Progressive Rant With An Ending I Couldn’t Understand
One of the first things I can remember collecting as a kid are Hot Wheels—little toy matchbox cars I would play with in the dirt and build roads for, towns for, jumps of course, cliffs, paint them with markers, etc. I can remember trips to K-Mart with my mother prior to beginning public schooling, each time we went, I would get a new Hot Wheel. I knew my collection perfectly—I never got a duplicate toy.
I was born and raised a Denver Broncos fan—I could tell you 20 years worth of stats, spell a players first and last name, know their jersey number, have their practice and game schedule memorized, where they played college, who’s in/out on Sunday, manage multiple fantasy teams, etc. It wasn’t until the season before last I finally stopped paying attention to it.
I grew up just outside Los Angeles, California, in the desert—I grew up on dirt bikes, a lot of us did. I always tell people I was riding before I could walk. I knew how much practice time I needed on the bike before races, I knew my gas to oil mixture, how to replace spokes, clean the carburetor, basic mechanical stuff, sure, but for a young kid, I knew my way around motorcycles well. The bikes were always maintained, never dirty, in pristine running condition, fast and reliable—all I had to do was hold on.
My very first cassette tape was No Parking On The Dance Floor by Midnight Star. I had just started kindergarten so I would’ve been either four or five years old—I played it in the classroom one day as part of ‘show n tell.’ That track is still a jam! The very first LP I owned was Michael Jackson’s Thriller and, the following week, I can remember talking my mother into buying me Three Lock Box by Sammy Hagar. I wasn’t older than five—I still know all of the words to each those songs.
My favorite cartoon as a kid was Tom & Jerry. I realize now it’s most likely because they were always breaking things and boys are naturally destructive creatures. I have an all-time favorites list regarding movies, too, I’m a ‘chick-flick’ fan so you know Sweet Home Alabama is on there, as well as, Maid In Manhattan—if Leonardo or Ryan Gosling are in it, odds are it’s going be a good movie.
There isn’t one—it’s pointless. It’s all a bunch of useless information that I was taught to believe is valuable and holds weight.
I was taught there’s three named meals per day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Eggs, pancakes, toast, a waffle, bacon is served in the morning with milk, coffee, orange juice and it’s called breakfast—“the most important meal of the day!” Chips, sandwiches, fruits and snacks are served in the afternoon with tea, water, soda, or another caffeinated drink and it’s called lunch. Meats, salads, potatoes, vegetables, pastas are served in the evening with water, juice or another soda and it’s called dinner. Each of the food items I just listed are part of the four basic food groups—I was taught that too.
Nobody told me it’s not really orange juice. I’ve never seen preservatives listed under any of the #food groups. Why isn’t sugar on the list or at least talked about? Nobody told me how many pigs in the US come from North Carolina where surrounding fish can’t survive in natural bodies of water because of saturated earth caused by pig and swine excrement. That’s a lot of earth! Eggs—that’s another one.
Rather than being taught what macaroni and packaged cheese with chopped up hot dogs is or boxed scalloped potatoes, I was taught how to balance a checkbook. The first time I can remember learning how to balance a checkbook was in Mrs. Mumford’s math class in eighth grade—I would’ve been 12 years old, I was in that same classroom the day of the big earthquake. It seems like I got an annual refresher all throughout the remainder of my public schooling. Canned tuna, ground turkey, it didn’t matter—it took me about 30 something years before I began questioning what’s inside those packages.
I never questioned the Feds, either, I just pay them. Eat the food on the shelves and pay the IRS, everybody pays them and, at the beginning of the year, you get a tax refund, refund tax, whatever it’s called yada yada—I learned how to add lines A through G when I was 16 years old. I know how many dependents I can and can’t get away with, I’m an itemizing, April 15th loathing, taxpaying loyalist but, as far as what’s in it, what’s inside, I have no idea—like a can of tuna or albacore or whatever it is.
I was too busy being conditioned. I was too busy being assigned to read Of Mice and Men one year and then watch the movie, as a class, the following year. What’s the significance for adding John Steinbeck’s 1937 novel to the National Curriculum anyway? Of Mice and Men: A retarded guy named Lenny is escorted around by a guy with a quick tongue, George, together they score a ranch job where Lenny kills a rabbit before killing the ranchers wife, whom he’s infatuated with, by breaking her neck with his hands. And then George, his best friend, put the town at ease by shooting Lenny in the head and killing him—National...
Lenny, how to balance a checkbook, my times tables, sex-ed several times throughout my public schooling, four years of English in high school, sports, pep rally’s, school buses, relationships and parties, government and economics my senior year, mandatory Spanish in Junior High, stop me if you don’t recognize any of these. They’re all a necessary process to achieve the big picture—tainted reality.
Lenny. Don’t be nice to the retarded guy because he doesn’t know his own strength and he can break your neck. Be careful with your quick-witted friends, too, they’ll shoot you in the head. Don’t trust anyone, just do as you’re told and tend to the farm.
