Friday, May 12, 2006

Avast, ye hearties!

“Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?”

I’m a sartorially challenged kind of guy. Stripes and plaids? No problem. Garish cycling clothes? Even better. But the epitome of my style-consciousness just has to be the Hawaiian shirts. My closet is full of them. I avoided the temptation to wear one with the tux at our wedding. If I hadn’t, the marriage wouldn’t have lasted through the day.

They make good work shirts because they’re often cheaper than real work shirts, and the synthetic fabrics tolerate getting rolled up and stuffed into a pannier. They come out nearly wrinkle free. But given that I prefer the truly LOUD ones, it would be hard to tell if they were wrinkled anyway. I’ve warned co-workers to keep a safe distance if they planned on having children sometime in the future because the kids might be a little weird. Ionizing geek radiation, you know.

“Absorbent and yellow and porous is he!”

As you may have guessed by now, I wore a Sponge Bob print shirt today. It’s yellow and loud.

A co-worker strolled by, stopped and eyed the shirt for a moment. “That’s so cool!” he said, “but you know that Sponge Bob is a symbol for the gays and lesbians.”

He was serious. Really.

Now, remember, this is Oklahoma where Attila the Hun would have been regarded as a raving liberal. Let’s be kind and just say that my co-worker tends toward the conservative side, and it’s the rabid wingnut end at that. He went on for a while about the connections between gays, lesbians, and Sponge Bob, and how, when you had that in mind, you could see all the propaganda laced so subtly into the cartoon.

My eyes must have glazed over sometime in there, because I tuned most of it out. It’s a survival trait that I’ve learned from being around so many wingnuts. If I hadn’t managed to learn it, I’d look like a cartoon character myself – with steam shooting from my ears.

When you keep any deeply-held principle in mind while observing some event, your perceptions are altered. It’s called projection. Someone with fervent religious convictions can find spiritual connections. Someone with strong political or sexual beliefs can find political or sexual content. Is there a hidden agenda? Are Sponge Bob, Barney, or the Tele-Tubbies part of a sinister plot to take over the world?

Who cares?

Here are a few examples:

The Victorians were so sex-obsessed they wouldn’t put books by male and female authors next to each other on a shelf, for fear that little pamphlets would pop up everywhere, I guess. The covered table legs with fabric, and couldn’t even call them ‘legs’. They were ‘limbs’. Those people were nuts.

It was “Dress Like A Pirate” day at my daughter’s school. It seems innocent enough, until you consider that pirates are a symbol dear to the Pastafarians who worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Let’s hope the local Baptists don’t catch on until it’s too late.

Freud did a case study of “Little Hans” who witnessed a trolley horse fall in the streets of Vienna. Hans was a child at the time. The horse lay on the street kicking wildly until it was put down. Freud surmised the horse represented the father figure and had an enormous influence on the boy’s development. Psychotherapy revealed obscure and convoluted connections for Hans, who among other things, was terrified of horses. This made travel difficult, as horses were common on the streets. Freud persisted in focusing on his psychosexual development when there may have been a simpler underlying cause. “Perhaps he’s just afraid of being kicked by a thrashing horse,” posited a student.

I think even Freud realized this because he said that sometimes a cigar is merely a smoke.

Naturally there’s a cycling-related hook in here somewhere. I think.

Oh, yeah, now I remember! I wrote about some motorist calling me a “F****** LIBERAL!!!” in traffic one day. And awhile back, Kiril the Mad Macedonian did a piece about cyclists and their politics. I realize that people ride bikes for many different reasons. Some are environmentally conscious. Some ride as a way to oppose consumerism, or figuratively screw Big Oil. Some ride to deliberately annoy those motorists they despise. And some (like me) ride because it’s simply fun. There’s no hidden agenda, no politicking, no save-the-world-save-the-whales-here’s-your-Star-Trek-ears bullshit.

Sometimes a cyclist is just a guy riding home from work, no agenda, no politics, no hidden meaning. And if I smoked, I’d probably have that cigar now.

“If nautical nonsense be something you wish,”
“Then drop on the deck and flop like a fish!”


Blogger George said...

I'm with ya.

I like Sponge Bob just because he's Sponge Bob.

4:51 AM  
Blogger Fritz said...

You were outed and didn't even know it! :-)

Thursday is Hawaiian Shirt Day at work. I can't participate because I don't own any Hawaiian Shirts. I'm probably not even spelling it correctly.

I'm a wingnut who thinks Sponge Bob is cool. Wingnuts for Bob unite!

1:53 PM  

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