Look at me, I'm brooding

Synesthesia-  a neurologically-based phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.

The smell of the air changes when the trees go bare and the grass turns tan. It has a synesthesiac effect on me. It's cold and energetic, and it sets off this chain reaction of memories that I would never think of in the summer when the air is thick. It flashes red and blue. It has a prickly smell. Christmases and winters from the past pop into my head. The earliest ones are the happiest. The cul-de-sac I used to live in would be completely covered in snow, and I would wake up as early as possible so that I could see the pureness of it before all of the footprints smashed in their steep depressions. I covered up and put my boots on and stepped one foot into the street and listened to the crunch of wetness and backed up so that I could see my single mark in the whiteness. The older the memory, the purer it is. I distinctly remember doing that. Nothing else was there. Only the snow and I and the houses. 

Christmas has lost so much of it's wonder. I can't actually think about it without thinking of the marketing ploy that it so obviously is. That's so depressing. The word Christmas is flashes of money, cash registers, the sound of  a completed transaction. Three foot long receipts and rolled up lights. I cling on to Christmas because it's the only day of the year that never changes. It's a ritual of innocence. Every year a little of it is chipped away by some new experience.

The smell of cigarette smoke reminds me of Christmas morning at my grandparents' house. It flashes white and gold. A Marlboro carton. Their house is musty and warm and everything seems to be coated with dog slobber. Cigarette smoke never held a negative connotation to me because I've been around it my whole life. It's actually calming to me. The oldest smells are still the purest.

The smell of church incense reminds me of Hell. Or at least the descriptions of it. In the seventh grade, when I was twelve years old, I distinctly remember a day at my Catholic school. We went to an early morning mass, and the homily was on the pains of Hell. When we got back to the classroom, our religion teacher decided to make a lesson out of the sermon. He smiled and in his usual energetic voice said "Hell is a scary place to be! The writer Dante once wrote about the several layers of hell. The physical torment of it is unimaginable to a human being! In one layer, people are lined up along a rotating platform. Every few feet lies a demon that cuts off tiny parts of your body until you're nothing, and then you are regenerated so that the process can go on for eternity! Another layer of Hell forces the sinner to wear a golden cloak, unbearably heavy, while they try futilely to push a rock to the top of a mountain. Repent for your sins in the sacrament of Reconciliation so that you can spend a lifetime in paradise rather than eternal damnation."

The class was petrified. Most twelve year olds let lessons such as these imprint deep into their psyche, just like they let early Christmas mornings creep into their consciousness. That lesson has never left me. Even when I grow further away from religion as a whole, there's something deep, deep down in me that reaches back to the church. It isn't love. It isn't hate. It's cowardice. Fearful, pathetic cowardice that was instilled in me from the earliest Religion class. The only reason I would resort back to the Catholic Church is because of Pascal's wager, that believing in God is safer than not believing in him, because if he does exist, I can get to heaven. How pathetic. This obsessions for an eternal paradise also breeds an egocentricity. That's what the Church is based on. I am special. God created me in his image. If I'm a good boy here on earth, I can go on vacation for eternity. Christmas mornings and Mass. I stopped believing in Santa Claus because I realized it was a ridiculous tradition. Would I be so quick to disregard old Kris Kringle if I was threatened with being shot? Take me back to before religion. When the whiteness of the cul-de-sac was all that was the only thing on my mind. The purest memories I have have nothing to do with being "pure."


The Big Suit Philosopher

I love the Talking Heads. At first glance, they look like a prototypical 80's band, complete with synthesizers, ridiculous outfits, and up-tempo beats. David Byrne's voice encompasses all of the shitty music that goes with, in my mind, the worst decade for music of all time. For some reason, I decided to give them a chance. Dear God I'm glad I did. They transcend the cheesiness. It's unlike anything I've ever heard. They thrive off of Byrne's energy, lyrics, and overall uniqueness. Watch the following video and just try to tell me you aren't interested.

(Skip to 1:03 if you don't want to watch the credits)


Cheesy? Maybe. It's also concert perfection.
This is all besides the point I originally had in mind for this blog post.

I was listening to a specific song from them, "Heaven." And the lyrics really stuck out to me.

Everyone is trying to get to the bar.
The name of the bar, the bar is called Heaven.
The band in Heaven, they play my favorite song.
They play it once again, play it all night long.

