Quick Question... Do I love my country enough to try to save it?, or do I move on? I recall in college reading all sorts of Beat Poets, and embracing the common mythology that where they were headed to, was some fixed place with perfect days, plenty of rest, golden sunsets, and perhaps a soul mate. I recall the Book "Elegiac Feelings American" by Gregory Corso, and I recall that it didn't impress me that much, but thematically, It swam about in the same soup of warm sand, rustic breakfasts, glamorous cigarettes, and stoic half empty bottle of whisky next to a Smith Corona. Corso did serve up a nice nod to Kerouac, He scribbled in the margins, and further complained about the American Mythology, The same American Myth that we stalk today, like a varmint rooting through our trash. He was exploring a bit about where America was bound. He was miffed that everything was not coming up roses, but did he really have the same context as we today?
The Myth that the Beats were selling was one of disobedience framed by American exceptionalism, from the perspective that success could be measured through it's poets, artists, and their suffrage, (however not too much, because well, we need enough for beer, whisky, and weed) and so surviving Beats somehow surfaced on the other side with a book deal or honorary professorship. (If the heroin doesn't kill you, you could be a regent).
Nevertheless, one could get on board with the idea that somewhere in this great land exceptional adults lived out of a shoe-box, but with enough beer, sex, and manuscripts, to feel connected, float a plane of existence where one is always engaged, entertained, and in love with something.
The trouble with leaving college is the let-down. The party ends and the music stops, and you bandy about looking for meaningful relationships that never seem to approach the deep stare of some tramp, or bum you once partied with. You deflate as you unpack all of your new things into a new larger space, with more things, nicer things, and even a bed-frame. How bad can this be? Lest we unpack being furloughed from scholasticism (college) itself, we must now leave campus, even before messing around with gender roles and re-inventing oneself. So the future gen is doomed, unless we start to hand out subversive paperbacks on the street once more.
...And that's the rub. Right there! Who the fuck are we to become, without the promise of America?
Have you read the Book "Fantasyland" by Kurt Anderson. If you answered no... Then stop right here and buy this book.
We begin building the mountain of shit post college, where exquisitely loose fitting relationships served over beans, rice, chicken wings, ramen, and perhaps a joint, washed down with some flat beer, are exchanged with and for, stuff, that makes no difference whatsoever. Stuff made from particle-board, and a Keurig no less replace your Chemex; Comfort-food, swapped in where your soul once stood, you vacate the 'YOU' from whence you were cool, where you were engaged, and sloppy, and completely imperfect, for the polished person that does not give a shit nor stand for anything. So it begins that you box up the Beat-Poets, and move into a house, (finally), and that box never emerges again, because well... design wise your weak collection of filthy paper-backs which frame perfectly who you were are aesthetically not aligned with your new shitty self. Welcome to the ice age of your Kindle Book Club. We are weened on Bullshit, paisley mythologies, and ironic facial hair, true --But the clown-car doors have come off, and we take turns driving this jalopy, until alas we need to give up the steering wheel to the next inductee. "Click Here", and then swap your squalid masonry block shelving lined with cutout LP's and used Paperbacks for hollow hallowed halls where Alexa picks your literature. It's so simple, I wonder if the devil now inks deals at the crossroads with a tablet. Inducted sans signature, once we click "agree to the terms".
Here is where you have landed, This!, and it's all rainbows and unicorns, and then
and then Ampersand, and Hashtag.
and then ....It's not!
(fingers snapping, click, click, click...)
So the thing I'm seeing is that that one interesting person that you used to be, is lusting after Douche-bag Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson for scoring citizenship to Greece. I've been to Greece... A few times, and even when they were facing the worst austerity since The two world wars, sometimes worse; But the Greeks, were not dickheads, they were not spiteful, and they were certainly not divided. And Man, I can tell you that I've never liked Tom Hanks since that stupid Shrimp Franchise. Not since "Bosom Buddies", has he held anything for me, But that fucker now has me seeking an invite... Antiparos of all places. It is magical. I now like at least what he represents now more than ever because he has accomplished the one key thing that I dream about every night. G'ingTFO
So that one fictional helmet under which the Beats, and and later Hunter Thompson roamed the west to a soundtrack of Eric Burden, Jim and Van Morrison, Mo Tucker, Lou and JC -- Is, or seemed to be that complete place where even though the adults in the room were behaving badly..., The rest of we dreamers, deadheads, yuppies, rock climbers, and their Sherpas, could find air. From Astronauts, to their spouse's casseroles, we were OK. WE, the rest of us, were gonna make it through.
