Probable eulogy to follow
I’m really hoping the Flash ad I’m working on gets accepted. Please, God – make this happen for me. Please? I promise to use a fair portion of my earnings to buy lacrosse sticks for the disadvantaged. Nothing builds character like lacrosse.
He bought a deck of tarot cards that ostensibly belonged to a famous gypsy fortune teller on eBay for $1125. A fourteen year old with access to his mother’s credit card ran the bidding up. He borrowed $1075 from various people to pay for it. The day it arrived RCN turned off his cable, phone and Internet access. The deck arrived shrink wrapped with a copyright date of 2002.
He borrowed $250 to set up a table at a psychic fair. “I don’t tell fortunes,” he defiantly told the people who stopped by, “I’m not a fortune teller. Fortune tellers are quacks. They lie. What I do is read the cards and tell you where they are pointing.” At $50 a pop, this didn’t sit well with people. At $50 a pop they wanted concrete and accurate predictions of whether their boyfriends were fucking other people, what stocks to invest in or if they should leave their jobs. Despite his honesty, he made $300 which he spent at the psychic fair on books, crystals and a pornographic video thinly disguised as a how-to on tantric sex. Borrowing a cell phone, he told his girlfriend not to come over since he felt drained from his day of channeling. At home, he drank two bottles of wine and jerked off twice.
The bills piled up. The wine bottles did, too. I started getting calls asking if he was ok and where he could be reached. I left a note in his mailbox inviting him to lunch. He never showed. The receptionist at his job would only say that he didn’t work there anymore and rebuffed any attempts for more information.
Two weeks later, sitting on a Peruvian blanket and surrounded by paper bags, I watched him on Cambridge Common. He sat cross-legged, his lips moving quickly in some kind of private chant. In front of him, a brand new digital video camera on a fairly nice tripod filmed the proceedings.
“I’m making a video about how consumerism and the digital age are conspiring to rob people of their basic humanity and perverting their souls in a never-ending quest for more, more, more. Everything is greed and selfishness. That’s all people care about and the media perpetuates it 24/7 giving the masses a steady diet of the Hilton sisters and Bill Gates and George Bush and and and and crack dealers buying Mercedes and you can’t walk down the street without every wall and doorway urging to you to buy buy buy – ‘Buy COKE! Buy MCDONALDS! Eat until you’re DEAD! Everybody kill themselves eating SHIT so we, the power structure, don’t have to deal with all you fucking pieces of SHIT and we can have the world to ourselves to rape it and serve our own fucking GREED!'” He closed his eyes and breathed deeply. When he opened them he fixed me with a look that meant to intimidate me with its clarity and truth. “Don’t think I don’t know you,” he said, knowledge dripping from his voice. “I know you. I know ALL of you.”
Then he closed his eyes, his lips twisted into a rueful smile. He laughed to himself. He’d shown me, all right. Oh, how he’d shown me.
With his eyes closed, I took the camera, tripod and one of the paper bags at random and left.
Cutting audio to make people say stuff they didn’t isn’t easy even for a short period of time. I’ve heard Paul Harvey edited to soound like he’s selling bongs. I’ve heard bush cut to say all sorts of slanderous and amusing things. For the most part, though, it’s always pretty obvious. So for the Pab Subgenius Project to produce a 3:42 minute song of Rush Limbaugh “singing” I’m A Nazi and have it sound not only decent but damn near seamless…well…hat’s off!
Perhaps that’s not fair. My eleven year old still tries to beat people through the door, too. I only wish bush had shown this much gumption when the planes hit the towers. Sadly, it kicks in only at somebody else’s birthday party or library opening.
Imagine, if you will, this possible scenario at Downing St around midnight –
Blair: Well, Mr. President, it’s been a long night talking about how we can best respond to the terrorist threat and now I think the best course of action is to –
bush: INVADE IRAQ! I knew that!
