Finding the AweWow Gland

It started out as a typical Saturday morning. My wife and daughter had some errands to run. As tempting as it was to tag along and surf the waves of estrogen, I decided instead to roam the mall. I like roaming the mall alone. I walk with nothing more than my writing pad. I have found that observing the people, stores, and surroundings of the mall can provide a great source for writing material. I always find something different each time. It can be someone I met, something on display or people who (intentionally or not) make a display of themselves. This Saturday was no exception.

I started off in the bookstore (as I typically do). This helps me to enjoy my exploration with a clear mind. Somehow it helps to cleanse the mental palate. As I worked out of the bookstore, I turned to my left so that I could cover the greatest mall distance. I easily walked not more than 20 feet before my eyes and mind were treated to wonderful visions of beauty. I am talking about sights so beautiful that most men would swoon and drop to their knees. Was it a fashion show? No siree, buddy. It was a car show.

Now, I am not a car aficionado by any stretch of the imagination. I wouldn’t be able to tell you that a 1965 Mustang K series engine came in at 289 cubic inches with 271 horsepower and 10.5:1 compression and a four barrel carburetor unless I went out of my way to look it up (I did). As a matter of fact, I will probably have auto-philes and Mustang fanatics tell me that I just said that entirely wrong. I’m OK with that. Such spewing of facts is usually done around auto-philes to show that you are an authority on the subject (or at least give the illusion) while your friends go “Yup!” and smile with a knowing nod. This allows to to either pass along the same illusion of authority or act in kindness to not expose that you lack it (auto-philes are cool that way).

Still, there’s nothing like a really cool car that has an effect upon any guy who gazes upon it. It stimulates part of the male endocrine system know as the Awewow gland. The gland is located somewhere between the salivary glands and the brain. Doctors have been unable to pinpoint the location of the gland but have been able to verify its presence at every car show. It is called an Awewow gland because whenever a man sees a sweet car, he stops dead in his tracks and says: “AWWWWW! WOWWWWWWWWWWWWW!” It is also shown to be highly active during Super Bowl Sunday and any time that Eddie Van Halen plays Eruption. If they are around other guys, it provokes arm grabbing and elbow poking to draw the other guy’s focus toward the object of desire. It can also be followed by exclamations of: “DUDE! “DUDE! “DUDE! “DUDE!  Soon, two or more guys are going: “AWWWWW! WOWWWWWWWWWWWWW!” in multi-part harmony. Legend has it that a prison riot in 1976 at Poundrock State prison was brought to a grinding halt when a quick thinking prison guard displayed a picture of his 1967 fire engine red Corvette. Suddenly, more than 100 inmates in jumpsuits dropped their handmade weaponry and began saying: “AWWWWW! WOWWWWWWWWWWWWW! DUDE! DUDE! DUDE! DUDE!”  Some say that the the harmonious chanting could be heard as far as 10 miles away.

I couldn’t JUST stand in awe of these cars.  I took out my mobile phone and started snapping pictures of these wonderful machines (Yup! It’s another bulleted list):

  • 1973 lime green Pontiac Firebird
  • 1968 turquoise Olds Cutlass
  • 1965 sky blue Mustang. My dad used to have this same model but his was royal blue.
  • 1956 burgundy/white Chevy Bel-Air. This one was really cool because it had a rose etched into the quarter glass.
  • 1971 black/white Chevy Chevelle. This color theme was accentuated throughout the car with plush skunks.

As sweet as all of these cars were to see, I got the biggest AweWow stimulation when I gazed upon a 1939 lemon yellow Lincoln Zephyr. This car wasn’t just a display. It was a SHOW! The car had suicide doors. The engine was decorated with blinking Christmas lights. On display inside the trunk was a replica of the Zephyr right down to the lemon yellow finish. To top it all off, there was a mannequin wearing a yellow baseball hat, a yellow scarf,  crème pumps, and fishnet stockings. 

It was shortly after this that my wife called to pick me up. I put away my handwritten observations and my mobile phone and met them outside. Of course, I couldn’t resist the photos with my son in law (an auto-phile). When he saw the photo of the 1956 Bel-Air he couldn’t stop himself: “AWWWWW! WOWWWWWWWWWWWWW! DUDE! DUDE! DUDE! DUDE!”

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To The Finish, Please (And Through The Park)

Often during my writing, I approach my laptop with a preset topic in mind. I keep a list topics that I update several times a week. I usually review the list of topics and make a decision on which topic to cover during that particular sitting. I then strikethrough the topic once I have written about it. After some editing, I decide whether to post the essay straight to my blog or save it for another time. I then go and resume my normal daily routine which includes finding things to write about and adding them to my previously mentioned list of topics. It’s not exactly a vicious circle but it does sometimes glare its teeth.
It’s pretty cool to actually look at the list and see that I have several topics from which to choose. These topics usually come from my warped mind doing what it does. More than one person I know has heard me say “I should write about that”. I have sent many emails to myself just so that I don’t forget to add it to my list of topics. Once I sit down and choose a topic and start writing, it truly becomes like taking a ride. I sit down and start typing away. I feel myself begin to pick up speed and momentum. I feel like I could climb any mountain and sail across the stormy sea (Please don’t sue me, Mick Jones. The Foreigner concert at Darien Lake is still stuck in my head). In addition to this wild ride, there is the fact that I am going in a much different direction than I planned when I first started. This is usually the point when I realize that I am not the One doing the driving. It is often after the writing is all done and I am reviewing the piece that I realize that I am not just in the passenger seat of the vehicle.  I am not being carried in some rough rickshaw ride. I am being chauffeured to my destination. It is truly a great ride. Just when I think I know the route like the back of my hand, I am shown a new way to get to from point A to point B. I even sometimes find out that neither of these points were quite where I thought they were. All of this happens while never experiencing a feeling of being lost. Even as I write this piece, I realize that I initially approached this with a different topic in mind. Trust me, please. I am not turning senile at 45. I am just along for the literary ride.
I am not sure why, other than foolish pride, that I feel that my writing comes entirely from me. I am so reminded that it is quite to the contrary. These reminders come either when I am searching for a topic or when I find myself on one of the above mentioned wild rides. I have a friend, Kevin Cummings, whose writing I have admired. Kevin has proven to be a great mentor since I began writing. I asked Kevin once how he handles dry spells in writing where the ideas and inspiration don’t seem to be coming. Kevin advised me to use a list of topics like the one I mentioned earlier in this writing. He also said something to me that really struck home: “You are the conduit of the talent. You are NOT the Source of the talent”. It was a sorely needed dose of perspective. Now, I can make another strikethrough in my topic list. Thanks, Kevin.