Okay, so tomorrow night I’m bartending, guest star bartending that is, at the L and L tavern. You may know the L and L as the first place I ever legally drank a beer and the spiritual home of my band, the Lawrence Arms. This will be the first time this kind of amazing corporate synergy between the L’s and the Arms has ever been attempted and in honor of all of y’all’s unbridled enthusiasm, I’m doing something truly great for those of you who show up.
Due to my big-wheel status down at JBTV, where I host Static Age along with my pal Toby, I’ve been able to secure popular throwback act Against Me! to play a set in the extremely intimate JBTV studio in a few weeks, (less than one hundred people will be admitted) and tomorrow at the L and L we’ll be raffling off guest list spots to that shit. That’s right turds! Who loves you? Me. I’m gonna be giving you whiskey, giving you PBR’s and giving you access to see one of the biggest bands in punk rock in a tiny little setting. Okay, so bring your livers folks, because tomorrow night’s gonna be sloppy. The door guy is the guy who the song “cut it up” is inspired by, for fucks sake (for you nerds out there that care about that kind of thing). Um, so yeah. Come on down tomorrow.
Also, I’ll be cranking up the old Static Age Twitter and firing off ‘blasts’ or whatever the fuck people say nowdays, starting, uh…well I just did the first one just now. Go ahead, follow my tweets. jbtvstaticage is the handle…jesus. I need a teenager in here to hook me up with some terminology asap, because I have the sinking feeling that what I just said makes no sense.
Okay, finally, come see me tonight at the Risque Café. It’s gonna be me and David just uh…I don’t know, hosting beer shotgunning contests all night. 2 buck cans, folks! 4 buck whiskey lemonade in a pint glass. 7 bucks for a half slab of ribs! Quit being such a pussy!
Good god! That’s a lot of advertising for a morning, innit? It’s almost like I’m not even gonna go into a hilariously whimsical tirade about something irrelevant today…almost.
At my gym, there’s a young black guy who swipes my card before I go into the locker room every day. I see this guy all the time and we don’t really talk, but we’re friendly with “hey there”s and “have a good weekend” and shit like that. Well, the other day I was walking in and he was looking at my arm and he got a look of real shock on his face and I said “what’s up?” and he said “uh…nothing. Um, is that, uh, is that that one little dude that’s on the back of trucks just always peein’ on everything?” He pointed to my first tattoo, a tattoo of Calvin from Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, one of the greatest comic strips ever, but also one of the lamer tattoos.
It struck me that this guy, who’s probably only about twenty one or twenty two, probably has no frame of reference for who calvin is outside of the brave new world of high speed cultural discourse that involves his being placed mischievously within pissing distance of some piece of loathed iconography on the back of some hick’s truck as it speeds down the highway, and that, folks, makes this an even LAMER tattoo than it already was.
I’ve seen calvin piss on some funny stuff in my time on America’s highways. I’ve seen him piss on various sports teams, various makes of cars and I’ve even seen him praying a few times, but the best Calvin sticker I’ve ever seen, hands down, was Calvin pissing on the words “towel heads”. I mean, I don’t think there’s a more concise way to sum up what a completely mindless turd you are than to put this sticker on your dumb truck. But that kind of brings me to my bigger point.
Stickers on your car are fucking dumb. There’s really no exception to this rule. Some would argue that the election year bumper sticker is exempt from this, but I disagree. Your car, it should be presumed, will last you longer than it will take for the election you’re all stoked about to take place, and as soon as that election’s over, you’ve got either the loser of the election on your car, like some kind of asshole, or you’ve got the president or the mayor or the governor on your car, and they don’t need any more advertising. they got the fucking job. So yeah, these stickers are worthless, but I’ll grant you that they’re really not the worst.
