20100914

I know it's hard to believe, but I found a guy who was an ass at the airport. . .


While there’s a certain kind of strangeness in a place that’s constantly filled with people where no one actually lives, I've never had a problem with airports.

Until I meet Mr. Shot&Bud.

I was flying to Atlanta, and since I got there early, I wasn’t running around like a crazy person. Naturally, I took a seat at a bar after making it through airport security without incident.

I ordered a Yuengling and a caprese salad. Mr. Shot&Bud, of course, orders a Bud Light and a shot of Jack Daniels. Okay sure. My salad arrives and as I glance over as this guy looks at the salad, looks at me, and sneers like I’m wearing a painted on Chiquita Banana Lady costume at a Gay Pride Parade.

You know this type. This is the guy who needs to judge everyone. He will decide certain things about people based on tiny fragments of information, and use that information to make himself feel better. In this case, I assume the thought process is something along the line of “It’s okay if I’m drinking too much, because this guy is a salad eating faggot.”

Salad Eaters

Am I reading too much into this man’s sneer? Perhaps. But why sneer? I’m merely reading as much into his sneer as he has apparently read into my cuisine.

What I really found annoying is that ordering a salad is somehow like going to prison. You have to kill the first guy that fucks with you to prove that you can eat what you please.

I suppose I should just make it a habit to unload the magazine of a sub-machine gun into the toughest looking guy at the restaurant whenever I order anything less than half a cow worked over with a blowtorch.

AND A GODDAMNED CAESAR SALAD MOTHER FUCKER!!!

I got on the plane without incident, and the flight to Atlanta from Baltimore is quite quick, maybe an hour and a half.



I would think that you would know that. The time it takes it get to where you’re going, and what time you have to be at the next location. Low and behold, Mr. Shot&Bud is on my plane, and he was apparently unaware of how long the flight would take.

He’s now In A Hurry. So much so that he has pushed his way up past the other rows on the plane, and will by God, get the hell off this plane faster than everyone else.

Mr. Shot&Bud does this thing where he holds his back pack out in front of him and uses that as some sort of shield against actually following the etiquette of letting people in the earlier rows get out first. It appears as though he has installed some sort of super-magnet in his back-back and it pulls him past the unwashed masses by some other magnet secreted on his person that airport security somehow missed.

Apparently, I’m dealing with a Super Villain.

I grabbed my back pack from the overhead and moved out, ignored The Evil Dr. Shot&Bud and his Magical Back Pack of Line Jumping. I’m sure this drove him crazy, but I didn’t notice because I’d stopped paying attention to him. I mean, it’s not like I need to pay attention, since the world revolves around this screwball. I’m sure he gets enough attention.

Still, with a casual slip I was ahead of him for a precious moment. Then in the circular connector of the hall way that lead us all into the terminal he got ahead of me again and charged down the terminal.

So I mosey. I’m in no particular hurry. Unlike Evil Dr. Shot&Bud I don’t have a meeting with the President or something, so I barely noticed when I miss the turn walking. Naturally, I feel sort of like and idiot as I turn around and head the tram that is the gateway to freedom at the Atlanta Airport.

Low and behold, there he is. Evil Dr. Shot&Bud has been thwarted, by the tram schedule. The schedule that I’m damn sure says “Trams to baggage and the main exit arrive every 10 minutes.”

I felt a great swell of pity at that moment. Perhaps I was a judgmental asshole. Perhaps the only English this man, an immigrant, had learned so far was “Shot and a Bud, please.”

He leaned back to another man and spat, “How in the fuck does this work?” No, that’s quite advanced. He’s been in this country long enough to add the word “fuck” into his sentences with aplomb.

I successfully fought the urge to say something quite snarky, and decided to walk halfway to the exit of the terminal, fairly sure I’d beat him his destination in several senses.

20100426

The Kids Would Be Alright, If You Let Them


It's fairly astonishing that a society that has caused so much damage to itself can, in almost the same breath, continue to accuse it's youth of being weird at best or incapable of running things in the future at worst. For some reason, when Wallstreet brought America to the brink of financial ruin, we still manage to find the time to obsess about what teenagers are doing their bedrooms.

While the current commander in chief fights a seemingly never ending battle to reform the financial system, our nations students are falling behind in economically critical skill sets, yet public school systems find the time and budget to spy on their students.

The very act of blaming the youth of today for social decline is completely counter intuitive. These kids are literally the product of a value system they themselves had nothing to do with creating. Marketing, education, and socialization all turn kids into what they are today. Are we so naive that we will actually beat a dog in its developing years, and then complain about the dog’s choices later in life when we did the beating? How are we going to criticize the youth of today, when people who were supposed to keeping this nation financially stable were watching porn while Rome burned?

So now people have no faith in other people, but it would be rude to call other adults bunch of sex-crazed poltroons, but kids are not able to defend themselves against against such accusations. Like a bully in need of release, people beat up on the weakest members of society, the teenagers.

