Meet “B”.
He’s a forty-three year old Man that stills lives with his Mother, under the auspices that SHE needs him, he can’t or won’t find work because he’s emotionally, physically disabled. He’s been to a number of rehabs and attributes those experieces to his current state.
He is a loser.
That alone, is not remarkable. We all know him in some form. Perhaps as someone we ran with in our careless days of abandon, and now serves to remind us that “there but for the Grace of God…”, or he’s a member of our own Family, a Sister or Brother and serves to test the bonds of Blood and welcome. He may simply be a poster child for a broken and careless system, the discharge, flotsam jetsam that is the inevitable, sad collateral of great societies.
It could be…but it ain’t.
“B” is a new breed of loser. A mutation of the disenfranchised, the working poor, the hobo or outstreched Skid Row hand.
“B” is driven, motivated.
He is a designer, engineer and marketeer in the field of “get”
“B” will expend as much, if not more, energy. in the pursuit of doing nothing, than it would take to actually produce or contribute.
“B” does not offer any services or manufacture any product. He does not pay any taxes but still somehow get’s a “refund”.
“B” is in the business of taking and that buisness is now under siege, threatened.
“B” is outraged. He is taking to the streets (or internet, as it were) and rallying his forces. The 1 in 3 now on some form of Government assistance, the 1 in 19 that claim some form of disability. Those afflicted with “thyroid” problems camped out on body haulers. The anxiety ridden, emotionally distraught, ADHD, excuse du jour bearing “blue plate” specials…a call to arms!!
“B” will leave his house today, not to look for work, oh no, but to rally against the evil corprate power brokers that threaten his way of life, that mean to dissasemble the fortified nest of entitlements he has worked SO hard to accumulate.
He will pull from his depleted reserves and overcome his crippling hay fever allergies to help mount a defense against this inhumane assault on his livelihood.
He will see the walls manned and in his arsenal will be the ever ready, if somewhat diluted from age and use, weapons of accusation and guilt mongering. He will lob the once affective “racist!!” and the versitile “hater!!” at the enemy but to little effect.

There is a fundamental, scientific truth about parasites that “B” has dismissed, to his peril and ultimate demise…parasites will always exhaust their host.

…and “B”… this host is wore the fuck out.

I don’t want to send you rehab again. I don’t wanna pay for you to sit in your Mommas basement, still in your boxers, playing your $400 PS3, only pausing for Meals on Wheels delivery.
I am sick of your abuse of the Handicapped placard as a means of getting a parking spot at the medical marijuana clinic and thinking that double amputee with “Army Strong” on her wheelchair was just showing off when she went and parked in the regular spaces and wheeling faster than you can run, to the other side of the lot where the GNC store was.

I’m sick of you “B”.
But…though your numbers grew alarmingly over the past four years, there is a reckoning on it’s way and you will either need to put all your resourcefulness into contributing, or revert to putting your hand back out on Skid Row.

You should already be wondering how much you’ll get for a used PS3.

