SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 340: “Taco Bell Serves No Fish… We Won’t Hold That Against Them”

Trapped I am not as I sit poolside with one of the most active minds I’ve encountered in a very long time, my new friend, horror filmmaker and reality show editor John.

For a few hours we chat, including a short run to the Taco Bell border for midnight snacks. And in this time I get a glimpse into the brain of an exceptionally talented and environmentally aware dude. One, who through colors the likes of 70mm cinema, captivates, amuses and informs.

There are only few words compelling enough to describe John, and quick, honest and spontaneous they would be. And mixed with a bit of edgy humor John give’s us audience in working to find advice to share.

With constant body movement John struggles to figure out appropriate thoughts to pass forward. “Wow…! I don’t know… what kind of advice would I have for the world…? I don’t know… I probably would just tell some jokes,” he searches deeper.

“’Like… if I were to council the world…? he grins.

“’…Well you can only do so much… It’s like in ‘King Of The Hill…’ the cartoon. There was something at one point… I can’t remember the exact quote, but it starts like this… ‘With you… yourself… living the best you can, or something like that.’

Just like with you… yourself… living the best you can… or being the best you can… whatever. Like he was saying (referring back to the King Of The Hill episode), It starts on a person level… person to person… just like if people were doing that… I don’t know…? We’re all in this together.

Is it stupid to tell other people what to do? That’s dumb! That’s all bullshit… run your own race… against yourself… not against everyone else… I’m going to do my own thing… I’m gonna do it good… and the people around me… the things around me will work out. Tell them something like that.’” John proposes with an amendment.

“You look back to the declaration of independence… People stood up for their thing. That’s the thing here. It’s important for everyone to cut the bullshit and to just go back and clarify.

Everyone wants to get in everyone business… everyone is so concerned and worried about everything else… All this nervousness and agitation… It just turns into anger and other shit like that. It just seems that if the world would chill out, and that’s so much easier said than done, it would be a better place. The world does not work like that… but it would be so cool if it did.”

We turn to the future, and again, John uses a bridge of a half-truth / half-joke to direct our discussion to weightier issues.

“Man, this is gonna sound… like… selfish…” he admits. “…I really hope that all the fisheries of the world remain… because I love seafood.”

We dive into a shared concern regarding the state of the oceans, it’s environment and of the delicate balance that has been compromised by so many Human’s who have so blatantly ignored their stewardship in respecting the earth. “What is happening is like a domino effect,” John contends in leading me to telegraph a linked question.

“Are the fish going to be here?” I ask.

John speedily replies, “I don’t know… it’s weird… the real numbers are in question. How much is actually being fished? The gaps between the generations of the fish, the weather and other natural stuff can mess that stuff up.

I don’t know anything… everything that I know comes from TV or the Internet, what the f*** do I know!

You can ponder this stuff… but it is more fascinating that anything else..

…I know I’m really off topic.”

What John does not fully discuss is his state of origin, Maine, a fishing center for much of the seafood we so regularly consume. And from this fact, it is a simple calculation to figure that John knows a lot more than he wants us to know.

He reflects to friends he has in the fishing industry. “People go out and make their living in the ocean… think about that. We flash back… Have you ever thought about whaling?”

Now, his pointing at the whaling industry of past is in no way an endorsement of its greed and inhumanity of days past; or any kind of encouragement to the illegal ships that still trawl the waters in quest of greed drawn blood. Rather it is a shocking jumping off point to shift our conversation towards the importance of conservation and our role in respecting the environment through protecting its limited resources. And with no issue unturned, we speak of topics ranging from deforestation to the general misuse of ocean, land and animal.

“Everyone goes around saying, I’ve got it all figured out… We have it all figured out… Everyone has it all figured out and they don’t know shit…” John retorts.

…I don’t know…? Back in the day… think of what was around… and compare it to now… It would be like… We’d look at all that was there and say, damn!”

John redirects away from himself again, “These days everything I know comes from Netflix documentaries.

I have it all figured out… No, I don’t have it all figured out… Sometimes I do… and sometimes I don’t. But, one thing I know for sure… is we have to take care of our stuff… and nature is no different.

We have to keep moving, but we have to be reasonable… logical.

And if we ever think we have it figured out… we need to realize one thing…we don’t!”

The midnight hour is approaching, and even though John and I have the energy to continue our chat well into the wee hours, responsibility takes hold… well almost, for we have one last topic to address, the Taco Bell drive through menu.

John asks, “What are you going to order?”

My response, true to the lesson learned tonight, “I don’t know?”

Talk tomorrow friends!