This is what an ominous Friday night statement sounds like.
Earlier, as I drove home, I was stricken with one of those rare but undeniable cravings for Taco Bell. They are unquenchable when they strike, these cravings. You know that Taco Bell taste. The meat, tinged with that specifically and unmistakable Taco Smell. Old greasy plastic Mexicana, slithered right onto your plate and down the hatch. Choose your sauce, they have so many to choose from. I. I’m a Fire guy. I’m Mexican damnit, I’m liable to eat liquid fire and ask for more without breaking a sweat. It’s what we do. We love to overpower our food with blazing spice, load it up and disguise all taste endemic to the dish at hand. Taco Bell is no exception. Actually, just because it is Taco Bell may be the most fitting reason to shower the food in hot sauce. The hotter the better with which to disguise all traces of Taco Bellness. Although, that’s what many of us like. Crave, how can I possibly crave Taco Bell? It’s a gutteral need, an urge that drives me hungrily through the drive-thru where the tubby white chick with glasses hands me a bag with 2 tacos and a personal size Pepperoni pizza. That’s right man. Most Taco Bell restaurants now accompany a Pizza Hut lite, or is it the Pizza Hut that accompanies Taco Bell? However you look at it, this is a sick and oily symbiotic relationship, an unnatural and frightening artery-clogging version of conjoined affronts to good taste. For dinner I gobbled down my pizza and 2 tacos and my specially requested Fire sauce, but since this was insufficient flammability to melt my tongue, I broke out a bottle of Tapatio. To sate my craving. Because I’m not too proud to admit I crave such things.
You can try to hide cravings and the world may never know better. And there are things you can’t hide no matter how hard you try. They defeat and overpower any piddling efforts you may exert in order to contain your private masquerade.
Like acne vulgaris. Those are the words the doctor scribbled in my chart when I went for a routine check-up back in my teens. The bastard wrote in his illegibly doctorified ink: acne vulgaris. My back was an ocean of hot, throbbing red pimples which slowly encompassed wide swaths of skin to the point where any breaks or relief between pimples was indistinguishable. It was as if my back was covered by one large pimple. It was vulgar, no doubt. But don’t tell that to a troubled and insolent teenager who is trying vainly to defeat this dermal affliction. Seeing this medical description made me cringe and I walked out the office feeling about 1/3 the man I was when I entered. My battle with pimples was legendary. It was Melvillian. A never-ending moralistic battle of wills and wrought with horrors. I tried every pimple medicine I could find. As if swathing each zit with a dollop of cold white cream would purge the bacterial-ridden swollen layers of skin of all signs of pathology. All the creams did was basically dry out the upper reaches of the zit (the iceberg portion), but the zit didn’t go anywhere. It merely appeared dehydrated while it rested dormant for a while. The discoloring remained. I sought all manners of defeating these virginity-enhancing boils. There was the other more invasive measure I preferred which involved pouring some scalding water on a towel and quickly applying it the the surface of the zit, thus weakening the outer layers which made it easy prey for popping and pressurized attempts at rupturing the infected structure. Once you were able to compromise the rigid integrity of a strong zit’s walls, the pus was a sitting duck. There was something oddly satisfying about squeezing the last gram of pasty pus out the zit’s volcanic opening, some of it bloody and watching as the pimple dwindled in size in proportion to the sheer volume of pus expelled. A symbolic gesture of extermination. Your most vile enemy, thus defeated and gutted, shrunk and de-colored until he returned with another bucket of white-blood cell weaponry in the form of a new barrel of smelly pus. It was a cyclic and repetitive battle which only ended when the pimple was reduced beyond resurrection, but in some cases, it had the last laugh for the defeated pimple, deceiving in retreat, left a mark in its wake of destruction, a mark that lived on forever in its permanent etchings of the skin. I finally left the acne behind by the time I reached my twenties, but even then I still broke out in sporadic wildfires of blemish hell. Through my 30s as well. In fact, a few years ago, maybe I was 42, 43, not sure, I developed the biggest and most fierce zit of my life. It sprung to life on the left side of my neck, just below the jaw line. It started as a small pimple that looked somewhat like an ingrown hair…next fucking thing you know, the bastard was growing at a pace that would put The Blob to shame! This despite the fact my methods of pimple battle had changed and matured. No longer reliant upon the dramatic and overzealous scorched skin policy of heat and invasion, I learned to channel my pimple wars in a more a serene and patient manner. I learned the art of Cold! I discovered that if I applied ice (or other freezing surface) to a pimple before it had a chance to mature, it could be stopped most of the time. A little pimple that threatened to overtake my face could be thwarted by the application of some direct ice. A very uncomfortable treatment but immensely preferable to the complexion-destroying firefights I had waged in years previous. My cold treatment did not require any bloodletting or pusletting. The freezing temperatures naturally reduced the advancing pimple to stillborn infancy and there was no cause to break skin. It’s the difference between cutting you open to remove gallstones or drilling small holes in your abdomen and disintegrating them via remote controlled medical tools.
Speaking of tools, I’ve been passing this really cryptic billboard in Hollywood lately.
It’s vague and non-attributed. There is no obvious sponsorship or agenda. WTF?
The mystery is disconcerting for it fails to satisfy our curiosity; that which we can wrap our head around in the pursuit of a motive, however unpalatable it may be. A random murder is more horrid than a vicious murder. A motive is what secures our morbid curiosity. A motive is the Who and the Why and the What. A motive and a billboard and a cryptic message with absolutely nothing by which to place its origins is disturbing.
I drive by the billboard all the time.
“Become the recessionista your parents always wanted.” Huh?? Could it be some megalomaniac-sponsored prop erected by the loony Scientologists who hold sway over this imbecilic town? What cult could be responsible for such nonsense? Well, it is 2011 and in the words of the techno-prophets of yesterday, knowledge is at our fingertips in the Age of the Internet. According to The Inspiration Room, the billboard is part of a series of inspirational billboards called “Recession 101” organized by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America since 2009. According to another blog, saavysugar,
An anonymous East Coast donor was so bummed about the way the country was reacting to the economic downturn, that he decided to take action in the form of an optimistic advertising campaign. Members of the Outdoor Advertising Agency of America have donated the space, printing materials and labor needed for the campaign which has been dubbed Recession 101. Designer Charlie Robb explained, “The client wanted people to realize the country has been undergone recessions before and made it through.
OK, this is almost 2 years old. Old Goddamned news.
Where the hell have I been?
Forget that…where did 2010 go?
It is the Scientologists, I betcha!