So, 22 years ago yesterday, I decided my mom needed to experience the hardship of larbor once more and vacated her womb. As I sat watching my relatives consume pig entrails (or chittlins as the thugs call them), I came to a realization: Not one chitterling will ever, ever be cooked in my home, should I ever have the means to acquire one.
For those of you (Northern white people) that don’t know what a chittlin is, it is the intestine of a pig. And no, it’s not anything more complicated or nuanced than that. It’s not mashed up or pressed into a pate or any such thing. It is the intestine of a swine; intestines that require cleaning before cooking so that too much stank doesn’t get cooked into them. I swear, the smell of chittlins could get me to confess to a crime I didn’t commit (luckily, after I did that, I would publish a book detailing how I would have done this crime that I didn’t commit should I have decided to commit it rather than not).
They’re just god awful and have no business being anywhere in the vicinity of human nostrils. Honestly, if you want to experience the pain of such funk wafting into your face, then do this: get a big pot of water boiling and stick your butt into it. Make sure not to pucker so all that colonic richness can shine through. El-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz I ain’t (nullus), but this stuff makes me reconsider my position on pork altogether. I mean, clearly bacon and pork roast and smoked ham bring me back to my senses, but geez. As Bourbon Street’s mama said, “I stopped eating chittlins the day we were emancipated.”
Oddly enough, the day also allowed me to ponder the world beyond pork products. While I have little knowledge-based proof for the following assertion, I feel that it deserves consideration, mainly because I’m smarter than plenty of people that you know and I’m probably taller as well. While you hear older people talk about how great your 20s are, I would argue that there are, at most three good ages in your 20s– 20, 21 and 25– and I’ve covered two them. If we assume that years 0-30 are the “best” of your life (read: You’re a citizen of the most powerful nation on planet Earth and thus, have more leeway to be a d bag without reprecussions), I’d say the 20s are coming in third out of the decades (Sidebar 1: I know people try and do that whole “40 is the new 30″ and all that crap, but I’m gonna tell you right now, if these same people who are hitting their stride, financially and otherwise, at 40 could have done it at 30, there wouldn’t be any of these damn segments on the Today show.)
Anyway, I’d say the the decades breakdown as follows: 1) Age 0-10; 2) Age 10-20; 3) Age 20-30. Allow me to discuss them with regard to the Degree of Care Meter, which, based on a scale of 1-10, measures how much a time period does or does not suck. The higher the number, the more it sucks. Here we go.
0-10: Come on. Besides the fact that you start off the epoch being carried or strollered everywhere, you can spend a decent amount of time crying to get what you want (yes, grown people do that shit too, but babies get resented a lot less for it) while also still being considered cute for doing things like sticking action figures in the VCR. If you’re not one of these new age fat kids, you spend your time running around outside, making up completely nonsensical games and turning over rocks to see what’s underneath them. When you’re not busy doing that, you have little else better to do, so you sleep. Eventually, you work your way up to the school ranks, which is good for nothing if not the ability to meet people whose houses you can sleep over. At said sleepovers, nonsensical outdoor games continue and are brought inside to be concluded. Weekends consist of Saturday morning cartoons and town rec sports. Between Friday spelling tests and showand tell, life is good. By the end of this era, you find yourself thinking girls are slightly less despicable than you thought. Foolishly not following your first instinct, you decide to “go out,” which consists of little besides possible phone conversations and sitting next to one another should you all be in the same classroom.
Degree of Care meter = 0-1
10-13: With some long division and your 5th grade project on a state of your choice– the Boy Wonder’s report on California has yet to be fucked with by the by– you basically round out elementary school. By this time, the guys to be classified as “cute” and the girls who developed early are beginning to seperate themselves from the pack. Having fought for five long years to get to the top, you find yourself back at the bottom of the totem pole as you board the bus for middle school. 8th graders are the stuff of legends, and you hone your skills on the 6th grade level so as to one day be like them. Pre-Algebra lurks, but so do the dances on Fridays and basketball games in the winter. Sleepovers continue and trips the movies may also be thrown in the mix. This era lso marks the first time you attempt to watch scrambled porn with your buddies. Rec sports continue as well, though the all-star and travel teams begin to be established. On the dating front, girls and their emerging boobs are intriguing. Dating consists of talking on the phone, talking at each others lockers and kissing at the dance on Friday. In fact, pairing off went up exponentially the two weeks leading up to a dance. By era’s end, you were an 8th grader finally. If you were from a wholesome town, you’d still probably only made out while a few of your colleagues had gotten to second base; fewer still had reached third. In general, this marks the moment at which it really, really seems to matter how you look and whether or not you are a socially-viable entity.
