Back to Issue 9 | Back to Chuck Firebomb's Nihilistic Minute


Living in this country is starting to make me sick. Not too long ago, I was back in Western New York and visited my old haunt of Lockport. And to my surprise, one of my all-time favorite features of downtown Lockport was gone, that being the big Salvation Army on the corner by the canal bridge. And I don’t just mean closed, I mean obliterated off the face of the earth. The whole damn building was gone. And what stood in its place, you say as you prepare for the wall of rage? A Walgreens. A huge fucking drug store. Instantly Walgreens made my corporate shitlist right along side Tops, Wal-Mart, and Benderson Development. Not only that, but area friends and contacts tell me that the whole thing came down and went up in the span of a month. I could puke.

Is this really “urban renewal”? I’m not the biggest fan of organized religion but the Salvation Army represents for me one of the most effective recycling programs we have going. It’s ridiculous the kind of clothes you find when you walk into a Salvay, the refuse of the petit bourgeoisie. Stuff that might be six months out of style but still high-quality, perfectly good, often “designer” merchandise. And instead, now downtown Lockport has yet another fly-by-night disposable “business venture” for producing even more wasteful, polluting, disposable “low-cost” crap to drain our wallets. It’ll be bankrupt or gone within a generation, mark my words. Disposable real estate.

CAPITALIST EXPANSION IS A BLIGHT. When I was a little kid it was fascinating to see fancy new building popping up. Now whenever someone takes me down a street like Niagara Falls Boulevard in Amherst, I actually have to resist the urge to vomit. Development my ass. Have you noticed how fast these new buildings and shopping plazas go up these days? Do you seriously think these vendors are planning on staying in these crap-ass buildings for more than what, maybe twenty years tops? What a waste of resources! Steel doesn’t grow on trees, and tress don’t grow on asphalt. The next time I see a goddam supermarket move two blocks down the street just so they can take a tax break on a new building, thereby killing an entire shopping plaza, I’m walking in to the store on Grand Opening morning with an A-Bomb lashed to each nut and nuking the damn place. Worse yet, smart-ol’ Benderson has been slowly covering the suburbs not only with old abandoned plazas, but new vacant buildings, too! Have you noticed the glut of empty retail space in each new Benderson plaza that goes up? Almost always at least one division never fills. What are all these small businesses supposed to do when the vacant division next door suddenly gets infested with rats? It’s like Jimmy Stewart was never born and Potter owns the whole county. It’s fucking disgusting.

I wanna take over every town zoning board meeting in America with a gun. I’m too much of an anarchist to ever support a planned economy, but a Communist state wouldn’t waste money building four of the same retail establishment within a mile of each other, and leaving empty retail space all over the country. A new Wal-Mart or Target or CrapMart or whatever is not progress folks, wake up! It’s 84,000 square feet of wasted resources! And if you think the empty buildings in the suburbs are bad, you should check out the city some time. I wanna move every low-income family ghettoized or homeless in the city into an empty Benderson commercial site, rent-free. I wanna bring a hundred angry people to a town zoning meeting and put a ten-year freeze on new construction. I wanna squat the earth. I wanna kill every cul-de-sac in America. I want to end the lie of “steady growth”... we’re growing straight out of our resources! I WANT TO END CAPITALIST EXPANSION WORLDWIDE. I HAVE SEEN THE ENEMY AND IT IS A FREE MARKET. THE UNRESTRICTED FREE MARKET IS A WASTE OF RESOURCES. LASSIES-FAIRE IS DEATH! DO YOU GET THE FUCKING MESSAGE??!?!

The Salvation Army in Lockport, meanwhile, has moved down Transit Road, away from the city and towards the suburbs and housing developments, into an abandoned retail space in a former big-chain supermarket plaza. At least someone still knows how to recycle.