Six Degrees of Jeff Bridges

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When you have three kids and one of ’em heads off to college, it is a very big adjustment.
Gargantuan.
I mean, all parents joke about how we can’t wait to kick the kids out and reclaim rooms, but we don’t mean it. Not by a long shot. And while I will admit life is a little, just a little, easier having one less kid around 24-7, it also feels so much like something’s missing, like I’m forgetting something super important — like wearing pants. It is such a profound tug that I have to look down and check to make sure I am actually fully dressed.
And while normally I badmouth technology because of how difficult it’s made my life, in this case — with a child out of the house — I totally want to plant a big wet kiss on Tim Cook (no relation so it’s not gross) because we can FaceTime and she can always send short text messages that give us glimpses into her new adventure. Sometimes it’s a picture — like the slice of banh mi pizza that she had for dinner — or a longer text about what her day’s been like or even an audio clip of one of her professors.
True story: She recorded part of his lecture to prove that he sounded like a character out of “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.”
When she first told us, I didn’t believe her.
“What?! That’s not possible. He’s a MATH teacher. How can he sound like a stoned surfer?”
“I’m telling you, he does,” she insisted.
“How old is he?” I asked, always the absolute wrong question to ever ask any teenager about an adult over 20.
“I don’t know. Old. Maybe 40s, 50s?”
See what I mean?
So, she sent the clip. It was not Bill. Or Ted. The prof was Jeff Bridges as The Dude in “The Big Lebowski.”
I corrected her inaccurate pop culture reference, and she immediately agreed that The Dude was definitely more on point.
Weird coincidence, just a few days after that exchange, Jeff Bridges turned up as a guest on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.”
For a guy with such a gravely voice, he has this incongruously girlish giggle. It’s cute but so disconcerting. Also, he doesn’t seem at all like the type who would have served seven years in the Coast Guard Reserve. Kudos to him, too, for not using plastic straws any more and instead relying on pasta straws, which I had never even heard of before. But, they exist! I looked ’em up. It wasn’t just a gag for the show. I gotta say, I’m totally on board with a pasta straw company that boldly uses this pun as a slogan: “Use your noodle!”
Though they’re environmentally friendly, I hate paper straws — they taste weird and dissolve too fast. The metal ones are good, but I keep trying to chew on them and that’s bad. Pasta straws could be the answer, if they don’t get too soggy too fast or add an unpleasant starchiness to the beverage.
I know what you’re thinking right now — is she really writing about Jeff Bridges? And pasta straws? Yes, yes, I am. Because you know what? That’s all I got. Some days are like that. But I’ll bet that you learned something you didn’t already know, whether it was about Jeff Bridges or the existence of another biodegradable sipper, and that is a good thing because new knowledge keeps the brain limber — and offers up valuable topics for small talk at parties.
And, I’ll tell you something else: I get to see No. 1 next week. I’m so excited, I can hardly stand it.

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