Shootin' the Breeze

by "Bummer"

bummer @ abate

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September 2009


    I learned this little ditty years ago the first time around when I was told I could get a Big Whatever as a prize for letting my brain absorb the commercial. I discovered that wasn’t true, but not until that part of my brain was permanently ruined. Now, that national burger conglomerate is using it again in their brain washing promotions for a Big Whatever, and every time I hear it I automatically sing along. I wonder what I could have learned instead those many years ago….maybe algebra.

   Ya see, for some time now it’s been my firm belief that every time I learn something new I automatically forget something else to make room for it, so I try not to learn things. That burger jingle was implanted in my noggin when my brain was fresher and wasn’t cluttered with other stuff. But now that the useable part of my brain is full, the result is still the same illustrated by the fact that I can’t remember things like people’s names (I once introduced my wife Julie to someone as what’s her name).

   Scientists tell us that the human brain (and mine too) consists of so much brain tissue that the majority of it lays dormant. And they wonder, and speculate on, what the possibilities could be if we could take advantage of this unused gray matter.

   Would we have extra-perceptive abilities and be able to mentally communicate over long distances so we could just throw away our cell phones? Could we levitate things and move ‘em around like Samantha on “Bewitched”? Maybe we could levitate ourselves and fly. Or perhaps we could just “wish” ourselves to another place, eliminating the need for physical transportation devises entirely. Then we could tell the Arabs to go take a flying f&%$ with their oil (maybe they could feed it to their f&%$ing camels. Do you detect some resentment here?).

    I was talking to my old buddy Pappy on the phone a few nights ago and we got to discussing emotions, and how people waste much of their lives and much of their brain space thinking about dumb stuff:

    “When ya stop to think about it Bummer, the only emotion that’s even worth your time is love.”
    “All ya need is love huh? Pappy! What’s happened to you? Ya sound like a girl.”
    “What I mean is, resentment and anger is an absolute waste of time and brain cells. Every second you spend angry at a person or a problem hurts you and not who or what yer angry at. And by the way, I don’t necessarily mean romantic love either. It can be brotherly love, or love of country or family. Hell, if yer lucky, you can even love your job. You love your bike dontcha?”
    “I love riding, but that’s different. A bike is just a way to ride. I think the only way a person could actually love what he rides is if he built it himself, and that’s a matter of pride, not love. Either way, the bike I ride now is store bought. I treat it good, and it treats me good. But okay, what about pride? That’s an emotion.”
    “The bible says, “Pride goeth before a fall.’ A little bit of pride might be all right, but too much always bites ya on the ass. Just when ya get to thinking that YOUR bike is the best, or the fastest, it’s gonna break down on ya or yer gonna meet one that’s faster. That is unless your bike is something ya just take to shows, and then it’s not a motorcycle anymore. It’s become a ‘Show Bike’. Something you can be proud of if ya had a hand in designing and/or building it, but it’s still just a thing. The pride is in the making of it. You can never be proud of something ya bought.”
    “Okay, I see what yer sayin’. But what’s up with all this talk about “love” and quoting the bible. You feelin’ okay?”
    “Well, actually that might have been Ben Franklin that said that. But I’m doing better than ever. I’m older than dirt, but I’m doin’ great.”

    (note: If yer interested in what’s been goin’ on with Pappy, there’s a book available through, and selected Barnes and Noble, Borders and Waldenbooks stores called “Onward Through The Fog: Conversations With Pappy” by none other than yours truly, Robert “Bummer” Baldwin.)

    It seems we all allow our brains to be molded by everyone from the media to the government to some extent. (buy the book) For instance, if ya stop and think about it, do you really need, or even want, most of the crap the media tries to sell ya? How often have you suddenly had to have that juicy burger or that slice of pizza, and considered rushing out to get it just because it was on your TV pictured so scrumptiously that you could actually smell it? (buy the book) Usually we don’t even realize the subliminal aspects of the advertising. (buy the book) It can be the way gum and candy is placed near the cash registers in a store when you’re counting your loose change (buy the book), or the way necessities like milk and bread are usually positioned so ya have to actually walk through the store to get at it. (buy the book) It can be the way billboards are positioned near the highway so they just jump out at ya, or the way TV commercials are so much louder than the program you were watching.

    Speaking of manipulation by the media, I’m writing this in early July and even I’m starting to feel sorry for poor little Michael Jackson because of all the TV and radio frenzy about his tragic life and death. Hell, they didn’t give this much coverage to Elvis or John Lennon combined when they died! His memorial service alone has cost the city of Los Angeles millions of dollars for the stadium, police etc. I keep noticing however, that not too much has been mentioned about his obsession with…..well, okay, I won’t go there. I’ll give it all a much-deserved rest.

   One related thing I would like to comment on though, is that on the very same day he died (Michael Jackson), Farrah Fawcett passed away after a horrible bout with cancer, and the Jackson media attention vastly overshadowed it. Like most men I never really paid too much attention to anything about her except her hair and her nipples (I’m trying NOT to be a jerk here). But a semi-documentary she voluntarily took part in during her final days and released after her death shows her to have been a very noble and incredibly strong woman. It’s a damned shame that so much attention was given to poor little Michael, that the details of her passing and how she handled it were just about overlooked. The woman showed grace and unquestionable bravery under the most trying of circumstances.

   I think in our hearts we all like to think that we’re the masters of our own minds; that we aren’t directed by powers beyond our control. But from the beginning of recorded history, governments, organized religion, newspapers and all the other media and advertising sectors, have barraged us with false claims, misleading reports and disguised agendas. We’re led to believe we know who’s best to vote for, what we want to buy and what we should or shouldn’t do. But do we really?

    I think the only thing we can do is wade through the bull crap, be righteous about things, wish for the best, and hope we make the right decisions.
   Well, there’s this little tool I saw on TV a while ago that does everything but clean my garage, and it’s on the shelf at Wal-fart waiting for me to come buy it.
    Gotta run before the store closes….

                    Bummer   (buy the book)

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