A message for the many people on Facebook who have at one point seemed to self-proclaim themselves to be above posting about politics, or too good to talk about the presidential election… And to those many who are annoyed by others posting about it… Please, stop being so pretentious and/or ignorant. And I say that as respectfully as possible. Even those who post something witty with “This is the only thing I will say about the election…” Why? Why not say more? You’re eventually going to have an opinion on politics and the important issues facing the world, and it doesn’t make you any more cool or hip to publicly brush it off now, and criticize others for giving a shit. This is America, goddammit! Develop your opinions and beliefs, and voice them! And what better outlet to do that with than with a mass social networking site like Facebook? Oh, but wait… We wouldn’t want to keep you from seeing the other more IMPORTANT status updates, like cheesy song lyrics of no relevance to you, useless sports commentary, or albums of countless pictures that you’ll never ever look at, would we?
By Andy Bock
Musky, morning dew filled my pores with uncomfortable weight as I stepped outside into the Florida humidity. Not today, I thought, please not today. A few steps further outside my door, and I could already sense their presence—squandering the day away, loitering and trespassing upon windows and walls that didn’t belong to them, like they owned the place or something.
Like a vile disease, for a few months out of every year they would flock together in numbers—in the streets, in the air, on weatherworn lampposts — literally anywhere and everywhere. And then one day they would just disappear. Sure, most people may brush them off and consider them harmless, but not I. I acknowledge the grotesque and degenerate atrocities for what they are.
Trying my best to avoid confrontation with them, I walked toward my car with my head down, hood over my day struck eyes that followed my feet. Several timid yet hastened steps took me to a newly refurbished sidewalk that was like a long blood vein to this suburban neighborhood, leading all the way to the black tar pavement of the parking lot where my silver Honda Accord was parked.
Heat fumes and illusions of oil began to disappear from the tar as I grew closer and closer, more and more confounded, and the morning melodies were layered with a variety of different instruments; I could hear the morning birds chirping, harmonizing with the toads and crickets, echoed by a lead orchestra of grasshoppers – all, sadly was drowned out by the faint sounds of machines and construction workers coming from all directions.
However, a particular buzzing sound still haunted my senses, as if I had a pair of headphones in, or a surround sound system set up around me with the continuous playback of a buzzing bee. They must have been everywhere.
Then, as I finally got to my destination and my hand neared the door handle to my car, that’s when I saw them, clear as day—moist, black, wiry bodies intertwined, fornicating upon the same handle that which I placed my grasp on a daily basis, aspiring to produce and spawn more of the same abominations that taint the handle before me, and lingering on the assumed thick line between bestiality and pornography, were two wretched and adulterating Love Bugs.
Their presence plagued me, and I was distraught. I couldn’t turn my back on this Love Bug kerfuffle. So being the good Christian that I am, I raised my hand up forth, and brought it down with such force and vengeance that both the life and the sins of the vermin were vanquished. There you go, Satan. They’re your problem now.
If you’re a man, and you post/tweet your horoscopes all the time as if they’re relevant or inspiring to you, AND I SEE IT…. I will immediately lose ALL respect for you, and any notion that I had of you being a man with a pair of balls hanging between his legs will henceforth be thrown out of a figurative twenty-story window, so as to ensure a quick and everlasting death. That’s how much I fucking hate astrology and horoscopes. Why the harsh indifference toward men, you ask? Because I’ve come to expect such silliness from most women. But if you’re a man… You should know better than that. lol #misogyny
I fucking hate basketball. As opposed to a sport like soccer, where you spend a miserable hour and a half watching some of the world’s most cardiovascularily-fit athletes prance around and transform into amateur stunt actors, falling and faking injuries in hopes of trying to score the one fucking goal to win a game that, by the end of it, nobody gives a shit about anymore, basketball is a whole other kind of shitty. In basketball, you’re not watching world class athletes. Nowadays you’re watching a bunch of thugs squeaking their oversized shoes up and down a 100 ft court, scoring a few points every 20 or 30 fucking seconds. It’s too much to keep up with. It’s too many scores for me to ever give a shit about any individual one.
And don’t even get me started with baseball. Baseball may be America’s past time, I’ll give it that. I played baseball growing up as a kid. But nobody gives a fuck about baseball now. Let’s be real… There are plenty of other better things to do on a hot summer afternoon than to sit my ass down in a blistering set of shitty bleachers for four hours. I mean, nothing happens in baseball. For every ten pitches that the pitcher takes his sweet fucking time throwing, maybe 4 or 5 of them will actually be hit by the batter. Of those 5, maybe 2 of them will be hit in bounds and actually count. And every time a ball IS hit in play, it only involves the batter, and maybe the two or three players it takes to eventually field the shit. The rest of the team pretty much just stands around and watches. Shit, the other team is SITTING DOWN and watching in their dugout. All of that in mind, I can comfortably conclude that baseball is the laziest goddamn sport in the world, because nothing fucking happens 80% of the time!
