SEBASTIAN: My daddy's a satyr.
ANY STRANGER WHO WILL LISTEN: I'm sorry.
SEBASTIAN: My daddy is a satyr.
ANY STRANGER WHO WILL LISTEN: Your daddy eats Seder?
SEBASTIAN: (With increasing fury.) No. He's a satyr.
ANY STRANGER WHO WILL LISTEN: You mean a sailor.
SEBASTIAN: A satyr.
ANY STRANGER WHO WILL LISTEN: A settler?
SEBASTIAN: A satyr!
ANY STRANGER WHO WILL LISTEN: A senior? A sadist? A sitarist?
SEBASTIAN: No. You are not listening to me. MY DADDY IS A SATYR!!!
As a parent, I never expected to hear that uttered from my child's lips. The problem is twofold. No one expects a little kid to announce that his father is a mythological creature, and many folks don't know what the dickens a satyr really is.
So, let's start by demystifying. In Greek mythology, a satyr is a follower of Dionysus, and on vase paintings is portrayed with with a swinging horse tail and perpetual erection. It wasn't until Roman times when the upper body of a man was attached to the lower body of a goat.
For some reason, the above description reminds me of Danny DeVito. Who is more satyr-like than Louie De Palma, the smarmy dispatcher he played on Taxi? He was a smelly, foul mouthed, sex obsessed man in a cage, always making inappropriate advances to Marilu Henner. Which is probably why Disney cast him as the brow beating satyr Philoctetes, Phil to his friends, in their animated feature Hercules. Who better to eat shrubbery, chew scenery and chase after Nymphs.
Satyrs are described as roguish, subversive and dangerous. They are often depicted with beards and are lovers of wine, women and physical pleasure. (And if you exchange wine for vodka, and women for men, you'd be describing my husband to a tee.)
About four years ago, Michael worked on a USC movie, in which he played...you guessed it...a satyr. From set, he emailed pics of himself in full costume and makeup. Sebastian, who's always had a fondness for monsters and evildoers, was immediately hooked. He wanted to see Daddy at work, a request he'd never made previously. So, of course, the next day, I drove him to the studio. Michael was waiting for us on the street in full satyr regalia, which in Hollywood isn't all that eye popping. And immediately, Bash FREAKED OUT. He clung to me and refused to look at Michael. What seemed kinda cool on the computer screen was quite overwhelming in person.
Today is Michael's birthday. Unfortunately, I am not with him to celebrate. And even though he had his own celebration last night, something to do with a hot tub and a chilled martini in a Styrofoam cup, I wish I were there.
Michael is crazy busy in Palo Alto. He's in rehearsals for a musical called A Civil War Christmas. As he explains it, "I'm playing the black person." Actually, all the actors are taking on multiple roles. So, I imagine he's immersed in memorizing songs, learning blocking and finding the intricate character nuance of Frederick Douglass, or Harriet Tubman, or W.E.B. DuBois, Aunt Jemima, Nipsey Russell, Oprah, or Usher or whoever he's playing. (Can you tell my hold on Civil War history is a little shaky?)
The point is that he is due north about three hundred fifty-two miles, and I am unable to give him a birthday kiss tonight.
And now a private note...
Happy thirty-sixth* birthday, my darling.
The LA Times's horoscope for today's birthday is: Your special charisma will be amplified. It benefits you to bring more to the table in relationships and work, and your enhanced offerings will attract major love and success. March brings a whirlwind of publicity. Your stellar reputation brings financial abundance. A family-oriented event is a must-attend in August. Libra and Taurus people adore you.
Well, when it comes to you, this Libra is over the moon, but Miss Taurus better back the fuck off! Your charisma, stellar reputation, financial abundance and enhanced satyr offerings are ALL MINE! See you in three days!! But for now, I send you a kiss...
*Objects may appear as a lesser value than they actually are.