Friday, October 21, 2005

Monotony (The Parker Brothers game of LIFE): "Do not pass GO - Do not collect $200"

"What have we done with innocence-? It disappeared with time, it never made much sense. Adolescent resident, wasting another night on planning my revenge - one in ten - Don't wanna be your monkey wrench! One more indecent accident - I'd rather leave than suffer this. I'll never be your monkey wrench..."

So, I guess as some disenchanted semi-youth, past-his-MTV-demographic prime "Generation Xer" that I am, I'm supposed to be all "jazzed" about this new "up-with-people" slogan generated by a bunch of old tired white folks here in town: "Believe in Cleveland."

Yeah, that's gonna get me out of bed in the morning. It's funny that the people that actually come up with this crap - I'm guessing, probably have well-paying jobs. For the rest of us Atari-sucking neverdowells, I'm guessing that to the rest of us Lil ' Rascals - working in a stagnant Wal-Mart slave-driven economy - this "slogan" just sounds like more of a steaming heaping pile of bullshit - one that we've already fallen into one too many times before...

Sure, as a Communications major with a bachelor's degree from a state college, I do all right for myself, making my standard $35,000 - $40,000/year "liberal arts salary" - but that's because I do not work in the "liberal arts" anymore. Primarily, because there are NO liberal arts jobs here in Cleveland that pay above the minimum Wal-Mart/post-apocalyptic Planet of the Apes-type wage.

I am a survivor (not the lame '80's band, nor the semi-equally rancid reality show). So I know what it takes to survive, believe me. The fact that I'm not off fighting some illegal war like a lot of other brave men and women younger than myself should give me pause - and it does - but does that mean we (as a generation and a society) shouldn't want more for ourselves and the kids coming up to bat behind us...?

When I did work for large corporations in Cleveland, before they went boom or bust or relocated to Jacksonville, I usually ended my day by rushing out of those offices screaming like Charlton Heston in Public Square: "It's a madhouse! A MADHOUSE!!!" - only to be scooped up in a net by Dr. Zeus and friends for another day of fun and folly anyway.

When I tried to pursue a "job in writing" I would only find myself repeating myself over and over again in a freelance fashion, writing about how, say, McCarthy's Ale House (the Mos Eisley spacesport for journalists) was the best bar in Cleveland ...for the 15th time in a row. "Please stop by and say 'hello' - and we might let you fawn over us while you buy us a beer!" (Okay, aw shucks, I like McCarthy's Ale House, too - but it gets a little old after a while. If you want, stop by Ray's Place some time, you can buy me a beer, and ...I'll ...tell you ...all ...about it. Oh, nevermind! Yes, I'm a hypocrite - there, I said it - happy now???)

"Welcome to The Giggling Iguana, fellow Clevelander! May I tell you about our fabulous lunch specials today or perhaps tantalize your tastebuds with our wide array of amazing appetizers-? Or perhaps, just a job application..."

Seriously, I don't know what the solution for this town is - But unlike the "people in power" I'm certainly not going to piss in your face and tell you it's raining.

I know I don't want to end up working behind a customer service window asking Cool Cleveland's Peter Chakerian: "So, how much starch would you like in your sweater vest today, sir-?" While, in turn, said Chakerian hands me his late video rentals saying: "Thanks for the recommendations, McV. 'Attack of the Killer Tomatoes 2: Massacre at Heinz Field' and 'Pitfall Harry and The Masonic Temple of Doom' were great rentals! And, hey, here's a gold brick for your trouble..."

"Don't mock people with Master's degrees, kids. We all make bad choices in life." -- Marge to Bart and Lisa ("The Simpsons")

I certainly don't regret my college experience - it was a fun-filled "3-hour tour" that turned into a 5-year "Love Boat" excursion, complete with shuffle-board and the sudsy such. But I don't know how I could justify telling any youngin's to pursue a liberal arts degree in a field they are truly passionate about - when a Syracuse graduate with a degree in journalism ends up working at Starbucks for $8/hour ...while trying to pay off a $100,000 student loan - and trying to "survive" in the process.

Do I tell these kids that you just have to "pay your dues." That's hard to (due) in my "Caddyshack" world where I make farely shallow, sarcastic remarks about Dick Feagler while, in return, he pats me on the head like Rodney Dangerfield and states: "Ah, McVetta ...cute kid." And then rolls his big fish eyes back into his head while remarking: "So, tell me ...what time are you due back in Boy's Town...?"

Maybe that's why I have never gone back to Bowling Green to get a Master's degree in Pop Culture while music from Dinosaur Jr. washes over me like a wave from the shores of "Dawson's Creek" (Well, that - and a sucky G.P.A.).

That's why I have (thankfully) tried to take matters into my own hands. I watch "Mad Money w/Jim Cramer" every chance I get and invest until it hurts in Sirius Satellite Radio (SIRI) in hopes of one day the rebels and myself topple The Clear Channel Empire.

So when fellow CSU college alum, Pete Chakerian, tells me, "Chris, you can do Chuck Klosterman better than he can do himself..." (Um, insert sarcastic innuendo here!), I try and find publishers for my non-sensical rantings. Does that mean I'll succeed-? Who knows! But I'm going to try, at the very least.

So, ironic as it is, while doing a search for book publishers, I stumbled across an article from a reporter with The Akron Beacon Journal about people who self-publish their own books in a slim chance to get some notice - (and it was a damn good article!).

So now what do I do-? Write "Scientology for Dummies (tm)" or "How Chris McVetta Got His Groove Back" in my free time-? Sure, why not - Oprah's Book Club, here I come! Or not.

Maybe it will work, and maybe it won't. If not, I'll just go back to spending my days with the rest of the "Lost" gang on Mystery Island trying to decipher these clues of this life. At least I can go to my death bed like Ricky Roma knowing I TRIED to do something different - and if this helps anyone else out there in the meantime, well be it, Jedi. (I Want To Believe - but not some Cigarette Smoking Man corporate guy crap!)

Good night, and good luck!

"One in ten - One last thing before I quit. I never wanted any more than I could fit into my head. I still remember every single word you said - and all the shit that somehow came along with it. Still there's one thing that comforts me - since I was always caged and now I'm free. Don't wanna be your monkey wrench..."


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MAGGIE ON MARRIAGE.... At the risk of butting in on Kieran's territory, I decided to go read Maggie Gallagher's complete week of guest blogging over at the Volokh Conspiracy to see if I could figure out why ...
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