Sunday, December 27, 2009

Revisiting a Keeper: Polo Alert - Selling Out is Now Cool

Jon Reed notes, December 2009: When I unearthed this gem from my old blog, I had to track down a fresh link for Peter McBride, who ushered in an ominous new era when he got a Polo logo tattooed on his chest. The events Peter did his small creepy part to usher in are still unfolding, but those who have an old fashioned appreciation for lines in the sand can't be encouraged. Read on for my rant on this topic from 2006, which ends with one of my favorite lines I've ever written. I won't spoil it for you, read four more paragraphs and you're there.

A few entries past, I wrote that selling out to corporations was actually becoming "cool." Even as I wrote it, I thought I went too far. But thanks to Peter McBride, we now know that I didn't go far enough. Forget about doing that "corporate tool" contest, and for that matter, forget about the "sackless man" competition - Peter has 'em both locked up.

Our boy Peter was waiting in line for a tattoo, and since the guy ahead of him was wearing a Polo shirt, Peter decided to get a Polo right on his chest. Give Peter credit. It's hard to stand out as a chump in a world of chumps. Peter is young and dumb as a post, so it's not fair to ride him as one of the four horsemen. But check this out: tattoo artist Gaje Pou, quoted in the piece on McBride by Lee Hudson Teslik, says that it's increasingly common for folks to have a corporate logo inscribed on their bodies. According to Pou, this practice "is becoming more and more acceptable." We are nearing that inconceivable day when "corporate is cool."

Truth be told, I was thinking of getting a tattoo also. But unlike Peter, I was looking for an image that might give me a bit of bravery on those days when I am floundering in a gutless world. Maybe I should get a tattoo of me knocking McBride off a horse and cramming a polo stick in his craw. If it's true that an act of bravery strengthens all of us, it's also true that an act of cowardice weakens us. I'm not going to deny it: McBride's decision was demoralizing. Not just because it was stupid, but because Peter is in step with where the world is headed, and I'm not.

Peter's Polo is one more sign that I'm off track, walking around with an unflattering chip on my shoulder and missing happy hour again. In junior high school, guys wearing Polo shirts threw me into a pool. Peter gave me a different kind of cold shower. But I like it here on the fringes with the dreamers and the freaks. If nothing else, our tattoos are superior. Peter's worst move? He didn't even arrange to get paid by Ralph Lauren for branding himself. Ah, to be on a date with Peter, unbuttoning his shirt for the first time, wondering if he is wearing some kind of Ralph Lauren skin undershirt, then realizing you date PoloMan. Admittedly, my life is shaping up as tragic drama. But at least it's not a fucking commercial.