We were rapidly caroming down the home stretch of this
insidiously expensive excursion, and wholehearted relief upon leaving New York City was
The Big Apple had been a harsh, harrowing experience this
time, after 8 years – at which time we had stared into Ground Zero’s pit – and many
prices had seemed to DOUBLE.
I, for one, was no longer mesmerized.
inadvisable as driving on this overdeveloped island is – with nowhere to stop
and take a whiz – you do it anyway for convenience or distinction, making sure
to dodge all those marauding taxis, limos and many a Ford Extinction®.
SCHOOL DAZEHey, hey, whaddya say?!Let’s go back the other way!Thus spoke gyrating leggy cheerleaders as they joyously bounced
with pom-poms flailing and the megaphone spat obnoxiously loud, poor audio pronouncements
of the latest gains:
“Schatzmann to Bussie for a gain of (fill in the blanks)
Yes, gains were measured in yards,not dollars,amid the crowd’s hoots and hollers.
We of the non-sports persuasion preferred to hang out under
the bleachers, merrily engaged in insouciant repartee, smoking various bitter
and/or intoxicating consumables as the band played, our heartbeats not in rhythm
with the marching drum corps.
Brother Steve frequented that front line of drummers,
leading them in producing mind-numbing, chest-thumping racket, waxing averse
toward iniquitous shenanigans of under-the-bleachers longhairs.
Maybe that’s how he held on to his metronome-like precision
all those years: complete disinclination for intoxicants.
Incidentally, he was deaf in one ear.
I don’t think he gave a flying flip about football – one
tiny thing we had in common.
NO sport provided goals for us.
P. lived up the street, awkwardly fitting in to our disheveled blue-jeaned clan
and lending creative mind-benders to the equation; once gulping Paregoric® from his medicine cabinet before departure.
Memories of that era are fading fast.
But one foible comes to
mind at last, that being the occasion I was chattering with a fellow reveler
whilst fishing around in my back pocket, unthinkingly rolling up wads of paper
and flinging them off on the ground.
Perchance a glanceAnd look what was found!Of all the ills – they
were dollar bills!Then how horror did abound!
That was a wakeup call
for this insouciant youth with red slits for eyes, and that should come as
Bleached out memories, yes,
and I guess I’ll NEVER lobby for cannabis.
I’ll assume our old tan brick fortress is
still standing proudly in that bustling suburb, as are teachers and bleachers.
Many demographic changes
occurred after I quit school in 11th grade to pursue a succession of
joker jobs, some of which might end up in my unremarkable LinkedIn profile.
Judge Murray Schwartz
initiated desegregation proceedings in the late ‘70’s, receiving a bulletproof
vest from the FBI due to death threats coming from ignorant cretins.
struggled through that period of forced change as poor inner city teens were
given a shot at better education out in the ‘burbs.
Now what? Our burgeoning alma mater went from idyllic
suburban haven to social experiment, at least in the eyes of some inside
Siblings T and E had weathered these storms with dithering
resilience. In fact, they seemed to welcome the Hip-Hop that screeched into
consciousness from boom box speakers and automobiles during dances or just
about anytime high-watt audio gear could be powered up.
Of course race-based fights occurred at school, raising parental
By this time, I had moved into the city, renting a $60.00
per MONTH (believe it or not) room from a 94 year old lady.
We interrupt Davey H’s dog-eared pages of historical
accounting to bring up an increasingly ignored facet of America’s sordid
history. As our elders of the ‘Greatest Generation’ still label attacks on
Pearl Harbor: “The Day That Shall Live In Infamy.”
As a former sailor, I cannot imagine what Arizona’s crew
went through that day. Being on a ship is tough enough, even in the easiest of
times, Hawaii notwithstanding.
Being cold-conked by flaming kamikazes before you could
muster defenses, having your ship turned into a floating incinerator, and
knowing YOUR LEADERS FAILED YOU would be a horrible way to go,
I couldn’t go back.As ‘they’ say “you can never go back.”But on that old school I did turn my back!
Of course, as mentioned previously, I had impulsively dropped
out in 12th grade, skipping the only task which could have precluded
such an event: drafting a term paper – something that would be relished NOW!
That first rented room is as unforgettable as the cast of
characters which accompanied me.
