Kerouac Should Have Stayed Home
The great writers of our generation have mined road trips for inspiration in much the same way lawyers view divorces as business opportunities. On the road myself during peak season in bowels of the post card west, I can tell you "the road" as inspiration is as overrated as truck stop food. Bad television, pornography, urban decay and fast food replacing home cooking have not destroyed the family. The decline of the family in the U.S. can be directly traced to the internal combustion engine. There's no need to look for evil in subliminal heavy metal music or vodka advertisements. There's a tangible fun sucking, money eating, hair graying, nail biting, profanity inducing, hell hound right there in your garage. There have been a few pale attempts to make horror movies about cars. Even gore-meister Stephen King's "Christine" falls pathetically short of the real life menace of the family land yacht.Never mind that they kill us on the highways, make us go to war to preserve the right to drag Main street, destroy the atmosphere...these are trivialities compared to what cars do to family values. When you have those misty water colored memories of the way we were include fewer cars; and exclude the 2,000 mile one week family vacation that is the stuff of modern urban legend.I'm glad vacation season is nearly over so that I can get some rest. I mean how much driving, convenience store food, silly driving games, road kills and crabby passengers can a person stand? The resort areas are strewn with grim-faced, shuffling zombies emerging from station wagons and mini-vans mumbling "where's the rest room?," "are we there yet?," "this is Yellowstone?, I don't see any bears?," "what's so grand about this?, it just looks like a big hole in the ground?," "Couldn't we just go to MacDonalds?," "Oh great, there's Big Foot and you forgot the film again," "what do you mean you can't buy beer on Sunday?," "I already saw this on TV," "get that video camera out of my face," "is that smell coming from our car?," "well Mr. I- don't-need-to-ask-for-directions...where are we now?"I think it was the Reader's Digest revised edition of the Bible that says "...love of the auto is the root of all evil." or something like that. It's true. We start treating our relationships like we do our cars rather than the other way around. Most relationships with cars are like bad relationships with people. You keep thinking if you just put a little more work into it everything will run smoothly. So you get a new one and things are going well but pretty soon you run into the same problems so you get another and so on. And this seems normal, because that's how we treat our beloved autos.Okay, so "On the Couch" doesn't sound as hip and retro as "On the Road." Then again Kerouac died at age 47.