Each month, I write a column for Transistor (http://www.transistormag.com) called CTRL+ALT+DULUTH. (Yes, it plays on the "duh-LOOT" pronunciation.) Below is the text from May's entry:
Sometimes you have to wonder whether or not you’re a douche-bag. Other times, you just know that you are.
I experienced a moment of this latter ilk at the annual Lions’ Club Pancake Day at the DECC.
In terms of the charity-community feel-good quotient, this event probably has no equal in Duluth. The business and community leaders at the local Lion’s Club give their time and money to flip flapjacks and help benefit people with hearing and sight impairments, as well as those with diabetes.
(There’s no small irony in eating plate after heaping plate of syrup-soaked pancakes and sausage to help fight diabetes, but I doubt that a Bran Flakes and Sugar-Free Jell-O Day would reach a 53rd year.)
Adding to the good vibes, countless other local organizations – from seniors’ groups to grade-school kids – lend their support by volunteering to fill coffee cups, bus tables and empty trash cans all day.
On the whole, humankind rarely has moments better than this.
Yet there I was, sitting in the middle of it all, thinking how totally f*cking awesome it would be to come to an all-you-can-eat pancake dinner after a marathon smoke session.
Now, I must admit: Even in college, I was never a champion toker (despite briefly earning the moniker “Red Eye”). Nor do I often find myself on the business end of a bowl anymore.
Yet the, er, residue of monster munchies past continues to color my perception of the most random circumstances.
Why is this?
Perhaps it’s because I can remember most of my “high times” – unlike so many of my myriad alcoholic escapades, which often had to be reconstructed via credit-card slips, third-person hearsay and home voicemail messages from bars telling me when I could come back and pick up my cell phone, briefcase, suit jacket or whatever.
I remember noticing the rhythmic crackle of the vinyl on the sample backing Tribe Called Quest’s “Oh My God” for the first time. I remember almost pissing my pants with laughter in a musty Memphis hotel room while waiting for a ride to a Pearl Jam show. I remember the queerest hue of electric orange slowly eating the sky over the hills of pre-dawn Johannesburg.
OK. That last one might have been the acid. But still…
When you get older, you think about shit like, “Why do I come across like a shameless stoner in my writing when I’m actually an incurable drunk?” Perhaps I am pandering subconsciously to this publication’s demographic. Yet I know for a fact that plenty of booze hounds read it, too.
Pancake Day prompted no alcohol-driven fantasies, though. (This despite the fact that my drunk-munchies have taken out entire packages of Keebler Fudge Grahams in single swoops.)
As for the weed envy, I actually got a vicarious whiff as my wife and I finished our pancakes. A couple of grinning college kids sat down very near to us and commenced giggling.
“Man, I am really feeling it,” I heard one of them say.
Rather than tell him how there I was with him, or even pass him the syrup with a wink, I merely smirked and thought to myself, “Wow, what a douche-bag.”
Ah…hypocrisy. That’s my anti-drug.