of Toys

August 11, 2012

like many of my male peers I am often struck by how freaking lucky kids are today by way of the toys they get to play with. Perhaps not as often as my counterparts that actually have kids and get to buy, assemble and then play with them but I still, on occasion, wander through a toy aisle to see what new and badass innovations there are.
Nerf® has has prolly gone the farthest to make me pine for my old Ked sneakers, skuffed knees and a fort in the woods.
I have to say though, as bitchin as these toys are, the bright, unrealistic clown colours kinda bum me out.
Granted, they actually shoot things whereas the best I could hope for as a boy was a gun that made a simulated firing sound when I pulled the trigger.
Even so, I think I would have balked at having a semi-automatic, dart shooting, realistic designed but iridescent, traffic cone looking, fluorescent, reflectorised, -don’t shoot me officer, I’m just playing war- machine gun….but then I wouldn’t have worn a crash helmet on a tri-cycle either.
Yet, when I ran across this toy of my generation, for me, it made all the Nerf guns, playstations and X-boxs pale by comparison.
The Remco Cavella toy radio transmitter/reciever.
How did I not have this!?! Mom? Dad?
Forget that I got almost everything I ever asked for under the tree..bikes, guns, GI Joes, models, chemistry sets, and even an real Samsonite brief case that I would fill with stacks of play money and pretend I was a drug lord or international spy…but oh no, not the toy conservative talk show host radio transmitter that could have set me on the same course as Rush Limbaugh ( he had one!) and saw me pursuing a worthy career as a broadcast journalist, instead of baking in some God forsaken shithole and smelling like diesel and JP-8.
Thanks alot!
It’s not too late though. I still believe in Santa and this toy happens to be exactly what I’ve been considering lately.
The recent changes in FCC regulations allows for neighborhood broadcasting under a certain wattage without need of a license. It’s a very short leap from there to syndication, right?
As I expect to have an abundance of freetime on my hands in the near future, I think I may be shopping for the adult version of this lost opportunity and putting my parents short sightedness to rights.
Imagine it…me, broadcasting in your neighborhood, infecting the minds of your crash helmeted Children! No commercials or need for sponsorship, I can loop my awesome playlists when I’m off-air and then, with easy international access, invite my Liberal Friends in the States and abroad to co-host.
Fair and balanced, that’s me.
“Hello and welcome to Radio Free Frisco”
I just need to find the right neighborhood.
The Mission, Marin County?
Can you hear me yet, Robyn, Jen?
Are you game, Patrick, Petey, Benet?
Fourty-eight and I may have just now discovered my true calling and I think my Uncles would agree that I have the perfect face for radio.
Stay tuned.

of Voices

July 6, 2012

So, When I was seventeen, I joined the Army. While basic training wasn’t especially difficult, it was extremely tedious. It was routine and regiment, day in and day out. So you can imagine how excited my Platoon was when our drill instructor told us we’d be having a guest speaker after chow. A respite from the grind of evenings preparing for the next days grind. When we filed into our old wood barracks that evening, we entered haltingly as we tried to understand the what we were looking at. In the middle, between our racks, on the highly polished floor sat a lone school house record player. Our guest speaker.

Not disappointed in the least, it afforded us the same break, as had it been an actual person. It might have been a parrot, for all we cared, but it was no parrot. It was John Wayne.

Directed to sit on the floor, as close as possible, we settled into an hour or so of ease. I recall thinking, as did most the platoon, that we were in for some entertainment, a ruse or joke of some kind. It was neither. It was an hour of eerie, slack jawed silence as we listened to the rich, languid voice of John Wayne tell us about America.

You see, I’m not cool. I know this, because hearing John Wayne talk about America today, has the same effect it had on me then. It swells my heart with pride for having the great fortune of living in and being a service to, such a great Nation. I’m not cool, because I don’t think that America, it’s history and it’s ideals, are funny. I don’t laugh at the notion that we were once singular and exeptional. Nor am I amused as I wonder at our having overcome such adversity and improbability, to become a destination so envied by the rest of the World, as to invoke a certain ire amongst them.

My evident lameness is even more apparent as I refuse to apologise for Her. For our having brought drive and industry, technology and ingenuity to the rest of the World. For having fed whole nations and helping teach them to do for themselves. For Her many misteps that have taught us to be as diverse and varied, committed to learning from those very mistakes, as any other, anywhere.

I’m no more a patriot than you, to the contrary. It is the very notion of protest and unrest, of us, at our liberty to right a wrong or find a balance, that remains the core of who we are and how we got here. Only, I’m not not sorry for it.

John Wayne may be out of favour. He may seem campy or rehearsed but I wonder, were you to take him for a spin, if you would feel that same little lump in your throat, as I did so many years ago, and still do.

Happy Birthday America.

E pluribus unum.

