An Irregular Column
by Mykel Board
Nothing is so awkward as a demonstration of humanity by the enemy. –Kobo Abe
It’s gonna be a short one this time. (That’s what she said.) I start this while sitting in Bryant Park behind the library. I count the gives and takes. Google gives me free internet access. G-d gives me a sunny day. Alcohol takes my powers of concentration and coherent thought. And the day after tomorrow, Delta will take me to bring my spoken bilge to Chicago and Wisconsin.
It’s been the usual litany of things gone wrong. My computer stops working. Sid calls to cancel my ride to Madison, then last minute, reinstates it. My body wakes up unable to sleep through the night. My brain makes senile mistakes: halting mid sentence, forgetting the word preposition. My bank account uses up the last of my printer’s red ink. That’s my life. It goes wrong, but it goes-- at least until it doesn’t.
Flash ahead a couple days. I now write at the Marine Air Terminal at LaGuardia. I sit in a plush chair in front of an unused row of coin telephones. It would be a peaceful scene if it not for the 20-something two seats down from me. He gabs into his cellphone—non-stop—call after call. He’s on the third.
“I just wanted to tell you I’ve accepted a position in Chicago,” he says.
He wears a t-shirt, torn jeans, and he’s accepted a position. People dressed like that don’t accept positions. They get jobs. Guys in ties and white shirts accept positions. Professors with tweed jackets and elbow patches accept positions. You don’t, future Mr. Cubicle Clerk. Everyone you’re talking to can see that. Don’t you realize what a jerk you are? Mom, the I-love-you-too girl, and your-only-friend-in-Jersey-City-who-you’ll-miss-like-a-brother. They all know what a jerk you are. How come you don’t?
Focus, Mykel! Focus! Back to the laptop.
I had planned this to be an everything-you-know-is-wrong column, but I don’t have the time or space. I’m going to be traveling and will have to email this in from the road. You are just too wrong, and too militant in your wrongness for me to correct everything. I should write a book. I DID write a book. So here I’ll just pick on a few points. At least you’ll get a start.
Like the Christians who say that people who don’t accept Jesus are condemned to damnation, but if you’ve never heard about Jesus, you only go to purgatory. I’m giving you your chance. Here’s THE TRUTH. If you reject it... it’s hell for you, buster.
Flash ahead. I’m madder than a homo who gets a female doctor for his prostate exam. I’m actually sitting in the plane now. It’s parked on the runway. Delayed. Something about thunderstorms in Chicago last night. They caused back-ups today. The airlines have to add more planes to make up for the lost flights. More flights mean more delays. Behind me there’s a crew of raucous laugher. Actually THE crew of raucous laugher. It’s the two stewardesses on this flight. It’s an ugly annoying sound when I feel so awful.
[Aside: Robert Heinlein once wrote that laughter was a disgusting reflex. We do it when someone is in pain, falls down the stairs, or just fucks up in an embarrassing way. Look at comedy. Except for word-play jokes, we laugh at pain: dead babies, or humiliation: Polish people turning ladders to change light bulbs. I rarely laugh.]
Besides the stewardesses’ guffaws, a baby cries, and half the passengers yak on cellphones.
Like me, the woman in the next seat taps away on her laptop. I’m not sure if I can steal a glance to find out what she’s doing. I don’t think you can check your email from a plane, and most people are ashamed to play solitaire in front of others… even Free Cell, which I’m up to a 12% winning percentage at the 4-suit level.
So it’s exactly at this point I’m going to begin to explain the ways in which you are wrong. One of them is the way you make villains of people rather than ideas.
Newspapers report that 36% of Americans don’t like Georgie Bush. Rolling Stone writes that he’s the worst president in history. That should tell you something. The underdog. Hated in the nation. You’d expect punkrockers would be knee-jerk coming to his defense, like Republicans defending Enron. But no. There’s just a chorus of glee at his unpopularity. You cheer every failure. Ignore the few victories.
But let’s look. George proposed building a wall between the US and Mexico. BAD. He proposed allowing illegal aliens a fast track to stay in the US permanently. GOOD. As anti-Muslim fervor rises in America, Bush wants to sell US ports to the Arabs. That takes balls.
