Sunday, February 28, 2010
Before anyone starts calling me a racist, I’d like to say right here and now that I DO NOT WATCH NASCAR! Whenever I see someone driving in a circle at high speed over and over again, I call the cops, who usually arrest them for being drunk. (An interesting trivia footnote: The earliest race car drivers were, in fact, moonshiners who hopped-up their autos to evade and outrun the feds who chased them during their midnight booze deliveries.) When I get behind someone at a stop light with a big #3 or #7 plastered on the back window of his pickup truck, I usually think that it’s a score card for how many ex-wives he has or how many times over the legal safe drinking limit he plans on getting Friday night.
If it seems I’m being flippant about the term “racist,” then give yourself a cookie – I AM. As I grow older I find more and more people, some with actual brains in their heads, dropping the “racist” label on anything, everything and everyone who makes them uncomfortable or socially challenged or who questions their homogenized feel-good worldview. I used to just keep on walking, but now I relish the opportunity to spend some quality time to rattle the hell out of their lack of world history, education and pre-approved political correctness.
I’m not, nor will I ever be, politically correct. No surprise there. I’m too honest and fearless to allow others to fill my head with processed knee-jerk filler. I find the conversation attached to the “square peg in the square opening” social requirement for most groups mentally retarded and intellectually dishonest. I’ll never sell my soul and personal opinion so I can watch a room full of self-important drunks nod in agreement as I recite the gang’s approved creed. They stink of fear and weakness. I abominate their blather and would rather swallow a bellyful of my own vomit than waste a drop of it on one of their shiny-mirrored shoe tips. I hold this standard to groups of all color, ethnic origin, political viewpoint, gender, sexual orientation, and religious belief system. Safety tip: If you don’t want my opinion, then don’t ask for it.
I’m a deconstructionist by nature.
With all that said, I’ve compiled a checklist about Black History Month that deserves thinking about. Don’t feel bad about not being included this time around if you are not black. I’ll get to you later.
1) I never owned anyone, so excuse me for not having any white man’s guilt. Blacks are just people to me.
2) I’ve showered with black men at the gym and have noticed that many of them have the same national-average penis size as I do. I’ve been winked at by black homos, too. In church even. Word.
3) Slavery originated in Africa, not in Europe. One example: There was plenty of slave trade in ancient Egypt before Great Britain ever wrapped a single fish-n-chips in newsprint. It was called indentured servitude. Ask any Jew. Egypt is located in the uppermost part of Africa. Transatlantic slavery was not an original thought. Nor were the shitty cruise accommodations. I could belabor this point for days. Slave labor was not a universally white idea. Europeans just knew how to turn a profit in the new North American plantation arena.
4) Africans were sold and/or traded their own people to slave dealers as chattel. Many of those traded were captured from other tribes and were simply viewed as gross national product rather than human beings. Why not trade them for something they could use rather than kill them outright and procreate with their inferior women? That was the attitude. The price was right.
Slavery still exists, even in our capitalistic society, in the form of an economic caste system. We are always going to be divided by haves and have nots. Even Jesus acknowledged that. But He instructed slave owners (employers) to treat their workers as equals deserving of compassion and respect. He also taught that slaves (employees) should work with the ethic of a true journeyman and as if unto God Himself rather than to any earthly master. That sure sounds like something out of an MLK speech. Someday, maybe, we will meet on that hill and see each other eye-to-eye…as one. The dream indeed.
5) There is no such thing as an African-American. AFRICA IS NOT A COUNTRY. AFRICA IS A CONTINENT. Get a map. Tanzania is a country in Africa.
There is no such a thing as an Asian-American or an Australian-American, European-American or Antarctican-American. These, too, refer to continents. This hyphenated-American status is just a new way to not say the old-world people-colors like black, red, yellow, and white, which replaced other tags like chink, nip, mick, gook, kike, booga, limey, wop, frog, wetback, kraut, gash, towel head and other less friendly terms applied to foreigners. The only way someone can be truly Canadian-American is with legal dual citizenship papers. Check your wallet. You don’t have ‘em! If you were born in America, then you are an “American American.” My background can be traced to the Irish and Slovak; but when I step off the plane in France, I’m only viewed as an American citizen. It doesn’t matter how your family got here. If you were born here, then you’re from here.
6) How come the most horrible streets in America are named after Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? The popular argument is so that children growing up there will always be reminded of what he stood for in their cultural history. Um…why not rename a decent street in a more upscale sector of town where they can get a solid visual of something more hopeful that they can imagine and work their way toward as an exit from poverty? His memory deserves far better.