John Wayne-People. The audio

of Leaps

March 3, 2012

I am not much company.
What little there is, rarely offered and sought even less.
I do have Friends. A close few, perhaps fortunately, infrequently forced into it.
Those, are very dear to me.
I had begun to wonder if perhaps in these years, the many ingredients that make for that soup of personality, that of friendships are borne, were escaping my loosely held grasp.
Some Men lose their hair or virility…I, any charm.
For some time, I’d thought this a predictable evolution, that with age came discrimination and scrutiny. With grounding came the discard of picayune engagements, thinking life increasingly too short for trivial expenses.
No longer willing to afford others carte blanche in regard to focus, I would insist on, at the very least, what I would offer. Verity of heart and mind.
That proved insurmountable for most.
Talk to me, I will hear you. If I interrupt, it’s to be sure I get your meaning…not to just drive in my own.
Look at me when you do, you’ll see me looking back. Barring any immediate disaster, you won’t find my attention, my gaze wandering.
Prepare for candor, for honest answers to frank questions.
Expect random, welcome inquisition. If not, if I can’t be bothered to wonder at your life, your wellbeing, thoughts or considerations, then what could I possibly mean to you…or you to me?
These, seemingly obvious, prerequisites are what I came to demand.
They proved so elusive in casual or intimate company that I came to doubt the feasability of any continued or future search.
I began to wonder at my own limitations, that my own failings determined the common demominator of inability to furrow, sow and nuture acquaintance. Too high a bar, too much in expectation.
Then, I saw an old Friend.
Torrey Lee and I, at one time, some years ago, were the best of Friends.
That we were, is improbable enough. We sprang from very different walks, ran in different circles and looked to very different futures. That we crossed paths at all, if consigned to fate, was improbable, but remarkable.
Torrey attended LaJolla High School, I hadn’t attended any. Torrey’s Family was of some note and bearing and mine…couldn’t bear me.
What sparked a friendship bewteen us was coffee and the culture it inhabited.
Downtown San Diego, particuraly the gas lamp quarter, in the mid 1980’s had very little to offer beyond the requisite arcades and peep shows of a historically military town.
On the corner, at 9th and G Streets, was a low ceilinged, white building that was home to the cities burgeoning art, coffee crowd. Java.
It was also where, one evening, I looked out a large glass window to see a stranger straddling my brand new motorcycle.
If it was an interest in coffee that sparked a friendship, there was also a measure of audacity on Torrey’s part.
That audacity left me speechless, wondering who would ever think it perfectly reasonable to saddle a strangers bike, without thinking or worse, caring, who it might belong.
“Oh, is this yours?”
Not even offering a conciliatory “nice bike” or “yea, go fuck yourself” in response to my dumbfounded, incredulous discovery. Just a look of bemusement that I might be at all curious as to who the hell he thought he was.
Obvioulsy, my reaction must have been impotent and…fortuitous, for Friends we were.
It was a friendship of epic road trips to Seattle, of chopping tops off cars, clubbing till dawn, accessorized with backpacks and absurd headwear “No one looks in the Bag, man”.
I’m not ashamed to say, Torrey was far more urbane than I. Though I think our Friendship was an equal one, he was in some ways my tutor. He knew about art and was creative. He introduced me to the finer points of a cup of coffee that have maintained an influence through the years. At the time, it seemed my Friend Torrey could do anything.
Then, we weren’t Friends anymore.
I don’t recall the reason. A disagreement.
Thinking back, about who I was at the time or, more importantly, who I wasn’t, the onus of that parting would not have been his.
It proved timely though. Soon after, he went on to have a family with a wondeful Woman, built a business and…remained audacious.
Lacking audacity, I still was able to pursue an adventurous living as well.
These days, Friends like Torrey are not near as commonplace.
I would have readily accepted this as a result of my own disposition, my unwillingness to suffer the inequities of modern aquaintence…but then I got to hang out with Torrey again.
Randomly, I thought to have coffee at his cafe on a recent trip to San Diego.
I hadn’t been before and was both impressed and envious at what he’s done. Owning or running a cafe like it, had been a fantasy of my own for years. He had done just as he thought to, over so many late night cups and done it well.
I’d only seen him twice in twenty years and both times were just in passing.
This visit, in just a very short time, I realized he hadn’t changed at all.
With another Friend, we went for a quick ride ride to the coast and then, accepting a gracious invite to have dinner with his Family, to his home in La Jolla.
If as inept as I had began to think, would I have been able to fall back into  such easy comradrie, after so many years? Would I have been so pleased to be describing to his beautiful, audacious, daughter how her Father and I met. How much she reminded me of him when she took a bite of his eclaire without asking and then looked unconcerned with his displeasure? If somehow I’d become so withdrawn, could I have realized such unexpected pride in my Friends accomplishments?
Could we have been able to resume a long past, yet somehow very familiar, repartee without effort?
Is it only that we had been Friends before that allowed for genuine interest in each others lives, the flow of conversation that used hours like minutes?
I don’t think so.
I am grateful to my Friend Torrey for helping me realize that I am not inept but that I value the worth of good Friends and that I am just not willing to settle for less.
I may be more aware of those essentials than I was, more insistent they exist but after my visit with an old Friend, I no longer worry over them.

