Thursday, August 8, 2013
King of Beasts?
I took this picture, at great risk, in the Jerkwater Junction Municipal Park and Recreation Center. This park has been the play place for local children for many decades and is equipped with a sad collection of broken-down playground equipment dating back to the fifties . Under the stately oaks and beechnut trees the ground is littered with hypodermic needles, beer cans, broken teeth and disappointment.
Among the rusted jungle jims, monkey bars and other relics stands a plastic, yellow Merry-go-Round Lion which has withstood years of abuse from generations of white trash children and drunken teenagers. He is bolted to a base of paint-worn tread plate, forlorn and decrepit, gazing out across the dismal park with hollow, vacant eyes, a steel rod driven through his skull in a kind of blunt force lobotomy and polished by untold years of grubby fingers and runny noses.
Things worsened for the lion 1984, when a thirteen year old ruffian kicked the poor, inanimate beast’s left flank with the vengeance of pre-pubescent frustration. The blow shattered his thin, outer shell letting his very essence bleed out on to the dusty ground of Small Town Amërïkä, leaving a hollow, soulless vacuum. So here he sits to this day, like some sad figure in a Greek tragedy, his face weary and tortured. A wretched inmate, trapped forever in existential misery.
What’s up with those eyebrows?
The assembled moms watching their children at play were becoming uneasy with the bearded stranger, sitting on a park bench sipping Nyquil cloaked in a brown paper bag, like some malevolent character from a Jethro Tull tune. I figured my time spent contemplating the plight of this regal carnivorous caricature was up. I returned home to ponder my own existence.