The Following Things Don't Exist

“Your own actions are a better mirror of your life than the actions of all your enemies put together.”

Hey hey, y’all. Welcome to day 420.69 in quarantine. I’ve spent all day trying to talk to various management and label people about when we can do shows to support our band’s new record and the general consensus is “uh, seriously, nobody knows but probably not soon.” 

To be clear, this is a good and very correct attitude to have, but here’s the thing: This kinda shit needs to be planned way in advance. We had the release date for our record sorted out early last year, and it’s still MONTHS away from even being announced, so when I speak to these agents, managers, label folk and so on, all of them, to the last, really truly some of the best in the business, nobody has any fucking idea what’s going on, it makes me feel like nothing is real. 

SO, with that in mind, I bring you today’s Bad Sandwich Chronicles. This episode is about things that I think aren’t real. Most of them I know for a fact aren’t real, but some are more hunches. Whatever. Enjoy. We’ll start with one that I know to be not real:

“Are you a cop? You gotta tell us”

This is so fucking not real that if you’re stupid enough to think it IS real you should be arrested and thrown in jail on principle just for being so next-level dumb. Something like 90% of all Italians in America make their livings starring in movies about undercover cops who get in too deep. Do you honestly think that crime lords wouldn’t constantly use this loophole if it was at all a thing? I mean, you’re on a two prop plane flying from Bolivia to about halfway between Cuba and Key West where you’re gonna touch down in the sea and your homie is gonna come pick you and your 35 pounds of cocaine up and get it to the mainland. It would probably be in your best interest to ask the other guy you’re with “hey, are you a cop?” while you’re in a small plane full of blow over international waters so you can push his ass out of the plane if he is, but see...that’s not how that shit works. This is like that Kaiser Soze “greatest trick the devil ever pulled” bit. The fact that people think this is true works to the benefit of cops and to the detriment of good honest law abiding criminals like us everywhere. 

Cops will ALWAYS lie to you. That’s part of their job. Here are some quick rules about cops: 

1) never believe them EVER.

2) Never call them about anything going on in your home or about a person you care about unless shit is DIRE…as in, there’s an intruding gunman or something involved, because nine out of ten times, they’re gonna make the situation way worse. 

3) NEVER invite a cop into your place unless he’s your homie who’s off duty or something. You waive all sorts of rights when you do that shit.  

3) If you suspect the person you’re dealing with is a cop, rather than count on the old cop honor system that’s never let civilians down in the past ever, maybe just don’t deal with them anymore.

I have a very close friend who got robbed at gunpoint and called the cops and when they arrived on the scene hours later they were like “I don’t see a gun. I see no evidence of a crime. How do we know you even had a wallet?” and (and I hate that this next part will just inherently make sense) this guy was WHITE. Don’t call the cops and DEFINITELY don’t trust the cops. If you don’t know this already, you’re probably even whiter than my friend is, and he’s German.

In conclusion, the cop code is real, but it’s ONLY real if you’re also a cop. They’re aligned against us. There are good cops, just like there are foxes out there you can keep as pets. It doesn’t mean that you should just take the chance with this one that happens to be in front of you and let it in your house.

Ninjas

Ah, (rubs hands together), nothing on earth pisses people off more than this inconvenient truth: Ninjas aren’t real. Oh, what’s that? They are? Okay, so you’re telling me that back in medieval Japan, when there were no paperclips or plumbing or elastic waistbands or bidets or cheeseburgers, that there was an elite group of clandestine masked men who could scale walls and would take pieces of meticulously crafted, sharpened, highly stylized metal and just waste them throwing them at people? You could probably RETIRE on the value of one lone throwing star back in those days, man.

So right now, you’re furious. I get it. You’re a dork and you hate to think that ninjas aren’t real. But uh...to quote the best samurai totem of all time, “search your feelings, you know it to be true.” The part that’s coming next is where you concede that maybe, MAYBE throwing stars aren’t practical, but ninjas still were a thing. To that, I can only reply, that’s literally the most believable thing about them. So they could still vanish and climb up walls in silence and not hit themselves in the dick with nunchucks constantly and they were secret assassins that worked under a strict code but there was no ninja guild or bosses or anything?

