It’s a damp, dreary morning in the bloated intestine of post-Gatsby Long Island and I’m motoring down Wellwood Avenue, past boarded-up storefronts, bound for The Botanist, New York’s finest medical marijuana dispensary. CSNY’s “Teach Your Children” is spewing from my tired car radio and I’m smelling things I haven’t smelled in years.
The air is no longer choked. The stale fart stench of Swindlehurst factories has been replaced by a fresh scent, an earthy aroma that is inviting, until I ponder its meaning. If you’ve ever spent time in the wilderness you recognize the fragrance at once—the grass is screaming and the trees are being flayed for fretwork in one of Suffolk County’s many lumberyards. Essential businesses and all of that.
I only have one mask and four gloves to spare on this trip, so I’ll have to make it count. I take the Huntington off-ramp and gun it down Broadhollow Road into Sweet Hollow Country.
This is where the urban legends live, where a whorish teenage specter named Bloody Mary is said to appear when you shine your light on her grave. It’s where the gates once read, “Life, How Short.” It’s the home of Mount Misery and curious sightings of Men in Black.
Today, I will not be pulled over by some mythical ghost cop who’s missing the back of his skull. I will not see any teenage whores hanging from an overpass or meet an enigmatic gypsy dressed in crimson.
As “Teach Your Children” is replaced by Marilyn Manson’s “Deep Six,” I zip past what remains of the Walmart entrance, now a heavily barricaded, steel-enforced complex cloistered with cars and caravans of people in surgical masks and handkerchiefs. Some of them are zigzagging between mini-vans with shopping carts overflowing with paper towels and charcoal briquettes, their body language as screwed as their eyes.
I think of the lyrics still lingering from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s classic tune and I wonder what these people will tell their children when they recount this bugfuck period in our history. Will they mention the woman who sunk her teeth into an elderly man before kicking the dick out of him for 24 rolls of toilet paper? or the man who murdered a dude for the same?
Probably they’ll omit the fact that every American could have had a roll of shit paper just based on what Walmart sold to a select number of people in one 5-day period.
No doubt there are a lot of details we won’t bother to rehash, if for no other reason than they demonstrate something we aren’t ready to admit.
It’s a bizarre world, and we are bizarre people.
It’s been almost 50 days since Governor Cuomo signed the PAUSE Act in New York State and guys in big rigs still pull up to 7-Elevens without masks or gloves, smirking at their masked counterparts as they hustle their balls and sidle up to the counter to buy lottery tickets and cans of Skoal.
Some persist in believing that 5G is responsible for the novel coronavirus … despite living more than 200 miles from a 5G tower. Many insist that this is all a “libtard” hoax to control the masses while other people are robbed of closure when a loved one succumbs to the illness and they are forbidden from attending funeral services. The victims of this thing are dumped into the ground like snitches in ditches, denied a proper burial. And this isn’t even the weirdest shit we’ve seen.
A 32-year old mother of two drinks splooge smoothies containing her boyfriend’s jizz because she thinks it is fortifying her immune system against COVID-19. Aaaaand this just in: Coronavirus traces have been found in the spunk of survivors who were “severely infected.” This does not bode well for Baby Batter Betty of Aylesbury.
A strange bacterium is killing so many olive trees across Italy, Greece and Spain that Southern Europe might lose more than $20 billion.
Call me funny, but if I can’t get a decent pasta dish in the future because of an olive oil shortage, I may just end up like that lady in the Walmart parking lot, nipping at the ankles of some septuagenarian and beating the balls off a stranger for some Aglio e Olio.
The thought of it is enough to get my pressure up, which is hardly uncommon for an overweight 37-year old drunk with a serious pasta addiction. But you’re at risk too, buddy. That’s right!
No, the kids aren’t okay. Toddlers all across the country are covered in welts and hideous rashes from this thing and the millennials are not impervious. Otherwise healthy thirty-somethings are stroking out, surely from the stress of quarantine as much as the virus itself. Happy Hypoxics (dig that adorable nickname!) who should be gasping or “seizing” are strutting around like they just pounded a six pack of Monster Energy drinks.
If COVID Toe doesn’t get you then you may just drop like a sack of fruit while coping with price gouging. And who could blame you, really? It’s not just Generation Wuss that’s incapable of withstanding these batshit times.
Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy has croaked. The dude who got ate by a giant tiger and survived has succumbed to ‘Rona. Stick that in your skeptic’s spliff and smoke it! Even the Architect of Rock and Roll, Little Richard, has sung, “Goodnight, Irene.”
As the great wicks are snuffed out and the hand sanitizer dries up, we’re left to do all that we can. Hunker down. It’s easier said than done, to be sure. You’ve seen the memes. “Can you blink quieter, you fucking cunt?”
We’re all of us losing our shit. And where there is shit there needs to be shit paper.
“It’s like a stranger had a key, came inside of my mind
And moved all my things around.”
Ah, Marilyn. How right you are. Invasive thoughts burrow into one’s skull like tapeworms into soft tissue. If mortality isn’t on your mind right now then you probably don’t have one.
Earlier in the week, I had to make a run to 7-Eleven for disposable masks and coffee. On my way I passed a middle-aged woman in a soiled sweatsuit. She was flailing along Montauk Highway, cursing at someone who wasn’t there.
