Monday, October 21, 2013

I was a College Marxist

Shortly after I went off to college, I became a Marxist. Since I grew up in a homogenous, middle class, straight-down-the-middle neighborhood, I was never exposed to anything like Mark. But in college, I was introduced to the works of Marx and I was captivated by his political brilliance. I wanted to be part of his revolution.

Soon I found myself quoting Marx, much to the annoyance of others except my fellow Marxists. My favorite Marx quote was, “If I said you had a beautiful body would you hold it against me?” And: “She gets her looks from her father. He’s a plastic surgeon.”

I studied all the works of Marx but I was particularly mesmerized by Duck Soup. Nothing molded my emerging political consciousness more than that work. 

My comrades and I belonged to the Grochonian school of Marxism. The other sects within our school were the Chiconians and the Harpoites. (Nobody was a Zeppoist.) But they were all posers! The Grouchonians were the only true revolutionaries!

I tried hanging around with the devotees of that other Marx—the guy with the long beard. I went to a few of the weekly meetings of their Marx reading group, which was pretty much like Bible study for commies. But I wasn’t jazzed up. That Marx wasn’t very funny.  I kept waiting for a punch line that never came.

Groucho busted the chops of the rich in a much more entertaining fashion. And I also felt vaguely threatened by the philosophy of the long-bearded Marx. I now can see that I was worried that if he had his way, I might have to give up my cripple privilege. It seemed like in his paradise, everybody toiled happily in a factory.  But what I liked most about being a young crippled adult was that it got me out of having to do stuff like working in a factory or at McDonald’s or going to church or joining the army. I was not without ambition. I aspired to make as much money as possible working as little as possible. I aspired to be like the guy that thought up the idea of the star registry. People send you money so you’ll name a star after them or their dead poodle, Fluffy.  Brilliant!  You sell the naming rights to something you don’t even own. Your biggest physical exertion of the day comes from endorsing all the checks.

Call me lazy. I don’t care. Laziness is a major motivating force for me. I don’t mind busting my ass in service of laziness. I’ll work three jobs overtime if that’s what it takes to make another installment payment on a new hammock.  I keep my eyes on the prize.