My kids say, “I was like…” all the time. And it fucking pisses me off. [Full disclosure: I say it all the time.]
“I was like…”
Whatever happened to “I said…”? or “I turned to her and replied…”? or “I looked at him and basically screamed that…”?
It’s all, “I was like…” now.
It’s a verbal simplification that will destroy the minds of man. Over time. All of us.
The simpler we make things, the stupider we make things. Consider the tweet or Ikea. We find so that the mind doesn’t matter more and more. Design for the dumbest among us. The quickest fixes. The quality falters.
And what? Hope for the best?
I’m a loser. I really am. And not in a really bad way, but I’m not cool, or daring, or particularly outgoing. Not that I ever was, but I think age solidifies our personal qualities. So my loser-ness is increasing.
I don’t go out much. I don’t really care to. I don’t particularly care to see music performed or movies in a cinema. Brian Eno could come through town but if it looked like rain, I might skip it. Okay, not Brian Eno, but anyone else. It might be too loud or too crowded. Parking might suck. I’m cool just listening to the radio.
Travel really doesn’t interest me. I know I should be hang-gliding en la montanas de Brazil right now, but I really don’t want to. I don’t like heights, Brazil is a long way away. Air travel sucks, who knows what kind of shitty hotel I’d end up in?
I like well-prepared, high end, locavore cuisine, but not if it inconveniences me to get it. The amazing new restaurant? It’s miles away. The joy of cooking? Not any more. Too much work. I crack a can of this or that and eat standing up in the kitchen.
I don’t watch much television and I rarely see any movies so I’m absolutely unable to keep up with any pop culture conversation whatsoever. And that’s not some, I just sit around and read great novels, I don’t. A bit of this and a bit of that.
Maybe this just makes me a homebody, and not a loser, but sometimes if feels really loserly.
My friend thinks I’m boring. My family mocks me.
I pity my wife.
I’m a loser.
It’s hard to say just how cool I thought Three Dog Night’s version of “Mama Told Me Not to Come” was back when it was released and to which I sat listening on the thick shag carpet of my older brother’s basement bedroom playing The Game of Life and surrounded by his LOVE, PEACE and eyeball wallpaper, not to mention Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper and maybe surprisingly Steve Gibbons albums passed out on the floor; all this beneath his drop ceiling above which he hid a huge bag of some of the worst ditch weed imaginable – weed, no doubt, actually found in a ditch by some county road near Brainerd and if you really didn’t want to get high you’d smoke a bunch of this shit; and outside his egress-ed window was an old stone wall on the other side of which was a vacant lot where we built an underground fort inside of which we kept a couple of found Playboy and a Oui (French, baby) magazines (back in those days you could occasionally find Playboys or pages from Playboys on the street and I’ve no idea why nor why you no longer do) that appeared to have survived three thunderstorms and burial in dirt for decades and to which the older boys tossed off to now shockingly innocent images lit by candles and choked by incense and the younger boys went inside confused; this fort we decided to protect and what better way than to pound six inch nails through two-by-fours and hide them in the long grass to “catch” anyone trying to get to our fort; one particular nail on which I stomped because I was told to “run and get more nails” and stabbed it up, in and out my right foot leading to nothing more than a tetanus shot and pissed off parents, but 70s parents who then told us,“Don’t be a baby and go back out and play with the others”; and we would walk across the street to Lake Calhoun where there was the Black beach on the north end where they washed and waxed their cars to Stevie Wonder, the gay beach on the east end where they lay sunning to disco, and the hippy beach right in front of us on the southwest side and where I walked with my mom years before and asked, “Why do they all share the same cigarette?” and to which she replied, “They’re poor”, and they looked poor; the lake where I saw a bus stop and 50 Jesus-looking dudes descend down the steps and walk in line in white robes and beards and long hair, handing out pamphlets and clasping their hands in front of them or holding them palms up as if praising the sun or hoping for rain, and looking probably more like one of the dudes from Three Dog Night or Mott the Hoople than the historical Jesus who would have been much blacker; the lake that in those days pretty much no one ran around because pretty much no one ran around anything at all, but we did, and in Converse shoes that totally suck as shoes – unless you’re in some sort of alt-something band and think it’s cool to wear the sort of sucky shoes that we had to wear because that was the only choice besides PF Flyers and they were a little better and while this is when Nike and Pumas and Tigers came out no half-way decent parent was going to pay that much money for tennis shoes for their kids (they’re kids, for god’s sake!); the sort of shoes that we all buy for ourselves, kids and infants now because we’ve become such a bunch of suckers and rubes. Open up the window, sucker, let me catch my breath.
This is really important – funny to say considering he’s talking essentially about everything – everything we can (or think we) know through all of history – Big Bang to now. Big History.
Mr. Christian both illuminates our tiny, tiny, tiny place in Big History; but also shows us how vitally important our place is in it – at least in regards to our own survival – that being the survival of the most complex, learned, and learning organisms we know to have existed. It’s not simply hubris to say we’re crazy amazing!
It reminds us that our obliteration would be both the saddest thing we could know, and ultimately, just an infinitesimally small blip in Big History. Humbling, to say the least.
Every kid should watch this every year, at least, as a reminder to just how simultaneously small, yet hugely important, a person they are in Big History.