by Craig A. Hart
I am an old shit trapped in the body of an approaching-middle-age shit. At a time when most people my actual age are enjoying the prime of life, I see myself as a doddering old fool. I sit on the front porch of my imagination, rotting away in a rocking chair that moans like a whore on the clock every time it pitches forward and back, smoking a pipe filled with the most noxious tobacco blend available this side of the River Styx, and eating pork rinds because I’ve heard they give people cancer.
In this personal vision, I’m wearing pants so ill-fitting they look as if they were tailored by a blind wombat using a dildo for a needle. Somewhere in the mile of pasty leg between the hem of the pants and the tops of my Velcro® shoes are tired, grungy socks that once were white, but now flirt between yellow and brown. My old self doesn’t have time to do the fucking laundry; it’s far too busy yelling at neighborhood urchins and threatening to ram my cane up their assholes. Their parents give me dirty looks and threaten to call some kind of old person service, but I just crack open another PBR and blow pipe smoke in their direction. Then I open a new bag of pork rinds and yell into the house at the old lady to ask what time dinner will be ready. She doesn’t answer, because she is dead. She probably killed herself because I am such a fucking dick all the time.
I still think the world operates on the same principles I grew up with. I don’t understand participation trophies or GMOs or Twitter or selfies.
“What’s with these young shits and their preoccupation with takin’ pictures of themselves?” I say. “Selfies, they call ‘em. They oughta call ‘em shitties.”
I laugh, because I think everything my old self says is hilarious. The day before, I belched and spent the next ten minutes laughing so hard I became afraid my asshole would prolapse. “Spend more time workin’ and these spoiled little ingrates would have less time to take pictures of their stupid mugs. Except for the nekkid bathroom ones. They can keep takin’ those.”
Satisfied with my philosophy on the state of modern photography, I lean back in my rocking chair and refill my pipe. I am convinced the world’s problems could be solved if someone in a position of high authority would simply have the good sense to ask my opinion. I’ve considered calling the White House or writing a long, rambling missive to the President, and outlining a general plan for national and international improvement. I have little doubt they would immediately see the wisdom inherent in my plans. I enjoy imagining the stir my insights would cause in the West Wing.
“Mr. President,” the chief of staff would say, “you’re not going to believe this, but there is a brilliant old fucker in Iowa who has the answer to all of our current challenges. ALL of them!”
The President would pull up in front of my house in a long limousine surrounded by security vehicles with flashing emergency lights. He would stride up my front walk and treat me with a deference usually reserved for foreign kings. I would offer him a pork rind, but he would refuse, because his wife told him he can’t eat junk food.
“It ain’t junk food,” I’d say. “It’s the food of men. It’s like eating the flesh of your vanquished foes. The food of MEN!”
The Secret Service would tell me to calm down. There’d be no need for them to worry; I haven’t been out of this rocking chair since 2002. The President would ask me to lead him through the complexity of world affairs, but I’d say I will only do it if he sings Al Green to me. He will and I’d fall asleep without giving him what I’d promised.
When I wake up, everyone will be gone and I am once again an old shit trapped in the body of an approaching-middle-age shit. At a time when most people my actual age are enjoying the prime of life, I see myself as a doddering old fool. I sit on the front porch of my imagination, rotting away in a rocking chair that moans like a whore on the clock every time it pitches forward and back, smoking a—this is starting to sound very familiar. Didn’t I already fucking write this?
I smile, because I know the memory is often the first to go when you start getting old. I am getting closer to my true self. I belch, laugh, and reach for another pork rind.