Posts Tagged ‘consumption’

The Suburban Hearse

April 24, 2017

PBF Suburban Hearse

soundtrack

Miss Glaciermelt leans into her powerpoint presentation, placing her index finger on a large grey square on the terrain view of an old human settlement.

“This large dead area was called a parking lot. It’s where the last generations of humans left their transportation machines when they interacted with shopping and activity centers.”

The teacher notices Cindy’s confused stare.

“Did you read the chapter 7 –The Suburban Hearse – of your Last Days of the Humans textbook, Cind?”

“I did,” Cindy replies. “But I still don’t get the connection between their suburban habitat and the word hearse. A hearse was a machine for moving dead bodies from one place to another many kilometers away. What does this have to do with the low-density sprawl that humans ended their time on Earth in?”

Miss Glaciermelt is glad Cindy has decided to take the second part of her Post-Human Extinction course. Nothing works better as a teaching tool than a live back-and-forth between teacher and student.

“Well, the most popular vehicles of the last years were called SUVs, and they were a lot like hearses in shape and size. Many of them were great for transporting dead humans, though they were originally used by single people for going from one characterless suburban location to another. Ironically, it was the use of these machines and all the fuels that they required that created the need for billions of hearses. The hearses of the last years of Humanity.”

Hearse imageMiss Glaciermelt fidgets with her computer and then plays a short movie-clip while talking over the narrator.

“Over there, two young human boys are driving bicycles that are much too small for them. This harms their knees. And there’s an obese jogger – another end-time human activity that destroyed body parts – knees, ankles and hips. And look at that chubby human mowing a lawn. Noise actually causes obesity but he probably doesn’t know that. Most humans didn’t know very much near the end of their species’ existence.”

Cindy: “Were humans doing all these dumb, harmful activities because of the obesity epidemics or because of the boredom? Or did their slave-like jobs make them clueless?”

Glaciermelt: “Well, it’s not really one reason. All of your reasons were contributing factors: boredom, obesity and lack of freedom. You’re really animated today, aren’t you?”

They both smile.

Cindy: “I noticed that in the footnotes, the narrator talks about – and I quote – ‘the braindead termite-people of the Suburban Shitscape.’ What does he mean by termites? They didn’t go extinct. We still have lots of termites.”

Glaciermelt: “No, termites didn’t go extinct. But I think he’s referring to the fact that humans were consuming the planet the way that termites will eventually kill the tree they live off of. And the word ‘shitscape’ refers to the low-quality and ugly surroundings that end-time humans lived in. The author also mentions that all their machines sounded like chainsaws: lawn-mowers, ski-doos, leaf-blowers, the power tools of weekend pagoda projects… suburbia was one massive chainsaw massacre.”

Cindy: “Maybe the noise and ugliness drove them crazy and they had nothing left to live for?”

Glaciermelt: “Let’s not speculate, Cindy. After all, we weren’t there ourselves.

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The Mosquito who wanted to be a Dinosaur

July 22, 2015

PBF mosquito

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(From the Cub Club Bedtime Stories collection)

There once was a tiny and desperate mosquito named Ilene. Ilene had always felt like she was destined to be so much more than a tiny, insignificant insect.

Let me tell you more.

It was the hot summer of 147 million years ago, but I remember like it was yesterday.

Ilene Pickworth was a frosh at a local college. Instead of attending classes, she would sit under the college’s huge trees and admire the brute strength and high-status size of the large dinosaurs storming by like SUVs. While Ilene spent many stressful moments of her day avoiding being swatted by appendages many times her size, the large dinosaurs proudly ripped the tops off of huge trees and dined on the sweet leaves that no other land species could reach. It certainly looked glamorous – to a bug with a two-month lifespan and chronic blood-breath.

Squish gothic

Then one morning, Ilene saw an ad in Mosquito’s Digest for a plastic surgeon/geneticist in Argentina who could transform even a tiny mosquito like her into a relatively accurate genetic approximation of a Diplodocus, a giant dinosaur who usually lived past 140. For only a few thousand euros, Ilene could finally buy the dream and live an elite existence that her mosquitohood had denied her only a few easy monthly payments ago.

She almost broke her proboscis, pulling it out rapidly before she flew home to grab her credit card and overnight bag.

The operation was a success. She also got free Diplodocus lessons and a foster family to guide her along. Within a few weeks, she was one of the gang. A happy and gigantic land animal.

Her new species went extinct a few decades later. She never had kids.

** a mosquito flies by**

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Stay-Awake Chewing Gum

April 15, 2009

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gum

When I was five, I couldn’t stay awake late enough to watch some of my favorite TV shows. This sucked, but what can you do when you’re five years old. I yearned, and I suffered.

Sure, we had normal chewing gum. But there was still no product on the market that could make your breath smell fantastic, give your jaw a good workout, and also keep you wide awake so you could watch adult TV shows with bad words and the occasional inappropriate sexual situation.

Luckily, aspartame and caffeine are part of our chewscape now. So are chemical mint flavors, and – importantly – names with Xtreme in them. This superlative suggests that sugarless chewing gum has advanced to the next level – has become a product with a mission: to push the gum-chewer to their absolute limits.

Sexism is a by-product of chewing gum

The girls who chewed gum in my high school would all have to endure being called sluts, and the guys who chewed gum were expected to suck everyone else off… eventually… when they got over their self-conscious homophobia.

Was it like this in your high school as well?

Now, I’m not suggesting that there’s a link between promiscuity and chewing gum – sugarless Xtreme or otherwise. But what I am saying is that commercial advertising constructs this link by plopping busty models into their ads, often blowing large, breast-sized bubbles.

And yet, gum is so unsexy – at least, to the gay mind that’s inside my head.

Fake History of Gum

Gum appeared in the American diet just as the worker found himself working too many hours a day, and in too high-stress a social situation, to brush his teeth regularly.

I am always surprised at how few people brush their teeth at school, on the job, and in other social situations. A toothbrush and toothpaste don’t take up that much room, and it only takes five minutes to brush your teeth.

People spend hours looking for cheap parking for their cars, but they can’t seem to find the place for a toothbrush in their pocket or purse. And it is into the illusion of time-poverty that falls the miraculous product that is Stay-Awake Chewing Gum.

The Model

gum chart

I think this graph really says it all.

Chewing gum is all about forgetting the important things, and concentrating on the most trivial: the sound of your own mouth muscles. But you can always refer to this graph when you start to feel like chewing gum is just meaningless consumption.

The math is where all the meaning lies, and this chart captures that math really well.

Stay-Awake Chewing Gum has math on its side, and that’s like having God standing right behind you with a big smile on His face, isn’t it.


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