31 March 2007


What an exquisite metaphorical image: sitting like a rotting tree stump, desperately sucking down black coffee in the usual semi-unsuccessful attempt to approximate the behavior inherent to overt consciousness, I have a perfectly unrestricted view of one of those generic exercise emporiums across the street -- conveniently located next to a Jack In The Box. Anyway, you all know these sorts of enterprises, these hell-holes of chrome and vinyl to which over-energetic members of the leisure class navigate their SUV’s for the pleasure of tying themselves up in knots within assorted torture machines. Well, there they are, in all their sweaty and self-styled glory, bouncing up and down like life-sized marionettes and apparently motivated to believe that they will live forever, so long as they periodically heave their wobbling disease-riddled bulk over some moronic device that offers a poor simulation of some prosaic human activity. Like walking on the ground, for instance.

Again, the perfect metaphor -- burning war-inducing, earth-destroying fossil fuels for the privilege of patronizing an alleged “business” that allows you the startlingly unique experience of walking or running or pedaling in one spot, going nowhere in a spastic and rather ungracious hurry. Well, perhaps “metaphor” is the incorrect descriptive term, under the circumstances. Whatever.


U.S. War Games Off Iran” the headline reads on the front page of The Sacramento Bee, our local rag of a travesty of a newspaper. War “games,” indeed. Presumably the chuckleheads across the street, diligently working themselves literally into a self-righteous lather while they thoroughly delude themselves into believing in their ultimate indestructibility, can actually read; it’s even likely that they tossed a brief glance at the paper this morning, probably while sitting in their Excursions or 4-Runners or Hummers and bolting down a latte and pumping out massive clouds of pollution, on their way to the nearest “fitness center” to legitimize their status as somehow immortal ... I wonder what goes through their vapid, plasticized consumerist minds when they glimpse something that reads “U.S. War Games Off Iran” or “122 Die In Iraq Blasts,” even. If anything. I can’t tell from where I’m sitting -- within the noxious funk-cloud of quasi-hopelessness that seems to follow me everywhere -- but it would be highly unsurprising if it turned out that our poor confused brethren over there were being “entertained,” or at least distracted enough from realizing how ridiculous they look, by Fox “News” or some such brain rot. It would explain a few things, at any rate.

I realize that this apparently endless quacking and spitting is becoming rather tiresome, even to myself. The daily assault of disconnection, purposeful distraction, subtle (and not quite so subtle) misdirection, the eradication of inquisitiveness, the overwhelming avalanche of “malinformation” (if there even is such a word) -- all of which I tend to liken to an existential sweat sock, crammed full of yeasty pig shit, being pounded over my head twenty four freakin’ hours a day -- has become so ubiquitous, so inexplicably entwined in the frayed and seedy societal fabric of this sad and tired country, most people don’t see it or even know it’s there. On the other hand, it’s all I do see. I wonder why that is.

Well, either I’m a visionary thinker with loads of insight to spare, or a whiny little bastard with fallen arches and a drinking problem (the reader is invited to supply his or her own answer to this otherwise rhetorical question). In any case, there’s something particularly lurid and weird, and not a little ominous in its implications, about this manifestation of a society losing control of itself: the Stairmasters are humming while the earth burns ... If the Emperor Nero was alive today, he’d probably fit right in as an aerobics instructor.

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