Figuring It Out

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

Well, another day, another dollar. Aren’t I just the greatest thing that ever existed? The peak of existence, I tells ya. Yeah, see. I’m just so great… well, maybe. Or maybe I’m just full of shit.

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

Well, don’t you know it, a woman with a stroller is getting on the bus. Is this going to fuck up my routine, my rhythm? What the hell, she’s taking forever!

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

But her face is strained, she looks tired. The kid isn’t really paying attention to anything that’s happening, and this poor lady is just trying to figure out how to get to her destination without completely losing it.

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

This mother is doing everything she can! Look at her, taking the bus on her own with a big-ass stroller that’s taking up way more space than she would care to take up in the first place.

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

I make brief eye contact with her and we exchange knowing glances, even though I know absolutely nothing (first-hand) about being a mother or providing for a family. Even being a woman, for that matter.

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

I get a look at the kid in the stroller, their eyes darting around to see the new sights, soaking them in like a sponge. Inquisitive. Colors everywhere. Information streaming in that may never leave.

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

We lock eyes. I grin from ear to ear. He/she/they smile back, and keep the eye contact going. I have to look away after a couple seconds, for fear of other people noticing this interaction with a small child.

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

I think that this person could be a leader, a future president. I don’t want to spoil their innocence by selfishly avoiding their gaze. Their innocence can only stretch so far in the face of cynicism. I put my hand in the air and wave.

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

I look at the time, and it turns out that I’m going to make it to work without delay anyway. All that worrying, all the hand-wringing for things that were ultimately out of my control.

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

Where is this kid going, anyway? What are they going to want to do with their life? They obviously have a mom who wants the best for them. These are all things that probably won’t be reckoned with for some years (hopefully, if ever).

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

Was I like that bright-eyed kid on the bus when my mom was taking me to work with her on my days off from school? Hopping on the blue line and talking about the little things we noticed on the platform and in the tunnel? Were there older people on the train making that same kind of eye contact with me? Did they avoid my gaze after a couple of seconds?

Don’t fuck up, don’t be late, don’t make people hate you.

Here’s my stop. One last glance at the mother and child is enough to charge me up for work, to give me that one last pause before I have to deal with the deluge of humans who may or may not know what’s good for them. But hey, we’re all figuring it out in our own time.

Dips and Dives

Exaggerating one’s influence should be among those acts reserved for the dolomite entrepreneurs out there with more margarine than non-dairy coffee creamer at their regular disposal.

If we allow these blowhards to navigate the kitchen table’s width and fail to uncover the tangential ne’er-do-wells we’ve been warned about, then what was it all for?

All we can say is that protesting such an alteration of manifest destiny (density?) comes with the price of freedom (and a bag of chips in some circumstances), and nothing short of Ozzy the Philistine could resurrect the embattled intentions of those labor organizers mainly concerned with seizing the means of production.

We must remain ever-vigilant, for you never know when pediatric charlie horse tendencies will rear their ugly heads in the recesses of adolescent America. We (the Americanses) once sat atop the global jungle gym, our ingenuity and general cuteness inspiring power-seekers a world around to blush with envy at the amenities they could only imagine (until that coal train came a rolling down the bend with the promise of sooty modernity), filling their heads with unrequited lust for widgets and modules and bells and whistles that could fill their modest spaces—digital and otherwise.

And, of course, once even a modicum of that prosperity had begun evening the materialistic score, we flat out lost our lease on the planet. As our Gaia gathers the foreclosure paperwork, we scramble like the varmints we really are, pushing and shoving, blaming all but ourselves and projecting our greed onto unrealistic scapegoats for just long enough to lose any chance of saving what had once been humanity’s little slice of paradise that, against all odds, had once been a serviceable milieu.

Ah well, the sloughing-off period is just gonna have to start a little early this time around, with a tad more english on the dips and dives.

Hands and Knees

Owning up to the egregious malfunctions
held as the standard in social technology,
we must become better initiators of cosmic (or
at least karmic) change for the sake of our
tequila-rearing counterparts.

This bleak mindset–perpetuated to depress
the more sensitive-types and appease the oligarchs
for some preordained time–was perhaps
meant more for the unfolding
stalling of unified civility, or
just as some kind of morose cash grab.

The only ones who definitively know
where this particular roller coaster is headed
will also be the ones in the frying pan–come judgment day.
The justice system may not be done after all;
the ones who had hijacked office may snap
back to their senses before all is lost.

