Do you remember that Alan Pasons Project song “Games People Play“? I barely do, but what I do recall of it was a mess of whiny, annoying pop drivel that made me reach for the tuning knob on my old radio in a desperate effort to find something entertaining to keep me from having to do my homework. And no, I didn’t play video games largely because I sucked and was massively uncoordinated in the fine and gross motor skills department. But as a child I wanted to do something well enough to impress my dad so I’d gain his love and respect as any child would. And show him he was getting old.
Hence this episode of the parentally-themed, Picasso-esque visual tour de force brings to light a topic that so many of us, the intentional and accidental creators of offspring, must deal with – the generation gap. Happens to all of us, the coolest of the cool, the dopest of the dope, even the hippest of the hip, including those who have had multiple hip replacements. We eventually stop being cool as nature intended us. Were we to remain eternally cool, we’d piss off our kids so much they’d either run away and join the circus as some do, or they’d kill us for stealing their thunder. Nature has this way of replacing the people who are ahead of the curve with those just behind them, kind of like ducks flying south in a V-shape. At some point, the lead duck has to give up and let a stronger duck ahead.
But that doesn’t mean parents have to completely give in to our children. In fact, by being intentionally uncool, non-hip, or even lame and loser-ish, we hold the great trump card in the eternal battle of child versus parent. All it takes is some well-timed and skillfully placed verbal blunders, particularly in front of the kids’ friends,even better if you’re in your underwear or wearing a filthy mustard-stained t-shirt with swear words on it, and you have sunk their battleship like an Exocet into the side of a Bismarck.
Armed with the knowledge that your child will one day replace you and make you obsolete, much like that last technology with the came along and made the one before that look so yesterday, know that for a brief time, say about 10 years if you’re lucky, you will appear cool, the hero, the dude to your child and then it all goes south in a medley of disco pants and bad hairdos and they’ll make fun of you too. Until their kids make fun of them.
What is truth? Is it merely a concept? Does such a thing exist? It is true to state, for example, that pretty much every month the government commits a form of financial rape on me and my pay check and shows no sign of letting up with this abuse while I pile up debts to rival a small African country.
But truth is a slippery and illusive thing, something that changes with the seasons, the reasons, the tides and the wind. It changes to meet our needs, especially when confronted with the fact we have just been caught naked and being intimate with another who isn’t legally bound to said person through ceremony, or via contract, or even via a bug hunk of see-through, hardened carbon that you paid WAY too much for and thereby enabled the jeweler to finish the deck behind his house all paid for in cash.
And truth, or the notion of it, comes in many seductive forms.
We know that the concept of “truth in advertising” is akin to saying “you’ll only feel a slight discomfort” when the doctor does a rectal exam with his caveman fingers. Advertising by its very definition (“adjectival noun, referring to the art and skill of separating consumers of low to moderate intelligence from their hard-earned money by convincing them with fancy words and images to purchase something they really don’t need at all as it is utterly essential to their very survival, nay, to their very sense of self, and was likely manufactured by Chinese slave/prison labor so someone else could make his quarterly numbers to maintain his bonus, thus maintaining his drug habit”) a concept that does not lend itself to truth.
Which brings us to the comic that really is the only harbinger of cosmic truth, if you don’t count those religious nuts at the airport or sporting events.
So rarely is truth told by anyone because if we did there would be less war, fewer conflicts, fewer self-help books and lots pf people with low self-esteem crying and on big meds. Thousands of marketing and spin doctors would be out of work or homeless. If we were told the truth all the time, we’d lose that comfortable feeling of being lied to, which is like mental comfort food for many of us. We need the greed-based lies of the oil companies in particular, because it gives my father a reason to utter the term “whore masters” while at the dinner table or the wheel of his car or in social situations.
But for the rest of us, all I can say is, it’s true, we need oil because we won’t give up driving, because it’s needed to make plastics, packaging, junk food, some inferior forms of chocolate and cake.
There are some battles that are eternal: chocolate vs. vanilla, pinkos vs. fascists, McDonald’s vs. Burger King, Godzilla vs. Mothra, inferior sesame seed (a.k.a. white seed) bagels vs. superior poppy seed (a.k.a. black seed) bagels. Let us not forget other battles such as fast vs. slow, geeks vs. jocks and north vs. south, but east vs. west is less well-known and they want to keep that way. And what do all these battles have in common? No, it’s not nudity as so many have of you have suspected. It’s all about Harmony vs. Friction.
Why did I capitalize those two words? Because someone from the Marketing Department told me to.
And this episode of the comic that no one dares to admit they will read – even on the toilet, in jail, in solitary confinement – has produced a deep, insightful and mesmerizing commentary on that eternal battle of Harmony vs. Friction. You see, harmony is what most of us in the universe seek and crave deeply because we get enough friction at work, the grocery store, Costco and the damn gas station, those filthy thieving bastards. They raised the price again last night! Sorry.
So we need harmony to move forward and cope with life – either in the form of meditation, alcohol, sleep, or pills that help us sleep. Or laughing gas stolen from the dentist’s office.
But there are those who revel in friction as they see it as the metaphorical generator of static electricity to shock others into action. Friction leads to the smoke that leads to the fire that leads to the insurance claim for the imaginary Picasso and Rembrandt you said you had stored in your basement before the fire. Friction is the stuff of politics, the stuff thoughts are made of. You know that smoke that comes out of your ears when you get an idea? It’s mental friction, baby. Friction is the rug burn you got when you figured “oh, it’ll be a quickie and it’ll be worth it” but then your best friend saw the rug burns and knowingly looked at you and thought “you filthy slime bag, can’t you keep it in your pants?”
So as the friction of Obama and Clinton will lead to lively debates, the ensuing fake, big-toothed whitener-enhanced smiles will denote harmony among the political class and the people who seek some kind of stability and respite from a world of chaos around them.
Let the battle begin, and end quickly, since Return of the Jedi is on in 20 minutes.
May peace and anger be with you always.
Zen Master Kobo Mookie