Hubris weighs in on bin Laden’s death

I am Hubris the Great – just ask me.

It took the full extent of my greatness to guide my dearest Virago through the past week. I may have hinted to my readers that the love of my life and I met in a rehab clinic, and that we both left that seething den of recycled cliché vowing to replace our addictions with an addiction to each other. That premise was tested in the days following demise of Osama bin Laden.

What happened was that Virago saw the televised bin-Laden-is-dead celebrations. She saw the drunken, pot-bellied men holding a beer in one hand and pointing with the other hand to the USA logo on their stretched T-shirt; hot young girls, who had never experienced a second of self-sacrifice for a cause larger than their beauty-magazine-inspired micro-dramas, mounted on the shoulders of gullible male coeds and holding aloft signs reading “USA is Number One!”; and alcohol-crazed male proletarians turning over cars to demonstrate their machismo, especially in the wake of having rejected the advances of Armed Forces recruiters. In sum, the hedonistic orgy of unjustified congratulation made Virago want to join the party, and then some, which, for my lady, would not have stopped at a few beers and a blowjob delivered to the nearest U.S. Marine.

“Hubris,” said Virago, puffing on a cigarette with the abandon of an Arkansas mother of six going to town on a full plate of cheese nachos, “I’m having an Event Horizon Moment. Help.”

An Event Horizon Moment is a term I created to describe those times when my ex-party girl is being pulled into the black hole of a monumental bender. At such times, I apply a Hubris-powered tractor-beam to her psyche and haul her away from the pull of this all-consuming gravity field.

“My Siren!” I said, standing at center stage of our modest living room. “Remember that these bellowing blowhards are just looking for an excuse to celebrate something, anything. One night they are taking to the streets, beer in hand, to toast the assassination of a rich Saudi, when, on the preceding night, they were doing the same for other reasons, perhaps in honor of their favorite sports team winning a game, or their least favorite celebrity getting jilted by a lover. They may have downed shots of Jack Daniels because they performed the gaudy feat of vacuuming the rug in the foyer, or because they got a B on a multiple choice exam in Music Appreciation class, or because they taught their infant son to say ‘ga’ after ‘goo.’ Look at me. I am by far the most intelligent, perceptive man in the history of the Universe, which is truly something of a marvel, but do you see me pumping my fist in Kenmore Square after having run up a one hundred dollar tab at the Philistine Bar and Grill because I was able to conflate the writings of Herodotus, Gibbon and Wittgenstein?”

Virago was executing short, intense nods, and was beginning to go easier on the cancer-stick.

“Yet these raucous celebrants –“ I pointed to the TV screen that was depicting three South Boston goons  wearing the obligatory backward baseball cap and yelling truncated phrases into the camera that, when translated into sound English, expressed the belief that they were in fact the heroes of the hour – “yes, these buffoons are taking credit not only for something they didn’t do but also for something they could never do in a million years. How? By employing the clever modern America trick of transferring the accomplishments of real heroes onto their own limited abilities. Their only talent is to imagine themselves – with the aid of a huge infusion of alcohol – as the protagonist in the ongoing movie based on how they saved the world for democracy. The Navy Seal Team Six were the ones who carried out the implausible mission to infiltrate Pakistan, put a bullet through bin Laden’s head and then abscond with Al Qaeda intelligence – not, mind you, weak-willed dolts. The Seals can almost be considered anti-American in that they do not give in to their every epicurean appetite, do not wear over-sized shirts not tucked into their pants, do not hunch over to make a point. Nor do they take credit for their own amazing feats, much less those of other people. What I am saying is that the Seals do not get hammered at the slightest excuse.”

I knelt down and took Virago’s hand. She put out her butt, and gave me a resigned smile.

“You’re the craziest fuck I’ve ever met, Hube. Only you would see it that way.”

“My sweet, just answer me this: Would a Seal act like an idiot in Kenmore Square? Would a Seal over-turn a car because he was happy?”

Virago’s smile progressed to a brighter shade, which, for my usually unsmiling flower, was still one-tenth the wattage of Kelly Ripa at the news that Regis just got a colonoscopy.

“Let’s get a coke and burger,” she said. “For the Seals.”

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Hubris trains to punch in the face of Donald Trump

I am Hubris the Great.

You, my disciples, my supplicants, my readers, should remember that Virago had bought me three personal training sessions at her gym, Eternal Fitness and Beyond – and that I surprised my dearest love by not only doing more than one push-up but also more than 30, the same number of fertilized eggs in the zygotic career of Nadya Suleman. I call Virago the apotheosis of womanhood because she can, with a straight face, do one thing and preach an opposite philosophy, quite a metaphysical feat. Two nights ago, she demonstrated such cerebral gymnastics by putting out her second cigarette within a ten-minute span and then turning to me, Hubris, to say that I needed to make an appointment for my second fitness session. How could I say no to such ethical virtuosity?

