What if the Buddha Called You a Schlange?

“Anyone who doesn’t meditate is a fucking asshole,” my father once said, neatly encapsulating his unique blend of spiritual transcendence and earthbound bitterness.

This led to decades of inside-jokes between my brother and I:

“You know, Clara Barton never meditated. Neither did Albert Schweitzer. Fucking assholes.”

“Yeah, that about proves it.”

On another occasion, I jokingly interrupted my brother when he was commenting on how pathetic it was that Carlos Castaneda (an anthropology graduate student and best-selling author who claimed to have been apprenticed to a Native American shaman in the early 60s) had boiled down his previously mystical shamanic teachings into a lame system of spiritual calisthenics he called “Tensegrity”–all in an attempt to appeal to the California New Age/health scene of the late 70s:

“Look man, anyone who doesn’t practice Tensegrity is a fucking asshole.”

tensegrity

And while it’s hard to imagine the Buddha or the Dali Lama making such a negative pronouncement against non-meditators, it’s actually quite logical to see my father’s aphorism as the necessary converse of their teachings. After all, if there really is a Path of Enlightenment available to everyone, wouldn’t anyone who spurned such a Path be, in fact, well, you know, a fucking asshole?

The supposedly great monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam never had a problem openly stating the converse of their divine dispensations–“Anyone who doesn’t pray [to the right God in the right way] is going to Hell.”  Substitute “Effin’ A” for “going to Hell” and you basically have my father’s credo.  If anything, my father’s credo is less condemnatory–rather than an eternity of torture and suffering, wouldn’t you rather just be an asshole instead? I know I would; and I practice that every day.

Perhaps the Eastern religions and their New Age revamps in the West could learn a thing or two from my father’s more condemnatory attitude. No, you don’t need to go Medieval and threaten non-practitioners with Hell as the monotheists do (or used to), but what’s the harm in openly specifying that if you’re not seeking some kind of Enlightenment, you’re probably just an asshole? Is that not the yin of the yang?

yin-yang-symbol-pv

Madison Avenue’s most successful distillation of the New Age ethos of the 1970s was expressed in the now-famous Coca-Cola ad with the catchy jingle “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke.” Let us rephrase that anthem of togetherness with lyrics inspired by the perverse wisdom of my father:

coke-ad

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Dislikers Anonymous

Coming of age in the Hatin’ Eighties, I tried to embrace the lovey-dovey touchy-feely ethos of the 1990s and the Aughts. I even used expressions like “It’s all good.”

But it didn’t take. I have to admit–I’m a hater; I dislike people. They bother me, they disappoint me, they lie, and I prefer nature. When I see land being cleared for new houses for happy new families I cry. When I hear about new breakthroughs in medical science I mutter “Yeah, and it’ll cost you your net worth.”

I’m not a Despiser, however, let’s get that clear. Just a hater. Ok, technically speaking, as per my 8th grade English teacher, I’m a Disliker, not a hater. Hitler was a hater. I’m not that.

(Moment of self-doubt:  Am I?)

But still, everyone knows the pathetic history of the word “dislike”–after hundreds of years it’s gotten nowhere–no one uses it! One of the English language’s poorest performing elements. People hate “dislike.” They despise it!

Google “Haters Anonymous” and you get hundreds of thousands of results including a new pop song. Google “Dislikers Anonymous” and you get nothing. Google “dislikers” and you get something about people on YouTube who don’t like the new pop songs.

In fact, I was going to call this piece “Haters Anonymous” but I had to cancel that when I saw there were so many other people with similar ideas. I’d hate to be part of a big group of people. I’d rather be alone, even if it means using that lamest of words, “dislike.”

Google “dislikers anonymous” now and all you’ll get is me, by myself, standing apart, terminally contemptuous, hopelessly negative, wallowing in pessimism, exulting in misanthropy.

Malapropisms and Other Verbal Fuck-Ups

Mouth-to-mouth resuffocation
Parapalegal
Macho Peacho
Man’s Laughter (as in second-degree murder)
Askanazi Jews
JRR Tollking
Nostradamnedus
Chupacubana
Saks Watch
Bipedaphile
Add Hominy
Delicate Intestines
Sunny Muslims
Econumist
Statuary Rape
Orc Chasms
Homogenius
Fragrant Fowls
Analwrecksya (makes you skinny and you walk with a limp)
Pubic Television
Prostrate Cancer
Tequila Mockingbird

Cops Deserve Expensive Cologne

When the squad of motorcycle cops passed by my car while waiting at the light, I didn’t smell motorcycle exhaust at all. Instead, I smelled really bad cologne. Horrible cologne!

