I never get nostalgic, I think that living in the present is the best possible way to remain sane and not becoming a geezer. My age is a constant source of amusement for my barber, who is still in his twenties. He jokingly refers to me as "old timer".
I think back to a time, not so long ago, and it dawned on me that modern society has indeed mutated into a collage of bizarre fashion, horrific music, over-regulation and a strange mixture of eastern mysticism, left-wing politics and self righteousness, an unfortunate remnant of late sixties hippie culture.
I often take my surroundings for granted, but from my greasy perspective some things seem absolutely preposterous. It not a generational misunderstanding, but rather, a bemusement stemming form the fact that I have been a pomped up greaseball for so long, that many non-greasy things easily shock me.
Here's a few examples.
1. My retinas are burning.
There was a time when every young dude aspired to play guitar and be in a band. The non-gearhead young dudes would buy a guitar first chance they got and maybe a powerful stereo to listen to tunes which they could learn.
It would never occur to the aspiring rock star to wear glittery shiny shit ( unless he wanted to be in a New York Dolls tribute band), or to be in a boy-band and co-ordinate dance moves.
Even genuine tough-guys nowadays wear that eyeball assaulting Affliction or Ed Hardy shit. It's hard not to snicker when I see a couple of theses fools swaggering down the street thinking they are the shit. Now some of these raging 'roid monkeys are really fucking big and the psychotic look in their eyes reminds me to keep the chuckles discrete. The only satisfaction that I get is that when they look at photos of themselves in ten years, they will ask themselves what they were thinking. (kinda like the seventies).
T shirts used to be of the band variety and maybe the thinly veiled curse words which everybody found so amusing. To be a walking billboard for some talentless designer, and paying through the nose for the privilege, eludes even the most Neanderthal among the shiny denizen.
I see gaggles of these fashion victims and they strut down the street on their way to some overpriced bar to watch the latest UFC match, bimbos in tow and give off glittery reflections that can be seen from space.
2. Now my eyes are burning AND I wanna puke.
Nothing makes me want to poke my eyeballs out more than the sight of a grown man on a bike sporting skin tight Spandex.
I cringe as I stop at a red light on my bike as I have this 250 lb. dude squeezed into to ultra form fitting , logo laden, spandex in my line of vision for the next 60 seconds. It's like smelling a really large pile of shit. It makes me curse as I writhe in pain trying unsuccessfully to elude it.
As the Tour de France wannabes try to take off while inserting their expensive racing shoes in the clip-on pedals, I will beat them at the light. Since I am riding a 70 year old bike and am probably hung over, they will soon pass me , and I have to look at a quivering slab of butt-meat yet again.
Dude. put that away!
A bike used to be a bike, just that. It wasn't a precision engineered $5000 racing machine with titanium... blah, blah blah... It was made in Canada or the US, made of steel, and you rode it from point A to point B.
There used to be these very short school buses back in the day. Inside the bus were kids that wore helmets. Our momma told us not stare, but that was the only time you would see helmets.
This jurisdiction has draconian bicycle helmet laws, but until somebody makes a pomp-shaped helmet with built in sideburns, I ain't wearin' no helmet.
3. What Seat Belts ?
My old man had a '65 Galaxy when I was kid. The shoulder belt was on the ceiling and as I reached for it I was admonished and told this wasn't a race car. "Just leave that thing alone" he said as he lit a smoke. " And don't open that window, cuz I don't wanna get a draft".
I'm still alive, ain't I ? Cars were American Iron and all you had to do was drive well. They all had ashtrays and 300 h.p. and damn it, if you didn't want to wear a seat belt, you didn't. An air bag was that annoying old lady down the block who gossiped a lot.
If you had had a few too many, a cop would pull you over and tell you to make sure to go straight home.
"Yesh ocifer" you would reply, as you flicked your cigarette butt out the window.
The only cars that had front wheel drive were, maybe, some oddball military vehicles. ( Yeah, yeah Tucker and those pimped out Eldorados). You didn't have to fuck around with C.V. joints every six months and the fuel pump was on the engine block, where it belonged.
If you were a pedestrian, you didn't dare jaywalk. Nothing like 5000 lbs. of Detroit Iron bearing down upon you to get the ol' adrenaline pumping. You just ran, mofo!
