First time I lose I drink whiskey, next time I lose I drink gin

Music – The Pixies – Here Comes Your Man

“Imagine life is a bridge.”

“Ok.”

“In crossing the bridge of life, he made it about half way, tied a lead brick to his belt, and jumped off. The lead brick is his wife.”

“Hmm.”

I was explaining to Sapo the tragedy of Matt R.’s marriage. With imagery, for effect.  His wife sucks, and has ruined him utterly.

“I’ve seen it with other people too.  My friend Rebecca, from Poly. Out of nowhere she married some 37 year old Air Force engineer, some pudgy fuck from Oceanside with a lisp and pit stains on all his shirts.  No idea why.  Now she lives on some base in Egypt for god’s sake, and can’t go to the grocery store without an armed guard.  Because of The Terrorists.”

“Yeah.”

“I am utterly at a loss to understand that shit. Must be some kind of deep-seated self-loathing…”

Sapo finished his beer.

“We should go, it’s almost time.”

We left the bar and headed to the theatre.  Neither of us makes a habit of Sunday night drinking, but with fifteen of his roommate’s annoying friends visiting, Sapo was a refugee from his own home, and I am not one to let a buddy drink alone. Especially on the Lord’s day.  We were going to see <i> I Love You, Man, a movie about a guy who contantly flakes out on his girlfriend to go hang out with his last remaining single buddy.

The ham-handed irony that our other friends who flaked on the movie were two married couples, leaving Sapo and I alone on an accidental man date, was not lost on us.

I assured Sapo that even though the majority of our friends are married or mired in serious LTRs, I will always be down to neglect my girlfriend and go drinking on a Sunday. Sapo didn’t seem particularly reassured or impressed by this, though I was quite sincere.

The movie was mediocre, by the way.

Wait for the rental.

——–

“Religion is the opiate of dumbasses.”

“What?”

“Religion is the opiate of dumbasses.”

“What the hell does that mean?”

“Haven’t you heard that?”

“Heard what?”

“Religion is the opiate of the masses? Karl Marx?”

“…”

“He said that.”

“…”

“And I changed it. To dumbasses.”

“…”

“That’s good.” I said, proud.

“…Sure.”

“Now you see motherfucker this is the problem.”

“What?”

“I spend all this time hanging out with you lowbrow assholes who can’t sustain the kind elevated educated dialogue a person like me needs on a regular basis. You drag me down with your provincial uninspired jabbering. You’re dulling my wit by the second.”

“‘Opium for dumbasses’ does not sound particularly brilliant or enlightened, Trevor.”

“The Opiate of Dumbasses.  And screw you, that’s clever as shit.”

“And I can guarantee you aren’t the first person to have thought of that little idiot play on words.”

“So what?”

“So what? That means that not only is it stupid, it’s unoriginal.”

“Fucker I came up with it.  Even if somebody else came up with it first, I came up with it independently, so it’s original. And clever.”

“And who talks about religion anyway? Who cares?”

“Who cares?!”

“Yes, who cares?”

“Aren’t you Jewish?”

“On paper, yeah.  That just means I don’t eat hot dogs.  Doesn’t mean I want to discuss religion or opium or whatever other random crap floats around in your weird head all day, dude.”

I sighed, exasperated.

“God I fucking hate you.”

“You want another beer?”

“Yeah.”

We drank a bit of our fresh beers before I continued.

“First of all, it’s an inspired comment, whether you can appreciate it or not.  Besides, after what you said yesterday, I’m forced to take everything you say with the tiniest, most pathetic grain of salt imagineable.”

“Remind me what I said yesterday again?”

“That you like Rush.”

“What the hell does that have to do with anything? Lots of people like Rush.”

“NO. No. Rush is so unforgiveably fucking terrible that I’m now forced to question everything you say.  I have to treat your every statement as suspect.”

“Listen asshole, it’s just a matter of personal taste…”

“Fuck that…”

“Don’t interrupt.  The fact that I like Rush has no bearing on anything else.”

“Wrong.  This is so far beyond the boundaries of ‘opinion’ or ‘personal taste’.  Liking the Eagles is just poor taste.  Liking Rush is like enjoying the taste of human flesh.  Yes, one could argue that it’s just a matter of personal preference.  But in reality it’s so fucked up that it’s almost certainly a sign of deep-seated, fucked up psychological issues.”

“Please do not compare liking Rush to cannibalism.”

“I will.  They are that fucking terrible.”

“Shut up.”

“I don’t mean to be rude, it’s just that, since you like Rush, I’m forced to assume that you’re deaf, retarded and crazy.”

“Asshole.”

———

It takes a certain amount of bravado to make a life in a modern metropolis.  A certain adaptability, some small measure of fortitude.

It is not for the faint of heart.  You learn to much about yourself and your fellows in a cramped, oppressive place like this.

You get a sharper, more substantive perspective on humanity in all its folly and vileness.  One cannot help it.  Proximity to criminals and junkies and psychos and generally aberrant weirdos forces a certain understanding of the human animal upon you.  Some find this a terrible burden, and retreat to the relative safety of the suburbs, surrounding themselves with manicured lawns and Decent Folk.  Far removed from the city’s savage and ugly denizens, it’s easy to forget that such people exist, that the lesser and crazier walk the same world as the rest of us.

I go outside sometimes and see the past.  I see new clothes, I see nylon and plastic and aluminum, but underneath it the people are the same, completely interchangeable with any other person in history from medieval peasants to bronze age primitives.

All that distinguishes the average crackhead from a Norman Invasion-era village drunk is a pair of filthy Nikes and a stolen Orlando Magic parka.

And who’s to say the same doesn’t apply to the rest of us, in all well-groomed technologically-inclined contact-lensed glory?  I walk the streets.  I see the men in ties and blazers trudging along behind lumbering oxen in some muddy field.  I see the women in cafes adorned with feathers and wooden beads rather than overpriced makeup and little white headphones, discussing trivialities over a rock for grinding cornmeal rather than a cup of French Roast.  I see Bill O’Reilly dressed in heavy black, burning an old woman alive for her knowledge of herbs and folk medicine, his eyes red with the wrath of a puritan god.  I see Mandy Moore dead of tuberculosis.  I see Serena Williams slapping her husband in front of the entire tribe for bringing back a sickly and disappointing antelope.  I see the heads of the U.S. Department of the Treasury in loinclothes dancing under an uncaring sun, praying for rain and respite.  As if they could dance their way back to prosperity.

I see people unchanged by the progress of their world.  Sucking as they have always sucked, consumed with their own petty triumphs and tribulations, pretentious savages with impressive toys.  Killers and beggars and slaves, smart enough to imagine a utopia but stupid and self-serving enough to keep it endlessly out of reach.

It makes me think less of us, though it should probably beget forgiveness as readily as contempt.

Fuck it.

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