Endorphin meltdowns scream incontinence!
Mind you, this doesn’t mean we need to
get on our hands and knees and scrape the shit
from incompetent postal workers’ satchels.
We simply need to make a stand
for what’s good and proper in this,
our world of *TODAY ONLY* $19.99 deals.
Got to move that product, for Christ’s sake!

For a Larf

Far-flung inferiority freakishness extracts and enhances the divisionary diversions commonly excluded by guys like Al.

We all know a guy like Al, don’t we? He likes to sit there atop the square, never the wiser when those ol’ Mickey Mouse Boys get a posse all riled up. He’ll be the first to tell you that he isn’t a part of the problem, then go about his day as an enthusiast for whatever innocuous pastime he may have deemed appropriate in order to forget the human suffering all around him.

Because then, once the shades have been drawn and the wool pulled from over our eyes, we can then migrate from the prefecture of common thought for just long enough to endure the scrutiny typically reserved for only the most contemporary jazz head–where are we in the world when we can have -$42.00 to our name and still somehow get something to eat at dinner time? The system is broken, too far gone at this point to give it much credence–but we sure can pretend to be ignorant to the cries of others for the sake of not having too much of a bother on our hands at any given time.

One might even remark that the average stress level in your typical human being anywhere in the world is currently so high that the well being of others just naturally becomes secondary; we all shut ourselves out for the sake of preserving whatever sanity we may think we have left in the tank. The joke’s ultimately on us, since any sense of normalcy or sanity would have been wasted on this world anyway.

But as it stands (at least for this narrative), I managed to find a respectable Mexican restaurant chain that cooked pretty decent food–a sit-down place, mind you (with a patio and a full bar, the works). This is your neighborhood family restaurant typically nestled between a couple different places, always open and always fully operational. Sure, there might be a petty squabble or two here and there, like in all restaurants, but by and large, these are some of the folks around these parts who simply get things done as a matter of fact–I suppose we all have that kind of fortitude in our own ways, but something about the perseverance of the human spirit and the persistence of tradition through community really strikes a chord with this here reporter.

And now it’s time for an unwarranted segue! Sure, American white folks may have some kinds of traditions, but they’re all bastardized extrapolations of old-world things that generally center around agrarian superstitions, usually observed for a larf. It’s hard to get around the pungent odor of insincerity and perpetual need to be included in every conversation, especially when it’s so heavy-handed. But wouldn’t you suppose that to be the truest human condition, anyway? We typically have all been born to seek out attention, and not to do so has historically resulted in a high mortality rate.

The loudmouths have the tendency to survive through sheer annoyingness and an unwillingness to accept when their methods have become woefully outmoded by their own refusal to adapt to current conditions.

The quiet ones, unless assertive, need to express what makes them exceptional, so that other people will take notice and provide necessary patronage that will stimulate their pocketbooks and enrich their sense of wonder for the world. That is indeed a primary goal for sensitive wanderers everywhere, very rarely achieved.

Since I seem to have made a habit of engaging in unauthorized segue activity on this fine day in the world, I don’t see why I should unceremoniously buck the trend so quickly. As it may or may not naturally follow depending on the amalgamation of butterfly wing-flapping in the Northern Hemisphere, I’ve found that being confronted with multiple examples of people reading books on public transit has forced me to evaluate my own reading habits and long for the urge to actually read a book for once in my life. It would seem as though my years of sporadic and spontaneous writing (etudes, experiments, meditations, barcarolles, etc.) and connection to a certain layabout lifestyle have resulted in a mind that prefers to acquire new information through more, shall we say, instantly-gratifying measures. The irony of subconsciously refusing to pick up a book is quite at odds with my penchant for jotting down notes (and sometimes actual compositions).

I can’t let go of that medium tying me to those great voices of the past, yet I can’t bring myself to avail myself of their actual language. To me, everything in today’s market smacks of capitalizing upon the original idea of “story” by contorting it into whatever genre or gimmick suits them best for disseminating their particular grammar equations to the most consumers possible. Was this also the case before capitalism and the industrial revolution? I could probably read the foremost book or dissertation on the subject, but I’d rather just spin my wheels in a more futile fashion. It’s more fun that way.

