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Monthly Archives: February 2009

I’ve basically spent the last six months alternating between replenishing PINK panties and the Secret Garden Beauty wall. For those of you who’re unfamiliar with the store, the Garden wall is the colorful wall, the one with all the pretty colors and all your favorite scents like “Amber Romance,” “Romantic Wish,” “Love Spell,” “Endless Love,” and other assorted variations of the same feelings I’m sure these scents are supposed to induce.

The point being this: The only time I ever see attractive girls is when I’m tending the panty bar (not frequently enough) or when they walk past the beauty room completely (all the time). On very rare occations–VERY rare–they stop at the make-up bar (what we actually call the “Beauty Bar” for some reason). I lobbed this theory past one of my coworkers and he said–flat out–“Oh God yes. None of the hot girls ever buy off the Garden wall. When (and if) they’re here they’re here for bras or make-up.”

But if you think about it, it makes absolute sense. When I walk into a club, bar, apartment, store or similar location of social gathering my nose may be leading my body but that’s only in the physical sense. As I’ve always said (not true), girls are first and foremost, a feast for the eyes. If I don’t like what I’m looking at, there’s no way the smell is going to convince me otherwise. To break it down even further, it goes like this: if I like the way your face looks, chances are I’m going to make a terrible attempt at starting a conversation. If you can hold that conversation, you’ve gotten another step closer. If you’re humorous, chances are good I’m falling in love with you every joke you make. Then, at the bottom of the list, if you smell like you need extra deodorant…well, I’ll buy you extra deodorant.

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Man, I hate Friday the 13th. You might too if you’d broken your jaw on it in fifth grade.

Anyway, I think “Happy Valentine’s Day” by Outkast is probably the perfect Valentine’s Day song.  It’s beautiful and yet it’s completely subversive. It’s the kind of song that ends up being sampled and played in the background of all your favorite morning shows while they promise you that “Coming up next, we’re going to show you how to cook the perfect Valentine’s Day meal!” even though the song is about how romance is dead and that the day itself has become kitsch.

The narrator is “Cupid Valentino, the modern day cupid.” His name alone is easily Italian (appropriate considering the location of Olympus) and, by association, sleazy, and definitely hitman-ish. So, according to my stereotyping, we have a narrator who is perfect for this modern era, this era of one-night stands and “hook-ups,” which I put in quotations as if they weren’t real. Cool.

Of course, the Cupid-among-us idea has become the focus of multiple modern television fiascos including the CW’s Valentine and NBC’s upcoming Cupid. Just like in Valentine, “Cupid grabs the pistol./ He shoots straight for your heart/ and he won’t miss you.” I get the sense that, since we can’t find “romance” or “love” defined in any real sense these days, it’s nice to imagine that someone can create real and wholesome love with a simple trigger pull.

But that doesn’t solve the real issue at hand; the chorus deals with how the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and Groundhogs are more prevalent in popular culture than love. That is to say, Valentine’s Day–a day that’s supposed to celebrate the glory of love and romance–is easily classified as another Hallmark Card day, just another day when you can create all of the emotion associated with that day by purchasing a piece of paper.

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget the verse where Andre switches it up and raps. This might even be the most important part of the song. We have a narrator who’s clearly in love with his “sweet little darlin'” but he can’t tell her. I don’t think that’s a symptom of attempted thug life, just an attempt to not sound crazy. Unadulterated love like in Classic and Disney movies doesn’t exist anymore unless you’re looking for a restraining order. What I mean is, love at first sight and the sweeping romance associated with it seems to have been dead since the early 1940s. Going on a date to get to know someone is generally faux pas, perhaps with the one exception of being in high school or maybe younger. Romance is hanging out with the girl, making out with her, hanging out with her again at a later date until the both of you finally realize, “Hey, maybe we should…I don’t know…be dating?”

Back to the issue at hand though–the song ends with an altered verse, changing the lyrics from “Happy Valentine’s Day” to “Fuck that Valentine’s Day.” This is obviously the part that Good Morning America isn’t sampling but also the part where the subversion is easily most blatant. And now I’m reinforcing blatancy with bluntness and blatancy on my own part. Sigh. The point remains though; as Mr. Valentino works his way through his issues with his own holiday, he comes to realize that his own holiday is dying. R.I.P., romance. You were fun while you were alive.

So that’s why I went down to DUMBO yesterday and picked up a bottle red from some small town in France.  Well, actually, she’s not from there, they just let her use their name because she’s so good. She was $15 and I don’t have to share her with anyone else. As soon as I get off work tomorrow, she and I are gonna spend the night watching movies. Best Valentine’s Day date I think I’ve ever had.

A couple of days ago I went out and bought the Book of Allusions-or, as most people know it, The Bible. I’m still not converting, I just figured it was time I finally started catching and understanding the allusions that seem to run abound (N.B. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner; Cattle & The Creeping Things” by The Hold Steady; The Quick and the Dead; Revelations by Audioslave, etc.). In fact, I’m not even out of Genesis yet and I’ve already found something that makes me all the more convinced that I should remain a Buddhist.