The beauty of the cold war was that upon matriculation from Elementary school, One knew that tomorrow may be the end, and that sat well right next to the La Choy Chow Mein, and one drifted off to sleep to dream about Fantasy Island, Gilligan's Island or even a Greek Island such as Antiparos. Your Meal kit of conflict, and pending doom, in Cold War USA, was fictionalized enough because it was so innately possible to evaporate, that we all simply kept it frozen in that floor freezer in the basement. We just floated on. Today ... Today I don't have that childish optimism. Today I find myself like many more millions, looking for fiction to fill the void, while we endure an uncivil discourse, and a civil war.
You may recall William F Burrow's "Naked Lunch". You may recall this novel fondly and still have no real idea what his lit-up mind was fetching toward, but you will recall that from the Beats to Waites, From Springsteen to Supertramp's Breakfast in America... we all used "America" in ALL writing fondly. We always suppressed our gripes, and doodled in the margins what we'd wished the truth to be, but we always revered our republic as sound. It was seen, witnessed, and proven to be a fractured but solid America, and yet today "American" becomes a pejorative worldwide. So, as I reflect over the good ol' Days when a Thermo-Nuclear War was imminent, but we more or less agreed... -- Where today is your sentiment headed?
Scribbling in the margins, whilst stoned?
A Greek Island for sure. What now of your republic?, "If we can keep it".
For me, I see such a snowstorm of divisiveness in the USA, that I wonder if kindness, and daily sunshine can melt it, even in Mid-July.
So it brings me around to that "novel" idea again... Do you work to fix this shit?, or do you buy a boat?
The lonesome "Ampersand", which is survived by it's popular sibling the "Hashtag", (AKA The artist formerly known as "Pound") Have sliced us all up in a bit of a magic act in which we the audience secretly hope the trick backfires. The Owners of this stage show set a kind and lovely lady in a box, and begin sliding swords through the box, until what remains is a box, and well a macerated pulp of what it once was. So the trick backfires, and we cant get enough as gawkers. This Internet, News-Feed, and Celebrity Shit-show, is enough to drive one mad, but sprinkle in some hatred, a plague, and landing upon your ass squarely as the laughing stock of the developed and undeveloped world, and you now face a moral crisis.
So, do we fix this shit? Do we run up there and triage what we recall it was supposed to look like? Storm the Bastille, and perhaps die trying to resuscitate this train-wreck; Or do we simply find another place to emigrate to? Is there a patch large enough to cover the puncture in this thing? "America" which has given me so much... I think I wont get stoned tonight, Instead, I'll just sit quietly listening to that hissing sound of my country as it exhales for it's last time.
Fucking Tom Hanks.
Nostalgia has it's own gravity.
Nobody ever happens upon a wad of cash, dropped by someone else. It may of course have happened once or twice, but when this occurs it is so rare as to be nearly improbable, and hence we can just agree that stumbling upon wealth simply doesn't happen. So it goes that if you were to find some money in an awkward or obvious place, the first reaction may be a bit like discovering a baby floating down a river. Hmm... What Tha!?... Then we look about us for the hidden camera, or someone who has a twisted sense of humor. Of course there will always be the case where someone else says, "I saw that first!." and swoops in, cause hey, "Free Baby!"
In all cases this context notwithstanding, the prankster, or the poor sap who pulled something out of their pocket and dropped the wad of cash will soon discover it missing, and become upset. But "wealth" can be something else.
One time in Paris, a gypsy street hustler played the wedding ring game with my brother and I and we decided to go along with it for a moment, and once the person pointed the 14K stamp in the ring, for the second time, we simply pocketed the ring and ditched him. So whereas the scam which nearly always works on the right foreign mark, conscribes a tourist to split the money with the gypsy, we simply took the ring, and the con ended.
