Friday, December 31, 2004

Bang Bang

Suburbia hasn’t yet paved over my neighborhood. We still are somewhat of a rural community with gunfire celebrating New Year’s Eve rather than middlin’ to pricy wine corks popping in contractor grade kitchens. We do have “Little box” developments rising like tombstones out of formally gorgeous meadows but fortunately we’re not overrun with overdevelopment – yet.

I bring this up because as I was ambling toward the study out under the poplars tonight, I could hear the guys up the road firing at the moon and I was enjoying it. Screw the development. I’ve always hated the same ole’ singsong, ticky-tacky little houses pasted together in rows on streets with idyllic names. “Meadow Brook,” “Oak Wood,” “Maple Grove,” “Deer Run;” all names to give the illusion of what was once there and what the developers want people to believe it’s like living there and people just buy into it. “Well, people have to live somewhere,” and “You can’t stop progress,” are platitudes that I’ve heard over and over.

I think rather than “progress” it has more to do with making money at the expense of the future. I can’t figure out why people – especially my generation, buy into such lies. Such incredible mediocrity – such blandness and trite living that fills our lives in this time. God, I hate it. The billboards, TV and radio ads are lies. I know this for a fact not because I have some divinely imparted wisdom but because I’m with real people in their homes when they don’t have on their Avon or Mary Kay faces. I get to wade through muddy yards and dog crap to visit in old junky singlewide mobile homes and park on concrete drives next to the Jags and the Benz in other neighborhoods. I get to really know what makes life – and death worthwhile. And I want you all to know this – it absolutely has nothing to do with what the Pretty People tell you. It has nothing to do with what comes out of those sensuous lips pasted on the well-groomed heads that stick out of GQ forms. Life is about good family, faithful friendship and most of all unmitigated love. Period.

Tonight as thousands pack Times Square and Hollywood types wax sentimental about trivial glitz, other “thousands” are doing the stuff that makes the world go round and being paid little to nothing for it. Personally, I love that little button every electronic device has called “OFF.” I prefer to push it firmly and plant big sloppy kisses on my boy’s faces while they struggle to get away. I prefer to stroke my wife’s magnificent undyed, unstreaked, untouched red hair and hold her hand. I prefer to stroll to my study to write to you about what’s in my heart and stop to listen to the guys up the road aim high and plug the moon in celebration of a new year.

Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes all the same
There’s a green one & a pink one & a blue one & a yellow one
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky & they all look just the same

And the people in the houses all went to the university
Where they were put in boxes & they came out all the same
And there’s doctors & lawyers & business executives
Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes all the same
There’s a green one & a pink one & a blue one & a yellow one
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky & they all look just the same

And they all play on the golf course & drink their martinis dry
And they all have pretty children & the children go to school
And the children go to summer camp & then to the university
Where they are put in boxes & they come out the same

Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes all the same
There’s a green one & a pink one & a blue one & a yellow one
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky & they all look just the same

And the boys go into business & marry & raise a family
In boxes made of ticky tacky & they all look just the same
There’s a green on & a pink one & a blue one & a yellow one
Little boxes all the same

“Little Boxes” By Malvina Reynolds

4 Comments:

At Saturday, 01 January, 2005 , Blogger Marjorie said...

unmitigated love -- what a wonderful expression, I hadn't heard the two paired before, but I like it better than unconditional love. Unmitigated love leads to unmitigated joy.

The Beautiful People aren't the ones trying to sell us things, they are people like you, Ken, who share themselves with others. God bless you.

 
At Monday, 03 January, 2005 , Blogger Larry said...

You have a good rant here, Ken, two in fact.
Life is so daily. Mediocrity is the rule, others are the exception. You have to get used to it.

Once a week I go with my wife to Walmart. Thousands of people come in from the forest (Ocala National Forest) and leave with baskets full of everything imaginable. They're not smart, but they're living in luxury (Walmart sort).

I used to ache for these people, but I've accepted the fact that they generally have a minimal education and limited interests. But they live well.

I blame the politicians for shorting our educational system in favor of lobbying buddies.

Re business suits: wait for retirement; I've had one on maybe three times in the last 15 years-- three weddings, then a couple of graduations.

Only on Thursday, when I go to the hospital, do I wear a tie (and smock). It gets the patients' attention when I come in their room. And I find that they're uniformly admirable people, some of them Walmart types, but in different circumstances. Health is important, and they're serious, and even glad to talk to a religious type.

I go home feeling like I've been in the Lord's will, doing what he wants me to do, and my opinion of the human race has been elevated.

The rest of my time I spend with a few likeminded friends-- physical and electronic. And with our tennis buddies. And enjoying the company of my dear wife.

Life begins with retirement.

Excuse this ramble.

 
At Wednesday, 05 January, 2005 , Blogger Joe G. said...

Illness and death have an amazing acidic quality of burning away that which is chaff about our modern lives. Our consumerist and materiaistic culture needs to gloss over it, I suspect, to keep potential consumers interested in consumption. Illness and death have a way of distracting us from such priorities. Nice post, Ken.

 
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