An Award-Winning Disclaimer

A charming little Magpie whispered this disclaimer into my ear, and I'm happy to regurgitate it into your sweet little mouth:

"Disclaimer: This blog is not responsible for those of you who start to laugh and piss your pants a little. Although this blogger understands the role he has played (in that, if you had not been laughing you may not have pissed yourself), he assumes no liability for damages caused and will not pay your dry cleaning bill.

These views represent the thoughts and opinions of a blogger clearly superior to yourself in every way. If you're in any way offended by any of the content on this blog, it is clearly not the blog for you. Kindly exit the page by clicking on the small 'x' you see at the top right of the screen, and go fuck yourself."

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Why Couldn't It Have Been the Butter Face Lady?

I know I mentioned a while ago on here that, as a child, I routinely read the obituaries in The Philadelphia Inquirer, I would joke, "to see if I'm in there."

I was only half kidding.

Today, I sometimes spend a little time sifting through the obituaries in The New York Times for a slightly less bizarre reason. I like to learn about interesting people. And it's funny how most interesting people, similarly, in fact, to uninteresting people, don't seem to get much attention until after they're dead. Sure, there are heaps of feature articles on Susan Boyle or whatever, but how many in-depth pieces do you remember reading about Peter Falk until recent unfortunate events?

Today, I got to learn a little bit about Norma Lyon and, because I found her interesting enough to read about, and write about, you're going to learn about her, too.

THey called her the "Butter-Cow Lady", and it's not because everything about her was awesome, but her cow. It's because she devoted a significant portion of her life to replicating animate and inanimate objects out of, you guessed it my little honors track student: butter.

The Iowa State Fair was a far creepier and more wonderous place with Ms. Norma around, because she would routinely enter gigantic, often life-sized sculptures in the fair, and I doubt she had much competition.

She was a devoted wife of 61 years, and mothered and raised 9 children, and yet she still had time to make a grade AA salted butter version of "The Last Supper," a full-sized dairy cow, and a 23-pound sculpture of Barack Obama's head to accompany her (solicited) 60 second radio endorsement while Obama was running for office.

"He knows our kids need opportunity here in Iowa so they don’t have to leave home to follow their dreams," she said in the ad. "Even if that dream is 500 pounds of butter shaped like a cow."

Hey, it sounds like some of the dreams I've had after eating chips and salsa too late at night.

It might seem like I'm poking fun at the late Ms. Norma Lyon, but really I have nothing but the purest admiration for not only her talent, and her passion, but for achieving mastery. That's something I've never done-- at anything. Certainly there are things that I'm good at, things at which I can admit I do well, but I've never achieved mastery at an art form, or mastery at a job-- I always leave too soon. Norma Lyon crafted things out of butter, and she was no amateur at doing so, and I respect and admire that.

I used to think that being a professional meant you got paid to do something. I don't know how the Iowa State Fair worked out its arrangement with Norma Lyon, but, whether she got paid or not, she was a goddamned professional. A couple years ago, I was cast in an industrial film to play an insensitive prick doctor to teach medical students how not to be insensitive prick doctors, and I got paid $20-an-hour for a week-long shoot. There was a make-up artist and a costumier, a film crew, a lighting crew, a sound guy and even a director flown in from California.

"I have to split the shoot in two, guys," he told us around the dinner table, "so I can fly to France to shoot Salma Hayek in a perfume commercial."

As I bit into my leaky wrap, I laughed quietly in my head as I pictured this guy shooting Salma Hayek. Then I quietly pictured things I wanted to do to Salma Hayek.

The point I'm trying to make here is that, while I got paid for this film, there was nothing "professional" about it, least of all my performance. I hope that, one day, I will achieve mastery at something. It may be being a husband or a father, I don't think achieving it as a son or a brother is going to pan out by this point, or it may just turn out to be at a craft. We'll have to see.

One thing is for sure-- today I will be thinking about Norma Lyon, aged 81. The Butter Cow Lady.

Norma: this pad's for you.


  1. Pretty sad that I live about 40 minutes from the Iowa State Fair and a.) I have never been, and b.) I found out about her death from someone who lives more then 40 minutes away.

    Thanks for keeping my current affairs, current!

    And thanks for writing such nice things about someone you never even knew.

  2. Why are you so fucking hard on yourself? I'm sure your a wonderful son and brother and whatever else you do or are as well! Lighten up and try to focus on being you and not a "better professional".

    Here's a little secret nobody ever tells you but everyone knows: there are no such persons as professionals, everyone makes mistakes.

  3. Wow. Either my therapist or my mother has started reading my blog.


Got something to say? Rock on with your badass apron!