If you are anywhere near a television, a radio, the internet, your phone, your Blackberry, or a noisy colleague who spent most of the night in a cough medicine induced stupor watching news broadcasts on one of 68,032 news channels, you have probably heard about Danzig’s harrowing escape last night from the Atlanta Zoo. Here’s a quick timeline of how the events transpired…
5:10 PM-Radio station 640 WGST reported that Danzig gnawed through the bars of his cage and ran through a crowd of terrified onlookers on his way to the Dippin’ Dots stand. He knocked the stand over and began to howl in a bluesy voice about how ice cream used to mean something.
5:20 PM-CBS News reported Danzig was surrounded by police. Desperate and frightened, Danzig took a three-foot marmoset hostage at gunpoint.
5:47 PM-ABC News reported that Danzig threw the marmoset at police officers. The marmoset exploded into giant ball of light temporarily blinding the officers and allowing Danzig to escape the park.
6:08 PM-Several witnesses claimed Danzig ripped his shirt off and stole a broken down 1995 charcoal grey Ford Focus with a “Who Is John Galt?” sticker on the bumper.
6:09 PM-CNN reported that the Ford broke down and Danzig was left to escape on foot.
6:16 PM-Witnesses spotted Danzig in a BP station stealing boxes of beef jerky while bellowing the lyrics to “Sistinas”.
6:25 PM-Danzig stated unequivocally that there will be no Misfits reunion.
7:26 PM-Fox News reported that MARTA cameras identified a well-built, naked man fitting Danzig’s description running through the Vine City station. Fox anchor Brit Hume went on to conclude from the footage that it is clear that Danzig is a Muslim terrorist.
7:34 PM-Fox retracted the earlier MARTA story and confirmed that the naked man was former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue. However, they continued to claim Danzig is affiliated with Al Queda.
7:46 PM-CNN reported a SWAT team has surrounded a Waffle House in Downtown Decatur and that Danzig was eating a plate of hash browns and talking to the waiter about the occult roots of Nazism.
7:58 PM-A SWAT team stormed the Waffle House and arrested the suspect.
8:09 PM-CNN reported that the man in police custody is actually Arnold Horseschaker, a Danzig impersonator who had, hours earlier, played a 5-year-old’s birthday party in Alpharetta.
10:38 PM-AP reported that Danzig was spotted on a Vincent Blackshadow motorcycle riding up I-85 at speeds of up to 120 miles per hour, his hair gently cascading in the wind.
10:43 PM- According to AP, Danzig’s flaming motorcycle leapt over 25 police cars while flipping multiple times through the air. He escaped again, unharmed.
10:56 PM-AP changed its earlier story and claimed only that Danzig was photographed on a motorcycle in 1985.
11:07 PM-Danzig’s apartment on Stewart Avenue in Hapeville was raided. Several highlighted copies of Catcher in The Rye were found along with 45 fishnet shirts.
11:13 PM-According to Fox News, a man fitting Danzig’s description was arrested in Osaka, Japan. The man was carrying a copy of the Koran, 5,000 pounds of plastic explosives and Bill Ayers autobiography. Fox announced it is a “100 percent certainty” that the man arrested is Danzig.
11:17 PM-Fox News announced the capture of Danzig in a bar in Tupelo, Mississippi. He was carrying a small nuclear bomb in a suitcase, reading out loud from a copy of Das Kapital and wearing an Obama for President tee shirt.
11:19 PM-The Drudge Report announced that Danzig is actually a Kenyan national named Hussein Abdul-Jihad.
11:38 PM-Various media outlets reported that Danzig and an unnamed accomplice, Glenn Doe Number Two as he’s referred to, were seen breaking into an exotic pet store in Marietta in order to liberate all the pythons, ferrets and tropical fish. The two quickly left the store with several animals and were chased by police.
11:54 PM-WSB-TV in Atlanta reported that police have shot a suspect fitting Danzig’s description only feet away from the Chattahoochee River. The man, who authorities are referring to as “the guy who probably isn’t Danzig but looks slightly like him”, was attempting to throw a bag of tropical fish into the water.
12:01 AM-CNN reports the man shot by the Chattahoochee River was actually Ron Ziegler, former Press Secretary to President Richard Nixon.
12:05-4:30 AM-Most media outlets, realizing the audience was quickly losing focus, began to speculate on the nuclear capabilities of North Korea and the possibility of the Ebola virus being spread through Wendy’s hamburgers.