Ah, but wasn’t this little ditty about Al in the first place? My, how our minds wander when given the chance. So this Al character is quite something, and the word count of the first draft of this abomination of the English language had reached 714 as of the word “something”, which has at least a modicum of connection to the Babe Ruth home run record, by virtue of that feat being considered “really something” by baseball heads and connoisseurs of Americana everywhere. If he had only been a position player for his entire career, he may have hit another 100+ on top of that, but don’t you think it’s just a tad convenient for him to convert from a pitcher at roughly the same time that those dead balls they’d been kicking around in the mud and piss for years got a serious upgrade. They were no longer smacking around overripe leather tangerines, and either George Herman himself or some brilliant merchandising insider pounced at just the right time. Now, is this some kind of cataclysm in our universe, the fact that this Babe actually existed and played baseball at that exact moment in our timeline? I want to say yes, but everything else I’ve learned from history says that this was no coincidence.

But would you look at me, it appears as though I’m doing my very best Al impression at this very moment. I’m standing by and letting all of this literary carnage come to pass, stubbornly pretending that what I’m doing has even the slightest bit of merit, when we all know that that’s a bunch of hooey. Aren’t we all guilty of the occasional Al impersonation? I would venture to say that we’re all culpable for the mindless perpetuation of the Al paradigm, sitting back and absorbing all of the unnecessary stimuli being heaved in our general directions (because we’re too lazy or stressed out at this point to defend ourselves), failing to take action in one direction or another. It’s our privilege, we say to ourselves, when we fail to act in accordance to the creeds upon which the vast majority of us were raised.

After all, those religion things are really just guidelines, and we don’t actually need to practice their tenets these days. Science has proven it, don’t you know? All we truly need to do is find hobbies that will while away our seemingly innumerable hours (even though they are quite scant) and allow for the absorption of subject-related data grenades on a 24/7 basis.

Pulp Drivel

Daquota Fanning and the Cheese Vestibule should surprise no one with its erudition and knack for a snappy one-liner at the timeliest of junctures. One might even call it the ultimate film accompaniment to your typical rainy day, a veritable Triumph of the Hollywood Will.

With this in mind, you should never watch this picture or even refer to it in your circle of friends. It’s about time we stand up to this (seemingly) impenetrable foe of critical thought: the Movie-Industrial Complex.

The only way we may strip this regime of its power is to boycott its very essence, quash any suppositions about pulp drivel deserving anything more than a swift kick to the heinie. Let’s move on, people.

Won’t Be Around

It’s not immediately clear as to why we should express gratitude for these minuscule things we take for granted every day,

but certain wise people–time and again–have said that inner peace is really just gratitude wrapped up in some nondenominational bunting and tossed over the side of a pontoon while you’re fishing in the middle of Lake Superior in the middle of the longest day of Summer,

where somehow you find one lonesome chunk of ice inexplicably adrift as though it could have been placed there for the purpose of setting up a convenient visual aid for a climate change documentary.

Little Bergamot–that’s what we’re calling our frozen hero du jour–simply minds their own business out there, doing their best not to knock into anybody, when out of the blue someone inconsiderate–such as yourself, perhaps–putzes their way over and just so happens to chuck that bunting, smacking ol’ Bergie right in their weak little slush-filled belly,

sending our hapless pilgrim to re-integrate with its watery cousins
much quicker than otherwise established through melting rates
extolled by scientists the world around as
“the purest definition of why humans shouldn’t underestimate
the contributions made to global ecology
through strict, unbiased observation of this universe around us.”

Or some version of that sanctimonious diatribal crap; Bergie won’t be around to hear it anyway.

Trivial Matters

As midlevel leisure enthusiasts,
we have always preferred
sipping
iced tea
on only the loveliest of summer days–
is that a stale interpretation?

Because, truth be told,
we could be the bandwagon kind of folk
who only drink iced tea
on the sun porch
in otherwise scorching conditions,
our enclosed little patio-area the only respite
when a cross-breeze comes rolling through.

No, I’m talking
temperate conditions
where you could really take it or leave it
(as far as a cool beverage is concerned).
It would even be bordering on the cusp of preferring
a lukewarm or even full-on warm beverage
if we were on the more neutral end of temperature concerns.

That’s not what I’m talking about here.
It’s crucial that you understand
my delicate position on this matter.

It’s usually not long after positing such a polarizing statement that I would be rebuffed with counter arguments stating the absurdity of equating a particular kind of climate/weather condition with the kind of beverage preferred during said time, at which time I would widely rebuke the person/s responsible for the indignation. What kind of boring life must you be leading if you have nothing better to do than debate someone over the importance, nay, relevance, of climate and beverage temperature comparison?!

I tend to get heated over trivial matters.
You got a problem with that?