Blair: Actually what I was going to –
bush: Don’t gimme that! I know what you were gonna say! And I beat you to it, didn’t I?
Blair: Mr. President, what I was going to –
bush: No, you weren’t. You’re trying to stall me so that you can get all the credit for the idea!
Blair: – say was –
bush: I’m tired of people thinking I’m stupid and ineffectual! I’m gonna call my boys right now and get the ball rollinged.
(bush dashes out of the room)
Blair: – was…perhaps we should have a nice hot cup of milk and some biscuits.
(SFX – Funny Wah-Wah-Wah-Wah horns as Blair stares bemusedly into the camera)
Blair: What a dick!
Full disclosure – I’ve had three cigarettes on Sunday and three cigarettes today. Anyone who’s surprised by this does not understand the nature of addiction. And I’m an addict.
Or put a little more nicely – an addictive personality.
You’d think that having kicked alcohol I’d know what to expect and understanding the importance of the whole day-at-a-time thing and on a certain level, I do. I had a meeting today with a possible new corporate client and I convinced myself (probably falsely) that going into meet with them while jones-ing for what Dennis Potter referred to as “lovely tubes of delight” just didn’t make sound business sense. Rather than buckling down and chewing the foul Nicorette I gave in. About five hours later I gave in again and bummed from someone. I just bought a pack which I took three cigarettes out and returned the rest to the guy behind the counter. It’s not like I want to smoke a lot. I…just want one…occasionally.
That’s addiction. Don’t start emailing me with all sorts of “WHAT ARE YOU DOING???” bullshit. I know what I’m doing. I’m lying to myself until I’m at a point where I can mentally absorb the fact that it’s truly over.
Folks, let me tell you a little addiction story.
Twenty years or so ago, I got hired by an improv troupe. On the way to the audition, I slugged back a frosty 16oz Budwiser and kicked improv ass. Serious ass. After a few months of performing locally, half the company went on the road. I was in the road half. Two nights into the tour, we went out drinking. The next morning (and I’m leaving out a TON of gory details) I found that I’d blacked out and honestly don’t remember what happened. After a lovely little lecture about AA and alcoholism, someone drove me to DC and politely told me to fuck off.
At the train station, I had a beer.
Once back in Boston, I figured that if I could stop for a week, then fuck them and their sanctimonious bullshit. So I stopped. And you know what? I felt really good! Then the week ended and I started drinking for the next five years until my brand new marriage almost dissolved.
A lot of people claim that you’ve got to quit whatever you’re addicted to “for yourself” or you’ll go right back on “the stuff”. The same people espouse the “fake it ’til ya make it” doctrine. If I had my way at this specific point in time, I’d smoke for the rest of my life. Conversely, I can’t say that I’d go back to drinking. Did I quit drinking for myself? Not really, but indirectly, yes. God knows why my wife sticks it out with me, but she does and I stick it out with her, too. At the time, the choice was marriage or drinking. At certain times of my life I would have (and honestly did) choose drinking.
Intellectually, I know that once I get to the other side of this smoking thing, I’ll miss it the same way I miss drinking – wistfully, but not enough to start again. Drinking was like a relationship that only worked when the two of you were fucking. I certainly miss the sex, but that’s about it.
Each cigarette I smoke now, seems really stupid. Not only am I blowing $6 on a pack of cigarettes I’m throwing (or giving) away, but I’m truly not enjoying them. American Spirits smoke very slowly since there’s no gunpowder and other chemicals to make them burn quickly. I bummed a Marlboro Light off someone that tasted like shit and disappeared like rice paper.
Dope made sense. It got you high. Nicotine, like caffeine, exists merely to maintain itself in your blood stream and make you not kill people.
Thank Christ I never asked that client to take me to her gun club.
In her shocking expose on ADHD in rodents called “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie“, Laura Joffe Numeroff includes a sentence about the mouse wanting to draw a picture. The mouse, unsurprisingly, draws a picture of his family.
