Any other era, and I would have checked out already...

March/2005: History - I've really gotten into Deadwood lately, as season one is complete. I even made Phoebus watch it, despite his normal hatred of Westerns. Damn quality series. We're only through episode four, so don't spoil anything in the feedback thread or you're getting banned twice. It's a great series and I recommend giving it a download (or watch, if you have HBO). Quality acting, dark storylines and engaging characters. Great stuff.

Perhaps the best part about shows like Deadwood is that they offer a hollywood glimpse into the past and just how godawful shitty it truly was. People like to sit back and romanticize about the days of yesteryear. I don't. I'm glad I was born in 1979, hell, I wish I would have been born in 1986. There's nothing romantic about the past. Not the renaissance, not the wild freakin' west, nada. Absolutely nothing glorious or commendable about such eras.

You're shitting in a chamberpot, you're avoiding what are now jokes of diseases, there's dirt roads everywhere and having to ride a horse? Bullshit. Not to mention American Indians wanting to scalp you if you try to get away from the disease-filled cities of the East. I wouldn't have lasted 25 years back then, I would have shot myself quickly. I don't even like going to the store, it's such a waste of time. Then imagine stitching together your own shoes or growing crops. Exactly.

We don't appreciate how great we have it. My food comes in containers and somebody else makes it. Not killing cows here! No legitimate boredom, no candles, no broken fucking wagon wheels or dead oxen. Imagine, if you will, the following day-to-day scenario...

I love the double decker taco at Taco Bell. It's a magically constructed thing of beauty. Let's pretend that I want a double decker taco in 1863. I want cheese. I want beef. I want tortilla, and I want a flour wrap.

Step 1 - I've got to buy a cow.

Step 2 - I've got to take a knife, cleaver, whatever, and butcher that cow for the meat. That's after buying the grain to feed the cow, or growing the grain somehow. Hell if I know how. Then I have to figure out how to ground cow guts into some form of edible beef.

Step 3 - I don't even know how to make cheese. Isn't it moldy milk? A clue, I've not. So I have to figure out how to make cheese. Then I have to do whatever damned process involved to actually make that cheese. If I fuck up, I probably get a bowel sickness that will claim my life with dysentary, which is a fancy word for "shitting yourself to death."

Step 4 - At this point, I have cheese of some sort and beef. I need to make a tortilla. Fuck, I have no clue of how to make a tortilla. I guess I need grain of some sort, plus some sort of heating process and mold to make the tortilla in. I have no clue how this is done so I can't even guess at what I would need to do in order to make a tortilla.

Step 5 - I make the wrap part by using flour. I don't know how to do that. I have to grow beans for the beans in between the tortilla and the flour wrap. That seems like the easiest part, until you think of how someone makes refried beans. I can tell you how to build a website, but hell if I know how they make beans.

Step 6 - Fuck, I forgot about the mild sauce.

Step 7 - I've already shot myself in the head by this point.

It shouldn't take a day to make a goddamned taco. All these idiots, hippies mostly, that want to "harken back to olde tymes" can shove the entire concept up their ass. There was nothing good about those eras. Nothing. Yeah, the air was cleaner, whoopty freakin' do, your hand wasn't. Not after you had to clear the bowels of the ill-prepared crap you just ate, at least.

The worst element of history to think about is the Pony Express. Now sure, the Pony Express riders are amazing in concept. They ride across entire states to deliver mail to others. If you told me I had to drive, yeah, drive in a car across a state to get mail, I'd tell you to shut up. I hate driving ten blocks to buy groceries, let alone to get the mail. Hell, I refuse to even get the mail at my humble abode, because the entire process is pretty boring. And there you have these Pony Express suckers, riding away to deliver chicken-scratch to someone who probably doesn't even want to read it.

Big ol' bags of the letters, on horse. Riding away, riding away. Nothing to do, nothing to read, nothing to write, nothing to think about. Just riding for weeks on end in order to give Rufus P. Wellstone a letter from his wayward drunk son Pierre. The money you earn from this wonderful "vocation" goes to buying alcohol, hookers, or some plot of land out in some nowhere... that you have to work your ass off on to even net one double decker taco.

Look around you! Look at what we have! Would you really want to go back to churning butter? Hell no. And yeah, you two idiots that read the last sentence and said "hell yes" are full of shit. You're on the internet. Don't pretend to be a pioneer because you Google once in a while. My friends, we live in a golden age. Full of convenience, medicines and speed. Our lives can be packed to the brim with so much more than someone who lived just fifty years prior. Were it not for everyone being such ignorant clods, we would be living the verifiable utopia so many philosophers have written about.

The only lamentable fact about this modern era is that logically, in a hundred and fifty years, some jerk on the "new" internet is going to be looking back at us and saying the same things. "They drove around in primitive gravity machines? And imagine, they had to get their food through a little window after great travel! What simpletons they were! Ha ha ha!" They'll be right, of course, just as I am for blasting anyone who romances earlier eras.

For we in America, life only gets better. Just look at the disparity when it comes to the poor then, to the poor now. I think I'm well-qualified to remark on this, since I qualify as "poor now", despite not feeling poor one iota! Perhaps it's my love of history that gives such perspective, but poor just a hundred and twenty years ago meant 8-12 hours of work a day in order to pay for a run-down shack and an outhouse. I'm eating rat if I'm poor in 1860, but today? Everything from fast food to steak. In 1860, I'm riding a donkey if I'm poor, if I'm lucky. Now? Trains and buses whisk me to and fro. Don't even get me start on entertainment. Dime store novels and sensationalistic pfaff rather than hi-speed internet and broadcast mediums. Music played on a banjo or washboard vs. high quality MP3's. The list is endless, todays poor are kings to those whom existed just a century prior.

The next time you meet depression in that dark alleyway you call a brain, really take a look at what you're not dealing with. A myriad of problems solved by civilization and technology. We're operating at the speed of light comparatively, yet so many are still depressed. That lay they didn't get or that lonesome feeling spurred by a lack of proper perspective. Today in this country, no person should feel as though they aren't getting a fair shake, or that they're miserable. Outside of crime afflicted, misery has been solved for. It doesn't exist except in the minds of the self-adoring, the greedy or the needy.

I'm proud to call these fine decades "my life." And so should you be. Now sally forth! Go devour fast, processed food and quietly hum America the Beautiful, while driving 65 miles an hour with music blaring. Hum that song, louder, louder! And tell that depressed moron down the street to do the same!

Because the times we live in could hardly be any more lusterous.