I met my trainer, the sexually ambiguous Petra, last night to honor my commitment but with a prevision.

“Petra,” I announced, “I want to dedicate this session to preparing me for a bare-knuckled ultimate-style fight bout with Donald Trump.”

Petra flashed her enamel-enriched smile, and asked, “Is that your fitness goal, Hubris?”

“Yes, my kick-boxing female fitness mentor. I want to, first, reconfigure Trump’s stupid head of hair into pigtails separated by a vast bald dome; second, to punch that stupid face while lecturing him on why filing for one bankruptcy after another is not the definition of success; and third, to drag his stupid excuse of a body to the Oval Office so to allow President Obama to roll up his birth certificate and shove up the ass of the Donald…So where do we start?”

I had to admire how fast Petra adapted to the demands of a client the likes of which she had never had the fortune to behold during all her cookie-cutter fitness career. She bounced a little from side to side in the tom-boy version of a professor biting on the ends of his spectacles while mulling over the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Then she reassumed her authoritative role, and led me to a corner of the gym.

“Okay, Hubris, in order to hold Trump’s head in place while at the same time wrestling with the strength of what has to be hair-spray sprinkled with iron or steel or something…”

“I would venture a tungsten additive.”

“All right, tungsten it is. Either way, you will need  a lot of hand and forearm strength.”

Petra proceeded to show me various exercises meant to tighten my grip with the purpose of allowing me to break and bend a follicular arrangement made static via heavy metals. My thinking was that putting pigtails on Trump would be like revealing the man behind the curtain as just a sorry, pathetic soul, though I have always wondered why his crude philistine worldview has never been enough to convince the public that he is nothing more than a big chimp screeching from one of the many gilded properties bearing his name but that are in truth owned by the bankruptcy court.

Next Petra punched my upper arm, which felt like being struck a host of Visigoths employing a battering-ram on the door of mud hut.

“Did that hurt, Hubris?”

My arm had gone number than a logician confronted by a sentence from the mouth of Sarah Palin, and I conveyed this information to my trainer/assailant, to which she said:

“Now imagine your arm being Donald Trump’s face.”

I nodded at the success of Petra’s show-don’t-tell lessen. Thereafter she taught me that to deliver a devastating punch requires strong chest and triceps muscles, to say nothing of the smooth transition of force from the thighs to the gluteus maximus to the obliques. Petra went on to posit that if I was ever to truly cave in the smarmy face of that shit-head masquerading as a mogul, I would have to do the following exercises: bench presses, triceps pull-downs, leg-extensions, squats and lateral crunches.

“Petra, as for the last leg of Trump’s punishment, I was thinking that, as a good American citizen, I should do the President’s dirty work and be the one who rams the Executive birth certificate up the Trumpian chute, albeit with our Commander and Chief as the appreciative audience.”

“That’s fine,” chirped Petra. “Well then, first you should work on your cardio so you can drag that lifeless, doughy body across the White House lawn. Second, I would think that the actual shoving of the presidential birth document would involve a curling motion. Simple dumbbell curls would take care of that.”

I thanked my trainer for a fruitful and positive session, to which she issued her mandatory response of saying “Good job!” accompanied by a hearty round of hand-clapping.

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Hubris disses Saints and Sainthood

I am Hubris the Great, and sometimes people – in particular, those automatons who breathe heavily when watching TV – do not understand that there is a method to my scintillating madness. There are some who ask Virago why she, a pretty woman with flashing brown eyes, is involved with such a nutcase like Hubris, a guy who dropped out of MIT, Harvard and Bunker Hill Community College; while others ask me, Hubris, a demi-god, what I am doing with a woman who used to run with a biker club and who went through a harrowing ordeal with drug addiction. I will answer this question in more dramatic detail in future blogs, especially the triumphant moment when we first touched hands, and, with that one touch, both our lives were transformed for the better – since that was the moment I went off psych meds and my Virago never again felt the demonic enticement of recreational drugs.

The question I will answer today is the charge that I am so adrift in grand thoughts that I think Virago is a saint. According to the dolt-population of the Boston area, I shout out this sentiment for all to hear from my portable mountaintop. What these dolts fail to grasp with their molasses-clogged neural network is that I have never called Virago a saint. What I call her is the most beautiful, charming goddess ever to stride the bends and curves of the space-time continuum – that she is poetry, she is song, she is art personified. She is my sun, my moon, my asteroid belt. I abstain from the adjective “saint-like” because I loathe saints.

Saints make great stories and may have done a bit of good here and there, like St. Francis teaching animals the difference between a conjunction and a preposition, but they are horrible people to invite over to your house for tea, or even a Patriots game. Saints make it their self-appointed mission to save humanity, when in most cases it is humanity that must be saved from saints. St. Paul is credited for his entrepreneurial prowess in building the nascent Christian empire, but at the same time he managed to transfer his inborn asexuality into the households of married couples, who, because of the saint, were made to feel guilty about the biological act – and don’t get me started on the two-thousand-year set-back he dealt the female half of the species.

