OFT UPSETTING BANALITIES THAT HAVE PLAGUED MY MIND, IN SEVERAL CASES FOR WELL OVER A DECADE!
There are things in my brain that make themselves known to me on a daily basis, and in some cases have been doing so for as long as I can remember. They are dumb things. Dumb, dumb things. They are not humorous in any traditional sense, and can be downright repellent, often basely sexual in nature. They may have initially amused me, however feebly, when they were first presented to me by my brain, but whatever faint charm these abstract concepts may have once possessed has long, long since been sapped bone dry by brutal, groundless, unrelenting repetition. They are something like brief, recurring, completely uninspirational waking dreams, and they strike when I least suspect or want them. More still are based on extremely unmonumentous real-life occurrences that inanely refuse to vacate my malfunctioning memory. I think about a lot of these things every day, and it’s high time I got a few of them out of my system.
PHONE WIRE RIDE
When I was about five or six, I was riding my bike down the hill that led to our family home, an activity I engaged in quite often at the time, and I happened to look up at the phone wires that slopingly connected the poles, and for no reason I will ever be able to point to, I imagined myself seated, pantsless, atop the phone wires in a cheerleader split position, being slickly propelled by some unseen force across the wires. My facial expression belies unashamed pleasure and profound inner peace. I also, again for not any good reasons that I can provide, imagined that my aunt and mother were driving down the hill alongside me, monitoring my “progress” with pride and waving at me with supportive excitement. This all struck me as only slightly weird then; having only been alive for five years at the time, I had no reason to believe that such things were either impossible or disturbing. Now whenever I take any notice of telephone wires, which is pretty easy to do given the fact that they’re everywhere, I have to imagine my five-year-old self scooting nudely and serenely across them, all thank to my gross, weird brain.
NOTHING HALLOWEEN BUT A CANDY CORN
I was sitting around the living room one lazy afternoon (again I believe I was about five years old at the time), and out of nowhere the thought of a forlorn, hairy creature of indeterminate species going trick-or-treating and receiving nothing for his troubles but a single candy corn occurred to me, and it made me so sad that I cried. The sorry scene even had a suitably despondent song playing in the background that hollowly intoned “No-thing Hall-o-wee-een but a can-dee coo-ooorn.”, sung in a plaintive alto that brought to mind the kind of intense, hopeless, grainy grief that normally only PG-rated animated dramas of the late seventies and early eighties can conjure. Something about the fact that no article connected “nothing” to “Halloween” made the soundtrack all the more crushing. I can hear that song clear as a bell, every day. I don’t even really think it was Halloween when I thought of this. That guy was so excited to go trick or treating, running out into the neighborhood with a big ol’ sack and an eager, carefree grin, but no one would give him any candy, even though he wanted it so badly, and asked politely at every door for just a little something, a Dum-Dum maybe, or a tiny individually wrapped Tootsie Roll. But when the night was over, all he got was a tiny, hard, stick-in-your-teeth candy corn, which probably fell on the floor and rolled under the stove. God, it STILL gets to me.
I remember the day after I first thought of it, it was still bothering me, and I tried to force my brain to envision a sequel wherein the poor mistreated creature had a really great birthday that more than made up for the soul-destroying All Hallows Eve that preceded it, but I knew deep down that I was only fooling myself.
I really feel like I could take my own life right now. It really feels that that would be a seamless and beneficial process.
In an earlier blog entry, I told you about a tape my uncle rented once called “Dirty Dirty Jokes” that he wouldn’t let me watch due to excessive dirtiness, and how my own imagination strove mightily to fill in the blanks via a sadly uninformed frame of reference. Well, back in 1982 or so the whole CB lingo craze was still enjoying the indian summer of its popularity, and a slightly older neighborhood friend bragged to me that he had recently been allowed to see the movie “Convoy”, loosely based on the hit novelty tune by the underrated C.W. McCall. According to my friend, the movie had a lot of swears and fighting in it, so he was (correctly) quite certain that my parents would not let me watch it. He even confided that they changed some of the words to the “Convoy” song to make them dirtier. Being that I owned a walkie-talkie and held swears and fighting in as much regard as the next kid, it followed that my desire to see “Convoy” – a movie I’d previously never even heard of and knew virtually nothing about – became an unquenchable fire, an unruly specter I had no means of satisfying. So I was once again forced to rely on my imagination, particularly in regards to the newly salty title track lyrics. Hence, 7-12 times a day even still, apropos of nothing, my brain will see fit to blast a spirited chorus of “We got a great big convoy!/Poop shit fuck fart piss!”. Truly, what better rally cry for the protest-minded transportation technician?
I really do think C.W. McCall is underrated. I get the song in this video stuck in my head at least half as often as “poop shit fuck fart piss”.
Like most in my age bracket, Jim Henson’s Muppets had an impact on my upbringing that is impossible to overstate. They explained everything. They made sure everything made sense to me. They told me this was okay and that was not, but only when they weren’t making me laugh or singing me a song. The Muppets, moreso than anything I was being told in Kindergarten or on network sitcoms, were my key to the world, and I honestly think I would be a much stupider and angrier person without their having intervened on my, and countless others, behalf. Henson’s legacy does not want for praise, but I will happily heap more onto the pile any chance I get. So it’s all the more disappointing, then, that I have to think about Kermit the Frog being gang raped every few days.