7) How offending would it be to start a White College Fund in America that excluded blacks? How about an award for strictly white musicians and actors? How about a whites-only TV station? This past Christmas I sat with a batch of very nice older black ministers and discussed how cool it was that they were going to attend this year’s party with the Black Knights, a social club for police officers of color. I jokingly told them that I was going to party with the White Knights uptown for the same reason and invited them to come along. They froze. Historically, the term “White Knights” was applied to those in membership with KKK. I made my point. Until that moment they never even considered the segregation angle of their affiliation. We all laughed out loud about it. Something to think about.
8) PLEASE hold a meeting soon and tell all of us how you’d like to be referred to. Right now the NAACP has me wondering if you need to consider a new brand name or if I should start calling you “colored people.”
9) Buy a belt, dumb ass. Nobody wants to watch a grown man look like he just ran away from a Deep-South chain gang. You look like you are wearing a giant poopy diaper and you had to pick out your school clothes by yourself. Even kids on the short bus know how to pull up their pants. “Pants on the ground. Pants on the ground. Lookin’ like a fool with your pants on the ground.” That came from YOUR elder, dude. If you’re going to dress like a clown, then don’t get upset when you get laughed at for looking like one. Have some self-respect. You are your own worst stereotype!
10) In closing, I’d like to mention that I have absolutely no problem with people enjoying their ethnic roots and sharing them with the world. We should celebrate our differences as well as our similarities, especially as Americans. We are STILL a young country and an experimental melting pot in the eyes of a splintered world. We are full of bad ideas, hurts, class wars, and agenda-driven superiority plays. We are also a beacon of hope to the planet and an example of how we can overcome all of it to co-exist as “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Segregation benefits no one. Enjoy Black History Month, people. Let some healing take place.
Now gimme summa a dat swee’ p’tatta pie, yo!
Friday, February 26, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
So, I'm out doing some shopping at our Austintown Rulli Brothers grocery store and I'm waiting for my number to be called at the meat counter. They have some pretty good deals on boneless chicken breasts and 90/10 ground round, and there's a million people ahead of me, but I figure, "What the heck? I'm already here. No biggie. Besides, I need an idea to blather about on my blog anyway."
The old guy next to me must have been reading my mind because that's the precise moment he decides to fart on my leg. I'm not talking about a light whisp or even a baby-clap fart. This guy lets out a full-tilt "Blapptttz!" and a wet one at that. When I look at his face, he faces straight ahead and sighs deeply as if he has just found a cure for cancer. He's skinny, is about 5' 3", is wearing a red checked hunting jacket (standard Ohio issue), 34-year-old dark green mill pants and is standing by an obese woman-stump holding a thatched Epcot purse with plastic flowers on it. The kind of woman that saves Arby's wrappers to preserve apples in so they'll be fresh for the old man's lunch pail later. She's also holding a coupon book that is at least two fists thick. Most of them are collector's items from the Ming Dynasty. The kind of woman who keeps gay men gay!
As Swamp Gas Sam's offspring floats up to say 'hello' to my pinched and tortured nasal passage, his number gets called. As he steps forward to pick out his meat, I find myself rejoicing ...until he bends over for the Kaiser rolls. "Ragnarokkkkk!" This time even Odin stirs from his slumber. Like a proper storm trooper, his wife doesn't flinch. Instead she barks out, "Get some hot rope sausage, too. Don't forget the hot rope sausage like last time. I don't want to stand here all day like we did last time."
Nobody moves an inch or even scrunches their faces as he lets out another brackish breeze and dumps the plastic-wrapped carnage into their cart. As he and the Giant-Sized Man-Thing wheel off up the cake mix aisle, the guy looks at me and smiles. Not the kind of smile that says, "I'm an old man who can't hold in his farts. Sorry about that" but the kind of smile that says, "Yes! I realize that I farted on you and you can't do a thing about it. I'm old. Tee Hee!"
I couldn't help but notice how many AARP members were in this crowd. Then it hit me. This is the same crowd that sits in McDonald's every morning talking about their latest surgeries in graphic detail while I'm trying to choke down an Egg McMuffin with a shell fragment in it. This is the same gang that argues with the waitress about the price of a lunch special - after they eat it - in order to wear them down AND THEN whips out the Golden Buckeye Senior Citizen's Discount Card to get 10% more off the deal. This is the same wrinkle fest that decides to park like an earthquake-hit outside of every major department store in the Tri-state area. The same gaggle of grey geese that whisper to each other - at the top of their lungs - during movies about the big sale Wal-Mart is having on adult-sized diapers across the street. And about how their son just married "another lazy-eyed Jew who is just after my money."