It is normal to be skeptical of others, and their pranks. It is desirable to have the good sense to anticipate their moves steer around the pitfall, and work the scenario forward to its logical conclusion to wiggle out of the set-up before becoming trapped in the game.
So what I'm about to say may appear to conflict with a Critical rule. Rule Number 25: The bikes on top of your car should be worth more than the car -- Or at least be relatively more expensive.
...And so You do not immediately persecute me for outlandish blaspheme, remember that this rule operatively states "Worth", more than your car. "Worth", like beauty, is value weighed by it's beholder. (this is not always a Dollar, Pound, Euro, Peso equivalence scale).
If you are lucky enough to have a bike then you are lucky enough; And if you have several bikes then you are a bit obsessed. Bearing in mind that many people agree that the correct amount of bikes one should own is 3, there is another way to look at this equation, and it is well foot-noted in The Rules.
Rule Number 12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
Keeping the N+1 equation in check, is a daily struggle. Where "N" is the current 'allowable' Number of Bikes to be brought home, and "+1", the quantitative tipping-point. As an equation and a cautionary pitfall, "N+1" is well recorded in Bike lore, and is heretofore subscribed to as Rule #12 in the Velominati Rules, otherwise referred to simply as "The Rules", This equation is best also written as S-1, whereas "S" is the number of bikes owned, that would result in separation from your partner.
So it goes that we often need to thin the herd, or merely be mindful that both relationships and mental health are crucial considerations when considering such logical problems.
So, here is a great, if futile way to save 10K today.
Imagine a day in the past when lean men, with wholly unscientific diets worked in factories, making shoes, or as a plumber. The same lean citizens entered a challenge a few times a year to prove themselves to their neighbors and family. These black and white peasants climbed aboard equally thin steel diamond-shaped contraptions amidst other wiry men dodging and lunging up and down hills as if fish schooling in a pen to trick a predator.
After a lengthy but indeterminate amount of time and exhaustion, they'd each stop for a big fat lunch, sipping a few glasses of Bordeaux , before a cigar, then coffee, and then remount their ordinary single geared bikes to endure an extended afternoon of punishment amongst their peers. Over snowy passes they rode on crappy crushed gravel and piss-poor pavements sun-stroked, frost-bit and exhausted, they'd close the day after dark with a dinner similar to lunch, but perhaps with a whisky, and they'd count sheep. By the next dawn, they'd gather again and continue the ritual for the rest of the week, likely collapsing, crashing, or dropping out, but always doing their best.
Whether the winner or one of many many losers, they'd return to work as Brick-layers, Chimney-sweeps, and the like and use the same bicycles to deliver and fetch groceries, Fuel, and tools. Their bikes were unremarkable, their spirits doused, but their resolve unfettered.
"Next Year...", they would say.
Amidst a Grand Tour, Short Chase, or a Fondo, A rider reluctantly becomes one with their bike. For a short while these riders were not riding bikes to deliver firewood, coal, or feed, but they were floating above their bikes, their ordinary lives like phantoms, majestic, mock champions. Pressing into that envelope of prickly air, to stab forward. It is unclear whether the feeling of riding at this pace is otherworldly, or merely a brief disentanglement from the plane of the ordinary, but one never forgets their first experience of floating locomotion. Alas, "Coming down", as they say, is always the hardest thing. But if the next day someone were to ride that very same bike to work, or church, they will assuredly recall fondly the "Almost" moments when the race, and it's victory were within sight. For most of us, that is before the gun-shot, and we know how this typically devolves.
In the unremarkable lives of so many spectacular people who rode hard in all weather and all conditions to savor the pipe-dream of the podium, only to pedal the same bike to church the next day and reflect... It is poignant that 3 Bikes is two more than so many champions who came and went.
To be a great rider, as with a skilled Carpenter, Mason, or Smith, is to do the work well, and to maintain and respect the tools of one's trade. For this, we rejoice in the mere opportunity to have a ride, and that feeling, above the tools, where the skillset is planning pace, timing, and breath, but never the tool. The tool in the work-day of a race is independent of the craft. Once the motor winds-up one floats seemingly above the bike straining and coasting. breathing and spitting. Today will be a far better day if you bank the money for a new bike and air up some neglected friends for a spin as if for the first time. Celebrate the opportunity to ride them, wipe them down, and consider your luck. When you have another steed sitting in a cart, and you are a click away from people on the other side of the planet rushing about to dispatch it to you, consider your fortune, your time, and your collection, and if nothing else consider it's use. Considering the supply-chain shortage... if you are the fortunate person at the bloody threshold of S-1, then maybe take a pass.
