Monday, April 27, 2009

Lobot the Lame

There are certain products sold to the public that have one singular appropriate use. For example, fanny packs are for hiking. End of story, goodbye. There is no other appropriate circumstance for rocking a fanny pack. I don’t care if it is the most convenient place to store your crap; wearing a fanny pack anywhere but on a mountain trail is not only a bullet to the brain of fashion, but a crime against humanity worthy of Nuremberg tribunals. If you wear a fanny pack in public, you are a loser.

My detest for fanny packers has given way lately to the increasingly alarming populous of idiots and their Bluetooth headsets. Like the fanny pack, the Bluetooth accessory has one singularly appropriate purpose…keeping drivers from killing people. The End. Unless you are operating a vehicle, hands-free cell phone gadgets make you a lameass wannabe Lobot.

I am a child of the 80s. Like any other human male child of the 80s with the faintest trace of a beating American heart, I am a Star Wars fan. Other than all things Biblical, never has there been a more epic and gripping saga than that told by the first three…err, second three Star Wars films. The trilogy is a microcosm of life. It gracefully touches on themes of faith, love, hate, and hope. The relationships are enormous and the characters are the strongest ever written. Han Solo! Luke Skywalker! Ben Kenobi! Yoda! Chewy! LOBOT!

You know, Lobot…the mute half-cyborg assistant to Cloud City’s administrator Lando Calrissian and unsung hero of The Empire Strikes Back? He had that really cool bald head and walked like a broom was crammed 29” up his “dang-near-killed-‘um.” Raddest of all was the ginormous Bluetooth headset permanently drilled into his cranium that constantly and directly linked his brain to the entire city’s mainframe!

There’s a reason why we 80s kids have never heard the phrase, “hey, no fair! You always get to be Lobot!” when playing Star Wars in the basement with pool cues and cardboard tubes as light sabers. It’s because Lobot was lame and we didn’t even know who he was. Everyone wants to be Han Solo because he’s the ultimate badass, in any galaxy. No one wants to be Lobot. According to Star Wars lore, his name is “a corruption of ‘lobotomy’.” Who the hell wants to be THAT guy?

You Bluetooth abusers are all Lobots. Nobody wants to BE YOU. There is no reason to have your cell phone strapped to your face. Sure, you can eat barbecued possum more efficiently and you can bowl, drink beer, AND talk on the phone at the same time. And you’re still a retard. I have seen Lobots everywhere. I see them at grocery stores, restaurants, shopping malls, street corners. I’ve seen 14-year-old Lobots on skateboards. I saw a Lobot at Sam’s Club carrying a bulk pack of Ramen Noodles talking about his off-shore accounts. What kind of millionaire yuppie buys the cheapest food item known to man at the cheapest bulk store in the most impoverished area of the Salt Lake Valley?

There is even a 78-year-old Lobot in my Sunday church congregation. I mean seriously, if you get a phone call in the middle of the holy sacrament, are you going to answer it? Memo to all Church-Service-Lobots: I’m relatively confident that God doesn’t communicate via Bluetooth. The omnipotent and omniscient Alpha and Omega doesn’t need freaking cell towers to carry his digitized voice. When God wants to speak to you he’ll go Moses, lighting shrubbery on fire and aging you 40 years. No headset required.

Lobots of the world, do us all a favor and keep your Bluetooth in the car where it belongs. The glowing blue plastic thingy protruding from your ear does not make you cool. It does not make you important. It does not make you rich. It simply reveals your lameness to the masses.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Do Exploited Children Make Good Snipers?

Writer’s Block sucks. The combination of a world devoid of anything interesting, personal apathy, and complete indifference, has made for a relatively long and painful dry spell on the blog. But something surfaced last week that finally made me think. I mean really think.

Many of you may have seen the following advertisement for The little boy is an actor, but the producers of the ad say the tears are real, having simulated the depicted scenario:

The commercial has sparked an intense debate. On the one hand, how dare someone exploit a 3 ½-year-old CHILD in order to make a social statement for a health crusade? On the other hand, the emotional response caused by the ad has effectively flooded the quit-smoking help line with phone calls from touched would-be quitters. Do the means justify the end? Is the momentary despair and terror in a helpless child a small price to pay for “saving lives?”

It has taken me several days to form my own opinion. I’ve had a Wrestlemania worthy of pay-per-view going on in my brain. I was disturbed by the ad…but is that necessarily a bad thing? I don’t think the point of the ad was to make people feel pink and tingly inside. We were supposed to be disturbed. It all boiled down to one thing for me…what are the long-term effects on the child? Was he truly exploited? Will this experience damage his psyche and turn him into a trench coat-wearing college campus sniper? Ultimately I came to the conclusion that if those 10 seconds of desperation could possibly harm the child long-term, converting him to a deranged sociopath, then I’d have made Charlie Manson seem like Mr. Rogers YEARS AGO.

01) My mother used to leave me in the car for extended periods of time while she went shopping for groceries or crafts. No shooting spree. It beat the hell out of actually having to spend any time inside Jobber’s Odd Lot.
02) I was forced to wear a frilly white shirt, purple satin knickers, and makeup as I portrayed Anna’s son in a church production of The King and I. No shooting spree.
03) I was locked out of the house for extended periods of time in the summer, drinking from garden hoses and eating fruit from trees. No shooting spree.
04) I had to do “the worm” across the stage at one of my mother’s dance concerts in front of 1500 people. No spree.
05) I’ve unwillingly performed countless piano pieces for total strangers in churches, hotel lobbies, living rooms, and shopping malls. No sniper spree.
06) I was in a commercial for an auto glass company hitting a baseball through a 1978 OldsmoBuick’s windshield. This commercial portraying, at worst, vandalistic deviant behavior or, at best, a really crappy batter, didn’t turn me into a lunatic psychopath. No shooting spree.
07) My mother made me wear clothing that matched, or at least complimented, my sisters’ matching dresses for holidays or vacations. No shooting spree.
08) I had to ride a unicycle in the Magna parade behind a boat blasting Beach Boys music wearing royal blue rayon short shorts, red and white striped tube socks, boat shoes, and a white tank top. Again…no shooting spree.
09) I’ve been forgotten, or at least picked up very…very late, at various camps, clinics, and lessons as a child. No kill count.
10) I was paraded in front of politicians, business associates, or social connections, dressed in completely silly attire, and I still didn’t kill anybody.

Bottom line…this kid is going to be fine. He may remember his 10 seconds of tears, just as keenly as I remember my gay purple satin knickers, but his discomfort is not going to negatively affect his development as a child, his character as an adult, or his career as a criminal. In fact, it might just make him stronger. Or at least more funny.

So, memo to all the lunatics and zealots crying BAD FORM! Children are being exploited everywhere. If you laughed at a single episode of Webster then you supported the exploitation of a child. If you’ve ever submitted a photo to a “cutest kid contest” then you are exploiting. If your issue is with exploitation, then get over yourselves because it goes on everywhere. If your beef is with the effect of the 10-second separation from his mother on his young psyche, then you are an idiot. That kid, like children everywhere, will have COUNTLESS experiences in his young years where there are tears, fear, anxiety, shame, and sadness. And he will bounce back. Kids are resilient. He’ll be fine. And he never had to wear tube socks in a parade.