After a Fashion

Your Style Avatar goes back to his youth and gets all horny (and toady)

Artist Jeff Scott's gravure etching Visionary, 2005 speaks 
to Elvis's mysterious and ethereal presence and is part of 
a series of Scott's work on display at Gallery SoCo 
beginning Apr. 20
Artist Jeff Scott's gravure etching Visionary, 2005 speaks to Elvis's mysterious and ethereal presence and is part of a series of Scott's work on display at Gallery SoCo beginning Apr. 20

ALL HORNY When I found a link to a site that sold gifts, jewelry, and personal accessories dedicated to the horny toad (www.toadland.com), I was ecstatic. Though today's children have probably never seen a horny toad, having spent part of my childhood in suburban Houston and suburban San Antonio, horny toads were a fact of life. A big fact of life – right up there with cartoons, toys, and games as a major source of entertainment. The fields around our houses were loaded with these strange, prehistoric-looking creatures, and it must have been my brother Scott who showed the rest of us that there wasn't any real danger of picking them up, which was easy since horny toads tend to stiffen up when they see something coming at them. I especially liked how after we picked them up and they regained their composure, they'd toss their heads back insouciantly and try to stab our fingers with the horns on the top of their heads. We thought that was delightful and regularly brought them home as pets. But they didn't always do well in the house, swelling up and hissing at our chihuahua, Mrs. Robinson, and hiding where we could not find them … until it was much too late. We loved them anyway, especially upon learning that in particular situations, cavities in their heads will burst, and they can even squirt blood from their eyes up to five feet away when frightened by an attacker. Even as an adult, I envy that ability. There's just dozens of occasions when I wish my cavities would burst, and I could squirt blood from my eyes on some attacker … or just a really dull person.

FOSTER CHICKENS Naturally, the Easter season always reminds me of Easter Chickens – the party-colored living poultry that used to be sold in pet shops, discount stores, and malls. In the spring of 1970, I brought home four of them (blue, green, pink, and yellow), which I precociously and permissively (for a 12-year-old) named Bob, Carol, Ted, and Alice. And in a PETA nightmare, I kept them in a drawer in my bedroom with a towel and a light bulb to keep them warm, while feeding them Raisin Bran with sugar and milk. I thought their living conditions were charming, but perhaps the chickens disagreed and began dropping like flies. First, Alice, the yellow one, croaked. I'd always thought she had a bad attitude anyway. Then Bob, the blue one, bit the dust too, and in perhaps a scenario of grief and a broken heart, Carol soon gave up her will to live too. That left pink Ted alone in the drawer. Ted thrived, mysteriously, and grew into a handsome but malevolent white rooster. As he matured, he moved out of the drawer and into the great outdoors and changed his name to Theodore. Theodore was a little ornery, not to mention horny. He established a long-term sexual relationship with an avocado-green Melamine cereal bowl in the yard, and Theodore tried to mate with it several times a day – lots of flapping and crowing that led to his blissful climax. Then the bowl would roll over and smoke a cigarette. Theodore also had a thing for my dad, and when my dad would leave the house and walk down the backstairs to his car, Theodore would appear from above wielding spurs and a flurry of feathers, attack his head and shoulders, pecking at his toupee and scratching him. Needless to say, we children, waiting in the car, enjoyed this immensely and often made up reasons for Dad to have to go back in the house, thus creating two more opportunities for Theodore to attack my dad. Eventually Dad had enough of Theodore's enmity and one day announced that Theodore had found a new place to live. He scooped up Theodore and put him in the Ford Country Sedan, explaining that Theodore was going to become a pet at a Catholic children's home outside of town, far away, where we could never see him again. There were no tears upon Theodore's departure, even though we suspected he ended up by the side of the road somewhere.

AGENDA Artist Jeff Scott will be in attendance at the opening reception for his works "Elvis: The Personal Archives and Between Midnight," Thu., April 20 at Jason Siegel's Gallery Soco (1714-A S. Congress), 6-9pm (www.gallerysoco.com). The show runs through April 27… Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival presents Bloom, a fundraiser at the Nest at Big Red Sun with food, spirits, and performances (and, um, in a late-breaking story, me as the emcee). See www.agliff.org for details… Fri., April 21, the UT Fashion Design Students present Mosaic, the annual show of student designs at the Frank Erwin Center, 8pm…

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