Heaven, Heaven is a place
a place where nothing, nothing ever happens.
Heaven, Heaven is a place
a place where nothing, nothing ever happens.

There is a party, everyone is there.
Everyone will leave at exactly the same time.
Its hard to imagine that nothing at all
could be so exciting, could be so much fun.

Heaven, Heaven is a place
a place where nothing, nothing ever happens.
Heaven, Heaven is a place
a place where nothing, nothing ever happens.

When this kiss is over it will start again.
It will not be any different, it will be exactly
the same.
It's hard to imagine that nothing at all
could be so exciting, could be this much fun.

Heaven, Heaven is a place
a place where nothing, nothing ever happens.
Heaven, Heaven is a place
a place where nothing, nothing ever happens. 

It's so thought provoking. So direct. Definitely not your typical 80's band lyrics. Is heaven boring? It seems in my "human and mortal" mind it would be. The impurities of an imperfect world provide most of the excitement that gets me through the day. Imagine spending eternity at a church picnic. I can't wait! It seems that the only fun of parish functions is when they break out the beer and say things they know they shouldn't. Or think of the perfect person in your class. Funny, smart, nice, and perfect. How long could you stand being stuck in a room with them? Imperfection is excitement, so, by definition, perfection is boredom. I think I just cracked the case on why girls like douche bags. And I did it with my own logic. Damnit.


Southern Gentlemen

Frat. It's the Catholic High lifestyle. In short, it's polo shirts, Sperries, wearing backwards hats, golfing, drinking a lot of beer, and being generally obnoxious. The actual word pertains to the fraternities found in colleges, but it has morphed into its own sect of humanity. It's like the opposite of indie. What does it mean to really be "frat", though? I decided to observe a select group of individuals in their natural habitat of an all-male institution to dig deep into their inner workings. Not surprisingly, there isn't much to it. These findings are proven scientifically.

First, if you yourself wanted to see what it was like to be a frat, there are a few pointers to tell about before you're on your way. Obviously, you would stop reading this blog. Conveyance of any kind of individual opinion or emotion will get you kicked out immediately. It's the equivalent of murder. Now, these are a few ways to mask yourself in the proper frat way.

1.) Dress like you just received a large inheritance from your father, who is presumably some sort of oil tycoon or major league baseball owner. Make sure everyone realizes how wealthy you are.

2.) Pretend you're on the way to play 9 holes all the time. It doesn't really matter if you've ever played golf.  You need to always have a few clubs in your car, just in case.

3.) Speaking of cars, only the following are acceptable: 4 Runners, Range Rovers, Sports Cars, Denalis, and really loud and/or tall pick up trucks. There are a few exceptions. If you have any kind of truck, take the muffler off and it will be fratified. Or a few "Ducks Unlimited" stickers will usually suffice. If you have a car, make it obnoxious somehow. Get creative (but not too creative. That's frowned upon.)

4.) Everything you say should be seemingly nonchalant, but in reality so over the top that it seems that you're trying to compensate for something (and if you're wanting to be frat, then you probably are).

5.) This is probably the most important.  Make sure you carry yourself with an unearned sense of accomplishment. Flaunt your pink polos, your Oakleys, your mounted ducks, your golf clubs, your money clip, and the keys to your speed boat.

6.) If you find yourself getting out fratted in a conversation, there are a few fall back phrases that are always acceptable, these include "Bro", "I heaaaaard that", "What it do", "That's so frat", "What a bitch!", "You gettin' your dick wet?", and "Dude, 30 pack, this weekend." Or, you can just incorporate the word frat into the sentence. This helps if you just said something really "faggy".


Guy #1: Bro, you goin to Fay Town this weekend?

Guy #2: I might, but there's this film festival I may go to upstate.

Guy #1: Hahaha what the fuck dude? Just come out of the closet now.

Guy #2: Uhhh no it'll be frat, trust me. The girls there have huge tits.

Guy #2 has just saved himself from looking like a fool with that second sentence.

I'll finish collecting my findings and post part 2 later, but there's one more thing. If ever you find yourself looking for a Christmas present for a frat person, I have found, undeniably, the greatest frat present ever. Go get a six foot aquarium, cover it in Camouflage, and put it under said frat person's tree. It's large, unnecessary, expensive, and, most importantly, completely void of substance. What's more frat than that?