Cleveland – Got the Jimmy Legs


And I know you like the feeling going up, going down

Does anybody remember the mall-store Merry-Go-Round? When I think of it, I still see green spandex, mesh-front shirts and headbands. To me, it was the apogee of 80s fashion, jumping on every ridiculous leg-warming trend and running it directly into the ground. But nobody seems to remember it now. I can't even remember if my local mall had one; I don't remember shopping there, but I do remember how much I associated it with my pubescent days. You don't see stores like that anymore; but what happened to it?

My theory: like so many icons of the 80's, I think Merry-Go-Round was killed by grunge rock. It killed a lot of things: hair-metal, knit ties, Kurt Cobain. And Merry-Go-Round (not to mention pretenders to the throne like Chess King, who, it may interest you to know, was bought out by MGR at some point. I don't know why I feel bad about this, but considering how ingrained 80's nostalgia is in our stupid culture (largely now by people who were not even remotely in existence during the aforementioned decade), you'd think there'd be some kind of monument to it. Surely, if it weren't for Merry-Go-Round, 80's culture as we currently regard it would not exist.

Info on the store is a bit scant, but I did find this bizarre, press-release style company history, that oddly doesn't mention that the company went bankrupt (had to find that elsewhere). But it notes the kind of forward-thinking that should have given it immortal icon status:

When pop star Michael Jackson appeared on MTV wearing a red leather jacket with 27 zippers, Merry-Go-Round sold more than 50,000 similar jackets at $29 each. Similarly, when the lead singer in the rock band Def Leppard performed in a video sporting a Union Jack sweatshirt with cut-off sleeves, a new fad was born. Merry-Go-Round sold over 40,000 copies of the sweatshirt at $15 each.

Merry-Go-Round managed to eke into the 1990's, but by 94 it was pretty much over. I'm not exactly sad about it, but I guess I feel the company doesn't get its due in pop-culture history. I'm also hopeful that I won't be spending any more time in malls so these admittedly dorky notions don't obsess me further. Though I do have some lingering questions about Orange Julius …

Columbian necktie

This is the only photo I took of our vacation

I took an actual vacation from work, but now I am back and I am trying to determine if the time off has made any difference. So far today it seems that all the work I left before is still here, plus a bunch of stupid crap that has piled up in the mean time. I don't mind it so much since I can pull the "hey, I just got back from vacation and I am swamped" for the next week or so. I suppose the fact that I don't mind this means the vacation succeeded in relaxing me adequately. I blew off just enough steam to once again resume my cog-in-the-wheel status.

In two weeks my office moves downtown, which would be interesting if it didn't mean I will have to start dressing up for work. I think I have to start wearing ties and shirts that tuck in. Does anyone know if they make pre-tied neckties that can be buttoned in the back? Not a clip-on, which is pretty obvious, this would be something that would look like a real tie from the front but be easy to attach in the back (the clasp would be covered by the collar). I looked for this but I couldn't really find any; doesn't this seem odd? Why do people waste valuable time tying their ties every single day? I thought about just loosening the knot so I could put it back on, but this tends to rumple the tie. Is this a million-dollar idea the corporate world has been waiting for?

Anyway, I'm back. Our vacation consisted of a short jaunt to the Greater Cleveland Area, to visit some people up there and generally not do anything. The highlight of the trip was holing up in the lovely Super 8 motel, eating junk food and watching cable television. Of course after 3 days of this, we were both totally sick of junk food and agreed that even with 60 channels there was absolutely nothing to watch (although we could almost get by on just Bravo and Animal Planet). We hung out with my sister's family and finally got to see lifelong friend James' new house. We hit up Corky & Lenny's, Tommy's Diner (soy milkshakes!), Aladdin's (best baba ever), and drank free Starbucks the entire time using the gift cards our bosses had given us last Christmas. We ran through the endless aisles of Giant Eagle and the non-crowded Whole Foods, went to the mall and bought some clothes, and remembered to swing by Big Fun on the way to the airport to buy some crap (actually I bought some tin crickets to help train the cats to do my bidding). In short, we lived like Ohioans, if only for a short time.

There is something to be said for sequestering yourself away from your life. I kind of scoffed at that sort of thing in the past, but the older you get, the more necessary it may be. Even if we hadn't gone to Cleveland, we could have booked a room at some local fleabag motel to get out of our house for a couple days. The remainder of our vacation was spent at home, and although we got a lot of work done on the house, that's exactly the problem: you can't sit at home and do nothing. I've tried before but sooner or later I find myself weeding, or fixing something, or god forbid, cleaning. In that Super 8 with the uncomfortable headboard and nonexistent maid service, we were forced to actually do nothing, which is harder than it sounds.

Anyway, when we returned to Brooklyn we set about out our tasks, which included hitting the newish Ikea. We've been in our house for almost 2 years and we still haven't bought any furniture or anything. My night stand is a storage chest; Jeannie's is a chair. Our couch (a gift from our pal Sean M, who has basically outfitted our entire home with his hand-me-downs) once was an elegant fixture from the 50's, but it has been used to the point that it cuts off leg circulation when you sit on it for a while. I don't know that I ever had any political issue with the opening of the Brooklyn Ikea, but if I did, I forgot all about it when I realized we could outfit most of the house for less than one couch from Room and Board.

Ikea was nice enough, we picked out tons of stuff, then came home and bought it online. Annoyingly, a few items were not available online, so we'll still have to go back there at some point. The shipping costs were also outrageous, but we still came in several hundred bucks below my intended ceiling. Who knows when we actually will get the stuff, this doesn't seem to be their strong point.