Life’s Rich Pageant

Life’s Rich Pageant isn’t just the break through album by REM.  I recall a coworker always used that phrase long before that record came out to announce her wonder and surprise at the comments, actions and inaction of others.  Oh, let’s just call it like it was – it was a nice way to say “those people are morons!”  I often hear Anna in my head when I have the same reaction.  Of course, I’m not nearly as polite, referring to the idiots with myriad colorful names.

Sometimes there are mouth breathers.  We often see them in Costco.  I’d probably see them in WalMart too, but I’m afraid to go in more often than not.  You know these people, slack-jawed, mouth opened, dressed horribly with a vacant look in their eyes.  I often wonder how their drool doesn’t puddle at their feet, waiting to be spread haphazardly by their knuckles as they drag.  Last week, there was one behind us in line.  It was hard not to look at him and say “what were you thinking?”

Reality television provides many other wonderful candidates for my own personal parade of idiots.  Most people are familiar with Pawn Stars on the History Channel (proudly proclaimed as the most watch show on cable.)  It is a cupcake of a show.  People want to sell interesting things and deals are made (or not) and the viewer gets a history lesson of sorts.  Easy to watch, easy to digest, not filling and sweet.  Fewer people however are familiar with my guilty pleasure Hardcore Pawn on TRUtv.

Hardcore Pawn follows the Gold family and their 50,000 square foot American Jewelry and Loan in Detroit’s “notorious 8 mile.”  Their phrase, not mine.  This show focuses less on what is being sold and more on those selling it.  It constantly highlights the often unseen lowest socioeconomic demographic that uses a pawn shop as their lending institution.  I’m sure 90% of their customers are reasonably bright, responsible citizens choosing their best option.  That’s not what we see on TV.  We see people wanting to sell their used “Prince Albert.” We see people thinking if they flash their 60-year-old breasts they will get more money.  And mostly we see people who think they are entitled to some outrageous amount of money for fake (or overvalued) jewelry and rant and rave when the owners aren’t an overflowing ATM for them.  As with most pawnbrokers, they try to buy stuff cheap and people flip out when they find their jewels are fake.

Last week we saw a first.  A fairly articulate woman wants to sell her necklace for $800 to raise the bail money for her man.  When asked what he was being held for, she replied, “you know –  hood stuff.”   I about died. “hood stuff” is about to my new catchphrase.  I’m just speechless about the reply and her attitude that everyone should understand what that is.  Just the concept that “hood stuff” has entered the lexicon leaves me feeling like the world is worse place.   From now on when ever I”m caught at a loss, I will probably just answer “you know, hood stuff.”  If I do, you’ll know why.

Yesterday, Lambchop and I went on a mission of mercy.  She had a work “thing” that culminated in peas being planted in a pot.  I misunderstood her directions and transplanting didn’t go terribly well.  Luckily Peas are easy to plant so we were off to get seeds.  We ended our journey at Dairy Queen.  The woman in front of us was buying cones for her 4 kids.  Clearly she was enjoying herself.  Every 10 seconds she laughed at some mundane thing and they tried to talk to us about it.  We weren’t interested and stood there stone faced.  Rather than understand the social cues we gave her, she tried harder.  I didn’t care about the cute curls on her kids cones.  I didn’t care about her kids.  I wanted my banana shake and a quick ride home.  But she missed that completely.  We were not about join in  her “fun.”  I just wanted her to take another Valium or Xanax.  I don’t know what her prescription was, but clearly she felt Memorial Day called for skipping a dose.

Today on the train a woman decided we all needed to hear about how wonderful her weekend was.  There were tattoos – done at someones house, but it was “totally sterile, he doesn’ t have shop.”  There were quarters and Faries (the kinds that leave quarters) and other nonsense.  This woman was talking loudly on a very crowded train.  When did it become acceptable to treat my commute time like your party line?  I would hope this woman fall in the pageant, so that all the other members could step on her, illuminating her to the consequences of bad behavior.

Perhaps I’ve given you the impetus to be as snarky as I am.  There is plenty of room in the world for more parades of idiots, which in and of itself is sad.  Next time I think of Life’s Rich Pageant, I’m adding in some hood stuff, to keep the morons moving faster, away from me and  further at bay.

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