“Mott the Hoople and the Game of Life (yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Andy Kaufman in the wrestling match (yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Monopoly, twenty-one, checkers, and chess (yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Mister Fred Blassie in a breakfast mess (yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Let’s play Twister, let’s play Risk (yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
See you heaven if you make the list (yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)”
REM song lyrics for “Man on the Moon”
It sounds like a contradiction, doesn’t it? “Deeply superficial.”
But I think—given this era of instant access and information overload, that I would go completely insane if I didn’t have an appreciation for embracing the sillier aspects of pop culture, the sheer irony and absurdity of it all.
Call it another aspect of retaining a sense of “play” still inside of us adults.
And while I detest and grow weary of the glut of advertisements and safe marketing approximations on how real people hang out (with every politically correct stereo type intact), I nevertheless, have a deep fondness for celebrating the inanity of TV sitcoms and silly commercials.
I believe that if we apply our imagination and intellect to enjoying ALL aspects of being alive in this time and place, we can be thankful to God for even the most trivial aspects that touch our lives.
We can find company and amusement in ANY assignment or location.
The key is infusing transcendental values into what you are examining and applying it to your heart and mind.
Call it doing our own version of a “Whitman Sampler” (Walt that is, not the candy variety) type of inventory during the course of our daily public errands. In other words–utilize every one of our senses until we come to our senses that is. Sniff the flowers—squeeze the produce with panache.
Test the freshness of the French bread with rapt attention.
Talk aloud in an excited voice to yourself when you see your favorite hard to get movie theater candy in the candy isle.
Rhapsodize about how you feel taking those first spoonful’s of chocolate frosty’ s when the melting process is just right.
Convey with passion your love for Roy Rogers roast beef sandwiches to your co-workers so that it becomes an easy talking point in the future.
Establish a lifetime relationship with Vicks Vapor rub as a passed down family secret and make ridiculous claims regarding its restorative qualities.
Each one is a great stepping off point for a discussion with someone you come across in your daily life.
Seen this way–so what if we occupy an inordinate amount of brain cells in detailing old commercial jingles and sit com reruns and don’t maximize 100% of my potential?
I treasure the superficial and integrate in with the cultural theater of great music and literature simply because it involves relatable moments with people.
Besides, I have long been resigned to the fact I will never have my act together enough to live an activist lifestyle at ANY level—be it vegetarianism, veganism, or zero carbon footprints in the environment.
No purist lifestyle that screams “FOLLOW ME—I AM A BUMPER STICKER!”
It’s not an area in which I am suited. Besides I think living a110%, almost perfect activist lifestyle would be quite boring and humorless anyway.
It’s all about how you order your priorities. Do you confuse the products you like with who YOU are and blur the two? Or do you simply enjoy them as pleasant coping vehicles?
Naturally if you put any product on too high a pedestal and place the cart AFTER the horse, well then you are building without a foundation.
Heck, if you get too carried away, you may want your final resting place to resemble an Egyptian Pharaoh’s tomb, so that you can squirrel away all the products you enjoyed on Earth as your treasures in heaven.
But if you are merely reflecting, with enthusiasm, those items and see them for what they are—enjoyable extensions of your universe that provide pleasure and sharpen your sensory powers—then they can provide comfort and enhance your life.
I guess the final test would be that while we may LOVE Vicks or Busch’s baked beans or Breyer’s Ice Cream, we wouldn’t sell out any of our artistic soul in order to reap advertisement money from it right?
Regardless, I think it a very cool notion this idea of looking forward to grocery shopping for the spiritual side, and have it be just as vital and necessary a NEED as stocking up on toilet paper and milk.
So hopefully we may find ourselves in deeply inspirational moments whilst mingling while participating in an everyday, democratic routines out in public. We may even do a double take and swear we see old brother Walt himself perusing life’s enduring miracles as described by Allen Ginsberg:
“What thoughts I have of you tonight Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!—and you, Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?”
From “A Supermarket in California” By Allen Ginsberg