May 21, 2013
Soup Having Sex With Soup
Posted on Jun 9, 2012
By Mr. Fish
Deciding that it was time for a piss break, a quadruple espresso and a free Internet connection so that I could check my emails, I tromped off in the direction of one of the three Starbucks that I knew to be in the area, not knowing of a decent mom and pop place anywhere in a 10 block radius. Stopping at the corner of Park and 17th, I watched as a passing car threw an empty soda can at a scruffy-looking kid with an unlit cigarette in his mouth who was holding a gigantic piece of lime green poster board that read “Economic justice for all!” “Get a fucking job!” shouted the driver as he went by, completely missing the irony of having just directed his rage toward somebody hoping to save the world, not with anarchy or free love, but with a plea for gainful employment and a living wage.
This wasn’t Mario Savio addressing Berkeley through a bullhorn. It was Ward Cleaver counseling Beaver on the merits of following the American dream.
“You all right?” I asked the kid, once I crossed the street. He nodded without smiling and asked me whether I had a match. “A what?” I asked.
“Fire,” he said. “A torch!”
I told him that he shouldn’t smoke. He told me I shouldn’t be such a fucktard. I didn’t say anything and walked past him, once again doubting the sincerity of my devotion to the idea that the future could and should be brighter. How, I wondered, was I supposed to believe that this Occupy May Day protest was any different from any other mass gathering, whether it was a tea party rally or a church revival or a “Star Trek” convention? Didn’t each configuration represent a venue where one simply put on a costume to camouflage his or her social awkwardness and hard-boiled dissatisfaction for the here and now, and safely channel his or her own inner Spock, Ted Nugent, Jerry Falwell or Che Guevara, the moral certainty of each participant made to seem incontrovertibly true by an attendance count, the mathematics of fandom always trumping the questionable integrity and practical application of the agenda being rallied around? After all, this kid’s sign—this idiot’s sign!—was demanding fairness from an economic and political system controlled by private owners for profit. I wanted to go back and ask him why he wasn’t holding up a sign asking that the NFL be made more fair for players by eliminating the need for a scoreboard and giving everyone equal possession of the ball, but, honestly, I didn’t have the energy.
Twenty minutes later I was back in the park with my fist in the air and a renewed bloodlust surging through my veins. Having discovered that all the Starbucks in the area had kicked out their patrons after lunchtime and locked their doors to everybody but the police—police who I could see through the glass in their jackboots and leather gloves and sunglasses, sipping frothy drinks and eating pound cake, their helmets and shields resting on the tables, great lassos of plastic handcuffs looped through their belts like trash bag ties—I was reinvigorated to loot the rich folks’ house on the hill, burn the drapes, impregnate the dog and smash the chandeliers into pixie dust.
Fingering the unspent coffee money in my pocket, I felt thankful for the distraction of having all the other protesters around me, for without them I might’ve had the wherewithal to properly diagnose the source of my rage and recognize it as being something less than revolutionary.
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