of Joes

February 17, 2012

This is Joe. Joe Clyde.
Please, say his name. Aloud or to yourself.
Please acknowledge him. Affirm with me, that he lived.
He was kind, generous, funny, reserved, complex. He was my co-worker and he was my Friend.
I normally resist these public expressions of such private revelations but my regard for this Man, and the loss of him, compels me.
When someone takes their own life, we are left wondering if somehow we might have made a difference, if we had could have reached out to them more, possibly stemming the anguish that propelled them. The truth is…probably not, but that the demons that tortured Joe and the too many others, are often entrenched and irreconcilable.
Before working on the Coronado Bridge, where I was to intercept potential jumpers, I had very little understanding of suicide or those that were so destitute of hope or choice. I have little more understanding now but have considerably more compassion for those considering it.
Occasioning within feet of someone ending their own lives, can have that effect.
By no means a mental heath expert, I am still hesitant to assign the ever convenient labels of “sick” or “deranged” to the anguished.
Desperate, perhaps. Resigned, assuredly, but also maybe just tired. Too exhausted to continue the daily toil of convincing themselves they matter, are loved, needed and have purpose.
Of course, there are some that consider the end for spite. To lash out in an unforgettable, irretractable measure to burden some remaining with the guilt of conclusion.
Some consider the opposite. Driven by the genuine concern for loved ones and wanting to save them the trial and grief of watching a slow agonizing wasting from disease. Say nothing of wanting to end the needless physical pain of an already determined end.
As a Catholic, it is not a path I could ever take. As a human being, it is not one I can condemn either.
The choice to end one’s own life invariably touches the lives of so many left behind but ultimately the decision to leave us can only be that of the soul that is faced making it.
Even so, say his name now. Aloud or to yourself and then…someone else’s, someone else you know that might brighten or take heart that you called, asked after them, wondered about their well being.
I pray Joe finds the peace now, that proved so elusive in life.

