Things We Cannot Do
“the condemned man looked so submissively doglike that it seemed as if he might have been allowed to run free on the slopes and would only need to be whistled for when the execution was due to begin"
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I was gonna continue on my list of panics from last week, but it occurred to me that maybe there’s something that is somehow a little more pressing going on right now and I should write about that instead. I can and will get back to the various panics the world has faced (red scare, gay, COVID [both conspiracy and legit] and more) but today we’re gonna go on a little journey into the various things that, for whatever reason, I am not allowed to do, as this is more important. So strap in, folks, it’s gonna be wild. We’ll start with:
Yup. Can’t murder. For whatever reason, it’s just not allowed. This isn’t something I truly feel like I’m missing out on. The idea of watching someone die holds literally zero appeal to me, but if someone harmed someone I love, I suppose I can see that changing rather rapidly. Murder is a fairly foundational thing, to the point where it’s almost an emotion of its own. If you don’t follow me, consider this: you’ve (presumably) been furious before, but think about the maddest you’ve ever been. Hopefully, even in that state, you’re not thinking “I’d like to murder” with anything more than a hyperbolic theoretical bent to it.
Murder is, and this is about the most obvious and stupid thing I’ll ever say, no joke. But it IS tied into all sorts of baseline humanity. Sex is often a component in murder, as some people get some sort of psychosexual thrill from the power dynamic of watching someone’s life leave their body, or it’s one of those things where you’re like “OH! You’re gonna leave and get a new man??? Not so fast, lady!” There are more sex/murder correlations, but you get the idea. Obviously rage and anger are involved too, but anything that’s that close to sex (and it is. It’s actually more intimate than sex or cohabitation or anything. Watching someone come or seeing the face they make when they force out an unruly dump is one thing, but watching someone’s life leave their body is, I assume, a whole other can of beans, man) kinda has an honorary spot at the base of Maslow’s pyramid, ya know?
There are a lot of cool pieces of art based around murder. That right there is enough to put it in a category of “super endemic to the human experience.” I mean, between John Wick, Crime and Punishment, that one part of the bible where they nail the dude to the thing, and Silence Of the Lambs, you’ve got a pretty solid case for putting murder in at least the same category as love, in terms of how it rests in the human soul. But doing murder? Not for me.
Murder is fundamentally a mean thing to do, and like insulting someone, when you do it, it’s way, way more about you than it is about your victim. I don’t love murder at all. Murder is no good. I suppose if I had to pick a side, I’d say that I’m glad we’re not allowed to murder each other. But hey, you do you.
Dick out in public
Again, not allowed. I don’t have much of a desire to do this either anymore, though when I was a kid I definitely enjoyed randomly knocking on the Starbucks picture window and smashing my balls against it just to kinda freak out the squares. In hindsight, not the coolest move, but I am nigh positive that if I check the records, I didn’t do anything cool from like 16 to 25, so it kinda tracks.
Dick out in public becomes a real problem because people just don’t want to see that shit and lots of people find it scary. If you’ve got your dick out in front of some poor lady who’s just riding the train, for example, her mind is racing to consider what she’s gonna do when you come over and try to assault her. That’s bad. I can’t stress this enough: that shit is completely unacceptable.
HOWEVER, one time I was over at my buddy Chris’s house. It was the late 90s and the Bulls had just won their 6th championship, and created the term ‘threepeat repeat’ in the process. The city went fucking nuts. So there’s me, out on Lincoln avenue, across from Grizzly's (RIP) wearing socks and shoes and nothing else at all, drinking a beer and holding some kind of frying pan, banging the beer against the pan as the slow parade of cars inched by, all down for a high five from a naked young adult.