Bush stands by his appointments, his friends, his principles. He doesn’t waver even if the public is against him. When gas prices rose and people turned against Clinton, that spineless sleazebag opened the oil reserves, depleting our safety supply to save his poll numbers ass. Bush could have, but didn’t.
The man has integrity. Just like one of my other heroes, Saddam Hussein. I may not want either of them as neighbors, but I respect that integrity… and I wouldn’t mind having them as friends.
From Bush to broccoli. It’s time to go on the veggie warpath again. I’ve seen too much spinach and tofu lately. It’s making me sick.
Most thinking people assume that vegetarians are self-righteous rich kids who jump on moral bandwagons as fast as they jump on musical ones. Most thinking people are right.
Most thinking people also assume that except for the annoyance of being told that what you eat is immoral, causing pain and suffering, vegetarians are harmless. Most thinking people are wrong.
Opening shot: a meadow. Shoot this through a blue-pink lens so everything looks peaceful and happy. Cows lazily graze, chewing their cud while happy chickens peck joyfully at corn, worms, and other natural bird food.
Mistress Mary tends to her flock of sheep, dancing along, la de da. She stops on a large rock, pulls a bottle of Snapple out of her pocket and chugs it down. Her flock lazily catches up with her, wagging their tails behind them. One of the woolly creatures nuzzles Mary. The cute animal tries to drink from the girl’s bottle. Mary laughs, tilting the Snapple so the animal can lick it down.
Cut to the industrial orange lens. Streak it with gray or black for a grimy polluted look. A dark building holds tiny stalls, one next to the other: Wild-eyed cows, unable to move. Row upon row of chicken coops. One piled on top of the other. Shit pouring down in an ever-increasing brown rain from the top coops to the others below. Beaks painfully trimmed, the nearly paralyzed chickens peck their breakfast of offal and discarded parts of other chickens.
Your choice of scenes? You betcha.
The way the market works is if you choose the free-range chickens, the happy cows, the tail-wagging lambs, there will be more free-range chickens, happy cows, and tail-wagging lambs. If you choose the concentration camp meat, there will be more of that. Demand and supply.
And if you don’t choose? Then your vote goes to the concentration camp. Businesses always do what’s cheaper, more efficient, more harmful, unless the government-- or market forces-- make them do otherwise. With the vegetarians taking themselves out of the picture, the only market forces left are Wal-mart and Burger King. Which side do you think they’re on?
If people don’t buy from the good guys, then the good guys go out of business. By not buying human meat, vegetarians help create torture and disease for the animals they don’t eat. That’s how the market works. But that’s not the end of it. Vegetarians also create disease for the rest of us… the human animals.
No one injects nasty chemicals into those happy animals in the happy meadow. Nobody feeds them bovine growth hormone. Nobody fills them with antibiotics to protect them from the shit falling on them. No shit falls on these animals in the first place.
But the miserable animals-- the ones forced on us by the vegetarians—they’ve got more horrible substances in their bodies than I’ve had up my ass. It’s a wonder they can call a chicken leg “chicken,” it’s got so much else in it. Tenderizers, salt, drugs of all descriptions, bacteria, you name it. All put there to protect the animal from the conditions vegetarians force them to live in. That shit is in OUR food. And even if the vegetarians manage to avoid it, they’ve forced it on the rest of us.
So we see that vegetarians force cruelty to animals, disease on non-vegetarians, and are responsible for everything bad except global warming. Wrong.
They’re responsible for that too.
One of the greatest contributors to global warming is methane. That’s the gas you light when you light a fart. Our bodies make it from the food we eat. It comes out in farts and shit.
Until vegetarian-encouraged factory farming, methane was only unpleasant—like vegetarians themselves. A fart in an elevator might unleash a few giggles, a cough or two, but not a whole lot more. Entering a bathroom where someone has just unleashed a holy beershit—especially a holy Guinness beershit—is an unpleasant experience, but not a serious one.
Factory farming has changed that. They’ve created incredible concentrations of animals. That means incredible concentrations of animal farts and shits. Giant continuous blasts of methane invade the atmosphere, are trapped by it. This methane, in turn, traps heat that would normally move to the upper stratosphere and dissipate. This heat is known as global warming.
