Friday, April 2, 2010
Monster Truck at the Library
My wife and I both read a lot. I like to buy my books because I’m shallow, and I like to collect and own them. Seeing them all lined up on a shelf confirms for me, in my simple male mind, that I have an intellect – or at least the illusion of one. She, on the other hand, is content to sign them out of the library, read them, and return them when done. She also fails to see the virtues of Motorhead, so nothing she says can be taken all that seriously. Recently, she returned from the library, glowing red and bubbling with giddy laughter. As she came through the door she blurted out, “There was a monster truck at the library!” Based upon her account of the event, it sounded like your basic pickup truck with a lift-kit, giant off-road tires, and the off-road lights on top. It sounded thoroughly ridiculous. Even more ridiculous is the fact that it was left running and unattended while its driver was inside the library. She said that as she entered the library, it was immediately apparent who owned the truck. There was a big burly guy at the counter signing out books on automotive maintenance. She said he had a whole lot of piercings in his face, a Steelers shirt, and bad tattoos. I asked, “Tattoos of what?” She said he had one of those terrible tribal arm bands, with an Italy boot above it. I cringed. Italy tattoos are one of the many banes of my existence. They’re tacky. I look plenty Italian without a fucking tattoo on my arm to make it official. It reminded me of the San Rocco festival my family had attended the previous week. It’s the second weekend of August every year. I’m originally from Aliquippa, and a huge portion of Aliquippa is comprised of Italians from Patrica, Italy. When they came over in the 1930s to work in the steel mills, they brought the San Rocco festival with them. It’s generally a little goofy, but a good time nonetheless. There’s lots of great food and G-rated family fun. Regardless, at the closing ceremony of the thing, they pass out all of these little Italian flags for everybody to wave while the band plays some traditional Italian music. It’s all in good fun, but I don’t like flag waving of any kind. It really doesn’t matter what country it is, if you’re waving a flag, you’re probably an asshole. Nationalism is poisonous. It divides people and creates conflict were there isn’t any. Flag waving is how the Nazis happened. A friend of mine was telling me about his recent trip to England, where he saw a car with two flapping Union Jacks fixed to the roof, which made him think to himself, “Ah, they have hillbillies in England too.” This all made me want to go find the guy who had left his giant truck running parked in front of the library and explain to him that nobody in Italy drives monster trucks.