excerpt from Back To The Future 4
“Nature never appeals to intelligence until habit and instinct are useless. There is no intelligence where there is no need of change.”
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Oh god, holy shit, we made it! Not all of us of course. Some of us plummeted to our deaths off the sides of cruise ships, some of us succumbed to the horrors of drug and alcohol abuse, some of us were brutally mowed down by those evil anarchist thugs in noted actual organization ANTIFA, some of us just died from being old or getting hit by a bus, or fading away into a lonely darkness that became an all consuming depression that completely made us give up our will to live, while elsewhere, some people took the easy route and died at the hands of the guns they insisted they needed to have or simply caught COVID.
BUT NOT US BABY! Happy New Year! I’m sure I speak for everyone when I trot out this (at this point) very tired maxim, but I’m sure everything is fixed now. Whew. No more racism, no more xenophobic border laws or reckless paramilitary thugs shouting ethnic slurs in the streets. No more novel coronavirus, no more beloved relatives cursed with Fox News Brain, no more virtual livestreams, no more not being able to go to concerts or go down to see the Mets. No more having to pretend you’re at the bar getting fingered when you’re really just at home in the broom closet. No more masks, no more staying home from work. No more sleeping in. No more wearing sweat pants all day. No more jerking off on Zoom calls with an elite cadre of pearl clutching fart sniffers there to watch you and critique your penis as though it were a beloved old Manhattan deli. No more having to be around your kids. No more lying about not using Tinder during a public health crisis. No more weird wiry (or fat!) moms tossing shit around the Whole Foods because they don’t want to wear a mask. No more police brutality.
Nope. Shit’s over now. It’s gonna be great. Goodbye shit sack ass year, hellooooo a year where everything will be just fine.
And just like that, we put all our eggs in the old 2021 basket and then discovered that life is one never ending slog through things that want to kill you and make existing less fun and the whole thing just ends in death. People have known this forever. Do you honestly think that 2020 was the worst year of all time? Good grief, man. Pull up a chair. When would YOU have rather been alive?
In the spirit of this question, let’s build it out a bit and also talk a little about cosplay: the dorkiest shit you can possibly do, and a way to pretend you live in a time that isn’t now. But what are you cosplaying?
For now I’m gonna try to stick to actual things that occurred on earth, but I’m sure we’ll bleed into some fantasy bullshit pretty quick here. To be clear, and slightly repetitive, this is not so much about traditional cosplay as it’s about the notion of actually wanting to have been alive at this particular time. However, as that’s not entirely pragmatic, we’re gonna blend these two ideas into some kinda dope ass hybrid moment scenario, so strap in for an esoteric and thought provoking bad sandwich chronicles beyond thunderdome. Ready? Let’s begin:
This seems like it was maybe kinda dope. I love the whole style of the time. Everyone is wearing a buncha makeup and has short hair and short dresses and smokes with a cigarette holder and is part of the first round of being “sexually liberated,” at least among American women.
They do the Charleston. Booze is illegal but speakeasies abound and the world is awesome if you don’t mind crime and violence and death at the hands of some mafia goon or shitty Irish cop or from drinking one of the bottles of liquor that the state would poison in order to scare us all into not drinking (quick aside: who drinks when they’re NOT scared? Stupid pigs).
But hey! Maybe you’re super racist! WOOHOOO! You’re gonna love the roaring 20’s. OR, maybe you’re an aspiring mobster! Maybe you’re an immigrant who wants nothing more than to string one of those lines out that has your underwear and socks on it way above the city streets. Maybe you’re the one living guy who would still like jazz legitimately and not just because pretending to like jazz is a contrarian opinion for dorks. Maybe you’d like to live in a society somehow more afraid of science than the one we live in now.
If you’re born into the 20s at the right time, you’re good. But if you’re taking a delorean there, I think there would be smells and hairy crotches that would make you be like “um...not a fan of this at all.” If you dress like a flapper NOW, however, very, very hot, just probably use your epilady a little more than the customs of the time suggest. If you dress like an old timey mobster, however, you’re a complete dork, and there’s pretty much no way that you’re gonna talk me out of this opinion. I’m sorry, nerd. Real gangsters don’t cosplay old gangsters, and to paraphrase the Geto Boys, real gangsters can’t run fast.
So, if you’re doing this cosplay era now, you’re binding your heaving bosom into a tight (usually red for some reason) bodice and wearing a tall dunce cap looking hat with a whimsical piece of gossamer fabric dangling off it and you’re hanging out in a county fair for perverts with a dude eating a giant turkey leg. You are NOT, however, shitting into a bucket or sleeping amongst the cows because it’s how you stay warm. You’re probably showering a little bit and it’s my distinct hope that you’re at the bare minimum using toilet paper to wipe your ass. I bet you even use the internet to figure out when and where the next joust is, even if you only go there to ogle the wenches and the dashing lords.
Here’s the thing: living in this era would have SUCKED for real. You break your ankle? You may as well have ebola. You’re dead. And consider that this is during a time when you’re doing a LOT of walking down unpaved and uneven roads. Nah. Man, this ain’t for me. If dragons aren’t real and tax collection and the bubonic plague both are, I don’t think there are a lot of positives to living in this time. Oh, and if you could read or said anything about science that proved to be something that was correct, they’d kill you for being a demon. Also, I bet you had to spend a lot of time in church. No thanks, medieval times. I mean, the place, the MODERN PLACE Medieval Times is boring as hell, and it’s got booze slushies and neon lights and shit and you get to leave it. IN A CAR. I don’t think the truly all encompassing universe of this era would be too much fun to be alive in, but I guess the upside is you’re only gonna probably be alive in it for a few years.
You’re cosplaying NOW? I guess we are all cosplaying now and now is okay. No one has to wake up or wear pants and everyone is getting fat except those of you who are really motivating and the whole “back in 2020 everyone just drank all day” generalization sure goes down easy as a cosplayer, right?
The internet makes it so we can look beautiful even if we’re not and carefully think through and measure our statements even if we’re dumb as shit and all that, but that only gives us less incentive to actually be beautiful and clever. Now sucks, BUT! It’s better than any of the rest of this shit. Including:
Do people cosplay being cavemen? I love the idea that they maybe do. Just wearing a pelt around and knocking out women with a club and dragging them by the hair to a cave and raping them and so forth…oh. No. Nevermind. I actually don’t think I love this idea at all. But I guess as I talk through it, the truth is that with the exception of a few details, people DEFINITELY still cosplay this era.
Being a caveman was probably fucked up. Consider the most scared you’ve ever been: like your mom’s drunk new friend Derek got out his belt and went into the room with your mom and locked the door and you only heard whips and screams and there was no dinner and who knows if mommy will live through the night? That’s nothing compared to being a caveman and seeing a firefly or a weird shadow or some lightning or something. God forbid you heard someone hit a chord on an electric guitar. You’d shit your already shat pants.
On the upside, you get to use a club, but on the downside, that’s the cutting edge tech of the time. There’s no wheels or toothbrushes, for example.
Here’s where I leave y’all. If you’d like to subscribe, you can read the whole thing, which is more than twice this length. Also, it helps me out and I truly appreciate it! Please stay safe out there. There is an end in sight.