The landlady was a first generation hard working Greek
immigrant who through thrift and industry had acquired – and parlayed – several
properties on that busy road across from the park.
I railed on enoughAbout that old school,Just like Steely Dan’s huffHey, I’m no alma-fool!So I’ll leave it alone
The best I canAnd croon to our crustyGASMAN:
Oh, Gasman thank youFor the giftOf that left-behind regulator;Whilst previouslyWe sure had a riftYour presentCould not have been greater! When we ran out of gas‘Twas a pain in the assTo pardon the droll nomenclature;But you charged a late feeNow that’s pretty damn crassSo alas; we now celebrate yer:
Absentmindedly leaving there
such an essential piece of hardware!
Most mornings, a big block V-8’s throaty roar would shatter
the dewy stillness in that back alley.
Can anyone imagine a 94 year old lady driving an Oldsmobile Cutlass 442 – most
likely with dual-quads?
How about this lady being able, despite her size and heft, to climb stairs and
do housecleaning with a broom?Well, this wasn’t imagination; it was reality
for this insouciant farmboy-in-the-making.
Mrs. S. self-taught herself English and navigated the
real estate market with little or no help. One could only assume she had far
outlived any men in her life, of which she made no mention.
Mrs. S. indicated that her cherry red 442 – a smokin’ set of
wheels any guy my age would die for – got WORSE gas mileage than her previous
ride, which was a Cadillac Coupe de Ville; hardly surprising, but ironic
My tiny room at the back of her house saw a lot of livin’
betwixt split shifts at the German restaurant with its blue and white checkered
tablecloths, Sauerbraten and various other gross meaty dishes and evenings
filled with raucous singing, dancing and much swilling of beer.
You had to hand it to them: they sure knew how to party.
As a dishwasher’s helper, then prep cook, I got a firsthand
glimpse of culinary deceit from behind the lines.
As one glaring example, a carnivore’s delight called for
veal, but was actually pounded pork tenderloins, with muscle-munching,
beer-swilling revelers none the wiser.
I held on to that loud ’66 GTO for as long as it lasted,
which meant shortly after swinging it into a tree during ill-advised
ice-capades. That said, a trusty 10-speed bicycle sufficed for transportation
to and fro the greasy spoon until I met a waitress and former schoolmate who
offered rides to work in her gas hog.
The waitress friend claimed to be incapable of orgasm, but
we still hit it off pretty well.
Oh, to be young again!
I’m old now – can’t you tell?Memories of those hot summer nightsSure are pretty swell!
Thus ends the expositions of Davey H’s foibles during the
Greek landlady/greasy-spoon era.
Flash to the present: erroneously recounting yesterday’s
date being a plane crash anniversary that occurred on the coattails of 9/11, I
stood corrected: on NOVEMBER 12, 2001, American Airlines flight 587 crashed into
Queens, killing all 260 people on board and 5
on the ground!RIP, ALL.
In the ostensibly digital age,I’m still using paper against
all the rageOf bleeping handheld this or thatFor with meThey won’t beSo I just leave them flat.Don’t need themWon’t feed themThey’re a pain in the assCan’t read them withoutA magnifying glass!
Today is very crisp and niceWe haven’t encounterswith mud or ice.
On the trail – a skidder-made 1-laner coursing through this
respectable hardwood stand – it feels safe beneath a crown so grand.
Patterns formwith oak and beech leavesas I tangle four leashesfor dogs such as these!
Just heard Coz is coming to Springfield for a good cause: proceeds to
benefit NCPR.I’d rather hear about Ravi Shankar.Besides, National CORPORATE
‘Public’ Radio needs no funds.
On with the show:to retreat we all goensconced, you knowwith all that we needa fine situation indeed!
Tom the Virginian was here to receivethe Teachingfar-reachingbefore he shall leave.I rib him and query his ‘Vegan’ bumper
sticker.Funny, I never knew.But then, you never REALLY know somebody.
That’s not what we were here for;outward appearances,diet,politicsare left at the door.
Vegan or no, it was AWAY WE GO!And I mentioned to TomI was tryin’;Many times, thoughIt was to the bistrofor lasagna without which I’m cryin’.
Thus leaving aside our extremely brief culinary dialogue, we
both would soon hunker down under the gentle, graceful umbrella of the peerless
Dhamma – Tom as student, me as server; from the outset I’d be a non-swerver.