Over the past decade, it’s become fashionable to convert the most tragic circumstances possible into callous, throwaway jokes, with the expectation that your lucky audience will break into hysterics over the fact that you had the audacity to “go there”, and the act of rape, be it of the anal prison variety or regular old Lifetime movie rape, has seen its fair share of funsters mining it for yuks. Had an 80’s-era comic tried to fashion even a mildly suggestive bit involving rape in even a roundabout way, the majority of audiences probably would have gasped them off the stage, but now people trade rape japes at the drop of a hat. Hell, some time ago I heard a rape joke on “My Name is Earl”, for Pete’s sake.
I would submit that simply mentioning rape is not funny, no more than would be discussing the act of murder. It’s a miserable, life-ruining crime, and if it happened to you or someone you cared about, I daresay you’d be none too eager to make or hear a joke about it. But nor can I state that rape cannot be rendered amusing with a little wit and effort. Humor is at least 75% context. If I went outside for a walk and got raped, that wouldn’t be funny, except perhaps to a few close friends. But if I went outside in a French maid costume for Halloween because I lost some kind of silly bet, and then got raped, I would be forced to admit, even while lying in the dirt being penetrated by a filthy stranger, that the whole thing was at least passingly funny. Bottom line: rape jokes are more offensive for their cavalier ubiquitousness than for their subject matter. If you’re gonna co-opt a horrific, dehumanizing atrocity to entertain your little pals, at the very least be original about it.
I don’t really think it’s that funny to rape Kermit the Frog. I love Kermit the Frog. But one day while watching “Sesame Street” in college, I started envisioning a musical sequence in which thieves began breaking into Kermit’s home and making off with his various belongings, and in response Kermit would furiously sing, for example, “Ba ba ba ba ba ba, BEE BEE BEEE! Give my toaster back to ME-ME-MEEEEE!” and as they stole more things, he would sing the same line over and over but would insert “TV” or “slippers” depending on what he observed the thieves absconding with. Finally, as if looting his home wasn’t enough, the dastardly villains pile onto poor Kermie and defile him en masse, leading their victim to sing, in a choked tenor, “Ba ba ba ba ba ba, BEE BEE BEEEEE! Give my virginity back to ME-ME-MEEEEE!” followed by several long seconds of muffled cries of pain and humiliation, grunts of pleasure, and needlessly exaggerated sounds of wet entering.
The first time that little “sketch” came to mind, it predated the funny rape boom of the aughts, and it bothered me, made me doubt my own self-worth (though, curiously, my diet at the time, which consisted of nothing but soft tacos with sour cream, Doritos, Jolt cola, and Hostess fruit pies, did not. Mmm, that just made me hungry!). By the 37th time my brain replayed the stupid thing for me, I felt nothing but irritation, and maybe some confusion, in that if I did not enjoy this thought one way or the other, why did I think about it all the time. It is a gross hangnail of a thought, and an endless cycle. It’s the thing I think about when I don’t want to think about something that I don’t want to think about. Like when you’re sitting around minding your own business and trying to read a nice book, and all of a sudden your brain shows you footage of what it thinks your grandparents having sex looks like.
Sorry, Kermit old buddy. Ba ba ba ba ba ba BEE BEE BEEEEE, I hope you accept my a-pol-o-GEEEEEE.
MAYNARD IN YOUR WILL!
I haven’t the foggiest where this comes from, but at least once a day I hear the voice of an overjoyed, childlike redneck man declare, in between guffaws and victorious hooting, “Maynard in your will!”. I have been hearing this in my head since middle school, thousands upon thousands of times for sure. I don’t know if it’s from a show or an overheard real life conversation or what. If anyone recognizes this phrase from anything, please please please please please please please please please please please please please PLEASE let me know what it’s from. PLEASE. When I Google it, I only get pictures of the guy from Tool and this drawing of two canoeing young men.
This doesn’t help me.
THE NUMBER DINE
This is one of my least favorites. Shortly after I graduated from college, I got a none-too-lucrative but fairly enjoyable job at Borders, which mostly consisted of wandering around the store making a mental list of things I wanted to buy with my employee discount. One day I thought about how awful it would be if I went to the middle of the store, started clapping my hands to a beat heard only by me, and began rapping “Here’s a number that’s really fine!/We call this special number ‘dine’!” Not nine, but “dine”. In my head everyone thought the rap was awesome except for this one fellow employee with dreadlocks named Corey, who, keenly observing the Emperor’s nudity, muttered “That’s not even a number”. Now loudly rapping about the number nine in a crowded bookstore is fairly embarrassing in and of itself, but dine? The worst part about the whole sad affair is that whenever I think of this nonsense, which is often, I feel a shame that I don’t think would differ markedly from what I would feel if I actually HAD rapped about the fucking number “dine” at Border’s. So I didn’t even do it, but for no reason I’ve spent a considerable amount of time over the years making myself feel like I did. Feeling shame about rapping about a nonexistent number in a meaningless daydream is really not a very good use of my time. Dine!
Ugh, that’s all I can handle for one session. We’ll pick this up later, unless it just makes things worse, which remains to be seen. Good night!