I can never seem to remember where I was on its anniversary, either. Take two years ago: I'm pretty sure I was at a ballgame, but I couldn't tell you one way or the other. I know I published this piece at two in the morning; after that, I'm unsure. The only "where I was on 9/11" piece I've ever read worth a tinker's damn was David J. Roth's, and, aside from that, all others read like the works of self-aware wannabe talking heads who cast their eyes at a burning hellscape and said, "Memorize where you were at this moment, precious voice, because this can be your generation's JFK assassination."
I know I was at a ballgame somewhere around September 11, 2011, because last night, purely by accident, I found an old note I'd dictated on my iPhone for myself, and it immediately brought back the circumstances surrounding it. I was standing in line at a Tampa Bay Rays game, waiting to go to the bathroom.
There is nothing quite so grating as the garrulous boozed-up conversation of two strangers while you're standing with a full bladder and eager to empty it and leave, but the two guys in front of me were apparently celebrating the 9/11 anniversary by recounting the current litany of right-wing bullshit horrors portending the fatal Islamification of America. Both were fully riding the paranoid Frank Gaffney trip about the Murphreesboro, TN, Islamic center, as well as all the residual Glenn Beck mania about the "Ground Zero Mosque."
"I'm telling you, man, it's Sharia," one said to the other, who nodded.
"That's the thing," the other added, "if they marry your daughter, their law says they can cut her up down there, and there's nothing you can do about it."
That's not exactly what they said. My little note to myself is much vaguer now, two years later, but the clitoridectomy material and THE SHARIA THREAT specter was all there. But I did my best. All the same, for some reason, David Bowie's "Rock and Roll Suicide" was in my head, and in their honor I started composing this ditty, which I am sure they would love:
Crime takes a minaretThat's it. There's nothing else. Except to say that the above anecdote wouldn't matter so much if you couldn't stumble into any bar in America and find a hate-marinated loser one drink away from finding an excuse to loose the same thoughts on the world.
Puts it in the south
Cut clits off your sisters
Puts 'em in a psalter
In the minaret
The muezzin is calling
9/11, let's all forget
Oh ho ho ho, it's America's suicide
September 11 has succeeded mightily not only in bankrupting this country but in animating every shit-ignorant racist impulse that would otherwise have remained feculently stewing in our collective moral toilet. It has been the vector for our rapturous collective endumbening, and every single year in which we tolerate our becoming bigger assholes under its aegis makes the events of that day seem less nightmarish than they ought. We are so natural, religiously unkind.