Monday, April 13, 2009


Crap. Today I'm going to write about crap. 'Cause we're surrounded by it. Inundated. There's the Cornucopia of Crap, the Cornucopria, I guess it would be. Curved horn with a river of garbage pouring out of it, fish heads and eggshells, coffee grounds and banana strings, the ones you have to peel off the banana after the peel is gone.

People come by with buckets, scoop up the bounty, and take it home to watch on their DVRs. That's where most of the crap goes, right? TV. There's a collection system by the Cornucopria, collects it all in a pipeline, funnels it to Fox headquarters and other places like that. Then it's piped directly into your house through a fiber-optic cable. You turn on the switch, and you've got a hundred channels of crap to choose from.

You kids don't know how lucky you have it. When I was a kid we only had three channels of crap to choose from. There would have been more, but our house was up against the foothills, and the signals from Golden didn't get to us. Or some of them. That's where the towers are for the Denver stations. Tall things on Lookout Mountain above Golden, with red, winking eyes at the top. Golden's where the Coors brewery is, so there's all manner of different kinds of crap emanating from there.

It all went off around midnight, too. They'd play the Star-Spangled Banner, show some jets flying around and some flags waving in the breeze, then there'd be a test pattern and a long beep—maybe 440 hertz? I don't know—for the rest of the night.

The test pattern was all mysterious symbols. Stripes and radiating lines. Triangles with an all-seeing Masonic Eye of Providence in the middle. Just starting out. When you looked away it would blink, but could never catch it in the act. Thing is, it was really watching you.

Here's how it worked. It all goes back to Golden, home of Coors beer, the Colorado School of Mines, and NORAD—that's the North American Air Defense Command. Under the mountain there, a bomb-proof complex mounted on giant springs from hundreds of old Chevies. From the towers on top of the mountain, Cheyenne Mountain, where there's a zoo full of mutant giraffes and things, baboons with a strict patriarchy and a resource base of booze and chicks—we'll get to that later—from the top of the mountain NORAD sent out that test-pattern signal with the All-Seeing Eye of Providence, watching, even when you turned off the TV. Ever notice how the picture shrank down to a little dot when you turned it off? The eye was still there. Then the dot got so small you couldn't see it, but still it was there, watching your living room all night.

Ever notice how the test pattern looked like a combination of a radiation symbol and a target? That was NORAD, too. A big message saying, "Hey, Ivan! Aim 'er right here. See if you can land one in the living room. We're ready for you."

But we were talking about crap. It's years later here. They've mothballed NORAD due to a lack of Rooskies, along with satellites that beam the crap down your chimney from directly overhead. Keeps you occupied. You're watching ads with fashionable people buying, well, crap from crappy stores like Target. You're watching shows like America's Biggest Idiot, where a houseful of contestants vie for the title of, as it says, America's Biggest Idiot.

Here's the secret. I can't tell you where I found out. At the end of the show they reveal that America's Biggest Idiot is… you! Because you watched the thing for three whole months to find out.

There are others. Who Wants to be a Baboon? for instance. Where twelve hapless contestants are thrown in the middle of a troop of mutant baboons at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. They vie for the post of Top Baboon, with all the booze and chicks that come with the position. Nice work if you can get it, but you have to wear a big, red, strap-on ass, or the other baboons don't give you any respect. It's not fair or unfair. It's just biology.

At any rate, all of this stuff coming out of your TV keeps you distracted while the other guys pick your pocket and drive off with your car.

You look at the TV and say, "You call those idiots? I could be a bigger idiot than that! How come I'm not on this show?"

Then you can't find your wallet or your car keys. Meanwhile, they stop a red-assed Chacma baboon trying to buy Coors beer at the 7-11 with your credit card.

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