Slinging Hash With a
Prophet of Doom; or, Republicans Ate My Future
What mother in her right mind would even think of naming her son Orestes?
And while that one sinks in or floats on by, let’s be honest – my inheritance wasn’t what I wanted all the way around. Here I am, 40, prow end of "Gen X" as it becomes Gen Ex, the Generation Formerly Known as X, i.e. nothing in particular. Free Love – dead. Consciousness Expansion – dead. Peace – dead. Love – dead. Rock & Roll – Britney Spears.
Pass the bubble-gum flavored Zima, please.
Just what the freezing Fuck has gone on here in these, our United States, Land of the Free, Home of the Low Equity Home Loan? Gen Ex’s future looks about as full of promise as Kurt Cobain’s after deciding smack addiction and bipolar disorder go together like Fred and Ginger dancing in a Kansas tornado.
Well, holy losing hand, Batman, what the Hell did you expect? Your parents’ all-knowing, Howdee Doodee, swing-to-the-right, born-again, wall-to-wall-and-tree-top-tall-Jeezis-is-my-co-pilot, Jack T. Chick-Jimmy Swaggart-Jim & Tammy-Jerry Falwell-Pat Robertson-Gawd Bless Amerika-Ronald Reagan-neo-conservative-fascist-asshole-motherfuckerin’, sit-back-and-enjoy-the-ride-folks-cos-you-ain’t-got-no-choice, there’s-more-of-us-than-there-are-of-you-and-we’ve-figured-it-all-out, and (besides that) we’ve-got-the-bucks-and-the-good-jobs-and-refuse-to-retire (Fame! We’re gonna’ live forever!) cap-you-chino-suckin’, you-talkin’-to-me?-gruntin’, 9/11-hysterical, wild-eyed-paranoid, my-Hummer-looks-like-a-military-vehicle-maybe-it’ll-scare-bin Laden-gas-suckin’, Dick Cheney-has-my-best-interests-at-the core-of-his-hardened-arteries-believin’ lifestyle pretty much spelled your doom before you had a chance to say, "Uh, what is this man talking about in this amazingly long sentence full of vague and not so vague references and accusations that, yet, somehow remain beyond my finite, public school maltrained capacities to interpret adequately?"
Dude, would you like fries with that? And if you wanna move up in the world, I hear Waffle House needs a cook for the night shift – last guy got busted for dealing meth off the back porch. Scattered, smothered, AND covered.
Yes, it’s all good. And yet, no, it isn’t. I mean, if your parents’ generation is, as a generation, sort of like an ‹berparent – let’s say, your Mom – and assuming parents are supposed to do things for you, mmmm, like be nurturing, caring, sacrifice for you – what sort of Mother has Gen Ex had?
Let me put it to you another way since I’m damn sure it hasn’t sunk in through the Zima fumes or proven half as entertaining as Britney’s ass: why would any mother name her son Orestes? Especially since Orestes killed his murderous mother, Clytemnestra after she engineered his father’s death?
My name is Gen Ex’s secret name, our secret wish, our collective Complex. Until our common Mother and her vicious neo-Conservative lover dies, we will labor under a heavy curse. Our teeth will ache for meat and blood, our hands for broken bone, our feet for the carpet of a harpy’s corpse. Our days will be chains until then.
Clytemnestra should sleep scared of something besides terrorists because some generations give birth to their killers.
Albeit, in this case, the "killer" has recourse to the ballot box and the soap box to work his vengeance.
But maybe the old girl wised up a long time before we did – or will, as most of our bunch are still sold on the idea they can Get By lying low, smoking the sacred weed, talking Indie Revolt over Guiness while paying Clytemnestra’s toll to live in the basement. You grumble beneath your breath at work, but work until you can’t stand it, then get another job (second verse, same as the first; repeat as needed); follow, do as you’re told, don’t vote since it’s a damn waste of time (plus you never bother to find out anything about the candidates anyway). You play guitar and paint when no one’s looking and no one can hear; and if all else fails, there’s porn and Fear Factor to amuse you into sleepyland where you will be of no difficulty to anyone anytime soon.
In other words, though you’d like to kill Mom, you’ll spend the rest of your days earning money for her rent, living by her rules in that cramped, damp basement apartment in her house; and then, when the time comes, you’re going to wipe her ass and change her Depends until she keels over and leaves her material possessions to Gen M-I-C-K-E-Y.
