Sunday, March 8, 2015

Thoroughly Modern Me

I’m one of those people who likes to think that, despite the fact that he’s a skinny white boy from the hard-bitten suburbs of Des Moines, I can occasionally manifest some street cred. This, of course, is a fallacy. I cling to it nonetheless as a last remnant of youth and of my still flickering liberal urge to let the oppressed masses know I identify with their struggle. But unlike most commentators from the left and the right, who have the luxury of being able to hide behind the walls of their gated communities and yet are able to be in intimate, Marvin-Gaye-sexual-healing touch with the hearts and minds of America, I freely admit I have no claim to know what's going on in the street. The closest I come is knowing which bars in Topeka are likely to be open at seven in the morning, in recognizing the names of most of the street drugs (a work hazard), and…well, nothing else. Once in an effort to prove myself hip, I came up with a gang sign for Southwest Topeka (three fingers pointed down towards my right hip, kind of like southwest would look on a map). It didn’t fly.

On the other hand, if you want to know what’s going on in white upper middle class 50-54 years old suburbia, I’m your guy. Just as long as it doesn’t involve Twitting, Tindering, Ubering, Instagramming, People Magazine, any reality programming that involves housewives (real or imagined), Dancing with the Stars, television except the Big Bang Theory and The First 48, or music post Love Shack (1989). I just found out several weeks ago that I was supposed to clap my hands if I was happy, especially about open-air rooms and the truth, which I think is just a cheap rewrite of “If You’re Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands” (public domain = no royalties).

I think it’s no secret to anyone who’s read this blog or my Facebook friends that I reserve a special place in my personal Axis of Evil for the Transportation Security Administration. However, I do need to recognize that several weeks ago, they gave me a golden opportunity to show how “street” I really am.

You’re probably aware that the TSA makes you take off your belt when you go through security. When I do this, being a thin guy with long legs so I can’t buy off-the-rack pants with both a snug waist and the proper length, my pants fall down to my hips and you can, if my shirt floats up at just the right angle, see my underwear. And it occurred to me, as those Guardians of Air Travel were able to know that I do, in fact, have a pair of Captain America boxers, that my pants were at last low and sagging, like the homeboys on the streets that I drive through very quickly in my left-leaning SAAB.

Just for a moment, I understood what it was to have street cred. I was cool. I was a groovy hep cat, in tune, a resplendent wearer of the cat’s pajama’s, BMOC in raccoon road-kill coat. But then I tripped over my cuffs, and facing the prospect of continuing to try to strut my stuff and dropping trow entirely, I hastened through the scanner with one hand on my pants as I raised the other in surrender to the scanner. But just for that one moment, I was sooooo down with my funky bad self. It felt good.

No comments:

Post a Comment