Roll Out The Red Carpets…

…Here come the Disgusting Kids.

Man, I hate my neighbourhood.

When I moved in here, this neighbourhood constituted an interesting transitional zone — old Hungarian restaurants, antique shops, greasy spoons, liquor stores, 24-hour 7-11 gas stations, high-end lingerie outlets, specialty magazine joints with yuppie jelly beans, a couple of bars that had yet to determine just who their clientele was supposed to be.  A movie theatre, no a regular theatre, no a movie theatre.   Chinese groceries.  Fancy-jacketed lowlifes crept up like fog from the docks…hot-eyed university students parachuted in from end-condition taxi rides…average losers with greasy jeans like me sat in corners and drank, trying to make profound eye-contact with their waitresses, fingers flicking through their beards lazily, if not (as we perhaps thought) suggestively.

Plenty of places to eat, drink, buy, talk, sit.  Plenty of tolerance for different people.

But it’s all gone, now.

Today I was favoured with a demonstration of well-heeled Cool-Guy-Ism at the Shopper’s Drug Mart.  Fake mixed martial artists buying six-packs of Red Bull for their transvestite girlfriends with their Gold Cards…and shut up, man.  You lookin’ at me?  You wanna go?

Actually…I wasn’t thinking about it before…but I could go.  So…yes.

The answer’s yes, since you ask.

Let’s mix it up.

“No, man, you’re cool…hey look at this guy!  Retro.  That’s so wicked.  Visit my porn site, dude!  Check in!  No you da man.”

No, fuck this.  Let’s fight.

“Check it, he’s like that guy in that movie!  Never quits!  Rock-ry, or something!”

Conan wonders:  what would that bald head of yours look like, if it was covered in blood?

“Right on, “Indly”!  Keep stickin’ it to the Man!”

I mean I know the young have to be young.  I know the young have to punch holes in the status quo, and not just little holes, but holes as big as they can manage.  And I know Homer said it all, a couple thousand years ago — well what’s the Iliad, if not a story of unrestrained youth that gets in too deep?

I don’t get uptight about that.

But I don’t know.  There used to be ex-loggers in this neighbourhood:  the toughest guys you ever saw, even at sixty-five.  I think sometimes we (and by we, I mean Warren Ellis) concentrate on hard men to our detriment:  as any blacksmith will tell you, you need a hard substance to take an edge, but if there’s one thing a hard substance can’t do, it’s hold an edge.   But toughness is something different.  Toughness goes on and on.

I’m not tough.  Wow, far from it.  But compared to these young targets of edge, I’m tough enough.

Which is fine.

But I’m not sure I like a neighbourhood anymore, if I’m the toughest guy in it.

I don’t know:  your thoughts?

One response to “Roll Out The Red Carpets…

  1. One of my all-time favorite moments in comics is a scene from Steve Englehart’s Big Town where Don Blake tries to reason with a gang of “Odinist” neo-Nazis, practically revealing his secret identity by telling them “But I know Odin! I mean, I worship him the same as you! We believe life is hard and strength matters, but we don’t threaten helpless people and we don’t hate other races!”

    Of course the Odinists don’t listen; after all, what could a puny matchstick like this know about strength? Which means that a few moments later, Thor himself has to show up and tell these thugs in no uncertain terms “Odin would ne’er have such as ye!”

    I believe there is a valuable lesson here.

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