Then there were the early martyr saints, for example Saint Stephen, who was stoned to death at the behest of Saul of Tarsus, who went on the blossom into no other than St. Paul. Remember, though, that saints are always given a speaking platform before suffering some gruesome fate. Stephen was no exception. His last words: “Which one of the Prophets did your fathers not persecute, and they killed the ones who prophesied the coming of the Just One, of whom now, too, you have become betrayers and murderers.” Now, dear reader, imagine this guy at a Midwestern wedding reception? “I would like to make a toast to Alice and Eddie, who, let’s face it, betrayed their fathers by hiring a band called ‘Peanut Brittle.’”

Or if you really like your saints cooked over a warm fire of total weirdness, then your man has to be Saint Paul the Hermit, who lived in a cave in the Theban Desert for 100 years, his only company being a raven who brought the lazy bum a loaf of bread on a daily basis, as if the raven would not have been better off getting a life of his own and telling the Hermit, “Nevermore.” I don’t even want to think of this guy at Alice and Eddie’s wedding reception, what with him probably bringing the goddamn raven as his date.

You see, saints are autocratic by nature. St. Dominic, St. Benedict and St. Francis were the founders of the first monasteries – in other words, cults that ruined the neighborhood. These so-called saints unleashed mendicant monks – a fancy word for creative beggars – on surrounding communities. The difference between these idle nuisances and the guy who wipes down your windshield at a stoplight is that the former is a voodooist who tells you that St. Dominic, St. Benedict or St. Francis will sway the Lord to send you to the Eternal Bonfire if you do not fork over a few alms. That’s right, saints were the first extortionists.

One can call Mother Teresa of Calcutta the biggest self-promoter since Oscar Wilde – and at least Oscar would have shined at Alice and Eddie’s wedding by holding up a glass and, saying: “The proper basis for marriage is mutual misunderstanding, or better, Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.” Meanwhile, Teresa would show up with TV cameras in tow in order to give Alice a stern lecture on the sins of contraceptives and abortion so that, someday, we can all live in over-crowded, unhealthy, poverty-stricken conditions so that Des Moines can be like Calcutta.

There are even people who aspire to sainthood while youngsters and then later are revealed as callous thugs. Joe Queenan is a writer of witty venom – actually one of my favorite writers – a man who went over the top in making it his life’s mission to destroy Don Knots, John Tesh and Dan Aykroyd. These three men were harmless individuals whose only crime was to solidify white trash culture as the dominant force in America, but Queenan treated them as war criminals and hounded them into their respective professional graves. My point? Queenan started off as a seminary student with designs of becoming a saint.

Oh, there was another seminary student, a saint-wannabe, who ended up showing the world his true ruthless and murderous self – and his name was Josef Stalin.

No, my Virago is no saint, thank you very much. She is kind and cool, modest and generous. She keeps to herself, meaning she has no desire to screw with the heads of millions of people just so she can someday be beatified by the Catholic Church. The only person she looks after is me, Hubris the Great, and I look after her, Virago the Beautiful.

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Hubris wonders about the “good guy in the locker room”

I am Hubris the Great…but sometimes even I am at a loss to understand the American zeitgeist. I have overheard – on more than one occasion, come to think of it – a phrase that seems like a compliment from the sound of the inflection, but, to me, seems more like a polite way of saying that someone has the moral depravity of a Boston councilman. The phrase is a sports colloquialism, and it is this: “He’s a good guy to have in the locker room.” Or: “He’s a good locker room guy.”

At first glance – followed by a quick casting of the eyes away from such a sordid scene — a “good guy in the locker room” would indicate a naked man among other naked men, a preening man eager to please unclothed men. I am in tune enough with the common folk to know that homophobia is on the wane, but not so much in the realm of hairy-chested, brawny men whipping around various balls, like footballs, baseballs and basketballs. To these dull brutes, a gay man cavorting among them in the locker room would warrant total ostracism followed by the mother of all wedgies, followed by long captivity in a locker, followed by a press conference wherein the good guy in the locker room answers the even more titillating charge that he wears a toupee. Or is there a special custom within the sanctity of the malodorous confines of a male sports grooming chamber that allows for one man to attend to the gonadal pleasures of his teammates? Is there an area in a mirrored corner, not far from the entrance to the shower, where the “good guy” massages the testicles of his fellow athletic warriors, much like how Patroclus made it his duty to sooth Achilles before and after waging battle on the plains of Troy?

Or is it the “good guy” more of a flattering coquette who stations himself in the steam of the rushing showers so to offer male ego-bolstering commentary?

“Hey, Champ,” would say the designated locker room altruist, “your schlong is looking sleek and inviting this fine day. You should not have to resort to forcing yourself on a drunken young lady in a dark hallway of a sports bar tonight, ala Ben Roethlisberger.”

“Thanks, Good Guy in the Locker Room, that makes me feel good about myself.”

