Livin’ in the good old days

 

It seems that a lot of people including myself feel great nostalgia for the good old days which we were too young to have any genuine appreciation for. This can be for something as simple as old timey nineties music I was barely old enough to remember. Alternatively it can be as large as feeling nostalgia for whole ways of life, and I’m sure we’ve all felt this, for say, being a swashbuckling pirate in the age of sail.

Obviously this is obvious, everyone on the face of the planet except anti-torrent legislators want to be a pirate in some way. However, its strange to think that we long for this backward, pestilent, hard life of crime and pain. Still, those romantic notions of exploring the unknown, free from the rule of international law, always win through. The challenge can add to the reward. Humans just can’t be comfortable being comfortable, it seems.

“Sure I was a sex object without basic human freedoms, I wouldn’t go back” says grandma, “but it was ever so quaint, ooh you don’t get cheese dixie dances like you used to…”

The good old days are full of these paradoxical compromises. We strive for a better world so we can be a bit bored and disappointed with it. For instance, we lament the disparity of wealth in the world and yet the image of the eighties corporate playboy washing down the coke snuffed down off a woman’s belly with a glug of grange straight from the bottle is somehow glamorous. It’s all a game I guess, and it’s only fun if someone’s losing, otherwise no one can be winning.

Alcohol was never as fun as it seems it was in the Prohibition era. The crime and danger adds to the thrill. Farming was never as fun as cowboys made it out to be, and that was mainly due to the likelihood of getting shot or lynched for no good reason. Sex in the sixties…well I guess STD risk is the exception to these things, not too nostalgic for the aids epidemics in the eighties, but the drugs were new. I like disco….

All this nostalgia for something we only know from what others tell us about it. It can make us look at the boring old world around us today. Sure we have phones, but they get boring pretty quick. It’s a computer in my hand, yay, time to watch cat vids with it. Drones are cool, but you need a license. Bloody safety. Everything is tarnished with process and bureaucracy. Freedom isn’t real, we aren’t trusted to not kill ourselves, for good reason, but it still sucks. I guess that’s why Americans are so desperate to cling to their gun laws. It’s a personal freedom that they need purely because it doesn’t make safety sense to keep it. It’s a choice they make as adults. They can feel the rules are still their’s for the making.

Despite housing affordability crises, more and more tariffs on booze and cigs and spending more of your life looking at a screen indoors, there is something to look forward to.

Good news, the future will be worse! 🙂 yay, that’s right, all the amazing technology will be drab, all the rules will be stifling, and it will still seem as busy and problem-riddled as ever.

Aren’t you lucky you live now. You’ll be old then, you won’t have to deal with that shit. No, you can just sit around and complain about how you used to be able to drive the car yourself with controls instead of telling it where to go, it was much more fun. And you will be able to rely on the modern medical technology to extend the time you have to tell all the kids how you were so much better than them at their age. Because no matter how shit it is now, it can get worse. So little things like riding a push bike without needing a road license and a rego slip might be the coolest thought in the world to those upstart little future kids.

“I built a billy cart and burnt dinosaur-juice just to cut grass with whirling knifes when I was young” you can tell them. Sparklers and candles, will be tales of the elicit and dangerous activities kids used to be allowed to do. That’s right. We used to take all our nicotine by burning it! Fancy that!!! They won’t believe you. “I remember when they started being electronicalised” you’ll groan. “They were great big things, had to be to hold the battery.”

Getting old is only any good because the world around you is shittier than before. So if you start lamenting the way the world is going, remember that’s a good thing and live up the good old days.

-W

 

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A car wrecker’s yard is likely the closest you will come to space.

Car wrecking businesses in Australia are starting to feel the cold hand of bureaucratic oppression which is only the start of the fall from their lofty place in Romantic modern society. Cars really are the most futuristic and potent of all adventure tools. You can live within a mechanopod of comfort, fun and purpose when you are in a car. With societies’ love and even dependence on this fantasy come to life, that is the car, we can have swathes of people able to live nothing but these fantastical machines. Mechanics, panel beaters, fuel stations, parts shops and of course, car wreckers. The fact that you can make good money from all the parts of a machine that can’t otherwise be kept running viably is a throwback to when people cared about things. Hard working people maintained garden tools instead of swigging back another Mount-Franklin on your fifth daily smoko to whinge about how politicians are failing to uphold your ideals for environmental sustainability before going to Bunning’s to replace another bloody shovel. The car wrecker is that crazy old caricature who has a bunch of junk to sell to keep you moving at incredible speeds while sitting in comfort, safety, and technological wonder.

Walking into a wrecker’s yard is like walking in to a utopian retro-future. If you want to feel like you live in Star Wars the best thing you can do is drive a car to a wrecker’s yard and revel in the brief moment before the wrecker answers your query “My R2 unit has a bad motivator, and do you have a protocol droid which speaks Batching?” After all, cars are, for all intents and purposes, spaceships. Well it’s not that stupid; they move people around through spatial dimensions. That’s true. They might not be ships though. Call them spacecraft then, humour me. They have an engine bay, which is the car’s primary chemical reactor. It unleashes the power of controlled explosions to propel the craft at speeds hitherto undreamt of by snails and sloths. The battery is the secondary chemical reactor full of acid and shit, required for the ignition sequence for the primary reactor. It also powers the primary navigation beams and beacons, the headlights and blinkers. Windy windows control internal air pressure of the cabin in the craft where belts hold the passengers in place because of the incredible forces they are subject to (or maybe that’s just me). The things are packed full of future stuff, and they are also so readily available that any old star hustler can pick one up and go on an adventure to distant locations in the blink of a ten hour drive.

What do these machines run on you might ask? What mystical substance can produce such incredible power and unleash such blinding energy? Well that is a refined fluid millions of years old buried deep beneath the earth and formed from the remnants of incredible beasts and forests the likes of which astound and awe the imaginations of the mortals who unleash its improbable cosmic energy! Cars are better than you, face it. An ancient substance so valuable is mined from sandy wastelands to bring great riches to desert nations in order to propel the civilisations of the modern world, which wails out at any disruption to supply “The spice must flow!”

Now that we have the big picture in mind, back to the point. Car wrecking is undoubtedly the cheapest and most satisfying industry surrounding the automotive scene. This is because they are the ones who see the most value. They take the shitty bombs and even burnt out wrecks and turn them into value. They recycle, cannibalise and maintain, more than any other. This is why they are the best. They are the ones who spread the adventure of cars to the farthest reaches of society. A lowly slum lad, or desert farm boy, can get a bomb and keep it running, make it better and have more fun because the adventure is there for the taking, just as the wreckers took the cars no one wanted and saw their value. That said, I’m sure wreckers aren’t shitty philosophers, wasting time writing joke articles online, they aren’t snooty or anything, they are regular people living better than most people because their lives are full of wonder, or broken CV joints, whatever.

However, Australian society, especially NSW, is trying to stifle the populace’s will to live, and in so doing they have started already to wrap their masturbatory fingers around the freedom of our hero, the car wrecker. If you’ve been to one recently you’ll notice that there is white marker on every panel and pane of the heaped vehicles there. The RTA keeps tabs on every part, EVERY PART. So they can track down the stolen plans of their secret battle station, no doubt. I actually have no idea why, probably to give someone a job typing up serial numbers in the name of safety or something.

Reality sucks.

-W