Animals return nutrients to the soil. When they are well-managed and not too packed, they fertilize what feeds them. A pig eats carrots, shits nutrients back into the ground, making fertile ground for more carrots. Eating high on the food chain allows us to cull porcine over-population and keep the cycle going. If I eat a pig, I stop the fertilization, but I also stop the consumption. If I eat a carrot, I only stop plant production, while doing nothing to reduce plant consumption. Highest on the food chain is, of course, cannibalism. Checking out the overpopulation of vegetarians, that might not be such a bad idea.
Another way you’re wrong is your knee-jerk hatred of big corporations. You pin them with the same crooked safety pin that you pin on Dubya or meat. Like with those others, you’ve missed this one too.
I now write sitting on a park bench by a river in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. A few people fish from the nearby bridge. River water bubbles gently as it passes me. On the bench a few yards from me, an older colored lady rests with her feet up. A book in her hand, she lazily turns the pages. She doesn’t notice me looking at her.
I think about how her world’s been changed.
“Yeah,” I think, “I hate Barnes and Nobles and the way they’ve destroyed small bookstores. I hate Amazon-dot-Com for destroying bookstore browsing culture… and making huge contributions to the Republican Party. But if it weren’t for Amazon and Barnes and Nobles and Borders, this Negress might not have her book.
Huge corporations bring books and reading to millions of towns like Beaver Dam. People there might never see a book otherwise. Every shopping mall has a Barnes and Noble or Borders. Every computer has access to Amazon. Millions of people who might never read a book, now buy them because they can. Millions of people, who would never make the effort to step into their local libraries, pass Barnes and Noble and go in, just because it’s there. It’s a place to cool off. A place to sit and read. And for all their destructiveness in big cities, they may just be saving bookdom in towns like Beaver Dam.
My computer is beeping at me. The battery has almost run out. I’ve got to get back on the road anyway… head for the show in Appleton.
Next month I’ll write about my adventures here. In the meantime, stand up, walk to the bathroom. Look in the mirror. Point to yourself and repeat after me: YOU’RE WRONG.
ENDNOTES: [email subscribers (email@example.com) or website viewers (www.mykelboard.com) will get live links and a place to comment]
--> Whatever happened to the stockpile? dept. According to The Progressive magazine (March 2005), a US Air Force research team in the 90s recommended developing chemical weapons consisting of aphrodisiacs. The idea was to make enemy soldiers sexually irresistible to one another as a diversion. An added benefit would be the low morale caused by the resulting homosexuality-- especially in Islamic countries. The plan was later abandoned.
-->Toronto based This Magazine has created a website where Americans who want to hightail it up North can find a mate who'll marry them out of their servitude. Want to be a Canadian? Check www.actforlove.org
-->The Japanese Solution: Unlike America, Japan does not have immigration to save it from becoming an aging country. Since there are fewer workers supporting more oldsters, the oldsters are getting less money and fewer benefits. Some of them have figured out a way to insure themselves a warm bed and 3 meals a day: CRIME!
The AARP reports that Japanese old-times have turned to a life of crime in order to get caught and put into prison. There, their accommodations and meals are taken care of. Sex too, probably.
-->Your government at work dept: that same issue of the AARP Bulletin (April, 2006) reports on Judy Lewis, a 68-year old Texan. She survived a stroke in December of last year, but the Social Security Administration pronounced her dead and canceled her benefits. Her congressman helped get her checks restored, but the SS still counts her as deceased.
--> Man, check out that… er… where was I? dept: The Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience (Feb. 2006) reports on a Toronto research team that discovered that older peoples’ brains change in a way that make it hard to filter out distractions and stay focused. Something about left-brain right-brain balance. I’ll give you the details right after… what was that sound?
--> My jailed pal Cassidy Wheeler was thrown in the hole again for holding his pants up with a broken plastic safety razor. He tells me he’s more persecuted for being a punk rocker than for violating rules. He needs outside contacts—and lawyers. Write to him at: Cassidy Wheeler #14282456, O.S.P., 2605 State St., Salem OR 97310.
--> Finally getting smart department: The ACLU which, until recently, contented itself with issuing boring proclamations about our eroding personal freedoms seems to have finally gotten smart. They’re making the point entertainingly. I hear they’re gonna have TV commercials and sponsor a crime show. They’ve made a good start on the internet. Check out http://www.aclu.org/pizza/ for starters.