Stickers that are just completely mindless (“shit happens”, for example) are good. That is, they’re a good way to broadcast that you treat your car like a piece of shit, you’re too dumb to take care of it and you for some (again) dumb reason bought a five dollar bumper sticker, ruined your bumper with it and now drive around as though it’s doing anything by calling attention to how stupid you are, all while trumpeting a slogan that is AT BEST banal and meaningless. But that’s better than the alternative:
Yesterday I parked behind a van that was covered in bumper stickers. They were all Very Serious bumper stickers and the woman (it had to have been a woman) who owned the van was obviously liberal and humorless. “Well behaved women rarely make history” this woman’s van told me, and sure. I believe that’s probably true. “Keep abortion safe and legal” it says. “Celebrate Diversity” and on and on like this. And I sat there and looked and I realized that this batch of stickers was making me incredibly angry. Why? I think that I pretty much agree with every notion espoused on this dumb aquamarine minivan, so why is it upsetting to me?
The answer struck me a few minutes after I’d walked away…it’s because I don’t want to be yelled at by a mini van about anything at all. If I’m being confronted on the street by someone who feels strongly about diversity or gay marriage or keeping womens health clinics safe or whatever, I can choose to walk by or I can stop and chat, but I’m left with the distinct feeling that the person with the clipboard genuinely cares about what’s going on and is actually putting their money where their mouth is and getting out there and trying to do something. A bumper sticker is just an empty slogan that I have to look at all the way from my house to taco bell when I’m stuck behind you. It takes about a second to read and dismiss as stupid but that doesn’t stop it from sitting there just screaming “NO BLOOD FOR OIL” at me. Well, thanks, dude in front of me for purchasing an approximated talking point of your opinion and putting it on your bumper so I could, while I’m on my way to the urologist, for example, be comforted by the fact that I’m hurtling down Lake Shore Drive right behind someone else who doesn’t want to see blood shed for oil. Thanks.
There’s a guy in my neighborhood who has this amazingly pretentious bumper sticker on his car that says something like “those who would give up essential liberty and freedom for a little safety deserve neither safety nor liberty.” The quote, which I’m paraphrasing, is attributed to Ben Franklin and there’s a picture of the liberty bell on the sticker.
This sticker makes me so fucking angry I want to pop that guy’s tires. Now, I like BF as much as the next guy. He’s fucking amazing. He’s smart and he’s truly one of the most celebrated perverts in the history of this great land of ours, but this quote in sticker form is so incredibly high and mighty and condescending and rude and downright stupid that I don’t even know what to do. I need to make a sticker of my own and park in front of him. My sticker would maybe say this:
“Hey asshole, the very notion of denying someone freedom and liberty based on the choices they make kind of goes against the idea that this country was founded on, doesn’t it? Oh yeah, I’m aware that you’re parroting a quote from one of the founding fathers, but do you realize how arrogant it sounds? You’re essentially saying (and actually, you’re not saying anything, Ben Franklin is, by way of your car) ‘if you’re afraid and stupid, you’re a worthless piece of shit, not worthy of the rights of the citizenry’ Well, guess what, self righteous car bumper! Fear is an irrational and uncontrollable emotion AND THIS PLACE IS, IN FACT, VERY FUCKING SCARY!, so get off your high horse and rather than attacking everyone who’s dumb enough to say, ‘uh, sure…I dunno, will tapping my phone keep the Taliban out of Spokane? Then I’m for it’ (which is, I’ll grant you, a completely stupid notion, and destructive to free society) let’s go for a unifying notion of really educating the American people about how to be aware of their surroundings, spot suspicious bags and activities and work as a TEAM to make us all feel safer like they do in Ireland and Israel where this kind of thing is more than just a once-in-a-while problem, because truly, only education can combat fear. There is NO OTHER weapon that can be effective against fear. Just education. That is all. How bout not being such a dick? Thanks for reading. I know this sticker is long, it’s just that when you reduce important arguments like national security vs personal freedom to sloganeering bullet points, there’s no way to not come off as a reductive, smug dipshit. And frankly, if this was easy enough to figure out that the answer could be put on a bumper sticker, well, it probably would be, don’tcha think? Oh, and your car is filthy. How bout hitting the carwash on California and Montrose? It does great detailing for about fifteen bucks.”
That would be a good sticker, right? Okay. I’m done. See you at the L and L tomorrow and see you at the Risque tonight!