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No Joe, Blackness, and the Meaning of Sweat

Relatively scorching weather has its consequences. It makes one think about life. About how we spend too much of our time worrying about things we cant control, like the weather, the over-under on Notre Dame vs. Penn State, the packaging on tapioca jello pudding, insane family members, and the back-stabbing treachery of ones closet friends. For instance just last night after the 49er game I opened all the windows and sat on the couch in the dark and listened to the sad sirens and the angry horns and the laughing voices of souls contented by the chimera of twinkling stars and the phosphorescent, post-pubescent moon hanging low like a testicle in the evening sky's violet scrotum (which the ancient Roman mariners lovingly referred to as, “nutis sackis”). Actually, I didn't sit on the couch, but on the chaise lounge, and I didn't really hear the sirens and soft-throated laughter of happy lovers going down to Height Street to score some drugs, but the broken toilet of my upstairs neighbor. But thats nitpicking, isn’t it? 

What I did do was contemplate. Or more exactly, I contemplated contemplation. I contemplated how wonderful it would be to study Voltaire and Descartes and Schopenhauer on a tender, poetic night such as this, the limitless galaxy of possibility (e.g., Super Bowl victory) unraveling before me like one of those beautiful lies that uncoils from Bill Clintons expensive dentifrice every time he opens his mouth. How debonair and silly and fabulously morbid to dress up in a black cape and black trousers and sip black coffee with absinthe chasers while raven-haired beauties whisper the prose of Hegel and Sartre into your grateful, trembling ear (“What? I Kant hear you!). But thats a dream, a fantasy, a lie perpetuated by my bourgeois shopkeepers worm-ridden libido, and the reality was that as I found myself stuck in a muggy room with the sweating remains of yesterdays pizza and chugging flat Pepsi One, I was forced to contemplate the heat, the climate, the physical illusion of cha! nge, difference, meaning. Ouch. Boy. Golly shucks. My shirt almost sticking to the clammy guilt-ridden skin of my cowardly neck. It was warm, as warm as Father Flanagans smile when you passed him in the street the day after you confessed to wearing your mothers panties while playing jayvee football. (“So you want to be a cross-dressing football hero?”) As warm as the muffins your ex-wife used to bake for Sunday supper to complement the pearled onions before she ran off with Father Flanagan. Even warmer than the aromatic and slightly pebbled ling cod fish stick you cooked over a butane lighter after escaping from Marine Corps basic training which in tern followed your enlistment into the venerable Corps to ease the pain of your wife leaving you for the aforementioned Flanagan, that randy, blowhard, fake Irish ecumenical turd. Even warmer than your ears after they were pummeled by the oafish MPs who caught you literally with your pants down and reading a two-year-old issue of Sports Illustrated in the bushes somewhere between Quantico, Virginia and the Lincoln Memorial. It makes one appreciate the quiet moments in life, with nothing but a full tank of gas and a case of beer and a loaded Glock .9 beside you. But thats another story for another day, probably last Wednesday, when the 49er Nation was feeling acute feelings of doubt, was bruised, bleeding, and a quarter short for laundry. 

Speaking of which, how depressing it is to wash and dry your clothes at the corner laundromat on a Friday night, with all the dismal street theater and the pathos of greedy, hopeful fingers huddled over the change machines and nervously counting the thin coins of prostituted cleanliness beneath the venereal ache of the dusty machines selling tawdry packets of detergent offering “CLEANS IN ALL TEMPERATURE” and “BETTER, FASTER” and “PASS THE TEST WITH FLYING COLORS” (if you pardon the pun) and all the other meaningless marketing mumbo-jumbo the Madison Avenue whores think up in the early part of the late afternoon as the last lunchtime martini wears off and to mark the time before the first scotch of the eternal evening they sit at the computer and let their alienated fingertips peck out the sordid, gutterbound words that the delusional confuse for truth, happiness, instructions on how to satisfy an indifferent lover. 

Which is to say that the thermometer read 70 degrees at 10 p.m. Monday night, not a temperature to get all hot and bothered over if you live in Phoenix or its suburb, Hell, but precisely the kind of balmy indulgence that San Francisco enjoys about once a year. Add in the 49ers solid trouncing of the Phoenix Cardinals, and it was a happy (if pathetic) affair: the television on, the curtains drawn, the stereo playing new age bone percussion. Did you see the game? Did you see why Phoenix QB Jake The Snake Plummer reminds the glorious, festering unwashed masses of Joe Montana? The physical resemblance to Joe (who sits above Zeus but below Keats in the pantheon of gods) is uncanny. Plummer too is a skinny, quick, athletic playmaker who seems to perform better as the tension builds. Plummer throws like Montana, runs like Montana, and even has the same slight almost frail build, the psychotic gun slinger vibe that drives all hairy men in the Castro bars wild with envy and sod-lust.

But mentally he's closer to Dan Quayle than Joe. With S.F. up only 17-10 Monday night, with the men in copper, gold and red preparing to drive the final nail into the Cardinals birdcage, there was Plummer on the sideline exhorting the Phoenix fans to make more noise. What little respect I had for him was obliterated by that single ugly, undignified act. Does Elvis come out after a concert and ask the screaming, hyperventilating teeny-boppers if they liked the show? Does Queen Elizabeth look before she flushes? I mean, come on! Joe Montana was Joe Cool, the Comeback Kid, the Ice Cube, the Slushy Drink Everyone Craves Once The Plane Lands in Honolulu. He did not exhort any crowd to do anything ever. He was above it, beneath it, uncaring of the crowd, disdainful, proud, shy, and perfectly callous. He was not articulate, and realized it so better to never speak with anything other than actions, quick outs, a scramble for a first down. As Lyle Lovette points out in his song “I married her just because she looked like you,” teams who draft quarterbacks in a clumsy attempt to win football games, secure glory, and by extension displace Montana from the throne of infinite greatness, are barking up the wrong tree. Either way, who really cares? I mean, the 49ers won, Plummer was revealed as the fraud he really is, and its warm outside. What more can one ask for?

Well now that you mention it, a lot of people could ask for more food, and they wouldnt be overstating the case. Every 3.6 seconds someone dies of hunger somewhere in the world, and three out of four fatalities are children under five years old. Those of you who have internet access, you might want to log onto to help feed some of those in desperate need. You are allowed one click (e.g., donation) a day, which is paid for by corporations possessing at least a modicum of conscious and consciousness.

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