Because of nostalgia – Gen Y appears at times so thoroughly lobotomized it’d be a miracle if they could reason their way out of a paper bag with holes on six sides with a freaking roadmap and a hunchbacked midget to hold their hands and coax them into coming along. "Please – it’s this way master! We’ve been doing this for hours and I promise that this hole is what you’re looking for… please stop looking at Britney’s ass and come along…."
And so on.
Gen Y has the same thing going for it that the Boom Generation did and does: there’s more of them than there are of us. Gen Ex is a minute rag of cheap deli pastrami sandwiched firmly between two slab-sized slices of resource draining, power wielding, All Amerikan White Bread. They know what they want and they want it now and, By Gawd, they have the Divine Right to Whatever Their Eyes Hath Coveted simply because there are so many of them it would take a plague to lay them low.
And may God (some real one) forbid this. The only other thing that’s morally conceivable is that somehow our generation might get on the ball and Change Their Minds, but I think we’ve got about the same chance as that midget in the paper bag: "No, really, this is the way out – yes, Britney is fascinating to watch but we really need to be moving along. You don’t need another Zima, No, really…."
And Gen Ex is apparently never going to rise to the challenge partly because of this attitude it carries, this resentment for The Way Things Are married with a feeling of malaise. Or, in plain English: "Fuck it Dude, let’s go bowling." When the going gets tough, Gen Ex is about 50 miles away looking for paisley retro clothes at the thrift store and comparing the relative virtues of Blue Grass to Ska.
Which is a fine way to spend a weekend, who can argue? But when the fate of the world hangs in the balance, perhaps an hour or two a night might be devoted to reading something with more words than pictures (unless it’s a comic book by Alan Moore, in which case all is forgiven). Perhaps an hour or two could be devoted to… reading something as long as that "something" does not involve in its title words like "people," "in touch," "star," "enquirer."
You get the pictureless picture here? No pregnant Britney; no big lipped woman done stole Jennifer Anniston’s husband (who, by the-way, never looked half as good or came off half as slick as George Clooney in the Ocean’s re-make); no Desperate Housewives, no win a Desperate Housewives desperate Tupperware Party Contest, no purchase necessary, void where prohibited, Teri Hatcher will dance the fandango wearing a thong on your dining room table topless smoking a Virginia Slims (you’ve come a long way baybeee) cigarette precariously held between her pearly whites in a foot long ivory & gold-holder.
No! None of this insanity. Philosophy, politics, art, literature, and history – lots and lots of history. This would be a good start. Didn’t learn this shit in college? Good – teach yourself. Didn’t go to college or didn’t like it when you did have to read stuff like this in the past? Fuck you. Read it anyway, this time as an addict trying to get the combination to the locks on the drug cabinet, or as a horny bastard trying to figure out how to seduce that deliciously unseducable strumpet who – you feel in your heart of hearts – has a weak spot, one which you will locate with the aid of those stupid books.
Ah, Hell, maybe she won’t give it up. Maybe you’ll just fumble around enough to get your face smacked. Maybe you’ll never figure it out, maybe you’ll unendingly sling hash, the same hash, at the cosmic Waffle House for an eternity like some bizarre sort of greasy Sisyphus. Maybe your teeth will quit aching and half of them will fall out after you stop dealing meth off the back porch and start spiking it yourself just to stay up all night to Work – for humans exist to work. Don’t you know, "Man is for the Sabbath?"
And who are you working for? Mom, dear ol’ Ma’, and pretty soon you’ll be wiping her ass all day and slinging hash for her all night, mainline crank, stare blear-eyed at Britney’s ass wanting to have it or have your own be like it, and drink that Zima. And when Ma dies, you can go to work for her replacement, your little sister; second verse, same as the first. Except when you get old, you’ll be in prison or under a fuckin’ bridge because Ma will have exhausted the resources you need to get old and live like a human.
Whatever happened to "Won’t get fooled again?!"
I don’t need a Weatherman to know which way the wind blows, either. Except I’m no kid – I’m 40 years old.
* * *
I’m a little dog living in a house full of screaming Republican felines and, damn, they’re getting’ loud, always getting their picky-assed way, spraying the shit out of everything in sight, filling the air with their heavy cat reek while I sit calmly at the window watching the sun go down and wonder how I could con ye olde flaming orb & All Seeing Eye to burn this worthless Satanic Mill to the ground so Somebody could start over again and do Something that looks like a halfway human, or canine, job with the smoking rubble.
And next time, with no goddamn George W. Bush-loving cats.
Richard Van Ingram
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