All my kids want to do is watch those terrible Play-Doh videos on YouTube. It’s not just Play-Doh. They unwrap toys. There are people in homemade Olaf costumes who perform inane skits in someone’s backyard. This vexes me. I am vexed.
Late Capitalism shouldn’t surprise me at this point. The commercials become the show. The ad becomes the star. I find myself rooting for Disney’s attorneys at this point. There’s a fucker on here creating a narrative with Elsa from Frozen and some jackasses dressed up like Spider-Man and the Hulk. Cease and Desist. Cease and Desist!
Stop complaining about Millennials, America. There’s a younger generation here right now and I’m not sure how they’re going to machine tools in caves when civilization collapses. Tony Stark may have done it with a box of scraps but I have to hide the Netflix screen or the kids will change their minds about what we’re watching at least 17 times before I’m able to hit Play.
Last night, Gina pointed out that they probably won’t even remember this shit. Sure, it’s constructing the architecture of their brains, but they won’t have autobiographical memories about it, just a general feeling of uneasiness unless small, brightly colored packages are constantly being opened six inches from their eyeballs.
Then again, I remember shitting myself while I watched The Dukes of Hazzard and I couldn’t have been more than 18 months old at the time. It’s the earliest thing I clearly recall. The next thing that immediately comes to mind is when the neighbor kid read one of my animal books out loud and recited the words to “Karma Chameleon” instead of the actual text of the entry on chameleons. The song was better, anyway.
Did these events have lasting effects? I do enjoy sweet jumps and jean shorts (viewing, not wearing). I have a general distaste for the Confederate Flag and the color orange, though, so it didn’t all stick. I am wary of law enforcement but you can also chalk that up to Smokey and the Bandit and every other 1970s or 1980s race, chase, heist, and action film, or, perhaps, the systematic oppression of the poor and people of color in the United States of America since forever and ever, Amen! Maybe it was that.
I do, however, still enjoy the works of George Alan O’Dowd. We are shotgunned with culture. Some of it sticks, and some of it doesn’t. Culture Club almost always does.
When I do the math, though, there must have been years between those two events, so we get a handful of memories before four or five years of age if we’re lucky? The age difference there correlates with the gulf between my children’s development levels. It’s strange to think that Coraline, at just over four, may be able to retrieve these things later, while Beatrix, at just over two, is probably bouncing around like a little automaton.
I have other early memories, but it seems like they all took place when I was four or older, like when we went to the hospital to see Mom when Lauren was born, or when I crawled through the weird double closet in our old house to enter her room and stare at her as she slept in her crib.
One time I knocked a fishing pole off the wall in the garage, which ended up driving a fishhook all the way through one of my fingers. I dragged it, pole and all, up to the front door and yelled for Mom. I also distinctly recall the time I plugged a vacuum cleaner into the outlet on top of one of my tiny fingers and rode the lightning, as they say. Then there was the time Mom actually did ride the lightning when she got struck while talking on the phone during a storm. I was pretty sure she was dead.
The early things that stuck with me, which all occurred after the Hazzard Incident but before Lauren’s birth, seem to have pain or fear in common. The Incident itself is no exception. I’ve run this by Mom before and she thinks this must have been The Crappening after which I potty trained myself. I saw a big fudge wave, a doo doo snake, crawl down my chubby baby leg, and I couldn’t have had the words but I absolutely know the feeling, which was, “What the fuck is that?” At that point, I, still a baby but now an aware baby, decided to stop shitting my pants.
Was this the instant consciousness finally bubbled up through my forming brain? The more I reflect on it, the more I am sure it was the moment I became more than an animal, a mammal, a primate.
It was when I became a small human, a little person who shat himself while he watched The Dukes of Hazzard and resolved to never do so again.
I shit therefore I am.
My fear is that my kids will come into being while we watch some dude peel a Play-Doh Barbie from a giant plastic egg. I guess it isn’t so bad. It probably won’t happen unless they have a “Eureka!” moment while stubby man-fingers carefully remove salty modeling compound from oversized Easter merchandise, but it could.
Maybe this is the recipe for human consciousness. Maybe it’s discomfort, poop, and the developing human brain.
“Oh my God, I am a meat sack.”
Welcome to life, kid. Don’t forget to flush.