Saturday, November 28, 2009

Overheard at the gym

“…but they can’t handle the fact that he’s a young black man who’s got his thing together.”

I smiled silently on the other side of the wall. Brother whitey giving it up for the Brother-in-Chief, in this very red part of a blue state (I saw a bumper sticker today that read GIVE ME BACK MY MONEY; YOU CAN KEEP THE “CHANGE”).

“That’s the part I can’t stand. They have no reason to hate him, but they do, just because he’s not what they’re used to. A black man with his thing together, they’re jealous and resentful, so they go after him in the media. It’s cowardly.”

I tied my laces and got up to leave, nodding, feeling a bit better about this place where I live with such frustration, with so many reservations.

“It’s like Jesus Christ, you know?” His lockermate snorted, but I knew what he meant. “Another young guy with his thing totally together who challenged the way things were, but they couldn’t handle it so they went after him.” Still his friend chuckled derisively.

“Hey, I’m not saying Tiger Woods is on the same level with Jesus Christ, that’s not what I’m saying.”

Oh. I thought he was talking about someone else. Someone, you know, with his thing together. Not that Tiger doesn’t have his thing together.

“I just think they should give the guy a break, that’s all.”

Yeah OK. Give him a break. A car accident, is that what it was? Or marital trouble, he’s seeing someone on the side, something like this? M-kay. He’s a golfer. Good player, seems like. One of the best. Now, some personal problems. Uh-huh.

Righto, well that’s about it for the world of sport. Next time I’ll tackle the world of supermarket checkout line hostility. I’ll tackle the subject, not the guy in line behind me. Which I almost did. Actually I almost brained him with a frozen turkey. But that’s another story.

At least locker room guy stood up against the unfairness of bigotry. I still feel a little bit better about living here. Not quite as much but a little. It’s something.

I think they should give that other guy a break too.

Friday, November 27, 2009

No one gets offended by the blues

A low-pressure wave of singed ricotta pushes ahead of the slice. The translucent paper plate pulls the scent down with it in gently swirling vortices that fan out around the tabletop as plate meets formica with a greasy muffled thwack.

Outside a cold erratic wind whips up and down the main drag of the barrier island shore town, summer long gone now, the deep autumn creaking under its own ponderous weight as it prepares to surrender to winter’s biting lockdown.

Phh-TOONK! Phh-TOONK! Phh-TOONK! The carpenters’ nail guns pierce the abandoned neighborhood’s howling silence, the second story deck rough-in almost complete, let’s wrap this shit up for the day and get the hell out of here.

Pizza guy doesn’t belong in his store. He’s too smart, too nice, too well-educated, too normal, to be doing hard time on The Rock. It’s the same with so many here. What unforeseen turn of the wheel tossed these shorefolk onto the sand how many years ago now? And how do you get off after becoming a kinfolked citizen of the Island of Misfit Toys? After riding in on a bent wave in a thick fog, broken board propped in the corner, prop-like, an S. S. Minnow for a landlubbing lungfish? After the realization sinks in that no one there fits in and never will? And what then, indeed, after finding no greater refuge with the Mainland Misfits, Inland Division?

“Is that satellite radio?”

“Yeah, XFM” he says. “I just keep it on blues all day long. No trouble, no complaints, no arguments. Not everyone like the Dead,” and suddenly there it is, the Garcia effect, like a sighting of Christ on a tortilla stone: longish unkempt hair and beard, good buncha extra pounds around the middle, a good-natured but resigned bemusement about the mouth, oversized solid color T-shirt. Jerry’s wearing dark blue today, check it, maybe they’re gonna do Dark Star...

“No one gets offended by the blues.”

Half a wry smile and he turns, half a swipe at the counter, rag dancing in a careless whirl, 100% organic cotton dervish in ecstatic pirouette as the bay window darkens with just a touch, blue turned to grey, kinda suitable anyway, the low rumble pitter-pattering eastward across the bay.

The wheel is turning and you can't slow down
You can't let go and you can't hold on
You can't go back and you can't stand still
If the thunder don't get you then the lightning will

Then the lightning will.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


The Target brand ultra strength antacid/calcium supplement dissolved down his esophagus, a fizzing cascade of assorted-fruit-flavored reprieve. The acidic burn was cooled, the cool spread out from the center of his chest like a sudden downdraft of high pressure punching a hole clear through a thick fog to bestow a clean pocket of sunshine on a lonely child's soggy front yard. The relief brought tears, a physiological reaction.

Lately it happened a lot, like ten times a day. The agita, motherfucker, that shit hurt. But why? Why all of a sudden so much acid, so much stress? The lack of sleep was nothing new. The crappy diet, likewise.

Hang on. Got to put a fire out. Floss, change the typewriter ribbon etc.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

the origin of species

No, not Darwin. I found this link in an old word document. I created it before I set up my MySpace account as the narcoleptic sentinel. Guess I forgot about it. I see from the first (of a grand total of two...) that I did this blogger one just before my second kid was born three months prematurely. Things got a tad busy as you might imagine, which explains why I never got back to it. I love the comments -- all spam!

So in the event anyone is actually reading this, let me know what you think about the writing challenge. I need a challenge or I can't ever seem to write. It's fucked up but that's the way I am. I hate pressure but I need it to write, or to do much of anything at all. It's the only way I've ever gotten anything accomplished. Pressure. Grr. But hey, whaddya.