[Read parts one and two of Kevin Sampsell’s “In My Humble Opinion” series.]
There is something of pressing importance that I am supposed to deliver to you. I have not seen this thing because it has just arrived and it is my job to take it around the city so that you can see and purchase it. It’s in a large box in the parking garage. It is called That ’70s Book, and I find it worthless and exasperating. Having me talk about it is simply adding fuel to the fire. Haven’t we heard enough about this thing already? Why do we need this nostalgic disgrace of bric-a-brac?
People in their twenties may find That ’70s Book interesting for the first few pages. People in their thirties should be given a small bag into which they may barf. And people in their forties and fifties should be slapped. Yet, as we speak, this thing is expected to enter several bestseller lists at number one next week after its official release.
Advanced copies of the book are already prevalent on the streets. One lice-ridden beggar was reported to have traded his copy for a bottle of California vodka. But not until he wrote a four-star review of it for The Weekly. Other vagrants have had their fingers cut off in their sleep by enthusiastic book collectors. Blood has been shed in public bathrooms. It is a mania we can stop if we pull ourselves together.
I have not slept in almost three days, thinking about That ’70s Book, how it’s waiting for me in the parking garage, how I’m supposed to parade it around like some Price is Right model. Since when is that my job? I will tell you that I grew up in the ‘70s, next to a nuclear plant, eating fondue, stealing Charleston Chews from the grocery store, and wearing San Francisco jeans, but it was not pleasant. It’s nothing I’m proud of, people. No, it was not nice at all. The ’70s are a blur, an atrocious and sad cringe of a decade. How many trees are we going to thrash to try and validate those years? I say no more!
I am not touching the box! I will set the box on fire in the parking garage. I will let animals eat and destroy it. I will stop stealing candy bars. I will get some sleep. I will not look out my windows — at the billboards, at the posters, at the bus benches touting this terrible book as “essential.” It is making me ill. I’m ill right now. Are you perhaps familiar with the expression “sick of it”?
I will get some sleep, God damnit.
Editor: Kevin, there is no such thing as That ’70s Book.
Kevin Sampsell responds:
Maybe you haven’t ventured from your brick home lately. Or wait, I know, maybe you sit in your office all day and eat peanuts while I diligently patrol our culture for the next atrocity. What are you doing while I’m up watching television after 3 A.M.? I know what I saw and, mister, I know what I see. It’s there in the garage. Right behind the giant dumpster. Your ignorance does not fool me.