Friday, June 15, 2012


Since I've rejoined the Babylon Drone Brigade I've been under tremendous stress. I really don't know how people do it year after year after year. It must be the coffee or some innate delusion that fixing some stranger's plumbing or erecting a fence or sorting dirty trash or cutting out cancerous breast tissue has some larger meaning. How else could we all keep plodding on day after day in the grind? Maybe it's the collective contract we agree on that you contribute something to the greater good even if it is unclear what that might be or why money is involved. I guess we're just a dumb animal who survives because we are dumb. If we were any smarter we'd go crazy. Or maybe I'm just projecting my hectic existence on everyone else. You all jump through hoops involving psych tests, transmission failures, flesh eating bugs, crickets mating on your forehead, drunks passing out on the floor of the gypsy van that you live in and sunburns from sorting rocks in 108 degree blazing sun because Texas needs another bar-b-que restaurant. Right? Or is that just me?

"Of course I can drive one of those. Gimme the keys."
But it's easy to be a champion for good causes when you have food in your belly and the police aren't asking you to step out of your vehicle and put your hands behind your back. As soon as you start eating two day old chicken sandwiches and licking the caps of disposed of milk jugs and digging in the bottom of your food bag for crumbs of bread and crackers and cutting open peanut butter jars to effectively lick every gram of sustenance from the plastic, then social causes like the Brazilian rain forests being morphed into cattle feed soybeans...or the continuing wolf hunts in Idaho or the imminent return of dust bowl conditions in the west or crime and low wages for the brutalized working man, things like that don't matter much to the starving man. You look for work and when a medical study asks if you are part African American then you lie and say yes because you'll do anything to get money for food and even though you have total hearing loss in one ear you will lie and say you have perfect hearing...and if you have experience operating a skid-steerer then you say you wrote the book.

But in my moments of peace when the dogs and crickets have been evicted from my van and the muffler isn't flapping in the wind after rusting off (the flex pipe fix lasted less than one year) then I still wonder what is the point of all this mad destruction. It must be understood that it's our obligation to destroy anything natural, to transform any environment, to prepare to abandon Earth to our garbage and live in outer space. I'm sure that's our future because if it is possible then eventually Mankind will make it necessary.

It's tiresome hunting for every tool and losing books and food. The other day I moved my clothes bin out of the way to search for a shoe and in a bag was the rotting bones of a chicken I'd had for dinner a week earlier. No wonder the van reeked like death. I showered the other night from a spigot on the side of a nightclub as girls clip-clopped in high heels and men sauntered by in cowboy boots. We want an image of the wild west to be purified of dirt. It's 100 degrees every day and the heat index is like 110. 2nd in heat only to La Paz, Mexico. I drink gallons of water and sweat in withering sun that boils your blood. The van provides no relief as the gutter punk passenger left behind chiggers from train hopping and the crickets are mating everywhere, thousands of crickets flying across my mug and the heat is easily 98 degrees all night long in the van and I sweat the toiling sweat of a haunted man.

One set of Texans lives the high life of bulk chicken breast purchases and deep freezers, nameless and interchangeable service workers painting bathrooms and cutting lawns and delivering furniture while the AC pumps cool air into lounges. The other side struggles for survival as millions upon millions look for ways to make money at any cost to life or limb. There are middlemen for middlemen. Clearinghouses for used car salesmen. "We connect you to the right Pimp to whore out your daughter for highest dollar!" You start to wonder what anyone actually does except broker deals among brokers. Pimps have pimps. And that's acceptable because the propaganda polishes the finish so glossy all we see is our plastic surgery money in the reflection of the wood.

I've wondered why I go though all the trouble if my goal is to live sustainably and simply by the honest sweat of my brow. No middlemen. No faceless labor. The work I do now will be the same work as a subsistence farmer, backbreaking and sure to cause early death, but in that case I will be working for my own agenda and in this case I'm harvesting a margarita menu for retired oil speculators to browse while their trophy wives fix their makeup. In the end the planet melts anyway and our literature and art is molded into the next generation of gasoline for when lizards and crickets learn to drive. We dangle digital baubles to lure peasants to pick our coffee and then pat ourselves on our backs that we spread the wealth. It's a delusion I can't accept and only in times of deep distress and social rejection do I ignore the burning disdain I have. So, maybe it's good that this broken wrist is a distraction from my broken heart. I haven't read the news in weeks and I don't care. It's better. I belong in a foundry where I can toil in misery and obscurity with no end in sight, a monument to my own futility as the sun burns down in merciless fusion on the craters we create with gigantic earth movers. We hunt our own destiny in the pursuit of rare earth...

My favorite.
I found a Mariachi Mexican restaurant that has the best tacos in town and you order in Spanish and they have the cold Jarritos Mandarina that I was ridiculed for drinking instead of Pacifico beer but that I really love and they have the condiment bar with roasted Jalapeno peppers and salsa so hot that my ears literally popped as I wept for lost loves whose brown eyes played in deceitful Mexican moonlight while I poured my heart out to ears listening rather for a cell phone to ring with another invitation to a party for an excuse to leave. Yes, we all grind on the same mill with our pre-packaged excuses and justifications for the end of salvation and the dreamy white pillow earned by the end of the day with virtual lovers and 3-D movies.

We sing like doomed crickets chirping in the dirt parking lot of a new restaurant, moments after we finally meet our mate a truck rolls up and buries us in concrete.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.