Monday, July 13, 2009

One Of The Many Reasons I Intend To Destroy The Diamond Industry

I swear, my last words are probably going to be, "You know what I've always really wanted to do? Adventure cartooning."

"In a world full of parking lots, every parking lot filled with broken glass, who needs diamonds?"

So there's this look. I can describe it -- eyes narrowed from below by the curl in an upper lip, corners of the lower lip going down so the lip itself protrudes slightly, etc, etc. But until you've felt the look, you don't know the look.

I've gotten that look twice in my life. I have pissed people off, I have made a fucking fool of myself on more than one occasion, but this look -- I got the look because of who I am. It wasn't my behavior that earned me the look, it was my nature.

I need a to loop out a little so that you can understand what I'm talking about. When I was a kid my parents would periodically drag me out into the world and force me to sit through concerts and ball games and so on and so forth. With my eyes there was no way to determine what those faint signs of motion in the distance signified. They may as well have been a swarm of gnats. The resultant exquisite boredom no doubt contributed to the greasy scum of resentment that floats on top of my cauldron of hate.

Thankfully, our culture provided me with an anodyne -- the paperback. When I figured out that life was far more bearable as long as I had a couple of books at hand, everything went a lot more smoothly for me. Whatever those idiots on the stage or field were doing, I had the option of a taking a quick trip to Hyboria or Callisto.

The irony is that as soon as I figured out how to survive those ordeals intact, my parents stopped subjecting me to them. Go figure.

So a few years back we lost a widely-loved member of our extended family, and as a result we saw a lot of people I grew up with at her wake. One of 'em -- someone I used to babysit -- was talking about his son.

"It's so wonderful having a little guy in the house. I've got a built-in pal. We can go to the races and the A's games and..."

This is when I get nervous and glance around the room to locate the potential threat. It's my dad.

He's giving me that look. You could cook a schwarma with the radiant resentment coming out of his eyebones.

Dude was pissed! And he blamed me! Because I hadn't been a little guy or a built-in pal. I had been completely inadequate to his needs due to my fundamental nature and he only realized it when he found out that a perfect son existed.

Life's a bitch, you know?

Another time I was sitting on the couch watching the tube and this commercial comes on. It's a diamond commercial with no dialog, just dramatic cello music playing in the background, filmed in warm black and white to give it that Klassy quality you find in artsy advertising. It showed a man and a woman at various stages of their lives and each major dramatic beat was punctuated by the man giving the woman some diamond jewelry.

This pissed me off no end. I immediately thought of the fact that diamonds are ugly and they aren't particularly rare, that their commercial value is maintained by what is effectively a conspiracy, that the conspiracy in question makes use of slave labor, and that the whole thing is so fucking manipulative, it makes every married couple in America complicit in a hideous form of bloody-handed racism -- faint wisps of steam are beginning to emerge from my ears and I turn to the missus to vent my rage at this horrible machine that has gripped the world in its diamond jaws --

And I shut up.

Because she's giving me that look.


Erin O'Brien said...

I agree: re: diamonds. But I have to admit, when the Goat proposed, I never saw a sparkle like the one I saw on that rock that night.


Sean Craven said...

There's one of the central conundrums of the developed world -- when you do some tracking, it turns out that many of our pleasures and necessities are directly derived from the suffering of others.

But I'm starting to figure out that resenting those pleasures on that basis doesn't really help anyone. Especially when the whole exercise turns into an excuse for self-flagellation. Figuring out which fights to get involved in is tricky...

(And I've got to admit, finding a comment from you gave me a thrill. I believe I've mentioned how much I like your blog & column...)