Hey Rube

Tomorrow’s my Pa’s birthday. He’s been dead for years now, but after the shitshow of the last week I keep thinking about the first thing he taught me on the carny, and some verse he loved to recite after a few drinks. Finally managed to find the whole thing in a collection titled “Tramp Poems of the West” from 1891.

Just seems appropriate when I can smell a storm coming.

‘Twas just about ten years ago,
Too early yet for ice or snow,
Thru’ bounteous Texas coming down,
A circus with a funny clown,

“Hey Rube.”

The boys warn’t feeling very well,
The reason why I cannot tell,
And as they made each little town
They whispered (when the gawks came ’round)

“Hey Rube.”

It’s but a little phrase, ’tis true,
Its meaning well each fakir knew,
And e’en the weakest heart was stirred
At mention of that magic word,

“Hey Rube.”

“They’ll eat you up in this ‘ere town.
The boys’ll tear your circus down.”
Thus spoke a man with hoary head,
The main guy winked and softly said,

“Hey Rube.”

They gathered ’round, about two score,
I am not sure but there were more,
Red-hot and eager for the fray,
The boys all thought, but didn’t say,

“Hey Rube.”

The ball was opened, like a flash.
Above the battle’s din and dash,
As thunderbolt hurled from the sky,
Rang long and loud the battle-cry,

“Hey Rube.”

‘Twas but a moment — in they went.
Each man on life and death intent.
They periled there both life and limb,
‘Twas wonderful to hear them sing,

“Hey Rube.”

‘Twas finished, the smoke rolled away.
As clouds before the sun’s bright ray.
That Texan cavalry were gone —
They couldn’t sing that circus song,

“Hey Rube ”

Gawks, guys and Rubes, another day.
When e’er a circus comes your way,
And you’re spielin for a clem,
Be sure they haven’t learned to sing,

“Hey Rube.”

The Island of Misfit Characters

Despite my best efforts I was somehow never banned from City of Heroes.

I’ve spent an awful damn lot of time playing MMOs. At least, according to Steam, which is weird, because I can count the number of MMOs I’ve become seriously involved with on one finger, and that one wasn’t on Steam. A quick glance at my screenshot folders makes it apparent what’s actually happening here: I don’t play MMOs.

I play character editors.

I’ve got games in my library, MMO and otherwise, that I’ve fucked with for literally dozens of hours without so much as completing the introductory tutorial. I’m clearly far more keen on making up screwy imaginary people than I am in telling those people to stab boars for days on end while I shit in a sock.

Here then are some of the fruits of a life wasted basically playing with dolls:

Hold me closer, Tiny Riker.
Witchers are trained from a young age to hunt monsters and leave the heads on your comforter.
Heavyweight Lincoln eating a cheeseburger is the hero we need right now.
No one was fooled.
I played TERA for exactly as long it took to do this and then quit after telling myself I’d won.
Jersey Shore hobbit I left as a parting gift on one of SoE’s press accounts.
The greatest swordsman to ever be sauteed in butter.

 

The man in black fled across the deserted MMO, and Dora the Explorer followed.
My Wildstar fursona was all like fuck you you’re not my real dad and then he joined the Gorillaz.
He left his dark elf heritage behind to become the best goddamn pastry chef in Neverwinter.

Punching, Nazis, and Punching Nazis

So somebody punched a Nazi in the neck. Punching is bad, Nazis are bad, punching Nazis is good? …And then the entire internet explodes like an evil computer after a chat with Captain Kirk because when axioms collide there’s no apparent middle ground between swaggering macho bullshit and pearl clutching. This is why we can’t have nice things.

First they came for the Nazis and I said nothing, because fuck those guys.

I don’t bother with a strict personal moral code most of the time, just on account of most of the things I shouldn’t do are things I don’t actually want to do. There are a lot of good reasons why it’s wrong to steal, rape, or take up multiple parking spaces, but none of those are things I would enjoy anyway.

Punching assholes is the place where I have to make an exception. There’s a reason I’ve got knuckles like walnuts and half of my fingers are crooked, and it’s not X-treme Knitting.

Huh. It turns out extreme knitting is an actual thing and is nothing like what I had in mind.

As a kid I subscribed to the Ender Wiggin school of playground problem solving and, well… that leads to other problems. As a young adult I was the sort of shithead who thought it was acceptable rules-lawyering to goad someone into taking a swing first as an excuse to dismantle somebody. I’m not proud of that kind of sophistry.

Since then I’ve adopted a single hard and fast rule:

Grownups don’t hit.

And as a corollary: Human beings don’t kill.

Hell yes, there are exceptions. If someone poses a credible and immediate existential threat to yourself or others and cannot be escaped or reasoned with, that person needs to be restrained, incapacitated, or, in the complete absence of any other option, killed.

We're best friends!
Basically: Be like Santa, not like Batman.

In this case, a wannabe fascist’s shitty haircut and shittier ideology unambiguously pose an existential threat to myself and others. The hazy area is exactly how immediate or credible that threat might be. Personally, I wouldn’t have socked the guy. Not only because I prefer to stay on the other side of the line when it comes to equating speech and violence, but because I know I’d enjoy it way too much and I try to err on the side of not punching people just because I’d get off on it. Otherwise I’d have a full-time punching schedule. Also, you know, after a while it really fucks up your hands.

TL;DR: This is all academic unless someone’s actually doing a genocide run.

Meanwhile, I’m also of the opinion that the guy burned his human race membership card the second he started saying ethnic cleansing is a pretty neat idea. If you think we should just get rid of all the people you don’t like, don’t act so fucking shocked when somebody else thinks that should begin with you.

Does that make me a hypocrite? Have I sacrificed some moral high ground there? Maybe a little. If that means I get to enjoy seeing Martin Shkreli hit in the face with a dogshit fastball then I’m not going to shed a single fucking tear.

The Future is Stupid

captainipad

How many fucking iPads do you need, Jean Luc?

Then I realize my own desk is half buried with Kindles and shit. So many Star Trek things have this weird disconnect between technological prescience and how people actually use technology. Case in point: Our future back then featured handheld, flatscreen, touch sensitive computers, but for some reason they still passed them around and piled them up like clipboards or papers in an inbox. Captain Picard can’t be bothered to open a new tab. Haha, silly old Star Trek.  It seemed really fucking stupid until decades later and half the surfaces in my house are covered with the damn things because yeah, that’s apparently just what happens.

Meanwhile, we’ve still got combination communicator/tricorders that fit in a pocket without seriously messing up the lines of a suit. Hey, did you know you can mod your cell phone camera to act as a rudimentary Geiger counter? It’s almost completely useless unless you’re antiquing for uranium glass.

FIRST

As of now it’s been about twenty years since I slapped my first ugly website across the face of the internet, and a decade since I let it lapse in pursuit of the combination of hubris and blind retard luck one might facetiously call my career. I was blogging back before someone coined a dumb neologism for it, so I guess I should feel some sort of obligation. This Sorta Sketchy thing has been waiting empty for a few months now, so it’s probably about time I got around to filthying it up. It’s stupid to be intimidated by the potential of a blank page when the rest of the book is going to end up covered in rude opinions and shitty cartoons. I’ll get right on that.

Solidsharkey has long since been sniped out from under me, but I honestly hated the old url so much I’m almost grateful. It’s probably better off as an online casino or whateverthefuck it is these days. At least this one’s an appropriate anagram of my name. I also regged sortasketchy.solutions, but that anagrams out to “Scott Sharkey Lotions Us,” which isn’t quite what I had in mind.

I’ll hang on to it in case I start my own line of medicated unguents.