Saturday, September 24, 2016

Crystal Shit

(once again Mr. Osterberg)
It's fucking odd when i say it out loud but some 23 odd years ago i graduated from a second rate university with a degree in Communications and three job opportunities to go work in the lush filled and drug-addled world of advertising, the creative side not the sales shit, of course as the legend has it here at the lounge our fine and noble derelict turned down those opportunities so he (i) could, and i quote, "go surf and write poetry...", the look of befuddlement on my professor's face was fucking priceless, the talking heads back then kept telling us ambitious new grads the job market in '93 wasn't what they sold us kids a few years before and so many of my fellow alumni would be moving home with mom and dad and the like, fucking interviews were like gold and here i was turning down three so i could go surf and write fucking poesy? you shitting me? i must have been a top fucking knob... of course it was easily one of the best decisions i've made in my life, no one will ever convince me that i would have learned more jetting off to Chi-town or Portland than i did over the next four months in OC-MD, but much of that's been covered and if you'd like to read it go to the third stall down, sit on the toilet and look to your left, it's written in black magic marker...

Crystal Shit was the name of a Doors cover band in the Dead Milkmen song Bitchin' Camaro, tossed off loosely in a spoken word intro before the shit kicks in, i don't know if the band in the song really existed or if it was made up or what, fucking stoner here can't delve that deep apparently, but i do know that way back when, in my last year of undergrad we got this assignment in our advanced advertising class to make up a campaign for a product that wasn't on the market yet, what did i get? fucking Crystal Pepsi... so imagine my surprise when one sunny afternoon after a few tokes over the line with sweet Jesus, whilst perusing the carbonated beverage section looking for a bottle of cream soda, that i espied a bottle of what looked like hand sanitizer labeled Crystal Pepsi!  i believe i let slip an audible guffaw, the fucking shit was a disaster the first time around, is the bastion of capitalist culture in such a free fall that not only do we do nothing but remake old movies but now, now, we're recycling fucking soda ideas?  but there it was, the failed product that had procured me three chances at a career in advertising, a situation in which my prof had told me i'd be taking my pick cuz she had sent them all of my work for her class, including my coup de grace known as the Crystal Pepsi campaign, i used to joke that if Pepsi would have used that campaign you'd still be drinking the shit, and it was shit, the reality was they could have paid people to drink it and it still would have failed, it was that bad...

Now let us take Mr. Peabody's time machine back to 1993,  the whole angle of my campaign, which i remember but have not a scrap of the actual work, centered on the whole rise of alterna-culture and it's new found love of eastern Mysticism, or hippie shit, just this hippie shit was re-branded and repackaged to sell to the children of the hippies, there was a whole crystal craze going on back then and every half-ass hippie punker grunge kid had one, usually on a thin leather rope and different colors meant different shit and they were like fucking magic or something, maybe mined by elves for all i know, of course my hipster ass wore one for a year or so, probably had it on when i wrote the fucking ads, which used a character who looked more than coincidentally like Mahatma Gandhi who was of course selling you Crystal Pepsi, fucking hell if you're gonna whore yourself out for the dollar you might as well take down a cultural and spiritual icon with you, my protagonist leaned Hindu but may have been Buddhist, the radio spot was made tapping out a beat with some drumsticks and a few glasses filled with varying levels of water all while affecting an Indian accent and selling you Crystal Shit... and according to my prof i was just the kind of fucking weirdo the ad world was looking for...

The professor who had arranged all this was a woman with thick curls of snow white hair, rumor had it she had been a nun and left the church because she was now a lesbian, fucking college kids and their imaginations, fact was she was one of the more straight-laced profs in the Comm. department, rather bland and boring and not much fun, unlike my PR teacher who was a roaring drunk who wrote poesy and drove around in a new (for 93) bright yellow, convertible VW bug, that gem had worked at US Steel and told brilliant fucking stories in class all which somehow related back to the business of public relations, a business he thought unequivocally was nothing more than bullshit (he had won the highest award you can win in the field of bullshit), better yet if you ever wanted to find him it was easy, he sat at the Loomis Bar from the start of happy hour until he couldn't walk... but back to the lady, she had me in her office and was pitching me the job interviews, she was also asking if she could make copies of my work to show future classes and really what did i care? show 'em i said, and then she asked me how i wrote my stuff and came up with ideas, i laughed and said you don't want to know, she said she did, i told her she really didn't but she pressed on, finally i said, okay if you really want to know, i drink one 40oz. bottle of finely chilled malt liquor and smoke a joint and by the time they're both gone my projects are done, there was a stunned silence and then she said, you're right... i didn't want to know...

And all this sorta ran through my head as i stood in the store gazing at the bottles of Crystal Pepsi, all lined up like gaudily attired soldiers from some banana republic, a shit-eating grin adorning my mug, i stood there and whispered, "thank you weed and booze and acid, thank you mushrooms and pills and laughing gas, if not for you and my love of getting fucked up i might have gone on those interviews, i might have gotten one of those jobs, what a horrible thing to do to myself, instead i got fucked up and bedded women and read books and listened to the ocean..." it all could have gone so pear-shaped, i could have been a whore for products or gimmicks or political ideas, selling useless shit to the vacant souls of suburban housewives everywhere, and now me myself that same suburban housewife, albeit it in cut off work pants and still wearing my sunglasses in the store cuz i'm so stoned, slipping into what the local news anchors call suburban eccentricity...

Mr. Byrne, how did i get here" of course it's easy to read the map backwards, it's the forward part that's the bitch, mainly because there is no map until you've already passed the point on the blank piece of canvas, then it sort of fills in, i like looking at that map late at night, i roll it out in front of me on the ceiling, there are definitive points now, like what if i had finished shaving Audrey's snizz then eaten the rest of the acid and went to the JP and got married that morning so many years ago? there's an obvious divergence in the path had i done that, of course now it's all conjecture and daydreams of a map that shows places that i'll never go, walking away from a real job to surf and write poesy? funny i don't ever think about what would have happened had i landed a straight gig, i think about the choice though, of course i don't think i made the wrong one, no fucking sir-ee Bob, and all of this brought on by the sight of a carbonated abomination, oddly enough it was Sept. 23, 1993 when i finally left the beach that summer, a month or so of homeless drifting on the horizon, and then deeper into the Wilderness...


5 comments:

Exile on Pain Street said...

If only you'd known a good patent attorney. You'd be living in Residual Estates. Blame it on 8-0-0. I liked the map-reading line. That's spark + original. I've got a straight gig. It has its charms but you're not missing much.

Kono said...

Exile - I've had straight gigs just none that would be considered a "career", i don't think i've missed much, my ambitions lie in other ports of call, lol... though i'm confused on the patent attorney, i was just writing snappy ads, it's the chemical wizards at Pepsi who were churning out the clear cola that tasted like bear piss, i wouldn't have wanted to take credit for that crap...

looby said...

Funny isn't it how you can sometimes be really good at something for which you have no respect for or care about?

Kenneth Noisewater said...

I never did try Crystal Pepsi. I'd love to know just how bad it was. Remember when SNL had the clear gravy to make fun of it?

The Crystal Shit as a terrible Doors band is funny.

This was a fun journey, bro.

Kono said...

looby- it is innit? i fucking hate golf, despise it, but when i was young i gave it a shot and was quite good at it, not all of it mind you but i was a natural at putting, these old golfers would tell me how that was the hardest part of the game and how i could be really good at it and i just didn't give a rat's ass...

Dr. Noisewater- You didn't miss much, SNL wasn't far off.