by Fred Reed
I didn’t believe Bob, I’ll call him, a crazy friend from other times. He knocked around the Pacific for years doing things related to boats, helicopters, and fish, and currently waits in durance vile on the Left Coast awaiting his chance for a jailbreak back to the Orient.
What happened was, he came back to the US after years in Asia, and stared with horror.
Modern American men, he said (remember that he lives in San Francisco) were “earring-dangling epicenes with as much testosterone as you would find in a good milkshake.” He railed about cringing, boot-licking, video-game twiddling, mouth-breathing morons with their corneas sutured to the blinking screen of the lobotomy box. “The country has gone to dwarfs,” he groaned.
Wow, I thought. This is good stuff. Inspired vituperation is my chosen joy, and in short supply in these effete times. But—was it true? Mouth-breathing morons did the Apollo landings? Actual boot-lickng? Not even in Washington. Well, unless they were Guccis.
“They’re not the same Americans now. They crave authority,” he said. “They lust after regulation. They love being frisked, x-rayed, and felt-up at airports because it gives them a false sense of significance.”
Keep it coming, Bob, I thought You’re on a roll. But I didn’t believe it. No one wants a prostate exam at boarding gates from a chunky federal retard. Very few, anyway. But what can they do about it? Once the Nazis have the Reichstag, you bend over or land in the slam.
Wild thought (this column doesn’t do organized. It may be related to pharmacology, in another universe, long ago.) Here’s my plan to close the budgetary deficit. TSA can pre-screen travelers into budding teenage lovelies, hunky guys, and unaccompanied children. Then it can rent out the groping lanes respectively to dirty old men, Bruce and Lance, and leering pederasts. I estimate you can get, say, a grand an hour. Maybe a bulk-lot contract with the Vatican.
I think it’s brilliant.
Having left the American male in ruins, he lit into the American female. (He really talks like this. It’s genius.) “Villainous overweight lemon-sucking shrews with thick ankles. They lurk in Human Resources departments like misandrous hagfish. They loathe men after the third inexplicable divorce. Eat ice cream out of the box and watch Oprah.”
It was artistry. I wasn’t sure it was true. Of course, I wasn’t sure it wasn’t. Such women existed but, having recently been in California, I found most to be pretty, agreeable, and nicely if casually packaged in attractive threads. I wasn’t married to them, though.
Still, there did seem to be a certain softening of what I had thought to be the national character. For example. I no longer saw many Harley hogs, with that wonderful guttural potatopotatopotato, straddled by hairy anti-social behemoths with tatoos saying “Born to die hard,” and “This end up.” No long-nosed choppers with ape-hanger handle bars. The only Harleys I saw had male-menopausing proctologists perched atop like laying hens on a riding mower.
Other indicators pointed to the decay of the American spirit. Drunk driving as a creative form had gone to the great winding road in the sky. And if anyone suggested arming airline pilots, the stewardi all moaned, “Ohhh, I’d be tho thskared.”
But had the land of Kit Carson and Killer Kowalski really undergone the collective enmushment that Bob claimed to see? Authority worshipping? He argued that invertebrates were making a comeback after going out of style in the Triassic or whenever. The guys, especially.
“Buncha pussy-whipped chimps.” Come on, Bob, there are tons of exceptions. “Exactly. Exceptions.”
I had to grant a degree of truth to the diagnosis. The US is indeed the first estrogenated, forcibly feminized society, at least as regards atmosphere and hormone levels. Anything remotely masculine, like punching guys out in bars, or dodgeball, or riding a bike without a helmet, or swimming without a Caost-Guard approved flotation device and seven life guards, has been pretty much wrung out of the country. (Until recently I didn’t know that freeze tag was violence.) This is because women control the schools, set the tone of the country, and prefer security to freedom, which is bass-ackwards from a guy’s point of view. Of course women don’t want to nuke China. There are trade-offs, I guess.
Bob further thinks we’ve turned into a nation of office tubers. He adverts sourly to the cubiculization of America, once the country of Evel Knievel and Junior Johnson. “See, Fred,” he said, “kids grow up assuming that they are going to spend their lives in little squares, as box-gerbils staring at screens, and it has altered them genetically. They aren’t actually becoming square to fit the spaces, at least not yet, but they have become torpid and easily frightened. It comes of having six-foot horizons all day. You can never tell what might be waiting in ambush out there in the world.”
That’s true. The average Joe is no longer a brawny back-hoe operator with triceps flapping like wattles and a six of Bud in a styrofoam cooler from the NAPA auto-parts outlet. Like God intended.
I fought back. I told Bob that cubiculization was necessary. Federal figures show that 157 million Americans work in offices, and three people in factories. This just shows how complex modern factories are, that they need so much supervision. It isn’t turning us into a nation of milquetoasts and popinjays, I said, who drink coffee with funny names while polishing their piercings.
Yes, I knew that the Army had just lowered physical standards again, and probably carried recruits around the obstacle course on fork lifts. I argued that it was to save their strength for combat, though.
Then I remembered: America is afraid of cap guns, which no longer exist. Of bottle rockets and pocket knives and Islamo-Mahmuds curled beneath the bed. And America is afraid of children. Puzzled boys of eleven are led from school in handcuffs for possession of a water pistol. A cop who would do it ought to go into hiding from embarrassment, but nothing embarrases anyone any longer. Ye gods and little catfish, I thought. Bob’s right. The country is afraid. Of everything.
How did this happen? Fear of toys, kids in chains and stuffed with Ritalin like paté geese. Women gobbling Prozac, porky army recruits who belong in buns, with ketchup.
Then Bob, who has no morals, sent me the CBS poll:
“Poll: Four in Five Support Full-Body Airport Scanners.”
Oh god. We really are turning into a nation of quivering weasels. I figure TSA is just a symptom, like fingers dropping off a leper.
Copyright 2010 Fred Reed.