But of course, I thought.
Now I am the one cursing at all the Sunday drivers flooding the roads on this overcast morning as I make my way to The Botanist with the last of some Rainforest Clarity in my system. If it weren’t for clarity we’d all be setting fires by now, but as a wise cynic once told me, “Why burn when the whole world’s in ashes?”
That was in a different time, a simpler one. It was somewhere after the Y2K panic and before the Iraq War. The sage who spewed it was a crackhead and a known felon, but he was also a gentleman. By that, I mean he shared his drugs and his aphorisms if you were willing to sit through them. And if he spit when he talked, he was courteous enough to keep a wide berth.
The same cannot be said of the denizens of 2020. The Year of the Rat has brought us the Toilet Bowl Challenge, public spit attacks and unbridled gluttony. A man drove to 11 different Wendy’s locations twice in one day when he heard about their free 4-piece chicken nuggets. This tri-state excursion netted him 88 free nugs.
This story was presented in the mindlessly good-humored fashion typical of mainstream news. How quirky and quaint, right? And maybe it sounds pretty silly on the surface…until you think on it for a minute.
The post I came across included a photo of Skweezy Jibbs—the man’s all-too-appropriate Twitter handle—as well as his Tweet which reads, “Times is [sic] tough so when I heard Wendy’s was [sic] givin’ out free 4 piece nuggs today I knew I had to hustle. I hit every damn Wendy’s twice within 17 miles across 2 states. It took 5 hours but now we eatin’ free 4 [sic] a week.”
One look at the gristled face of this gnarly liquid shit, and the man panties draped about his bristly throat, perfectly illustrates the primitive avarice that our gut bug of a president has inspired if not outright encouraged.
This is ‘Merica and it’s great! It belongs to me and I gets mines and if you take everything for yourself and leave nothing in the cookie jar for the next dumb sumbitch? Well, that’s called winning, Loser!
I seem to have digressed somewhere along the way, perhaps as a result of contemplating this man’s photo which will almost certainly be the one used for campaign purposes when he runs for office in the future. I mean, nothing says American Resourcefulness like a neckbeard wearing a pair of dirty drawers as a face mask.
It isn’t hard to imagine this mugshot of a default pic becoming the face of American Politics or, at the very least, the cover shot on a textbook. This face is Amerika.
It’s the same grill as that demented, flailing woman in the soiled sweatsuit. I ponder this as I scurry out of The Botanist with my indica vape cartridges and lock myself in the relative safety of my ’99 Nissan Altima. And as I load the chamber of my brand-new Ccell ® Palm with revolutionary ceramic heating elements and aluminum alloy housing (Made in China, it’s worth mentioning), I alight on the greatest horror that I’ve faced today.
We are all that slobbering, raving lunatic you see marching along the street, flailing and cursing to themselves.
How can we help it?
Our loved ones have mastered the Art of Irritation while strangers have abandoned fundamental social cues, and it’s the first time in most of our lives where we’ve had to decide whether that extra wipe is worth the cost of running out of hand soap.
What’s worse, we’ve all but lost the industry that we rely on to distract us as reality looses a wet one on our chests. There are only so many stories to binge and only so many times you can hear about 90 Day Fiance: The Other Way before your brain turns to parfait and your tongue flops out.
As streaming services have shit the bed and gullible fools have fallen off cliffs in celebration of illusory freedom, Israel has been carefully coming up with a COVID antibody that will undoubtedly result in another Thousand Year War with Palestine. A cabal of obscenely moneyed Plutocrats will surely buy the rights to their development like that filthy rich dick weevil who owned the lost Wu-Tang album.
As we wait, more black lives are taken by the sort of individuals who always turn national crises into a real world sequel to The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street. In Georgia, a 25-year old man named Ahmaud Arbery was fatally shot by a father and son who tag-teamed his ass with a handgun and a shotgun … for jogging.
Many see this all as our status quo. Another pair of jingoistic hilljacks running down an unarmed black kid. Business as usual.
I see it as the latest in a series of events which confirm what some of us have long suspected—the earth would be better off without humans.
As I drove home with some fresh Rainforest Clarity and that earthy aroma smacked me in the face once again, I remembered that the grass is screaming and I smiled.
“Maybe the earth is finally getting ready to spit us out.”
Predictions for the week ahead: Walmart employees will get hip to the book section in their store and learn how to fire their own boss. More Amazon executives will resign. A rise in temperatures and a consequent rise in alcohol poisonings, hand sanitizer poisonings and poisonous insects will occur.
Allergy sufferers will go to their physicians’ offices with the sniffles and be told to jerk off in cups. One hundred Coronababies will be conceived while at least fifty existing children will be traded for two-ply.
Monday will see the President declaring a luxury tax on Charmin and a ban on press photographers. The CDC’s top ground personnel will be fired and replaced by former members of America First Action and HFZ Capital Group.
The Lincoln Project will finds its signage vandalized to read The Lincoln Log Losers Club in gold spray paint. Jimmy Fallon will receive Trump’s nomination for the next Mark Twain Award on the same day that he’s caught strangling his youngest daughter to death on the Tonight Show – Home Edition.
Business as usual.