“What about me?” would then pipe up another teammate, lathering his chest and shoulders.

“Oh, please, Bronson, your sperm-sack hangs like the proverbial glistening bunch of grapes on the vine. You should have them puppies photo-shot and sent to artistic glossy magazines.”

These questions were on my mind when, last night, my dearest Virago, Toc and I sat down in – oh the coincidence! – a sports bar to watch a Bruins game. On the blaring TV, mention was made of a certain guy who was “good in the locker room.” Now it was time to humble myself and ask other people – one of whom, Toc, had about as much cerebral incandescence as a moldy jock-strap — about the origins and meaning of this most puzzling phrase. I articulated the question as to include my speculations as to what really constitutes a “good guy in the locker room.”

Virago and Toc spit out their beer in laughter.

“What made you think that?” they asked, which was code for, How could such tawdry images have radiated from such a brilliant and usually chaste mind?

“Okay,” I said in qualification. “Maybe, then, what the ‘good guy’ does is shave the beards of his teammates, or makes sure that there is enough stock of bad cologne to ensure the attraction of cheap women. Or maybe he supervises the laundering of the uniforms, post-game.”

“Hube,” smiled Toc, who never looked happier than he did now at his one chance of intellectual superiority. “A good guy in the locker room is a leader of the team. He makes sure that the other guys stay focused on their game. He gives advice and inspiring speeches to the team.”

“And,” chimed in Virago, “he knocks the heads of those guys who’re disruptive assholes, like Manny Ramirez, who, thank Christ, is finally gone from our lives.”

“But why,” I said, “does all this have to happen in a locker room? Can’t he give advice over a quiet dinner at a fashionable restaurant? Or in a conference room at the hotel? Or at a book club meeting?”

This verbal “slider” gave pause to my two compatriots – that is, before the forever surprising Virago – the love of my life – answered my doubts:

“Because, honey, jocks don’t read books, and nor can they scratch their nuts in a fashionable restaurant.”

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Hubris expounds on five important plants

I am Hubris the Great, and if I have not yet proven to my readers that my neural network is capable of making more connections than a glad-handing politician with perfect teeth and no inner compass, then allow me to follow up on what I said to Toc the other night about him being the apotheosis of Mankind. I had mentioned to him how agriculture is what truly hastened our ascent out of the Kingdom Animalia. The next morning, while my beloved Virago snored with all the ferocity of an alligator attacking, as easy prey, a Florida retiree named Maury Cohen, I thought of various plants that have influenced human development. My unrivaled knowledge of biology, history, literature and pop culture was drawn on to elucidate five such plants. Here they are:

Peyote: Lophophora williamsii

Before Nancy Reagan scolded us to say no to drugs, many civilizations over the last two or three millennia have said yes to drugs in the form of plant-derived hallucinogens. Marijuana was referred to by the ancient Chinese as “The Liberator of Sin,” and by the Hindus as “The Heavenly Guide.” The Indians of Mexico worshipped hallucinogenic mushrooms, calling them “Flesh of the Gods.” What would she say to a culture that still looks to hallucinogens for salvation? What would she say about the Native American Church?

Peyote comes from the cactus Lophophora williamsii. It contains the compound mescaline, which induces hallucination in the human brain. The Native American Church was founded in 1918. It now has 225,000 members, and uses Peyote in ceremonial rites.  The church espouses brotherly love, which may be enhanced with a little help from our mescal-based friend, or at least that might be the biased view of an American living outside this insulated world.

Movies have often influenced our perception that American Indians are a bunch of acid-heads. In the movie, Billy Jack, the main character takes Peyote and then wanders the desert seeing things that help along the imaginary path to enlightenment. In Young Guns, Billy the Kid and his posse consume Peyote and then walk through a crowd of hostile Indians, who let them pass because they believe that the posse is in the spirit world when all they are really doing is tripping their ass off. In The Doors, Jim Morrison travels to the desert among the Indians to reach a transcendent state with the aid of Peyote….Furthermore, what average American does not mock the Beat poets, who grooved, like, to the Peyote-taking Native American culture as a way, man, to resist the evil Moloch, the god of industrial capitalism according the Ginsberg.


Wheat: Triticum L.

The answer to what plant has had the most significant impact on the way we live has to be the most obvious, the most un-original: Wheat. I wrote in my introduction that nothing has changed the human lifestyle more than agriculture, and wheat was the first planned food source. Wheat enabled us to stay in one place and cultivate not only the land but our intellects, too. We began to look at and question our existence because wheat gave us a break from the constant ordeal of chasing subsistence. We began the written word because wheat led to the need to organize and document agricultural records. We began to construct elaborate religions because our dependence on the annual wheat crop was at the mercy of weather patterns. We began to make note of the ideal of beauty through art because wheat permitted this luxury.

