Normal History Vol. 540: The Art Of David Lester

Every Saturday, we’ll be posting a new illustration by David Lester. The Mecca Normal guitarist is visually documenting people, places and events from his band’s 35-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

Quirky was how she described them. Her brother had other choice words for them. Freak show was popular. He would have preferred that his parents possessed the will to fit in, to be normal. That was not the case. In nearly all ways, Arnie and Yvette demonstrated their abhorrence for all things normal, including the word. Normal. 

Yvette knew how to dress, but when she deviated from his perception of what a mother should be like, he pitched fits and stayed in his room. 

Yvette wore Arnie’s old button-down shirts as painting smocks and she sewed rudimentary trousers with elastic waist out of boldly printed fabric other mothers might consider using for curtains in their rumpus rooms. 

Yvette had been known to nip to the grocery store in her painting clothes, but he wouldn’t be seen in public with her if she was going to wear the curtain pants. 

The girl didn’t understand her brother’s urge to comply with the universal code of normal, but she surely felt the impact of his reaction to divergences from it. He wanted to be part of a normal family that gathered in front of a TV set to have dinner off trays laden with grilled cheese sandwiches on Wonder Bread with tall glasses of Tang. At their house it might be steamed clams dipped in individual dishes of melted butter with a Caesar salad made from a recipe out of Life magazine. Her brother was grossed out by the clams, repulsed by the anchovies and annoyed that he was being denied whatever he suspected was normal. 

Normal. He wanted to be. Normal.

“Normal” from Empathy For The Evil (M’lady’s, 2014) (download):