Celestial Butt Cheeks

Over Memorial Day weekend, I became the commissioner of Major League Baseball and received a $500,000,000 salary. I also climbed Mt. Everest, won an Oscar, flew to the moon, dunked a basketball, won the Super Bowl, sailed around the world, and put Mars and Jupiter together to make them look like butt cheeks.

That was just Sunday.

It all started when my nephew, Evan, asked me to tell him all the things I wanted to do that I’ve never done in my life. I said, “Sharpen your pencil, buddy.”

“You just tell me what you want,” he said without hesitating.

After writing out a list of all the things I wanted to do, Evan, 8, and me and his brother, Logan, 6, and his sister, Lindsay, 10, acted out the things on the list.

There’s a little hill in my brother’s backyard that served as Mt. Everest, so we put on our most determined faces and trudged upward, collapsing in exhaustion on the top of the world.

To win my Oscar, Evan instructed me to act happy and told his little brother to act sad. Evan judged our performances and I got the statue.

Of course, Logan protested.

When you’re six years old, there’s a rule that says you don’t have to agree with anything. Then again, at six children also have the attention span of a gnat, so when we said it was time to fly to the moon, Logan dropped his protest and we launched skyward in our rocket.

Later, when I collapsed from exhaustion from a day of playing baseball, football, flying a kite, chasing the kids non-stop and doing all the make believing, my thoughts drifted to the list I dictated to Evan.

It occurred to me that what we wrote out seemed more like my life’s regrets rather than dreams. I’m never going to be the commissioner of baseball or an astronaut, two things I once dreamed about. I’m never going to win an Oscar or climb Mt Everest.

And I also thought about how big I once dreamed. These days my idea of dreaming big is getting the isle seat on a flight to Ft. Lauderdale.

Why do our dreams shrink inversely proportional to our age like Newton’s fourth law or something? The more I thought about my list the more I wondered about dreams I forgot about, or left out altogether because they seemed impractical or too embarrassing for a man pushing middle age to speak aloud.

There’s no regulator on a kid’s imagination, no little voices in their heads saying they can’t do that.

It was Logan’s idea, and it might sound outlandish but it’s probably perfect. What I really need right now is to put Mars and Jupiter together to look like butt cheeks.IMG_1040

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Finding Our Groove

Every marriage has those times when one person hears a waltz while the other dances the quick step. With us it’s no different, but merging our Eastern and Western upbringings sometimes takes a little extra footwork.

In one of the most memorable Lucy and Ricky moments we shared, Bovey and I were riding the subway in New York. A round man walked into our car at the 23rd Street Station on the A train and grabbed a strap directly in front of our seats. He lifted his arm and showed a generous swath of hairy belly and this brown cloud hovered around him.

With my eyes watering, I leaned over and whispered in Bovey’s ear, “Somebody has major B.O.”

Then Bovey blurted out loud, “What’s B.O.?”

I bit my lip and looked down at my feet but Bovey wouldn’t stop asking, “What’s B.O.?” So I had to explain it to her to make her quit.

We giggled so hard we almost missed our stop at West Fourth Street.

Fast forward to getting married in Hong Kong, we danced around a few challenges there, too, before finding our groove.

We both considered wearing traditional Chinese clothing, but I couldn’t keep a straight face whenever I saw those bright colored silks on this pasty white body.

Yet Bovey dazzled in her Chinese gown and she yearned to wear one. So, for the tea ceremony, she wore traditional clothes and I wore a Western suit and tie.

A tea ceremony is where the bride and groom in China serve tea to each other’s parents on the day of the wedding. It’s shows respect and symbolizes the change in everyone’s relationship.

Then for the wedding ceremony itself, we traded places. Bovey wore a white, Western gown and I wore a Mandarin style tuxedo.

First of all, I feel like a monkey when wearing a tux, and in Hong Kong, it’s kind of hard to find one that fits me, not to mention one muted enough for my taste. Chinese men lean toward tuxedos with plenty of glitz and shine.

Ironically, I found myself drawn to the Mandarin style. With its clean lines and minimalist look, this tux made me feel suave, like Chow Yun-Fat, a Hong Kong movie star.

Somehow we’ve managed to make our East – West union work for seventeen years, and today marks our ninth wedding anniversary. We might not always hear the same music, but at least we’re dancing to the same beat. Happy anniversary, Bovey.wedding-western-gown

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Where Is King’s Road?

When my wife and I meet new people, one of the first things they ask is do I speak Chinese. I studied Cantonese but the only thing I remember how to say, is “Ying wong do, hai bin doa?” Where is King’s Road?

Never mind learning something useful, like Hello or Thank you or Where’s the toilet?

I’m good at retaining useless information, things like the number of my grade school bus, No. 161, or the phone number for Junior Samples used car dealership, BR549.

But remember important stuff, like where I last put my wedding ring (that’s another story) or my nieces’ and nephews’ birthdays, those important tidbits evaporate right through my thick noggin. Poof. Gone.

Where is King’s Road acts as a metaphor of sorts for where I find myself in my life, a small town kid from Kentucky living in Pittsburgh with his Hong Kong-born wife, wondering how did I get here.

My name is Joseph David Wilcox and my wife is cut paper artist, Bovey Lee. She’s a big deal, by the way.

The same January blizzard blew us both into New York 17 years ago, where we met not long after. On our first date we went for beers at an internet cafe in the East Village.

Yes, and she still married me.

I envision this blog as a muse on our days together. Like memory itself, never a linear exercise, sometimes I will talk about days gone by and sometimes I will relate things as they happen, our ever unfolding life that still unfolds so magically I barely believe it’s happening to me.

A lot of people are curious about how we manage our interracial relationship, so I promise to tell you all about that. And it’s intriguing to be married to an artist and a quasi celebrity, at least in the art world. So, I’ll tell you about that, too.

I never studied art but thanks to hanging around my wife, I know the difference between a
de Kooning and a Rothko, and I’ve been to so many art openings and art fairs they blur across my mind like stars in a Van Gogh painting.

But one of the greatest things about our relationship is I get to see America and the world through Bovey’s eyes. She makes intriguing observations, that, as an American, I sometimes take for granted. For one, she says she can’t understand why Americans aren’t more vocal over issues like unemployment, gun control, or corporate greed, saying if it were Hong Kong, they’d be protesting in the streets.

I tell her I don’t have a good answer for that nor most of her observations. She’s definitely the thinker in this relationship. Me, I trip around this world wearing blinders, just happy to be here.

In the meantime, if I ever get lost in Hong Kong, at least I can find my way to King’s Road. Which might, one day, save this wandering Kentuckian.