I Am Unhappy! What Are YOU Going to Do About It!?!

There’s a certain type of leftyish pundit/commenter who strikes me as the sort who hangs out with you only to bitch about how you’ve failed him. He comes over, raids the fridge, and complains that you never stock the kind of beer and food HE likes. Then he strides around and critiques your books, furniture, art, clothes, and anything else he comes across. Finally, he looks out your window and says that where you live is a shithole, the people are gross, dirty, banal, and uneducated and why, why, WHY  aren’t you out there every day doing something to improve it and them, so he can come over, drink your beer, critique your possessions, and… and… relax? Hmmmm, that last one doesn’t seem likely, does it?

Eventually, you understand he doesn’t want you to achieve some apotheosis of human perfection or be a force for positive change. He has no real solutions beyond saying, “Just don’t DO that.” What he wants is for everyone to be just like him. A big, crabby, pain in the ass motivated not by compassion, intellect, or taste. Just misanthropy, self-disgust, and a soul-crushing case of nirvana fallacy.

Yes, they are right. And yes, they are goading you toward admirable ends, but DO NOT EXPECT these people to ever say, “Well done!” Else, they will gradually wear you down to a sarcastic nub with their absurdly high expectations and a sense of righteousness based entirely on the roach scrabbling up their ass.

The Creative Process

Mike, Nate, Flynn, and I are on our way to the beach house we rented in Michigan. It’s located some ways off the main road, requiring a series of twisty turns through the greenery. Mike asks me to review the directions on the Post It notes she scribbled out the other night while speaking to the lady who owns the beach house.

Mike: What’s the next turn?

Me: Port Sheldon Road to… Who the hell is Ron Butternut?

Mike: What?

Me: It says right here: “Ron Butternut.” Who is this Ron Butternut? ARE YOU SLEEPING WITH HIM!?!

(I point at the directions, knowing full well it says “R on Butternut” [Right on Butternut Road] Mike laughs.)

Mike: That’s an awesome name. You should make him a character in a story.

Me: Except it would be funnier if it were “Ron Butternuts.” I’d have him address a audience like this: “Hello, everyone, I’m Ron Butternuts. SHUT THE HELL UP.”

(Mike and I laugh.)

Throughout the week we kept speculating on who Ron Butternuts was, and so forth. Finally, one night, on our way to get ice cream in Holland, MI, we bring up Ron one too many times for Nate’s taste.

Nate: (Shouting) No! No! It’s NOT Ron Butternuts!

Mike: Oh really, bud? What should his name be?

Nate: It should be RON SUGARNUTS!!!

Hilarity ensued. Also, he’s absolutely right.

Newest Bottles

Nice selection of bottles from my recent, latest jaunt to Michigan. Highlights include the “Pluto Water: America’s Phisic” bottle with the image of Pluto/Hades/Satan on the bottom; the bottle of Sun-Drop soda (“ITS INVIGORATING PICK-UP and REFRESHING QUALITY is taken from the COCOA BEAN”); a green Dr. Pepper bottle with their former “10-2-4” clock logo (allegedly marking “Dr. Pepper times”); and an old apothecary’s bottle of sarsaparilla. Score!

Some day I’ll finish taking better pictures of all of my bottles (I have about 150 or so) and run them on a page on my site. Because that’s what the world needs, man. More shit on the Internet.


For a country largely composed of the descendants of individuals unwanted elsewhere, and who, in their native lands, would probably be hip-deep in each others’ blood—yet who have managed to slowly craft this country into a democracy emulated by other nations suffering under or snapping back from centuries of idiotic notions like monarchies, dictatorships, and socialist-in-name-only autocracies—we’re doing pretty well in the U.S.

Yes, things are sweeter in the homogenized faraway lands, with freebies and freedoms galore and, fine, better food. But I guarantee you, if you carve into the sweet creamy avocado of their tolerant history… you’ll find a bit of rot. You’ll discover they were slaughtering their neighbors over a few extra tracts of land; kicking out or liquidating their country’s original inhabitants because God told them to; torturing folks for having the wrong religion, hat, or haircut; selling off humans they defeated in war or rounded up; discriminating to horrifying mental, physical, and emotional degrees against their womenfolk; and the like. Why is the U.S.A. such a haven for bigotry, imperialism, and greed? Well, we had excellent teachers. Hell, most of them got the ball rolling here in the states. But that was all in the past, you say? Why not ask them how they’re treating their immigrants lately?

Which is not to say that there isn’t tremendous room for improvement in America. Oh, God yes, we suck in so many embarrassing ways. But please admit that we have always, however slowly, progressed positively. Yes, the douchebags are occasionally in power, the Amurrikan people can done be kinda stoopid en masse, and change hasn’t come fast enough, but come on, things are always getting better here. But it calls for constant positive action, less reflexive cynicism, and a little more faith in what we’re capable of.

Every now and then I remember sitting on top of my roof with my dad every Independence Day, watching the fireworks in the surrounding burgs. One year, Dad pointed at the neighbor’s flag, flapping proudly in the breeze. Our neighbor set up the flag to commemorate (if I heard the story right) his two brothers, who lost their lives in the Pacific Theater during WWII. Once the flag was stolen by pranksters. Our neighbor  quietly posted the above story on the flagpole. Within a day the flag was restored.

“There, Dan,” said my dad by the rockets’ red glare. “That’s America.”

Certainly, it was only one aspect of my country. A simplistic one. But I understood what he was getting at. It was about a feeling. One not easily put into words, and not readily dismissed.

Just some sappy, sugary food for thought.