So today Dave Brubeck died, and when I heard the news I had to laugh to myself.
There have always been two inside jokes that made Marty and me laugh since we got married, jokes which make no sense to anyone but us: "It's Brubeck" and "screensaver."
Some backstory is in order, of course. When I was in college I did some "modeling," if you know what I mean. Porno, although back then (the early 80s) it was called XXX. I had two stints in "the business:" first was my senior year of college, and then again a few years later while I was in grad school and was also a single mom. I posed mainly for low-rent magazines, really hardcore stuff, and then did about a half dozen videos which were shown in limited runs on a couple local cable systems.
After I finished grad school, I gave it up-- never went back-- and I took all of the pictures, magazines, videos, negatives, etc from those shoots and sealed them in a box and jammed them in a corner of the basement.
Now... Marty and I knew each other in high school and college but were never close, and didn't start dating each other till our 20th HS reunion. And like a lot of people who feel like they've found their soulmate, when we started dating and for the first few years we were married, we went through this phase in the sexual zone where we literally were in bed almost the whole time we weren't at work. It was really great being in love and making love and enjoying each other, feeling like we had FOUND EACH OTHER.
And when I finally got the nerve to share my old pictures-videos etc with him, that was a real spark. I thought they might make him feel funny but he loved them.
"You know, I always thought there was something going on with you that I couldn't quite put a finger on. Little did I realize..."
So he started going through THE BOX of pictures and film frames and negatives and got pretty much obsessed with it, as in "obsessed with the idea of me as a porn star." He scanned nearly all of the magazine layouts, loose pics, negatives etc... THEN he started playing around with them: he learned how to make gif animations, and I don't know how many of those he did. I remember him complaining that a lot of them "didn't work" because the animations were too choppy etc etc. But there was one in particular that I remember because he made it his screensaver.
One of the last shoots I did as an undergrad was the weekend after finals, May 1982. The photographer that I worked with (Gerry) got together 7 or 8 of us guys and girls who had been posing for him, and that Saturday, we piled into a van and rode up north to upstate New York, when a friend of his had a yacht on Lake Ontario. We took off in the yacht and while the skipper piloted the boat up and down the St. Lawrence, through those islands, up those tributaries, and around Lake Ontario, we had an all-day orgy, which Gerry and his assistant filmed. It was one of the most wild things I've ever done. And I have the pictures to prove it.
Anyway, from that shoot there was a sequence of pictures of me bent over the rail of this boat while this soccer player, Mike, screwed me from behind. And Marty took this sequence of shots and made a GIF animation out of it.
I found out about it one afternoon that I was sitting in our living room reading and he had his laptop on the kitchen counter with his itunes on, and I got up to get a cup of coffee and glanced down at his laptop screen, expecting to see his itunes, and instead there I am, in this full-screen looped animation, "in action" from the Lake Ontario Orgy Cruise, bent over the railing of this yacht, getting banged from behind by this guy Mike.
But it was his computer, we were married and in that "zone" and so I kind of forgot about it...
...until homecoming weekend the year before our daughter Maggie was born. I think I might have just found out I was pregnant with her. We were at home and Marty's parents were visiting, and of course while we were having supper, Marty had his itunes patched into the stereo in the other room. And we're eating and this song comes up, I can't remember what, something from one of Marty's jazz CDs. Marty's parents are ALSO both music profs, so anytime we get together, the music is never just "background;" it's always the fifth person in the room.
Marty has probably literally 55,000 tracks in his itunes, on three external hard drives, and a lot of those tracks are things he's never really listened to. He borrows CDs he's never heard and rips them and then that way when he puts it on shuffle, new stuff comes up that he's never heard.
So we're eating supper and this song comes on, and I recognized the voice... Marty and his dad did too, but they had no idea who the accompanist was.
"Who is this, Marty?" his dad said.
"Jimmy Rushing, dad." The blues singer.
"No," Marty's dad said, "I mean, who's the piano player?"
And Marty goes, "I don't know. Oscar Peterson maybe?"
So Marty's dad goes, "No, I don't think it's Peterson. Is this the radio?"
And Marty says, "No, it's my itunes. The info should be on my laptop screen."
So Marty's dad gets up and goes into the music room to check and see who the song is by...
...and about 12 seconds later he comes back into the dining room and he is BRIGHT RED, and he sits down silently.
Marty goes "Dad?"
And Marty's dad looks down and goes "It's Brubeck."
Well... then for the rest of the meal, his dad just seemed all shy and stammery and would NOT look at me: looked down, looked away, all that. And of course me, I had no clue!
So a little later, we're eating dessert, and ANOTHER song came on that Marty didn't recognize, and he got up and went in to check what it was on the screen... and when he came back out, HE had this horrified look on his face. That was when I knew something was up.
So a few minutes later we're clearing the table, doing the dishes... I'm in the kitchen and Marty comes in with a stack of plates and he kisses my cheek and whispers "I think Dad saw the screensaver."
"Of you. From the orgy cruise."
Now Marty was turning red. "I forgot to change the settings..."
It was the closest I ever came to killing him.
Marty's dad never said anything (of course) and Marty never asked him ("I'M not gonna ask him!"), but I still imagine his dad going into the music room to innocently check and see what the song was that was playing, looking down at the screen, and seeing an animation of his new daughter-in-law, age 22, getting fucked doggie-style on the deck of a boat.
Anyway, anytime we had guests after that, Marty made sure to change the screensaver settings.
And even though I thought I was going to die that night, ever since, that's why the phrase "It's Brubeck" and the word "screensaver" always makes Marty and me laugh.
One time we decided to "test" Marty's dad. Marty said something about his screensaver and his dad didn't flinch.
So maybe he DIDN'T see it. I don't want to know if he did, but I also don't want to find out he didn't.
It would ruin the joke.
Rest in peace, Dave Brubeck. I wasn't laughing at you.