by Joe Buonfiglio
In all honesty, I’ve never understood the whole South Dakota thing (or the North Dakota thing, the Nebraska thing, the Wyoming thing…). I understand the LA thing, the San Francisco thing, the Seattle thing, the Chicago thing, the New York thing; shit, I even get the Key West thing. But Rapid City? Seriously? Except for chaperoning an elementary school field trip to Mount Rushmore, why in the name of God would you EVER go to South Dakota?
Don’t get me wrong; I have great friends who are from South Dakota. Quite frankly, they’re wonderful people. Hell, my brother-in-law took a job out there a couple years back. He LOVES it there. The guy looks and feels better living out there than he had in years of living on the East Coast.
What’s up with that? No, really.
Siberia feels like a Caribbean resort compared to South Dakota in the winter. They even have gates that drop down like at a railroad crossing to block roads overrun by windswept snow. It gets crazy-cold out there. I’m sorry, God, but what the hell were You thinking when it came time to create South Dakota winters? “I know I’ve laid the groundwork for ‘blue balls’ with the male sex drive, but could I also do it with the weather?” I don’t care if You are the self-proclaimed “Alpha and Omega,” it’s just unreasonable. I’m fairly certain I saw a woolly mammoth-crossing sign just outside of Sturgis. I can’t be absolutely certain, though. It was close to rally week; some biker chick flashed her tits and I got distracted. Come to think of it, it might have been her “woolly mammoth” she flashed. I’m not really sure. With the high altitude, I was a little oxygen deprived.
Look, I understand the bumper-to-bumper bullshit on the 10 in Los Angeles at rush hour. It’s what texting-while-driving was meant to be. It’s not as if your car is actually going to move anytime soon. But in South Dakota? You can drive for hours without seeing another vehicle. That’s not hyperbole, either. When birds see a car coming, they dive-bomb its grill in an apparent Kamikaze act of suicide simply to terminate the endless and mindless tedium of existence on the South Dakota plains.
But then I saw the Badlands … and the Black Hills … and the Devils Tower that Steven Spielberg made a star in Close Encounters of the Third Kind … and the Jewel Cave … and the patriotic majesty of Mount Rushmore at night … and the sheer determination and dedication to cause behind the Crazy Horse Memorial monument and and and … … … and, I get it. I GET IT!
I get South Dakota.
Okay, so technically … and actually … the Devils Tower is in Wyoming. Not all of us got an A in 1st-grade geography, so just back the fuck off. If you go out there, you’ll soon realize that once you start driving from place to place, it all becomes a blended blur of scenery. After a while, crossing state lines is just an illusion; a trick of the mind.
It was on my visit to the Crazy Horse monument that I learned a valuable life-lesson from the philosophic outlook of the Lakota people: “We are not human beings. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
Wow. Powerful stuff if you really take the time to ponder it. It got me to thinking; over the years, what has my “human experience” taught my spiritual self?
LESSON #1: Never yell “Yanks rule! Socks stink like grandpa’s stool!” if you’re the lone New Yorker sitting in a crowded “Southie” Boston bar. Even the cops will kick the shit out of you for being such an idiot with no sense of self-preservation.
LESSON #2: A bubble gum- and birthday cake-flavored ice cream shoppe milkshake sounds like a fun idea to give your preschool kid on a super-hot summer’s day. It’s not. Unless the rugrat is riding in the bed of your pickup truck — that can easily be hosed out — don’t even think about it.
LESSON #3: Bison are NOT dairy cows. Never pull over to the side of the road and try to pet a bison … and DEFINITELY do not attempt to milk it. (I’m still paying off the hospital bill from that one.)
LESSON #4: Day trading is like playing the sports-bet in Vegas. You think you’re smarter than the average bear. You’re not.
LESSON #5: Tomato juice in beer may sound refreshing, but it tastes like shit. Have a fucking Bloody Mary instead. Your drinking buddies will make fun of you, but at least you won’t be doing mini-vomits into your mouth all night long.
LESSON #6: Just shut the fuck up if you’re a homophobe. No matter what your father told you, that gay guy sitting next to you can and will kick your ass.