We hold these truths to be self evident:
If you are lucky enough to ride a bike, then you are lucky enough. If you have 3 or more bikes, then you are surely winning, -- But if you ride none of these sexy bikes, and your legs are not broken... then -- I'm afraid you are a simply a dickhead!
My first job in a bike shop was for two pricks who didn't like bikes at all, but one inherited a store, and so it goes, that he grew to own a few branches. His near disdain for cyclists wore like a badge on a border patrol agent. He'd look you over with X-ray eyes for parasites, flaws, and weakness, before snatching your money. Fortunately he never visited the stores. He and his partner were both married to other people, but They seemed to also be romantically affiliated with each other, which made their judgement incongruous. The second bike shop I worked for was owned by a one eyed drunk who was kindhearted, and generous, but mostly a complete train-wreck. He also inherited the biz, and the family squeezed a lot of cash from it before the next changing of the guard. More on this Guy later...
So Bike shops are a strange and magical place, where every day feels like Christmas, mostly because you are always rewarding yourself with a new gift in the form of component upgrades, and infinitely aspiring toward the next glossy ride. The thing with this lusty enthusiasm, is that it does not make for good business sense, any more than the dealer who shoots-up, or a Pizzeria owner who can't get enough zah. You will end up the overzealous snake who swallows a bichon, and then can't slither out of the road. You will end up an addict... You end up with a lot of toys, and inverted cash-flow. This I suppose was the fate of many independent dealers, and so in the Late nineties, Trek Bicycle set about to coach dealers on how to be "business-people", and not just enthusiasts. They built a training program called "Eye on 2000". (ION2000) was a look forward to the millennium, and how to market, brand, and sell more shit and stop eating all of your own pizza, or Bichon's. Anyway, before the fin de' siecle, when Lance was likely learning to dope, and the way things were done in Europe, Le Mond was haggling with Trek about another partnership... In that enchanted and fictional shit-hole called Las Vegas, the world was spinning on it's perfect axis. Our restaurant was also spinning. The Inter-bike trade-show was in Vegas that year, and we sat above it all spinning atop the Stratosphere with our vendors and those who would change everything, again. Our table held several key influencers. (but back then the word 'influencer' had not yet been invented). The Key principals at Trek were the venerable Dick Burke, and his well heeled son John Burke. (they sat across from us.) Beside me were a few other big shop owners, and some fictional characters; Greg Le Mond, Lance, Keith B, Gary Fisher, Missing from this epicenter of talent was Gary Klein, (who was not yet on Trek's radar). Another Brilliant thinker and tinkerer who dined with us was Rolf Dietrich, who was exhibiting in a side flank of the Trek Booth. Rolf reinvented the wheel. At this day in time, Trek was not yet a complete corporate monster and it's patriarch dined with us holding the helm, and our attention. Before Trek 2.0. SRAM, (at the time Grip-Shift) was exhibiting in the margins of the convention center, They began with nothing more than a folding table, some print collateral, lithium grease and a dream. Being from Chicago, we spent time with them at their booth, and with several others, like stoned kids in Wonka's Workshop. If you blew-up that table, that night -- It is fair to say the cycling world would have been Way way different. Under John Burke Trek would Sue Le Mond, acquire Bontrager, Grind Fisher into a pulp, and ruin perhaps the most coveted brand in the biz, and arguably the sexiest maverick in the spray booth, Klein.
