Dear Dirty America


Dreaming of Two Good Lives Requires Belief in Teleportation

June 22
02:47 2012
North Dakota


I’m still in windy, tumultuous North Dakota. The crops are growing fast beneath the hot sun. The bright green cornstalks are shooting higher every day as they soak up the warm, sweet air. To chop off a stock, you’d expect rich green blood to stain your hands. Why am I in North Dakota, when I rent an apartment in Los Angeles? Because a very frail old speed demon with a loose perm ran a red light and totaled my car downtown, on the eve of Memorial Day weekend.

Other than visiting wily relatives, I’m in North Dakota testing driving cars at a local, trusted dealership. I would never buy a used car in Los Angeles. There are no honest people in LA, except for a few homeless folks. Other than that, it’s best to flee that city when you have real, honest work that needs attending to.

I’ve documented my flight out of LA, and my tiresome adventures in North Dakota in a serialized story called Car Wreck Series. Readers, other writers, and friends have really resonated with the series so far, and have related their own scary car wreck stories to me. That’s been therapeutic. I’m going to relate their stories to a Charles Manson quote in the near future. If I forget, send me an email to remind me.

Speaking of car wrecks, I wanted to address the real subtopic of this post (the true topic is teleportation):

John Bryson resigned from his position as Commerce Secretary. Who is John Bryson? Doesn’t matter. He’s a metaphor, like the rest of us. He was on medical leave after a series of car crashes in California. Bryson rear-ended a car stopped at a railroad crossing. He spoke with the gentlemen in the car, and then, upon leaving the scene, hit their car again with his Lexus. At first it was believed Bryson’s factory-issued driving gloves got caught on the steering wheel. Later, that rumor was debunked by online logicians everywhere.

The men followed Bryson and called police. Bryson ran into yet another car before the recklessness ended. Bryson claimed he’d had a stroke. He also represents a number of other Washington men in prominent leadership positions who, seizure or no, tightly grip the steering wheel of a national juggernaut speeding along with no real direction. Their natural sense of danger compromised by antiquated party lines. Plowing into the backs of other vehicles, hitting the same vehicles again, and then careening down the road without any sense of danger. But where will the madness end? Eventually we’ll run into the ocean, or a brick wall. Bryson’s nightmare ended rather soon. How will we fare?

Bryson didn’t make this allusion in his resignation letter, probably because it’s not a great allusion. He might have thought of it, though, in that deadbeat, depressed, twilight-of-your-life way where you decide there is nothing good that can be done, because there’s simply too much despair, too many problems, and everybody would rather watch baseball and True Blood anyway.

The explanation, via Bryson’s letter:

“I have decided to step down as the Secretary of Commerce,” Bryson wrote in a letter to President Barack Obama, dated Wednesday. “I have concluded that the seizure I suffered on June 9th could be a distraction from my performance as Secretary and that our country would be better served by a change in leadership of the Department.”

And then the president, who is haunted by James Buchanan’s truly being the “first gay president”, kind of like Bill Clinton’s disgust that he’s no longer the nation’s “blackest president”, praised Bryson (although in reality he read the official list of duties for the Commerce Secretary, and attributed that to the job Bryson did by adding the adverb, ‘tirelessly’):

“As Secretary, John fought tirelessly for our nation’s businesses and workers, helping to bolster our exports and promote American manufacturing and products at home and abroad,” Obama said.

Mr Bryson worked so hard for American manufacturing, he had a seizure, Obama should have said. Our next Commerce Secretary will be allowed to take naps every now and again to relieve the unendurable stress and tension. Maybe Bryson was a good guy. Hard to tell. I’m sure he wasn’t uncivilized.

As for me, I’m wishing I could live two lives. One life spent traipsing in an old jockstrap around the infinitely stretching fields simmering in the North Dakota summer. Like Jack Kerouac’s friend, Gary Snyder, did in the Sierra Nevada mountains so many decades ago.

The other life packed away in a shitty studio apartment, with piles of yellowed, used books and a greasy laptop, rising high above the Los Angeles city squalor. I’m a tepid believer in teleportation. A rousing late night radio interview with Dr Bruce Goldberg inspired me, but no matter how hard I try, I can’t wake up in the location I’d fallen asleep while intensely imagining.

And flying takes too long. The TSA and their body scanners and pat down assaults and molestation. But driving, that’s even worse. Almost two thousand miles between my two fairy tale lives.

Goddammit. It’s important to dwell on the immediate reality. America’s a nasty superpower run by global banking cartels, corrupt leaders of Israeli, and a bunch of unimpressive bureaucratic water rats; the world economy is on the brink; and that economy is really our only allowed and currently functioning system, so when it falls, it really, really falls. Lastly, it’s important to remember teleportation, while probably a reality, isn’t a reality for most people. Including me.

But it’s OK to dream. It’s OK to imagine, and be a nutcase. I’m sick of defending my harbored fantasies. We don’t live in a One System world. Or a world with One Reality. But you have to remind yourself every morning. Otherwise you’ll start believing God mandated a work week of 40 hours. A hectic weekend off. A system of dollars, ATMs, and compounded interest. And, if you’re lucky, a big enough paycheck to get a few hundred channels on the TV, and a shiny sedan that everyone else in your upper middle class society also drives.

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