Originally published on 7/19/11 at The Only Podcast That Matters (theonlypodcast.com)
One of the most epic battles in life is that between the individual’s wish to remain a creature of habit, to maintain the status quo, and their yearning to explore, change, and mix things up a bit. We all want some things to stay the same forever, while we also want things to change with a quickness, be it in our own little microcosms, or in the world at large.
To start this installment off, let’s reach back into the history books. Once upon a time, a bunch of upper-crusty, powdered-wig motherfuckers founded this country. They did so with a set of rules, principles and aspirations for which they were willing to commit treason and ultimately face execution. You would be hard-pressed not to wonder if those men would have thought things through a little more if they could have any idea how this country ended up over two-hundred years later. Take one of the foremost principles on The Bill of Rights, freedom of speech, for example. Our forefathers would be rolling over in their graves if they knew something like the F.C.C. existed, that political correctness grabbed everybody by the balls and forced them to sugarcoat the truth about life, or that music, movies and video games were being censored and blamed for kids being fucked up. When our founders gave citizens the right to bear arms, they probably could not have envisioned people wanting submachine guns to protect their homes, or imbred hicks being able to stock up on ammo with ease at their local Walmart, or high school shootings. What about the law of “double jeopardy”? Those brave, yet treasonous men who founded our nation may have left their quill pens in the inkwells if they knew that O.J. Simpson would one day write a book about how he “would have done it”, or if they saw Casey Anthony stroll out of jail this week.
It is somehow doubtful that the aristocrats would have been entertained by the way Hollywood has changed, if they could see it. It is not unreasonable to submit that they too would be longing for a Mean Girls-era Lindsay Lohan, when she was smoking hot, didn’t have to wear an ankle bracelet, and was smashing through the glass ceiling that had been previously set for gingers. They may also be bitter about the fact that zombies, despite their greatly diminished brain capacity and rapid cellular degeneration, are inexplicably able to wind sprint their way towards their prey in movies these day. Furthermore, it is safe to assume that the wigs would be aghast at the fact that certain entertainers make tens of millions to make mediocre movies, forcing cash-strapped citizens into digital piracy.
Theoretically, we’ve come a long way. Humans have climbed to the top of the food chain. However, we still need to be warned that coffee is hot and we shouldn’t spill it in our laps. We still think that a sign is enough to convince a desperate or determined criminal with a gun that employees do not have access to the safe. We’ve made a joke out of marriage in this country, but still try to invoke some lofty bullshit based in religion and tradition to keep two gay people from being as miserable together as half the other married couples. We try to rationalize things we can’t explain or change by dropping trite and irritating lines like “it is what it is”. But hey, we fill the emptiness at the end of the day by watching C and D-list stars dance terribly on TV ( I’ll get to that another day).
If you were alive during the past two decades, you saw the nation end up with a surplus, and then nosedive into the greatest financial crisis since The Great Depression. If you grew up in recent years, you saw skyrocketing gas prices, blankets with sleeves, the media’s need to suffix the word “gate” onto any and every public scandal, and the rise of all things “chipotle” (I’m a fan of that last one). As you made your way through the years, you’ve probably had one or more employers find loopholes or bullshit reasons to pay you less money for the same amount of work (or more). You’ve probably become more easily irritated by little things, like needy customers who happen to be your job security, four remixes of the same song, or how far off closed captioning is from what is actually being said on screen.
We’re not as young as we used to be. Being able to eat whatever we wanted as kids has caught up to us. Gray hairs are starting to sneak in on occasion. The walking-up-the-stairs farts join the sound of cracking ankles in a horrid symphony as we trudge up each step. Paychecks stay the same or get smaller while expenses continue to rise. We’re more clueless the day we graduate college than the day we graduate high school.
Despite the rather depressing tone of this series, not all is lost. As long as there are boobs, movies where Liam Neeson kills everyone to take back what’s his, and restaurants continuing to jump on the chipotle bandwagon, I know I’m a happy camper. Join me, for the ups and downs, the ins and outs, and hopefully, the eventual zombie apocalypse. Catch you on the flipside.