Seems legit...and don’t even get me started on those blunt pitchfork things that Raphael has. That’s your fucking weapon? A couple of fireplace stokers? Sheeeit, man. Nope. No fucking way. Ninjas aren’t real. There are teenage turtles. There are mutant turtles. There are no ninjas. 

PCP

This one is a little different, because I’m not suggesting that the chemical PCP doesn’t exist. I even bet that if you take it, shit’s wild. BUT, I don’t believe in PCP. Here’s what I know about PCP: buzzards in the suburbs always say their weed is laced with PCP. They also say it’s laced with opium. That shit is literally never true. Here’s what else I know: I’ve been in a band for almost 30 years and I’ve been around some drug users. I’ve been in a room where people are smoking crack and I’ve been in a room where people are doing heroin. I’ve seen some shit, maaaan. I’ve seen meth. I’ve seen uh...I’ve seen people drinking that opioid cough syrup and crushing up oxycontins and all that. Not only have I never seen PCP, I don’t even know how you take PCP. The only people I’ve ever ‘seen’ that do PCP are gigantic naked black guys in dumpsters on COPS who have developed superhuman powers and jumped out a window or something. Which is interesting.

I don’t think I’m blowing any minds when I say that COPS is a fucked up exploitive show that can be politely classified as state propaganda. I don’t think I’m blowing any minds when I say that poor black males are overwhelmingly the victims of state propaganda in this country. I don’t think I’m out of line when I say that, despite that, literally EVERYTHING that poor black inner city males do gets co-opted by white culture at large eventually. 

So you’re telling me there’s a drug that makes it possible for you to jump out a third story window and land on two broken legs, not even feel it and then still have the superhuman strength to beat up cops and nobody does it besides these dudes on COPS? Really? There’s not a SINGLE MMA dude taking PCP before a match? That’s never happened? Gimme a fuuuuucking break. PCP isn’t real. 

Female orgasm

Heh. Get it? I’m terrible at intercourse. This joke is exactly the opposite of PCP in that everyone tries it and it makes you remarkably uncool. 

Dicks over 3 inches

Totally going for it here! Same joke! Slightly different premise. Whew. YOU CAN DO IT!

Jesus

I’m every horrible dingus on the internet. I don’t believe in Jesus and I don’t have a TV. Also, I own a snake named Woland and a lizard named Balthazar and I have a ponytail and I’m pansexual. Weird leather straps? Oh, homie, I got those wrapped around me in places you’d never suspect. Sometimes, I rock a goatee, but sometimes I trim it down to a flavor saver. This latest tat is the exact type of barbed wire that laces the electric fences at guantanamo. Wes Borland designed this tactical tank top, by the way. And religion is a crutch. How dare you believe in Jesus? Seriously though, there’s no god, but fuck these nerds too. 

Baseline morality

This one is weird, because there is a general truth that I like to and try to believe, and that’s that everyone is fundamentally good. But the thing about that is that EVERYONE thinks they’re being good. There are, of course, exceptions. Jeff Dahmer knew what he was doing was fucked up...But even then, if you look at the tapes of his interviews, he was so lonely. He had abandonment issues that were, to put it mildly, pretty serious. As a result, he experimented with how to fuck with peoples’ brains (some sort of injected horoclydric acid situation that he thought would incapacitate people so they COULDN’T leave him), and then when they died, he saved their dicks and ears and shit to eat because he wanted to feel a closeness that he couldn’t get from regular human interaction. And this is a guy who murdered people and ate them and had a grip of dicks in his fridge. Even THEN, he’s just trying to relate to humanity. 

I don’t know what’s up with Hitler and Pol Pot and Idi Amin but i know this much: they didn’t think of themselves as evil. They thought of themselves as doing the messy, but still right thing to protect the people they loved from a scourge. It should go without saying that this is fucked up and I’m not a fan of any of those guys, but it’s the internet, so I gotta be as clear as possible. 

I saw a documentary about...what was it about...laughing? Well, whatever the fuck it was about, the only thing I remember is this part about this African nomadic people who have drawn a very very bad hand, existence-wise. They’re poor wanderers and they have no food or money or anything and they just kinda roll with their terrible situation and life totally sucks for them, overall. I believe that there are just a few hundred of them and they’re the only ones who speak their language too, which is also the only language that any of them speak. So, you see the pitfalls involved in bettering yourself in any way if you’re born into this crew.

