Ornamental Truck Testicles and Other Salient Issues
All right, this is “one for the ladies,” as they used to say on the Reservation. We need some female input. The question involves truck testicles: What does this say to you about the male specimen who places them off the back hitch of his pick-up truck?
“I am a potentially virile suitor”? “I am a good provider and a gifted conversationalist”? “I will completely satisfy you in the sack”? “I would like to impregnate you and raise our children to be responsible citizens”? “I am one bad mother and no one should mess with me ever”? “I am one simple, piece of shit, dumbass”?
From the male view: it says to me, “The fact that I am hanging an engorged set of make-believe balls off of my dirty truck speaks multitudes about my actual inadequacies. I almost certainly do not possess an impressive package, I’m not good in bed, I am not a bad-ass, but I do watch a lot of porn, have several jail-quality tattoos, and am horny.”
Final note: The fake balls were most recently seen attached to a white mini-van circling I-465. Seems suburban soccer dads want some gonad validation too.
There’s this kid at my school; I’ll call him Clark Kent because he wears similar glasses. Anyway, here’s a glimpse of his life. He’s 15 and his mom is 30. Clark was seriously abused by a friend of his family when he was little. (I’ll leave it to your imagination, but seriously abused: think of years of therapy and never quite being right again, only Clark doesn’t get any therapy.) Clark is dealing with his own sexual orientation issues now. Basically, he’s probably gay but he seems to be the last person on Earth to know this, or at least to accept it. Some of the other students call him “Gay Clark” until I tell them individually that that is considered bullying and won’t be tolerated. (I like Clark and hate seeing him go through anything more than he already has.)
Thanksgiving, last year. Here’s how Clark spent the holiday: The guy that sexually abused him years ago – friend of the family – comes over for the Thanksgiving meal, as an invited guest of Clark’s grandparents. Clark is mortified, horrified, angry as hell. The family acts like he is being a “baby” and yells at him. He relives his hell once again. Then on “Black Friday,” his mom, who he sees maybe three times every two years (she has definite addiction and/or incarceration issues) shows up and honks her horn for Clark to come out to the driveway. He does and the two sit in her car and get high, smoking weed. Clark tells me at school about his mom: “She’s cool, but she’s never there. I hate her, you know? But I want to be in her life. I doubt it will ever happen.” All this is said in hushed tones so that neighboring students don’t hear. He talks about her like a girlfriend who has broken his heart but who he can’t quite get over. Except this is his mom.
“Do you wish she’d just stay out of your life? Would it be easier for you?” I ask after some silence.
“Yeah,” he eventually answers.
Did you ever notice how political names tend to be strong, to have an edge to them? Sometimes it’s no accident. Hitler’s real name was Schickelgruber. Ol’ Adolf apparently surmised that few would follow a Chaplinesque-looking character named Schickelgruber. But Hitler: there’s a name you can bounce a quarter off of.
And Stalin. The “man of steel” – which is what Stalin means in Russian – was actually named Dzhugasvili. He was 5’3” and had one arm that was four inches shorter than the other. But he was made of steel, and in his heyday – he ruled the Soviet Union from 1928-’53 – it was easier to manipulate your public image than it is today. (Or was it?)
Many more recent leaders have benefited politically from “strong” names: Nixon, Mao, Bhutto, Thatcher, Blair, Vicente Fox, Yelstin, Barrack Obama, Mahmoud Abbas, Merkel, de Gaulle, and Mandela, to name a few. Stephen Harper, Canada’s current prime minister, also fits the bill It seems, if your name is Lackey, Federline, or Rasmussen, for instance, you have far less chance of being elected to lead a country.
(In France, Nicholas Sarkozy is perhaps an exception to the name game. But he’s married to the beautiful/ talented Carla Bruni, and that helps. The retired French soccer star, Zinadine Zidane, has the best name ever and he may yet one day be the country’s leader.)
No US politician says this, and you should do your own fact checking, but I have seen several credible sources that state US businesses made record, and that means all-time high, corporate profits in 2010. The work force here – and likely across the “rich world” – is scared shitless and several people have told me of 70-hour work weeks where they are paid their former, pre-2008 economic meltdown salary, at best, and often far less. (I know in my case, I am making 1/3 of what I made in 2008, and that’s working far more hours/ part-time jobs.) Perhaps this remains a stagnant, jobless recovery because employers are all too aware they have intimidated, skeleton workforces cranking out the production at bargain basement prices.
….On a related note, both the Tea Party movement (don’t tax me – I’m an angry white person) and the “Occupy Wall Street” movement (I’m young, educated, and have no hope of economic security in the foreseeable future) spur hope and interest.
Greyhound bus to nowhere: I hopped on a Greyhound bus from the downtown Indianapolis terminal back in 2009 and rode down to North Carolina to pick up a car that kind relatives were then letting me borrow. I saw some strange stuff on that journey – very akin to Kerouac’s On the Road narrative. But the saddest memory by far occurred in Knoxville, Tennessee, under a phalanx of interstate overpass ramps. There was a shanty town of sorts: cardboard alley for the homeless, destitute, down-and-out junkies and weatherworn whores. In some way, everyone there was probably addicted to some substance. There were maybe 150 adults assembled, in broad daylight, and two men were fighting, exciting the rest of the homeless shanty. People were screaming, taking bets, taking sides, following the mêlée, as it veered and staggered from here to there. No police in sight and none coming. I sat watching from outside the Greyhound station restroom. It was profoundly sad.
Personal note: thank you very much for reading. I just got my 20,000th hit online for these pieces. If you know anyone who might be provoked by reading, pass them along and I’ll owe you a beer. Later/ KM