That’s why I’m thankful for sports like football. Now there’s a sport that caters to my ADD. Eight second spurts of gargantuan athletes plummeting into each other full force, often projecting their bodies into each other like vicious human missiles? Um. Yes, please. I’ll watch a sport like that all goddamn day. Nowadays, football exemplifies what America is all about: those Saturdays and Sundays gathered around the television with the friends/family, beers cracked open, assortments of deliciously unhealthy foods at your disposal… That’s ‘Murcia. Fuck yeah.
Most of the people in this world are collectively fucking stupid, and I once used to know an overweight, middle-aged gentleman from southern Alabama named Robert Bigsterfield who happened to fit into this all-too-common category.
I once asked him, “So Bob—where does a last name like Bigsterfield come from? That sounds exotic.” I like to consider myself to be rather good at small talk.
“It’s Robert.” He spit some of his chewing tobacco into a bucket on the floor of his bleak office-trailer next to his body shop. I cringed every time he did that.
“No, your last name—”
“Bigsterfield?” Sitting behind his shoddy desk, he stapled some papers together and put them into a worn manila folder.
“Yeah. Bob Bigsterfield—I mean, where do you think you got your last name from? Like—mine, for instance, is Rodney Carpenter.”
“I saw that from your paperwork, guy. And the name’s Robert, not Bob.” He got up from behind the desk in his corner of the tiny office, and he headed toward the door.
“I’m sorry—Robert. I’m just saying—haven’t you ever thought about where people’s last names came from? Like, every John Smith you meet is a descendant of a blacksmith or something badass like that. And every—”
Bob opened the door, and suddenly the loud crashes and machinery of a car body shop pierced the air and muffled what I was saying.
That was my third time in his body shop, and if there’s anything that you need to know about me for the sake of this story, it’s that I’m genuinely a terrible fucking driver. I guess it’s because growing up in Manhattan, my parents and I never owned any cars.
During our first ever session of paperwork, Robert looked me up and down in my navy blue suit jacket and red silk tie, “So what brings you to these parts of Alabama, Mr. Businessman?” He went back to reading from the files in a manila folder.
“I’m actually a political analyst for CNN.”
He looked up from his paperwork. “Oh. Fancy…” He then looked back down, and continued writing, as if not listening to a word said.
“Yeah, the TV network. My crew and I are covering the elections here all month.” I turned in my seat, and it squeaked. Bob looked up again, and put down his pen.
“Well, Mr. Television, then—your car should be ready in about a day. But don’t hold me to that.” I didn’t hold him to it, and when I showed up the next day at the same time, I had to wait over two and a half hours for my goddamn Mitsubishi.
Robert Bigsterfield wasn’t ever, at any point, somebody whom I would consider my friend. No—he was one of those people that pass by through your life, and impact you far much more than their role in your life is worth. And that wasn’t the first time this sort of thing had happened to me. After a wild night of drunken escapades in Las Angeles, I once learned from a McDonald’s drive-thru attendant about the value of empathy.
These several short and often abrupt conversations with Robert in his bleak little office at the untitled body shop quickly began to leave impressions on me. And slowly, the most unexpected person became somebody whom I would never forget.
When I brought the Mitsubishi into the shop for an oil change on a hot and humid afternoon, I noticed that Bob had grown a particularly impressive mustache.
“Thanks,” he said when I complimented him on the sweet new addition to his face. I didn’t say it like that, though.
“I’ve always wanted to grow a mustache like that.”
“Then why don’t you?” He spit tobacco into the aluminum can on the floor, and a little bit remained stuck on the tips of his burly new mustache. I looked away from it.
“I don’t know—I guess I’ve never really been able to grow one.” With my hand that I wasn’t using to hold the pen, I gave my face a quick feel for the pathetic blonde stubbles. “A lot of times, blondes like me don’t really grow that thick facial hair, you know? Not like you all with dark hair.”
“I guess that’s just the cards we were dealt.”
Not even two weeks later at this democratic rally I was covering, I managed to have a one night stand with some ridiculously good looking brunette woman named Rebecca. Though I was too drunk to remember Rebecca’s last name, it only took me and a few minutes of half-witted conversation and a few drinks to find out that she really had a thing for guys with blonde hair—something that only stood out to me because of what Bob had said. It was simply one of the cards that I was dealt. And in the case with Rebecca what’s-her-face, I suppose I literally played my cards right.
Unfortunately, I was also dealt a card of being a perpetually shitty driver. The next day, I accidently rear-ended somebody at a stoplight, and again found myself back in Bob Bigsterfield’s untitled, mundane body shop.
“You was working a political what when this happened?” I couldn’t tell if the stains on Bob’s baggy overalls were from the grease or from his chew, and to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure that I wanted to know.
“A political rally. And this girl—Rebecca—she came up to me out of nowhere—”
“What the hell was the point of this political rally?” He put down his pen, leaned back in his seat, and gave me his full attention, appearing to actually want to engage in a real conversation with me for once.