4:33AM-CNN reported Danzig was captured only feet away from his cage at the Atlanta Zoo. He had been hiding behind a tree.
Every once and a while the free market really gets it right. Dippin’ Dots, the mothball shaped ice cream that took America by storm back in the 1990s, has finally, mercifully filed for bankruptcy. The fact that 2,000 of these stands exist today is a shaming blight upon the wooly, pock marked face of consumer capitalism. I am not much of a dancer, but I need to admit that I actually leaped out of my seat and did a fair Michael Flatley impression when I heard that this frozen pox was nearing eradication.
Anyone who has had the misfortune of having been around me when walking by a Dippin’ Dots stand has been subjected to a mile-a-minute tirade about how “the rat poison of the future should be grinded into the dust of the past” (as I told my wife on our second date). I actually got in a shouting match with a Dippin’ Dots franchise owner in Poughkeepsie, New York that ended with me nearly getting maced by a mall cop. What bares further investigation is surely not the uselessness of the product, for who among us can actually defend such swill, but my disposition on the matter. With famine, war, pestilence and torture all more obvious candidates for my vitriol, what really rankles me is the existence of these pellets of shame.
To be fair, I can’t even be certain I’ve ever eaten the things. They actually might be quite good. There is just something about them that makes my internal organs weep. I feel insulted by their very existence.
I’m certainly not harboring some deep dissatisfaction with the concept of frozen desserts. I could ingest nothing but ice cream, Italian ices and Sno Cones from now until when my first social security check comes in and be perfectly content. It’s not like I had to be hospitalized with an ice cream headache for three weeks or got hit by a Good Humor van when I was 11 and have some odd physical aversion to this sort of thing. I practically sweat gelato.
After almost four decades of being offered a shameful array of stuff that I could not find a use for in a million lifetimes, I think this may be the Dot that broke the camels back. How many Sham-Wows, how many Pillow Pets, how many steel-belted, titanium, rust-proofed, icy cold scams can a man endure before he reached the point of feeling genuine, hot-blooded scorn? Every time one of these asinine businesses get started in the name of The American Dream, a little part of me dies.
If the little Chamber of Commerce member in your mind has started to spew rhetorical vomit about how having 67 thousand different brands of oatmeal is good for the economy and, thus, America, tell him that while this stuff may be good if your goal is to create a society who’s members all have amassed personal debt in excess of the Gross National Product of Peru it might not be the best use of their time and collective brain power. I’m a communist, you say. Fine! At least Lenin never had to sit through toothpaste commercials. If what passes for communism in America is being ill-disposed to living in a 24 hour a day flea market that has been approved by 9 out of 10 dentists, then sign me up.
Truthfully, my real anger is at the feeling of having to participate in the market at nearly all moments. Sure, I could go sit up on a mountaintop and breathe fresh air all day, but most people’s lives put them face-to-face with The Never Ending Hustle. In The Great Gatsby, the billboard of Dr. TJ Eckleburg was a façade that hid a part of the soulless, desolate valley of ashes. The billboards of today merely serve the purpose of hiding more billboards. I can’t get five steps away from my door without some hackneyed inducement to participate in the ever-glorious marketplace of individual freedom. Sometimes they are gentle, sometimes they are rough, sometimes they play on my nerves, sometimes they tug on my heartstrings, but the pull is interminable.
Sure, I don’t have to buy whatever this or that company is selling, but I do have to make an effort to tune it out. Constantly. And while that effort is minimal, the collective weight of it has worn me down. After all, you can be crushed under the weight of a hundred tons of feathers just as you can be crushed under a hundred tons of lead.
At some point along the line, a very real feeling of insurmountable weariness has crept into my mind. Like when you are trying to fall asleep and different vague, unconnected noises continue to awaken you right when you have become completely calm. Eventually, you can be annoyed into the belief that peace and calm are impossible.
I blame you Dippin’ Dots, because getting my arms around a problem this big and pervasive doesn’t seem feasible. I’ve forgotten how to take to the streets and I don’t know the mailing address of my duly elected state representative. I only know the language of futility and those types of words don’t move mountains. I might not be able stop the endless flow of sugar-coated avarice that flows unabated though our collective veins but I sure know how to smile when the axe of the free market lands squarely on the neck of a hated foe. Thanks to good old-fashioned American knowhow and the virtues of commerce, I can be assured that five even uglier heads will sprout up where there once was only one. That problem, however, is for another day. Tonight when I lay my head down on a pillow, I can rest easy knowing that at least one stupid idea is being vanquished from our world. Sometimes, that’s enough.