of Bureaucrats

January 29, 2012


For those that might have seen “The Adjustment Bureau”, an amusing little movie in which Matt Damon portrays a Man who meets his soul mate but who’s fate is thwarted by the Universe’s stewards of fate. Supposedly, Angelic bureaucrats in suits and hats that keep us all on our own tracks of destiny, they carry out various means of subterfuge to ensure certain paths are kept to and that others are not crossed. Doors that inexplicably close, things that appear randomly to block your way, objects that fall from your hands and make you stoop and possibly miss the passing of another etc etc.
They can also, if inclined, just ‘cuz…fuck with you.
I gotta say, after watching that movie, I am now forever wondering if I am not a pet project or favourite pastime of those bastards in the funny lil hats, when they’re bored. Just ‘cuz.
At the risk of sounding “woe is me”, my life seems to be inordinately lopsided with “butter side down” occasion.
So much so that I have chanced to impress an unbeliever with it’s predictability, leaving her with an “Wow, you’re not kidding” posture after having been presented with multiple scenarios with two possible outcomes and the frequency that mine will invariably be the most troublesome or tedious.
If pressed and having to choose from a set of just two keys to unlock a door…I have yet to pick the right one on the first attempt. Rope or wire entangles in ways that could NEVER be replicated in need. Things get caught on other things that are so improbable that I couldn’t ever hope to do on purpose if my very life was held in the balance. Things spill from my hands at the most inopportune times and if of the paper variety, the wind will suddenly pick up to have me perform ritualistic dance to retrieve it.
This is well beyond the confines of Murphy’s law, this is the hand of Providence.
I used to think, hope, it was God trying to teach me patience, and perhaps He felt as frustrated in the results, but now I think I am the plaything of celestial dickheads in a cafeteria lunchroom.
Get a life!
Of course, I have tried the reverse. To anticipate my first intuition and suddenly turn and pick the other. I can almost hear the laughter above at my silly, futile attempts…I still ALWAYS grab the wrong shoe, in the dark.
Crafts or projects are the worse and seem to be a particular focus for my cherubic companions. The simplest of tasks are made impossible by the breaking of tools or unexplainable failing of software.
A different tool, another approach…forget it. No matter what I try, once the shift is in place, it’s a debacle.
So, short of my wanting a private “chat” with one (Matt get’s his!!) or just begging they leave off for a minute, I fear I am destined to be at the tender mercies of bureaucrats, both at home, work and…above.
Ok, I can deal but seriously?…shit gets old.
Don’t ask me to change your oil…you’ll regret it, trust me.

of Failings

January 28, 2012

So, here’s the rub…
I’m just not that exceptional.
I don’t think that I am exempt from the myriad of complaint that dissolve marriages, the increasing, absurd number of personal failures.
I don’t believe, save the very few, that those approaching whatever manner of union they’ve mutually agreed, planned and bargained for, dreamt of and often precariously indenture themselves financially to…do so with the premonition that they will fail miserably, that their failure will touch the lives of many others, and most noticeably, of those that are tied to, dependent on, success. The very legacy of that failed, regrettable, miserable mistake…the Children.
“My Children are the only good thing that resulted from it, I wouldn’t change a thing!”…Yea?…how incredibly, if predictably, fulfilled you are…and them?, how are they faring? How would they prefer it?
I can’t imagine that my own march to an altar would be any less filled with wonder, at hope for a future with the one I am destitute without. Or, would it’s demise, it’s inevitable crashing around my head, be any less vociferous.
I have no romantic illusions of the process, quite the opposite.
It seems to me that it has been the unions without the burden of passion, of romance or ideology, that have stood the test of time. Our trees were once seeded with Clan or Familial concordance.
That ain’t me.
This is me. Preferring a life of single obscurity than that of a marital reckoning.
I prefer to cling to my childish mirage, the illusion of the Woman of my heart, the ethereal victual of my soul, my reason to exist.
I would insist. To express those very sacred vows, I’d have no less…only to see it collapse. To be a party to such great personal tragedy and failure, to have a partner of that caliber and worth, ultimately despise me, and I, her?…miss me with that.
Of course I have my own thoughts on why modern matrimony is such an increasing societal blemish but in the end, I’m just not any better, any less susceptible to what ails us.
Just not that exceptional.

of Angels

January 10, 2012

So, as it happens, I do believe in Angels. Angels in general, but specifically, Guardian Angels. I can’t say where exactly they fall in the celestial hierarchy, be they Cherub, Seraphim, Archangel or, most likely in my case, Apprentice, but that they do exist and exist among us…I’m sure.

