Post 9-11 Post

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Man, I hate the phrase “Post 9-11”. It is used to justify all sorts of bullshit that, frankly, has nothing to do with what happened that day. It’s a pathetic appeal to emotion that shuts down discourse by invoking the memory of the dead and “how every thing has changed”.

What exactly has changed? Other than the New York skyline, of course.

The world we live in isn’t very different from how it was on September 10, 2001. A lot of good people have died between then and now. Not just in the attacks, but in the far off fields of Afghanistan and the Fertile Crescent. Good people were dying before then. The folks in our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania didn’t have to wait until the World Trade Center crumbled into dust to know that the world is full of bad people. The soldiers who survived Khobar Towers weren’t shocked by terrorists interrupting their lives that day six years ago. The world hadn’t changed a bit for them.

Nothing has changed for any of us either. We still spend way too much energy discussing pathetic celebrity gossip. Not only did a Shattered Nation Long To Care About Stupid Bullshit Again, it is without a doubt, much of the same bullshit from six years ago. Hey, our wish came true!

Here we are six years later with a nation of self-involved navel-gazers churning out treacly tributes full of trite and vapid sentiment like it was the last episode of M*A*S*H*. What a sad commentary that most personal recollections of the event center on how this momentous historical event affected us while we watched it on the television.

In the days following the attacks, I observed some behavior that on the surface showed a growing feeling of national unity, but really betrayed the shallow and self-serving nature of our “Post 9-11” world.
Born in the USA

There was this girl I was madly in love with. She liked to drink. So did I. What could go wrong? Sadly, she drank to kill inner demons, mask the pain of being alive, or numb her soul to the reality that she wouldn’t be a big country star. I forget which. My liquor intake was strictly confined to the “enjoy having a buzz” category.

I was in the liquor store on the afternoon (or was it morning?) September 12 or 13, 2001 getting a couple of airline bottles of vodka for this girl I was enabling. The Asian guy behind the counter and I exchanged pleasantries and I headed out with my purchases.

Out in the parking lot was a guy and his kid setting up a table in the parking lot. He had a trunk full of American flag decals and magnets. He wasn’t wasting any time trying to make a buck off of the suffering of others. He had this air of desperation about him that said, “Here’s your chance to strike it rich, don’t blow it.” Maybe all two thousand dollars of this guy’s life savings was tied up in the flag magnets.

The little Asian guy comes outside and asks the guy to clear off. Now it gets interesting. We have a clash of cultures. At this point, I’m wishing that the liquor store owner was Middle Eastern so we can have one of them, whatchamacallit, microcosms.

Mr. Flag Decal looks over to me for back-up while invoking the tragedy of yesterday. I offer no support. I’m not sure if the liquor store owner objected to the guy on grounds that he didn’t ask permission to sell in his parking lot or that he was trying to make a quick buck by selling tacky patriotism. Either way, he was in the right.

As I passed the kid gathering up their stuff, I looked close at the bottom of the box of magnets he was loading back in the car. It read, “Made in China”.

The Junior League Goes To War

Some friends and I had planned a camping/canoe/kayak trip down the Buffalo River for the weekend of the 14th of September. Thursday, I went over to my local Army/Navy Surplus Emporium, located near Vanderbilt, for some supplies.

As I’m making my purchases, some well-preserved, suburbanite tennis moms come bouncing in. They interrupt my purchase to ask the clerk if they have, “some American flags. You know, like the kind you put on your car for a Titans game?”

The clerk informed them that they had recently sold out of flags. What with the recent surge in patriotic sentiment and all, there was nary a flag to be found. Especially one that can be attached to the car, like for a Titans game.

When I got out in the parking lot, the two MILFs were trying to figure out their next move. I approached them and told them that I had some American flags in the trunk of my car. Due to a poorly thought out marketing gimmick from a previous career, I had about two hundred 8″x12″ American flags attached to little wood poles in the trunk of my car. At first, they acted like I wanted them to get in my van. When I produced the flags, they squealed like sorority sisters on initiation night.

“How much do you want for them?”

“You can have them for free.”

“Please, I’ll pay you for them.”

“No thanks, I’m not going to make a dollar off of a national tragedy.”

“Well, can I have two more.”

“Sure.”

“Do you have anything to mount them with?”

“Sorry. No.”

“I guess these will have to do then.”

As I pulled out of the parking lot, I heard them talking as they got in their Saab/Volvo/BMW/Lexus SUV, “These will be fun! I bet the other girls haven’t been able to find any.”

Fuck it Dude, Let’s Go Camping

On Friday, one of my camping buddies and our Guatemalan sidekick went to Kroger to buy the food for our camping trip. We were heading out that morning.

We’re cruising through the aisles, cutting up and joking while making our purchases of meats and snacks to be consumed in the wild. I notice that it is deathly quiet in the store, but it doesn’t register with me why. I figured it was just slow that morning.

We get up to the counter and the pale, 17 year-old mother of two who is ringing us up is giving me the stink-eye. As I pay for the food, she says, “You know it isn’t very respectful to be talking while we were having our moment of silence.”

“Huh?”

“We were having a moment of silence for the Victims of the World Trade Center. It was announced over the P.A.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize. I thought this was a grocery store. I come here to buy groceries. If I wanted a moment of silence, I’d go to church.”

It was time to leave before things got ugly. It was time to get out in the woods.

There was no one on the river that weekend. There were no planes in the sky. The only sounds were the birds and the rushing water.

It was beautiful.

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8 Responses to “Post 9-11 Post”

  1. Charles Nelson Barkley Says:

    “they acted like I wanted them to get in my van.”

    So, what are you . . . about a size 14?”

  2. Mrs. Sarcastro Says:

    So tell us about the girl you were madly in love with, sweetie.

  3. Sarcastro Says:

    Thought I was , turns out it was just the booze.

    Ain’t nothin’ like the real thing, baby.

  4. Mark Says:

    Guatemalan sidekick? Who are you, Sam Elliot?

    Also, you mentioned an old gf on your blog. you fool.

  5. Sarcastro Says:

    I wish I were Sam Elliot. When grown, my mustache always looks more Val Kilmer.

    I’m still taking heat rounds about the old gf mention. Fool isn’t a strong enough word, apparently.

  6. Music City Bloggers » Blog Archive » 9/11 and Beyond Says:

    […] Go ahead and read what behaviors he’s talking about (includes alcohol, microcosms, and junior leaguers, if that doesn’t make you want to check it out I don’t know what could.) Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. […]

  7. newscoma Says:

    If you were Sam Eliot…
    Well…
    No disrespect Mrs. Sarcastro, but I love me some Sam Eliot.

    J/K

  8. Exador Says:

    Booze? I was there during that phase and alcohol was childs’ play.

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