Sunday, July 20, 2014

That Deep-Down Body Thirst

I've been walking the streets of Uptown, Loring Park and Downtown all day, trying to perpetuate the illusion of constructive activity in lieu of employment. That kind of self-delusion can work up a powerful thirst in a man. And I don't mean no tap water thirst. This ain't no Brita water thirst neither. Nor is it the kind of thirst that can be quenched by your Vitamin Water or your Sobe or any of those high-classed, namby-pamby, pantywaist beverages. No, this is the kind of deep-down body thirst that can only be quenched by a man's sports drink, the kind of liquid ya need after you play pickup basketball for 106 straight hours in the blazing sun, or you run 12 marathons in a row, or you build the Hoover Dam.

How I do love Gatorade, with its electrolytes and complex carbohydrates and flavors not found in nature, like Orange, Grape, Lemon Lime, Fruit Punch, Strawberry Kiwi, Tropical Mango, Citrus Cooler, Cool Blue, Cool Glacier Blast, Frost Glacier Freeze, Frost Cascade Crash, Frost Riptide Rush and Cold Fusion Reactor.

It smacks of summer scorchers, walking down the sidewalk with the sweat drippin' off ya, stopping at the convenience store and reaching into the cooler for a cold, plastic bottle of watered-down, Kool-Aid-for-diabetics sweetness. I had a few more blocks til home, but it didn't matter with those electrolytes replenishing my dangerously-low supply of electrolytes.

It also makes me feel athletic. When you drink Gatorade, you're showing a firm commitment to hydration. You're telling the world, "I refuse to let the elements stand between me and my appointed task. Even if my appointed task is to pick up some cheddar and sour cream potato chips, French Onion dip and maybe a pint of Ben & Jerry's, I will dedicate myself to its successful completion as if I were picking up Brett Favre at the airport or repelling Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg or driving my wife to the hospital to give birth to our first child. My current errand may seem trivial, but I refuse to shirk my duty. I will be bringing the full, hydrating, electrolyte-replenishing force of Gatorade to bear on this endeavor. God help the thirst that dares stand in my way."

And if you even imply that Powerade is remotely similar to Gatorade, I will Greco-Roman wrestle you to within an inch of your life, pretty boy. This is not open to discussion. Either you pledge allegiance to Gatorade, or you get the hell outta my country. How do I know Gatorade has been chosen by Jesus as the All-American elixir of champions for the greatest nation on Earth? Because Michael Jordan drinks it, and Michael Jordan is our Greatest Living American.

End of story.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Imperial Legacy

The model of Germania, the planned capital of Hitler's Thousand-Year Reich, sits under a sheet in the basement of the Western imagination, waiting to be unveiled again. We think we've immunized ourselves against this evil. We watch hour after hour of TV shows about the Nazis. We might even read a book or two about them. How could we ever be as wicked as they? But even as we maintain this blithe naivete, our ignorance grows, as does our potential for evil.

Let's walk the streets of the unconscious and trace the outline of this city. Surely we'll find many blind alleys and dead ends haunted by monsters. How many virgins have been sacrificed to this Minotaur? The streets are paved with their bones. Their ghosts fill every silence with moaning, crying, wailing. They deliver warnings. Don't repeat their mistakes. Don't succumb to hubris. Remember: thou art mortal. You are just as capable of evil as anyone else. You are just as vulnerable to pride and arrogance, more so because of the power of your technology.

Why does Germania feel so familiar to me? This is the capital of my dreams, the wellspring whence my imagination sprang. The smooth walls of the edifices. The rigid geometry of the streets. It calls to me. But this is only a dream, a figment of madmen's fancy, the gleaming facade of our murderous heritage, the handsome face of evil, the impossibly perfect skin stretched over the bottomless pit of savagery.

Living in this city, you'd never know the horrors of its construction, the brutal enslavement of its builders, the cruel fate of its citizens. But this is our home. Our empire is also built on death, destruction and oppression. We are shielded from these truths by our sanitized environment. The pollution and exploitation necessary to maintain our lifestyle have been mostly outsourced to factories and sweatshops beyond our borders. The media politely refrain from troubling us with the true causes and costs of the conflicts fought by our military and our proxies. But all empires fall. Let's hope we leave more than a model of evil when we go.