The Dawn of the Dude

 |  April 30, 2010

I’ve always found it funny that adding the word ‘time’ to another word suddenly imparts the latter with an inflated sense of importance. At least, this is what pop culture would have us believe.

For instance, when Mike Myers declared “party time!” in the movie ‘Wayne’s World’, getting wasted and listening to heavy metal was instantly transformed into a meaningful endeavour. And the Fantastic Four’s ‘The Thing’ made smashing skulls seem positively groovy with the trademark ‘It’s clobberin’ time!’ Even worse is the silly sobriquet ‘big time’ which introduces the notion that some temporal events are so important that they actually bend the space-time matrix; Peter Gabriel skillfully skewered this smug supposition in his excellent song with the same title. By far the worst, of course, is when ‘time’ is added to a person’s own name which was done to an unparalleled degree in 1990 by rapper M.C. Hammer. Luckily for the world, ‘Hammer Time’ has long since come and gone, along with his comfortably roomy yet vain and impractical trousers.

Still, when employed with plenty of irony, it may be entirely permissible to draw attention to the ‘timeliness’ of certain activities. In other words, I’m absolving myself of sin (and copyright infringement) for announcing ‘hammock time!’ every time I lay down a hammock from my arsenal of the lazy arse. The hammock, you see, is a sacred instrument in The Church of the Latter-Day Dude. Any aspiring Dudeist Priest must understand that repeating the blessing ‘hammock time!’ not only sanctifies the endeavour of takin’ er easy, but also helps direct mankind towards a utopian future in which all humans will have access to a clean hammock, a cool beverage and something at which to stare idly. (This fine magazine will do.)

Hammocks have a long and distinguished pre-history. The word comes from the Taino Indians, an easygoing tribe of beach bums who inhabited the Bahamas in extremely dudely fashion, lounging around all day on their brilliantly-engineered, technologically-unsurpassed relaxation apparatuses.

Then Columbus arrived in 1492. The great explorer wrote of them: “They traded with us and gave us everything they had, with good will…they took great delight in pleasing us. They are very gentle and without knowledge of what is evil; nor do they murder or steal…in all the world there can be no better people. They love their neighbours as themselves, and they have the sweetest talk in the world, and are gentle and always laughing.”

Shortly thereafter, the Spanish forced them into slavery and they were all dead within 40 years. Hammock Time was history.

Like Columbus, intrepid (and somewhat deluded) explorers are still searching for the mythical Garden of Eden, the great primordial paradise where the mind may be untroubled. It’s out there somewhere.

Of course, we can’t all live on a tropical beach, but we can all afford a hammock. Thus, anywhere two sturdy poles can be found, a portion of paradise may be found as well, if only for a languid afternoon. To paraphrase M.C. Hammer, U can touch this. Hammock time.

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