What does the world matter if I can’t even control this one thing? Here I am standing in front of my car. It’s a beautiful Sunday morning. Birds are chirping, a light breeze is softly cascading colored leaves everywhere I look….all is calm. Except me. The world takes no note of the maelstrom of tension swirling ravenously through my gut. It simply is. I, however, am not. Not in this moment.
Here I am on a Sunday morning with all the love and light a person can want around them. My two beautiful children are smiling and playing, my wife is looking on brimming with joy, and then there’s me. The Angel of Death photo shopped into a Norman Rockwell painting. Pacing like a wild animal, cursing under my breath, spewing lava, fist fighting the air. And why do I sacrifice my sanity on the altar of rage on this lovely day? Am I reacting to some dreadful piece of life shattering news? Is this childish paroxysm my way of protesting some grave, callous injustice the world has decided to pay towards a friend or loved one? Of course not. I have decided to transform into a human blowtorch because I have lost my keys.
Me: Where are they? Where are they! Where are they????? WHERE are they?
Shannon: Where did you have them last?
Me: If I knew that, I’d know where they are.
Shannon: (calmly responding with compassion and understanding to my state of determined stupidity) Well, have you checked you pants from yesterday?
Me: Yes. And the dresser. And the coffee table. And inside my pants from two days ago. And in the closet! And on the book shelf!!! And in the oven!!!! And in my shoes!!!!! And in an elephant’s pajamas!!!!!!!! And on the moon!!!! And in the entire state of Wyoming!!!!!
Shannon: (channeling a level of patience that would have made Job look neurotic) Keith, breathe. It’s not a big deal. We always find them.
Me: But why do I have to lose them! It’s ridiculous! I must spend half of my life losing my keys!!!! I don’t even need to go anywhere! I just have to get inside the car!!!! My work is in there. I need to get to my work so I can finish my work so I don’t have to worry about my work! That way I can stay calm!!!!!! Don’t you see!?!!?!
Shannon: It’s fine. We’ll get in there today. Don’t worry about it.
Me: You don’t understand! If I don’t finish my work, I’ll fall behind. If I fall behind, I won’t be able to get the things I need done for next week done! Then, I’ll fall further behind. It’ll create a nearly endless chain of events that cannot be stopped. Like a runaway train!!!! Eventually, I will collapse under the weight of all these things that I haven’t done! I’ll lose my ability to function. I’ll start walking around parking lots at 2 o’clock in the morning humming the theme from Bonanza. I’ll lose the ability to enjoy meals!!! I’ll become one of those George Romero looking zombie like creatures that only shaves one half of his face and quotes Finnegan’s Wake all the time!!! I won’t be able to hold down a steady job!!! I’ll be an outcast! A social parasite! (In a tone of self-mockery) “Hey look, there’s Keith Spillett. Nice fellow, then one day he couldn’t get into his car. Now he’s a penniless loser who spends most of his time collecting rocks that are shaped like former Presidents. Too bad, huh!”
Shannon: Whoa. Slow down. It doesn’t mean all that honey. We’ll get in your car.
Me: Sure it does! If I cannot complete a simple task like finding my keys, what does that say about me as a person? What sort of idiot can’t even find a set of keys! I can’t even….Maybe I should smash the window? Like in one of those movies. I’ll wrap a towel around my hand. That’s it!
Shannon: That’s really not a good idea. Just breathe for a minute.
Me: I don’t want to breathe! Not without my keys! I am sick of not being able to control things! I hate the feeling of constant confusion, constant disorganization, and constant waiting for something else to go missing! ARGGGGGGGH!!!!
Shannon: Well, have you tried the door?
Me: Tried the door! Tried the door? You mean just tried to open it! I have locked my door every time I have left my car since I was 15 years old. The chances of the car door being open are somewhere in the order of 12 billion to 1. I’d be better off taking all of our savings and betting it on the Cubs to win the World Series next year! Or buying a Dippin’ Dots franchise! Or buying Greek government bonds! There is not even an infinitesimal chance in the universe that the door is unlocked. SEE!!(I quickly snatch at the door handle. The car door opens with as much sarcasm as an inanimate object is capable of)
Shannon: (smiling without a trace of “I told you so” on her face) Well…good.
Me: Yeah. (relief floods my body) Yeah. Okay. Yeah.
Shannon: See, it’s never as bad as you think.
Me: You’re right. You’re totally right. Thank you so much for your patience. (I stop and hug Shannon filled with gratefulness) Now, have you seen my wallet?