Penny catalogue, or those patterned umbrellas from the L.L Bean booklet they always mail you for the shitter. Best place to bloke stroke as a young umbrella headed person, and it never dawned on me until that fateful day, that perhaps I was different.
That was all it took.
One hot, Road Runner jeans wearin’ buttertart.
My confidence was shaken and the world was about to come crashing down.
The next dozen plus years were like stubby bottles and bacon grease. Drink the bottle, fill it with the pork bellies drippings that no one wanted previously, but now were declared delicious by the machine – it had to drip somewhere, and the lowest common denominator may as well make something happen with it as the gruel of life was to be both tolerated and celebrated.
People would throw things at me, and stare. I would be ignored, or pushed out of line. I was told I had to move, or be thrown into the recycle bin cause no one loves a deformed umbrella.
It did not matter that I had a heart, or was a man that simply had an umbrella head but could lift eight times his body weight. Spoken word, math or agricultural discussions flowed like the Pacific shaking hands with the Atlantic – but it did not matter. Polite to a fault, wanting to make sure all could sit, or the door was open, or the line up was not an issue, please go ahead – but it did not matter. A great CSR, with a penchant for solving any problem, with no additional costs, manipulation, lies, malcontent, malodorous management mantras or the like – nope, not a fuckin’ matter.
He would still be mocked and taunted. Pushed and pulled to move away from someone quickly before they ‘called the police, or whatever we call to deal with your kind’ – life, it seemed had changed for me.
The only time, and I mean the only time people were nice to me was during rain storms or rainy days, the bad windy and snowy ones, or even on the odd scorching hot day when there was no shade to be found anywhere. Of course, it would be my pleasure to allow the top of my umbrella head to get sunburnt in order to make sure yours does not. I want to stay out here and do this, so you can take an iPhone pic of me on the corner of Queen/Yonge with 13 people huddled under me after you have left my comfort to find your home in the wet masses going home to loved ones. I want to get on that trolley, but by the holy laws of Zeus, no need to push these folks away.
I have no loved ones, and may as well feel good and get the smiles and best wishes now.
Assumption: this was going to be the way that my life was going to change from being a fun loving child, to a utilitarian tool that would be there to be used as required, and then tossed aside. Never cleaned, or cared for. Never held with a pride and an esteem that my great-great-uncle in London was. He had been born with a walking stick as an arm, it accompanied a wonderful gentleman around Essex County and the surrounding woods everywhere. Bringing adoration and prestige.
I had to be born into this day and age. The one where Fonzi had ruined what was traditionally cool, and artists like Mickey Avalon spoke about “their dicks” like it was some kind of custom, orthotic rubber shoe cover.
My life as a man with an umbrella head had turned into a nightmare. I had no choice, and even went to the doctor so I could see what she could give me. She said son, son you have gone to far, been smoking and trippin’ – betchya there are fairies that you have seen also? Yes, I said, a fairy with boots dancing with a dwarf. She gave me some Celexa. I will never forget the day.
It was the Sabbath. It was black.
Everything changed after that. I just went into drone mode. I allowed people to snap pictures of them with me, laughing outside but crying inside. Sometimes I would make elephant man noises, and speak of not being an inanimate. No one heard over the clicking of the lens or the laughter. I got into the groove of feeling what my shoulders would be like at the end of the day, having to turn this way and that to go through doors or try to use the bathroom stall. Do you know how hard it is to have to hold yourself up with two arms on the stall walls and then Turkish hover shit into the bowl a few feet below? Sure precision on the bowl is important, but if those legs start to swing or the shoes get in the way, I got some cleaning up to do later.
*sidenote – bullshit more people don’t have handicap stalls, but the fucked up thing about those is the toilet is right beside a wall and I still have to contort to the left or the right, and sometimes the tip of the umbrella touches the floor and I have to go home and use the acid-infused shower to rinse the disgusting juices of bathroom floors off.
Life was miserable, but it was the only one I had. Sitcoms, social networks and soda. My health did not matter. Even with muscular arms, a gymnasts body and chiseled set of legs, I was still an outcast. I had tried running at several points in my life, but wind gusts prevented any effective training and in fact caused some serious neck injuries that one time along the Scarborough Bluffs when that wild brine tsunami came unannounced.
I lay in bed for weeks after that resting. I don’t call it sleep, because the position and the discomfort is as close to Hell as can be imagined.
I did not even think about the word love. It was just a fantasy concept. I liked a lot of things, found joy and relief in being able to hide in some of them, but I did not know of this place in my life. No family, no friends – this shadow of a person walking the streets the way to the specially adapted cubicle, with the specially adapted ear piece, taking calls, making sure customers were always treated with dignity.
