SPEED

Recently my father and I were discussing a PBS documentary on Ancient Rome, and towards the end of our conversation he remarked- “Son, it’s depressing yet strangely reassuring to know that for thousands of years people have been acting just as idiotic as we all are now.” I pondered this sentiment for some time after our talk was over, finding it both cynical and profound. Generation after generation, perpetrating the exact same crimes- it is oddly comforting, in truth. And then I drifted off into a reverie, envisioning a man donning a toga, intending to head out to the agora, instead wasting valuable hours reflecting on how often a discarded cigar looks like a severed finger as it rests in the grass, how in porno ‘Exotic’ usually just means ‘Hispanic’, listening to the seagulls cry out like children shoved in the back as their faces were pressed up against glass doors. I saw Archimedes in an alley, snoring in a pool of his own sick, two haggard, homely chaps hovering over him, handling their members, bottles of 5-hour Energy drink scattered all about. A woman in medieval dress, possibly amidst the Spanish Inquisition, high on deer antler spray out in a garden, attempting to lick the paint off a plaster gnome stationed there or perhaps suck the lipstick off a flattened, trod on cigarette butt. Might the great Winston Churchill have awoken one morning with the top half of a pipe cleaner emerging from his urethra as I had last Thursday? A gentleman of Tudor England is in the lavatory shaving- he draws blood and faints, falling to the floor with such force that it leads his neighbors to summon the authorities, as happened to my friend Eric this April passed. Florence Nightingale, Gary 'Big Hands' Johnson, Mary Baker Eddy and myself enjoying peyote and a jug band comprised of a piano-playing toad, octopus flautist, opossum on Moog, the singing goat and a petrified negro mouthing Jew’s harp on a stump. Nero, fighting through a cough syrup-induced paralysis, lounging in a shanty filled with an ungodly number of feral cats, paying ladies of the night to sniff narcotics off his phallus. General Cornwallis stumbling drunken off mead, sandpaper tongue dangling from his maw, taking a header down a staircase, bruising his buttocks- exactly as I had done the weekend prior. Alexander the Great and Chiang Kai-shek in a stolen, hail-damaged El Dorado crashing through a wall, encountering a room full of musky ladies receiving fecal facials, then going to Showbiz Pizza and engaging in heavy petting with Ralph the animatronic wolf from the Rock-afire Explosion. For these are the mistakes that every single one of us make, and because of this reckoning from this day forth I shall look to the past to reconcile my wrongs, knowing my sins and those of my ancestors are one in the same.

 

- Dan Gleason