Degree of Care Meter = 3
13-18: Back to the bottom. Seniors might as well be 40. Dating is difficult because you cannot drive and the girls you came into school with join the cycle of betrayal that has been in motion since time began. You feel slighted, not knowing that you too would fall victim to the cycle one day. School is school and frankly navigating its waters academically seems much easier than those of the social realm. High school sports become a good entree into that world–if sports is your thing– and it is in this era that people being drinking though they dislike the taste. Sexually, it’s something of a free for all; some people are baaaaaaallllliiiiiinnnnnnnn and others are just trying to get into the game. Dances are no longer necessary for kissing seeing as you’re just mobile enough to be at any number of houses or in the backyards of any number of houses. Handjobs are acceptable, even welcomed, and New Year’s Eve parties/sleepovers begin to rear their ugly heads. School remains school; the people who are going to try and the people that aren’t have basically shown themselves. People get their driver’s license and start working jobs at eateries, which of course means you never have to pay for a meal in town. Drinking continues and, thankfully, driving gets thrown into that mix because people are very bright. If you were from a wholesome town, being social consisted of driving around, sometimes stopping at someone’s house to stand around and drink beer while music wasn’t played loudly enough and no one danced. Little did you know this was a pre-cursor to college. High school ends and you head to college pumped because it’s probably as sweet as it looks in the movies.
Degree of Care Meter = 4.5
18-20: COLLLEEEEEGGGGGEEEEEEE falls into two categories: As sweet as you assumed or like the boarding school you just spent four years at. The senior/freshman divide is still staggering, but you don’t notice because you’re froggy enough to try to bag a senior, a thought that was just not considered at the high school level because senior girls would not countenance such things. You probably aren’t good enough to play sports, so you resort to drinking because you can. Though you used to wake up at 545, you find yourself not considering life before 11am and forego Friday classes altogether. School matters, but not as much as staying up for no reason and attempting to slay chicks. Dating is unnecessary, so you find yourself immersed in the hook-up circuit trying to make a living. You have a meal plan and don’t pay rent, so the money for books you didn’t buy goes to Popeye’s and or the liquor store, as evidenced by the graveyard of Popeye’s boxes and bottles of libations proudly displayed on the mantle in the common room. If you’re an ass clown, you convince yourself the pre-med track is a good idea, only to have your Cy Young award winning GPA convince you poli sci is a better bet. After getting your life together second semester, you prepare for a summer at home, which is going to be awesome because the last five have been awesome. At home you realize high school is over (for most people) and find yourself pondering how it is you could have ever lived with your parents for more than 40 minutes at a time. Sophomore year sucks, but you make it (probably) and you find yourself trying to not spend all summer at home. Summer school is a decent option, internships as well and if you don’t do that you work for your buddy’s dad doing something or other.
Degree of Care Meter = 1.5
20-25: You’re no longer a teenager; you’re a grizzled college veteran at this point, so you curb your drinking a bit, saving your shitshows for special occasions like Arbor Day. Wondering what the eff happened to your first two years of college, you attempt to get your act together, weighing possible career choices between bong rips and or Monday Night football commercials. You turn 21 and celebrate the legalizing of your illegal habit by legally being absurd. You might go abroad and get a credit for absolutely nothing. You continue eating three squares a day and not paying rent and if you do pay rent you contribute 70 dollars whiel your folks throw in about 500. Late-night sessions of doing nothing consist of talking about your readiness to leave college. That conversation is folloed by one considering how not trill life after college is. Drinking and not doing school work until the 11th hour continue. MCATS. GMATS. LSAT. GRE. Grad school. Resumes. Interviews. Possible employment. Graduation. Suddenly, paying every single time you eat seems like a struggle and ponying up for rent is harder when your contribution increases 10 fold. You stay at work to take care of personal business because your apartment doesn’t have internet. Thankful, the student loan people wait about 23 minutes before they come looking for the money that you don’t have because you decided to buy something other than Ramen noodles. If you do actually make money, you use your precious moments of free time to wonder if the devil is making good use of the soul you sold him. You wake up at 6 and are in bed by 10. When you do have the time to be a shitshow, you do it with a desperation that would be frightening if it weren’t sort of amusing. Opportunities to go back to campus and live the coooolllllleeeeeggggeeeee life are welcome. Dating-wise, you have neither the time nor the critical mass of females to slay en masse, so you make the mistake of hooking up with someone from the office and spend the time after attempting to avoid this person. Generally, you start to realize that the world is bigger than you thought.
Degree of Care Meter = 8
25-30: You wonder what happened to life since age 10 and why the fuck people say your twenties are tight.
Degree of Care Meter = 13
While I could make the argument that the 10-20 bracket is the best overall because you’re cognizant of its dynamism(and your cock and balls finally get brought into play), I don’t think 20-30 trumps it predecessors for the sheer fact that the above description is in no way better than those that preceded it. Peace to 365 days.
Penultimate Thought: Kalimotxo is still tight.
Final Thought: White Southerners: Black people with rights.
I saw red people,
Black, yellow, white people
Gathered at the rainbow’s edge
Duck away, turn and
from concrete fury
in your head?
Times of fire
We crossed over from the madness time
And we’re never going back again
No we’re never going back
Are you gonna be ready?