Discoursing on Hubcaps, or: Robber Che Part 3

Periodically, El Crow would head over to Stoa park to listen to one of Robber Chè‘s rants and to try to outmaneuver her at her own game. This was how stupid El Crow is.

“Look here, Robber Chè,” he might say.  “There is no reason for you to steal our shit, or anybody else’s shit. That is not cool, man. That wasn’t the act of a philosopher king.”

And Robber Chè, through her green luchador mask, would reply with some philosophical non-sequitur like, “You don’t think there’s honor in being a thief? It takes courage to be a thief. It takes intelligence to be a good thief. It takes cunning. It takes foresight. A good thief must be physically fit. Are you any of those things, El Crow?”

El Crow was too dim-witted to answer on most occasions. He would simply sit there, silent, trying to will his brain to conjure some kind of competent response. So Robber Chè would take that silence as his answer.

 “Of course not,” she would say. “So don’t pretend like you have half the virtue I do.”

 “You’re a criminal,” El Crow might finally respond.

 “I never stole from someone who didn’t have it coming. I am merely an agent of karma.”

 “KARMA?!” El Crow would holler. “WHAT FUCKING KARMA? Karma’s a fairy tale for those small minds who are too chicken-shit and intellectually incapable of considering there probably is no such thing as ‘justice’ in the world. There are no “just desserts.” They’re all a bunch of children who can’t stomach the meaninglessness of existence. What about your goddamned karma? Where is nature’s retribution for your crimes?”

“I accept my karma, wholly,” replied Robber Chè calmly. “Without any hesitation or regret. Whether that means being tied up and burned by a bunch of inbred hillbillies, or being tied up and preached to by an idiot lunatic in this beautiful fucking park.”

One time, the self-satisfied Fat Milo went with El Crow and said something to Robber Chè like, “Where’s our goddamned fucking shit?” only somehow less eloquently, and Robber Chè responded with a rather lengthy, and vaguely Marxist soliloquy about what makes a thief a thief.

“Who’s stealing from who, Fat Milo? Who did you steal from to get your beloved Jetta? Your parents? And who did they steal from? Don’t get mad, Fat Milo, get rational. I stole your car. I know all about it. The $350 hubcaps. How is that not thievery? It’s thievery on several levels. The person who sold them to you stole from you. And you let him. Do you know how much food that $1400 could’ve bought any hungry child in this country? That’s a lifetime worth of ramen noodles and grilled cheeses. And for what? So your car could be a little shinier? That’s it.

“There’s nothing more to it. Because a shinier car somehow makes you more worthy or honorable or noble? How sad. You are not your car. You are worth more than your car, it’s too bad you don’t see that much.

“There is no real value to those hubcaps. There wasn’t ever any craftsmanship. They were forged in an assembly line in a factory that is polluting rivers and air and giving cancer to poor people. You paid $1400 for what amounted to maybe–maybe— $50 in material and labor. You let them steal from you. But that was your karma for being willing to let a bunch of hungry children starve so you could have a shinier car and pretend that made you special, you insecure fuck. That’s your karma for your petty, childish insecurities. Having a shinier car makes you no more of a man. If you were a real man, you’d understand as much. But you’re a child. A little boy who still believes having the best toy on the playground means anything.

“Oh, you don’t believe me? Look at you on that iPhone. How much did you allow Apple to rob you for on that one? $600?! My god, you’re even dumber than I thought. $600 for something that adds nothing to your life and for which you have to stress out about breaking or losing or charging, because the battery fucking sucks. The things you own end up owning you.

“Oh shut up. I know I stole that from Tyler Durden. I’m a thief, ain’t I? At least I’m an honest one. Fuck your shitty music. Fuck your shitty apps. Fuck having the internet wherever you go. How has it improved your quality of life? How is that battery treating you? How much do you let them rob you for monthly service? $150 per month?! Jesus. That’s another $2000 per year just so you can watch fake sex on a porn app while you’re taking a shit. How sad. When’s the last time you simply took a shit and felt the wonder and relief of taking a shit? You’re a sad little boy. You paid $600 and $150 per month so you could take one more step toward being a robot. The technology does nothing but lie. It tells you it is meaningful and worth all the bullshit you go through to get it. All the strain, boredom, deferred pleasures of work. Instead of lying under a tree, enjoying the magnificence of Creation, you’re working yourself to the bone so you can pay for a phone.

“Be human. Don’t be a robot. Feel the shame, the pain, the disappointment of being a human. It’s beautiful. When was the last time you were truly happy, Fat Milo? When was it? And don’t tell me about the time were at a restaurant and you took a picture of your greasy, fatty, disgusting fucking food with your $600 fucking cell phone and posted it on Instagram for all the other robots to pretend to care. That’s all it’s good for–mild diversions. When’s the last time you were really fucking happy? Well, when you figure it out, I’ll guarantee it had nothing to do with your stupid fucking cell phone or your stupid fucking hubcaps. Oh, when your parents bought you the Jetta. That’s pretty fucking sad. You didn’t even buy it yourself. At least then you would’ve at least accomplished something. That would make some kind of sense. I was hoping you’d talk about falling in love or a fun night out drinking with your friends or completing a personal project you’d been working on–like making a table or even cooking a batch of meth or some shit. Instead, it was when your parents bought you a car. You sad, miserable fuck.  See, you’re the true thief. You’ve robbed yourself of your own dignity. You let others rob you of your own money, so you can rob yourself of your own humanity. And it’s like that all over the world. Six billion thieves robbing themselves. I’m just the only one who doesn’t lie about it.”

She didn’t actually stop there, but I will (apologies for not stopping earlier). It was like listening to a slightly more philosophically and morally coherent and less verbose version of a Randian Libertarian.

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