Thursday, June 4, 2009

Goodbye Grasshopper



Grasshopper is dead.

It’s funny, the people I’ve been in love with in my life. For those of you who read my response to Jason’s post of last Sunday, you know that I can get a little, um, obsessive. It started a long long time ago actually. As a Myers Briggs INFP, apparently it’s normal for me to do this. And I’m glad to say that I don’t buy into the fantasies anymore; there is a little wisdom that comes with age. (Although it really hasn’t been THAT long.) In the past, I have whipped up dream lovers who are perfect in every way. No one can compete, really, with my perfect fantasy lovers. (No one, that is, except Marlow, my cat. He is truly a perfect companion.)

This made me into a groupie at one time, this tendency to obsess. My first true love was Paul McCartney. I had our wedding all planned out, I was devasted when he left me and married Linda. I think I was 10 at the time, and I had already been in love with Paul for many years. So, I left him for Donny Osmond. He was too teeny bop to keep my interest however, so I had to ditch him for Elton John. I had a lot of company in my adoration of Elton when I was a freshman in high school. Me, Janice B., and Diane M. formed the core Elton John fan base in freshman glee club, and I’m sure we drove poor Mr. Faulk up the wall with our glasses and constant singing. Elton even taught me how to sing! In fact, Ted H. could play Elton like nobody’s business, and so I’d come into the choir room at lunch time when Ted was banging away on the piano and I'd wail away at the top of my lungs (Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me, Burn Down the Mission, Love Lies Bleeding, etc, were all among our lunchtime repertoire.) In 10th grade, I dated an Elton look alike, but he was clearly not the real thing, so I dumped him too. (My first REAL boyfriend Mark, reminded me about that the other day, and the sparring that went on between them over me. Mark won that little battle. ;-)

That’s when I met and fell in love with Kwai Chang Caine, the gentle Shaolin warrior who fought evil racist bastards in the 19th century American west. As an Idealist, he was the perfect idol for my young forming self. Not only was he beautiful in a kind of Asian way (which he wasn’t BTW, he was totally Caucasian), he had wisdom, and strength. I never had TV before those years, because my mother didn’t believe in it, but right around 1975, when I was 15, my mother allowed my aunt to give me her old black and white TV and I got to have it in my room. By this time, Kung Fu was already old news, but for me, it was new and I soaked it up like water. I watched every episode several times in reruns. I craved each new ‘teaching’, and was thrilled by the flashback scenes when Caine would be receiving a lesson from the wise Shaolin priest (who happened to be blind, and yet could see better than most).

Grasshopper, as he was called by the priest, became a name that I used time and again when imparting wisdom to my children, although they probably were clueless as to the origin of the name, or why I was using it as I gave advice with my pseudo Chinese accent. (Which was clearly pseudo to them, being half Chinese and having many real Chinese accents around them constantly.) But to me, although in jest when I used it, there was something about the wisdom in those TV teachings that always stayed with me, and perhaps helped to mold me into who I am today. Perhaps it influenced my interest in Asian cultures, and maybe even in Asian men, since I married one. Not sure about any of that, and I don’t really want to speculate too much. (Although my ex did become a double blackbelted Kung Fu master, and, by the way, just successfully summited Mt. Everest, and though we’ve had our differences, some of them disastrous, he is still my friend and the father of my kids and I’m very proud of him and glad he is home safe.)

I never did outgrow Kwai Chang Caine, and perhaps it is for that reason that I shed a tear today when I found out that David Carradine purportedly hung himself in a Bangkok hotel room closet. Maybe we will never know why, or even if David Carradine killed himself, but I, for one, am sorry to see him go. Goodbye Grasshopper. I hope you find peace.
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