There is a stout, red-faced man with thinning red hair and red eye brows and a blazing bare globe of a pink and gray forehead radiating above turquoise eyes and a bright red tie and a snow white shirt and a custard yellow blazer and a front tooth slightly off-center framed by mullet belly lips with a tiny crumb of a strawberry muffin smack in the middle and a dot of gleaming spit surrounding sitting at a sky blue laminate desk wagging a shamrock green pen in front of a dusky purple backdrop with a giant dark brown bottle of beer to one side like a faithful friend doing warm up for the ice hockey game. He’s got a life’s worth of lines and dents in his face, filled in with something that looks like chalk rouge mixed with beige caulk. Patched he is, like the worn northern highways that circle the old cities at a distance like they were crazy people or like where Anna put her fist through the sheet rock and Lenny smoothed it over so professionally such that it spackled. But sure, it’s still quite a picture.

And this is the first thing we’ve watched on the new high-definition TV since Kevin brought it home, not from Best Buy as planned, but from a friend of a friend out of the back of a van. By the second period, we won’t notice any difference from our old Nirvana-era set, nor will we give a shit and we’ll still be out a yard and a half, but the economy will be healthier. As President Acorn says, "Spen’, spen’ spen’ chillin’! Here’s the school money, here’ the old folks money! Now go spen’ it!" 

Which leaves me to thinking after the game (wherein New Jersey gets everything as it always does) that he’s talking about this thing that’s stuck up in front of everybody’s eyes like a curtain pulled across the bloody accident victim or a stage hiding the real action which, in regard to the economy, and the duty to it we have performed: that it may be what economy dancers call the "underground" economy we’ve gotten healthier (but of course, we have no way of knowing [nervous laughter] for sure), but under, over, upside their whittle heads, it’s only smaller, not more criminal, and certainly not less meaningful to the community. This community in particular. Not more actually criminal anyway. More overtly so, but I don’t think any more consistently and no more culturally embedded than the economics practiced by the hand-tailored, wired-shut posse around dear President Gunsmoke. That is to say, no clear definition between thieves if they were asked to stand naked.

Definition, I thinks. And after everybody else has gone to bed and the halls fill with creeks and snores and the drunkards groaning, I flip through all the our super system’s channels to see how much stuff is being broadcast high-def since we’re also into this for the adapter. I watch little snippets of news on CNN, UNI, BBC, MSNBC and all the others, and every time a politician or official spokesperson steps to the mic I turn up the volume and stare for a few seconds and finally I get to C-Spam and I watch for an hour or more and by that time I have once again blown off the technology angle (hardly anything is being broadcast in high definition) and instead I am looking at faces and listening to voices and there is, surprise, no definition there either, not between truth and lie, nor even between rationality and dementia and the unavoidable impression because conclusion is too kind a word is that the people performing in that box among boxes are such that either they cannot functionally perceive or conceptualize such definitions, or they believe such definitions are impossible; that even in rhetoric, out of the same mouth within minutes, they—these fragmented paradigms they upchuck are, (this disconnection accepted as mindlessly as an ice cube melting in a pile of fresh stool) forces which cancel one another out and that previous belief in such things, as evidenced by various scriptures and the nation’s founding documents are, how shall we say, quaint, and based on an old technology. That truth, as it now exists, takes place in the toxic shallows of a few micrometers of plasma; takes place there exclusively. It’s not black and white or old colors crudely rendered being dismissed, no, but substance itself and the moral foundation of human society. So, even though this has all been exhaustively documented, and noted many times previously (even by myself) in other words, even though it seems new and therefore in a sense is new in the manner of a battery recharged, nothing actually new is revealed on this TV.

Early the next morning, in the cusp of post-cup disgust, Kevin has decided we need immediate cash more than high-definition anyway and with all the rest of us agreeing by attempting to nod but for the most part just lolling our heads, he took it off to the Prosperity Road flea market and sold the fucking thing for two hundred and eighty bucks which too is in keeping with the ideologies of Girdlenut in that mindless waste and degradation are acceptable in the pursuit of what smells like a payoff, however short-term, and that no matter how hard we work we will throw away more until, driven by the mad delusions of all-consuming selfishness, our energies, unnourished by communion and compassion will utterly dissipate, and society will collapse like a bag of chips beneath the insensate track of an amoral age.

But then, there’s always next year.

[Forever after at http://eyeshot.net/painter.html

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