Pastoral Genocide


Illinois
September 3, 2008, 10:15 pm
Filed under: Writing | Tags: , ,

The internet has changed everything for the worst. There’s no two ways about it. I remember when I first started out. Business was alright and slowly got better. I built all of this with my hands. I built it all and that’s the only thing I’ve ever really been proud of. It’s hard, making nothing into something, even if it’s hardly something. I scratched and I fought, I worried and anxiously battled the omnipresence of ruin. I’ve had a couple ulcers from the stress of it all. But I did it, I made it. And now, the internet is taking everything, literally everything away.

People just don’t buy pornography in person anymore. Or at least, not like they used to. Maybe they’re embarrassed, maybe they’re ashamed. That’s reasonable, I guess. Sure, truckers will always be around. They’ve always been around. Truckers are a special brand of creep, a special type of dirtbag. The open road and its long stretches of loneliness can do that to man, twist and shape the mind into obtuse and perverse shapes. But, hey. Truckers helped me send my kid to college. They paid off my mortgage and helped me take my wife to the Bahamas a couple times. All that’s besides the point, though.

I started selling dirty movies and sex toys in 1976. I bought a shack on the side of Interstate 80. I had plans to build an empire. The empire never materialized. There’s not a whole lot to this industry: get some movies, some pictures, maybe a rubber dick or two and sell them to whoever you can. I started out small time, you know, selling the softcore stuff. You’ve gotta remember this was over 30 years ago. Things were different, then. But, even then, I had to battle the goddamn bible beaters hand over fist. They’re sons of bitches and nasty, petty people. I never went big time because I couldn’t fathom fighting with these people. Over what? Me trying to put food on my family’s table. The damnedest thing about it is that people love pornography. They crave it. Humans are sick fucks and that’s alright.

I never got into the fringe stuff, never felt it was right. I took it a little farther, but not too far. I got into the harder stuff, you know, the stuff they’ve got in Europe and Asia. I sold pocket pussies to creeps who will never sniff a real one. But, always, there were lines and limits. I’m not talking about morals, I’m talking about doing things the right way. I take pride in doing things the right way, I take pride in having grace and class and integrity. If a man can’t hold his head high, then what can he do? It never ceased to amaze me, though. I’d be working the counter on a Tuesday morning and some hotshot in an Italian suit and a pair of wing tips would come strolling in. He’d saunter to the counter and nonchalantly ask me for some fucking little kids porn. Twinks, they call it. I’d tell him to fuck off and he’d look at me like I was the sick one.

The internet made everything different though. It changed things, rearranged them and made them strange and unfamiliar. By this time, I’d carved out a pretty good living for myself. Put my kids through college, paid off my house, had two brand new pick up trucks sitting in the driveway, gleaming and shining underneath the afternoon sun. It started slowly at first and then turned into something different. This, all of this, reminds me of the Mississippi River. The Mississippi starts way up in Minnesota and isn’t much of anything; a trickle of water that slips slowly and quietly through the grass. But, eventually, it’s a monstrous and looming thing, a river so thick and deep that you can’t imagine how something like this came about in the first place. That’s how it happened with me.

It started like everything starts. Things change but you don’t see it at first. You don’t see anything. You just keep on living like you’ve always been living. You eat dinner, you mow your grass. You watch television and think about the weather or how the weather used to be. And then, it hits you. It’s big, it’s monumental. It slams into you and leaves you bruised and estranged with an anxious feeling in your stomach. Just like that. Everything changes and nothing is fair or good anymore.

Now, only the truckers still come. They like to shoot the shit, talk about things. They tell me about their lives. They tell me about hauling grapes from North Carolina to Nebraska or machine parts from Los Angeles to Chicago. They talk about long stretches on the road and what it feels like to be really and totally alone. They talk about gas prices and how they’re on the rise and how it’s changing everything, for the worst. I can identify with them, in a way. And I’m thankful for them. I don’t make a good living anymore. I don’t make anything, anymore. Last week, the IRS sent me a letter dripping with bureaucratic promises of financial execution. And that’s fine. Why delay the inevitable? The end is almost here and I’m trying to be alright with that.

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Incredible story. The last few have been great as well, but I like this one alot…

Comment by Lo-Res Viscera

this was really fantastic, as was the entry below it

you have a gift, a gift for describing disturbing and uncomfortable things

Comment by dex




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