I would receive simple accommodations: bunk, bath
facilities, 3 squares a day – after apportionment to students – and would spend
working/waking hours ensconced in the kitchen prepping, busting suds, slicing
spuds and wearing clean duds.
Additionally, I brought two jugs,and will tell you this:one was for water,the other for piss.
This helped not only to save H20but enabled better rest,as anyone could have guessed.‘Twas the best of all privies:I’d stay in my
skivvies when prompted at Nature’s behest.
Young Mark, a coworker who was actively weaning himself off
coffee, informed me of the brutal arising time expected of indentured servants:
Damn near military. No reveille or Bo’ sun’s whistle; only a
hand-wrought bronze bell, which when struck with requisite wooden mallet,
yielded a pleasingly pure tone.
Time melted as it unavoidably does when work absorption and
rigorous daily production and curriculum preclude laxity and leisure.
So I carried pencil and rolled-up paper in a shoulder bag,
eking out spare moments to cull words, say, while hobbling on the way or
otherwise not in the fray.
The fray could wait 2 friggin’ seconds, couldn’t it?
Thus squeezing out textWhilst taking a dumpSurely that sounds absurd;Then amid busy beesWaxing un-vexedNearly as flushed as the turd!No computer accessFor the rest of the weekThough persistence it taxes‘Twas best not to freak.
Now that kitchenI’m not bitchin’Was noisy as hellAnd time is so preciousGood we get along well!
I brought earplugs. And would venture nobody else ever does,
but they certainly would benefit.Sometimes, the crashing of sheet metal –
especially commercial stainless steel – is utterly debilitating to tender
Earplugs of various configurations are easy to conceal under
a pullover hat. And that, as they say, is that.
Here, hear: no fearI don’t walk among fools!And yes, my dearLet’s be perfectly clear:I still can play by the rules!
After all, they’re plugs, not drugs.
One more day of high glycemic treat consumption and best
practices dictate that it is good to run out of sneeringly sweet comestibles on
occasion. Either they run out or you do.Can you conceivably blow through your
Only one set of 7 chin-ups performed, hoping for 2 – surely
a sign of old age and contempt for gravity.
And oh, yeah – what about that throbbing at basal thumb
joints connected to ever-weakening wrists? Or the perennial left lumbar-sacral
ache? No matter.
Again, best practices preempt unawareness of bodily
infirmities as attendant unwholesome conditioning that enables these
obstructions is eradicated.
Today was to be the much-ballyhooed Apocalypse.Needless to
say, we needled the shit out of it, making much merriment, joking of its
pusillanimous quasi-theistic philosophical underpinnings.
Such dire predilections really pull the cuckoo clocks out of
the woodwork.Then they write silly books.And needless to sayWe had no such fearAt the end of the dayWe were still friggin’ here!Then arose in the dawnAnd donned our work dudsPut hot water onGot to slicin’ some spudsSlurped us some coffeeGnashed oatmeal, tooPost-end time, you seeWas a lot left to do!
Standing corrected, foot in mouth|One might have objectedThat last post heading south.
“Indeed, I stand corrected,” Davey H might have said when
queried as to yesterday’s ostensibly snide post; one about which he would
surely not boast.
“I had totally misunderstood the relevancies and ancillary
pertinent factual data within the context of that epoch; you know – the ancient
Mayan calendar heralding a new beginning.”
“Quite frankly, it looked like a Pat Robertson face and shit
like that had been pasted on the whole deal. That’s what I thought everyone was
So now I have it down, Pat.
Did they write of this in the Book of Ecclesiastes – albeit
whilst supposedly noting mundanely incremental allotment of the scarce
commodity known as ‘time’?
The wise authors rightly pegged it as the quintessential
component of anything: to be parsed, apportioned, and organized into respective
compartments commensurate to task at hand.
But far more interesting is what these mysterious ancients
did with their spare time. They TOOK time to abstractly philosophize (fun) and
achieve deeper stages of meditation (work), lapsing into those zones where 3
hours can seem like 20 minutes.
Turning to those things,Things turn out fine.
Outside the gates, beyond the confines of peace and solitude
diligently cultivated, commercials and carols cavort about like prancing
Having not yet heard of the Connecticut
slaughter, a sure heart-rotter; maker of mental caries, I heard.At a time like this?