Checkbook. Spend money, spend all of it. Track it down to the last penny or don’t keep track of any of it, the ledger is optional but familiarize yourself with it—spend it! “It takes money to make money.” Upon entering college, you won’t qualify for a decent auto loan with an interest rate in single digits but you’re pre-approved for 300 grand at your nearest university—congratulations!
Times tables. Numbers are more important than history, hand shakes, personable conversations, reading comprehension, English, all of it, numbers are required in order to make and receive purchases, not words. Times tables should be learned at the elementary level—don’t mix business with pleasure.
Sex-Ed. Now you know what to expect, visually, when you have your first child. Flirting in the classroom gets a little more intuitive during sex-ed class as you mature, you’ll also know what to expect, visually, when you have your first child—that’s it! Choices that last a lifetime, commitment, preventative measures, how to approach and acknowledge challenged children—you’re on your own. Welcome to parenthood!
English in the US is required at every grade level. The more fluent and knowledgeable you are in English, the less you can communicate with the rest of the world which means it’s less likely you’ll leave. I’m surprised how many people outside the United States speak English but I’m more surprised how many English speaking people can only speak English.
Sports, physical education, it’s all necessary. You’ll use all of your energy, you’ll focus all of your attention on it, train vigorously and then it’s over. Your attention will turn to the television with the same sport continued by athletes who were substantially better than you were so you’ll watch their every move, watch their games and pay attention to their stats. You’ll create your own fantasy leagues, purchase aftermarket attire, stickers for your car and some of you even hold season tickets—I dreamt of that too.
Pep rally’s. How to enter an establishment on a weekly basis, accordingly, in a single file line without incident, with your fellow classmates and assume your previously assigned seating arrangement—seniors on the right, freshmen on the left or vice versa.
School buses. Public transportation preparation is a concern when you’re of legal working age. You’ll need a ride to and from work. Public transportation will be available to your job site and the grocery market, the bank, possibly a post office and the surrounding vicinity will have an occasional public stop. You’ll always be given multiple options to catch a ride to work and to the bank.
Relationships and parties. The only natural occurring events I’ve listed in this entire article, everything else is taught—like racism. Nobody is born identifying their skin color as superior or subordinate to another skin color—it’s taught. You have to be taught that. It’s something you’ve picked up on, learned, and continue to teach.
Government and economics. You’ll learn the branches, in which order offices are gained or appointed, and the lengths of terms. You’ll read about a whole bunch of white guys who signed the Bill Of Right’s, “We The People,” and all of that. They won’t teach you about Alec or lobbying, though. You’ll never have an assignment that asks you to explain the difference between private and public and how that impacts education, prisons, safety and security, federations and last but not least, media—everything you see.
Spanish for two years. Now you know how complicated it is to communicate with anyone outside of your comfort zone—don’t go anywhere. Know what side of the wall you reside on and use a combined effort to increase its strength and appearance. Since grade school I’ve been conditioned to fear Libya, Iraq, Mexico, Panama, Cuba, Russia (Russia is a big one!), not as big as North Korea, though! China, Japan, Germany, are you getting all of this? Africa, Syria, India, not Israel, though! I’ve always been taught “Israel is a US ally” and pretty much every other piece of land on the globe I’ve been conditioned to fear in some way or another—“stay!” They even tried to convince me to steer clear of Australia and New Zealand—I hear they don’t like North Americans.
Now you won’t ask questions when you wake up every day before the sun rises, punch a clock for someone else, pay your government fees and make it home in time for dinner—you’ve been practicing since you were five. We’ve not only been taught how to ask questions, we’ve been taught what questions can and can’t be asked—classified. Being absent from your children’s lives is acceptable behavior if you want them to eat, you’re not the only one, generations before you and everyone you work with is equally deprived of their children’s attention—it’s easier for them to be schooled that way. Speaking of eat, feed them the same #food on the shelves you were taught to eat, don’t ask what’s in it, nobody taught you how to do that—reading ingredients takes time and a dictionary, it’s unimportant. Times tables, however, at the elementary level.
Partying and getting together amongst your friends has the potential of landing you in trouble, the only natural occurring thing in this entire article. Party safely and be consciously aware of what you can and can’t do to avoid the strong arm of the law. Fires, loud music, after hours, public beaches, depending where you’re located, if approved, you’ll need a permit for that—those cost money. I wonder how many people reading this aren’t allowed to listen to music? Could you imagine that, #music getting banned from your country?
So, did you read all of this rant or skim your way through? It was a long one, huh? Believe it or not, I cut a lot of it out. How do you end a long winded rant, though, what do you think I should say, “The end?” Will that work or should I continue ranting about nothing? There’s plenty of space for me to do that. Did you watch that whole YouTube clip in the previous paragraph about bands that are banned from various part of the world, even The Beatles? They were banned because they were loved too much—The Beatles have “no artistic merit” according to Israel. There’s multiple reasons for banning a band from your country, I guess, but The Beatles? There was some big time bands on there, The Kinks, Stones, Led Zeppelin—I didn’t know that. The first couple of bands on that clip got banned from various parts of the world and I can’t even understand what they’re screaming about.