“Oh, look,” my wife exclaimed in the kind of fake enthusiam parents become so good at, “there’s the mouse’s FAMILY! Let’s see who they are! Mama Mouse! Papa Mouse! Sister Mouse…”
My first daughter was maybe two at the time asked a logical question. “How know mamadada, mama?” Translation – How do you know the proper familial relationship between the mice on the page?
My wife, a social researcher, said without missing a beat – “Well, honey, it all depends on the reference mouse for how you draw the relationships between the rest of the mice on the page. In this case, the reference mouse is the mouse that drew the picture, so that’s how we define the relationships. The mouse is a “son” to the mother, but the mother is “daughter” to her own father, to which the mouse is a “grandson”…”
My daughter loved this kind of talk and we all spent a pleasant half-hour as she and my wife named all the possible relationships between all the possible mice.
Which is to say that whether I’ve been smoke free for 1 1/2 hours or 10 hours is completely up to whether I decide if sleeping counts. Either way, in this 10 hour period, I’ve put on 47.2 pounds, which proves that Michael J. Fox (my smoking god) had the right idea that smoking keeps you thin.
If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to take out this festering aggression on some unsuspecting drivers on their way to church.
I’ve got 110 pieces of Nicorette gum sitting by my bedside table and you can all go fuck yourselves.
I hope I’m not being too subtle about this.
I meant to write about the subconcious reason for the meandering 2am post a few days ago. It turns out the morning I wrote was the Great Fucking American Fucking Smoke Fucking Off and I was expected (on three hours sleep) to participate. Needless to say I remained non-smoke free.
Honestly, I’d forgotten about it until I woke up the next morning to a note on my keyboard (transcribed verbatim)
Today’s the day you said you try to stop smoking. An idea to get you thourgh is to go to the coner store and by a pack of gum. When ever you need to smoke chew one. Please try dad.
So it turned out that the treatise on smoking slipped in the back door.
Quite honestly, it’s the last thing I want to do. But…oh, fuck…do I really have to do this? I HATE non-smokers! C’mon! This is my last fucking vice in the world!! Gimme SOMETHING! I can’t go out and get fucked up like most of you. What’s to become of me? Herbal tea? Pilates?
Chances are good this soon-to-be unhappy monkey boy will start flinging some metaphorical shit around in the coming weeks.
You’ve been warned.
The insurgent ants took back a corner of the kitchen in the past couple of days. Despite a full sweep of the compound and a blanket of traps, Osamant bin Laden continues his reign of terror, feeding of the crumbs of crunchy granola bars, potato chips and the honey bear left behind by the troops that don’t quite understand their mission.
To that end, I’m in the process of placing small clumps of Playdough on the counter and sticking toothpicks into them. I will chop off the head of every ant I kill and stick it on a toothpick as a warning to the other ants – “You’re next”.
I’ve been remiss over the past couple of weeks (perhaps mercifully so) in talking about Talk Radio. The fact of the matter is that after the election I just couldn’t bring myself to listen to it. I pussied out, plain and simple. I’m sure they crowed and hooted and hollahed and brought in truckloads of vinegar to pour over the wounds of 48% of the country. I’m positive that a whole armored tank division of material lies dead on the side of a dusty road, but the first few days after the election I plugged in CD after CD and left the radio off. In general, I’ve got about a three month time limit on listening to these bastards, but I think I’m back. I think.
Here’s a question –
You’ve got a video tape showing an American Soldier shooting an unarmed and wounded prisoner violating, not only basic humanity, but also military law. You –
a) Denounce it as the act of a single soldier unfit for military service
b) Hold it up as proof that war corrupts human morals and redouble your anti-war efforts
c) Blame the media
d) Defend the soldiers right to kill whoever the fuck he pleases and devote yourself to finding him a good lawyer.
The answers are, of course, C and D.