But Anyway, though their lives were bleak as shit, this documentary found...Oh, no! It was not a documentary. It was Ken Jennings’ (Jeopardy GOAT!) book Planet Funny. Anyway, from what I recall, they used laughter to power through the very shitty lives they had, but it wasn’t like Live Laugh Love style laughter. It was like, they’d laugh when an old lady caught on fire or when the mice started eating the sick baby’s lips or whatever because that’s their shit: unbeatable bleakness. I know. I don’t like it either. 

My buddy, Nick Martin (the other main Wandering Bird that’s not Dan TInkler), did a pretty harrowing documentary about AIDS nurses in Malawi. I don’t know how up to date these stats are, but at the time, I believe Malawi had the highest number of AIDS patients per nurse in the world. Nick lived with these nurses and...I mean, they were watching like 8-10 people die a day. That’s probably gonna tint the windows on your view of what it’s like to pass from this mortal coil, right? 

Well, so yeah. Turns out, Nick came back like a year later and he was talking to his main subject and he asked her “wow, so where’s Daniel (very possibly the wrong name, btw)” and she’s like “oh, he got hit by a bus. He’s dead now.” This was her 8 year old son. She said that shit like I asked “hey, where’s my twix” and the reply was “Oh, it melted on the windowsill so I threw it away.” I’ve never seen anything like it. This woman wasn’t cruel or anything. In fact, she dedicated her life to helping people, but her response to the death of her child would seem to many to be real, real fucked up. It’s one of the most haunting displays of where humanity can go that I hope to ever witness.

So my point is that baseline human morality is no more real than PCP or the female orgasm, I guess. Whatever is going on in your head, that’s where your moral compass is born and you always are on the right side of it. Even if you’re not. Even if you’re (lets say) drinking a beer before work or something, you’re like “yo, this is bad on paper. But I’M not bad. I just gotta do what I gotta do to be good.” And since morality is such a bizarre thing, it’s not hard to blow off someone else’s. There’s a person out there who thinks that drawing a pentagram is straight up evil, so clearly, they’re dumb as shit and fuck them and by extension fuck anyone else’s idea of what being good entails. And we just talked about how the guy who keeps dicks in his cooler for snacks is kind of reasonable if you think about it enough. So yeah. Good luck parsing morality, folks.

What else doesn’t exist? I’ll do one last one.

Happiness

Now, this shit exists. It does. I mean, if you’ve ever seen the wonder on your kid’s face when you blow her mind with something like ‘this is an escalator’ for the first time or if you’ve ever seen your sketchy new buddy light up when the drug dealer shows up at the motel room door, you know what i mean. Happiness is real. But, in the words of the Menzingers, it’s a moment. It’s not a sustainable platform. Happiness is the brief respite between exhaustion, anxiety, crippling sadness and apathy that you notice because the rest blend into being the same thing and inform each other. But happy doesn’t last. 

And thank god it doesn’t. No one would build or paint or leave their shitty spouse or learn another language or figure out what the fuck they’ve been doing wrong all this time or work out or write amazing works of art if they were happy all the time. Happy all the time looks like the end of Wall-E, and if that’s your thing, cool I guess. Not for me. I want the capacity to dip in and out of being greasy and nihilistic and constantly on the prowl for some bullshit. I want my happiness to come in blooming explosions that blind me and make me howl at the fucking moon here and there because it’s earned. I want to care so much about the world that I don’t GET to be happy that much and I want that masochism to pay off when I do feel it. I want to feel it because love because understanding because agreement because art because souls touching unexpectedly and i want it to be something we have to work for. Because the illusion we’ve been sold is that we deserve happiness. And that’s the stupidest fucking thing anyone could ever believe. Happiness takes effort. It takes the full spectrum of the pendulum that swings all the way to morbid, horrific sadness to earn. It takes being okay with something you’ve done, even if it’s just waking up and struggling through another brutal day. Happiness is a reward, not a right. To say otherwise is essentially to be Don Trump Jr. and we all deserve the struggle that makes us more human than that fucking secondhand dildo.

Hey. We’re gonna make it through this thing, and in order to do it we have to recognize that happiness isn’t a right, it’s a moment. And it’s one worth fighting for, y’all.

Love ya.