Trek inked deals with Le Mond to Build Bikes under his name, and secured the wunderkind from Texas to Keep America Great again, and again... (and to keep it squarely upon the medal table of a wholly European sport). Before Amazon, before The Dot Com Bubble, and the Y2K apocalypse, There were magical places called bike shops. Independent retailers, and not Franchises. Generally shitty business people an infectious passion for shiny toys. In those days, this seemed to be enough. Certainly before Bikes were bought from strangers over the phone, and shipped unassembled to your door, Bike Shops were rather important. At this time everything magical came from a cool crusty place with a greasy floor, bad marketing, a coffee maker, parts washer, and a gray box to write a buyers name and address in triplicate. Bike shop consolidation...seemed far off. In this Fantasy land there was a torrent of way cool innovation. Trek's affable and enthusiastic founder was about to hand the keys of his kingdom over to his posh ivy-league son John. Trek's founder Dick Burke, scored a business degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee, and later worked at an appliance distributor. He was a business man, and a tinkerer like many of those who sat with us that evening. He saw a gap between Schwinn and Asia, and Like so many others who envisioned something new in a schism -- He set about to exploit that gap. We chatted it up with the intelligentsia at every Interbike show; Keith Bontrager, Gary Klein, Le Mond, Rolf, Fisher, and even Stan and FK Day, of Grip Shift. The Day Brothers saw their space for inventiveness in a simple shifter. In this spirit of invention, whether it be four-bar linkage, the press-fit bearing, or a dual cylinder thingy that indexed your derailleur -- All of these exploitations of market gaps were being filled by Americans. They were all tinkerers, inventors, and enthusiasts.
You could definitely say... These were extraordinary times.
I remember Trek's Owner Dick Burke fondly, because he was like a kind uncle full of inventive stories, always oozing with interest and ideas. He was a sponge. He asked good questions, seemed charmed, and truly engaged with people. At a trade-show, you would find him, much like Klein, Keith, or The Day brothers showing you what they'd recently come up with, and asking you what you would do to improve it. It was a name-dropper tour de force that evening. I asked Le Mond what he thought of Carbon bikes, and we digressed into the nuance of all sorts of whacky new innovations.
From a trade show folding table, to a leader in an industry -- Stale trade-show air seemed to blow new ideas up from the convention hall basement -- This wind is not the rarified air of elites & MBA's. First the idea must be born, and those ideas come from enthusiasm.
So the business would boom through the "Cross Bike", and the "Mountain Bike Boom", would flourish with crazy and useless Full Suspension Junk, The "Y" Bike, Klein's Mantra, Pong's Super V, and soo many more gears were yet to come. Specialized and Trek who first looked incredulously at Raleigh while they glued tubes of "Technium" (round aluminum) into traditional lugs to speed construction. This was soon imitated. John Tomac, would break several parts before they were near perfect but never that glued joint, and..., Then Raleigh would advance into Titanium. Trek stared, and took it all in. Sinyard listened, and re-tooled. The two giant American bike makers would covet, drool, and spurn Kestrel, Merlin & Ibis as they shaped carbon and Titanium into smooth organic forms. Later Trek and The "S" Word, would steal the profitable ideas rejecting Titanium as too tough to tool for, and they'd both begin to glue, screw, and bake bikes together at the bleeding edge of demand. But demand only comes when the product is lust-worthy. Meanwhile Klein quietly advanced toward their 20th year in Aluminum with perfect double pass welds, indestructible enamel, oozing sex.
The whole military industrial complex had recently unraveled, gutted -- it later bleed out so many mat-sci wonders, and innovative tooling, into the open I.V. of an industry ripe for such innovation. Downsized Engineers, and Literal Rocket-scientists, CNC operators, and CAD grads, made the perfect pedigree for what was about to boil. As the Cold war fizzled like a spent bottle rocket..., every type of carbon, & composite, rare metal and exotic material process was about to be homeless. Bikes, Cars, Boats and Motorcycles, seemed prime to dip their bread in that trickle-down. Specialized marketed M2 Metal Matrix, which was basically decommissioned helicopter Alloy. Cannondale looked to new engineers, while stoically sanding smooth gloppy 6061 welds in Bedford Pennsylvania. Trek & Specialized began to Glue and screw carbon to aluminum, and so it began.
Bikes, and parts were being churned out in the USA in volume like a brand new war machine.
It was awesome.
This industry was born of innovators, enthusiasts, and excitable bike junkies who could not get enough, like Tom Ritchey, Phil Wood, Race Face, Hershey, Paul, Avid, Control Tech, Ringle, and many many more. Bridgestone marketed ridiculously light steel Bikes in a whole new way, selling lifestyle in muted tones through near perfect hard-bound varnished catalogs. The world was perfect.
