Humping the American Dream: A Hidden Cross-Section of America

You know, as a kid I always had a vision of what the American dream was. I don’t know exactly where it came from. It may have been media or it may have been the parents that I was – uh – blessed with. But, needless to say,  the vision was always there. It’s funny how I placed such a golden standard on this ideal. How much I had vested in the “land of golden opportunity”.

Kent_Larson_american-dreamIn the vision I had of this Dream, the days were routine. I get up in the morning and immediately shit, shower, and shave. My perfect wife makes me a wonderful breakfast that I eat at a round kitchen table while reading the morning paper and drinking coffee, black. I leave at precisely 7:30 in my mid-size car, but not before kissing my two lovely children on the forehead and bidding them farewell. I spend an hour in traffic and work at a job that I think I like from about 9:00 am till approximately 5:00. During this time, I make copies, stare at a computer screen, send some faxes, and eat a lunch prepared for by my lovely wife. Maybe I even like this job.

punk+norman+rockwell Then, I climb back in my mid-size, family vehicle and make the journey back home while listening to AM radio, in traffic. Once home, I eat dinner at the perfect round table and catch up with the children and their latest school activities. Did you know Johnny made honor roll? Oh shucks! He sure is a darn good kid. After we eat, the kids help out with the dishes, and then we sit on the couch, laughing and watching TV as I drink a beer and Mom has a glass of wine.

Then, we all brush our teeth, wash our faces, and head to our rooms. Goodnights are exchanged, and my lovely wife and I sit up reading for a short spell. Then, we turn to each other, kiss, and make love before falling asleep in each other’s arms.

You know, the key to all of this is the last sentence, minus the arms – and the making love. Yeah, the sleeping part. Then my eyes open, and now I’m twenty-three. I’m definitely in America, and that was most definitely a dream. The alarm clock has been going off for a half an hour and my roommate is standing over me telling me ” Dude, wake up!”

I look at the clock. No time to shower, I’m already so fuckin’ late. I throw on the first pieces of clothing that don’t smell completely like my asscrack and I run out the door. It’s nice that my little Kia Rio still smells like cigarette smoke. I was on a good non-smoking streak there for a little while. Maybe the brakes won’t go out driving down the big hill today. I put fluid in there again what, a week ago? We should be good. I then spend the next hour cursing everyone for being an idiot on the road.

The next 8 hours are a bitter-sweet melody of me hating corporatism, but rationalizing my relevance with myself by stating the mantra over and over again that media marketing is still media. But, it’s not. It’s marketing, and the art is lost. The skills are being taught, but the art is being ignored. But I power through with my 7-11 cheeseburger lunch and my way-too-big- cup of Diet Coke.

When 4:30 rolls around, I get back in my wonderful, white Korean deathtrap and head back home. On the days I don’t work at my other job – the pointless dead-end one; I go home and sit, mindlessly in front of a screen, working on “projects” that I swear give my life some meaning while drinking a root beer out of a glass bottle – ’cause let’s face it, I’m a recovering drunk, and a beer is the last thing I need. Fuck! I’m hungry. Two tacos and a chicken sandwich from Jack-in-the-Box is a great dinner, right?

If I haven’t found anyone to hang out with, I spend the rest of the night on the computer. I then lay in my queen size bed. I lay diagonally, ’cause “that’s what’s cool about being single, right? I then masturbate profusely to hardcore porn and fall asleep in a pool of my own semen.

Needless to say, the American Reality has been a little bit different for me. This is not the life I would’ve picked. And, it is a far cry from the American Dream that I had in mind. But, it is my life, and it’s really not too bad. Now, I know that the demographic of the first example is much older than I, and in a totally different – well, in a totally different decade really. But what is the American Dream? Is it assessing myself as content or successful based on my own subjective standards? Is it that vision I had as a youth; or is it simply an excuse to go forward and keep grabbing for the carrot? I think the main problem with the American Dream is that it can’t really be defined. Because it isn’t real. It’s a fucking dream. You know, like the one you have where you jump off the bridge and start flying? But, just like with those dreams, you always end up free falling through the muck and mire, falling with a definite thump into your own bed, in your own room, with your own life, in the real world. No folks, the American Dream is taking the time to look at oneself and say “Self, who the fuck am I and who the fuck do I want to be?”