So that’s the scene: me, naked except for shoes and socks, banging a frying pan with a beer and high fiving everyone that passed (I was also probably screaming like a dumbass, as that’s what I am) when who pulls up in front of me? Well, I’m glad you asked. It was a rubber flatbed truck festooned with SWAT stormtroopers. To say this ruined the vibe would be an understatement. One of the Avengers got off the truck and walked up to me (clear visor down) and looked me in the eye, at which point I kinda froze. I wish I’d had the temerity to say something like “ah! Wish you hadn’t driven by right now, to be honest. I have no excuse for this whatsoever,” but instead I just kinda stared blankly at the dude and he said “hey, get your beer off the street” and then they moved along. Not the best moment, but up there in terms of twist endings. Anyway, what’s next?
Marry a horse
Yup. Can’t do this. There’s a documentary called Animal Passions that is all about people who fuck animals (I wrote about it extensively on my old blog), and while some of it is wildly outrageous and disgusting, some of it is remarkably humanizing and sad. I don’t, weirdly, have a strong opinion on this. I feel like if you’re fucking a horse over and over again and that horse doesn’t like it, that horse will let you know in a way that will most likely render you dead.
If you and the horse have a thing and no one in your little uh...coupledom(?) is bummed on it, I couldn’t care less if you fuck your horse or marry your horse. I know what they say, it’s a slippery slope, but I don’t buy that shit at all. That’s what they said about gay marriage and I didn’t notice any dudes showing up at the supreme court with their goats or child harems after that was made legal. I find horse marriage to be one of those things that, while, to be perfectly clear, just isn’t for me, is probably best left to the horse in terms of if it’s kosher or not. If that horse digs your shenanigans, weird guy with a ponytail, then great. If the horse hates it, it will kick your small intestine through your spine and the universe will have righted itself. Um...jesus. Let’s get to something more fun.
Drugs are illegal! BUT! That does literally nothing to stem the pervasiveness of drugs in every neighborhood in every city and town in the world (besides Japan). The decriminalization of weed in certain US states has proven that A) whoopity doo and B) people are still gonna illegally grow and sell weed because somehow those Apple store looking dispensary spots that are hamstrung by regulation don’t have the nimble and affordable nuance of old Sergio down at the end of the bar.
Drugs should of course be legal. Crack and heroin are bad, serious drugs, but I don’t think anyone has been put off of trying them due to legislation. “Ah,” your aunt would never say, “I’d love a quick lungful of crack to help me get through this book club night, if only it weren’t so gosh darn illegal!” Drug laws are stupid and racist and fuel our vampiric capitalist private prison system. In that way they’re a perfect exemplar of what’s wrong with our whole country.
I once saw a crazy ass bearded dude performing on (I think?) the British show Top of the Pops and he was wearing a plain white undershirt on which he’d scrawled “Legalize cocaine” in sharpie, which was pretty amusing. Anyway, moving on..
Graffiti is illegal, but wow, it’s cool. I’ve mentioned this before but there is literally nothing cooler to me than illegal art. You can’t do it, but you should. My friend, who is very very into graffiti tells me that in Germany (home of some truly amazing street artists) when you’re in the yard painting the trains, the first shot from the cops is a warning and the second one is at you. Not fun! But please, if I can encourage you to do anything here today...um, actually it’s not graffiti. Sigh. This will all make sense in a few minutes.
Stay up all night
You can’t do this unless no one loves you or you have a crazy job. In those two cases, no one cares, but in the situation where you have a spouse or a good friend or something and you’re up at 445 AM, you’re gonna get an angrily exhausted “the fuck are you doing? Come/Go to bed already” and you’ll feel that weird guilt that you feel when you haven’t done anything wrong per se but you’ve just disappointed those around you by being a lazy asshole. It sucks.
I guess you can do this when you’re like 12, as an adventure or whatever. You say to your mom “tonight, Chris is gonna come over and we’re gonna rent Revenge of the Nerds, Ghostbusters, After Hours and Police Academy 2 and we’re gonna stay up ALL NIGHT!” and your mom kinda smiles and recognizes that this means you’ll be an ornery little shit for the next 2+ days but lets you do it. It still feels terrible. Staying up all night is for methheads and people driving to El Paso. If you’re neither, get some goddamn sleep.