No one could “see” Umbrellahead here. They could just feel his words. He never confused people, he was very clear. Easy to use, and functional – his intellectual fabric protecting the customer, even from some of the same internal assholes who resented his 106% Satisfaction Rating, which for the record is possible is you take the 6% of the calls he resolved for his “peers” and add them to his own 100% rating.
The day that I met her, it all changed. It was as if the thunderbolt had struck me, and I had never heard such a happy person in my life. She had called to make sure to thank us for providing an adaptive kit she had been looking for all of her life, it changed her life – and my gratitude in reply was kind and real.
I had helped improve that kit based on my umbrella condition, and I was so pleased that it allowed her to see life in a new light. She told me, and I will never forget those words, the man that understood the need for this in the world, was the man that would have her heart. I pursed my lips, and my pulse grew like the cocks of the stallion steeds returning from the battles of Alexander the Great to see the fields of mares with trays of cheeses, dolmades and ouzo. I could not tell her I was that man, that would not be right. My heart sang, for the first time since being an innocent child.
I spent the entire shift on the phone with her, Ms. B. U. Stand. She was fabulous and by the end of the call, I was just calling her Stand. It was an odd name, but she was endeared to it. Said many times, it was just fate that had things happen for certain reasons, and she was happy with hers. Although never married and alone, she was educated, had a wonderful farm estate she had adapted into a pleasant place to greet company and share baked goods with the bed & breakfast guests, she said she had “hopes to put in a small Canadian shield amphitheater so she could host special events for special people and their friends.”
She helped people who were special, or with challenges, find the beauty in who they were. She asked me at the end of the call if I would be interested in meeting for a tea, she had to come down the street from the office the next day, and I would be able to receive her drawings, related to possibly enhancing the quality of life of others who may need the device, and she felt it was her duty to do that as quickly as possible. Making the world a better place was important for her, would I be so kind?
If it had not been for the fact both of them felt something over the phone that day, combined with her incredible intelligence and foresight to be able to predict that he would never break a professional code to have a tea with a customer, let alone risk being seen and rebuked. The one time he had tried this, all the change she had been counting as she waited for his arrival was thrown right at his umbrella, one of the dimes had an evil ridge, it left a permanent scar. Still sees it to this day. He smiles today though.
If we can make one less person suffer, let’s do this.
Lunch the next day was a good time, and Umbrellahead would still have to eat, so he suggested 12:30 and he would treat with the tea. It was best it stayed in his hands and the tray, that shit is hot if thrown. Lessons learned. *sigh* She was going to be wearing orange, their favorite color.
Umbrellahead came from the back, it was the best way to approach for him, and in this case, it was fate. What he saw, expecting to see Stand in orange, was anything but a regular stand.
She was beautiful. Her shape was like no other one he had ever seen, and to some it may have been contrived as even over weight, gaudy. Un-natural even. Horrible, ignorant people would say this. Real men, true gentle, kind, loving, magical men would not care about such a dalliance of thought, they would be so struck by the unique and beautiful nature of who she was, and what she held in such high regard.
She had an umbrella stand on her back.
Back U. Stand.
My head was spinning.
It was making sense now, her name.
A large, ornate, flesh covered umbrella stand. In it were several orange umbrellas, each with a small orange heart shaped piece of paper that said “Be kind, share the orange.” They were beautiful, and somehow would be hidden from the front. Her hair, this beautiful Natalie Wood/Brigitte Bardot creation was flowing in the back and also worked well with her choice of outfit.
I was about to turn, and run – I had on some Dockers, and an orange plaid shirt. I thought it would be funny to wear orange socks and my flip-flops, cause dressing a little like a clown might disarm most, and one of the creamers fell off the tray. She turned gently, and our eyes met.
I never went back to work.
I moved out of my apartment 2 weeks later.
My umbrella head helped keep the sun and rain off the back for 2 summers.
Igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic all created one beautiful blend.
The people in our lives are beautiful people.
Unique, smart, funny, loving – people.
The happiest day in our lives, was when we found out we were pregnant. It took several months for the doctors to confirm, but I am happy to announce, we are expecting twins. Sometime in the fall, 2014. Two peas in her pod, but momma umbrella stand is doing well and we remain blessed for all the magic in our lives.
Umbrellahead, Back and our two peas.
Please say hello to us after the show, the matinee is the best one to bring the kids along for pictures and autographs, the evening shows can get a bit more cheeky when we include our special guests, Clothesline Arms and Jackhammer Dick.
Fuck, life is a trip eh.