Wheat is now grown around the world. It may sound boring when the word stands by itself, but many delectable dishes are based on wheat. Examples are various breads, biscuits, cakes, Wheaties and other breakfast cereals, pasta and noodles. Now our leisure time has expanded to TV, movies and video games.


Roses: Rosa L.

The rose may have certain practical uses, like converting rose hips to rose water for Vitamin C ingestion, or how the species, Rosa chinensis, was used as Chinese Traditional Medicine; or it may have semi-practical uses, like rose oil being applied as perfume to mask the stench of the human animal; but the rose has impacted the way we live more as a symbol of beauty.

In 500 BC, the Persians and Chinese cultivated roses to prettify gardens. Empress Josephine supported the breeding of roses if for no other reason than to, as Voltaire would say, cultivate France’s garden. This practice has lasted to this day – and all for the human idea of Beauty.

Today, there is no flower more important in saving the male ego while soothing the female ego than the red rose; no better way to beautify one’s garden. Roses have influenced art (Redoute, Monet and Renoir); literary quotation (What’s in a name? That which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet); bad poetry (A rose is a rose is a rose); historical conflicts (The War of the Roses); rock bands (Guns and Roses); and names of literary trilogies (The Rosy Crucifixion) – Henry Miller’s way of saying “Beautiful Martydom.” A rose inserted into the hair of a woman will transform her from average to alluring – or in the case of my Virago, from a stunning beauty to a woman so beautiful as to blind any man daring to settle his mortal eyes on her for more than ten seconds.


Pineapple: Ananas comosus

One usually does not associate government overthrow with the pineapple, but the fact is that Hawaiian self-government ended in 1893 not because of gold, silver or diamonds but rather over a giant fruit. But what a nutritious fruit, with its 15% sugar, its malic and citric acid, its vitamins B1, B2, B6 and C, and, most unique of all, an enzyme called bromelain that digests other proteins after a hearty meal.

Pineapple was originally cultivated by native Brazilians. Its growth reached the Caribbean – and it was there that Columbus “discovered” it and brought it back to Europe. White capitalists made pineapple plantations in the Philippines, thereby disrupting that country, before totally introducing its growth in Hawaii in the early 1800s. American-run plantations brought in Japanese laborers that, in the end, changed the genetic and political makeup of the islands. This American intrusion upset the native royal government, so the American, in 1893, toppled it and, in 1898, annexed it as an American territory. Now the coast was clear for the Dole Company, in 1901, to use the islands to mass-produce the pineapple on an epic scale. In 1959, Hawaii became an American state – and it all because once greedy and pushy people wanted to make money growing pineapple.


Potato: Solanum tuberosum

The potato may seem like a harmless ovoid piece of sustenance but it was at the heart of keeping the Irish population in peonage in the early nineteenth century and then eliminating 25% of the same population circa 1845. Of course, the potato itself was not a sentient cause of this upheaval but rather the end result of the conflict between English landowners in Ireland and the Irish laborers. The English were an invasive species in Ireland and used the land as a mere money-making source, regardless of how their ambition affected the native species. The potato had been introduced into Ireland in the late 1700s as a supplementary food. The best agricultural land was converted to pastures to raise cattle for export to England until little land was left to raise a variety of good crops. This did not bother the landowners because they lived in England and ate well from their Irish proceeds. However, it forced the natives to farm on the worst soil, and the potato was a plant that was able to persist in less than favorable conditions. Thus the potato graduated to the primary food of the Irish laborer – that is, Ireland agriculture became a monoculture.

The potato is rich in starch but not in protein. This made for an inadequate diet for the native laborer. Then came the blight, Phytophthora infestens, that wiped out the monocultural potato crop in 1845. This led to aforementioned 25% reduction of the native population, and also to the English landowners evicting millions of Irish renters, to the English being even more callous when they tried to prevent the Ottomans from delivering three ship-loads of food to the starving masses. In the end, millions of those who somehow survived immigrated to America, which led to another source of social conflict in this country in the form of racism.

And there you have it, my loyal subjects. Now go and sin no more!

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Hubris calls Toc the Last Man

I am Hubris the Great.

At my current job at the BK Lounge – i.e., Burger King – I have received an unwanted promotion from janitor to line-cook, or, as I like to refer to the task, Absorbing Grease Through My Pores in the Name of Contributing to the Obesity Epidemic, or AGTMPINCOE, an acronym, which, if reshuffled, spells GIMPEN TACO. This was because the manager deemed my predecessor’s skin not rich enough in keratin to repel unsaturated hydrocarbons – and so looking at the genetic marvel in his midst, ME, the decision was made that I churn out the slop to be consumed by the animals driving up to the take-out window.

You, my reader, may remember Toc, a fellow BK-ite, whose real name is Larry but on whom I was gracious enough to bestow the more sterling designation of Timolous of Cyzicus. Toc is an amusing character and instructive as a model for the current American. One day, while cheesing up an assembly line of Whoppers, a duty that required a mere one-zillionth of my burgeoning intellect, I observed Toc and took note of his appearance, habits and limited world view. Then I called him over to my station.

