The Great Bubblewrap Adventure | Street Jazz

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Great Bubblewrap Adventure

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 12:20 PM

The nation celebrated Bubblewrap Appreciation  Day this past week, and what a celebration it was, as the sound of crackling Bubblewrap was heard across this great land! In no other country in the history of humanity has a people been so free to grasp Bubblewrap in both hands and give it what-for, just as our Founding Fathers intended.

The invention of Bubblewrap, is, as Sean Hannity might say, even more proof of his contention that “America is the greatest best country that God has ever given man on the face of the earth.”

Who doesn’t love Bubblewrap? I love the stuff so much that an old girlfriend, upon seeing the childlike joy I took in manhandling the stuff, remarked, “Well, now I know what to get you for Christmas.”

Hey, considering all the crappy Old Spice I’ve gotten over the years, I’d have have gladly traded it all for Bubblewrap.

The really great thing about Bubblewrap is that is comes in all different sizes, which is sort of the point of this particular story.

Many years ago, in a different life altogether, I worked in one of Fayetteville’s Mexican Original Plants. During the period of time that I worked night shift in the warehouse, I was replaced every morning by an an individual to whom smiling was the Original Sin. He was in a bad mood when he got to work, and a worse mood when he left.

Nobody’s work was good enough to satisfy him; he was the tattletale from hell, running to the supervisor at a moment’s notice.

One night, as I was unloading some boxes, I came upon some of my beloved Bubblewrap. Now, this was the sort with the bubbles that were about two inches across, so they made a very satisfying POP went they went off.

A thought - a truly wonderfuyklm, evil thoiught - came into my head.

A few minutes before my nemesis came into the warehouse, I placed a two foot sheet of Bubblewrap behind each wheel of the forklift that he mounted first thing in the morning. Then I poured myself a cup of coffee and just waited.

Christmas came early that year as Captain Grumpy came in, and, with barely a word to me, got on the forklift and proceeded to back it up. The resulting sounds of the Bubblewrap going off under the wheels was like a bomb going off. He jumped off off and stared at what I had done.

Well, in Whoville they say the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes that day.

Ca[tain Grumpy actually laughed.

Of course, nowadays he’d probably call Homeland Security.

******

Quote of the Day

Our language has wisely sensed the two sides of being alone. It has created the word "loneliness" to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word "solitude" to express the glory of being alone. - Paul Tillich, The Eternal Now

*****

Arkansas makes international news - once again

Every time I try to tell my friends in far off lands what a fascinating place Arkansas is, they seem to pick up a magazine or newspaper and read about the misadventures of some idiot in the Ozarks. In this instance, the Taser-loving deputy in Ozark rated an article in the German magazine, Der Spiegel.

Freund und Helfer:Warum ein US-Polizist eine Zehnjäährige quäälte http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-68525258.html

Let’s hope no one cover Bikes, Banes and Bling . . .

****

Guy Lancaster: What Sustains Me

Life in the 21st Century can be pretty hard. What sustains you, as you go through life? What keeps you going through your life of activism, or creativity, or just plain struggling to make ends meet? Spirituality? Music? Art? The love of family and friends? Maybe several, or even none of these reasons. Maybe what sustains YOU might give can idea to someone else.

Today we present Guy Lancaster,  the editor of the online Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture and a Ph.D. candidate at Arkansas State University, researching the history of sundown towns and racial cleansing in Arkansas. He has published a variety of fiction, non-fiction, academic articles, and book reviews, along with one novel, The Queen of Purgatory.

Theologian Eugen Drewermann has observed that a lot of our existence as human beings is underwritten by an existential fear, which he says is the essence of original sin——Eve picked the apple because she was promised the chance to be like God, a promise that spoke to her precisely because she feared the absence of God from her life. Look around, and you can see that fear which drives us to do most of what we do, especially in the political realm. Republicans by and large want to bomb any nation or group that potentially poses a threat to us (listen to those war drums on the subject of Yemen) because they are afraid of terrorists. Republicans oppose healthcare reforms because they are afraid of socialism. Democrats, who by and large have long since standing for anything, are mostly afraid of losing their majority during this election cycle. However, even genuine progressives are not immune of the language of fear. Both sides on the debate over the teaching of evolutionary theory invoke fearful visions of encroaching atheism or dominant ignorance.

As Mark Twain once quipped, “Those of you inclined to worry have the widest selection in history.” And it’s funny because it has proven true for every generation. There are medieval treatises on the subject of education which lament how “the youth today” fail to respect authority and have no interest in scholarship. Our fears are not new. Put a toga on that great proponent of fear, Joseph McCarthy, and suddenly he’s the Emperor Diocletian trying to root out the subversive Christians who have infiltrated the Empire and threaten it from within. However, we fail to see that we keep going in circles——circles driven by fear——because, as Drewermann observes, we approach our history as tragedy. Everything is crumbling and we have to stand against the tide of entropy and dissolution, just as did our ancestors.

Drewermann insisted that we can only escape this fear if we approach our history from a comic viewpoint. Or, as Bill Hicks frequently said, “It’s just a ride.” We don’t have to take this ride too seriously——it’s not the real world, and we can get off when we choose. This is what sustains me: the knowledge that we don’t have to operate from the basis of fear, that the world as seen through the eyes of the media is not in fact the real world but a perversion of it designed to make me afraid of something, that the universe is a lot funnier than we give it credit for being. This isn’t to minimize the real-world pain and oppression meted at individuals and populations in this world and the necessity of struggling against that and developing actual infrastructures based upon a sense of common humanity. But as Emma Goldman said, “Any revolution without dancing is not a revolution worth having.” Any revolution driven by fear is a revolution that will simply recreate the monster it seeks to depose.

If original sin is existential fear, then laughter and joy is the baptism that will wash it away. This is the big project of my own life: to cultivate a genuine freedom from fear. The work is hard, but the worthiness of it keeps me going.

rsdrake@cox.net

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