Friday, August 22, 2008

Super Snuff Me

True scene.

The other day, while at a stop light at a fairly busy intersection, blasting Boston's "Peace of Mind," the guy next to me is bouncing in his seat. I doubt that he's grooving to my retro-arena freakout, as I have my windows closed. No, he seems agitated, nervous. He's heavy-set, balding, wearing a teal shirt and loosened dark tie. His big hairy hands are pounding the wheel. He's looking back and forth, as if seeking an opening. The light remains red. Finally, he can't take it anymore, hits the gas and runs the light. A couple of cars stop and honk, but the guy flies past them. Maybe he's having a heart attack, I thought, or has to use the can. A minute or so after this, the light is green, and I push ahead, Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll" shaking my dash. I must have been going faster than I thought, for suddenly the guy's car is just ahead of me. He slows, flips his left turn signal, then pulls into a McDonald's drive-through.

Dude ran a light to gorge on grease. I haven't eaten at McDonald's in ages. Are they now lacing their burgers with meth?

Apart from a few near-collisions, I have no problem with such need and desire. We all have our poisons, our distractions, our obsessions. What are you gonna do instead -- raise a people's army and seize control of the state? With the midterms only two years away? Misplaced energy. Tactically dumb.

I used have utter contempt for those who not only eat fast food, but choose to feed in those plastic-seated social atrocities. This included extreme self-hatred whenever I deigned to dine there as well. I secretly hoped that I would choke to death or have a heart seizure -- something that would lay me out amid the stained wrappers and spent ketchup packets, a dying example of American piggery. But this pretentious, idiotic conceit was never realized, nor was the anticipation of a lone gunman shooting up the place before smoking himself. (This was during a particularly insane stretch of my life, when I wouldn't touch door handles without tissues, and was convinced that all my drinks were laced with bad hallucinogens.) It was just me and my fellow consumers, collectively cramming shit down our throats before the actual taste registered in our sugar-jazzed brains. Given American reality overall, there are worse escapes. Not many, but a few.

Fast food joints are brightly-lit opium dens -- funhouse mausoleums juiced by deforestation and massive animal suffering. We'd be much better off without them, but the national addiction runs too deep, and too many lobbies stay rich from the fat. Sometimes it takes harsh intervention to break the cycle, if only for a day.