Monday, June 2, 2008

A Modern Magellan

Get this. There are no more frontiers. Not in terms of real estate. In now times, you can’t just move in and lay claim. Globalization and public relations and the Internet, they make it a bitch to pull off. Look at Iraq. Look how that’s turned out. No, you can’t barge in and grab land anymore. You’re liable to look like a real fuckhead

You say, I’m wrong. You say, ever see Star Trek? You say, space, it’s the final frontier. What I say is this: fuck space. Space is cold and dark. Space, nobody owns it so nobody wants it. It was the final frontier when everybody was trying to get there. It was the end-all be-all of adventure when there was a race on. Now, it’s nothing. Why do you think 1972 was the last moonwalk? Because we got there and nobody else owned it, so there was no point in taking it.

But a frontier, it’s a border. Where something ends and another thing begins, another thing entirely. A border. Between comfort and the unknown. A border. Between what’s yours and what’s not. My point being this: frontiers, they don’t necessarily divide land.

* * *

Get this. New York City was all Lanape Indians when the first Europeans showed up. And after Whitey tired of trading with the Lanape, after all the beavers had been killed for their pelts and there wasn’t anything left to exploit, after all that the Europeans sent the Indians packing. Sent them West. And they turned New York into a crowded heap of concrete. What’s more, they kept the Lanape name “Manhattan.” Maybe because they weren’t creative enough to think of another title. Maybe because they liked to rub it in.

They took. Moreover, they took with a certain satisfaction, a certain lack of shame that seemed to say, “Fuck you and everyone you know. And everyone they know too.” My point being this: even in the time of real adventurers, discovery was just another word for theft.

* * *

Get this. A good while ago, I stole a beer from some guy at a party. What I discovered, it was half drunk. What I discovered, it was still cold, it tasted good. Admittedly, that was both an asshole move and also disgusting. What’s more, the party was a kegger. So not only was stealing the beer fucked up and gnarly, it was completely unnecessary. That’s likely why it tasted so good.

What people always say when I tell them about this. What people always say is, I’m a punk, not an adventurer. What I always say when people call me a punk. What I always say is, punks take candy from babies, adventurers take honey from bears. My point being this: adventure is in the risk, be it the risk of a drunken sucker punch or the risk of an expertly chucked tomahawk.

* * *

Get this. In any large city, see someone walking down the street holding a black plastic bag and inside is either liquor or pornography. Without exception. Find someone carrying a black plastic bag filled with baby formula or bibles and I’ll eat my hat. It never happens. Why I’m telling you this: black plastic bags are like frontiers for the twenty-first century.

Steal a man’s $5 gin and he’ll come at you as if it were gold. Steal his copy of Midget Gang Bang 4 ½, it may as well be his first-born. Never will he call to bystanders for help. Never will he involve the police. But he’d sooner lick an electrical socket than let it go. Black plastic bags, pure fucking adventure.

It’s not about whether you’ve nabbed yourself a bottle of Blue Label or the June issue of Foot Fancy. It’s about not knowing what you nabbed, not knowing if someone’s right about to nab it back. The first frontier or the last frontier or every frontier besides. An island or a beer or a black plastic bag. Every one an adventure. My point being this: there’s any number of ways to steal the unknown.

5 comments:

Liz said...

I liked this story. I liked that beer anecdote. I like you ^_^

Jennifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jen. said...

I like this...you sound like a friend of mine from Texas, a writer, moved to New York to find people like him, and fame, and fortune, and all the good shit some guy in a bar in Dallas promised him.

Well, apparently this guy in the bar, he was the same very guy who dug up Jack Kerouac from the tar pits, yeah? So it all started out with a pretty promising scent.

He's desperate for something, now, lost in New York. I can't put my finger on what it is. He found all he was looking for, that's my guess. Didn't realize it was fucked.

Keep nursing that good shit lollipop over there, man, I'm digging this.

~Jen

Anonymous said...

You are truely amazing...when are you going to get published so I can go buy your stuff? Keep on writing, I love reading it.

Robert S said...

I feel like you go out of your way to sound like Palahniuk.