I actually had to call my college roommate to make sure I bought the right Bible-I wanted the most scholarly copy available-so I own a copy called the NRSV. Hopefully that explains why the quote below doesn’t quite match up with what the snake says in your copy of the PQRST.

Right before Eve commits the Original Sin, the snake says, “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Thus, according to both your version of LMNOP and my version of the NRSV, the greatest mistake humans ever made in the past five thousand years was finally deciding to understand the difference between good and evil. Also, we made a terrible mistake deciding to become more like God, but that straight up doesn’t make any sense because we’ve become less God-like since then. Or so you think-follow me on this one.

Right after the Original Sin is made, Adam, Eve and their descendants live for fewer and fewer years with each generation. That is, as time goes on, instead of “coming to know their wives” around age 145, all the kids start making kids at an earlier age. Life expectancy decreased as time went on, but if we look at what has been happening in the past hundred years or so, there has been a sharp increase in life expectancies (nearly) worldwide. This would suggest, within the definitions provided by your copy of the ABCDE, that the world we live in-contrary to what your television pastor says-is actually the most Godly world that has existed in quite some time; perhaps the Godliest since the cavemen.

If this is indeed the Godliest time to be alive, then how do good and evil fit into that world? I feel like that knowledge has become pretty much essential to our existence and to our progress. What’s bad? Cancer. Aids. Syphilis. Polio. Advice. Freedomland. Terrorism. What’s good? A healthy diet. Clean (and Running) Water. Books. Advice. Music. Laughter. Amoxicillin. The Departed. Patriotism. Even with in my definitions of good and evil, there’s a gray area that continues to define life. One person’s patriotism may be another person’s terrorism but at the end of the day, we have the ability to make conscious decisions as to who we want to be.

I will admit, although we seem to be making some kind of progress, I don’t ever want to become immortal and I never want to go to heaven. If heaven is some kind of huge playground where there’s no good or evil (and thus, no decisions), how am I supposed to enjoy myself? Heaven sounds like a bland, brainless existence where Reality TV is always on, meals are always soggy Oatmeal and my shirts are always bathed in drool. If I wanted that, I’d already have quit my job and attempted to rack up some sweet bed sores.

I get the impression that the closest I will ever get to my own personal heaven (nirvana, etc.) on this earth is music, quite possibly from a little-heard-of genre called the blues. The blues are the most primal, instinctual and basic building blocks of every good genre of music, if not every modern genre (take that, classical lovers). There are pretty much three narratives you can write-x loves y, x loves y but y does not love x back, or x loves inanimate object c (perhaps the most creative mode since it allows for metaphors, etc.)-and all three were pioneered and perfected by blues and copied and rearranged by every other genre. Except maybe classical because it has no lyrics and country because it shouldn’t have lyrics and is just whiny singing accompanied by music stolen from folk which is stolen from blues. Rock at least assimilated (N.B. Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, et al). Sometimes there’s nothing left to do but to dig down to that place where you feel like nothing but an absolute and complete piece of shit to understand the times when the world is yours. You can have your Hakuna Matata moment off at the oasis, it’s just…you have to get over the fact that you didn’t kill Mufasa. But country music did.

If we’re supposed to live without that, to live without a moral compass or without even a simple understanding of basic ethics, then I have no idea how to live my life. An Oscar-winning movie once said, “Death is easy. Life is hard.” With that in mind, if I’m lucky, maybe I’ll live another 50 years and the last thing I want to do is live it perfectly. I already know I can’t-why else would I decorate my room with books?-but I know I have to listen to myself more.

So maybe someday 75 years in the future I’ll be able to look back and say two things: “Holy shit! I’m still alive? I’m 97! I can’t feel anything below my waist!” and “Thank [Universal Being? Basic Physics? Jimmy Neutron?] I read the NSRV (instead of the HIJK) and embraced my life and, in my later years, started to take a bunch of drugs that have kept me alive, but now that I’ve seen my great-grandkids and spoiled the shit out of my sister’s kids, I can probably die fulfilled. I’ve lived a good life. I’ll be back soon, hopefully not as a grasshopper. Anything but a grasshopper-I don’t want to get squashed on a windshield in Idaho when I’m a day old.”

Until I can say those things, thank you, all of sophomore year in college; the 20 or so girls I’ve dated or attempted to date, but mostly the brain cells I’ve lost after you all uttered, “Let’s just be friends;” night I told my parents I’d had drinks before I was of age; pornography, video games and White Russians. Thank you for helping me understand the pure, unadulterated awesome of things like watching my sister make or be near art, headphones, chatting with my grandmother, literature, Gibson SGs, making jokes with my Mom and having cynic sessions with my Dad. Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping me understand what it means to be alive and why I want to continue to be alive.

But in the meantime, Evil, a favor-can you just kill me at age 97 with a simple, quick, Grade 6 Cerebral Aneurysm? Alzheimer’s is kind of number one on my “Scariest Ways to Die” list because it leaves me with no memory of how good it was to be alive.