As time goes by, my 1950s, white picket fence dream dissolves and is replaced by a more updated, yet still simple vision. A vision that will be achieved when I earn it.  When I become the person that deserves it and wants to work for it; and when I respect myself enough to become the man who can take on the responsibilities that the vision lays out. The problem with the American Dream is not only is it completely subjective based on many different factors, but it is in fact a dream, a perception. Once we stop “Humping the American Dream” and start nurturing our own realities, we can live the life we’ve always wanted. And, that my friends is the American Reality.

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Toe On The Trigger Podcast by Toe On The Trigger Podcast is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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My Forecast of What’s to Come For TotT

      Last night, we wrapped up the fifth episode of TotT. At 12:00 am last night, as I was finishing up some post-production, I thought a little bit about what I can do to make this the best for myself, the crew and the listeners. The number of listeners is growing steadily, and I’m hoping it continues that way. Our clips on Soundcloud our definitely boosting listenership, and we’re getting some feedback from the community there. But what got me thinking is: What do I really crave from this whole experience? The answer of course is audience participation and interaction.

     What does that mean? It means, that it’s time to expand the quality and quantity of our content and continue having an open dialogue with our listeners. The process has already begun for the former. The production crew is already working hard to put together backlogged videos of all of our episodes. We also have some behind-the scenes footage and some extras that we have shot while out-and-about that we will be posting to our YouTube page.
      We’re also in the pre-production stages of a pretty funny promotional video that we’re hoping will launch in the next few weeks. We also have some talks of starting up a live platform for people who want to tune in live and join the conversation in realtime. Again, please stick around for these features.
     I’m also in the process of fine-tuning the website to be a bit more user-friendly for our mobile users, as well as putting more content up. The other question that is floating around is whether or not we should have a mailing list to keep our subscribers up-to-date about the latest that TotT is working on. Is this something that you’d be interested in?
     Another idea that is up for serious consideration is whether we should release weekly episodes. We understand that two weeks may be too long of a time for our loyal listeners to wait in between episodes. I’ve gotten a few bits of feedback from people stating that they can’t wait two weeks to hear what’s next, and I say “Why should they have to?”
     So, I guess the question I pose to you guys is ” Are these the things that you want to see?” If not, why?  Is there anything you’d like more of? All of these questions are what I do TotT for. I am here for you, the listener.
     A very important rule for all media is: Always have a call to action. Since I’m not too into formalities, I will ask in a most informal way.  For all those who have subscribed and who listening regularly, I am grateful. If you like what you hear on TotT, please, tell your friends to check us out, share a post or two. Let’s grow this community together.
     There are many ways you can start this community.Besides of course liking and subscribing,, I would love to see feedback from everybody. Rate us on your favorite podcast directory. Tell us what you think about what we’re doing. Leave a comment on Facebook, Twitter, or even the little-known world of Google Plus. We also have a comment section at the bottom of our webpage where you can drop us some love. Also, don’t hesitate to leave us a voicemail at (863) 546-8688. It is setup for you to leave us feedback. Don’t hesitate to use it.
As for me, I have my own calls to action. My own vows, if you would. I hope to bring you guys, honest and sincere content. I also hope to get to know all of you, present and future and to build connections. Until the next post, go out there and live your life.
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Toe On The Trigger Podcast by Toe On The Trigger Podcast is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.toeonthetrigger.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.toeonthetrigger.com.

