I went to the Suburbs (Cranberry and Seven Fields, to be specific) last night, with Connor, Joe, Ashley, and Joe’s and Connor’s parents. It was very nice- they’re cool people, we had a good dinner and dessert. But going to the suburbs was a little weird. It’s entirely different- and I should know this, considering I live in the suburbs and go back and forth here and there a few times each year.

First, the restaurant. It was big, it was called “Smokey Joe’s,” it was a chain, it served good (but not excellent) food in big portions for prices in the $10-17 range. I guess the size was the first thing I noticed- I mean, it was big. Restaurants in a city are not big (obviously, I guess). It was spacious. It had a large parking lot all around it. It had those little buzzers to call you while you’re waiting for your table (I think). There were TVs all around, and even a switch at your table so you could listen to the sound on whichever TV you wanted. (the TVs bug me on a different level, although hey, maybe it’s the same level, in that the suburbs are a little weird like this)

The McDermotts' house was very nice too, but it struck me as a marked contrast from Webster for a few reasons: (okay, besides the obvious, that it’s a HOUSE and not an APARTMENT)
- very clean
- has some antique things
- has one of those giant flat screen TVs
- there’s space (and no trees) around it
Ultimately, it’s like the houses in my neighborhood at home (maybe even like mine; I can’t objectively judge my own house very well). It’s very nice- and hey, when I go home, I really like my house. Everything’s nice. And relaxing, and rich.

One of my theology teachers in high school (probably my best theology teacher- and just a great guy overall) once told us this: “Don’t be a nice person. Be a great person.” … which sounds like a stupid inspirational saying, but what he was saying is, there’s a difference between nice and great, or even nice and good. Hell, Kenneth Lay or any of those dudes in the recent scandals were probably nice people, but they may not have been good people.

This is getting a little saccharine. Let me just throw this in too: everyone keeps moving further from the center of a city, using up the city until it gets all crime-laden, then moving to an inner-ring suburb; using up the inner ring until it gets all poor and moving to the outer ring, etc. This is not a good idea. It rots cities from the inside- what do you expect?

Oh shit, and the whole generational thing- the baby boomers grew up with a lot of luxury and not a lot of conflict. They didn’t have WWII, they had Vietnam. This didn’t make them band together and fight for what’s right; this made them get all disillusioned, pissed off, and atheistic. Then their kids, the Generation X crowd, were the first generation raised in this atheistic world, and they responded by just going more nihilistic and crazy. Thus, the 90’s, the suburbs, and surrounding oneself with niceness. And then there’s us- and we can sit back and slide more into passive oblivion, or we can take up the charge of BELIEVING IN SOMETHING and turn all this shit around!

It should be noted that I mean atheism in the “not believing in anything” sense, not in the “not believing in God” sense.

So yeah, I could talk about this forever, but I’d just be restating myself. I could be really wrong, too, about the city stuff or the generational stuff, let me know.

And this will be perfectly ironic to finish off this post: should I buy an iPod (nano)?
Pros: it’d be sweet, I could keep up with music better, and it would help me memorize lines.
Cons: well… it’d go against everything I believe in. (and it’s $200)


Brian -

Dan Tasse, I think you need to make an appointment with Dr. (Tom) Robbins. Ask him to prescribe you a healthy dose of Still Life with Woodpecker. Particularly that part about the last quarter of the twentieth century.

Seriously, I would love to hear what you think about it. I imagine you’d think it’s contrived or it would rock your world.

Anonymous -

What is your thing about atheism? Sheesh. Let us disbelieve in peace.

Dan -

So… anonymous commenter. Well, in this post, I’m referring to the atheism of people in general, which is kind of a fact- I mean, that the last generation or so has been the most atheistic time in recent history (maybe in history at all).

If you’re using atheism in the sense of not believing in God specifically, I have no problem with it. Heck, I may join you.

But if you choose to believe in nothing, you get nihilism. You’re saying that you can’t even believe in the goodness of the world, or even just the goodness of people. If the world has been so awful to you that you can justify such a belief, go for it- and you have my sympathy. But I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that that’s not the case. In which case you’re spurning the goodness that you’ve found and choosing to stew in your own self-pity… and I’m not going to say it’s possible to avoid that all the time. But as a life philosophy, it’s kind of awful, really. How can you live a happy or productive life if your ideal is nothing?

I mean, even if there’s nothing out there, you’ll probably live a better life believing that there is, anyway, so give it a shot.

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