Hang out with Gary
Closely related to staying up all night, hanging out with Gary is something that you can only do if no one loves you. If they loved you, they’d be like “yo, Gary? For real? He’s a bad influence. You always end up drunk and reeking like cigarettes and you stay up late and you’re kinda rude to me in a way that I can’t help but interpret as some sort of ‘I’m showing off for Gary’ thing which is weird because Gary doesn’t even have a job or any prospects or anything. Yes. Gary is fun. Gary is funny. Yes, you two have had some great times, but your daughter has volleyball tomorrow and my parents are coming to town.”
You know that hanging out with Gary is a bad life choice, but here’s the thing: it’s fun as hell! Gary’s unhinged lack of fucks is intoxicating and you, my friend, work at a software company and watch 6 year old girls play volleyball on the weekends. Gary is everything you aren’t (including unemployed) and hanging with Gary is a vicarious rock and roll trip down the main street in Pleasure Island. Does Gary have an old lady? Friends, Gary does not. Did Gary bang the 19 year old grocery bagger from the local Safeway last week? He did. And he told you all about it.
You are not allowed to hang with Gary, but sometimes you say fuck it and hang with Gary anyway. I personally am a fan, but not today, man. I have shit to do tomorrow.
Beer on the street
The single greatest crime against humanity is that here, in what’s supposed to be the land of the free, we can’t drink a beer on the street without the pigs getting the best of us. It’s a goddamned travesty. Do I routinely drink beer on the street anyway? Yes. Yes I do. This is a draconian holdover from prohibition era that sucks metric tons of ass and completely ruins otherwise fun evenings with Gary.
The thing about drinking beer on the street is that it’s fine. It’s literally no different than drinking in your house or at a bar. If you’re not littering or harassing people, what is the problem? You can drink coke on the street, but god forbid you walk over to the store with a beer. Fer fuckssakes. This is the worst one. You can do this shit in Germany, goddamnit, and they have traditionally had pretty stringent ideas about how the public should conduct themselves. In Japan, (granted, full of passed out businessmen) you can drink on the street and they’re not down with anything remotely sideways. The only reason we can’t drink on the street here in USA is because god hates us full stop.
You know what? You actually CAN do this. Literally, and I’m not exaggerating here, people have DIED to insure that their progeny would have the right to vote. It seems boring and it seems like a total dad thing for me to say, but it’s really true. If you don’t think this is important, tell it to the women and black guys and immigrants who are all laying in shitty graves, who died so that this would be a thing we could all ignore.
You know how people register to vote in most countries? They get born and turn old enough to vote. (narc voice) Here in America, the MAN doesn’t want you voting, and that’s why it’s hard to do. There’s a pretty cozy relationship between hegemony and capitalism that’s most easily visible in the tactics that are used to suppress our voices. Is voting ‘cool?’ No. It’s just important. It’s like getting a colonoscopy in that way. If you’re lucky enough to be white and you live in a somewhat non-warzone area, you should be able to vote very easily, despite the virus, despite the proud boys lurking around, despite everything. And you should. Why?
Consider that in spots where it’s not as easy, people stand in line for hours to vote. They’re not doing that because it’s fun. They’re doing that because this one little bit of enfranchisement is the only scrap they have to cling to. Are you REALLY so fucking self important and lazy and shitty that you won’t go do something that people have gotten fired, wasted their days and literally died to be able to do?
Pull it together. I don’t love Joe any more than you do, but I DO know that people of color, women, the entire LGBTQ+ community have a LOT riding on this election in terms of if there’s still gonna be any freedoms for them to partake in. Fuck drinking on the street. Fuck graffiti. We’re talking about people not being able to get jobs or medical care. The day of reckoning is upon us and so forth.
Shit’s for real. Don’t be a dick.
Love you all.Godspeed. xoxox