Many of you have written me emails asking about my inclination to urinate on the floors and walls of establishments such as Starbucks. “Why would you do that?” “Is that true, hahaha? Seriously, it’s not, is it?” Friends, it is. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t go out of my way to patronize such establishments, of which Starbucks is but one place in a long list of such businesses, but, should I find myself placed, however unsatisfactorily, in said establishment, I do admit that I indulge myself in this unsavory practice- an at least funny, if not wholly ineffectual form of protest against the shiny floor, soft-lit culture we’ve created for ourselves.
“What about the workers making 6 bucks an hour that have to clean it up? They’re not the ‘corporation’ you’re ‘raging’ against, man.” Fuck ‘em. They chose that job, and so, in my mind, they are that corporation. Ipso Facto. Fuck ‘em. This is the sort of dumb, unproductive ideology that so many attribute to punk rock, but don’t misunderstand me here. Although I have embraced and adopted whatever stereotypical image “that lifestyle” conjures up in any given mind, and in fact even wrote a song about this very subject called “Vote with Your Piss” in an old band of mine, I will not have this process, which is an amalgamation of years of dissatisfaction, disgust and apathy towards our terrible habits as human beings honed down to one hot, 45 second spray of steam and waste, tainted by being pigeonholed into the by now near meaningless term “punk.” Nope, punk or not, this one’s all mine. I take full credit.
Now, for the majority of you, I’m sure this still isn’t the answer you were looking for. You’re looking for some form of understanding, some way to relate. Perhaps you’re curious- maybe it is the case that you just simply want to feel the way that I feel. After all, that is the only way to truly understand someone’s thoughts. The human condition.
And with that in mind, I can only offer an example. I’m resigned to the notion that this is an all or nothing stance. You’ll either get it or you won’t. You’ll either understand or be even more baffled than you were previously. You’ll either be fer me or agin’ me. There shall be no grey area. And I’m okay with that.
The following interaction took place today at an establishment called Potbelly Sandwich Works, a place whose name I hate to even say, for reasons not clearly defined in my own head, but I think it has something to do with the fact that it highlights and casts a warm, friendly corporate overtone to the absolute gluttony of American consumption patterns. They make sandwiches, shakes, soups and chili that are just on the verge of being overpriced. Many would argue this point, which is why the prices are on the verge. Save your comparative sandwich shop pricing for a time when you’re looking to cater a bar mitzvah or something. I don’t care.
The setting: Aforementioned sandwich shop. 2 p.m. Enter Jonathan and Rebecca.
“Hey guys! And how we doing today?!” Another reason to hate this place is that corporate policy dictates that employees must not only feign happiness, but moreover, act like they give a shit about the customer’s daily lives.
“Great! What can I get for you guys today?”
“I’ll have the pizza with no mushrooms,” Rebecca said.
“Will that be on white or wheat, ma’am?”
“Got it. Pizza on white, no mush,” the overbearingly friendly man rattled back. “And you, sir?”
“Uh, I’ll have the pizza, too. On wheat, though. And no mushrooms, either.”
“Pizza on wheat, no mush?”
“Yeah, no mushrooms,” I said, the bile creeping its way up the back of my throat.
The overbearingly friendly man puffed his chest out just a little, and I caught a flash of his fraternity days coming back to him for just a moment. He caught my gaze, looked at me in a way that one might call severe, and sternly says, “Pizza on wheat, No MUSH.”
Sighing, I replied, “Yup.”
Rebecca and I shuffled down the line, and I muttered to her, “If he says ‘no mush’ one more goddamn ti-“
“TWO PIZZAS NO MUSH COMING THROUGH!”