What’s With the Name

     When Nugget, Mike and I sat down to start putting together this podcast, our first thoughts were of course “Well, what do we name it?” We mulled over a lot of different ideas. Our first attempt at podcasting was with a podcast that we called “Suck Today’s Dick – or, “STD”, for short. This little experiment was our attempt to portray a small cross-section of American youth. Wait . . . That’s bullshit. It was five friends rambling. We got the name from the movie Pineapple Express, so I can’t claim that it had any real, true meaning. What it was though was five friends who got together and shared their views on various topics. Topics that get people riled up. The experiment was social in nature, and could’ve been something big, but it only made it to two and a half episodes.
     What killed STD was fear. Fear that people would know who we really were, what we really stood for. That we were living, breathing sexual beings with opinions and attitudes that may sometimes slide away from the tip of the bell curve. What killed us was the worry of other people’s’ insecurities, other people’s’ fears.
     So, when Nugget, Mike and I sat down to come up with another podcast, we had to think some things over. What was our demographic? Who were we marketing this to? We wanted to stay away from age and lead more to social status. It’s clear that “younger generation” are a lot more progressive than the generation before; but, even that progression; we feel is becoming a problem. One thing that we did know was that if were going to follow through with this, there would be no censorship. There would be no “fixing it in post”. Whatever we said would be published, raw and in its entirety. It was agreed that if there was something we felt we shouldn’t say, don’t say it.
     The name “Toe on the Trigger” started out as joke between the three of us. Whenever we heard people complaining, whenever somebody would get overly sensitive about a topic, or somebody who had just censored themselves to a level of boring, we would say “Barrel in the mouth, toe on the trigger”. We would often mime the action of loading any number of different weapons – whether it be a pistol, a shotgun, and even a cannon at one point – and firing them upon ourselves. This would represent the act of cleansing ourselves from the utter waste of time we felt we were enduring.
      As we were doing the original prep for the show, we reached a point where we hit a wall – I don’t quite remember what it was – and Mike said something about “Toe on the Trigger”. Nugget immediately chimed in with “Hey! why don’t we call our podcast that!” We immediately loved it, even though we went through the motions of putting on our list of possibilities, we knew it was right. After awhile of thinking of really stupid names, we decided that it, indeed, was the best name. The next question was, of course: How do we integrate a podcast into this name, and how do we portray what it means? We had to own it.
     Obviously, one of the very first concerns that popped up out of this was whether or not other people would find the name too . . . offensive (There’s that word) to even pay attention to. What if people thought it was glorifying suicide?  We asked around on different forums; friends, family and so forth. After many mixed reviews, we came to the conclusion that if we were worried about what people thought about the name of the podcast, not only did we have no business making the damn thing, but the people who cared wouldn’t be our target audience to begin with.
     And that is really the reason we chose to stick with the name. There is this theme in society today, especially the media, that everybody needs to be politically correct. That feelings need to be spared, that everybody should live wrapped in cotton and protected from things that hurt. This is not how change occurs. People are being protected from . . . Well, people! From themselves. With or without their permission! Freedom of expression is slowly eroding away. It is being replaced by this imposter that proclaims freedom of expression toward the trends of babying varying diversities, while bashing those that express themselves differently. Labels like “homophobe”,”racist”, and “bigot” are thrown onto people who simply have a differing belief. This causes people to stay silent and hide from their opinions, falling again into the herd; to be led to slaughter.
     There is a disease in society right now. This disease of hypersensitivity. The point of TotT is not to desensitize people, but to make them question their sensitivities.I can only speak for myself in this, but I would like to think that my goal in TotT is to to question the so-called “moral absolutes” that we’re told we must live by. Toe on the Trigger is really a reminder. A reminder that at any given moment, you can choose to pull that trigger to blow society out the back of your head and start over. A fresh slate. It is an attempt to get you to ask what you feel and what you believe.  I belief that it’s okay to be offensive. It’s okay to be offended. The problem is, most people don’t know why they’re offended. They have been so bombarded by the media, by peers, etc. that they don’t base the feelings off of actual experiences. I don’t really want to offend, I really just want to know why you’re offended.
     In reality, our slogan “Your toe’s on the trigger, we’re here to keep you from pulling it,” is really more so implied in the physical sense, I guess. Metaphorically, I would say it’s more or less encouraged. I say “Why not pull the trigger?” In order to be reborn, one must first die. So, the choice is yours. Will you pull it?

“The world is like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down, around and around, it has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly colored, and it’s very loud, and it’s fun for a while. Many people have been on the ride a long time, and they begin to wonder, ‘Hey, is this real, or is this just a ride?’ And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and say, ‘Hey, don’t worry; don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride.’ And we … kill those people.

‘Shut him up! I’ve got a lot invested in this ride, shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry, look at my big bank account, and my family. This has to be real.’

It’s just a ride. But we always kill the good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok … But it doesn’t matter, because it’s just a ride. And we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings of money. Just a simple choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one. Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.”

– Bill Hicks

Creative Commons License
Toe On The Trigger Podcast by Toe On The Trigger Podcast is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.toeonthetrigger.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.toeonthetrigger.com.