In the course of human existence, there are generational touchstones that result in a uniform experience that transcends the barriers of race, of creed, of culture. For our parents it was the day the first man landed on the moon. For our parents’ parents it was V-E day, or V-J day, or any of the many other moments, frozen like iron in the consciousness of that Greatest Generation.
And what was that rallying moment for our generation? Our generation, this Lost Generation of latchkey kids, of Just Say No, of Alf, the Smurfs, Turbo Teen? Of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, of Jell-O Pudding Pops? Rainbow Brite, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, the SuperFriends? Of C3POs? The cereal?
It was all that, and nothing more.
But time passes on, and pays no heed to the whims of the futile. With it the small victories and large defeats; the short, high highs, the long, low lows; and the stink and the sweat of earning the right to breathe that make life “life” all pass by in an ever-accelerating plummet to the bottom of a 6’x3’ hole in the ground, leaving nothing but the drained and wasted shell of what you were, and what you could have become.
But time passes on, and on it passes, minute into minute, hour into hour, as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of…Something. Something that can make the interminable plummet bearable, if only for a moment. For some people, Something can be found on bended knee, in filtered light on holy ground. For others, Something is metered out in fifths, and drowns them in the amber shades of liquid regret. For still others, Something is found at night, wrapped in lace and smelling of lavender, and just as easily lost when the sun rises from its slumber.
But for a few, a grim, lucky few, that Something is found in a Sisyphean attempt to be added to the ranks of The Remembered, to have their names chiseled upon the rocky face of history, to best time itself and slow the plummet to a crawl so that while their bodies may wither and rot, and their souls may roast eternally in the fires of the damned, their names will live on as generations upon generations, stretching out in rank and file as far as the horizon, will know them, them The Remembered, them whose names were not stolen by the shifting sands of time.
There are such men among us. Their generation is built on the hollow plastic of pop culture and the empty promises of faith and optimism unfulfilled. Their generation has no Omaha Beach to call its own. But these men, for Men they are and not simply boys grown old, have a hunger that cannot be slaked by rum or women or God Himself. They are caged beasts, held against their will in a business-casual world. They are buccaneers, longing to drag a rusted blade across the throat of their oppressor, even as they agree to stay another hour to finish their report. They are spectral knights, who wander, incorporeal, through the streets of civility, longing only for the ringing of steel on steel as they test their mettle on the field of battle. They long, so that when the dust has settled, when the light is dim and the fog rolls over the dead, the rays of a dying sun may shine last upon their standard, still planted, still flying.
There still beats, in the heart of this America, the pulse of a warrior. Team Huey Newis & the Lose does not ask for victory, handed lightly by a society where there is no second place. They ask for competition.
They ask that you open the cage and unleash the beast.
That you hide the women and run up the black flag.
That you pipe in the standard.
And let slip the dogs of war.