My own contact with a Guardian Angel was, predictably, at my most destitute, most helpless, at my greatest need but also when I was least aware of that need.
Years ago, as a young Man, I lived as many do at that age, by the seat of my pants. I was invincible and in that role, I rarely gave a thought of tomorrow. I didn’t consider my next meal or how I would earn it, or if indeed it would be earned. I cared less where I laid my head at night, on whose pillow or where I woke each morning. Every day was an adventure.
Many of those mornings I woke in the care of the State. Often though, I would shake free the bonds of my stewards and set out (at a quick pace) on my own.
Thumb out, fate, my only guide…come what may.
Be it divine intercession or stupid luck, I emerged from that period virtually unscathed. Looking back though, there were more than a few situations where I was in actual peril but too stupid to realize.
There was that seemingly kindly Man that picked me up hitchhiking and once in the desert of Arizona, (I had thought he said Tustin, but was Tucson bound. Oh well, one place was as good as the next.) thought to reveal himself as a connoisseur of young adolescent boys and that he was particularly aggrieved when denied. This, told right before he pulled off the highway and declared we would be staying the night there, in the middle of the desert, in the back of his pickup, just me, him, his temperamental dog and the knife on his belt.
Nahhh…I believe I’ll just stand out here, in the cold, all night, till you drop me off in the morning…first thing.
And so I did.
I still wonder why he did not force the issue. Perhaps he knew that I would not be easy prey and, as is the nature of predators, not worth the effort or controvertible outcome. Either way, I was lucky to have escaped in once piece, literally.
It was during that same period of my life that I met all three of my Guardian Angels.
I would have thought, as close to harm as I was that night, that were there a need for intercession, that would have qualified. Yet, in retrospect, they came not only when the need greatest but when it would make the greatest impression. Obviously.
Not the first of those,  but perhaps the most lasting impression made, was on a freezing night in Winnemucca, Nevada.
Somehow, in predictable flight, I found myself incongruously in Ketcham, Idaho.
After a short time and wearing my thin welcome, thinner, I was again with thumb out and no destination. It was Winter and having spent most my life in warm climates, I may not have given this small detail significant consideration. I had no money, no food or prospects. Standard operating procedure.
I caught a ride the short distance from outside Ketchum to the small junction of Winnemucca early enough in the day to still see me catch a ride going farther.
Sorry, Son.
When I say it was cold, it was beyond that simple, unworthy description. It was numbing. It was specter like in it’s creeping into my bones and painfully grabbing hold. It was uncontrollable shivering and teeth chattering.
Then…the sun went down.
I have no idea how long I stood outside that closed gas station, peppering what little, dwindling, traffic, with my best puppy dog eyes and outstretched, shaking, uncovered, thumb but at some point I remember becoming worried about my invincibility. Possibly the first time ever.
Then the wind picked up.
After what must have been hours without seeing even a headlight, I repaired to a corner of the building to find what little shelter I could, slinking down against the building, squatting and then…crying.
I distinctly recall being surprised that as I wiped my nose, feeling the hair  crunch and I think I knew then I would never survive the night. In desperation I looked around for the metallic, half box on a pole that would house the gas station pay phone and walking over to it, decided the back of a cop car would be a great improvement, even knowing I stood the chance of being discovered in flight.
IMG_6242I should have guessed. The receiver had been destroyed in some other callers rage. I might have laughed, had it not been for the panic that was beginning to overwhelm me.
Because of the wind, I had not heard the approach, but as I turned to my corner, a pair of headlights turned into the parking lot and stopped.
A bus. A Trailways bus. “Travel at it’s Best!!” Sacramento, emboldened with light and white lettering, on it’s marquee.
So? I had no money. No means.
So I watched as the door hissed open and a Man and Woman exited.
A minute or two and the door stayed open, the bus idling. All that precious heat, escaping.
Without thinking, I approached the open door and saw the driver, at the wheel, writing in a tablet. Without stepping up, from the open door, I asked “How much is a ticket to…Sacramento?” As if I could pay.
Without so much as a glance, not even raising his head, the driver said “I never saw you get on”, and continued scribbling.
Disguised in a grey uniform and cap, my hero. My Guardian Angel.
A moments hesitation and I mounted the steps and slowly walked to the back, expecting at any moment a harsh voice to call me back, retracting my deliverance. None came.
I have since, as an adult, been accommodated luxuriously, staying in fine hotels around the World, with the greatest of comforts, but none…not a single one, can compare with the luxury that I found at the back of that warm, safe, humming, welcoming bus.
No bed has ever been as comfortable as that worn, lumpy extended seat in the rear, nor any sleep as satisfying as was mine on that drive to Sacramento.
Waking in Sacramento and rising to exit, I thought to give my heartfelt thanks but in the night, at one of the few stops along the way, another driver had taken over.
My Guardian Angel and I never spoke but the impression left on me has been lasting and saw to the end of thinking myself invincible.
Tone check.