Time ran short as we headed into the abyss for a last-minute whip-in-and-out of
the Beast of Bentonville’s local tentacle for cheap goods.
Not on sale: 5 gallon thin plastic oil drain pan with flimsy, equally plastic
plug. The Beast sells motor (ENGINE, actually) oil for less; we plucked two
jugs, I guess.
Things would be all smiles.
Ahh, Christmas DayAnd a muffled joy!Here we play amongst the hoi polloi!With folks like usThat’s where we’ll beTo piss and cussBy the Christmas tree!
But in all actuality, some of these folks are doing pretty well to be able to
afford this sprawling multiplex-hacienda comprising a twig off the branch of
our bustling Eldercare Industrial Complex which warehouses all manner of pallid, enfeebled seniors with such unparalleled expertise and oh, so calm schmooze.
For the renters, the overarching theme will continue to
“How long can we maintain homeostasis before they kick us
We brought and received few consequential XMAS presents,
just practical stuff and consumables (things that run through) to run through, ultimately
leaving less detritus for others to eventually clean up or disgorge on Free-Cycle.
This is an interesting binge & purge study in ‘stuff’ –
the stuff of which the late great George Carlin’s funny skit was made, and
Christmas means time to BUY, not sell or trade.
Now, firmly ensconced as semi-bumptious baby boomers in
life’s acquisition phase, we stand poised to thin the ranks of trinkets and
knick-knacks for elderly, formerly acquisitive consumers – the true ghosts of
As per the usual mode of operations, Christmas songs were
snipped from the airwaves with a shocking suddenness, and all the ostensible
blessedness of gift-giving as opposed to receiving went by the boards as well.
It’s back to business, Daddy-o, for that dollar, better giddyup-go.
Money, chattering, undulating and simmering below the surface
of damn near everything, had a BIG say in the matter:
Much ado ‘oer the fiscal cliffWill we drop the shoeWith our upper lip stiff? Hark! O great mavens of CNBCSo fervently caffeinated! You’re having a tiffWith a capital ‘T’While the cliff-hanger is orchestrated!
Damn Near 15”
Damn! Guess I was so regaled with this dazzling spate of
fiscal cliff posturing as to wholly gloss over the first significant snow which
walloped our region last night and caterwauled into this morning.
Of course the Floridians giggled.
Waxing confident that our newest family member could move
mountains of white stuff, I cranked her up and commenced to pushin’, learning
quickly the difference between an ‘agricultural’ and ‘industrial’ machine.
It’s mostly in the tires.
But much blame could be laid at the feet of the ham-handed
operator: yours truly.
Much shoveling made for many sore muscles.
Nature takes a dump whenever the mood strikes and ambient temperatures
in conjunction with barometric pressure and moisture content converge favorably.
Hey, did She add a full moon to the mix?Yes, indeed!
Now THAT’S cool.
Meanwhile, prevailing conditions put a slight damper on
logging activities which had persisted in warm pre-arctic winter during which local
wood was fervently extracted:
The sap is still downSo they come to townReady to work ‘til they drop;And while big diesels humDrivers rarely will frownAnd hence commenceTo sluggin’ it downBy the courtAt the old coffee shop.
We had mucho sore musclesOnce the snow endedAs you know those tusslesThat Nature portended.
Sore shoulders’ dismayAt the butt of a shovelWe toiled all dayTo clear out our hovel!
It was more than enoughWe’ll have you all knowOf that dreadful white stuffotherwise known as SNOW.
‘Twas indeed so much funBefore it had endedWe had moved ‘oer a tonAnd cool Nature befriended.
It was tons of funand a session extendedAnd we’re tellin’ ya, sonIf you needed a pun:This ton ‘o fun pun was intended!
Closing out the year, you betThis farmboy has not much regretUmm, well, maybe just a fewAs far as he can tell, not yetBut he sure as hell won’t tell you!
Several decades ago, of courseThe farmboy drankand pissed like a horse!Tanking up each New Year’s Evewith such a guzzling force.
Thank goodness he stoppedAnd cleaned up his actBefore the ball droppedand he got his ass sacked.
New Year’s Eve then meant ethanolConsumed so hard and fastThen mumble, stumble, fail and fallSo glad it’s in the past.