Monthly Archives: March 2010

Dear Whitey,

Last year, Michigan congressman Pete Hoekstra made a small but noticeable impact in the world of internet memes. Basically, he Twittered some offhand comment that compared the plight of Iranians struggling for freedom and spreading their message via Twitter to, I don’t know, a bunch of old Republicans bitching about something.

Hoekstra’s ridiculousness was not lost on a world of sarcastic internet trollers with too much time on their hands, and Hoekstra is a Meme was born (though, sadly, seems to have been long abandoned). Frankly, I was delighted when I first discovered this site.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m white, or because I’ve got a job and a house and food, and I unconsciously strain under the weight of this embarrassment of riches, but sometimes it really rubs me the wrong way when I hear about people doing symbolic fasting (note: I’m not referring to ritual fasting as practiced by adherents to a religious or spiritual tradition, i.e. Ramadan) or participating in scenarios that “recreate” what it “feels like” to be homeless, impoverished, persecuted, etc;

Of course on one hand, I see that these sorts of things do require some kind of sacrifice on the part of the participant; the person is somehow stepping beyond his comfort level and doing something he’s likely not done before. That’s nice. I guess.

But on the other hand, what does that really accomplish? Sleeping outdoors in a shelter fashioned out of cardboard might be reminiscent of what a homeless person might experience, but the last time I saw an event that was supposed to “raise awareness” of homelessness in this way, there were prizes for the best shelter. Oh, and free food. And t-shirts. And a fucking band.

Well, shit! If the homeless get Best Buy gift cards, free Qdoba and live entertainment then sign me the fuck up!

Though the prizes and incentives to “experience” these sorts of things is downright asinine, my real “issue” with these seemingly one-dimensional acts is not with their inauthenticity, it’s with their incredibly short lifespan. After fasting for a day, or sleeping outside for a night, or slapping some dark makeup on your face and walking around the Woolworth’s, you eventually go back to eating (at the banquet planned by the organizers of the fast, no?). You’ll sleep the next night (in your comfy bed in your climate-controlled home in your warm pajamas). You’ll wash that crap off of your face (and the next time you go to Wal-Mart you’ll shift uncomfortably when a young Black man in a colorful baseball cap seems to get a little too close to the merchandise: did he just put something in his pocket? Ohmygod, I think he just put something in his pocket!).

That warm, fuzzy, I-did-something-really-great feeling might last a bit longer for some people. A few days? A week? But it eventually fades. I mean, it’ll be a bitchin’ conversation add-on at some social gathering in the future, of course: “Man, when I camped out for Habitat for Humanity…” But what, if any, long-term effects exist from these grand shows of mock (read: condescending) solidarity?

I don’t propose a better solution to the world’s massive problems, and I certainly don’t condone the might-as-well-do-nothing-because-things-are-just-hopeless-anyway approach. I just think there’s gotta be a better, more sustainable, way to make a difference.

What do you think?

sotd 03.31.10

I can’t get that hook out of my head…*

“Dirty Water” / the Standells (1966)

*This is the last time I go fly-fishing with Stevie Wonder.

achy feely

Some people get a headache, like, once a year.

I am not one of those people.

I don’t get migraines; at least, I don’t think that I do. I’ve never had a headache bad enough to see a doctor, though I have, at times, curled myself up into a little ball and prayed for death to come quickly.

Lately, though, I’ve had a headache every day. What gives? I thought. At first, I figured maybe it was just some mild DTs, so I started taking shots with breakfast.* When that didn’t seem to help things (funnily enough, it seemed to just cause more headaches. What gives?), I just started closing the garage door on my foot, a way to trick my brain into concentrating on another kind of pain.** When that didn’t work, I started tranquilizing myself with a dart gun I stole from a veterinarian and sleeping through the day.***

Still, nothing. I’d wake up, and in a few hours, the headache would be back.

Then, today, during an alcohol / Crush Syndrome / ketamine-induced nap, I remembered that I’m allergic to the fucking tree outside my window.

Allergies. Huh. Go fucking figure.

*I’m kidding, I’m kidding. I don’t take shots for breakfast unless it’s my birthday. Or someone else’s birthday.
**Again, I’m kidding. The garage door is older than I am. It’d probably disintegrate on impact with my foot anyway.
***No, I didn’t. I don’t know any veterinarians. In this state, at least.

sotd 03.30.10

“Welcome to the Occupation” / Cold War Kids (2008)

sotd 03.29.10

We also need more songs against vagrancy and homelessness:

“Don’t Sleep in the Subway” / Petula Clark (1972)

sotd 03.28.10

More groups need matching outfits. Those were the days.

“Papa Was a Rolling Stone” / the Temptations (1972)

the funny

I can’t tell a joke to save my life.

No, like – seriously. If I were laying in a hospital bed with some horrific, Venus-sized aneurysm just seconds from exploding, and the surgeon leaned over me and said “Julie, you can stop this if you just tell us that funny line from last night’s episode of The Office,” I would instantly die. The vessel would rupture and my insides would be immediately filled with nastiness which would then ooze from my orifices, and the surgeon would slowly look up at the nurses, and shake his head, and make one of those “tsk tsk” noises, and would slowly, dramatically, remove his gloves as he called my time of death, muttering “it was just an ‘That’s what she said’ joke!” under his breath.

When I hear a funny one-liner, or one of those “a guy walks into a bar” stories, I want desperately to share my delight with someone else. I try so hard to recreate the funny, but I can’t. Even if I literally read the joke – from a piece of paper, a Popsicle stick, the wall of the bathroom, whatever – I get nothing. It’s not that the funny is just lost in the retelling – it’s completely, bass-ackwards, up-a-fucking-tree lost.

And I know! I know what you’re thinking! I write things. I write things all the time! And sometimes these things that I write make people laugh. They are funny, some of these things that I write all of the time. But when I write, I have the luxury of a delete key. And the thesaurus function in Word. And time to go over what I’ve just written and cross everything out and start from the beginning. And if you think I don’t do that, that everything I post to this thing is just magically pulled out of my white Irish ass, then I’d freaking love to take a hit from whatever it is you’re smoking because that must be some good shit.

Or maybe you’re thinking of That One Time that I threw some real good zinger into a conversation. It was funny, and people laughed. And oh, haha, Julie is just a fucking riot! Oh, Julie! But if you break down these little zings, you’ll find that, most of the time, I’m just being mean. And it doesn’t take much actual skill to be mean at someone else’s expense. I’m kind of a raging bitch like that. Really.

So all I really got going for me is a wicked-bad case of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and more than a few enemies.

Protected: One of those stories, part one.

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sotd 03.27.10

…who just happen to be playing an outdoor concert here this summer, who just happen to be one of my ABSOLUTEST FAVORITEST BANDS EVER:

“Seven Bridges Road” / Eagles (1980)

maxing, relaxing all cool

The following is a true story.

“It’s Will Smith! You know who Will Smith is, don’t you?”

The guy in the other check-out lane was on his cell phone, gesturing wildly with his free hand while picking up his groceries in the other.

“No, it’s flipped, not twisted!”

Wait, what?

“It goes, ‘My life got flipped, turned upside down’!”

No way. This guy was arguing about the lyrics to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme.

I love Wal-Mart.