For me, nothing causes surprise projectile vomiting quite like seeing a thirty-something in a wide-brimmed garden hat. The straw, the cute little flower tucked into a cute little ribbon puts a fire in me belly, and portends the oddest visions of burning down the local florist shops and beating the owners with their own garden hose. That said, these hats may be cute on overweight grandmothers while they pluck crabgrass from the feet of their Walmart-bred perennials, but witnessing a young woman eagerly embracing horrible fashion just tickles me. It stands as trace evidence of a culture in decline, a culture far too comfortable with fantasy. We embrace ridiculous fashion memes such as the garden hat, the flip-flop, even the absolutely ludicrous Crocs (which I wouldn’t wear if it were the only way to save myself from the bite of an actual crocodile), as some far-fetched method of blending into popular society, never considering how inconvenient they’d be in a tense fight-or-flight situation. God knows, those atrocious news stories we pay no attention to would never happen to me, not here, in my neck of the woods.
Homeless man strangled by shoe string? Nope. Unaware mom stabbed from the backseat of her Prius? Not my problem. We don’t consider this reality, but we should. Who knows, one day you may wake up the proud host of a most lovely but heroine-addled newlywed couple, demanding you point the way to your safe. But you don’t have a safe. You don’t have any money at all. Just a mortgage, two kids, and a husband so bruised by his sorry lot and so high on Xanax and Ambien he barely remembers which toe to wear his wedding ring on. So you think, I’ll give them my jewelry, but shortly you realize your coke-head teenager pawned everything with a diamond in it. So, all you’ve got left is a few generational brooches and lockets passed down from one garden hat-wearing mother to flip-flop sporting daughter, and so-on and so-forth. Always fashion minded, your family.
So you rub the sleep from your eyes and get up to lead the hooligans to the jewelry box, but sadly one Croc has fallen off while you were sleeping, so the first step twists your ankle and you fall right into the used and bloody needle jutting from the older junkie’s jacket pocket. Now you’ve contracted HIV, Hepatitis A and C, bird flu, swine flu, and West Nile Virus. This, on top of your hereditary diabetes and glandular disorder.
Long story short: you’re screwed.
Times like these, I wish I was in a coma, so I would feel no guilt when I ignored the crowd of slack-jawed ignorants who look but don’t see the tremendous, boiling, tar covered ball of sh*t rolling right towards them. What remains of your friends will be caught in this gooey apocalypse, but you won’t care. Couldn’t happen to me, you’ll say. You’ll watch as it accelerates to super-sonic speeds but you won’t notice the nostril-burning funk of reality until it’s too late, asking only one question as brown doom overtakes you:
“Who would dare sh*t in my garden?”