Big American Mess

Modeled after Russell Baker’s Sleep (1971)

*Disclaimer: this entire piece connotes inefficiency for hope; I didn’t intend for it to sound entirely nihilistic.

I am suffocating in between huddled unidentified bodies dribbling in sweat and alcohol when I first receive the news of Osama’s death. Scrolling down my phone, tweet after tweet after tweet: ding! Dong! The witch is dead! No need to grab a newspaper for security and insurance; they are oblique anyways. And fear of the unknown rushed back into the cusps of my bones; this news holds no value.

We have been at war for over a decade now;

We forgot Happiness.

We let Hope get away.

We sleep at night with Fear.

On our right hand, we hold ignorance; on our left hand, we hold abandonment. But because everyone runs down to Ground Zero in celebration (of another man’s death), let’s smoke a j and pretend all of this news matters. Smoke a j and wipe your memories free of the crashing Twin Towers.

And when your brother, father, friend came home at the end of December, I hope you smoked a j with him and forgot that he was ever gone.  Puff, puff, and pass away the affairs met with death in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hop on that hot air balloon and find yourselves so high that the defects of politics and social welfare will appear to merely be a dot from where you are floating. Let the fruitful leaves dipped in THC swim down your lungs and forget 9/11, forget the unimaginable average of 18 veteran suicides conducted each day, forget the aimlessness of the War on Terror and forget that you are incredibly bruised.

I am thinking about the state of today’s America: at war, in recession, prejudiced, inconsistent, and full of crap. While Troy Davis (without substantial evidence) walks the death row, Casey Anthony (with explicit evidence) is innocent. There is nothing honorable about a justice system that can be so easily swooned and manipulated by the disguises of crime. We are left restless with infinite questions as these deeds are done with no credentials. We reside in a bank that is left in inescapable moral bankruptcy. Save yourself before the crimes of our nation kills you — smoke a j and everything will temporarily feel okay. Let your mind drift away into a hazy cloud of disillusion and pretend that you understand the GOP’s convoluted resolutions. Smoke a j and your anger can subdue.

And if the homeless man on the subway claims to be ill, you should pull out Mary Jane and share her spells of healing with him, because no one else will. Our country favors embryos and leaves the marginalized in the margins, because that is where they belong. And despite the 49 million people who do not have coverage for healthcare, America finds Her priorities in federal spending to be elsewhere. Smoke a j and forget that by 2021, federal debt is predicted to exceed 100% of the nation’s annual economic spending.

And if you have paid attention to any of the news, stop. Take your green stash and roll yourself a healthy joint that can keep your mind away. People are unhappy these days. Our televisions, MacBook screens, and newspapers are infested with inconsolable endeavors for change. People protest and march and hope that their voice gets heard; it is all a game of dress-up. We will tell our children about Occupy Wall Street and about the global wide felt depression. Police abuse, public suffering, poor benefits and the exploitation of the people due to Capitalism — it always comes back to the deficiency of a managed economy when we discuss the other green drive of America; it is funny how the things we value are always scarce. The people demand a change, not progress. Though, we are all familiar with the government’s biggest secret: change will never be seen in your lifetime. So I say, smoke a j and get away from the protests’ seduction. It is a benevolent effort but money doesn’t grow from trees and the wealthy are too partially sighted to care. Stick with the weed and reward yourself for your dried out trials for change.

It is difficult, I know — and the battle with frustration does not end here. You are wallowing in a pool of caffeine because your attention span has reduced to nothingness and you cannot concentrate on writing your paper. What is the significance of a college education when we cannot exercise it post-graduation? Leave your paper, burn the stress, and smoke a j. The weight of increasing unemployment will be lifted and you can return to your paper, free of anxiety and intimidation.

Intellect is vital, but the education system is crooked. You have finished high school so smoke a j and forget about that awful teacher whose only responsibility was to receive payment for a completed teaching trial and protected tenure. No one cares if they were inadequate and no one cares if children aren’t learning; 35 years of teaching at the institution means full protection and security of a job. Carelessness is the string keeping us tied together; smoke a j and tie another knot to prevent yourself from caring about the bullet holes in our education system.

Granted that teachers are saving hundreds of trees, the shift to e-readers and electronic accessibility to all required texts has extinguished a student’s ability to engage with their text. Students are reading Homer, Virgil, and Dante but none of them are meeting the writers at the page. Teachers and students are both hiding behind their computer screens, forgetting what it means to read, learn, and explore a book altogether.

On a sunny day, when all the neighborhood kids come out to play, sit on your stoop and take a few hits from your bowl, apple, or my preferred j. Bring eye drops, but stay blind with open eyes, to the surrender of our kids’ futures into the throne of progressive technology. You’re on cloud 9!  Run into the street, play catch and laugh with the people around you.

Smoke a j and forget that we are American; it will induce easy sleeping. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image – Shutterstock

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