25 July 2009


I detest the term “third world country.” How much more pejorative can you get?

I guess you could use the term “emerging nation.” But emerging into what? The Walt Disney magic kingdom of MacDonald's and Walmart?

Actually, I am just grumpy because I cannot think of a better term myself to refer to a country like México where the culture is still a bit pungent and earthy and the overwhelming number of citizens are poor in the monetary sense—but only in the monetary sense, by the way. Birth, suffering, and death are right out there on display on the front doorstep.

Well, whatever. . . .

México is one of those nations whose citizenry still make daily use of very fundamental tools.

I am holding one of those fundamental tools in my hand in this photo. It is about as simple as it can get. A large elongated piece of steel sharpened on one side with a handle attached. Here in México it is called a machete.

I have spent some significant time cutting wood with a machete recently. It is a tool perfectly suited to its purpose. That purpose is not to chop down trees. There are no trees in the sense we use that term in the area where I was. It is perfectly suited to clearing and chopping up brush wood.

Using a machete for an extended period is emotionally formative. If that shithead, George W. Bush, had used a machete to clear the brush at his ranch near Crawford instead of lighting up his fucking chain saw, I am convinced that he would have developed an adult personality and we would now be living in a better world.

Here is my friend, Maria, a visiting student from Columbia with another very fundamental tool, a johnson bar. She has been setting out some plants, and the soil is so rocky that you need to use the johnson bar like a pick ax in making the hole. Another perfectly simple tool perfectly suited to its purpose, and an emotionally formative one as well.

1 comment:

spike said...

I don't think there's enough brush on earth for W to machete, to give him an adult personality! The description of your camping trip was very cool.