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”.
In 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.
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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