edited: Tuesday, December 17, 2002
By daniel crocker
Posted: Tuesday, December 17, 2002
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Well, it's strange
608 E. Michigan Ave.
Grayling, MI 48738
Is it just me (part one)
I canít sleep at night. Questions that have plagued man since the dawn of time swirl in my brain like onery turds too stubborn to flush. Iíve been working on a new theory; one day chocolate covered graham crackers will be the worldís most perfect health food. William Carlos Williams wrote of the temptation of plums; they are sweet. But whenís the last time you put down a chocolate covered graham cracker and picked up a plum? Carrots too have their place, yet still canít compare to the mohogany ecstasy of of chocolate dipped grahams.
You would think that even by now our bodies would have evolved into processed sugar eating machines. How long will it take the human digestive system to adjust to Burger King? The laws of biology suggest that in a few short years fat will be the new protein and carbs the new vitamin C. A Big Mac a day will keep the doctor awayy.. The Taco Bell diet, a new book by health guru Optimal Prime, will the a number one best seller. Oprah will swear by it. The only Obese people will be those too weak to resist the temptress asparagus.
Itís all about sin, really. We want what we canít have. For example, my wifeís sister. But Iíve been told not to write about that anymore. Itís a shame really, because she has a lot in common with the oridnary chocolate covered graham cracker. They are both tempting, but best kept cool. If you allow heat to get to them, they melt away and crumble in your hands.
I was trying to teach my Comp. II students something about language the other day. Do we control language, or does language control us? We never came to an answer, but the discussion eventually came around to labels. One of my favorite students; a huge tatooed young man from Detroit and fresh out of the army, casually observed that the original Planet of the Apes was just plain gay.
I let that sit for a minute, as I proclaimed my love for B movies. Yes, I think Charolton Heston is the greatest B movie actor in history (I consider William Shatner his equal, but Shatner is more of a television man), and I would rather watch him lay his soul bare than watch Tom Hanks pussy foot around. And the question again: What sort of act I have just committed. Is pussy foot a derogotory phrase? Does it have something to do with women, even though it originally connotated the cautious step of a feline?
So I explained to my student that during the Beat Movement of the late 50s and early 60s, straight was a label you didnít want to be stuck with. If you were straight, you were square, and if you were square, you might was well give up the ghost to whatever conservitive powers that be. Much less get any pussy. However, it was those powers, sitting bitterly in the War Room, who decided one cripy evening, over Scotch (neat), a plan to infiltrate the hippie movement. They would send under-cover, moppy headed agents into the heart of San Fransico, but what then could they do? Ah, a Spiro or an Agnew had it. What is the only thing that people hate worse than us? Fags, Tricky Dick answered. Exactly. If we can convince people that straight means you arenít a sodomite (lesbians were of little concern to these men) then we will actually start to look good. Itís a very little known fact that that night was the birth of Reganomics.
Unfortunately, the hippies, who were for better or worse usually high on something or another, were easily influenced. The rest is history. Or history rewritten; it depends on your take.
Which brings me to another point. As a competant and socially aware college professor, I never miss an oppurtunity to tell my students not to have all of the fun I had when I was in college. Honestly, language is the reason I never got into drugs. The words pot, weed, hog-jaw, blunts, by any other name, just reminded me to much of hippies. Being allergic to anything hippie, I stayed away from it like the plague (the ever useful cliche). Cocaine still conjures up images of pony tails, power ties and trickle down economics. Proud to have come from a working class family, when work could be found, this was not the route for me. Heroin is too cliche. The only drug that seemed to fit into my social and economic pigeon hole was Meth, because it is made in bathtubs in trailor courts. It was always being cooked up next door by people who spoke and dressed like me. By then, however, I had given myself over to a lust for beer and Springer like sex. The white trash of America, of which faithful reader I am one, are the most sexually deviant people on earth. Of course beer, like most drugs (sans Viagra) will eventually leave you limp, just not as quickly as most. And like I had predicted, by the time that particularly nasty side effect took hold, I had little interest in sin anyway.
I am teaching writing in a small rural college in Michigan. The student body is white bread. Having just moved here from a place of more cultural diversity, I sometimes struggle to connect with my students. Labels like fag, nigger, and chink mean very little to them. They are just words that occasionally sprout from their televisions or show up in books. And so I remembered the half-empty package of chocolate covered graham crackers sitting alone, scared, and so desirious on the middle shelf of my refriderator.
ďWhat about fat and thin? Have those labels controlled us?Ē
Every woman in the room nodded selfconciously enough that I was almost afraid to go on, but I had them. ďYou do realize,Ē I said, ďthat anerexia is a relatively new disease. There was a saner time when a little body fat was considered attractive. It meant that you ate well, and for Godís sake people when there are those in the world that starve, eating well is not a sin. Those that could afford to eat, and those who found joy in eating were well sought after. So those of you who, off handedly and meaning no harm, tell your friends that they are retarded, ask yourself, would you tell them that they are fat? When you say bitch, you are really saying cow. When you say wet back, you are calling someone, somewhere, obese. The words themselves have no meaning. Itís all about culture and connotation, but we must still be sensitive to that.Ē
I think I had the women in class convinced. But men, who believe that a beer gut is a sign of their virility, are harder to reel in. I couldnít exactly call them pencil dicks, revel in my analogy, and drive home with my job intact. And they are still too young to contemplate hair follicles that fall like snow in April.
In any event, I asked them to think about it over the weekend. Iíll see what they have to say today. For now, however, I have to go. I ate the rest of the chocolate covered graham crackers this morning, then I popped a couple diet pills. I need to get in a few miles before time to leave for school.