Dogs Don't Roll Over
Written by: Alex Sandell
In my need to identify, I find Oscar the Grouch
It's harder than a heroin injected penis to be a member of "Generation Z." "Generation Z" is my lower than "X" terminology for the few members of the media created "Generation Xers" who feel the need to be so far out that the so called "individual" X-folks seem too fabricated, clichéd and generic for our "don't belong at all costs" mental subset.
If the "Oscar the Grouch likes being grouchy but hates being happy but grouchiness makes him feel happy, so what in the hell does Oscar the Grouch like to be?" philosophy eludes you, this may be the perfect time to shut off your computer and run down to the market to by the new John Grisham "down at the grocers, soon will be movie" mass- marketed paperback.
If the "inner- what should I be?" turmoil of Oscar the Grouch always appealed to you more than the "I'm yellow, awkward, but still perpetually happy" flakiness of Big Bird, this is for you. Not that I've written this for anyone, since it is for the validation of my own integrity, not the slim chance at financial success that propels my inner need for outer self-expression. Still, if you need someone to identify with to prove you have no need for identity, you're welcome to come along for the ride.
I'll begin the ride driving down Highway 13, on the way to every thinking American's most dreaded nightmare and every compliant American's Dream -- the full time job. What could be more degrading to the 23-year-old that believed they would change the world by the time they turned twenty-one? And what could be harder than working for an establishment you thought you opposed? That is the journey we are going on. Where we are going is to a "gaming and hospitality leader," or in laymen terms, a casino.
What we are wearing is a standardized uniform that all employees must wear to perform their perfunctory tasks. What we will do is become a robot for 8 and a half hours, yelling "change" and pushing a cart with bright, flashing lights. We will take money from fools and free-thinkers, down on their luck. We will put a small paycheck inside of our pocket and bring in a fortune for the corporate, ruling class that controls us but tells us we're free.
This isn't quite the ride you thought we'd be taking? You can't get off now, unemployment is high and you have to pay rent. Besides, what could make all of us Oscar the Grouch's happier than criticizing and whining about the primary thing that we hate?
A Rotting Dalmatian and the birth of a Metaphor
During the past week, on my ride to work, I pass a dead canine, a Dalmatian. Everyday he becomes just a little more bloated, a little more rotted and there's always just a little more flies taking advantage of his carcass.
He comes between "Lion's Pub" and some goober on a billboard trying to sell me a car with a dorky grin. The first time I pass the deceased Dalmatian I hardly notice. "Oh, just another dead dog lying on the side of a road," I say to myself. The second day I stare at him curiously and debate over taking his picture for a photo collection of dead carcasses for a book I could publish titled "Roadkill: A Portrait of Death on the Open Road."
I smile at the thought of showing off my book of animal cadavers on David Letterman; I quickly shake the idea because I'm late for work. The third day I developed a strange glitch in my brain (as I often will do) and said "Hi Mr. Corpse, hiiii . . ." while frantically waving as I went into hysterics over my psychotic turn of events.
The birth of a metaphor doesn't hit me until the fifth or sixth day. I look at what's left of my dead roadside companion. His smashed head, with its oozing brains, his stomach rotted through and the flies swarming around his ribs in all their invidious glee. I look at that dog, rotting and going nowhere and realize that dog is me. It is just a crude roadside mirroring of where I am going and what I'll become. For just a minute I think I feel a fly in my mouth.
Everyday runs in the same pattern. I get up, get dressed and hop into my car. I always have my boom-box secured in the back seat, directly behind my head. I always listen to some punk rock anarchistic lament on the way to work, this makes me feel like a genuine rebel. The music makes me think that, eventually, I'll get out of this disconsolate existence.
Everyday I check in the rearview mirror to make sure I don't have any big, mutant nosehairs or green chunks of snot sticking out from my nostrils. Everyday I notice my eyes are just a little more sunken and my hair line is just a little further back than it was the day before.
That's where I am rotting, not as distinctly as the canine and his spilled guts but, I am rotting indeed. I take a final glance behind me at the dead Dalmatian. I begin comparing the flies that suck off him to my employers. I turn off my CD player and decide to see if anything good is on the radio. That's when, in passing, I swear I can see the rotting dog on the side of the road, standing up, staring at me with its one remaining eye . . .
Go to: Chapter 2
©1997 Alex Sandell but, if you're a book publisher and, you wanna get this puppy out, please get in touch with me, hand me a nice, big contract and, of course, a 12 pack of Grape Soda and maybe we can do lunch.
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