Suddenly, I'm gripped by the realization that something had to be done about all of this. I needed to take a stand. I do what any red-blooded late-baby-boomer SHOULD do in this type of situation. I roll my cart around the next corner. He clearly sees me coming. I get up beside the old geezer and his troll. As I reach for some grated horseradish, I 'accidentally' let out one of the most violent steamers since my birth. This is the type that ferments and rusts the body of a Buick. He doesn't smile at my "performance art." As a matter of fact, he looks kinda offended. He moves toward the pickles. So do I. And so does my garlic Casper ghost. From the look on this soon-to-be departed's face, I have returned the dignity of my generation. I smile as I put a jar of Kosher dill slices in my basket and hear my number called in the distance. I wink.
I get the ground round; but today, instead of the chicken, I buy a large rope of hot sausage and sauerkraut. In tribute to my elders.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
One of the sadder facts of life is that, without fail, there is usually always something to be mad about. People are ruder, dumber and more self-entitled than ever. I remember getting a phone call from my dad several years ago and hearing him go on with a list of hateful actions targeting him as he made his customary journey to his local McDonald's and back for his #1 Breakfast Value Meal. He got cut off by another driver on a cell phone, was flipped off at a stop light by some creeps at a bus stop, was bumped out of line by some career welfare mother and her booger-eating brats while waiting to order, was treated like a retard for mentioning that the counter help gave him the wrong order, and then had someone walk off with his paper while he 'was about to read the comics section.' To top it off, he had to return home to his swamp witch of a second wife (not my real mom), who was off to massage the Amish and didn't have time to get his prescriptions which he needed for the day before going to work. He also found out that he needed to pay for her personal business taxes and that the cat box was full and needed scooped.
When he finished, he took a well-deserved breath and asked me if I missed the same memo that he did. The one broadcast globally while we slept. The one where everyone else was more important than he was.
We then discussed how unhappy these people were and what their lives may be like. Living hells where the petty becomes the dramatic at the drop of a hat. Lives filled with echo less voids, unfulfilled dreams and one-upmanship without reward. Mornings filled with self-loathing and social retardation. Too much TV and lots of silent masturbation to scenarios that never happened to anyone in real life. Lottery tickets with losing numbers paid for by the baby's milk money. MADNESS.
I could hear him shaking his head as he hung up the phone. It was then that I looked up the word 'mad' in the dictionary. It has a lot of meanings, including "having a mental disorder, intense anger, the lack of proper judgment, being affected by rabies, and insanity." It also had a few meanings that made me feel as if I was 'mad,' too:
"Carried away by enthusiasm or desire, marked by wild gaiety and merriment, hilarious, and wild."
It's interesting how one word can have such completely opposing meanings. It's also interesting how we can all wake up on the same planet and still be so alienating and other-worldly to each other.
I suppose this is based on where we focus our passion. Some have a passion only for self. Others have passion for life. I am a creature of passion. We all are. And like they said during the Mad Hatter's Tea Party in Alice in Wonderland - "We are all mad here."
I just choose to be a madness of a different color. Nobody hit that on the head better than the late beat writer Jack Kerouac who described those ensconced and enraptured in the beat experience:
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue center light pop and everybody goes 'Awww!'”
Friday, February 12, 2010
Sunday, February 7, 2010
The new year is upon us and is running down the street screaming like a sugar-charged devil baby holding a power drill and a can of WD40. It's way beyond our ability to stop or even slow down. Time waits for no one. While we scratch ourselves dressed in our morning Snuggie, the havoc unfolds and this little bastard is wiping out everything in its path while showing us its stinky butt with our name tattooed above it on a poorly scribbled tramp stamp! Good morning, beautiful.
By now, all of our vows and promises are completely riddled with holes, and hopeless futility has returned to plug them. Cigarettes have been lit. Subscriptions to Playboy have been renewed. Diets have been blown. Divorce papers have been filed. Church has been skipped. Tax filings are being falsified. We're back shopping at WalMart. We've begun to give our national bird to other drivers. We hate our jobs even more and are stealing paperclips just to feel a sensation. Discontent, anger, depression and boredom have returned fatter than ever. Even our meds are telling us to take the gas pipe. Welcome back to SUCKLAND!!!