of Advance

January 5, 2012

The Luddites were terrorists.
A obscure movement in early part of the 19th century in England, where a band of digruntled workers destroyed textile machinery in a vain attempt to stem the tide of the industrial progress that they perceived to be directly threatening their livelihoods.
If correct in that appraisal,
they were criminally misguided in their attempts to rectify it.
A few, lost their heads, literally.
Interestingly, with the exponential advance of high technology, the 21st century faces some of those same challenges but with much greater and widespread ramifications.
Had you been shortsighted enough, in the late 90’s, to have considered a travel agency a worthwhile investment or avenue to start your own small business…Priceline, Expedia, via the internet, had some very bad news for you.
Now what?
You move on, that’s what. You lick your wounds, reassess and, hopefully, recoup some of your losses and try your hand at something else.
I don’t think it is the responsibility of society to protect you from ill fated choices or ventures. That’s what insurance is for (your next venture, perhaps?). Besides, we have MUCH bigger problems on the horizon…
What will we do with the massive, leadened weight around our necks that is the US Postal Service, when it soon becomes obsolete? All it’s lifelong employees, many beyond the age of rehire or reintroduction into a workforce that…well…expects you to actually do some work. Their unions would insist we somehow keep them on. Regardless of how inefficient or irrelevant.
Or Kodak? Having missed the digital bus and now scrambling to compete in a market that is fast disappearing.
What happens when a single application, written by some industrious, ambitious, bespectacled troglodyte, in her basement, potentially can effectually replace the labours of, literally, thousands?
This is where I’m torn.
It seems to me that as this scenario plays out on many different plains, we are confronted with ever decreasing options for where those deposed, are to repose.
Where does the man, that spent the last twenty years of his life maintaining the machine that supported that other, bigger, machine…go, now that both machines are out of business?
The factor that put them out of business is now huge, prospering. Producing more efficiently and at less cost. The profits are greater and disbursed more selectively.
The Man is now bussing tables, making a very small percentage of what he once did and so is unlikely to indulge in whatever convenience the Machine he used to grease, once offered.
The common theme I hear often from the Conservatives is: “I’ve never gotten a job from a poor man”.
Ok, fair enough, but if the only job the rich man is offering is mowing his lawn or cooking his meals, cleaning his house, or washing his clothes, and there are now three times as many applicants for those jobs because his brilliant innovation saw to the end of their previous employment…and with that exponential growth of unemployed, less expendable income, who can afford his product?
Shouldn’t they…I cannot believe I’m even thinking a factor of their own prosperity, insure those that are adversely affected by it? If only to, also, insure their own future?
As a student of history, I am increasingly less inclined to embrace the concept of trickle down economics. History just doesn’t seem to bear support for it. We seem to repeat the same cycle again and again. From the industrial revolution of the Victorian era and that of the trust barons of manifest destiny, the gap in prosperity between the working poor and the worked for, increases until a Prince Albert or Teddy Roosevelt fight to balance the scales.
I don’t believe that we have that kind of leadership currently and it’s becoming ever more likely that it will take a movement of masses to again adjust the tipping scales of fortune.
We recently have seen the spark of such a movement and I despair that it was ultimately absorbed by such degenerates, but a spark nonetheless…and where there is smoke…

