Maynard-Lao Archive: Item 0001 [Light blue “Dead Dog’s Eyeball” t-shirt]

Since turning 50, I’ve been making a concerted effort to get my shit in order. I’ve started working more deliberately on this nearly 175 year old house of ours. I’ve pretty much cut bread, beer and refined sugar from my diet. And I’ve been attempting to rid myself of the possessions that I no longer need in my life, which, as someone with OCD, isn’t terribly easy. [I can always think of a reason why I might need to keep something… why my very life might depend on it.]

While I’m trying my best to rid myself of those things I no longer need, I’m not being totally draconian when it comes to eliminating the material objects that I’ve accumulated. I’m not seeking to achieve any kind of minimalist perfection. I’m just trying to be thoughtful about what I’m expending energy to keep in my orbit. And, with that in mind, I’ve decided to start a new project. I’m going to start writing a little bit about each of the items that I’ve chosen to keep, explaining why they’re important to me. [If I can’t do that, I figure, I probably shouldn’t be holding on to whatever it is.]

I should add that I’m under no illusion that my descendants will find any of these objects that I’m cataloging to be at all interesting. I fully expect that, when I’m gone, all of these boxes will be lugged to Goodwill. And I’m fine with that. I just feel as though, while I have the time and energy, it probably makes sense to write some of this history down somewhere, so that, when I am gone, my descendants can at least know why I lugged these particular things along with me through my life. Again, I know this likely won’t matter, but I would have loved to have known why my ancestors kept the things that they did, and I suspect there’s at least a slight chance that one of my descendants may share this same unusual interest in family history.

As for how I plan to archive this stuff, I’m still not sure. I’m thinking of having labels printed, which I will then number and affix to each individual item. [I mentioned that I had OCD, right?] And each number will, in turn, lead back to a row on a spreadsheet, where certain details will be outlined. And, I may, on occasion, even post some of them here, depending on how I feel. [I think this could be a more health alternative to obsessively reading the news each night and forcing myself to blog about Donald Trump’s most recent assaults on American democracy.]

So, with all that by way of background, here is the first item in the Maynard-Lao Archive.

TITLE: Light Blue “Dead Dog’s Eyeball” T-shirt
DESCRIPTION: This t-shirt was purchased at a K. McCarty concert somewhere in Atlanta between the 1994 release of her album, Dead Dog’s Eyeball, and the first session of my one-day-a-year band, The Monkey Power Trio, in August, 1995. [The album Dead Dog’s Eyeball consisted entirely Daniel Johnston covers.] This shirt is notable not just because the artwork is by Daniel Johnson, but because I apparently wore it during the recording of the Monkey Power Trio’s inaugural 7″, 1995: The First Hour. I’ve attempted to find out the date this shirt was purchased, going so far as to exchange emails with McCarty. Sadly, however, it would appear that no documentation exists about that particular tour. A photo of me wearing the shirt, just after that first Monkey Power Trio session, can be found here. [It should be noted that there were other t-shirts from this same time period that I also loved, like my Pylon “Chomp” shirt, my Daniel Johnston “Hi, how are you?” shirt, and the Akron, Ohio shirt I was wearing the night I first talked with Linette. All of them, however, disappeared about a decade ago.]

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  1. Jcp2
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    Kondo meets Maynard. Would that be Konard or Maydo? As long as it brings you joy and you’ve thanked it for its service, it’s all okay.

  2. Kit
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Send it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and let us know how they respond.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    These posts are good because all the jobless crazies here won’t respond to them. Good job, Mark!! Keep up these enjoyable posts.

  4. Jean Henry
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    A friend regularly excavates archives for documentarian purposes. He prefers ones that contain ephemera and personal items. By Buckminster Fuller and Kronos Quartet were recent subjects and both kept everything. Everything. I see no reason why your personal documentation project wouldn’t provide interest to someone down the line. Maybe EMU or the Labadie collection would be interested. Our generation is quickly fading to sunset, on the off chance that anyone gets curious about gen x in the future (we’re like a remote civilization relative to popular culture), this collection. Would prove useful. At minimum, you have good company.

    “Americans, so Gertrude Stein says, are like spaniards, they are abstract and cruel. They are not brutal they are cruel. They have no close contact with the earth such as most europeans have. Their materialism is not the materialism of existence, of possession, it is the materialism of action and abstraction.” – Gertrude Stein

  5. Jean Henry
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Thinking now how great a museum of everyday objects would be. The Henry Ford Museum has sections like that. Material culture timelines, etc. but I’m thinking more about Neruda’s odes to everyday objects.

    Ode to My Socks
    Pablo Neruda, 1904 – 1973

    Maru Mori brought me
    a pair
    of socks
    which she knitted herself
    with her sheepherder’s hands,
    two socks as soft
    as rabbits.
    I slipped my feet
    into them
    as though into
    with threads of
    and goatskin.
    Violent socks,
    my feet were
    two fish made
    of wool,
    two long sharks
    sea-blue, shot
    by one golden thread,
    two immense blackbirds,
    two cannons:
    my feet
    were honored
    in this way
    They were
    so handsome
    for the first time
    my feet seemed to me
    like two decrepit
    firemen, firemen
    of that woven
    of those glowing

    I resisted
    the sharp temptation
    to save them somewhere
    as schoolboys
    as learned men
    sacred texts,
    I resisted
    the mad impulse
    to put them
    into a golden
    and each day give them
    and pieces of pink melon.
    Like explorers
    in the jungle who hand
    over the very rare
    green deer
    to the spit
    and eat it
    with remorse,
    I stretched out
    my feet
    and pulled on
    the magnificent
    and then my shoes.

    The moral
    of my ode is this:
    beauty is twice
    and what is good is doubly
    when it is a matter of two socks
    made of wool
    in winter.‘

  6. stupid hick
    Posted April 23, 2019 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    I approve

One Trackback

  1. […] As I explained in an earlier post, I’m in the process of making my way through the house and separating the wheat from the chaff, determining which items will remain here in our home, and which will be jettisoned into the ever-churning gyre of garbage that surrounds us. What follows is my justification for adding yet another item to the official Maynard-Lao family archive — a t-shirt purchased from a thief at New York City’s Carnegie Hall during my senior year of high school, on the evening of Friday, March 7, 1986. […]

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