“Yes, Hube.”

“Stand here for a few minutes while I teach.”

“Teach what?”

“That you, Toc, are the apotheosis of all human endeavor.”

“Are you mocking me?”

“Not at all, my well fed mass consumer friend. Just listen and learn. Man began as homo erectus, meaning he had gotten off all fours and had begun to behold the universe from an upright perspective, to gain a world view, albeit one that involved employing sticks and stones as tools of the hunter-gatherer trade. The addition of gray matter led to homo sapiens, and it was one such fellow – if only we knew his identity – who was the first to look up at the cosmos, and ask, ‘What’s this all about? What does it mean? How did it get here? And who am I? How do I fit into all this?’ Thus began humanity’s slow ascent out of animal ignorance. The pivotal moment came with agriculture ten-thousand years ago. Wheat allowed us to stay in one place and have the leisure for investigation into the nature of things. We didn’t have the scientific tools to figure out the vicissitudes of weather, the seasons and such, so we invented religion, a great product of the human imagination – the same imagination that would someday produce Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

“Love that album,” said Toc.

“Actually, Toc, a little over-rated, since who cares if Paul McCartney woke up, fell out of bed and dragged a comb across his head? Never mind…There followed the engineering feats of the Great Pyramids, the Golden Age of Greece, with Pythagoras and Archimedes advancing practical knowledge while Socrates and Plato asked questions about our existence.”

“Hey Hubris, we need that Original Chicken Sandwich Value Meal, pronto,” shouted a BK apparatchik.

“Silence, you fast-food zealot! The order is imminent…We must hurry, Toc, to complete the lesson…The next two thousand years brought us a philosophical discourse that ran through Lucretius, Aquinas, Maimonides, Kant, Hegel, Sartre. Meanwhile science proved that we orbit the sun and so we humans are not the center of the cosmos. Science determined the chemical elements – the building blocks of matter, both inorganic and organic, us. Technology sailed ships, fired guns, stoked steam engines, sparked electrical grids, split the atom – made television, cable, cell phones, computers, the internet.”

“But didn’t you say that I am the apoth-o-something of something,” said Toc.

“Yes, Toc, what I am saying is that this heroic struggle to advance human knowledge, to create a better world has now peaked to produce you, yes you, Toc, and your ilk. You are the final achievement – that is, an over-weight man (due to ability to process food), a man lacking intellectual curiosity (from being weaned on the teat of mass media, especially shows like Celebrity Apprentice), a man lacking deep emotion (because you do all your communicating through instant messaging and texting), and, last, a man who has no big dreams for humanity (since humanity is all dreamed out and has cataloged past dreams on Wikipedia). In other words, Toc, a guy dressed in a Burger King outfit is the Last Man, the Ubermensch.”

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Hubris does push-ups

I am Hubris the Great.

Virago has been pleading with me to, please, become a member at her gym so that I can become as buff in body as I already am in mind as well as in spirit, as demonstrated by my joie de vivre when cataloguing the sins of Rachael Ray for degrading an already degraded American cuisine.

“Hube, honey,” she said while puffing on a cigarette, as if powering a Union Pacific train over the Great Divide, “you’re my stud, but let’s face it, but you could use a little muscle tone.”

She signed me up at Eternal Fitness and Beyond for three training sessions with a woman named Petra. I say “woman” in the broadest sense of the term in that, yes, she appeared to have a reduced mass of mammary tissue atop a formidable pair of pectoral majors, and she had feminine-sounding vocal chords that enunciated such phrases as “Good job!” and “fitness goals.” It should be added that the Dale Carnegie-inspired expressions were accompanied by a smile that possessed a dental apparatus so white and straight as to be the handiwork of a secret engineering project in Area 51 of the Crest Toothpaste Compound.

“So Hubris, what are your fitness goals?” said Petra, who may have also clapped her hands as would a more sophisticated person throw a scarf over her neck for good effect when making a point that Anna Karenina was a superior character to Madame Bovary.

“It depends what you mean by fitness. If fitness is defined as an organism’s likely survival under changing environmental conditions, then you, Petra, should know that I, Hubris the Great, am about one-thousand years ahead of the rest of humanity on the evolutionary continuum, just as silicone-enhanced housewife of Orange County is more adaptable than a woman professor specializing in Betty Friedan  when it comes to luring men called Lorenzo into the bedroom. But if you are equating fitness with the ability to do a push-up, then, yes, I want to do a push-up.”

“O-kaaay,” said Petra. “Well let’s see if you can do a push-up. Does that excite you, Hubris?”

“The history of the Communards of 1871 excites me, my dear, whereas the prospect of executing a bestial exercise in futility instills in me dread and boredom. But let’s, as you commoners say, ‘give it a shot.’”

“Great!” she chirped.

