Saturday, January 29, 2005

i heart knowledge



i think knowledge needs new representation.

think about it. "knowledge is power." granted, that's a catchy slogan, but is knowledge really power? consider:

1 in high school, i was a straight-a student. yet despite my ability to draft flawless logical proofs, i could not convince a single girl to sleep with me. however, during the same four years, the football team used a combination of atheletic ability and cocaine to score on 2,734.12 separate occasions. what about that, knowledge?

2 think about all of the men (and women?) currently in power. don't you think you could do a better job? i think so. plato thought so, too; remember the philosopher kings? there was an idea destined for the recycle bin of history.

3 and speaking of plato, socrates was one wise motherfucker. and what happened to him? if you said executed by the state, you are correct sir! thanks, knowledge.

actually, i really can't count socrates, as it is obvious from reading plato that socrates didn't know anything. but he was asking questions, and that leads to knowledge. so it was more of a pre-emptive strike on philosophy in general, cut it off at the root, so to speak.

and what does philosophy mean? "love of knowledge." even your paramours are threatened, and they say you're a lousy lay besides.

face it: at no time has knowledge ever enabled you to bend someone's will, score free tickets, or get money. nor will it clean your house, enable you to be pregnant and handle propecia, or play with your balls the way you like. i say, in the interests of truth in advertising, we tell it like it really is...

"knowledge: oh, you wanted friends. sorry. try money... she's the one over there, with all the sex."

"knowledge: not that anyone will care that you know the capital of zimbabwe, but they'll pretend to care, and with a face like yours, that's probably all the attention you're going to get... unless you count the mob of bloodthirsty villagers with the pitchforks and the torches--oh, here they come, you should really start running--oh, i'm sorry--you knew that."

"with knowledge, you can build someone to love you!"

"knowledge is never having to say i'm happy."

but if we must tell a lie, let's make it a really good one. everyone knows by now that money and fame equal power. we need a new lie if we're going to successfully market knowledge. i'm thinking of something like:

"knowledge. because you can't run from your problems if you don't know what they are."

"knowledge: the other private dick that's the sex machine to all the chicks. reduced rates if you mention this ad."

"now you know, and knowing is half the battle. the other half involves whisky, the petting zoo, and a man called sloppy pete. you down?"

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

in praise of gutter talk



first, i got an email.
next, i heard about it to my face.

"what's with all the swearing?"

okay, i swear a lot. i like to swear. in fact, i swear constantly. some might argue that it's a habit i could break, but i disagree. "shoot" and "dang," "nuts" and "crap" will only get you so far. sometimes, the only thing that does the trick is a nice round "motherfucker." there's something about the succession of sounds, that nice nasally labial at the beginning, the calm of the short vowel and the soothing hum of the t and the h, and then, you careen over the edge, bearing down on that frictive labial and then right into a wall of voiced gutterals and dorsal glides.

actually, that's kinda hot. frictive. labials. gliding. voiced gutterals. fuck!

it's like some kind of glorious roller coaster, and you get to ride it again and again and again, and the only cost is complaints, strange looks, and the occasional polite conversation with your supervisor.

my point is, it's the sensuous quality of a word like "motherfucker" that brings me back for more. but i should be honest; the fact that it's a word you're not supposed to say in certain company adds to the joy of saying it. restricting its use makes it more valuable when you do use it--though, since i overuse it, i've devalued it considerably. catching an amish man in the middle of a cursing fit would probably be a more potent display than peppering my work-related lamentations with a "sonuvabitch" or "god damn this wanking baby fucker."

then again, wouldn't you hope a wanking baby fucker was damned? i think i can speak for the majority on this one. same goes for fucking baby wankers and fucking wanking babies.

my only lament is that we are not capable of generating new cuss words. all of our "new" cuss words are merely new combinations of old cuss words with perfectly wholesome words grafted on them, like piling different kinds of shits upon one another in the attempt to create some kind of voltron-esque ubershit capable of battling intergalatic marauders.

our present-day cuss words had to age; the word "fuck," for instance, probably came to us from the german and the OED points to its usage in english during the 16th century, though there is some disagreement as to its exact language of origin. various words that have been suggested involve striking or hitting someone, direct references to the penis, and sexual connotations (though no acronyms). and i imagine part of its power today derives from the fact that it was censored so heavily then; the word had to emerge from the underground and has kept its street-cred even now, a time when, despite the fact that it is far more acceptable, its scrappy i'm-gonna-make-it-someday mentality and humble beginnings as new-taboo-on-the-block are remembered and transfer to it a certain authenticity and potency a purely made up word could not contend with. take that vanilla ice!

words like motherfucker and rat bastard are like coals subjected to the pressures of etymological history and converted into the precious gems that they are today. like the majority of the words we use on a daily basis, they come to us warped by the vagaries of speakers throughout time, and the undulations and revolutions of spoken english and its antecedents are apparent as you follow these words back to their origins. they're like those people you work with who've been there forever; when they started their jobs, their eyes shone with the radiance and glimmer of youthful dreams, and they were joyful people; whereas now, they're bitter and aged, devoid of hope, whose eyes are dewy with the nasceny of their alcohol addictions.

