"I Got My License To Sparkle" by Kristin Hersh, November 26 2008 (originally
published on kristinhersh.com)
I got my license to sparkle this week.
Jet lag’s a bitch goddess. One of the minor deities that isn’t a drug, yet can still make you
feel like a super hero at three in the morning (see: love, music, TV, etc.). I buzz around, getting “things” done.
I think vivid, clear, big picture thoughts. I am efficient and sparkling. And I feel a vague sense of pity for the rest of
humanity as they lie in bed, useless, unable to sparkle even the wee-est bit.
Of course, I made dinner
at three o’clock yesterday afternoon (that’s
the bitch part). The children squinted at me, then ate it politely. “I’m not as hungry as you’d think,”
said Wyatt gently. “I ate lunch, um…a minute ago.”
By five o’clock,
I start to seriously dumben. I wonder how people do what
they do. “Wow, they just keep…walking around! It’s amazing. They’re all like, standing up and talking
and stuff.” I have ceased to sparkle. The bulb is dim. I am no
longer the sharpest can on the tree. My thoughts are extremely small picture: “My fingernails hurt. Can a fingernail
hurt? No nerve endings. What the hell is a fingernail, anyway? That’s just weird. Armor for the back of your finger’s
head. It’s messed up. And then they grow. Whadda they do that for? ‘Cause then you can’t dial a phone. Dial a phone? Dial? Holy shit, we don’t dial phones any more! Oh my god, that’s so sad. Or roll
down windows. My children will never roll down a window. That’s heartbreaking. Do we really need high tech phones and
windows? Who are we, anyway? Just buttons, everything’s gotta be goddamn buttons. My fingernails hurt. Remember that guy who grew his fingernails really, really, really, really
long? I think somebody married him. Geez. Gross.”
So, basically, I got
up at three a.m. to try and sparkle at you before the dumbening kicks in, though I’m not making myself look very smart.
I have a friend who works at Mattel who told me that there is a Barbie product called
“license to sparkle,” which is a good name for what jet lag gives me. A few hours after my license is issued,
though, jet lag reaches down and takes a firm hold of the rug my brain is standing on, then pulls hard. Before that happens,
I’ll tell you about the tour I just did:
The west coast: a big, fat, barrel of motherluvin’
monkey fun. The “Muddy Circle” session at Mudrock’s studio in LA was a cozy, musical cocktail party in the
sweet room where 50FOOTWAVE recorded the soon-to-be released “Power+Light”.
The next day, I recorded with the brilliant and beautiful Lauren Shera in Santa Cruz, her heartbreaking songs playing in
my head for days (“I can’t sing,” I told her engineer and he laughed. “No, really. Like, can’t,” and he stopped laughing). Lauren put me up
in a roadhouse by the ocean, near a lavender farm. Whoa.
Then we crashed with Bernie for the Seattle Shady Circle (ow ow ow I miss 50FOOTWAVE) and woke up to the perfection of silver sun on Bodhi’s birthday.
The next day, Portland wined and dined the birthday boy and hurt our feelings with gorgeous autumn weather and fancy friends.
Then we booked home (17 straight hours)
to the desert for a homestyle Bo Birthday Party, then flew to Amsterdam, land of the great and powerful Dutch.
A tough, honest people, the Dutch. You might say honest to a fault; “dismayingly blunt” is
maybe a better term. My self esteem is never boosted in Holland.
And tough, my god…we call a massage in Holland a “Dutch Pounding.” Performed “Paradoxical Undressing”
at a literary festival (“That was long,” commented the Dutch). Best signage in Holland: “Lambs Pizza”
and “High Tech Internet Spui.”
Then I flew to London to play Shady Circle and
greatest “hits” sets at the packed, teeny Borderline and saw this most wonderful thing on TV while I was there:
a budgie circus. A budgie circus. I’m
sorry, but your life sucks unless you have seen: a budgie circus. They ride ferris wheels, drive cars, pull carts in tiny
harnesses and mess with their human overlord…er, ringmaster.
I really want a budgie now. A team of budgies to do my bidding, to be more precise.
I can’t see buying ‘em, so I’d have to catch them. They tend not to congregate in the Mojave, though. We
only have that one parrot who thinks it’s a crow and I can’t seem to catch him. I could wrangle a few hummingbirds
maybe, but they don’t seem inclined to do anyone’s bidding. Hummingbirds’re bitchy.
Best signage in London: “Warning: Handbag Snatchery About.”