Everyone lives there regardless of who, what, where, and why. Regardless of status, income, upbringing or religious roots. Here are a few thoughts to roll around in your skull that may help you survive and even flourish in spite of your journey in SUCKLAND:
1) You are a success or failure no matter who you are or where you stand. The decision is yours. How you view yourself makes all the difference. Success and failure are, first and foremost, mental decisions. I'm not talking about bloated self-importance or bogus entitlement based on a false reality where you actually believe you are your favorite pop star on Cribs or the E Channel. The world owes you nothing...and it has already made the delivery. It's all up to you. You are your meal ticket out and up. Treat yourself with a little kindness and respect. Next time, try to eat half of that pie. Cuddle for 10 minutes afterwards. Geez. Allow yourself to have a little dignity.
2) OK. This may not be your dream job, but at least you have something to do that brings in some money to pay the bills. It's a start. Tired of working for someone else? Who isn't?! Change your brain and realize that the only reason you work at all is so that YOU can have a better life. You just happen to work for this company and that guy to do it. Become the most valuable person at work. The legend. Do this while knowing that the exits are clearly marked for your escape. YOU are working for YOU.
3) New math: If you work 8+ hours a day, then you have 16 free hours to do what you want. Instead of sitting on your pizza-stuffed rectum watching TV and porn in between loading photoshopped images of yourself onto Facebook, try adding something to your exit plan that will benefit YOU. An online or vocational course. A few hours a day creating some new art that can be shown and sold. You never know who is looking at your stuff. Sell some old clutter on eBay. Plan a vacation in the sunshine somewhere. It may take a year or more to save up for it by putting a couple of bucks in the old underwear drawer, but the day will arrive when you have enough to make it happen.
4) Change your dating rituals. Instead of hunting old bar whores and date-rapists in the bar scene, why not check out the local church chicks. These ladies will not only reform you to a sub-human social level; they are also the best kissers on the planet. Next to librarians. Repression is a mad dog on a leash. Control is a gift that establishes and better defines. Think about it. Change your social circle. Try attending some Rotary or special interest groups. Planetarium lectures, book reading or writers clubs, poetry slams, bitch-n-stitch covens, something away from the bars and sports scene (read previous blog). The local university always has something going on. Think outside of your box. Try something new. You can always apologize later.
5) Most humans want to be something vocationally when they are children. Try to remember what that was. If you can't become an astronaut or Japanese monster, then you can at least write about it. Go through old pics of your youth and journal them in a secret notebook or post the stories on a blog. You may be very surprised at the results. People generally love to read about other people's lives. C'mon. Be honest. That's why we watch the boob tube in the first place. It's the same reason why most of you peek into your neighbor's windows when they are lit at night.
6) Do a sit-up a day. One sit-up is better than none. Take a half-hour walk when you get up in the morning or go to lunch or before you go to sleep. This gets the blood moving and beats the cost of showing up at some meat locker gym where everyone is trying to outdo each other. Forget that trap. Keep it simple and don't talk about it. Nobody wants to hear 'the lecture' about how to 'do it right.' Just do something and add to it when you want to. The only competition is yourself.
7) Doing one or two good things for yourself is better than promising to do a million things and never delivering on even one of them. Try a multi-vitamin and drink at least 4 glasses of plain water a day. Drink some orange juice. Eat some kind of plant-generated life form. It makes YOU feel better and cleans out the poop chute. Keep it simple.
8) Read one randomly picked word from the dictionary every day and try to master it.
9) Take a private walk with God. Get all primal and let it all hang out. Vent! Let your freak flag fly. Bitch and moan. Gripe and giggle. Unplug the hurt and fear. Tell Him "Hi." Then ask Him where He's been all of your life. Make sure to leave some quiet time for answers. Sometimes I see lightning. Sometimes I get a pat on the head.
10) Keep your yap shut about doing any of this. Make it your secret world, an adventure that you take with and for yourself. Rediscover the happiness that we tend to all lose as children by becoming fast- and slow-moving adults. Happiness and contentment are as good as it gets. You define your own success level. What does it mean to you?
11) Always look for humor in everything. It's there in SUCKLAND. Tons of it! Remember: Wherever you find yourself, there is at least one thing to laugh about - It's all about YOU.
(This weeks blog art provided by my favorite madman and co-creator in comics: Levi Krause.)