I had watched enough movies featuring a motley crew of misfits arriving at some military boot camp only to be molded into a cohesive fighting unit by a tough – though, in the end, caring drill instructor – to know the rudiments of the push-up. Ergo, I dropped down and gave her…first, twenty, then thirty, all the while realizing that numbskull repetition is as easy as driving a car into a telephone post.

I sprang to my feet flushed with vindication.

“Now that was entertaining,” I boomed in my exquisite baritone voice. I snuck a glance at Virago, who had just finished doing an exercise that resembled trying to get in and out of the fetal position – something she later called a crunch. The look of shock – and, well, adoration – on her face was worth the price of submitting myself to the hermaphroditic Petra.

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Hubris watches “Glee”

I am Hubris the Great.

Virago is my queen, my muse, my ride to work at Burger King. She is wraith-like in the legendary sense of Guinevere after a few months hitting the crack-pipe, though my darling has been off that drug from the moment I told her that from here on out I would be her drug of choice. I cede all earthly matters to Virago, which is why every Tuesday night I park my galaxy-sized brain in the towel closet and sit with my domestic goddess to watch the TV show “Glee.”

“Hube,” said Virago last week, as she set down the bowl of popcorn and snuggled up to her King for the opening scene, “please forget the actors are twenty-million-years-old playing teenagers. It’s just a show. It’s fun.”

I resisted telling her that for a woman who never smiles to call something fun was tantamount to a Francophobe promoting Moliere. Then I raised my angel’s hand to my lips, and said:

“My dearest siren, I understand the concept of suspending one’s disbelief in order to enter a magical realm and thereby achieve a deeper appreciation of the human condition, but isn’t the guy who plays the student Puck the same age as the guy who portrays his teacher, Mr. Schuester?”

“Honey, who cares. By the way, their names are Mark Salling – that’s Puck…”

“You mean, he of the Mohawk that no doubt is treated with Grecian Formula?”

“No, Hube, he that is hot, okay?”

“And what is the name of the other senior citizen, the Schuester character?”

“That’s Matthew Morrison.”


“Oh god, hotter.”

There you have it, kiddos, hot older people, some veritable Methuselahs, capering like pixies on the small screen. They break into song at the drop of a melodramatic hat. They are supposed to be a rag-tag group of Ohio teens of philistine tastes and moderate talent, yet dance with the studied artistry Ballets Russe; trade verbal barbs that would make Oscar Wilde wish he had matriculated at William McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio; and resolve emotional issues as would a troupe of Freudian stalwarts.

“Pah-leeze, Hube,” said Virago, “I know you have it for Santana. ‘Fess up.”

I was stunned to hear the love of my cosmic life profess doubt in my adoration, but collected my composure in time to deliver a rationale worthy of a Reality Show tramp just caught flagrante delicto with the Brazilian national soccer team:

“Santana is nothing more than an amusement, a pair of silicone breasts given the best lines of the show save for those reserved for the ogre, Sue. I am insulted!”

“Chill, baby. I don’t care. Besides she’s the younger version of me, right?

“Yes, my sequined heart, you have a point, yes, yes.”

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Hubris on Charlie Sheen

My name is Hubris the Great.

Last night, at my job at Burger King (having deigned to do manual labor for only employers bearing regal names), I was executing coup déjà lance with my mop, like Cyrano de Bergerac eviscerating Charles d’Assoucy’s small intestine while leaving intact the duodenum, when I was approached by a co-worker, or, for the sake of accuracy, one of my disciples. On his left pectoral major, was a company-issued moniker-placard that read “Larry,” but I have re-christened him “Timolous of Cyzicus” after one of Plato’s students at the Academy, though he prefers the abbreviated “Toc.”

“Hube,” said Toc, as animal grease coated his fleshy countenance, “whaddaya think about all this Charlie Sheen shit. A real whack-job, hah?”

I stayed my janitorial blade and withheld criticism of Toc’s lack of a subject to the predicate “a real whack-job.”

“Are you saying that Mr. Sheen is totally divorced from reality, Toc? Or should I rephrase the question to accommodate your limited worldview?”

“Hube, you don’t have to insult me. Just making conversation.”

“Okay, then sit at my feet and marvel at my powers of social perception. Here it is: I agree with many of the words coming from Mr. Sheen’s fetid-breathed mouth, but disagree that they should be tumbling helter-skelter from the same toxic orifice. He looks down upon the proletariat, the commonplace, the drones — a commendable worldview, I daresay, to which I adhere to with all the dedication of a Catholic to fish on Friday, or to, in your case, foul local beer on Sunday morning. People in general are nothing but glorified simians endowed with the ability to digest entire blocks of cliché from such one-dimensional minds like Dr. Phil, Mitt Romney and that buffoon who fixes up houses for undeserving lint and then cries…all the way to the bank, to borrow a witticism from Liberace. Of course, the Son of Martin is correct that mediocrity has no place diagnosing genius as bi-polar, and I applaud his perverse riposte of calling this so-called malady ‘bi-winning.’ Why, Toc?”

