Then, the starter pistol fired.
My opponent, Zambini, shot out ten feet or yards or so, and then, turned back. He walked back to me, standing at the starting line and asked, "Why, my little friend? Why you no want to race now? Your feets are not so big now, are they, my little man, ah ha ha?!"
Then a look of clam-shells came over his face, as he looked down and saw me holding an Egyptian cup of Java, holding a copy of the Beijing Times, and kicking away a horde of tiny Javanese prostitutes...
"Impossible!" he exclaimed. And then I said,
"You haven't been reading my LJ posts about superluminal information-transfer and teleportation via controlled quantum entanglement using basic discrete biological systems!"
"No," he said. "I stopped reading your journal because you kept posting all those political links which were mainly alt right fake news, if you ask me. Foot!"
"I didn't ask you," I laughed, and then gladly received a lei holding the city's key, from the hands of none other than Scott Walker, the inventor of Norwegian hard liquor, and avowed closet homosexual. Immediately, a ticker-tate parade followed, showering us all with reams of seemingly endless streams of Kimberly-Clark toilet paper. On the house. Better than mushrooms. Oh what a joy to live in Wisconsin.
But I also lived in Pennsylvania, which is similar. Working class, Germanic, trees, beer, cheese, brats, Mothman, etc. People go to NY to meet the movers and shakers. People go to PA to meet the Shakers and Quakers. In the land that Benjamin Franklin forgot, because he was dead, things moved a little more slowly than NYC, or anywhere else. When I moved there, I was like, "This is just the same small, slow-town stupidity as in the rust-belt Midwest - except a lot bigger. Why would anyone choose to move here, who also sought progress or acceleration? One man from NYC said to me, "You know why I moved to Philadelphia? Because of the slower pace. Pace. It's slower.... I like the slower... pace... here... Compared to NYC. It's a slower... pace..."
And I'm like, "I NEED TO MOVE AHEAD WITH MY LIFE RIGHT NOW OR DIE!"
Faster than a duck on a cannonball, I shot down the lunch-hour sidewalks of Philadelphia, but was thwarted at every maneuver by large lumbering knees and caustic skewering glares from sauntering office-worker women who were indistinguishable from rustic furniture displaced by some sudden eruption of molten lava. If the streets of Philadelphia were a pinball game, I was like some hummingbird on the outside, banging against the glass. I was like a drowning bobble-head going down in a sea of nattering nabobs of nay-saying fartknockers. Like a fly in molasses. Progress here was just like progress anywhere: It only happened at the top, outside of the endless stream of hollow men.
"But this is the Big City! This is America! What about all that Ronald Reagan stuff?! When does the Freedom begin?!"
I guess I just walk too fast.
There are some things I like about Philly. Coffee. Bagels. Anarchists. The old graves downtown. The Art Museum. The Free Library. The University.
But, most people there act like they are sitting on top of the grave of Benjamin Franklin, whom everyone adores, of course! But, for fear of waking him up, they have abandoned all spirit towards enquiry and invention. I think the last time this city rocked was possibly back when Elton John sang about, "Philadelphia Freedom!" But, for a long time, nobody hears a lot about Philadelphia anymore, right? You hear about Charleston. Or New Orleans. Chicago, of course. But, it is like whatever was going on in Philly - whatever growth was spiring - it's all done now. It has moved on to newer cities.
Soul music moved in at about the same time that enterprise moved out.
For a while, I lived in German-Town, which was the dregs of the dregs. All businesses had been shut down. Graffiti and shootings. Drugs and homeless. Glass and needles everywhere. For miles and miles: broken down buildings - homes and businesses - boarded up, broken into. The train would fly by all this - and sometimes I would be on it - protected by its own flood of internal light, shining out like some kind of alien oasis on wheels, ever evading. Like a glow-stick in a mud-foggy night.
City rot. Everywhere. Nothing to emulate, here. Things would break and fall apart all about, and the venture pioneers, the status quo lamest of the lame, continuing to bring in the bucks, would just move into more and more central buildings - building up higher and higher. So, Center City continued to grow tall and emerald and flashy - but below! Below continued to swell the great rising mass of broken small businesses and homes and homeless. So, to all the world, Philly was doing business - better than ever! But the wider shot showed that the net gain was a gross loss, by everyone. And this is how it has been going, all around America - but I saw it happen here earlier on.
I looked at what was going on and I concluded: "The future of American Capitalism is dismal." What more did I see? Well, I hope to tell you more soon...