Sunday, September 23, 2012

Iquitos, Peru: Amazonian Freedom's Sonrisa Magnetica

I think often of what I call "privacy and publicity," the life one
lives as ones own or the life one lives as a collective rise above the
masses in the hope of finding some great thing that will validate a
probably meaningless existence. As a boy growing up in the remote
mountains where television was limited to a few hours per day and few
had access, church and the local cafe provided most answers to most
questions about the nature of things, our best and brightest weighing
in on matters of import to us all. But even that was mostly private, a
matter of Buddy or Mack or Bill spouting off, and not too serious. We
had our lives to live, bills to pay, families to raise, and in the
case of a boy, fish to catch, baseballs to hit, and a dog to run
through the forest with. The larger questions weren't even for adults:
they were for nothing. But there were always a few who couldn't find
their peace in privacy and had to make far more of their own lives
than their own lives justified in the eyes of others and obviously in
their own: There was always an old lady and a few friends who would
continuously bring to each and all conversations a template patter
about the end of the world and the damnation of those of us who didn't
pay her and them close attention. We sinners were doomed, and that was
that, and damned soon. The old lady and her claque of oldsters would
be angry at us for not falling down and repenting our sins and asking
her to guide us to salvation. No, important as our eternal souls
burning in Hell might be, we had other concerns, and she and they
would ramble and bitch no matter. We had private lives, and the
publicity the others demanded of us could fly off, for all anyone
cared. That was then and there. Now, publicity rules the land. Creepy
religious fanatics harp endlessly about pubicity, hectoring the masses
as doomed sinners, as racists, as sexists, as homophobes and
islamophobes and bigots, all us us doomed to an eternity of Hell in
our own bitter lives. And yes, we have to give us smoking, drinking,
gambling, and fooling around with women as well as giving up such
sinful things as meat, gasoline, sugar, salt, and television, as if
the missionary religious old ladies of the Left today are some kind of
Freak Show Mormons.

I live these days in the Amazon in Peru. I would leave now for the
Amazon in Bolivia if I could. Por que is mucho mas freedom in the
totally incompetent state of Belen where the government just doesn't
have the money to track me down and piss me off about drinking a Big
Gulp soda. I can smoke $0.50cigars inside a cafe, hustle girls till I
droop, and dislike homos to their faces without a blink from any of us
at all, and swill a $2.00 bottle of rum in the park and ride away on a
motorcycle without wearing a helmet.

I'm not at all anti-American. I just hate living in America. Because
now I know, too:

that all idealisms end in scams. For there is a dark side to every
dream: the moment you wake up and realize that the men with steel
teeth have planned it all.

I'm making a new home in a free land for me, free and happy. I don't care what Obama supporters have to say. I save the Amazon rainforest one piece at a time, a feather here, a skin there, some wood on my shelf, and so on. Let the old religious fanatic ladies curse and burst a vein in the forehead, it means not a thing out here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. I smile, and my steel teeth shine bright in the hot sun.

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