Editor Note: One of our contributors reminisces about the first thought she had when she got signed to a major publisher…
Gini, You Used to be Cool
By Gini Koch
This was truly my first reaction when I got my first advance from DAW. Sadly, I still don’t have the fridge of my dreams. But one day! Maybe with the next advance…
There’s an old Simpson’s episode where Lisa grows up to be President and she’s having trouble, and Bart, as the prerequisite President’s Loser Brother shows up and negotiates forestalling payment of huge international debt, in part by saying, “China, you used to be cool.” To which the Chinese Premiere says, “China still cool!” and agrees to hold off demanding the U.S. pay up.
Dave Barry wrote about “The Snake”, where he could feel the Snake of Middle Age eating him because he got some surprise money and wanted to buy a couch with it. Instead, he bought an electric guitar, so the Snake was held off from engulfing him, at least for a little while.
I thought the couch versus electric guitar thing was funny (still do), but not overwhelmingly relatable. I also thought the whole, “China, you used to be cool” thing was a great insult.
Because, I recently landed an awesome two-book deal. And I’m getting an advance. And, now that the euphoria has died down to a somewhat-controllable level, it dawned on me what I really and TRULY want to spend that advance on.
I want to buy a new refrigerator.
Gini, you used to be cool. But girl, you are BEGGING the Snake to freaking EAT YOU and not in the good way!
But, it’s true. I want a new fridge. I’ve wanted one for YEARS. But, my husband is, ah, well, how to put it…thrifty. Yeah, he’s thrifty. Sounds SO much better than “cheap” or “the new Scrooge McDuck” or something.
There’s nothing WRONG with our fridge, which is why my husband’s against getting a new one. This one works, well and like a trooper. But…it’s not cool.
For starters, it’s not black. I love black. Black is THE color, as far as I’m concerned. Or gray. Black and white, gray, black on black — I left blue as my favorite color years ago unless it’s midnight blue/almost black. Same with purple, unless it’s that so-close-to-black-it-IS-black purple.
So, as I slowly (oh, so slowly) replace my major appliances, I get black ones. Now, only the fridge stands out in that ugh-white color they come in.
But it’s more than the color. I want the extra deep doors. I want more cool and crisp in my crispers. I want an ice machine IN THE DOOR. I want depth and more freezer space and double doors and all the bells and whistles and doodads and…well, I want it ALL.
Of course, the reality is that we have a very limited space FOR our fridge, so I probably can’t get all I want. But I could get faster, newer, better, BLACKER, and all shinier.
However, the husband has said no, over and over again, under the ridiculous impression that replacing a perfectly good major appliance while the existing one still functions well is both a waste of money and a waste of effort.
He’s right. I know he’s right. I also know Dave Barry’s freaking Snake is wrapping itself around me as I type this. And I can hear Bart saying it, over and over again, “Gini, you used to be cool.”
But, I WANT a new shiny black fridge. And I shall have it.
To make up for it, I can console myself with this.
This summer, I’m going to, at last count, ten concerts, and the number can go up any week some band or stand-up comedian I like releases their touring schedule. So, I’m gonna rock out all the way from Iron Maiden down to Steely Dan and all points in between. And I can do it without guilt because, again, I’m getting that advance and so I earned it and can cover my concert addiction AND my new fridge yearnings and still have money left over.
After all, isn’t the essence of cool doing and getting what you want, when you want, without worrying what someone else thinks about it? Isn’t the definition of cool marching to your own drum and doing it your way and having it all and thumbing your nose at convention while having a Coke and a smile? Isn’t being cool about rocking and rolling all night and partying every day with your snazzy major appliances?
Yeah…yeah, it is. And more. Gini…you’re still cool.
Now, somebody, get this snake off me.
Edited to Add: This was written in 2010 and I never got that black fridge. However, when we moved from Hell’s Orientation Area (aka Phoenix, Arizona) to Hot&Coldlanta (aka Atlanta, GA), I got the fridge of my dreams with our new house. Well, almost. It’s stainless steel, not black, and all the other appliances are white. White is, I guess, the new black, at least for me. But it’s got all that I wanted and more, and there are days (many days) when I just walk by it, stroke it softly, and say, “Oh, fridge, you and I are BOTH cool!” Oh, and for those keeping score at home, the Trooper is still working, and is in our garage, living out its last days/years as the Beverage Refrigerator, aka, everyone’s favorite. So that all worked out, which is nice.
Excerpted from Random Musings from the Funny Girl, copyright 2014 Jeanne Cook. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or any portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information, contact the author: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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