Hard lessons from the tunnel of history

September 10, 2013

Taking tiny steps in Atlantic City. The ocean’s made of popsicle sticks and if you touch it, you get hepatitis. I stumbled over the sarcophagus of Alexander Hamilton’s drug dealer outside the Apple store. You know that dork was in an abysmal K-hole when he shot Aaron Paul? I learned a lot in history class when I wasn’t drowning in the linoleum. I learned that in season 18 of Dexter the entire state of Florida discovers his secret but doesn’t tell anyone because

There was a big yellow sponge I used to wash the blackboard with every Tuesday. I don’t know where it went during the rest of the week, and I DON’T CARE. We took tiny steps. We didn’t inquire into the secret lives of sponges.

I learned that William McKinley was assassinated because the assassin, Lenny Shoegaze, was convinced McKinley was personally responsible for the Sega Channel’s nonexistence. Of course, in reality it was Rockefeller’s doing, but what can you do? The tunnel of history stinks because it’s filled with dead trout, as the saying goes.

If you’re exploring the tunnel of history, remember the five rules: 1) Don’t kick the rats, 2) Don’t forget to bring a red lantern, 3) Don’t trust anyone named Girard.

Stay out of the history tunnel. You don’t have any business being in there and you know it. One moment you’ll be innocently eating a handful of hexagonal cheese crackers, and the next, Vietnam is at the bottom of the ocean. Don’t think it can’t happen. Why do you suppose we only have one moon now? Because of someone’s big dumb clowny steps.

Don’t make waves. Don’t stir a tornado on the moon (any of them). Don’t disturb the men in expensive bowler hats standing so patiently in line at the buffet at Arby’s. Don’t wilt the lettuce.

I dropped my marble in that tunnel one night. It rolled away in a direction I wasn’t expecting, and when I chased after it, it led me down a hidden offshoot with embarrassing diamond patterns on the walls. Around a blind turn, there was a rusty turnstile which, naturally, I jumped. I tucked, I rolled, I found myself in an awful, misshapen cathedral that would have made Saint Peter puke. At the far end was Mary Todd Lincoln, shitfaced on communion wine, extolling via stutters into a spit-caked bullhorn the virtues of dolphin-safe gelatin desserts to a congregation of cobwebbed crash test dummies. The dusty ultraviolet rays streaming from the ridiculous gothic windows were thrashing about like tentacles. In the right-hand corner, where you might expect a pipe organ to be, there was a pipe organ, at which sat the esteemed “Dude, you’re getting a Dell” gentleman, repeatedly pounding on middle C with his bloody stump as if he expected it to eventually moo. Behind him, in the shadows, I could barely make out what appeared to be John Lennon and J. D. Salinger engaged in a heated argument. John was holding a chihuahua and jamming a stubby finger into J. D.’s chest.

Hanging high above the pulpit, a string of shiny green party letters spelled “COME ONE COME ALL,” but as I began to notice the heads of the dummies twisting around to face me with eyeless stares (a few popping off and bouncing down the aisle like coconuts, ha ha), it quickly became obvious that the welcome didn’t extend to me or my marble.

Things get funny that way when you get too close to the core of the Brahma’s infinite jawbreaker. The flavors of time bleed into each other, and if you’re not careful, you might find yourself drifting into pineapple territory while dragging a pomegranate behind you on a thousand-year chain.

I backed rhythmlessly down the hall (tiny steps), pausing for a quick Instagram selfie, then hopped on the next camel out of that dump. Along the way I kept sniffing for cherries, but there were only fish and a lumpy old headache. My ride dropped me off at the smoking ruins of the Taj Mahal and I paid him in solid stock tips. I grabbed my transistor radio and my ham sandwich and staggered off through the blueberry fields in search of a room with a view. At what passes for dusk I stopped to gnaw on that sandwich and realized after three hearty bites that it was not a ham sandwich at all. It was a big yellow sponge. No, no, no, no! I didn’t want to know! It’s only Sunday, for crying out loud!

Spit spit spit cough spit cough

I lifted the moon like a manhole cover, crawled out and flipped it over. “Sorry, dropped my pencil again,” I muttered, and skittered back across the dirty floor to my desk. The classroom smelled squarely and correctly of cinnamon. I lucked out this time.

Remember, silver and hairless readers, while education and calcium are the pillars of a lithe and meaningful existence, you must stay out of the tunnel of history. The orange cones are there for a reason! And don’t even look at the algebra ziggurat, good god