of Parts. Part III

January 1, 2012

January two, the year of our Lord, nineteen sixty one, was born, in Kettering, Northamtonshire England, My Brother, Mark Lee Harrell.
At the time, almost three years hence till my own coming, I could possibly say I know him as well now, as I did then.
I wonder if two Men, born of the same house, could be as vastly different in personality and appearance, as it is with he and I.
Where I am rash and impetuous, he is calm and reserved. Where I am loud and boisterous, he is quiet and pensive. Where I, (the only one, so said my Father) who could destroy a Tonka Truck, he could reassemble it. Mark went Air Force, I went Army.
Where I have light eyes and light(er) hair, his dark and his hair, once jet black, now, at least share the inevitable march of grey. Though, even on this front, my senior, holds at bay and my own march of “dignified bearing”, seems to have outpaced him.
It may have been these stark differences that compelled our Mother, to our eventual, mutual jocularity, on so many documented occasions, dress us as if we were twins.
Doing so, did little to mask our outward differences and it was for he that perfect strangers often detained my Mother with oaths of earnest delight at “such a charming and lovely young Man!”
A beautiful boy and handsome Man, is my Brother.
If this truth in anyway contributed to my own need for attention and the terror I inflicted on my Parents to gain it, I cannot say, but that my Brother was a special child, sharp and imaginative, striking in appearance and deft in manner, is indisputable.
In childhood, we were much like any other siblings with a three year age span. A good part of it was spent pinned beneath him, knees on my shoulders and a long, threatening, swaying string of spit, suspended above my face.
We shared a bedroom and bunk-beds and he, naturally, insisting on the top or bottom, depending on his mood. Only settling on the bottom to finally curtail his proclivity for sleep walking, after having launched himself from the top bunk one night, into the armoire. We conspired against our mutual enemy, our tormenting Sister. For both having the audacity to be infallible in our Fathers eyes and for the unfairness of having her own room.
We shared some friends. The pool of other American children in Italy somewhat limited, age became less an issue as it might have Stateside. We fought the Guinea Wop kids in the Piazza as a gang and took trains into Naples and Pozzuoli as a unit.
We shared plundered Benson-Hedges cigarettes but certainly not the blame once discovered.
I thought my Brother cruel, aloof, enigmatic, stubborn, carefree, brilliant and untouchable. Both my nemesis and hero.
Our teens were an entirely different experience. Not just in application but in perception as well. The usual, predictable rites of passages of boys to men were spent apart with my leaving home at such an early age.
Catching up when we could, I have always been struck by how differently we ended up viewing the world we lived.
The Seventies saw us both grow our hair long and seek distractions. For Mark, it was distancing himself from the stern hand of our Father, experimenting with some drugs and for me it was resisting every hand of authority laid upon me. Each with questionable results, I think.
The eighties, even more of a disparity in perspective. His, Iron Maiden, mine, Depeche Mode.
It would be some years before we again crossed paths, with my inevitable resurfacing after a predictable, if unexplained, long absence. Mark, not to be overly perturbed, was to embrace me again as if no time had passed.
More than time had passed though.
In that time, he had tried his hand at a family life, marrying a teenage sweetheart and having three children with her. Whereas I, on the other hand, could be relied to take a solitary path.
This reunion, by circumstance, had us in each others company for an extended period and our developed natures in difference again were made apparent.
Ever reticent, we parted from that adventure knowing as little of each other as having entered it. Not mourning the fact, only accepting it more readily. My Brother and I are vastly different Men and fortunately so. We will forever be bonded with history and blood. Once, this may have meant very little to me but today, I cling to it passionately and am thankful for it. Thankful for my Brother Mark and his ability to accept me as I am and his open door. I aspire to his own perceptions and look upon him with the same, mutual, embrace. For all we are, and are not, he is, and will remain, my Brother. As will my love for him.