Sunday, August 6, 2017

9813. RUDIMENTS, pt. 35

Making Cars
All this time, looking back on it now,
seems like a great fog. Every so often
something walks out of that fog into an
almost perfect clarity. And I grab it. All
recollections, recollected. As a 10 year
old, maybe it was, 1959-1960, one of the
biggest excitements was the cereal-box
plastic toy you got inside  -  a come-on
they'd back then, custom designed and fitted
so as to sucker kids into buying cereal, or
having it brought for them. For children,
cereal has always acted as a perfect comfort
food in an otherwise strange and distasteful
world. Like macaroni and cheese or a donut,
to an adult. Well this year, Kellog's or whomever
it was with Frosted Flakes (which was basically
a corn flakes ladled over with the equivalent
of an IV line of liquid sugar-milk going right
into your brain. Once the milk hit the sugar, the
entire soggy mess just became the friendly Sea
of Sugar, which we all drank straight from), had
this idea to put 1960 Plymouth Fury plastic car
models inside each box. I loved that, and went
mad for it. Over the years they've all disappeared,
but I must once have had 12 or 15 of them. What
that sugar-push did to me in those years I can
only imagine. There was also Tang, which I simply
mainlined as a powder, like Lik-M-Aid. Tang
was some sort of space-age orange juice for
astronauts with nothing but a packet of water to
use for food. It was pure chemistry, and chemistry
of what I cannot recall. And then there was also
something called 'Accent'. It was a slick, silvery
white, almost glass-like powder of MSG. Pure
and simple, a 'flavor enhancer' whatever that
was. I mainlined that stuff too. at age 10 I was
probably already nuts. Knowing nothing, but
what I was media-told, force-fed in a doctrinaire
fashion the stylized and rudimentary ingredient-list
of a supposed adulthood. It was already almost
as if all I needed were condoms, alcohol, and
I had a few one-liners I always wanted to use.
'I watched that TV show the other night, Anus &
Andy. Boy, that Anus guy's a real asshole.' Like,
in 5th or 6th grade where you gonn'a fit that in?
Later on, whenever it was, as an adult, in fact, I
made up another one I did use a few times, at
work. 'Hey, I just read Spike Lee is going to
make a black version of Jurassic Park, and call
it 'Your Ass Is Dark.' Yesiree, a real riot, Alice.
Did you ever read that little-known Harry Potter
Thanksgiving book, 'Harry Potter and the Giblet
of Fire?'
By the time I was fifteen, my head hurt, always
pounding with fanciful ideas and overcome with
the usual crud-cultural shenanigans. Stuff I could
never believe : the Rolling Stones, 'can't get no
satisfaction?' Tongue in cheek crap about white
shirts and smoking the right brand cigarettes?
The Rolling Stones again, asking, 'who wants
yesterday's paper?' Boy, that one really threw
me, inasmuch as it's really an important question
and led a little-brain like me into all sorts of
deep conundrums: Yesterday? The essence of
time and what we mean  by it? Why is not ;old'
information just as important? Henry David
Thoreau writes, I knew even then, of the
uselessness of reading a daily newspaper  -
back then anyway  -  for reasons of 'what good is
knowledge of another train derailment, or farm
news, somewhere farther off?' And how only a
peripatetic, nervous fool would dive to and fro
over 'other' events and outside news. I read all
that, scratching my head in wonder. Is that all
a newspaper is good for? No, there are other,
longer and deeper issues of continuation and
information and education to be had from it all
about the general human condition. That had
to be considered just as important, I thought,
and a gentleman's knowledge of the world and
events would help advance that same gentleman's
views and knowledge of his own self.
Yesterday's papers indeed.
I always figured part of my problem was that I
had no one to talk to  -  but if and when I got
anyone, I never talked anyway. All situations
were always just too absurd for me to handle.
My friends, in that regard, were no help. The 
essence of 'street-friendship' just came down to
passing time : baseball, shooting hoops, riding
bicycles, tramping through the nearby woods 
and waters and junkyards. Adults offered only
the usual crap, which they called chances to 
better oneself, whatever that meant - the dumb,
organized league play of (yes, everything always
had to be 'organized') Little League baseball,
Pop Warner football, Boy Scouts, 'Cadets' (a 
small group of military zealots which surfaced
about 1959 - we each got a fake rifle, a fake 
uniform and hard hat and learned to march 
and do 'shoulder arms' while some half-idiot
adult, in this case named Terry Fox, went on
at us all the time abut what military life would
bring us and how much we'd gain from it, 
and even moreso the more we were 'prepared' 
for it. If it sounds a bit like Stalin's 'Young
communist League' that's because that's exactly
what it was, and Terry Fox should have been
locked up), and, of course, the entirety of all
the church activities  -  the entire gamut, the
altar boy stuff, CYO, chaperoned dances.
Yikes! What a way to go. I never knew what
exact 'world-as-finished-product' anyone
was quite after, so I, of course, made up my
own, wherein I was much more comfortable,
flexible, fluid and easy. Which is one of
life's finer keys.. Friends ended up offering
me nothing  -  one guy, funny enough, on 
a bus trip out of the Woodbridge VFW, where
I played drums in their small little marching
band on year, on a bus trip to West New York,
where we were marching in a parade, showed 
a few of us how, if we, instead of sitting, kneeled 
backwards on the high seats so the our mid-section
was at this one particular spot, the vibration of
the bus ride would excite us enough to maybe
bring erection and even 'bring us off.' Really,
can you believe this shit? Get me outta' here.