Thursday, June 16, 2011

Training Days [Open Office title]

The following is something I wrote while on the way to Chicago.

I'm on a train. This may be the first time for me. Quite honestly, I'm not sure. I feel that maybe, when I was a child, I had been here before. In this arena. The slight shaking and constant moving. I'm sitting down and going sixty miles per hour at the same time. It's different then driving in a car because, well, because it is. It just isn't the same thing. I'm with a bunch of strangers now, or as Tyler Durden calls them, “single-serving friends.”

I can't say that this is fun or interesting, because it's not. It's just a train. It knows where it's going, it knows it's going to get there. There's a bunch of tracks ahead. And we're going to cross every single one of them. It brings me back, though, to my youthy youth. Final Fantasy VII begins in a train. They jump off of it. I don't plan on jumping off this train. I think I'll stay in my seat.

A couple seats ahead some drunk guy and some college experts are discussing the in's and out's of beer bongs and boring southern life, with the drunk guy making an occasional aside about the wings he bought. Other than that there isn't much conversation. A girl to my right addresses letters that she still writes. I have boarded this train after a long near-four hour wait at the station. I realize that waiting four hours in a train station isn't what it used to be. I played Nintendo DS and surfed the web to pass time, all while listening to my favorite music on my iPod. God bless 2010. 2000 would have seen me running out of light for my gameboy while I maybe played solitaire on my then state-of-the-art laptop.

I don't know if we should be excited or scared of the future of technology. Something always goes wrong with technology in movies and books. There's the perpetual notion that technology will be man's undoing. That may be true, as technology now is more powerful than it it's ever been, given the human race's reliance on it.

I've stated before how I want a zombie outbreak to end civilization, and I maintain those sentiments to this day. You only get to die once, you may as well participate in the apocalypse. Is that selfish? Sure. Is it reasonable? Surprisingly, yeah. But winter has made me realize something. Zombies don't bundle up. They would freeze, just like the pieces of a squashed pumpkin. The question is, would they thaw out and return to zombie form? I hope so! Long live the zombie outbreak. (“I'll tell ya, I've been to many-a-bar, many-a-restaurant, and nothing compares to the microwaved hot wings on this train.” -Drunk Guy) The zombie craze needs to fade first. Right now I believe planet earth is at its most prepared for a zombie outbreak. We have a critically acclaimed zombie show on TV. There's something wrong with that. I love The Walking Dead. I watch the hell out of it. I find the tactic of focusing the show on character development smart, but somehow belittling. The most central characters have yet to die and seemingly every character that you can tell is a single-episode character exits via death predictably and bereft of emotion surprise and bitterness. They've popped a couple big balloons but nothing to draw a tear from any watching. In my opinion the show needs to pick up in its second season and the characters need to be had. They need to have some zombies shoved in their face and they need to see no remorse. Kill somebody I like. Leave me wondering why to watch the show. Because the characters will be wondering what they have to live for. So bam. That sounds like a damn good option to me.

But furthermore. Let's advance. You me, and 12,000 other people in America survive the zombie outbreak. What the hell do we do? How do we recover? Mankind is not equipped now to handle a post-apocalyptic scenario. All the technology we now take for granted is great, it really is. But we don't know it. For all the advances we've made in technology I think that, granted not everything burns to the ground, it would still take us half the time to catch up to where we are today. That number comes from the time we colonized America. Technology is now known by a select few who, shall we generalize, aren't equipped to handle the apocalypse. They die out? We start over. Who knows how to make a Macbook? Does anybody know how many years it would take American colonists to make a Macbook? Last time it took them approximately 400 years. I say it takes at least 150 to recreate that feat if we are starting from relative scratch. And that's with the ruins of America providing the blueprints. Gathering the materials is another thing. We need to establish the class system all over again. We need to produce fuel. We need to farm shit again. (We still do that? Oh..) But there are sparse people who know how to produce the technology we rely on so heavily. I will say this. Cars, we have covered. Architecture? Relatively covered. There are things that we are heavily familiar with now. And duplicating the remaining technology will be comparatively simple. But in a post-apocalyptic society (zombies or nukes or what have you), America will be fucked.