Adults, subject to laws and value systems that they themselves probably despise but are also powerless against, enforce these social and legal rules with an iron fist against the youth of today, charging teens with child pornography charges if they take pictures of their own bodies. However, studies have suggested this is an absurd moral panic with very few teenagers actually sexting, and those who are probably are sent precisely the wrong message: their own bodies are viewed in the eyes of the law, and by extension adults, as the regulated commodity of pornography.

Kids don't know anything about anything and cannot be trusted with the simplest of tasks. A rather toothless version of this stance was the recent tirade by Roger Ebert saying the video games will never be art, the flaw in the thinking illustrated in three deft panels by Penny-Arcade.com.

This is especially silly when you realized many art movements, most obviously Surrealism and Cubism, are heavily influenced by child-like concepts of portraying space and structure. So the youth's perspective inspires us, but we need not admit they did so, because they're just dumb kids.

A recent book speculates that perhaps youth is made to last too long artificially, and this allows the complaining about youth to last even longer. In the 1950’s by the time many young men were in their mid-20’s they had already fought in a war, came home, started a family and started feel like something was missing. It’s quite possible with this extended youth business, most of that is skipped in favor of the "feeling something missing in the late 20’s" phase.

However, that missing thing in the 50’s probably resulted from the gauge for success being, at best, the very narrow field of "what the previous generation can understand," or worst "benefit from." That emptiness is what prompted the arguably failed revolution of the 60’s, which everyone who was there assures all who will listen that it was totally awesome and we can never understand it.

That sort of "you kids don't understand" attitude was the crux of Ebert's criticism of youth’s efforts in art and reflects the public at large, but it also appears to be a kind of bait and switch. Ebert himself criticized young people's "attempts" at are through another medium in much the same way film was criticized at it's inception. New art forms are almost never accepted initially practically by definition, since they are the product of young people, who everyone in charge would never admit are capable of what they consider to be art.

When the U.S. government was insisting that young people were responsible for a significant portion of all crime in the 50's, they were laying the ground work for a wasteful cold war against the Soviet Union, most of the intelligence about which we now know to be grossly exaggerated.

In Mexico, people have gathered together to beat up Emo kids, because it's clearly their fault. All the corruption and murder? That' the result of skinny jeans, and not massive drug cartels with as much fire and man power as a city state. If the people who got together to beat up children had half the resolve against the people who are actually ruining their country, they could be well on their way to bringing corruption to heel.

Every ethnic group, it’s adults at least, find a way to incorporate into a society. They learn the social rules, the economics and legal systems so they can establish a foothold and eventually a very real place in a society. But youth? Youth is always wrong. Youth is always an easy target and it is replenished every year. Anything going wrong? Blame youth! Blame that rock n’ roll music! Blame anybody but the people in charge.

20100124

A Fantasy of Healing

Earlier this morning, I was contemplating health. I was contemplating healing.

When my mother had a brain tumor, someone who spent more time in college than she did suggested she fantasize about some sort of healing scenario. This manifested, so she told me, as teddy bears slowly mining away at the cancerous tissues. It probably didn't do anything medically, but it brought her comfort.

I wonder about my mother sometimes.

Once she told me a heart monitor she was hooked up to stopped beeping and started saying, to her, "help me, help me, help me, help me, help me." Hearing her tell me about this was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. I was sternly warned about lying and flights of fancy as a child, mostly by my mother, so to hear her recount something like this, it was the burning hot truth of the thing.

Mom was quite religious, she was certain of the power of the man called Christ. As sure as putting your foot on the gas would make the car go faster, Jesus was a force to her. If memory serves, she inspired other people to be more religious.

Religion caused a rift between us-myself and my mother- early on.

Certain things I found preposterous. Other things I found downright unfair. Somethings were plain violations.

But it all brought her comfort. Jesus. Scripture. The teddy bears. These distant, strange ideas some how made her happy, and helped her through pain. To be fair, there was a lot of pain. Who knows what you'll start believing if you're in enough pain. Not like, torture pain, but pain like wind blowing, pain like birds singing. Always there, sometimes more and sometimes less, but always there.

I've been trying to understand it lately, as I've been waking up injured every morning since two Tuesdays ago. It's odd. I tried to imagine my bones knitting on their own, like the character Wolverine in the X-men movies. Some loud sound effects, some popping, and good as new.

I felt no better.

I tried to picture to the teddy bears, and felt stupid.

Earlier this morning, I found something that brought me a great deal of hope. Not religion or scripture, but something vaguely like the teddy bears.

The break is nearly complete in my right carpal. It looks like a piece of bamboo snapped almost completely off. From there, I imagined spiders lived inside the marrow. Tiny, pure white spiders crawl from the places where marrow is made, and start flinging their spinnerets to and fro between the broken bones, inching them together gradually.

I have no rational reason for this kind of thinking, except that it brings me comfort.