The Dharma Bum

Wednesday, November 6, 2002

"Some people with great virtues are disagreeable, while others with great devices are delightful." -- Duc de La Rochefoucaul

Well, well, well my little miscreants and malcontents, it appears that we find ourselves once again at the crossroads of primal cause and existential entropy: I, scribbling away furiously in a hotel room in Charlotte, NC to finish a column that was due yesterday - all the while desperately trying to ignore the X-Box next to the TV that is ever so beckoning and baiting me with the Buffy the Vampire Slayer game; you, desperately trying to beckon and bait the girl named Charlotte that looks a lot like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who's been ignoring you as she stands next to the TV talking to her ex. During our cozy epistolary conjugal visit here, I shall vaingloriously attempt to sound: a) prolific b) poetic or c) not like a babbling idiot, in an effort to elicit from you - the lovely lads and lasses who pretend to read this month after month - the reaction of: a) Why does this purple-headed git use so many big words? b) This Bum is bloody brilliant! I like to have sex with people like that!! or c) This Halloween party blows and I'm out of rolling papers. Hey, this page looks good...

What does it all mean? Haven't got a clue but I am damn glad it's Halloween! Not just because it gives every red-blooded American the inalienable right to trip the light fantastic on a sugar-high by eating their body weight in candy, but because it seems to be the one day of the year when it's okay to look like me. And while Stella and Stanley slipslide their way down the hallowed halls of history, I sit here in utter amazement, albeit somewhat dazed and confused, and quite despondent over my recent rendezvous at that monument of consumerism known as the mall. While "the mall" is one of the great 20th century devices designed to slowly siphon away the divine creative spark that lay within each of us until we're reduced to nothing more than a grunting, shuffling poster child for khaki-clad capitalism - the more disturbing aspect of my adventure wasn't the "Instant Alternative - Just Add Water" bravado of that silly Hot Topic store, but rather the fact that in the display window of a shoe store were a pair of Velcro-strap shoes...for $85!

(writer patiently waits for reader to pick their jaw up off the floor)

Yeah, I know - $85. Oh sure, they were covered in some shiny-sparkly material that the latest pixie stick waif probably wore on a runway that was pictured in some silly magazine that brainwashes young girls into thinking that Barbie is beauty but c'mon, for an $85 pair of Velcro-strap shoes they should have rockets attached to the sides - or at the very least, retractable roller-skates on the bottom. Are we really to believe that the sartorial realm of Velcro straps has evolved at such an alarmingly mind-bending rate that it has forgotten its Keds roots? That's right Barbie, Keds, as in that pinnacle of Wal-Mart wear technology that you wanted to come back in style about as much as the rest of us have a mad-on for tight-rolled jeans and a Wham reunion to rear their ugly heads. Although I must admit my own surprise at seeing the reemergence of such a revered artifact of my youth, I really didn't think Velcro-strap shoes appealed to anyone outside of the lunch lady demographic, let alone the waves of prostitots with TRL IVs.

So now I'm curious as to what other time capsules are going to rise up out of their phoenician ashes, only to be marked up 300% and sold as couture? How about the Noid? Or perhaps the fingernail-chalkboard reaction to the Energizer "OI!" guy? Are parachute pants and Roos just around the corner? Swatches are back. He-Man, Transformers, and G.I. Joe are back. Mindy Cohn is back. Max Headroom is poking up more while Alf is in one of those bloody annoying phone commercials. Hell, even baby got back! So save all those unopened cans of Clear Pepsi, Classic and New Coke, dust off your Smurfs Happymeal toys and dig up the California Raisin toys you got from Hardees, and what the heck, do the moonwalk across your room because as history inevitably repeats itself, Michael will soon look like Jermaine, Randy, Tito, and Jackie once again. So as the sun sets slowly in the West I bid you a fond, no wait, a bodaciously radical and totally awesome farewell and stuff...I've got vampires to stake.

G'night kids.

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