Sunday, September 7, 2008

Put this on the Corporate tab

With the past week being nothing but a pollen barrage on my respiratory system, I didn’t wake up that Saturday morning with any ambitious plans on the top of my list. No. I only found myself waking up and feeling as if I was some 65 year old vagrant who swallowed his Swisher Sweet after passing out on a park bench. After numerous bouts of flailing, twisting, turning and other bed acrobatics, I finally submitted to the fact that I was not going to fall back asleep. Not with this pounding headache, stuffed sinus, and constricted bronchial.
I stumbled from room to room, and pill to pill, until I was sure there was nothing else that could be done but to turn into the “piece of shit” that I now felt like: Just another Saturday, pissed away until about 1pm to 5pm, until my sum-bitch of a conscious gives me a swift kick in the ass with guilt. Guilt that doesn’t get very far when you have no plans laid out in the first place. So, I sat there for a moment in the kitchen waiting for some spark of inspiration to cut through the fog.
Instead, everything was cut by the jingle of my phone. After bearing the burden of an unbalanced trip back to my room, I managed to catch Cindy’s call (Cindy is just a pseudonym to protect innocent bystanders from any collateral damage my actions may bring about).
“You ready for the SoCo Music Experience?”
I’ve had enough experiences in the 30 minutes I’ve been up! I couldn’t help but thinking. “Oh shit Cindy, I forgot! Listen, I’m feeling like crap right now. My allergies are killing me! No, I tried the local honey, it only made me long for graham crackers. Okay. Yeah. Get outta town. Yadda, Yadda! Well I’ll call you a little later and let you know if I feel any better. Later!”
Fast-forward the tape to 5:30-6pm.
Adjust tracking. Recording quality may not be reliable.
After the aid of many chemical compounds pumping through my blood stream, I found myself following Cindy and her friends on a reckless bike ride to the Allient Energy Center. After hastily securing our metal steeds to the chain link fence, we followed the masses towards the entrance. Cindy’s friend Linda found herself pressured by the weight of corporate information gathering, and was held up while they scanned her drivers license to; “Take your First and Last name.” Mitch and I both harangued her about giving up her information to “the Man”, and we both agreed that “the Man” already had enough on the both of us.
There was a flood of Déjà vu on all senses. This feels just like the Grant County Fair, minus the rides of course. Over priced food. Long beer lines. Weirdos comfortable in they own natural mannerisms. Hell, they even went right down to the wood chips on the ground. But once I saw the huge group playing bean bags, the fear crept in.
They’re stealing my culture!
Being 100% German, so far as I know, I often felt as though I have no cultural roots with my German ancestors; other than a taste for hard liquor and beer. But many cultures have the taste for libations. I always wished we gave out steins for Christmas, or maybe my grandmother would pass down her secret recipe for bratwurst. Nope, none of that when I was growing up. However, recently I’ve started to realize that I do have a culture, and while much of it I reviled after leaving my little rural town for the pearly gates of Madison, I’m starting to accept the fact that there is much of it I really like!
I like spinning doughnuts in my pickup. I like sitting around a fire pit, swilling (insert cheap beer brand here), and looking up to a sky with no light pollution. I liked pretending I was Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer, and fishing out of Grandpa’s bottom land by the Grant River, using only worms, hooks, fishing line, and tree branches.
I like shooting. I like shooting a lot. It’s a hard lust to describe to my more liberal peers. There are few words that can describe the feeling of sending a 12 gauge slug ripping through your old “piece of shit” Lexmark printer that was recently replaced by a much better Epson: Shattered plastic and twisted metal fly in all directions, while your brothers hoot and holler behind you. Yes, that cursed printer represents all the petty/stupid little problems in your life that can’t be cured with a pill or a different shitty job. The only easily accessible reference I can give to most is the scene from “Office Space” where they smash the fax machine with a baseball bat in slow motion, while “Die MotherFucker” by the Geto Boys plays in the background. Yeah, that about sums it up.
But Bean Bags! That’s a game I take some pride in knowing the full set of rules for. Shit, someone was doing their homework here. I found it hard to believe the people pulling the strings for SoCo could pull this off in any other city. The Brown-Forman Corporation (headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky and the purveyor of many other overhyped brands such as; Jack Daniel's, Canadian Mist and Early Times Kentucky Whisky) must have sent their weasels into my state long ago. They’ve studied our habits and took many notes.
I ran into many familiar faces, and carried many nonsensical conversations. Most of which were spit into the SquaWkBox. They have yet to be transcribed from the raw audio, so I’m writing this in the warm mist of the “day after recollection”. At this point I can only comment on the experience as a whole.
The Black Keys and The Roots were great, and they were really the only bands I was interested in seeing. I’m not a music critic, and I can’t conjure up any obscure references that would make me feel superior to my four weekly readers. So take my word for it, if you were in my shoes and my skewed frame of mind, the show was Fuckin’ Great!
So I find myself, this quiet Sunday morning pondering how I’m supposed to reflect upon the event.
My piss-ant high school punk rock ethos would instruct me to spit bile all over the fact that some big corporation (whose name had to be looked up on Wikipedia) was orchestrating this well oiled marketing machine. It seemed like some sorry low-rent Woodstock meets the county fair with a bloated marketing budget. Yes, part of me was raised and molded by some great (and some not so great) bands that would have poured gasoline and set the fucker ablaze by now.
No, no, you idealistic moron, don’t you realize how much fun you were having? Yes, I had a blast. I sang and danced and my heart was full of joy! If only Nickelback had headlined, it would be so much easier to cut this event down to something the masses could digest. But these cash-cows sent out there weasel henchmen to infiltrate my culture and musical taste. Then, to top it off, they toss the whole event “free of charge”; which means you can buy three or four of their overpriced drinks and still come out feeling like a winner.
Okay, okay, I admit it … they put on a pretty great little carnival, even if it is on a corporate bankroll. AND, because I had such a great time, which stirred up the conflicting thoughts presented before you, and then prompted me to waste the day on this keyboard; will I always think of Southern Comfort when I recall that show? I mean, hell, I can’t change the name. It’s the “SoCo Music Experience”! That’s true, but I guess I don’t feel any urge to run down to Star Liquor and buy a liter at the moment. I have enough Citadel as it is.
Maybe I’ll just make another drink and sit on the back porch. Softly chuckling to myself over what a good time I had for only one $6 beer the night before. Yeah … I only did buy one of their drinks … suckers!

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