I just got to 1,000 hits, ya’ll.
No, not web hits! Acid.
Colors taste like numbers smell. Time and space are one. I can’t feel my eyes.
Thanks for being in the first 1,000 everybody.
Tell your friends!
My name is Ben and I blog this Reader Appreciation Day.
Hope you found that blast from the past amusing. If not, blame the past. It haunts us.
Imagine if ghosts haunted us by just not being very amusing. They told cringe-worthy jokes and uninteresting stories and followed us around parties making everyone else uncomfortable. Like every ghost was Al Franken. That would be truly haunting!
I prefer the ghosts we have now. They may be lifeless but their stories never are. Though they do always seem to get us wrapped up in murder mysteries. Who’s got time for that?!
We need more secure, baggage-free, emotionally-stable ghosts.
But I’m here to talk about figurative ghosts, not the literal ones. I want to discuss the past versions of our selves who invariably come back to haunt us.
Let me start by saying I feel bad for anyone who doesn’t want to kick his 18-year old self in the dick. Punch herself in the boob, for you ladies. We were all assholes back then and if you haven’t grown up enough to realize that, you’re still an asshole.
Most of us aren’t assholes, just idiots. We continue to be idiots, but we won’t know it until we look back on our present selves one day in the future and say, “Man, that guy was an idiot.”
As a writer, I have documented history of my own idiocy. That article I just posted? I can barely read it. It’s like looking at a fat picture of myself. Do I honestly think I was a fool back then? No. I just know that version of me had a lot to learn. How do I know? Because some time between then and now I learned it!
Growing up entails shedding some dead skin. Then writing a blog about that dead skin and calling it an idiot.
Someday I will look back at this blog and wonder how I could have ever concocted some of these jokes and theories.
Or, maybe, we will have time machines then and I can just go back to 1995 and kick my 18-year old self in the penis.
I still hope you enjoyed reading the article. Just know that I didn’t.
And that’s probably a good thing.
My name is Ben and this blog was all introspective-like.
Here is an article I wrote for the magazine Real Detroit Weekly and my friend Jon Mahalak a few years back. I will deliver an original blog later. Hope you enjoy!
Arrive Early. Check the Weather.
Strange notes from the Ford Rouge Factory Tour
by Ben Axelrad
I never would have guessed when I set out for the Ford Rouge Factory Tour at two in the afternoon on a Thursday that my tour would finally begin at 1 p.m. on Friday. Of course, I also wouldn’t have guessed that a portion of my assessment of said tour would include the phrase, “Very accommodating during a tornado.” But both are true. Arrive early. Check the weather.
Let’s start at the end: the tale of the twister. The sky turns a shade of greenish-purple usually only reserved for bruises and acid flashbacks. I sit on a bus surrounded by students screaming like they’re caught in a tornado. Oh wait — they are. Screaming like Chingy is the tour guide. He isn’t. The sky darkens and heavy rain falls. Through the downpour come dedicated tour staffers, herding us off busses and into a packed auditorium. The space is sized to hold 30. We’re 90 strong. Commence waiting. Five … ten … fifteen minutes.
I’ve had enough. I stage a claustrophobia-induced anxiety attack and am granted reprieve from our “shelter.” I cruise the halls in search of anything — a water fountain, a bathroom, secret-plans room. What I find is better. If the auditorium is a shelter, then this is a sanctum. A wait-out-the-storm heaven. It’s so wonderful that for a moment I believe the storm has taken my life and that this is the site of the Pearly Gates. They’re eating pretzels. Drinking pops. Reading the newspaper. What tornado? I’m greeted warmly, as if to say, “What took you so long?” Like I belong there. I am offered coffee, handed a section of newspaper. Beautiful. The storm eventually passes, but I am unmoved by my restored freedom. Screw freedom. Best tornado ever, man.
Back to the beginning: Thursday, 2 p.m., on my way to the Rouge Plant. Not the Henry Ford Museum, where the Rouge Tour meets, but the factory itself. I’m the dummy who only skims the directions. Going commando-style, on my own. I will not find the plant, not on this day. And even if I did, the place is guarded like the Fortress of Solitude. I’ll never make it past the gates alive. Several phone calls and realizations later, I’m at the Henry Ford Museum, hoping to catch a break. Operation: Act Retarded for Pity is a smashing success. Too successful, maybe. They may actually think I am retarded. But I’m back on the tour. Friday, 1 p.m. I’ll be early.
Henry Ford Museum would like you to believe that the outing begins with a historic driving tour. False. It’s a bus ride. And it feels like a gypsy cab. It’s designed to confuse you into thinking the plant is not located in a crater on the moon. Just wait until I develop my pictures. Driving around in circles on a bus. I recommend a light lunch. But you arrive about 30 minutes later, more perplexed than harmed.
The real tour begins with a biography of Henry Ford. This film isn’t propaganda, unless, of course, propaganda means the systematic dissemination of information reflecting the views and interests of those propagating the information. Oh wait — it does. This is propaganda, then. Equal parts great innovator and thuggish bigot, that Hank Ford. Guess which part gets mentioned?
But he’s the man responsible for the assembly line, a feat that cut production time on the Model T down from 12 hours to 93 minutes. Not too shabby. Nowadays, a car can be assembled in the time it takes to watch an episode of Seinfeld. This is exemplified during the bird’s-eye tour of the F-150 assembly line, the heart and soul of the tour and an exceptional display of technology and precision.
Before making it to the assembly line, we experience it virtually in The Art of Manufacturing exhibit, a 360-degree virtual reality presentation complete with visceral climate enhancements. Expect temperature fluctuations. Expect to get wet. It’s like a date with me.
The Living Roof is met with high expectations from many tourgoers. It’s the largest vegetative roof in the country and offers the benefit of cleansing the water supply for the Rouge River as well as outlasting the average roof. Not much of a spectator sport, though. The roof is simply too far from the observation deck for keen inspection. It looks like a roof with grass. Who does that?
The assembly-line walkthrough really is the highlight of the tour. It makes you proud to be human; like, “Yeah, we made that shit.” But make no mistake about any of it: From moment one until moment done, the Ford Rouge Factory Tour is the most expensive, elaborate car commercial you will ever see. But it’s one of the most entertaining educational experiences in town. Just arrive early. Check the weather. Oh, and pray for a tornado. | RDW