Oh boy. “There we are! In the holes in the walls.”
It occurs to me that I might be happier if I just took my packaged dream and got over myself. But there is something that tells all of us that our particular dream is original. Even though there are 500 million people buying the same dream at the same time I like to think of myself as unique.
This is the point where the floor drops out from beneath my feet. And really, this whole song is this sort of blissful floating in some sort of consumer void with a sort of maniacal early B-52’s/Violent Femmes soundtrack. Everything is so shiny and packaged and we want it. Don’t deny it. You want it. I want it. I’m not turning down anything that gives me more consumer buying power. Credit or cash, I don’t care. If someone decides to give me millions of dollars I’m going to buy a glossy magazine life. I have the cheap version right now. It requires a lot more thought and strategy to get there, but I’m sold.
Every now and then I catch glimpses of myself that defy my firm alternative vision of myself. Usually I see it in other people first. Recently someone that I consider to be an idiot added that phrase that we all throw around to the punctuation of some antidote or conversation: “People are idiots.” And I laughed. And I guess I laughed on cue, because the laugh didn’t inspire any questions about what was so funny. But it occurred to me that everyone is saying this. So which people are the idiots? Is it you? Is it me? Do I go through my whole life with the mistaken idea that I am one of the chosen intelligentsia? I go to work every day and play my part in a system I despise and criticize whenever I get the chance. I project myself into every situation and see myself running the show flawlessly. Meanwhile my daily activity reveals gaping holes in my ideology. I am the idiot. I really am…
“There we are! In the holes in the walls.”
This song sort of celebrates our idiocy. Why not laugh madly as we browse the Ikea aisles? What choice do we have? Oh I guess we could go to Sears, but that’s just it. Our options are only different aesthetically. Even our option of not playing at all ends up being a play toward motivating others to keep playing. One way or another, we are all playing. It doesn’t matter whether it’s tattoos or towels, it’s all consumerism.
I’ve been thinking for a long time about how to get us off the grid. You know. Solar panels, wind turbines in the backyard, gray water, waterless toilets, rain water filtration systems, an organic vegetable garden… There are whole product lines dedicated to this demographic. The millions of us looking to escape the rat race. Looking for ways to escape the idiots. Ourselves. I can’t wait until I can afford all of the beautiful new product lines available to escape the system. Won’t that be wonderful? I can see myself now with my iron fence around my yard, manufactured in Mexico. I’ll be tending my organic vegetable garden, grown from seeds bought from a beautiful magazine that charged me more to guarantee that the seeds were harvested according to stringent organic guidelines. My roof will be covered with solar panels that took me eight years to pay off. The wind turbine on my roof might actually net me some money as it feeds electricity back to the grid. And as people drive by on the street outside my fence, I will flip them off because they are such idiots.
This makes me think of Fight Club: “You’ll hunt elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center…” Okay. After that I’ll be exhausted and won’t want to cook. So we better look up city search to find a place in the area to get cheeseburgers. I’m not saying that there aren’t good messages there. It’s just good for us to understand that it’s a movie marketed to millions of idiots that are slaves to the system. That depend on the system to provide for our families. In the end, the movie helped repackage Ikea for a demographic that is tough to market to. The movie also helped create significant buying power for its creators. Damn, I wish I had done that rather than just being one of the consumers. I wish that Ponies in the Surf could write an alternative soundtrack to Fight Club. That would be ridiculously funny. Hell it might be ridiculously funny that I figured out a way to use Ponies in the Surf and Fight Club in the same sentence twice.
Our best efforts got us a system that we hate. Who are the idiots? Yes, people are idiots. Last time I checked, I was a person. I guess that’s me. What this song did for me was make me laugh at myself about it. Just remember this: “When it’s in your living room, it’s gone.” And damn that’s so true. Repeat it over and over like a mantra because that’s how true it is. Harmonize it in about ten different ways with a partner. This will make it even more true. Then repackage it and sell it.
People are idiots!