actually, cuss words are nothing like that. but it's still a good reason to cuss at work.

for further information, i highly suggest you visit this link.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

the horror, the horror



"someone did a very bad thing in there."

killed a hooker?

snorted lines of coke off a newborn baby?

oh no, my friends. something like that would make this post interesting. no, this is how a customer politely informed us that someone had destroyed the toilet in the men's room. and being the only guy there with "authority," which literally means the only man there annointed into shit-taking, it was time i literally took the shit.

(no, i didn't "take the shit." take, like received it. jesus christ this goddam language...)

ladies and gentleman, i've never seen a bowl so full. the sight was so horrifying i had to look at it twice! one viewing proved about as insufficient to absorb the horror as the very toilet paper that tried in vain to do its only job, the very duty for which it was intended. it was a limit experience for all of us, a kind of shock, a trauma.

people, a single human ass could not have done this. this had to have been a conspiracy of asses, three or four asses at least, working in shifts like machines in a factory or perhaps poised over the bowl in unison, their efforts coordinated balletically as they performed the nefarious dance they had been rehearsing all those months in the dank basement bathroom of a man only known as "the stain," a serial toilet-bomber operating out of a ring originating in quebec. it all started as an extremist wing of the quebec secession movement but he was ostracized by the mainstream there when they decided they needed the average person on their side, and the average person, apparently, liked having a clean place to shit.

i will spare you an actual description of what i saw last night, my friends. as for me, i am thankful that we could not locate the plunger, because that meant the only thing i could do was post an "out of order" sign on the door and wash my hands of the whole thing, as it were.

and believe me. there was a lot of hand washing.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

a message to all the ladies



women, i'm tired of you.

i'm tired of being openly rejected by you.

really, did you have to say that?

okay, but to my face?

i'm tired of being secretly rejected by you in roundabout ways.

i'm tired of you pretending you didn't hear me ask you out.

i'm tired of you not calling me back.

of not letting me walk you to your door.

of thinking that i'm trying to steal a kiss.

of thinking that i'm anything less than a gentleman.

of wanting a man who is something less than a gentleman while claiming to want to be treated like a lady--"for once."

of finding ingenious ways of cancelling our plans.

i didn't know you had lockjaw.

i'm sorry to hear about your cousin. can they sew it back on?

i'm tired of trying to reconcile your body language with your actual words.

of trying to figure out what it means when you cross your arms across your torso. are you cold? are you nervous? are you just not that into me? is it all of the above?

and why are your legs crossed in that direction? shouldn't it be this direction?

and while we're on the subject, when you're out with me, do you have to look at every other guy here? i'm only looking at you.

is that bad? i didn't know.

then why do you call me back?

then why do you laugh at my jokes?

what about the bad ones? i know they're bad, you know they're bad, yet here we are, both laughing.

why do you suggest that we do this again sometime?

i'm tired of trying to figure out the appropriate time to call you. is it three days, or is that too long? two days?

what if i call you the next day? can i do that?

of trying to figure out just the right place to take you, just the right thing to say when i greet you, just the right time to offer you my jacket, just the right place to sit down.

i'm tired of trying to figure out just the right amount of interest i should show in you.

can i tell you i had a great time?

when? when we say goodnight, or on the phone the next day?

err, i mean, two days later.

i'm tired of trying to figure out when to be funny.

i'm tired of trying to figure out when i'm not supposed to be funny.

i'm tired of just being myself. if i were brad pitt, i would be myself. but i'm not, which is why i am not getting divorced from jennifer anniston or maybe sleeping with angelina jolie. in fact, now that i am thinking about it, just being myself hasn't gotten me very far. i blame just being myself for most of the things that have gone wrong in my life. consider:

who was i when that girl at the goth club rudely rejected my request for a dance?

myself.

who was i when i got my present job?

me again.

who was i when my friend revealed to that girl in the 7th grade that i had a giant crush on her, causing her to bury her head in her hands and run away?

yep. me.

had i been somebody else, it stands to reason, i'd be in a different situation. and then, women, maybe then you would think i was funny.

respectable.

attractive.

interesting.

sexy?

i knew i was pushing it with that last one. but i digress.

women, i'm tired of feeling like i'm not good enough for you.

of feeling like my interests aren't interesting.

of feeling like i have an insufficient number of hobbies.

of feeling boring.

geeky.

lame.

i'm tired of not being able to concentrate on my boring, geeky, lame hobbies because i can only think about why you're not calling me, why your arms were crossed, why you laughed at my jokes, why you wouldn't let me walk you to your door.

most of all, women, i'm tired of falling for you

again,

and again,

and again,

and again.