Farmer Tan

Why doesn’t my culture speak to me anymore? Why isn’t Madison Avenue interested in my dollars? They wanted my dollars once. Once I was young and beautiful, and advertisers fought to get my attention, because I fell in that magical range of people with money and time and a pliable brain.

I used to be hip, you know. Don’t let this Costco polo shirt and the full-cut Wrangler’s fool you. But now? Not so much.

I cleaned up my back yard last weekend. I cleaned up my back yard, not so I could garden, not so I could have a place for the kids to play, not so I could throw kickin’ partays, but simply so I could have a place to lay out and get a tan without having to show the neighbors my white, un-toned middle aged mid-section.

Now I don’t know which issue is more pressing… the fact that I’m white as a sheet of quality copy paper, or as un-toned as a guy who hasn’t had to do a sit up since he figured out that with enough force applied to the foot rest, you can get a recliner to launch you to a vertical position without burning a calorie.

And it wouldn’t be so bad if I was shaped like Fred Flintstone or Homer Simpson, but I’m shaped more like Hank Hill, with enough extra mass above the belt-line to build another little guy, while keeping my legs and chest at a near zero body fat ratio. What the hell kind of cruel joke is this? What kind of a distribution plan is this? This makes no sense. It just throws off my whole center of gravity. This is a very bad plan.

And this uneven distribution of personal attributes just continues from body mass to melanin disbursal, insofar as my arms, head and neck look like Che Gueverra at the same time that my torso looks like a gallon of whole milk.

So I have this horrible spiraling self-fulfilling curse going on, a riddle for the ages that keeps me from starting that exercise regimen I promised myself back at the turn of the Y2K when it seemed like a good idea to be able to move quickly and open a can of beans with your teeth. That regimen was going to make me a lean, mean, surviving machine, baby. I was gonna be lethal, man. I was gonna be ripped.

The problem is this: I quit exercising. I got soft, so I didn’t want to remove my shirt at the beach, so I developed this raging farmer’s tan; once you’ve got the farmer’s tan, you look like you’re always wearing a t-shirt, which is about as attractive as those guys who look like they’re always wearing a sweater, so you never remove your shirt again, until your arms are dark enough to pass for evening gloves.

Once you’ve hit the point where you’re never removing your shirt, the impetus for getting ripped is gone, ‘cuz who’s gonna see it? I don’t care how ripped you get, you’re not strutting your stuff at the beach without a sweatshirt on. You ever see a ripped guy at the beach with evening glove arms? I’m not saying there aren’t ripped guys with farmer’s tans, though I kinda doubt any of them are farmers. I’ve never seen a ripped farmer. But I’ve never seen a ripped guy with a farmer’s tan either, so I’m guessing the ripped guys with farmer’s tans never take their shirts off.

It’s very hard to feel hip with the body of Poppin’ Fresh. So now I’m feeling very un-hip, very old. And I’m realizing that I’ve passed into this weird space where I’m of no interest to advertisers looking to connect with sexy contemporary America.

I’m watching TV the other night, and there’s this Hip Hop 7-Eleven commercial. Apparently, Seven Eleven’s “got da goods, yo.” It seems that they have sick monster sodas, and a foot long hot dog that is going to make my momma sit up an’ take notice.

Okay, kids, I have news for you, but 7-11 has been around since I was a lad, okay? I got kicked out of my first 7-11 for sucking on a Slurpee machine in 1969. 7-11 is a clearinghouse for day-old cafeteria food, warmed under a lamp from an Easy Bake Oven, served to you by a scared dude behind bullet-proof glass with an apron and a pistol and a baseball bat under the counter.

Is it necessary to make 7-11 hip? Are we really to the point where you can’t even get a kid to lay down 49 cents for a day-old five pound sausage and a gallon of Mountain Dew without selling it to them in a rap song? More importantly, are we really to the point where a crappy hip-hop rhyme can make a five pound sausage and a gallon of Mountain Dew cool?

And yet, there you are, 7-Eleven wrapped in a hip-hop song, and all of a sudden 7-11 is sick, yo. 7-Eleven is hip hop, yo.

Does anybody understand how ridiculous that sounds?

Where’s the hip-hop theme song that’ll make Denny’s, and by extension all of us who eat at Denny’s, hip as we wanna be?

How the hell did I end up too old to be of interest to a freakin’ 7-11?

How the hell did I end up in a demographic to which no advertiser is interested in speaking?

But of course, I’m not that 7-11 demographic. And I don’t want to be hip-hop cool. I’m not asking to be as hip as, say, Arsenio Hall.

I just want to be hip enough to walk into a Sam Goody and not get looked at like some kind of child molester. “Dude, we don’t have any Duran Duran, okay? Just take off, before I have to call security.”

I just want to be hip enough to use a convenience store or a fast food restaurant without having to bust a rhyme. Is that asking so much?

That’s it. That’s all I got.


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