April 13, 2010

Jamie's Jams: The Donkey Paradigm - Redux

by James Willoughby

Tag lines are for the emotionally weak. Catch phrases are for the attention spanaly challenged. Slogans are for prostitutes. Your audience is always more intelligent than that, and if not - well you're SOL kid, get a day job. Thesis statements are for the non-conformitally challenged. I'm nonconforming as can be - you can wear ripped jeans and black makeup and you'll be nonconforming too if you be just like me.

I don't use thesis statements; I don't need thesis statements; I don't like thesis statements. I don't have thesis statements. I don't have a terminal illness. I don't feel the need to rush out and get one - though they do seem to be rising in popularity these days. That was intentionaly ambiguous. The formal educational system is a dismal fraud and failure and I think it's time I stuck up for my rights as a creative individual to say that I can write what I want, how I want and know that people will read it because it's good - not because of catchy taglines or headlines - though they never hurt. Alan Ginsberg said "I won't write until I'm in my right mind." I beleive him, and I know where he was coming from. He was coming from the same place we all come from. The narrative of life:

Spiral smoke signal couches cradle me as I think about my future. The time has come! It's always like that for me. When I stay in one place for too long my innards start to preserve and pickle themselves like waking up from a long nap after too much dinner. Metaphors seem to be the only things that are real these days. In fact, my life is one big metaphor for life. Funny how that works. If someone had told you 10 years ago that you'd be where you are right now would you have believed them? I sure wouldn't have, yet here I am. Well I guess that's the reason we keep kicking, cuz we never know.

We’re constantly driving through the mountains watching the curves as they come our way. Sometimes we can see two ahead – in those rare and wonderful instances – but usually we can only see what’s coming. Most of us – myself included – spend our lives smack dab in the middle of a giant storm of cosmic radiation, x-rays, gamma rays, solar winds, infared waves, light waves, ocean waves, emotion waves and the floor thumping sound systems of rushing trafic; face to face with the wild tempermental beast which is our biosphere yet perceiving only a miniscule band of the complete energy spectrum which is constantly bombarding us day in and day out. I’m becoming more aware of larger and larger cycles these days. The rise and setting of the sun, the waxing and waning of the moon, the seasons. Things I never noticed before. As a child I use to go out of my mind without toys or something to do – now the only thing that interests me is the play of shadows amongst sunny trees. Lava lamps are good fun too.

Restlessness has set in these days as I look for a path to take. Robert frost said he took the path less traveled by but all the paths I can see look equally trodden. It’s virtually impossible to find something that someone else already hasn’t. Especially in the city. Especially in a world of 6 billion people. If you’ve got an idea – someone else has already had the same idea and has probably has the copyright trademark and patent. Dairy queen will soon be paying license fees to Paris Hilton. The great machine keeps on turning.

Every day I work with stubborn client value systems – trying to etch my prerogative into someone else’s preferences. It’s like trying to shape metal with water droplets. I know how things should be done – hell the entire internet agrees with me and yet some people have enough money that they can pay to have it done wrong. This insanity just blows my mind. But I am free now. I’ve relinquished my life in the computer industry for a life of creativity. Now if I can just find something to create that hasn’t got trade mark stamps all over it then I’ll be fine.

And then it hit me. What’s the one thing that everyone has which has no patents? This was my conundrum you see. I was certain there had to be something so obvious that no one had found it yet. And then it hit me like a ton of bricks, or perhaps more like the rancid cheese tacos I mistakenly ate last night while drunk. Egos! The expression of which is usually termed Jerkaholic or the more prominent “A” word resembling a variety of donkey. It was so extremely and mind-blowingly simple. They say that opinions are like them, because everybody’s got one. I came to this conclusion after dealing with the general populace of the internet and then dealing with the general populace of car salesmen and then just the general populace. People kinda suck. Ok not everybody. Lots of good people in the world – but if you go to the bar on any random night you’ll meet lots of guys who’ve got a bad case of rectal cranial inversion. Now it doesn’t surprise me that the collective consciousness in the world would be in such a state – I mean in the grand evolutionary scheme of things we’ve only just recently evolved into a semi modern society so it’s only natural that some archaic ways are still about.

Everyone knows that constipation can lead to crankiness – though not every one realizes it or even believes they are this way. People often use the phrase “full of” your expletive of choice. A practice which is particularly common in extreme and competitive group sports is for the men to slap each other on the? What is gluteus maximus, Alex? When gorillas are in a dispute over territory this is the official weapon of choice projectile used for hurling at offending monkeys. What is fecal matter, Alex? And the daily double is “Nice guys finish…” Ok, lets see, oh wow, he wagered everything on it, he must be very certain… and your answer is? What is last?

If you walk into a modern bar you can see this dynamic in action. I think it goes back to the days when we were cave men living in, well caves. Mothers were rearing children and gathering while fathers were out hunting – this is by no means a good standard to set for today because we are in very different times, however this was the state of things. Suddenly a ravenous saber tooth tiger jumps out of the bushes frothing at the mouth looking for a tasty human crunchy treat. Oh no! Then father appears on the scene with a big ol club and thwack – hey kitteh! Leave them alone! And then daddy jumps on the tiger and beats it senseless. Now the adrenaline rush that mom felt has created a heightened emotional state and she’s all very thankful for her life and for the tiger meat which will last many days and so baby number two is conceived.

Right, so maybe some details of this story were altered a bit, but as with any good legend it gets more grandiloquent over time. The point is, there is a dynamic which occurs in many clubs which is not altogether too different from this one. Obviously it is by no means the only dynamic that runs it’s course but it is certainly one of the most common I’ve seen. Big bad mo’fo walks into the bar and gets the chicks by being a real jerkaholic. It’s very prevalent and very befuddling to a lot of other men. Why do all the women date these donkeys? Well simply put, he’s the one who is loud enough and big enough to make the move – he’s got the testosterone enough to kick your teeth in and she often likes the idea that he could probably kill her but he’s deciding to make love to her instead.

So have we really got ourselves stuck in primitive times? Are we really monkeys? I don’t have the answers to that and the opinions vary wildly. One thing for sure is: we’re completely insensitive primitive brutes to each other on a regular basis. Look at Congress. I think this is the reason a lot of people have come to the conclusion that society is basically hopeless and helpless. I think another reason people think this way is because lots of times the only way you get what you want is by being mean. People remember you that way. I don’t think this is the best approach and I don’t think society is totally helpless. I think we just need to recognize where we are and then build it up from there. I don’t think that nice guys finish last is something that will last for much longer – I just think it’s an unfortunate fad… an… eon, long … fad – that’s been going on for millions of years. I think as we mature as a society – as the world finishes it’s growing pains, that we will come up on the other side, older and wiser than we were once before. That the mating rituals of the elderly are different than those of the young is already a testament to the waning power of testosterone. However in the meat markets of the world – the male hormones still reign supreme.

James Willoughby is a professional linguistic programming consultant and artistic creative expression coach living in a random corner of the United States. He specializes in sound form manipulation, poetry and production aesthetics. Most people would incorrectly and unfairly categorize his profession as a musician, teacher and freelance writer. James is available to perform puppet shows at weddings and Bar Mitzvahs. He has an honorary Masters Degree which he gave himself for being so cool. He's also got a sense of humor. If you love his work you can contact him at: james@tmajournal.com. If you disagree with him then that's too bad. If you hate his work then you can buy some ice cream. ·

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