1st thought:  It’s amazing how far engine exhaust technology has come—I’m downwind of those bikes and all I smell is the human being. That is encouraging…

2nd thought:  You know, cops shouldn’t have to perform their job smelling so cheap. They should smell like those musky, wealthy businessmen on the morning commuter trains who can turn your nose gay.

It commands respect, when you smell expensive. It makes people want to be with you. How much easier would police work be if everyone not only respected the cops but actually wanted to be with them while on duty?

The same domestic disturbance is much more likely to be resolved smoothly if you show up smelling like a million Swiss francs than if you show up smelling like an air freshener.

Now obviously cops don’t make enough money to afford their own expensive cologne. We civilians must be the ones to provide it to them. The question is: public or private? There are problems with both.

Public funding of police redolence is not only expensive but governments are notoriously bad when it comes to issues of fashion and culture, and nasal aesthetics are almost as subject to fashion as visual aesthetics. Back in the 80’s, the East Germans tried to issue their commissars a socialist version of “expensive cologne” and look what happened. No one would even turn around, they smelled so bad.

On the other hand, private funding of fragrant law enforcement naturally leads to problems of corruption and influence peddling. Who’s going to bust the person who made you smell like royalty? You wanna go back to smelling like bathroom spray?

One way or the other, however, we must reform our police. We must make them smell better. Much better.

Reductio ad Conservadum: Let’s Get Laissez-Fucked

•  If raising the minimum wage is so bad, lowering the minimum wage will be great!  And if we could just eliminate the minimum wage altogether, the result would be Utopian. QEDuhhhh…

•  Libertarian / Conservative / Tea Party response to the recent chemical spills in West Virginia and the Dan River, North Carolina:

“See, we don’t need no frikkin’ nanny state! Let business do what they want. The free market will take care of it. That goddamn EPA and their oppressive regulations are killing us!”

•  This is what global cooling looks like to a conservative:

global temps globaltempsNOAAdata

You see? Because 1998 was so incredibly hot, it makes all the hot years since 1998 seem like a cool breeze!

•  Since it’s obvious that government can’t do anything right, the best defense policy would be to abolish our government-run military and replace it with private warlords.

You think Bill Gates would let his F-35 joint-strike fighter run 150 billion dollars over budget? Hell no!

And what’s with all these government-run roads–wouldn’t it be much more sensible to pay a toll to some rich dude every time you want to drive somewhere?

Weed Warnings for Colorado Citizens

If you smoke pot, you will write poems and songs with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors and will not make any money. If you DON’T smoke pot, you will write letter-perfect business memos and make lots of money.

The choice is obvious.

If you smoke pot, you will have more fun exercising but will only exercise when it’s fun. Consequently, results will vary wildly. If you DON’T smoke pot, you will diligently and mirthlessly work out three times a week until complete burn-out sets in c. ten years later.

A little therapy and you’ll be fine.

If you smoke pot, food will taste so much better but you won’t be able to afford the good stuff. If you DON’T smoke pot, you will be able to afford the very best once in a while and therefore everything else will be a constant disappointment.

Wouldn’t you rather be constantly disappointed having known the best than idiotically satisfied by a peanut-butter & jelly sandwich? The choice is obvious.

If you smoke pot, you will become too polite and self-effacing, too humble, too Christ-like for today’s hustle-bustle world. But if you DON’T smoke pot, your insatiable ego will lead you to near-greatness.

Again, the choice is obvious—don’t be a loser like Him.

No wonder the Three Wise-Men from the East who visited him gave him “oil of canab” (i.e., oil of cannabis, or “hash oil”).*

To a baby!

Wake up Coloradans—weed is for musicians and peasant farmers. And pastoral nomads—like that Scythian warrior princess from 500 B.C. who was buried with a dime-bag.

The historical record is clear—things are unclear: weed has made messiahs, warrior princesses, assassins, and Louie Armstrong. But it’ll fuck you up.

Look, if you want the edge in life you’ve got to be edgy. And by definition edgy means uncomfortable, anxious, dissatisfied, living beyond the moment, i.e., NOT STONED.

Weed is like chocolate to the second power—no one deserves that kind of pleasure. It must be wrong–it must be bad. Look at you, just sitting there…

The real problem with weed is that it’s sustainable over the long-term. All the other drugs make you crash and get help. But with weed you can limp along, problems unnoticed, never crashing yet always burning.

Weed: you used to hide it from your parents. Now you’re hiding it from your kids.

* Note: this might not be true.