Gallagher spent the first ten minutes of his show shooting high caliber bullets into the vast left wing conspiracy.
I hope everybody’s happy now! I hope you are. I hope that all of you people who thought embedded reporters would be soooo sexy are patting yourselves on the back.
Huh? Did he really just try to raise a “see no evil” defense? Did Mike Gallagher honestly put forth the notion that randomly killing the unarmed is ok as long as no one sees you? Yup! He did!
This poor soldier…his name is going to get dragged through the mud. He’s going to get court marshaled. He’ll go to jail. No one will hire him. His life is effectively over for doing his job. That’s all he did. His job. And someone taped him doing it. And the bleeding hearts will see to it that this poor soldier is lynched.
Yeah. What happened to the good old days when you could murder as many innocent slant-eyed motherfucking gooks as you wanted to and nobody blinked?
Then, in one of the odder segue ways in recorded memory, he switched back to yesterday’s subject – trashing gangsta rap in the context of the death of Old Dirty Bastard.
These “gansta rappahs“…they’re scummy, lowlife criminals of the worst possible kind! They’ve completely lost the capacity to differentiate between right and wrong! They don’t see it! They kill cops and abuse women and they’re fine with that! They think nothing of just pulling the trigger of a gun and ending somebody’s life! There’s something seriously wrong with those kinds of people and I think that world is a better place now that Old Dirty Bastard has gone to Hell like he deserves to. Nobody should miss this scumbag.
What kind of medication do these people take that allows the neurons to block out this kind of blatant dualism? It’s not just the obvious “non-government sanctioned killing is immoral”. It goes to the very core of conservatism which allows gun makers to produce the armor-piercing bullets that Old Dirty Bastard kills cops with. It goes to the issue of every white guy that ever beat a rape charge because “the bitch begged for it”. During the Bill O’Reilly debacle (settled out of court for millions of dollars) Mike advocated never hiring a woman in the workplace for the very reason that this kind of thing could happen to anyone. And, when pressed by a caller, he insisted that he was not joking.
It makes you wonder if Gallagher’s Army would leap to the soldier’s defense if he was black.
Having plenty of errands to run today I only got to hear a few of the calls.
Mike, I’m a missionary in the Middle East. I’ve spent the last 20 years trying to bring Christianity to the Muslims here and I can tell you from experience that all Muslims are stuck in the mindset of the 7th and 8th century. They all wanna kill our boys over there so they can get to their paradise. The Marine did the right thing and the dead guy oughta be thankful for gettin’ him to Allah that much quicker.
Mike, I’m retired Marine Corps and served over there in Vietnam and I wanna tell you that boy did the right thing. Our job is to kill people. That’s what we do. And if I didn’t killing you right the first time, then you’ll have to forgive me if I keep trying until I do.
Mike ended the show with more twisted logic, first railing against the news media for making our boys look bad (as if we put a gun to a helpless soldier’s head and pulled the trigger) and finishing off with –
We, as Americans, need to wake up, act like adults and realize that war is hell! It’s not a cakewalk out there, folks! Things happen! Soldiers have a hard job and I, for one, am not about to condemn anyone in uniform for doing their job.
So…I’m supposed to be mad at the news media for helping me act like an adult by showing me that war is hell?
Welcome to bush ii, folks.
Addendum – Here’s the email I sent to Mike. I made extra special sure not to swear, ‘cuz Mike doesn’t think swearing is moral. Except if you’re a soldier, ‘cuz war is hell.
Really, Mike! Great job! I nearly drove off the road this morning listening to you! Juxtaposing the Marine killing the unarmed, wounded prisoner with the rant about Old Dirty Bastard and his lack of morals…I really don’t know how you come up with this stuff day after day! You really help me put everything in perspective and realize that Jesus would have blown that sand monkey’s brains out, too!
Pro-war, pro-death penalty, pro-life, pro-business, pro-Jesus!
Yours in Christ,