Friday, May 30, 2008

Blog blog bliggity blog...and now I can't stop.

I never "got" blogging before. I don't know why. I didn't get American Idol either. When I tried blogging before it was a gimmick to try to be funny under an alias. Then I started real blog, a blog about me, and now I can't stop. I love me. I want everyone to see me love me. That's not really it. I guess I am just at a point in life where I need a forum.

People often talk about how the times we live in are special, or how we are living in the worst times ever. Times are getting tough out there for real these days. But we need perspective, and we need to make the most of our individual economies and lives despite or in spite of what the media might be telling you. The following is a rant I wrote 3 years ago. I think it still has value.

I am an expecting father. The joys of bringing a child into the world are for me very real. It is a thing I have anticipated my entire life leading back to when I was a small child pretending to be the daddy of my assortment of stuffed animals. But this is a cruel and dangerous world we are living in. Sometimes people use this fear of our modern times as the excuse to not have children at all. They say that things are so wrong in society that it’s not right to bring a child into this ball of endless suffering. Well I don’t cater to that notion at all. I maintain that the state of the earth is as desperate and wonderful as it has ever been and that it is merely our attitude toward the changing landscape of history that brings us our greatest fears and in turn, allows us to enjoy the birthright of all maturing generations—becoming the parents, the teachers, the care givers of those who will inherit our planet after we have gone. It’s our chance at immortality, and we are fools not to take it.

The world we live in is truly scary at times. We’re at war, nobody trusts their leaders, the cities are decaying, drug use is rampant, crime and murder are everyday statistics, and we have bizarre occurances such as school shootings and terrorist attacks to keep us all holed up in our bedrooms forever hiding. Sometimes it seems that the situation has reached the final crest, the ultimate breaking point where everything we have built will come crashing down upon a rocky shore, shattering the remains of our civilization beyond repair. Armageddon time. Clamour for your shelters and stockpile your resources.
I think mankind has a fixation on the end of the world. We actually secretly harbor a desire to live in the aftermath, just so we don’t have to do that next task that’s been plauging our minds for the past fortnight. I remember the evening of September 11th 2001, we were all glued to our TV’s and you could smell the testosterone in the air. It was heavy popcorn eating time, an event to take our minds off the mundane realities of our own pathetic lives in a manner that hollywood is still unable to deliver. Just look at how much we all got jacked up about the turn of the century. There was a general aire of disappointment on Jan one double zero. It was as if our entire society was abruptly stopped from jacking off by the sound of our collective wife coming home early. So what do I do with all this bottled water? 9-11, as tragic as it was, was our orgasm, a sad orgasm where we turn over and start thinking of how we’re going to get back to life as usual. How to make a quick escape. I digress.

When we think our lives have become inescapably cruel and bitter we need to remind ourselves of how bad it is for other people in the world and how tough times have been in the past. The great depression is something we can read about but few of us can truly understand. When people try to say life is worse now than ever, they miss the point that history continually illustrates. Lets look at the world I was born into. It was August of 1972. We were immeshed in an unpopular war, thousands of people were dying. Our government was corrupt, and an administration was about to collapse for the first and only time in our nations history. There was a fuel crisis, lines at the pumps, gas prices were rising precipitously. Our cities were starting to take on a post—apocalyptic hue with graffitti and trash everywhere. The level of decay was shocking at the time and stayed that way up until the 90’s. Drugs were everywhere and there were long haired freaks all around.

The freaks were nothing to worry about, and many of them are in positions of power now, so I feel the same will occur with todays rap kids and the so-called goth kids. On top of everything we were still in the middle of the cold war. I grew up in a landscape where I was made to believe the Russians could come and blow us all to kingdom come at a moments notice. But here I still am, and despite the desperate condition of society, I had what can be considered to be a happy childhood.

If there is anything to worry about in raising a child in today’s society is the loss of what I call the fun factor. The fun factor encompasses the things that are constantly being taken away from us in our growing need to feel safe and to not offend. It is political correctness, and the dumbing down of our educational system that contribute to the loss. When I was a kid I could still enjoy Halloween while wearing a devil mask and getting free candy from anyone in the neighborhood with a light on. Back then it was not only common but expected that some freak would dress up as a monster and try to scare the shit out of any passing children. Now we have religious groups trying to keep us from exploring our darkside and of course we get a few reports of some sick bastard sticking razor blades in apples and we try to put Halloween in the malls. We try to make it an event—like a lock-in, but we miss out on the thrill of strange candy and the adventure of getting strange candy from strangers. It was fun and our parents always checked our bags.

Everyone now wears a helmet. If you’re in the tour du france wear a helmet but if your a kid, why bother, there are plenty of other things out there that can kill you. That’s part of the fun—not being safe, consequences, and a Darwinian approach to life. Some people never learn and some people die stupid deaths, but don’t take that fun from the rest of us.
My favorite memories from childhood are those with my father when he was dragging us around to bars, and letting us shoot tin cans, and letting us drive at age 11 because he had too much to drink. You can’t protect people from living life to the fullest. If the ride isn’t fun why take it? If the thrill isn’t real, why live it?

In my town the powers that be just banned smoking in bars. What’s the point of that? It’s just another example of trying to coddle the society as a whole. Fuck coddling. Take risks. Get cancer. Fuck it, have fun and be a good person. I’m afraid that my son will never know Americans like that in his time. True visionaries like the late Good Doctor Hunter Thompson who rode on the edge for half a century and more. It is sad.

We also have corporations that make us feel like drones. Pawns. Cogs in their machinery, but they try to beautify it with all their little slogans of teamwork and such BS as can be seen in the movie office space. Cube workers aren’t much different spiritually than those working in the concrete jungles of the factories in the last century. An ass fuck is an ass fuck no matter how good the benefits are.

But just like I don’t believe the times are any worse than they ever have been, I don’t really think the fun factor is going away either. There are always new ways to say “fuck it” to the world. There will always be those who do what they want to do and damn the consequences. For good or ill I believe humanity will keep marching on in much the same way as it has for since we beat the crap out of the Neaderthals. The settings, the characters, and the props will change, but it will always be one human being trying to fuck with the guy working next to him. And there is joy in the future of practical jokes. Bring on the babies.

3 comments:

belsum said...

I really like this piece. How come I haven't read this one before either?!

Superbadfriend said...

I LOVE THIS!

Will be sending email with my comments, though. :-)

steve zahn said...

You are the strangest person I've ever encountered. Come on! life is always bad for regular people. And Hollywood can certainly deliver drama as big as 9-11, I mean really, haven't you seen me in Sahara?