We've stopped in Mattoon (hometown of Will Leitch), which means it's time for me to listen to my iPod and take a nap. Going sixty miles an hour. Also fuck this baby in the front seat. I hope it fucking dies.


Nap my ass, let's keep going. Tried it for twenty minutes. Drank some Pepsi. Good to go. Drunk guy now is presumably napping as a couple next to me (including letter girl) tries to work something out. Hope it goes awry, just for the sake of the ride. Single-serving friends. We don't care to give them an epilogue. Which brings me to another point. There are so many people in this world. Holy crap there are a ton. You wanna know how much desire I have to meet all of them? Zero. I want to find people I like. I want to find people I don't like. I want to find people who are good single-serving friends.

Like Dave. Dave is a guy I met on a bus. He was drunk. Drunk and very excited. He was donning a sweater and a sweet hat that you'd see either John Witter or KiD CuDi wear (yes I stylize it, it's cooler that way). He was spouting about his new phrase he invented, “slaying sluts,” and how happy he was to be as drunk as he was. He was tall, lanky, black, and had four to six friends who were all drunk to a lesser degree. Dave was shouting about his new phrase, how cool he was, how cool his dorm's RA is, and got everyone in his vicinity a free round of high-fives that were accompanied by a confirming “slayin' sluts” (I'm sorry for high-fiving him, mom. What can I say? He was on a roll. Also it was funny.) until he offered one to the girl sitting to his right. Showing a shred of dignity, she gave him the cold shoulder, and the bus applauded and laughed. Dave's shoulders sunk and he hung his head in defeat. It was great. Oh Dave. What a great single-serving friend. I met Dave again that next morning. He was up early, like myself. 7:30 in the raw of morning, hungover Dave and hungover Eliot met up and talked about our nights. Dave both won and lost, successfully getting really drunk at a party and then successfully throwing up all over his room when he got home, while I enjoyed a mild buzz at an apartment party that cost five bucks. We waited for breakfast. Breakfast opened at nine. Dave wasn't as funny as the night before. Dave gave a scoffing laugh when I brought up his catchphrase, still a running joke between my roommate, Brian and I. (I think we may be losing this deal with the neighboring couple, as they appear to have made up. Damn.) I decided Dave was as cool as neither John Witter nor KiD CuDi. Single-serving.

We arrive in Effingham, where greeting me is Lupe Fiasco's “Failure,” and leaving me behind is drunk guy. How sad. I love Lupe Fiasco. He's a cool dude. Kanye West's latest album has turned a lot of heads. This, in turn, has turned my head. It's getting rave reviews. It's a good album. It's not great. Kanye gives a full effort for once, and his beats are beautiful, but the rap leaves some to be desired and still isn't as good as what Kanye was producing when he was climbing the mountain and not shouting obscenities off the top of it. Also I think I would chop about 20 minutes of fluffy bullshit off the album if I had the power to edit such things. By no means is it Kanye's best album. I think he's had better ones (and certainly worse ones), but CuDi's first Man on the Moon was equally well produced (despite being less budgeted) [Editor's Note: yeah, I've since changed my mind on this subject.] and no one (except former Classic Brian writer Cory Robinson) found it overly appealing. You indie kids suck at rap.

I guess I stopped writing there. Well, that was fun and easy. Hope you enjoyed.

--Eliot Sill


  1. "You indie kids suck at rap." Fuck you, Eliot. Are you gonna start this war again?


  2. Your initial opinion was the right one, by the way. Go back to that one, fool.

  3. You didn't like Bright Eyes' "The People's Key" as much as you liked "The Suburbs." You suck at indie music.