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LOSTATSEA.NET > FEATURES >

June 11, 2002
SEVENTEENTH EDITION: FIRST ANNIVERSARY or THINGS ABOUT WHICH I CHOSE NOT TO WRITE

Hoograh! (chimp cackle)

Let us celebrate the [near]-completion of the one year of constant and thundering, in turn, celebration that has been this column, though at times we have been down:

Would that we were more prompt, for shame!

17 divided by 12 is: 1.416666666667 columns per month between the, yes, five of us. Me and Joey and Penelope and Mr. St. Bacon and Mr. Vaeth. Certain of us of late have dropped off the horizon into clouds certainly of methane gas produced by cow intestines, or suburban car exhaust, or pot smoke. Indeed! Beer-and-whiskey belches, likewise. It's true: we're mad, deranged, lost in subterranean Chicago, just like Mr. Herboth says, which I find quite an endearing description, for truth!

Now: in SELL ME TO THE MAYOR anniversary style, I have prepared a list, for you, that celebrates sloth in the American writer, that blasts productivity, that roars forth the nearly thousands of things that cross your mind over the course of any given hour, on any given day. Yes, we may claim to be dedicated to action like good little existentialists, but I'll let you decide:

The top ten things (in no particular order) that I did not write about (for various reasons) happen to be:

1. In August of last year, I drove a 1994 Ford Taurus into the hot, Southern wilds from which I sprung. I got drunk with a buddy in Sumter, South Carolina, lunched with my parents in Rock Hill, and had more beer in a Charleston bar and the home of a writing friend, all in one day, though not necessarily in that order. On my way to NYC a week later the transmission dropped right out of the front of the Ford on a rural Pennsylvania highway. A roll-back truck ride, the promise of $3000 dollars and a rental car later, my brother and I hightailed home to Chicago for a week of drunkenness the likes of which I've not since seen. (Today, the Taurus runs the champ, though she's beginning to shudder again, at high speeds [ah omen!].)

2. The bottom fell out of all of us for a short time with the World Trade Center destruction. I couldn't tackle it, only certain of the after-events (though Joey and Penelope picked up the slack: see EDITIONs FIVE & SIX).

3. STUPIDISM: Joey picked it up again (see EDITION THREE). For a short while I toiled over a Stupidist Manifesto, before I realized that some English bloke had published a very similarly titled tract online, though his version consisted only of a kind of Find & Replace version of Marx & Engels, whereby he replaced the words, 'Communism' and/or 'Communist', with 'Stupidism' and/or 'Stupidist.' What a jerk.

4. The plight of the migrant worker in today's America, a topic surely Rollie St. Bacon will someday pick up and blow sky high.

5. The night I met Rollie, in Chicago, at a Functional Blackouts (the most Godawfully Good band in the world) show: I was drunk; Rollie was rolling around on the bar at the Fireside Bowl screaming about how Orlando, Florida, was God's Gift to Rock'n'Roll. It was beautiful.

6. Mayor R.M. Daley, of Chicago, in IL, though that subject has been, again, covered to an unbearably lengthy extent elsewhere.

7. Human chattle. Not once did I mention slavery, the buying and selling of people, and for this I am grateful, though I did write about 9-to-5 jobs, however obliquely. There's only a small step between the two.

8. Listen: do not ever even consider wearing a pair of leather pants in the great State of South Carolina if you are a man, unless of course you're on a Harley, and even then the capacity of forgiveness for the gesture is negligible. My father told me this once, when I showed up at his door in Rock Hill in a pair myself. I did not heed his call: in October of last year I was arrested in Spartanburg, South Carolina, at 11AM for drunk driving. I blew a .09 while clad in a denim jacket, a whole lot of unruly curly hair and, yes, a pair of leather pants. I was stone sober, it's true, though I had had much too much the night before. And it sticks with you. If you're drunk or even remotely hung-over on the highway in South Carolina it's best to be wearing jeans and a wifebeater.

9. The countless times I told the above story to friends in Chicago who ate it up. Of course there's a great deal of gesture involved, but I've gone through it so many times now-and then the bulldog cop jerked his head up a little like to nod my way, pointed down at my pants and barked, "Them leather pants comfortable!?"-that I simply can't bother with it here. And for this I am sorry.

10. Strom Thurmond. Did I mention him? Did I? I had to, at least once, though I buried him in this column; he is nowhere to be found, true enough? Let me tell you a secret: there is a picture at present sitting on my desk in a cute gray frame and all, a black and white picture, faded and yellowed just a little, but one of myself, at age 2.5 and being held up high in the air by the liver-spotted hands of none other than the famed United States Senator himself. I am obviously scared to death. There is a man they used to call 'Hug' in the background in a horizontally-striped golf shirt and a pair of very large-framed sunglasses laughing it up. Slipped behind this picture is an even more hilarious one of my father at age 29, thick head of hair combed to the side and himself with a horizontally-striped golf shirt, shaking hands with the Senator. My deep-tanned mother, hair cut in a flip, stands by him with her mouth opened wide in laughter. All the funny business is that my father hated Thurmond with a passion, always. I have inherited this feeling.

And, of course, you, as we are all ever-cognizant of the fact that we do not know you so very well as we know ourselves, we can only hope to remind you of something, really, in order to get to some truth about the matter, though as the Stupidist says, We would rather tug the party line than utter either the word 'good,' or 'evil.' But this is only partly true. The trouble with the times is that everyone knows this fact, but no one really wants to know it. You get GWB up on the pulpit with his mighty shepherd's staff and we are not even sheep, but the gruel they eat. But this is again only partly true or untrue. And maybe that's the problem altogether.

--
Todd Dills
THE2NDHAND publishes short fiction and nonfiction. Todd Dills edits the broadsheet and recently relocated to Birmingham, Alabama, after eight years of publishing from Chicago.

See other articles by Todd Dills.

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