“Well, uh—“ I stuttered because, to be honest, I was a little intimidated.
“Was it to rally the overwhelming number of democrats in our sweet home of Alabama?” His sarcasm was delivered effortlessly, but I brushed it off with a chuckle.
“No, actually it was an organization to rally against a few different things—like corrupt corporations, government embezzlement, greedy politicians—“
“I’m reckon you mean politicians such as the Republican candidate McHenry?”
Normally I didn’t indulge myself into political conversations with strangers like this, but for some reason, this time felt different.
“Y—yes, I suppose I’d consider him to be—”
“Typical.” He spit into the can with a loud ding. “You said you work for CNN?”
“Well, I work behind the scenes. But that’s right.”
“Then I’m assuming you’re pretty left wing?”
“I guess you could say that.” The room began to feel hotter, so I loosened my tie from my collar, just slightly. “And I suppose that you’re my right wing match?”
“I ain’t got wings, Mr. Television.” I chuckled. But he didn’t mean it to be a joke. “Cause I don’t fly. But if I did, I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t happen by only using one wing.”
He ripped out a yellow copy of my paperwork, and handed it to me before swaggering out to the body shop. I followed him, but had to cover my ears.
“Excuse me, but why are you being so rude with me all the time!” I was yelling like an idiot, holding my ears while Robert stood completely composed. There were a couple of employees around who kept on working under, inside, and around cars, as if we weren’t there. “Just leaving me in the room like that—”
“Rude? I’ll be honest with you, kid. I do what I can for business’ sake, but life is too short to spend your time around people you really can’t stand the heck out of.”
“You don’t like me?”
“It’s not that I don’t like you. It’s that I don’t like your type.”
“And what type is that? Left wing?”
“No, not that. All of that left wing and right wing stuff is just packaging. It’s idealists— people like you who think that there can be a perfect world, or that you alone have any power to really change it.”
“But we can change it. We can make it better. It’s been proven throughout history.”
“Aside from the occasional exception, like with the great Dr. King—rest his soul— the only things in this world that actually bring change or influence are money and power. Which naturally go hand in hand. And because that’s the dag-gone inevitable nature of things, corruption’s gonna be there no matter what. Ain’t no sense in bitching and fretting over what’s outta your control.”
“But things are in our control. The people have the power!”
And this is when Bob Bigsterfield taught me that, “People are fucking stupid, kid. The sooner you realize that, the sooner that you’ll be more content with all of the bullshit in the world. Because trust me, I know there’s bullshit. I can smell it—but I ain’t about to strive to fix things, or make it so I’m perfectly happy, either. Because I’m insatiable, and because happiness is a feeling that comes and goes, not a reachable goal in life, or something that people have the authority to dictate. One day, just like most men at some point in their lives, I think you’ll eventually learn to only worry about the things in life that you have control over—which, fair warning, there aren’t going to be many things— and I think you’ll learn to be content.”
He looked me up and down one more time and, before leaving, said, “Or maybe you won’t… You can pick your car up on Friday, Mr. Carpenter.”
It wasn’t ready until Saturday, though, and Bob Bigsterfield hadn’t shown up to the body shop again all week by the time I went in to pick up the Mitsubishi. The next day, I had to follow the campaign rally up north to the next county, so I’m not sure if he had been sick that day, or if, God forbid, things had taken the horribly ironic and cliché turn, and he had peacefully passed onto the afterlife after having one last epic conversation with me. Not that I wanted him dead—I’m not that fucked up—but it would have seemed appropriate. Because I never saw that stupid, arrogant man ever again.
Once again in my life, just like a lot of people out there (or, maybe just people with equally low integrity as I), something that I used to naively make fun of others for utilizing is now something I’m going to use, and most likely really enjoy. This has been happening all of my life, whether it be Indie music, marijuana, shots of liquor, or even Instagram. Now, it’s happening again, but this time with a little bit more purpose than that of my conversion into the now exclusive”ish” Hipstergram.
Some people may know this, some people may not, but I like to write, and above all else, I enjoy making people laugh. While most of my focus is going into screenwriting and hopefully one day developing a sitcom, I still enjoy writing really short fiction from time to time. Mainstream society isn’t very familiar with this more new-ish literary medium, but it’s called Flash Fiction, and it’s the fucking shit.
Flash fiction are normally stories that can range from as long as a few pages to as short as a few sentences. And within that story is normally just as much of a plot and story and entertainment as is contained in an entire novel or some shit. It really makes no sense to me why people are reading any novels anymore. I mean, I personally don’t have time to sit down and stare at a series of pages for 3 hours only to progress like ten percent of the overall story. Sorry, but I can watch like six episodes of It’s Always Sunny in that time. But I digress…
Anyways, I’m going to be using this Tumblr NOT to post memes, pictures, and be all hipster and shit about this stupid website, but to rather promote some of my shorter writings and get them out there. If you like them, cool. If you don’t like them, fuck you, there’s a billion other people in the world out there, and I don’t need you or your approval. :)