The Bikes were glorious, and we could now begin bad arguments with ludicrous statements like, "Steel is Real".
I like to recall fondly this torrent of cool historical sponge-cake, so we can take a break from our news-feeds -- Simply because these too, are also extraordinary times.
I remember sitting at the top of the Stratosphere in a pair of loosely fitting pants, these bad khakis were not my style. These were Extraordinary pants, with a poorly matched wrinkled button-down, Bike shop people had trouble dressing up for dinner. I suppose you could say that was the very issue Trek sought to tame; Later it would take a Franchise model to fix it. We were going to ride the rollercoaster next, around the top of the spinning restaurant; pairing up with our fellow dinner guests. I recall fondly talking to Dick Burke like he was my estranged uncle, just before he handed the keys to the chocolate factory over to his son. He told me the secret to success is listening, that ideas are not born in a vacuum, but come from people we meet every day. He Told me he was ready for something else. Dick Burke built a beautiful brand and a beautiful reputation by being a good human being. Sinyard turned tire imports, into the "S" Word, ceaselessly innovating, and SRAM came up from the basement to dominate the kit market.
Yesterday I wandered into one of my old bike shops to kick a few tires. Naturally I had to wear a mask. I was selected and ushered in to chat it up with a sales-kid, and we both noted that the place looked as if it had been looted. Empty racks, Open space like missing teeth, where bikes had once filled every conceivable slot. It was the new way. Bike shops are booming, and the supply chain is faltering. He said, "...we can't build them fast enough, and we are out of everything that's not a road bike above 5k." "It's a rough problem to have today", I said -- Meaning in this reality, Bike stores still with inventory are either doing something wrong, or they are quite lucky. But Bikes will now line the garages and Hallways of many more homes, and perhaps everyone will see them again as an indispensable way of moving forward. Sadly a Klein will no longer hang from a venerable TV set -- But perhaps the next Sit-com will feature an Allied, or an O.P.E.N. This too is an extraordinary time for Bikes, as it was in the mid to late nineties.
"Here is to our next generation of enthusiasts," Dick Burke said... -- And so I suppose, that the lovely products will lead, and good business will follow.
Can we be straight with each other? How can you be sure that you are thinking straight these days? Me I cannot. I believe that honesty with oneself is an important step, because knowing I'm "not quite right" protects me a bit against the hijacking of my healthier brain from Zombies and Space Aliens.
If you don't wear tin-foil over or beneath your helmet, and you don't yet speak to trees and rocks, you may believe that you have this new world in the bag. But do you really "Got this"? The more I interview friends, and strangers, a noteworthy reaction which I'd never noticed prior, seems to leak out a bit. We all lack hugs, and earnest smiles, and what has replaced them is caution, melancholia, a wide berth, and sympathetic gestures like those waiting for news in a Hospital, or exchanging condolences at a wake. The thing is, that if you are not yet in the hospital, nor at a funeral, could you please dispense with the long face, because it's fucking bringing me down! I know for a fact that most people these days are wasting 80 percent of their time. Maybe you need some tin foil... Cuz if this thing had a moral it would be this, “Normal” happen when you act “Normal” — When will that be for you?
Whereas previously my elderly parents were THE ONLY people to send me re-hashed internet anecdotes, silly images, and awkward signs pawned from the stale innerwebs c. 1998 -- NOW, everyone seems to quip small B.S. sundries, like they are sharing a chiclet in prison. I now get texts with dumb-shit images, and Gifs created by someone so far up on the food-chain, that I'm not even certain of the context. The issue is that this crap now comes in torrents from formerly smart people. Small comics, a 'la The New Yorker, with self inserted quotes or quips, which are meant to make them clever'er, but which simply make me look away with disgust. I've tried to play the same game sharing an article or two from a scientific or nature journal, or by sharing a story from a friend or author, but now it seems that in our global malaise pandemic, we can only read gossip, jargon, crappy gifs, and anecdotes, that amount to a shit-soup and sandwich. I do love hearing from people, and really love to be engaged, and to feel busy ascending the social ladder, but -- That ladder broke in March, and we all tumbled back down into this murky well. You pretend that you will glean some clever intel from your news-feed, , and that by sharing it you will enlighten others, but the truth is that your addiction to a quick paragraph every ten minutes is a plastic carrot in front of your fucking peloton. You are getting dumber.