LESSON #7: If you’re a woman, painting your exposed breasts to look like your favorite animal is not the same as wearing a swimsuit bra. The cops will arrest you … unless you do panda-titties. Everybody loves pandas.
LESSON #8: Playing racecar on your gaming system does not prepare you to do the Tokyo Drift in your mom’s minivan. The insurance-rate hike will be coming out of your college fund.
LESSON #9: “People-watching is my hobby” doesn’t cut it in an airport bathroom. Expect a “swirly facial” to be administered by the big dude in the Giants’ tee-shirt.
LESSON #10: My Muse tends to shart a lot. (Maybe that’s why some folks think I’m a shitty writer.)
LESSON #11: Fucking an inanimate object simply because it can be made to vibrate makes you a freak, not a sexual free spirit. Taking a “selfie” while doing it, doubly so.
LESSON #12: You can call it a “staycation,” but everyone knows you lost the money for the family’s Disneyland trip at the dog track. You’re not fooling anyone.
LESSON #13: No, I’m not giving you “a jump.” I check my car battery before the cold of winter hits so that I don’t have to bother other poor souls just trying to make their way across the parking lot without having to give thought to the automotive electrical issues of some annoyingly inconsiderate prick with a dead heap three spaces over. So fuck you; I’ve got a six-pack and some sea-salt chips to buy. But hey, why not try sliding those jumper cables up your ass while your stoned buddy guns the gas. See if that gets your piece-of-shit salvage-yard reject to turn over.
LESSON #14: Wearing your baseball cap backwards after the age of 30 doesn’t make you look fun or youthful. It simply screams “I’m a loser still living in my mother’s basement and I use my allowance to buy whores.”
LESSON #15: If you’re short, fat and bald, you cannot have a goatee. You think you’re cool, but all that the rest of us see is the head elf from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
LESSON #16: No one thinks you are “urban chic” if you raise chickens inside city limits. They just think you’re a chicken-fucker.
LESSON #17: I hate to break this to you, but zombies aren’t real. Leave a few chainsaws on the shelves at the hardware store for the rest of us.
LESSON #18: Stop buying up all the milk and bread in the grocery store just because the weather-wonk on the local news predicts a snow flurry or two. It’s snow, not acid. Some of us would like to be able to make French toast in the morning.
LESSON #19: If you are not in the military or in the immediate act of hunting, don’t wear camouflage. It makes people want to shoot you in the face.
LESSON #20: No, I don’t think your baby is cute. I came over to your place to get drunk and watch the game, not play peek-a-boo with your obscene progeny. Pull your damn kid and his shit-pants out of the room before I take him to the tiger sanctuary at feeding time.
LESSON #21: No destination is worth the indignities of modern-day air travel.
LESSON #22: Marijuana is no worse to the individual or society than alcohol. So get off your moral high horse and spark up that kine bud.
LESSON #23: Corn is meant to be eaten on the cob. “Niblets” are bullshit.
LESSON #24: Your unholy desire to not just play miniature golf, but demand your family join you, is Satan’s way of telling if you might be a candidate for the Big Lake of Fire sometime down the road.
LESSON #25: The best diet is only successful 13% of the time. Would you go to a mechanic who was able to repair your car only 13% of the time, but made you pay the bill every time? Fuck it; you’re fat. Move on.
Other lessons include: getting over model railroading by the age of 12 is pretty important in order to have any sort of life; accepting that peanut-butter cups are the only perfect candy (No, you can’t have your own opinion. Fuck you.); and that farts are funny. (I don’t know why. They just are.) Oh, and the “interrobang” may be a form of punctuation, but it still sounds as if the result of having sex while the cops grill you about your little public-urination adventure last night.
Well, that just about sums it up. Is my human experience bringing enlightenment to my spiritual being? Maybe it did for Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull. As for me, I’m just not feeling it; I’m still just Chief Crazy Bull. Perhaps I can blame this on the fact that I’ve now impregnated my brain with the knowledge that all those missile silos are still out there in South Dakota.
© 2014 Joseph P. Buonfiglio All Rights Reserved.