Sunday, September 07, 2003

Okay so this one time? On Frontline? (6/7/02)

I went to the gym after work today. Actually, the Y, I'm poor. It's actually relevant because there were two kids in the locker room getting ready to leave as I was coming in, and I assume they were wrapping up a day of summer camp. Kid #1 was sitting on the bench with his shirt off slowly getting the rest of his things together. I'd say he was about 10 or 11 years old, and everything he said came out like a question. We'll call him Band Camp.

Kid #2 is larger, rounder, but around the same age. "My ears are wet!" he says, sounding none too happy about it. Now, these are lower-class city kids, and maybe they've never been to camp before, but it stands to reason that one's ears would get wet in a swimming pool. Or, y'know, a SHOWER. So we'll call Kid #2 Dumbass.

It seems these two haven't known each other for long, because Band Camp says to Dumbass, "What's your favorite music?"

"Rap," says Dumbass.

"Why?" asks Band Camp.

"I dunno. Um. Because it's cool."

"Cool," Band Camp says thoughtfully. "That's the word everyone keeps using today."

Dumbass grunts.

"I was watching this documentary today?" What? "On Frontline?" What?? "On PBS?" What what what?? "They were talking about how 'cool' defines us? And how consumer culture? Is spreading internationally? And is making a new world? Not a very good one."

Dumbass grunts.

Oh, this kid! He's in for a lifetime of beatings, I think. He's also my new favorite person. I feel this pressing need to protect him from the bullies to come. And also to make him watch The Powerpuff Girls.

He lost some points a minute later when Dumbass commented on his Yankees flip-flops and he said, "I don't even like the Yankees. Or the Mets. I just got these because they look cool." Oops. Who's part of the consumer culture now??

It's easy to regain my affections though, and he did so when Dumbass called him slow and threatened to leave without him. "I've got my shirt on?" Band Camp said, still packing his bag. "That's progress? I'm just more organized than you," he said, suddenly question-mark-free. " Watch and learn from the Master of Organization."

Ah, my young padawan, you have much to learn. But on the right path you are.

Maybe if I see him again I'll slip some tape flags into his locker.

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