In your new relationship with a global pandemic do you:
A. Feel profoundly overwhelmed?
B. Feel like you have everything completely under control?
C. Feel nothing whatsoever?
D. All of the above?
If you’ve answered “D”, then go ahead and drink that whole bottle of Pinot Grigio tonight with your pizza, because you deserve a reward for your honesty — and you are at least partly in control over these somber emotions.
If you didn't answer "D" then Go Here
We now look up from your damp silo to that bright light, sometimes eclipsing into a half-moon depending upon our slouching posture here upon the bottom. You make-believe that "we are OK", but that is far from the truth. We are not OK. We will surely be stuck here as if in a mauve laundromat, fluorescent green glow flickering over your phone waiting for wisdom and your pants which never seem to get dry. And so here we sit, reading comics, giphy junk, this dumb blog, and trash novels, hoping to feel something akin to a hug. We will stand around in this laundromat forever if we don't make an effort to walk the fuck out without our pants on. Fuck it! Nobody wears pants anymore anyway!, Just break with the low-rent coin-op dungeon, and have a walk. Whatever side of the spectrum you dwell upon doubled up with masks, and a carabiner clipped sanitizer upon your belt like a holster to inoculate you or your friends like Jesus, you must know that you have become, well... Not quite yourself lately. If you are the fucking messiah, and you could squirt a bit of that magic juice on my forehead to anoint the doldrum out of me and my friends, then do it already! I'm, so over you Mr. Preachy Pants. I have reconciled my binge drinking, and my lack of follow-up, and I have cleared my calendar to spend every waking moment of free time slumped upon the couch in a wet-hot heap, like someone squirted me into it's palm. I am OK with being in a funk, and I've resigned a few months to figuring out just how bad, it is. But what the fuck is happening to us all? Today I realized that we are all waiting for a shot in the arm. We are all clinging to the kitschy "back to normal" cliche' such that we forget to do anything whatsoever in the mean-time. The best week I had this summer arrived last week when I forgot my phone in my pants pocket and laundered them. Peace and Quiet.
Did your 86 daily glances at your news-feed reveal some wisdom today?
Did your preachy-pants friend link you to a story in which some bad actor caused you to writhe again in anxiety?
Do you believe that the end is nigh, or that "normal" will return soon?
News Flash, there is no going backward. Just because you have been thinking of yourself as somehow walking this drama backward like a locomotive backing down to latch your comfort animal, that ain't gonna happen, and it's no joke. Don't be the brunt of this joke, You will not find a magic regression therapy once you test positive for antibodies. There is no "getting back to normal", THIS is NORMAL, Own it. The moment you begin to act human again, you will inspire others to become humans again. Kindness, Pass it on.
You cannot chum around with one real person for six months or a year and five imaginary stoned friends on your couch hoping to "get back there". Your only path is forward, through this. So, dear brother, when you are completely finished sucking at the teat of Social-Security CoVid Style, and marshal the courage to stand again -- You can walk quite upright straight through the front-door of your cave, and go look for a job.
Your recovery begins, when you call your friends back, When you make a date, When you stop popping xanax, and lunesta. Yes technically "a whole bottle of wine" is too much... Think of the whole world as being in the same funk as you in your slouchy pants, and a dirty T-shirt, and now try to imagine the weight of all that comfort food. Things get back to "normal" when you act it. By the way THE Surgeon General has determined that being a slob is bad for your health, (even though he also wants to quit his shitty job and shovel sleepless cereal upon the couch at 3 AM), He has nonetheless determined that you are not making the most of your free-time, and this is bad.
Grab that tin-foil and wrap it around your smart phone, toss it in a drawer, and go outside, it's lovely out, and it's humanizing.
If you don't, then you may be better lining your helmet with shiny foil like the rest of us, and sitting on your couch until the abduction is over.
Age and Treachery will overcome youth and skill.