“Ah, because it was funny and may sell T-shirts?”

“Hmm, I am beginning to see how that Whopper-and-french-fry mind of yours works in all its elegant simplicity. Yes, there will be the trolls, the dunces, who line up to buy Navy chest-wear emblazoned with the catchphrase “Winning!” But listen, grasshopper: Gone are the eccentrics, the colorful persona, the outrageous cad! Alas, the morning talk show mannequins, the self-help gurus, with their life coach certifications from the back of a cereal box – none of whom has meditated on the classics, nor wrestled with the Theory of Relativity – yes, all these mildew-brained hacks have retold the story of the charismatic eccentric as someone “needing help,” of having some dopey syndrome that was invented by various conmen bent on becoming modern day oracles so to gain them a nice high-rise apartment in the fashionable part of Atlanta. So, bravo, Mr. Sheen for bringing the fight to these murky fiends, these obtuse, life-destroying purveyors of tripe.”

“Hube, you also said you disagree with Sheen. How so?”

“Were you not listening? What I disagree with is that this hero, this chaotic force bearing down on the  American Numbskullery has no culture, no erudition, no depth to his fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants wisdom. If it is true that he has a twelve-thousand-year-old brain, then he should be quoting iconoclasts of yore, like Aristophanes, Erasmus, Oscar Wilde – heck, I would settle for Andy Rooney. Whereas I profess my troubadour love for my lovely Virago…”

“Is that the lady who picks you up after work and who looks like a worn-out biker whore?”

“What!” I thundered at this robo-clown, as I offered the tip of his nose the working end of my epee/mob. “Take that back, or suffer mutilation!”

“Sorry, man, sorry. That just slipped out. She seems like a nice lady.”

“Enough, Toc. I accept your abject apology…Now let me end by saying that Mr. Sheen is an obvious philistine, unworthy to represent those of us who are the true carriers of Tiger Blood, because his muses are two shallow sluts who would not know a Rembrandt from the stick-drawing made by a kid who calls his grandmother ‘Nana.’ This in contrast to my Virago who is home right now laboring over a paper for her Art History class at Bolsheviks Community College, a humble start, I admit, but my lady WILL attain the highest culture to match her supreme physical and emotional beauty…In short, Mr. Sheen is no Hubris the Great.”

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Hubris works (for a brief moment) at TGIF

I am Hubris the Great, and I have been mopping floors at the local Burger King for the last two weeks because my last employer, TGIF, did not appreciate the superior idea I gave them concerning the use of urine (my urine) as a condiment for a select class of patrons. The inspiration for my menu addition came when a man dressed in a Vince Worfolk (a 370 pound unit of flesh on the New England Patriots) jersey and sporting the obligatory goatee (see: cunt-mouth), and his Manatee-looking girlfriend, who seemed to have strayed from her herbivore biologic life-style, sat down to be served by someone so far their intellectual superior, me, that one adjective coming from my mouth – example, prosaic, meaning tiresome – had the same value as this couple’s entire verbal history dating back to when they first met at the Little Debbie rack at a Family Dollar Store. I asked for their order – a simple enough question – when the Lady Manatee treated the next five minutes as if she were deciding the fate of Mankind, citing various parts of the menu aloud with the same self-importance that Lincoln gave to the Gettysburg Address.

“Oh gosh,” she mused. “I love Pot Stickers. They are so…so…”

“Liable to add another layer of adipose tissue to your already heavily insulated anatomical vessel,” I said, wanting nothing more than to be charitable and help the poor slob along in her sluggish thought-process.

Vince – or the man pretending to be Vince – reacted in the predictable way of the lower order of American male, who conflates social class with the frequent use of the word “piss-pump,” the arrogance deriving from the hyphen separating the alliterative piss and pump. “Hey,” he foamed, “who the fuck are you to talk to my lady like that?”

“Who am I?” said Hubris. (Yes I refer to myself in the third person, if only to gain some distance from my exceptional good looks.) “Why I am Socrates to your houseboy slave; Voltaire to your Troyes peasant; God to your Mosean stone-tablet chiseler.”

Well one word led to another – or, better, one of my erudite words led to one of Vince’s grunts – and soon the manager came to the scene. He ingratiated himself with this slob of a patron using all the sycophancy of a seamstress to Queen Elizabeth I. Vince and the Manatee would get a free appetizer, smiled the oily TGIF leading functionary. I was told to go fetch an order of Loaded Potato Skins, to which I contributed the aforementioned product of the millions nephrons that make up my productive kidneys. The one wrinkle in my revenge strategy was that I made my donation next to a trawling family of six.

Oh well. My Virago picked me up that night and advised me to next time just practice my flawless Hebrew dialect en route to the erring customer so that my spit will accidentally fall upon a steamy plate of sixth-rate appetizers.

Now I am pushing a mop, a task that has the benefit of allowing my neural circuitry to follow its brilliant course.

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