Welcome to "The Gods Are Deaf, Redolent of Second-Hand Tobacco, and Numb."
In short, we've been to a rock concert. A real head-banger of a rock concert where all the attendees (except us) were smoking something and everyone either got drunk beforehand or had a handy flask to make matters worse.
We at "The Gods Are Bored" bet you never thought of this: A hard rock concert in a smallish, standing-only venue, can reveal everything disreputable about the human species. We will use the concert we attended last night as Example A.
The warm-up band, The Coup (French Pronunciation), has received much attention of late for their politically relevant work. Well, they might have been dissing the Iraq War, Ann Coulter, or even Pol Pot, for all you could hear of their lyrics. The sound was shattering, the lead singer a rapper who held the mic right at his mouth.
At least the audience behaved politely while these young rebels performed.
The featured artist, however, unleashed an avalanche of audience behavior that convinced Anne once again that no one comes to a rock concert to hear music. Most people go to rock concerts in order to divest themselves of what little civilized evolution they've acquired, in pursuit of behavior that reflects poorly on the species.
Witness the nice-looking underaged drunk who collapsed at my feet and, once having regained his Homo sapiens posture, turned his entire pre-puke attention on myself and The Heir. At The Heir's (prudent) request, I sought security guards and had the young primate ejected. He resisted, telling the security forces that I was his "grandmother."
All this time, Mr. Les Claypool was performing, himself quite talented and surrounded by other talented musicians. But it was rather difficult to concentrate on the truly eccentric artist in an atmosphere that was 50 percent pure secondhand tobacco and 46 percent alcohol-fueled testosterone (the remaining 4 percent almost totally hopeful estrogen, and that's just sad).
If anyone wonders why the human race is the only species that tries to obliterate others of its kind, one need only study human behavior in a mosh pit.
Conservatively speaking, we at "The Gods Are Bored" feel it will take 10 million years for Homo sapiens to evolve past the aggressive phase. And by this I don't only mean physical aggressiveness, but also the kind of mental aggressiveness that plots, plans, and hatches incidents conducive to shortening the lives of others.
I do think this evolution is possible. After all, for every stoned head-banger at the Les Claypool concert, there existed within the same square mile about 100,000 humans spending a quiet evening at home, watching the dreadful news on CNN and feeling terrible about it.
Now. We at "The Gods Are Bored" don't like you to be in a funk after you read our rock criticism. If being in a funk after reading rock criticism floats your boat, go buy a Dave Marsh book.
So we're gonna leave this trenchant critique on a high note.
At concert's end, my daughter The Heir and I beat a hasty retreat into the night air. We wanted to put a distance between us and the rest of the Les Claypool audience, feeling that behavior inside the venue might be repeated outside. So we turned a corner to find the place where we had arranged for Mr. Johnson to pick us up.
And that place was in front of a bar that was packed to the plimsol line with members of the Pagans motorcycle gang. The Harleys were parked in a neat row, and several Pagans (colors and vests in proud array) were chatting on the street, trying their level best to look like the cast of "Mad Max."
The Heir tried to pull me further up the street where there was no one at all. Just a dark sidewalk.
Hey, I lived in Detroit. And the biggest lesson I learned there was always avoid the dark sidewalk.
So I sat on a rowhouse step, surrounded by Pagans. When the Heir tried to shove me into motion, I said, "Hey. I'm a pagan. So this is the best place to be!"
We were not accosted or even noticed by the Pagans, who were a colorful lot to behold. Mr. Johnson was not amused when he picked us up, but hey. He lived in Detroit too, and he knows all about the dark sidewalk.
Back to the evolution thing. I know it's a bummer that we live in the simian stage of this thing, but maybe the bored gods will give us another shot when the species turns the corner.
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS