I must be getting better. I started having IDEAS again. I've been waking up in the morning with the solution already in my head to the previous day's techno-conundrum or scheduling mess or emotional what-knot. Or I'll be in the shower, or driving, and a "FUNNY LINE" will suddenly be skull-born, as if by magic. I got back to calling up old friends just to say howdy. I started doodling again, on Hour of Slack and on paper, and even came up with a NEW idea for a 3D X-Day illustration.
NONE of this might be any GOOD, but it makes me FEEL "NORMAL" AGAIN, so I don't CARE.
Nothing like having your entire previous life yanked out by the roots and transplanted to somewhere else (after a few months in limbo as a "potted plant"). On March 1, 1999, I still thought I had a great 25 year marriage. Boy, was I in for an eye-opener. By April 1 I had been told to leave. By May, divorce was being discussed, in June it was filed, in July (after the new planet didn't happen) I started looking for a new "wife," in August the divorce went through, and by the middle of September I had moved from Dallas to Cleveland and am now, finally, ensconced with a beautiful Space Princess for a sweetie and feeling like some sort of regular routine has been established. Jesus and I are back to busting our asses keeping the Church Company's ass afloat, anyway.
One of the things that has helped me generally cheer up and regain Slack, besides the obvious benefits of becoming a Space Princess's consort, was an unexpected side-effect of all this:
By virtue of a kind of Involuntary Slack, I QUIT HEARING OR READING THE NEWS.
My GOD how much BETTER life seems if you pay NO ATTENTION AT ALL to the zoo outside!!
I used to be a regular news hog. I never did watch the TV news much except when they'd have one of those War MiniSeries like that "Desert Storm" G-rated drama, or a Weird Cult Barbeque, but I scoured The Dallas Morning News EVERY MORNING. When excremeditating I'd read whatever weird-ass extremist zines had floated into the PO box. While driving in the afternoon I listened to Rush Limbaugh or other talk radio (i.e. Limbaugh clones -- this WAS Dallas after all) or Christian radio. While I was cooking dinner I'd listen to N.P.R. We had gift subscriptions to Time and Discover. And of course my personal email is like a cross-section of High Weirdness by Net, with political spam of every conspiracy theorist persuasion and a couple of all-purpose "Can You Believe these Humans!" news listservs.
Well, when I moved into the little Dallas apartment last April Fools' Day, I quit getting the paper, and I quit listening to the radio, and I all I read were computer program manuals and sci fi novels, and SubGenius crap, because about all I could BEAR to do was WORK. I would awaken and work until I went to bed. I felt like I was in the French Foreign Legion. I really had ceased to care what manner of idiocy my fellow bipedal primates had stirred up. I had enough on my plate, as they say.
Once I got to Cleveland, we were too busy reconfiguring everything to heed the news much. Besides, the sole newspaper, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, might as well be The National Enquirer, except that it isn't as well written. (The Dallas Morning News is actually a GREAT paper-- compared to MOST, sad to say. At least they admit to their own editorial slant.) The AM radio is almost the same as in Dallas, except that the Limbaugh wanna-bes have Rust Belt accents instead of Sun Belt accents. The conspiracy FM radio is EXACTLY the same; the blathering rock jocks have IDENTICAL accents to the ones in Texas.
BUT FUCK ALL THAT!!
After all those weeks, when I finally started catching the news again, IT JUST SIMPLY MADE ME SICK. Almost physically sick. I guess absence had made the heart grow fonder -- of the absence. News withdrawal gave me a refreshed perspective -- an ability, let us say, to perhaps for an instant glimpse our civilization the way it would appear to a real outsider.
Yep, it JUST MADE ME SICK.
The giant disasters and wars just seemed abstract, the political stuff all seemed idiotically transparent, but the ENDLESS TALES OF INDIVIDUAL WOE AND SUFFERING had become downright INTOLERABLE. I'd hear about an incompetent doctor snipping off a newborn's big toe along with her umbilical cord, or something like that, and it would cling to my mind ALL DAY. I'd find myself fretting about that poor big-toe-less innocent infant. I suspect that I really had become completely hardened to it all, before. Or, rather, part of me was HIDING from that big-toeless-baby aspect of it. Coming back suddenly into the cybermediawebnewsworld without my immunities and tolerances in place made it much easier to see how toxic it is. Like cigarets. I used to be able to smoke 3 packs of Marlboros a day and not even feel 'em. Now, 3 years after I quit, ONE CIGARET would have me on the ground puking. Now, it doesn't bother me a bit when people smoke around me -- I'm not an ex-smoker, but a smoker who happens not to be smoking. But I've become a LOT LESS tolerant of people expounding about vast world shaking events as if they had the vaguest clue as to what in the living fuck they were talking about. Most of these people have never raised children, run a business, or even left their hometown for more than a week, but by golly they sure know how to direct armies, save economies and lead nations. Why? WHY??? Because they "FOLLOW THE NEWS."
AND I'M SICK OF IT! But only when I'm around it. So, FUCK IT!! "PHOOEY!!" PHooooOOO-HOOOey I say!! You people can sit there soaking in your Santa Claus and your Peter Jennings and your Rush Limbaugh and your Daily World Poop, and I'm gonna let you. BUT I DON'T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT!! I'M NO LONGER AN EXPERT! YOU'VE ALREADY WON THE ARGUMENT BEFORE YOU EVEN STARTED! I CAPITULATE!
My idea of a newspaper, now, IS, in fact, the National Enquirer. The last two papers I bought were the Enquirer and the Weekly World News. And why? BECAUSE I WANTED TO READ ABOUT HOWARD STERN'S DIVORCE. I wanted to read how that one movie star chick's husband was cheating on her with this other movie star. That's about the level of "NEWS" that I've decided I'm interested in for these last 223-whatever days remaining. FUCK IT! Popess Lilith had the "FUCK IT" vision and it was direct from "Bob."
"IT" can't take a joke -- FUCK IT!
I'll make a Last Year's Resolution -- just to BREAK it. "This Last Year of the human crop on Earth Farm One, I resolve not to watch ANY TV except CARTOONS and the occasional MONSTER MOVIE." There. And even The Simpsons have become SUCKY this season (!!!)... did all the good writers go over to Futurama? And Hank Hill has become an APOLOGIST for DUMB ASS MAINSTREAM NORMALCY instead of the common horse sense he first represented. My god. Even the cartoons are getting fucked.
WHAT IS LEFT but the Church of the SubGenius, my friends?
THAT is a grim thought, if the state of the Church coffers are any sign. Yet, as pathetic, penniless and persecuted as the Church is, once again we find ourselves in a similar position to Pope David N. Meyer's in the early 80s, when he preached at that devival:
"We look around us and what do we see, Children? Rock and roll is a jingle, punk is a hair style, Elvis Presley is a FAT MONSTER -- WHAT IS LEFT, Children? WHAT IS LEFT?
"The Church of the SubGenius -- THAT'S what's LEFT, Children.
"Children -- if the Church of the SubGenius is all that's left, DON'T BLAME "BOB"! "Bob" doesn't MAKE history... he just exploits it."
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Original file name: 11-16-99 Stang Report
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