A good Friday to you, folks. I’m not gonna do a huge exposition here, because I saved the most voluminous of my canned entries for the week for today, and it’s gonna take you 10min to read it anyway. But, before I do, please let me express my disbelief that the “Now That’s What I Call Music” compilation series is coming out with a “Now That’s What I Call Indie” comp. What is this world coming too? Here we go.
When we went camping recently, we had an interesting wilderness encounter. However, it wasn’t a bear or a bobcat we ran afoul of, but another kind of wild animal: a classic lost American youth. That’s right, a prime example of what this nation can turn out: the lost soul, the brainless, the wandering loser. Let me back up, and start from the beginning.
It was Friday night, and the camping crew, which consisted of about eight of us (and two toddlers), was busy enjoying our time away from the city. At some point in the middle of the afternoon, a pickup truck pulled into a campsite which was somewhat adjacent to the two sites we’d claimed. Almost immediately, a young kid came ambling down to our site. I happened to meet him first, “Hey, can I park me truck here?,” he asked around the cigarette dangling from his mouth. “Yeah,” I reply, “But it is a campsite, so if the ranger comes down she may make you move unless you plan on staying the night.” After exchanging a few more pleasantries, I said we could care less if he hung out, and he trudged back up to his truck. Upon returning, he cranked up some country music on his truck’s stereo, filling the immediate area with sound. I didn’t mind, as we were camped far enough away for it not to bother us, and I returned to whatever I was doing.
Soon, the kid would wander back down again, this time clutching one of those five liter mini-kegs of Coors Lite , the kind with the little tap on the side and everything. He was pouring himself a cup of beer from the thing as he again approached me. He asked, genuinely, “Hey man, that music isn’t bothering you guys, is it?” “Nah,” I said, “We have some music of our own going down where we’re cooking, so we’re OK.” “Cool,” he replied. And then, instead of leaving it at that, he continued.
“How’s it going, man?” “Fine,” I said, being friendly enough, “How about you?” “Man, I’m just sitting here drinking this warm Coors Lite. My friends left me.” “Left you?,” I ask. “Yeah, we were all gonna go rafting down the river, but at the last mine while walking down with our innertubes, mine got snagged on a blackberry bush and popped. I told those guys to go on ahead, since we’d already left a truck up where we’d get out, and that I’d wait for them here. So here I am with this beer and my dog and two trucks.” “Oh man,” I say, “That sucks.” “Yeah,” he says, alternately puffing on a cigarette and sipping from his keg-cup, “It’s kinda lonely up there with just that dog, you know.” “I bet,” I replied, not extending the offer I’m certain he was fishing for. At this point, I knew we hadn’t seen the last of of the guy – he was lonely and he’d come around again now that we’d proven friendly enough.
Turns out we wouldn’t have to wait long, as he showed up midway through the cooking of our communal dinner, the mini-keg looking a little lighter and his disposition a little looser. At this point, he began introducing himself to the campers. “Hi,” he said, “I’m Phil, but my friends all call me ‘Filthy.'” Filthy struck up drunken conversations with everyone at the campsite, regaling them with whatever stories came to mind (mostly retelling the same stories over and over, as well as re-introducing himself and forgetting our names many, many times).
Sure, I was a bit put-off by this interloper who had invaded our camping clique, but I had already judged him completely harmless, and so didn’t mind him hanging around as long as I didn’t have to talk to him too much. Anyway, he’d already told me he would be pulling up stakes as soon as his friends arrived, so I just busied myself doing this and that to keep him off me. Soon enough though, Filthy cornered me, and we began talking about things. Actually, speaking to him wasn’t that bad, I’m always interested in hearing how people talk to other people, and those with no internal “mental filter” are always intriguing. At one point, Filthy commented on how nice it was to run into friendly people out in the wilderness. I liked this, and remembered aloud the last time we’d met someone at that very campsite, another young kid who was celebrating his last night in the US before shipping off to Iraq. After telling my story, Filthy began a related one of his own:
Now, before I start bulk-quoting Filthy, I’m going to spare the blog the full brunt of Filthy’s filthy language, and replace some of his commonly used swear words (very commonly used, indeed) with kinder equivalents. I feel I can take that liberty without jeopardizing the integrity of the story, y’know.
My good buddy just got back from Iraq. He said he loved it over there, he wants to go back and kill some more of those effers, you know? He showed me this video he took over there while they were searching houses for guns. He went into this one guy’s house, and the guy was saying that there were no guns. So my buddy was like, “Don’t lie to me, mother-effer! Where are the effing guns?!”
