Glory by Erica Dreisbach

Originally performed at The Hideout in Chicago, April 2015.

No guts, no glory. [sigh]

I believe that this idea is some social mind control bullshit, designed to encourage the workforce to defer pleasure until such time as the system has sucked the lifejuice from our very bones, and we're free to finally enjoy life at the very time when we're most fragile and infirm, and least physically capable of enjoying it. 

Allow me to explain. 

First: clarifying: if glory means slaughtering enemies and hearing the lamentations of their men and women, or even if it means being super wealthy and having a lot of bodyservants, participating in a cycle of oppression, then you can have whatever rules about how to get it, or have whatever rules about who deserves it. I'll take a double-helping of Neither. 

But if you're talking about glory like sitting in the warm sunshine, or finishing a marathon, or going on an awesome date: that glory. Ok. Let's talk.  

The word "guts" is like: "you don't have the ... " you know. 

It's like the word "reasonable," or "quarterly goals." Words that people use to remind you that you're not good enough. 

Guts are also ... they're something you talk about after the fact, when at the time you were acting out of raw fear, or an adrenaline fugue state. And later someone's like, "whoa dude, that took guts." And you're like, "oh. Yah, I was brave." 

I'll admit, "No Guts No Glory" is an appealing equation, a very gratifying notion of causality. Much like the Law of Attraction in "The Secret," which if you haven't read, is about how to Think Your Way Rich. So if you want something: you just have to think the right way, like a John Wayne character.

So what's the fear, here? 

One, it's that some people might skip guts, and just fall backwards into glory. Those cheaters! Look at those cheaters enjoying themselves! What a nightmare! Look: some people get lucky, and it's fine. Use your adult coping mechanisms. It's fine. 

Two, it's the fear that people might feel entitled to glory without ever risking anything. Which, yah, that happens. But usually it's with people who have overall bummer personalities. Where encouraging them to have some guts just victimizes them, and handing them glory just makes them upset because it wasn't the right kind of glory in the right way. So.

And three, there's the fear that without a swift kick in the guts, we'll become a society of meek sheeple. As if Just Living isn't hard enough.

Right now is a time when guts, and sticking your neck out for what's right, is a liability. It's not glorious. Whistleblowers, and the journalists who report the whistles, they go to jail. Or they go to Russia like Eddie Snowden. Russia: where if jail is full, they have Siberia. PARTS of the country are jail.

Ramsey Orta, that's the guy who filmed Eric Garner getting killed by police: he was in jail until Last Week! And his mother, his brother, his wife: they've also all been arrested since the video came out. Staten Island police will tell you it was all legit drugs and weapons charges, but we did just watch them strangle a man to death in the street. 

So right now their credibility is ... strained. 

So let's table guts, let's table fear. Let's talk about glory. Glory: the FUCK YES of life. 

When dolphins are podracing, and flipping around, we don't get on the dolphins' case. "You guys didn't EARN THAT joy!" Why do *dolphins* get to have pure glory, but we have to cut ours with suffering through a dayjob. Which, a dayjob might even be fine except you have this weird sense of renting your body, like a farm animal, and the cubicles are laid out like corrals, and many of us have to wear little badges clipped to our person to identify us, again, like a farm animal. 

And also, most bosses and managers are at best incompetent, and at worst, sociopaths. And your manager in particular is chatting very loudly today about his upcoming trip to New Orleans and how he's really excited to "get blind drunk" in the French Quarter, those words, "blind drunk," and also excited to maybe go on a plantation tour, and you're there barely not saying a lot of things that would be very *inconvenient* to say, but also you're afraid to say, like: "so you can see the big house where master lived?" 

That's not gonna result in him saying, "Jesus. I'm kindof shallow and fucked up!" It certainly would not result in glory. The glory comes when you tell this whole story to 100 people who laugh and cheer, which is  spineless on your part. So: no guts, glory. We have the science!

Imagine a world that's all glory, no guts. Everyone happy, chilling out, eating good food, enjoying television. Like the Denver metro area, yesterday. Or Colorado, every day. 

 

At the heart of it, this notion means: suffer now, pleasure later. Like pure pleasure is for pussies. When really, pussies, are for pure pleasure! We have that science! 

 

Or like: the only pleasure that counts comes from pain. Which is the same thinking that says there's no such thing as pure altruism, because if you enjoy doing it, then you're getting something out of it, which means it's not really 'altruism.' I guess REAL altruism would mean helping others even though they physically disgust you. Hugging people while trying not to barf on them. Marrying a woman you can't stand, having children you don't like, locking yourself in the garage to do "projects," when really you're smoking pot and listening to White Snake, maybe wearing a tshirt that says NO GUTS NO GLORY, and drinking vodka from a mug that says Best Dad in the Room. 

The 'guts and glory' people will use every opportunity to convince you to alienate yourself from your own pleasure, to alienate yourself from what you actually like. 

Let me state unambiguously: Fuck. That. Shit. If glory comes your way, it is your human right to enjoy it, whether it was predicated by guts, or sloth. 

If you wanna find me, I'm having a non-stop dance party next to a hundred foot neon sign glowing: FREEDOM. POWER. GLORY. FOREVER.

 

Guts by Kirk Anderson

Originally performed at The Hideout in Chicago, April 2015.

