Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Head Shit

Los Angeles, CA

My uncle was a plumber. He said it was dirty work, hard manual labor, but decent pay in an industry that will never disappear because "people's shit always gets backed up."

You know what type of work you're getting yourself into if you chose the plumbing profession. I spent a summer as a plumber's assistant and I learned first hand that it wasn't pretty. I also learned that pothead plumbers were very resourceful and could turn many parts into smoking devices... pipes, bongs, whatever.

I tried to learn basic plumbing a couple of years ago. I figured I needed a trade to fall back on. The future was grim. If survived a post-apocalypse scenario, then I needed a skill that was necessary to help rebuild. And if the world never blew up, then I still needed to fade technology because the creators of the written word are dinosaurs.

I'm waiting for the day of reckoning when writers are replaced by the machines. Or if the dumbification of American continues (we're in the middle of a controlled demolition of intellect and common fucking sense), then our society will become so fucking illiterate and incapable of original thought that they'll seek out non-cerebral forms of entertainment. Or if the wealth distribution gap continues to grow, that even the few who can read will be so broke that they rather spend what little money they have on something else like food.


Think about a lavish meal in one of those snooty eight star eateries or think about your favorite high-end steak joint. So many of us covet that meal, yet a tiny percentage are willing to put in the work or have the necessary skill to make that happen. Everyone wants to take the shortcut, which is why we're now a nation of entitled angleshooters and self-absorbed trolls.

You can't just show up at the restaurant, sit down and have the meal waiting for you. It's not as simple as going to the grocery store or Whole Foods and buying everything there. It doesn't work like that. It takes time. Time to cultivate the ingredients.

And I'm not talking about prepping the meal and cooking it. I'm talking about starting from square one... going out to the slaughterhouse and killing the fucking cow yourself, then butchering it down to find the exact cut of beef you're looking for. Or how about getting on a boat and hauling a fresh catch out of the ocean? Same thing goes every ingredient in the recipe. Grow the damn veggies, harvest them, and bring them into the kitchen. Acquire every spice from the farthest corners of the globe. Milk the cows. Crush the grapes. Wring the chicken's neck with your own hands.

That magnificent meal you dream about? It took years to come together. Do you know how long it takes to fatten up calf? Ever grow your own veggies? Did they last? Or did the critters and bugs destroy your veggies or local wildlife gobble them up for breakfast?

That fancy meal took years to make... and then it's gone in a matter of minutes, and eventually shat out a few hours later.

We've lost sight of how that process really works. Everyone wants the meal, but very few do their own dirty work. But in the end, your culinary pleasure was really the work of hundreds of invisible people who get up at sunrise every day and get their jobs done. Patient toil. Under appreciated. Never thanked.

Enjoy your scallops.


I once asked a neuroscientist if he would let his kids play tackle football. He said a quick no, followed up by "I don't even let them ride rollercoasters."

That statement solidified my assertion that being a writer is like riding a rollercoaster. The arduous daily grind seems like harmless fun, yet it is akin to getting knocked in the noggin' one too many times.

Rollercoasters are the core of theme parks and rooted in childhood nostalgia. Fear and adrenaline. A perfect rollercoaster ride is an exhilarating thrill that begins with an anxiety-ridden, creaky, slow ride up to the top before the first terrifying drop, followed by a blur of ups and downs and upside-down swirls. Eventually all that head banging comes at a cost, according to the men and women of science.

Staying on the ride too long will lead to brain damage. I keep telling myself that Bill Hicks mantra about life is really just an amusement park ride, but even something fun can be detrimental to your health if you keep banging on your own coconuts.

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