At this point, Filthy affects a weak Mexican-esque accent, apparently his rendition of what Iraqis sound like. He continued:
The guy was all whining, saying, “No guns… no guns,” but my buddy had his crew search the house and they found all sorts of shiz like rifles and stuff. Then my friend got all in that brown-biznatch’s face and was like, “What’s this, huh you mother-effer?! What are these, aren’t these effing guns, you effing a-hole?” The dude was all whining about “Not mine! Not mine!,” but my buddy was all like, “Eff that you little mother-effer, I’m taking these outside!”
Now, I’m sure Filthy was taking some liberties with his retelling of this story, but I’m almost willing to bet money that the massive amounts of swearing were likely pretty true to the spirit of whatever he saw. Also worth noting, Filthy at this point was completely violating my personal space. As he’s telling this story, he’s crowding into my face like we’re blood relatives or lifelong friends. It’s just Filthy’s style, I guess. He went on:
Then my buddy walked the whole family outside. Where they were searching was right next to this big river, like the biggest river in effing Iraq or something, you know? And he starting throwing the guns in one by one. The Iraq biznatch starting yelling at my buddy in their effing language, and this pissed my buddy off. He gets all up in that dude’s face and is like,
At this point, Filthy is right in my face, just like “his buddy” was in the face of the Iraqi weapons-hider. He raises his voice to me to recount this part, I presume to convey the volume and power with which “his buddy” rebuked the Iraqi:
Don’t you effing abu-babu me you effing mother-effer!! I don’t want to hear any of that abu-babu shiz from you again!! You lied to me and now you’re losing your guns, you’re lucky I’m not shooting you and your whole effing abu-babu family, you effing mother-effer!!
Filthy’s adrenaline was palpable as he relived the moment he’d apparently seen on video. I, on the other hand, was disgusted by the charge he seemed to be getting while telling me his story. His cultural and racial ignorance made me sad inside, and his blind malevolence was sickening. Then, to cap it off, to put a nice bow on his story, Filthy hit me with the following:
“I would love to go over there and get some ‘paybacks,’ you know? Just eff some of those effers up, get them back for what they did to us, you know? I mean, they came over here and got us on 9/11, you know? I would just love to go over there and take some of those abu-babu’s out. You know they deserve it for what they did to us.”
I have to say, rather than act on my disgust and become preachy or try and correct Filthy’s misguided understanding of the forces behind 9/11, I just sat there and made more or less non-committal grunts and and motions – patiently waiting for the story to end. I was trying to be as un-dickish as possible while simultaneously conveying as little interest as possible, in hopes that Filthy would pick up on my lackluster attentions. For all I know, he could’ve thought I was sitting there in 100% agreement, and that I’d be right behind him in line to shoot some “effing abu-babu’s.”
Eventually, he wandered away again, back to the campsite he’d parked his truck at. Somehow, he ended up driving around in circles in the campsite area, moving his truck from this place to that place doing “burnouts,” all the while blaring music ranging from rap to country to grunge (Filthy had an eclectic taste). When Filthy came back the next time, it was to ask for a screwdriver. Seems that his five liter mini keg of Coors Lite had lost all it’s back pressure and he couldn’t quite get the last cup of warm beer out and into his belly. Wisely, we told him we had no such implement, after which he sauntered off again.
When Filthy returned, he asked If I had a lighter. Curiously enough, I did have a lighter, the one I brought to light my pipe, which I rather enjoy smoking while camping. I loaned the lighter to flilthy, wondering what in the world he was going to do with, and half worrying he was going to try and start a fire up at the campsite he was squatting. When he returned the lighter some ten minutes later, he thanked me immensely, and lowered his voice to say: “Hey man, you smoke weed?” “No,” I reply, “Not anymore… anyway… I gave that up years ago.” “Oh,” he continued, “‘Cause, that’s what I used your lighter for, to smoke some weed. I have a prescription, because I effed up my shoulder carrying rebar. I like to smoke weed when I get too drunk, it evens me out.”
I bet it does, Filthy… I bet it does. Soon enough, Filthy’s friends returned to pick him up, and he was out of our lives. I’ll never forget Filthy though; I love that kid. He embodied everything I think is awful about modern young America: opinionated, stereotyping, ignorant, and chemically altered. Meeting Filthy may not have been the highlight of the camping trip, but it certainly didn’t make it any less interesting.
I didn’t proofread this, and it’s too long to assume I made no mistakes. I also ran out of steam at the end. Too bad, that’s all I got. Goodnight.
Also written on this day...
- winning the bread - 2011
- a five-by-five weekend - 2009
- lonely people and holiday inns - 2006
- yet they still call - 2005
- seriously, for real? - 2004