Saturday, April 2, 2011

Saturday's Beat

Okay, so I should not have gone from reading Burroughs to reading another Beatnik.

I have two positive things to say about Jack Kerouac at this point: 1) his name rhymes, and 2) he spoke joual.

I should have known.  I read The Dharma Bums years ago and my reaction was, "Yeah, right.  Bunch of misogynistic losers who don't really know all that much about the philosophies they claim to embrace."

But I thought, I need to read On the Road.  And so I am.  (Enormous sigh.)

It was okay at first.  I can see why people might like it, although I do get tired of the "I'm really cool because I'm drunk or high all the time" mentality.

(Enormous sigh.)

They just all take themselves so terribly seriously, and they act like cavemen when it comes to women.

I mean, I know it's the 1940s, but really.

For example, Kerouac describes how Neal Cassady had some "bad tea" and experienced several days' worth of hallucinations.  Cassady then gave the drug to a former girlfriend:
"And do you know that the same thing happened to that dumb little box?--the same visions, the same logic, the same final decision about everything, the view of all truths in one painful lump leading to nightmares and pain--ack!  Then I knew I loved her so much I wanted to kill her."
Fancy that.  She had the same visions you had.  "Dumb little box" though she is.  Wouldn't that make you a "dumb little box" too?

No wonder you want to kill her.  And out of love, of course.  Of course

Kerouac also spends a lot of time wishing he could be black or Mexican or "even a poor overworked Jap," anything other than a "disillusioned" white man.  Of course, when he can't cut it as a migrant worker, he ditches his Mexican girlfriend with the help of money sent to him by his poor overworked mom.

A probing sociological analysis of 1940's American society as seen through the lens of Kerouac's seemingly endless self-absorption.  Great.

I had to put the book aside when I got to the part where Kerouac and Cassady have the following exchange:
"It's not my fault!  It's not my fault!" I told him.  "Nothing in this lousy world is my fault, don't you see that?  I don't want it to be and it can't be and it won't be."
"Yes, man, yes, man.  But please harken back and believe me."
"I do believe you, I do."  This was the sad story of that afternoon.
Well, if you don't want anything to ever be your fault, then I guess it just shouldn't be, should it?  That sounds fair.

Hey, I know!  You can blame it on the women.  That always works.

Maybe I'm giving the two of us too much credit, but I swear my cat and I have had more intelligent conversations than this.

My cat is also much more responsible and mature--even when he's on catnip.

Since I couldn't take it anymore, I decided to go for a swim at the pool and then I aerated my lawn.  I used a two-pronged core aerator and did about 2/3rds of the front lawn.

I have developed a terrible fear of thatch, spawned by reading an article about--you guessed it--thatch.  Apparently, thatch is quite wonderful if you need a new roof, but less than wonderful if it consumes your lawn.  If it does, you must re-sod.  I don't want to re-sod.

So I regained my emotional equilibrium by covering the yard with holes and what appear to be small poops (they're really just clumps of dirt).

And I decided that if Jack and Neal ever dropped by to visit me, I would put on a slinky outfit, order a cheap pizza (no way I'd be cooking for those two), get halfway into a nice glass of cabernet and, when one of them inevitably called me a "gone little thing," I'd beat the living crap out of both of them with my two-pronged core aerator.

My only other thought was, aerating the lawn would be a lot more fun if someone developed a way to do it via pogo-stick.

I know there would be some safety issues, since there would have to be some form of propulsion involved to lift you up out of the soil, but at such moments, I can't help but wish that I was dating Caractacus Potts from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

He'd find a way.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy."