Hi there. My name is Zoe Tisdale. Not long ago, I was a normal gal with a steady job and a stable guy. But thanks to a recent harrowing experience at 30,000 feet, my priorities have been jostled, and I’ve found myself at the peak of existential peril. These days, things like normalcy, steadiness, and stability seem incapable of satisfying. So now, I am unemployed, unattached, and why is it that I’ve thrown my cozy old life away?
It’s because I have unfinished business.
I left a loose end untied and a stone unturned.
I have a big regret, and because of this, I’m now unemployed, unattached, and my new mission in life is to reunite the all-girl garage band I was in way back when I was a teenager.
Yes, somewhere at 30,000 feet, I think my sanity hopped off the plane and forgot to pop the parachute.
Our band was named The Flip-Flops, and we were all the rage in the backyards of L.A.’s San Fernando Valley back in the summer of ’87. And if it weren’t for a few crazy zigs, zags, and potholes along our path to fame, we just might have made it.
Sorry, did I say might have? Because really, I definitely think we would have. Between Lauren’s guitar wizardry, Ginger’s sexual dynamism, Melinda’s powerhouse vocals, and my manic and madcap energy on drums… Oh yeah. We would have made it.
My current and possibly sad lapse into teenage nostalgia recently found me burrowing through a memorabilia chest that I long ago had stashed in my Dad’s garage. Among keepsakes like high school yearbooks, notes passed in class, and issues of Tiger Beat featuring Rick Springfield or Jack Wagner on the cover, I happened across a speech I once wrote. It’s not a speech I ever delivered, but rather a speech I believed I one day would deliver.
And reading this speech all these years later rattled me to my very core. In this speech, I wrote about the woman I believed I would become. Ironically, I suddenly now see that the girl who wrote this speech over 20 years ago is actually now the person I wish I was.
So here now is the speech I was going to give when The Flip-Flops won Song Of The Year at the 1988 Grammy Awards.
(NOTE: Wait for thunderous applause to die down.)
Wow, thank you all so much for this award!
(NOTE: Pause to let remainder of applause fade.)
Even though this is our fourth award of the night, I wasn’t expecting it! I remember watching The Grammys as a twelve-year old girl, crying in despair when The Go-Go’s, aka the greatest all-girl group ever, lost the Best New Artist award to Sheena Easton. Biggest musical travesty since the day I learned the song ‘Afternoon Delight’ was not about a totally awesome ice cream treat, but whatever.
Tonight, it is truly an honor to be here among so many amazing industry luminaries and visionaries. Artists like Madonna, Prince, Sting, Cher… I’ve always dreamt that I’d someday be famous enough to only need one name, and you are all an inspiration.
I also see one my favorite bands ever out there. To Bono and the rest of U2, I know we beat you in the four categories we both were nominated for, but you boys are pretty good. Keep at it and I’m sure one day you’ll win four Grammys in one night, too!
Anyway, I’d like to thank the entire Grammy Foundation for selecting our hit single ‘I’d Rather Date My Bicycle Seat’ as Song Of The Year. Everyone always says that it’s an honor just to be nominated, which is, like, totally true… But in all honesty, it’s so much cooler to actually win the award. Seriously, we girls have been dreaming of a night like this since we were kids. I know that sounds kind of silly seeing as how we pretty much are still kids, but it’s true. It seems like just yesterday that we accidentally played our high school prom, and now look at how far we’ve come in just eight months! For sure, this night and these awards are a dream come true.
To all of you young aspiring musicians out there… Actually, to everyone in life who has a dream, I can only offer the following advice:
I know what it means to walk along the lonely street of dreams, and these dreams go on when I close my eyes. Don’t lose your grip on the dreams of the past, you must fight just to keep them alive, because sweet dreams are made of this. Don’t dream it’s over, but instead, you’ve gotta live those dreams, scheme those schemes, and hit them with your laser beams!
And finally, please remember this. Every now and then, when you get a little restless…
Dream of something wild.
And so ends the speech that never was.
The dreams of our youth are bold, limitless, and shimmering with the belief that they can be realized. As we grow older – which happens so damned suddenly – reality and necessity plant roots, then grow like weeds all over us if we’re not vigilant with our personal and emotional upkeep. The dreams become blurry. The belief loses its hopeful glow. And next thing we know, the kids we once were are merely snapshots in the pages of a timeworn high school yearbook.
To me, this is suddenly unacceptable. I need to once again be bold. I need to believe I can do anything at all. I need to live urgently, and I need to do it now.
And you know what else I need to do?
I need to reunite The Flip-Flops, the almost greatest band of all-time.
A snippet that never made my speech’s mash-up of ripped off 80s lyrics is the following poignant gem from Steve Winwood that I heard on the radio just the other day:
“When some cold tomorrow finds you,
When some sad old dream reminds you,
How the endless road unwinds you.
While you see a chance take it.”
Sing it, Mr. Winwood. Just sing it.
My name is Zoe Tisdale. I am 41 going on 18, and I am dreaming of something wild. I hope you can join me for what oughtta be one hell of a ride!
Thank you for letting me launch the world premiere of my Grammy acceptance speech on your blog, Molly. It’s been a blast being here!
**Thank you so much for coming today, Zoe! It was such a wonderful treat and you are welcome here at my blog anytime!!**
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fasten Seat Belt sign has been turned on, but feel free to ignore it, because sometimes life is best lived on its dizzy edges. Your cruising altitude today will be sky high, and you will be flying at staggering speeds as you travel alongside Zoe Tisdale, former Valley Girl and rock star turned bored butter saleswoman.
On the heels of a brush with mortality, Zoe concludes that she’s been letting time pass her by. Realizing she needs to awaken her life’s tired refrains, Zoe vows to recapture the one chapter of her life that truly mattered to her – her days as drummer for The Flip-Flops, a spirited, sassy all-girl garage band that almost hit the big time back in 1987. But reuniting the band won’t be easy. The girls who were once the whiz kid guitarist, the prom queen bass player, and the hippie lead singer grew up and became women who are now a reclusive dog trainer, a wealthy socialite, and a sociopathic environmentalist. Will Zoe bring the band back together and give The Flip-Flops a second chance at stardom? Is it possible to fully reclaim the urgent energy of youth?
As you follow this wild flight path, please know that your destination could be anywhere at all, complimentary oxygen is provided upon request, and baggage flies free. We hope you enjoy the ride, and Thank You For Flying Air Zoe.
About The Author:
Erik Atwell started his writing career in grammar school, when a one page history class assignment ballooned into a forty page fictional account of a politically controversial silversmith in Boston circa 1776. From there, he wrote short stories while living in New Hampshire, screenplays upon moving to Los Angeles, then finally novels when he ultimately landed in Seattle. He now lives in Seattle with his rock star wife and his six-month-old son, whose only musical claim to fame thus far is sleeping through an entire Go-Go’s concert. But in his defense, he was three weeks old, and the stage was a quarter-mile away. “Thank You For Flying Air Zoe” is his first novel, and he hopes to write a second novel before the little guy treks off to college.