Good God, Guts is a good word. A clean, simple combination of voiced and unvoiced consonants with a fairly unnecessary U in the middle. It doesn’t really need U. This word. It can fend for itself. Guts.

The hard hearted G is on point today, with that guttural aforementioned phoneme on his right hip, flanked by the always rough and ready plosive T and an 
unforgiving S. Guts.

Go ahead try and say that without your teeth.

Can’t do it can you? And you know why? Because you got ‘em smashed out of your face when you were busy wasting your life seeking Glory, you hounds.

I don’t mean to pick on Glory - but what the hell is that - Glory? – An empty, anonymous hole in a long forgotten bathroom stall that nobody is going to stuff the most sensitive 6 1/2 turgid inches of their person into, unless they’ve got GUTS. And a WHOLE big bunch of it too. ...No guts, no glory. (...)

What we’re talking about here is Balls. Big ones. Eggs, Courage, intestinal fortitude, backbone, viscera, the offal, the vital organs, things you must needs 
have for your actual survival.

You know that right now our squishy innards are busily processing whatever crap we forked into our gaping maw earlier today – pushing it deep into some 25 feet of velvety tubing to make ever more room for the delicious as fuck tamale that’s about to walk through that door any minute now. (I recommend it with a nice pale ale by the way.) Because your guts don’t wait for shit.They do their duty when 
called upon.
You can trust your guts. Go with em. What do they say? They say lets Do This Thing. “Yeah but what if something...? Do it now, man! 

But glory? You’re gonna have to wait for that. “Yeah its...gonna be awhile. But you can sit at the bar if you want.” We’re told that If we’re just really patient and pleasant enough and have good penmanship that a state of utter happiness, resplendent beauty and adoring praise or something is just around the corner. 

What is it, a bus?

No. Glory is Vonnegut’s Foma – a harmless untruth meant to calm the frayed nerves of simple souls. It’s biding it’s time until it can find itself, it’s time in the sun, it’s shining moment. Glory is a fiction meant for the dead, the battle field, the lord above and romantic novels. It’s the numbing head-heavy pursuit of greatness. A shallow and impossible aspiration that can only disappoint in the end because it’s fleeting, if it comes at all. Because like a bus, it’s eventually going to dump you all alone some terrible night on a marginal road in the town of Obscurity USA wearing a totally played-out feathered Givenchy number. 

“Everybody knows that sequins are back this year.” 

Glory is a presenter now and its time has past. It has a permanent seat on the Hollywood Squares. It’s Paul Lynde. (Sound) “Poor Glory.” Poor Old Glory. But Enough about Her. Lets get to the real deal.

The Gut is the meat of the thing, the heart of the matter, the important stuff, the nut of it, the middle, the best part of the play, book or document of some kind that you’ve been working on for 6 years only to have some fucking nebbish give it a cursory pass and then GUT IT! “Oh my god he cut it to pieces. It’s gutted! It’s pointless, it's sans point. I'm ruined."

And now you’re adrift. It was going to be glorious but it’s over. It’s all over. I’m done. And you want to give up, go home, snort a vat of bourbon and pass out in nothing but your slippers. But you don’t. You go for a long walk down by the lake with your dog and stare out across the water and think about moving back to the Grand Rapids area maybe. “They don’t have any REAL gun laws there do they?” 

You’re searching your soul. You’re looking for answers in the flinty waters of the sixth largest fresh water lake in the world. When suddenly it hits you squarely in the mid-section. A feeling – it’s a feeling deep down in your guts that you can’t describe. Call it a gut feelling.

But I’m pretty sure its gut check time up in this bitch. 

And right then and there, with your goofy little adoring cur in tow, it comes gurgling upward from your puckered bung hole through the middle of your being and into your chest. Just a short while ago, where there existed only the sucking metallic vapor of self doubt you find your guts – the sturdy, unflinching resolve to march right back down there, shake the sand out of your Florsheim’s and pound it straight up that gutless bastard’s ass. That Ichabod in a goddamned double windsor is going to know you today! You earned your way here man. But this... this flimsy Peter Principle sitting here married in and he’s not telling you shit on a stick. Because you’re a hard scrabble work a day, real world nut-crusher who’s never had a thing handed to her. He’s nothing. Nothing but a glorified office clerk.

And that’s how glory goes. It’s a handout heaped lavishly upon the undeserving. It’s turd polish - “Now available in new pumpkin spice scent.” It manipulates us into caring about dull things by making them shiny, smelly and new. It takes a dry, gluten-free donut and covers it with colorful candy sprinkles so that it looks good but it’s really just a circular dirt clod and no amount of coffee is washing it down. 

No. Glory is a prodigious pile of undue praise that lies there doing nothing. A falsehood. It’s a Nicole Ritchie action figure. But I don’t want to pick on Glory. Glory’s all like, “Omigod. I can’t believe he said that about me.” 

The Guts can set you free because they’re the truth. You can spill your guts in confession or pour them selflessly out through song. They come in a handy container – your person. And they can stay in there without unnecessary preservatives for a long time and still be fresh when they finally come out and when they do, look out because here comes a long held secret truth that’s been worming around inside of you for years –for years I say! 

And today at long last is the day you puke it up. Today is the day you finally say, “I hate you Kirk Anderson. I hate your guts.”