4. Download This.
It always amuses me to hear someone brag about the fact that they have 10,000 mp-3's on their computer, and yet know fuck all about music.
Back in the vinyl days, 10, 000 songs would be the equivalent of 500 LP's. probably weighing in excess of 200 lbs.
It would have seemed downright strange to carry 500 records with you everywhere you went, so you made cassettes. Flawed as they were, at least you could have tunes in your car. It was, however, a real pain in the ass constantly rewinding and fast forwarding to find a tune that you liked,
I must admit that CD's were way more convenient. They still gave you the pride of ownership, and the same (albeit much smaller) cover art. Those damned pesky ( and expensive) needles on turntables were a pain. One wrong move with the hangover induced shakes and it was adios needle.
500 cd's still weighed a lot , but crackheads took to stealing them out of of peoples' cars. When did you ever hear of records being stolen during a B&E ? Even the most drug-addled crack head knows how to avoid giving himself a hernia.
I remember reading about a record collector that I knew who used to make cassettes and sell them. The RCMP busted him and confiscated all his equipment. Laughable by today's standards.
5.Oh, Fuck Off.
The pernicious specter of self-righteousness is all around us it seems. Uptight squares and even angrier, uptight hippies have taken upon themselves to be arbiters of what is right and wrong, and feel it is their god-given right to point out the anti-social behavior of evil-doers such as myself.
I love the dirty looks that the unmistakable sound of a beer can being opened elicits when I sit on a park bench to do the unthinkable: drink a beer in a park.
Middle aged hippies will sent into apoplectic fits of rage should I have the audacity to ride my bike on a pedestrian path or on the sidewalk.
The sense of self entitlement of somebody who berates me for cursing while walking down the street boggles the mind.
Passing bike riders will yell out to and demand to know where my helmet is. One of my bikes is called the Possum Squasher, and it says so right on the bike. I am always amused when hippies take that for face value, but then again, hippies were never known for their sense of humour.
Oh the fun I had when I had fitted a 49cc 2 stroke engine on a bike. I had freako-s chasing me and yelling at me as I gleefully squeezed the throttle and left a cloud of blue smoke in my wake. It was almost worth the $600 fine that I got for riding that contraption, just to see the absolute outrage emanating from these rag-clad hippie bike-buffoons.
I guess I will be burning for eternity because I am a burger chompin', non-composting, beer can tossin', no bike helmet wearin', 2 stroke ridin', leather clad, foul mouthed, greasy goddamed sinner.
6. Why is All My Shit Busted?
I'm no economist, but it's difficult to find stuff that is made in Canada or the USA. The perception amongst twenty somethings is that made in USA means it's crappy. I wonder where that notion came from?
I have had some SK Wayne or Gray tools for thirty years, and they are still great. I recently busted a cheap 7/16 wrench because I think I was looking at it funny.
I dropped a cheap LED flashlight once. Deadski. I still have my Mag-Lite with its machine turned knurling.
My cheap-ass camera died, in a demented blaze of flickering and squiggly lines. Those cool sunglasses that probably are changing the shape of my eyeballs, need to be replaced every 3 weeks.
The more or less recent phenomena of the ubiquitous dollar store is a testament to pure crap. There are suppliers dedicated to that industry alone. I can't think of anything I would need or want in a dollar store.
Also, they smell funny. It must be all those cookies two years past their best before date from countries I've never heard of.
It's hard to rock out to the tinny sounds of 30 dollar plastic computer speakers , maybe I'll watch a movie on my 40 dollar DVD player. Oh dang, it ain't working.
I think I'll cook some food on that cheapo frying pan I got, No wait, the toxic fumes emanating from it killed all the cats on my block the last time I fried some pork chops.
I watched in awe last week, as I witnessed one of those cheap-ass electric scooters go up flames. I guess the wiring was fine. Plastic sure does burn good, though.
Then there are the endlessly entertaining instruction manuals. The incomprehensible gibberish is a source of endless hours of amusement to me. Funny as it is, after hours of trying to decipher their cryptic meaning, I am no closer to knowing what the hell the manual is saying.
Just a few random observations, hope it wasn't too depressing for you and I am well aware of the irony of writing all this on a computer and sending out on line. I think I'll go have few beers in the park and curse out loud as I eat a burger.