The Grungenicks

An Essay on Episode 415

We were all pretty grumpy this morning. You may not know, but we actually had to work Tuesday. This is a normal sort of thing that everyone has to do, allthough normal is not exactly the work one would use in association with Professor Graves.

I was slaving away at the San Diego Times-Union-Star-Herald-Press, putting the finishing touches on some crappy story about twins who had just turned 100. I work in the Lifestyles section and let me tell you, it can bite. The holidays are the worst. I have to create some form of tripe for the public to read, wedged between furniture ads and 1-900 numbers.

Vince was actually teaching his class at U.C.S.D. He teaches an Archeology class, but his students are just not right. They run the spectrum from brainy nerd to airhead. These people are all taking this class to cover some credit requirement so there is no real interest in spending years in the scorching desert sun of Egypt, searching for the tomb of some Pharoh . . . Then again, they do sound pretty smart.

He had beeped some of his other employees as well as Vince and I. He said something to the effect of "we're going to the headquarters of NBC, I've discovered that the Kennedy assassination was simply a plot to boost ratings." Needless to say, I ignored the pager.

Now the reason I'm even bothering the tell you all of this is because we missed Episode 414, Tormented. When you look at the big picture, the films title might well describe working with the Professor, but if you want to understand the meaning of that, you have to read the book, 101 Ways to Die Learning About Life (cheap promotional shot). This would be okay except for the fact that Aarron's damn VCR did not work. The guy has multiple college degrees but can't program a simple VCR.

"Benson!"

Oh yeah. Anyway, that was why we were grumpy. That was also why we were looking forward to todays episode, The Beatniks.

Vince was in a special mood because he had made Margaritas, this would cost us later, but caution had to be thrown to the wind. Aarron tried to take my chair. You know the chair I'm talking about . . . the La-Z-Boy Atomolounger. The chair with the massaging rollers built in that gently numb your spinal column to the point where you need large doses of methamphetimines to get up and go to the bathroom.

The show came on and we were having a pretty good time (though we ran out of ice). This great mood was marred only by the fact that the Professor kept looking back and forth from the TV to Vince and I with a devious glimmer in his eyes.

So, as soon as the show was over . . . "So, what did you two think of the paralell between the losers in this film and today's Generation X slackers?"

Damn! I knew we were going to pay; Vince was drunk, and I was suffering from the effects of the Atomolounger.

Vince, his courage bolstered by tequilla spoke first. "Get real Aarron, I didn't see one guy wearing flannel."

Aarron got up from the sofa and headed for Vince. I thought he was going to slap him, but unfortunately he simply made a rebuttal. "Are you stoned Vince, flannel has nothing to do with Generation X! I mean if that was true, every beefy guy in Minnesota would be clustered around the grave of that Cobain pinhead, praising him as an unsung polka god!"

"Nirvana! Who cares about them! Soundgarden is the only true grunge band from Seattle!"

It was getting tense so I tried to calm the two down. "Aarron, I hate to agree with Vince, but what does this film have to do with the children of the Baby Boomers?"

Aarron tilted his head. "Well Mister Benson, since you were obviusly sleeping during the film, I'll go over it with you. In the first ten minutes you saw a group of losers rob some dude, damage another persons property and not care about it, then some guy just walks into a resturant, sings and gets a music deal."

I wasn't grasping his point. "And?"

"And you have a bunch of teens with no jobs, probably living with their parents, thinking the world owes them something because nobody "understands" them. I mean, that Eddie dude gets that music gig, but blows it by hanging around his friends. Wealth is waved in front of his face and still it is not enough."

Vince jumped in. "That's because he didn't want to sell out to the man!"

"Well Vince, I can recall when you and I said the same things these Gen X kids are saying. Hell, back in 68', you were preparing to haul ass to Canada. Now look at us, we are the man. You remember how our parents freaked out when we started listening to the Stones. What is so different between that and you and I screeching about Rap not being music?"

"Latch key parents for one. Juvenile crime, drugs for another."

"Didn't you watch the flick. These Beatnik wanna-be's were juveniles and let me see, they kill some people, rob some people and get drunk a lot. You seem to forget that alcohol is a drug. This was the fifties Vince, the view we have of kids today is the same view adults had of us back then. There is absolutly no difference. Instead of the parents not being home because they were trying to make a living, they were at home, often living loveless lives, addicted to alcohol or drugs and believing in a false utopian ideal."

Aarron wiped the froth from his mouth and continued. "And Kurt Cobain! Hell, he had enough money to afford therapy. His goal was to be some false martyr for a generation that feels like they don't fit in. And his wife, the Yoko Ono of alternative music, is simply making sure his spineless act is not viewed as exactly what it was . . . a loser who took what others said he was seriously."

Vince was so distraught that he couldn't form words. He just kept opening and closing his mouth, his eyes glazed over.

"Yeah, but you have to admit Joel and the Bots were right, these guys were no Beatniks. I mean, not one coffee shop scene or bongo playing weasel reciting bad poetry."

"Agreed. It was more like Daddy-O but with a sick Mel Torme twist."

"Neal Young on Valium."

Huh huh.

"Jazz Club Oarsmen from Hercules."

"Neal Young on Valium."

Good one Crow.

"Those redneck dudes from Hillbillies in a Haunted House."

"A Bob Dylan who can carry a tune."

"Tony Bennet Lite."

Zing!

"A good looking Harry Conick jr."

"More Reba."

"Brooks and Dunn."

"More Reba."

Press the Button Frank.



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