Frequency: Said (tasteful)

SAID (tasteful)

said no way

Maggie discussed her plans for a green burial with her father. This might have been a bad idea. He insisted that she would outlive him, to begin with, that this was just a passing thing and that she would outlive it, first thing. And second, he didn’t think this thing sounded tasteful at all. Her mother’s funeral had been done the normal American way, and that was how it should have been, wasn’t it? Then he was crying. Her sister was the executor, so it didn’t really matter. She just wanted to prepare him.

said way out there man

While he was as big a fan of fireworks displays as any other American, Roger thought that rolling big WWII artillery guns out into village squares and firing charges from them to celebrate the fourth of July was pushing the boundaries of what could be considered tasteful, particularly during wartime. Sure, it gave the local VFW octogenarians something to do, but you couldn’t help but wonder how it made the mothers of all those kids blown up by IEDs feel to see those guns blasting away in their front yard, not to mention the amputees just back home with regrets.

said what do you want

Jenny and Dave got into a debate over whether or not the army’s current recruiting campaign was tasteful. It bothered Jenny that the ads made it seem like joining the army was a kind of extreme sport, with lots of glamor and excitement but little danger. She wondered why they never showed flag-draped coffins or heroic amputees. And for some reason she found the idea that they were giving away video games in high schools particularly repellent. Dave was of the opinion that you can’t pass moral judgment on advertising, the sole purpose of which is to sell a product, or in this case, a patriotic career. Recruiters aren’t paid to give youngsters a well-balanced view of a life in the military. They are paid to recruit.

said what to my mother

Dave has his charms but tasteful storytelling isn’t necessarily one of them. The first time he was over at Jenny’s mother house, he was behaving like a perfect gentleman, talking to her mother about Ireland, until Jenny left the room to make coffee. When she returned, he had somehow shifted the topic of conversation to zoophilia, some crude anecdote about a legendary love affair between a young man and a dolphin off the coast of Galway. Her mother’s face was blanched and Jenny was tempted to pour a cup of hot coffee into Dave’s lap.

said who are you

If he had his way, Johnnie’s funeral ceremony itself would be a tasteful, subdued, and minimalist affair. There would be several moments of silence and many of the women from his past would be there, dressed in black, shedding tears at his glossy portrait while some ambient Brian Eno shit played over the sound system. No religion. Few words would be said as the pallbearers loaded his urn of ashes into a rocket and blasted it into the night sky. The party afterwards would however be epic, bacchanal, an American version of one of those Roman-style orgiastic festivities with pigs on spits, platters of exotic fruit, fine wines served from ornate golden pitchers, jugglers, fire-eaters, face-painting, sexual entertainers, and punk rock. The people he loved and freaks of all kind dancing all through the night.

said do me another man

Charlie loved to take a drink at the top of a skyscraper. He was a sucker for any bar over forty stories high. The top of John Hancock in Chicago was a tasteful place to begin his last weekend with Helen. He arrived early and was halfway through his second glass of fifteen-year-old Macallan when the maitre d’ ushered her into the room.

said what up

What Johnnie loves most about New York is the rush and noise of Times Square, its cacophony and blur, its endless ability to distract, its lack of tasteful pretension. More than once he has wandered there, bombed out of his skull on something or another, and leaned back his head to howl into the night.

said you are the man

Though he’s not a churchgoing man or a believer in much other than what he sees with his eyes or otherwise rockets through his head, as he makes his way across the West, Johnnie praises whatever tasteful god or alien species or random forces may have felt fit to form landscapes so strange and sublime, places that he, driving, endlessly, alone, can begin to understand himself.

said the point is what you like

Tasteful assignations are not really Johnnie’s thing, and selectivity is not his strong suit. While it would be unfair to say that he will have sex with just about anything that moves, the fact that he had random hookups with three different women on three separate late night occasions in three public laundromats in three states during the course of one cross-country journey might be offered as evidence of a certain kind. Something about the vibrations of those industrial dryers aroused and comforted him.

said too much

Helen dated around a little at Google, but she had a hard time finding tasteful suitors among the engineers. She had one date with a multimillionaire programmer who let her wait twenty minutes in his living room while he sat in front of his thirty-seven inch plasma and finished wasting his buddies in some online first person shooter, “wielding” what he called his “BMFG.” He actually expected her to enjoy watching that. While the Internet might be responsible for many new forms of social networks, it had done little to advance the type of social graces to which Helen had been accustomed.

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