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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

NASCAR Diaries
Part 2

Legal troubles forced me into lifestyle changes in the late Summer of 1997. Starting around then and continuing for the next eighteen months I was forced to pee into a glass jar in the basement of the county courthouse once every two weeks, while my probation officer watched to make sure that I wasn't putting in a chemical additive to cleanse my pee sort of like how Gumout or STP cleans out your car's fuel injection system.

Without THC, MDMA, methamphetamine, psilocybin, LSD, or cocaine in my system, I found myself less amused with just sitting around listening to music or wandering aimlessly outside in the middle of the night with others under the influence of those substances. I started drinking a hell of a lot more and was really taking a liking to the do homework, then get drunk, then wake up hungover lifestyle. My brain seemed to be waking up and my grades reflected it. For extracurricular activities, I turned to what I remembered liking in my early years: sports. I never stopped following the Red Wings or Michigan football, but I dove head first back into baseball, basketball, and Lions football. It was this period that I met Arnie "the beekeeper" Soloman, who lived nearby me and my gf at the time and was also in some of my classes. Arnie was also into drinking, watching sports, bbq'ing meat, and smoking cigarettes. We used to get drunk and go throw the baseball around pretty regularly. Almost every day I would go to the batting cages at putt-putt golf and games and hit the shit out of the fast pitch, like I was getting ready for high school baseball season or was a pedophile and just liked being around lots of little kids. Somehow I thought I was pretty good at hitting and fielding so I went to an open Tigers tryout. I showed up in jeans and a tee-shirt. For some reason I didn't make the team...maybe it was because I'm white. Fucking racists.

So anyway, all the shit above is supposed to hammer home the point that I shifted from being obsessed with drugs to sports and alcohol in a short period of time. I couldn't get enough of the Tigers my first Summer following them again, even though they were a below average team. Sometimes on Saturdays and Sundays I would be driving in my Honda Accord, waiting for the 1:05 Tiger game to come on the air, only to find out that it was not going to be on because of a goddamn NASCAR race. Fucking NASCAR! I would pound the shit out of my dashboard, cursing the radio station. Who the hell made the decision to broadcast a stupid hillbilly sport over the Ernie Harwell announced Tigers game? How could there be enough rednecks in my town to justify this? It wasn't just during races either. The local radio station would interrupt The Tony Kornheiser show late morning to give thirty minutes of NASCAR news. Sometimes a Tiger game wouldn't be on because of NASCAR qualifying too!

I didn't understand the popularity of this 'sport' and why it was being forced upon me so hard. I knew that it was popular among the large white trash segment of the population from my exposure to on TNN it in my early years, but how had it seeped into everyday life like this? How the hell was it masquerading as legitimate entertainment? How had, in a span of five or so years, had the average American been dumbed down enough to embrace it? My main problems with NASCAR were the following:
- they just drove around in circles for hours and hours--how was this difficult, exactly?
- it appeared to be nothing but a four hour event consisting of advertisements for everyday products going around in circles really fast.
- the announcers said 'wreck' instead of 'crash' and 'the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet' instead of 'Tony Stewart'. this made me cringe.
- I could sort of accept people watching the race in person and on tv, but listen on the radio? how was that entertaining at all? if it was, why couldn't they just put it on the country music station and stay the fuck away from ESPN radio?

In part 3 I will attempt to explain how I went from hating NASCAR and every person, place, thing, and idea associated with it to checking for Daytona 500 qualifying news at least five times yesterday and planning for rushing out after work this Thursday to catch the second Gatorade Duals race.

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  • At 9:59 PM, Blogger Corduroy Dream said…

    if this is what going cold turkey from drugs does to a once respected member of society, then pray for me. because i'm going out tonight with one goal in mind -- to program even more drug dealers' numbers into my cell.


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