Tuesday, December 8, 2015

7961. BELOW THE WATER LINE (pt.97)

(pt. 97)
I can't tell you how many times my father, not
a fan of 'advanced' schooling by any means, would
tell my friends  - as his way of good, solid advice  -
to 'learn a trade'. That was always his phrase - 'learn
a trade'. He'd tell them that with such knowledge they'd
never be without a job, a means of making a living.
That, to him, was more important than anything else.
He didn't care much for book learning. In fact, I never
saw him read  -  as I mentioned way earlier when telling
about that book 'Human Relations In Supervision' that 
my uncle had given him for his foreman's job at 
Simmons. The only book my father ever did talk about 
 -  I guess he'd read it  -  was '20,000 Leagues Under 
the Sea', by Jules Verne. Now that one, I never read  -  
Captain Nemo and all that  -  but to my father it was 
some pretty great stuff. I always figured, since it was 
nautical and he was the big Navy guy and fisherman 
and liked boats and all that, it was a natural fit. But 
I don't know because I never read it. My father was
an upholsterer, as I've said, and he always wanted 
me to learn that, for it to become my 'trade'. I always 
resisted, and balked. Never lifted a finger. I'd just see 
him slaving away all the time on webbing and framing 
and cushions and fabric and sewing and measuring, and 
then the varnish and stuff to re-finish the wooden arms 
and legs where they were in place. It seemed every 
little thing took hours. Slow, tedious hours. Intense
work hours. He'd be down their for days  - listening 
to AM radio, at first all that crooner music and stuff 
on WNEW AM, and later he got hooked into some 
talk-radio and interview shows and crap, with people 
like Lionel somebody, and a noisy outspoken guy 
named Bob Grant, who would sometimes broadcast 
his noisy rants from a local diner hereabouts ('The 
Reo Diner'). He lived in the condos they'd built over 
the claypits (where we used to race motorcycles, and 
change the the oil in our cars, just dripping it down 
into the grubby soil, letting it run as it may), called
'Sharon Gardens.' My father would listen to all this 
radio stuff and actually get opinions and information.
I remember two instances of very strange behavior and
can only blame it on his radio listening. One day I was
sitting around with my two friends, Donald Florio and
Paul Grigas (he's dead now) and my father  -  quite 
serious  -  hunkered down and asked us, quietly, on 
the QT, as it were, (whatever QT actually means) if
we'd 'ever read any Karl Marx.' The way he said it was
as if he still feared Senator Joe McCarthy could possibly
be listening to what we were saying in that room. It was
almost funny. Not really knowing the subject matter that
well anyway, to discourse with him, we sort of said 
something to the effect of 'only what we had to read in 
school.' Whereupon he began expounding this slightly
off version of deficient Marxist theory, as if it were an
insidious virus ruining our country. This was early on,
mid-to-late 80's, I think, perhaps as late as 1988. The
second instance of this was the time he started spouting, 
to me alone in that same room, this weirdly unsatisfying
history of the 'Kurds', the Kurdish people, the Armenian
genocide, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, that entire thing. All sorts of
information evidently gleaned from intense radio-talk-show
exposure. His unique accent too was funny -  he brought
it out as 'Koids', sort of. Bronx-like, or real New Yawk.
Things like that I never forget -  here old dad was almost
stepping into his own version of book learning, all the
while working on his learned trade as well. Multi-tasking
before its day, as it were. What a guy, my father! It was
cool. If the world ever does blow up, I'm going to remember
his warnings to me about the cost of our ignoring the Kurds 
and all the local conflicts he was just them learning of.
 I used to sit around thinking things  -  once I began growing
up some I wasn't much good any more for having other friends
or anything. My interests and ideas had just diverged too much,
 or been diverged. I think it safe to say that I was thinking things
that my other friends no longer were. Anyway, by late 12, I was 
gone, just like those vocational school kids I talked about  - off
to the glamorous, private-school world of the seminary. 'Where
men are men and boys are nervous', as I used to put it. So
the divergence of thinking was kind of a natural outgrowth.
I really did miss the adolescence of all my boyhood buddies,
and would have enjoyed seeing it  - all those crazed erections,
girls, deciding what to do and how and where. That goes, just 
as well for the local girls I left too  -  many of them remained 
as fresh in my mind as if they were still around. New found 
land with new found opportunities. Or something. Oh well.
As far as I ever knew, there was never any Harvard or Yale
coming out of Avenel. There were one or two brainiac types,
maybe, but even from then nothing much came. One guy, over
in Woodbridge, at the end of Martin Terrace and Rahway Ave.,
George Bustin, he went to Princeton and then Harvard Law, I
think  -  became a big International Law corporate lawyer in
Belgium, I think. I'd see him around Princeton sometimes. Yet,
viewing the world as I did in my oddly clipped manner, I always
figured if you've supposedly 'got' all that stuff on your side and
then go ahead wasting to be a 'Lawyer', of any sort, that was
sinful stuff : squandering a God talent, working for money, and
nothing more. Why bother? The only real criteria-of-soul in life.
and the one you take with you, is the meritorious one of what
enhanced enlightenment you've achieved and what you've taken
with you after giving force and creativity to others through your
work. That's how I saw things, and it still works. Gauging life 
trough the piddlesack concept of what you've gained personally,
or amassed, is pretty violent evil, in my eyes. But, anyway, he 
was part of that pack-rat Jewish clique of mommied high-achievers
that guy pushes and swaddled through Woodbridge High School
because they were so 'special' and chosen and gracious. Problem
was, they were also all assholes. The Jewish sub-cult that we
somehow allow  -  nay, are forced to allow because it cannot be
criticized  -  within society, is a cause of great wrong, and alarm
too. It's self-perpetuating, and self-mythologizing too. Don't let
anyone kid you, they never mean what they say. Ask Alan Pollock.
I also would get stuck on these little concept/ideas that I always
wanted another lifetime just to work on and investigate. Like
'water'. If the earth, now often seen, rightly, as a consciousness
of its own at work in its own environment, (sort of like a Gaea 
thing, but more  -  that stuff was unheard of in the days I'm
talking about)  -  is always underway, as we each should be 
as well, transforming itself, why then aren't we, as an annoying
little race of varmints bent on its elimination and destruction
(Nature), seen as Evil and just destroyed? Why do our concepts
incorporate a sometimes once-angry God who made us, realized
we were crap, walked away from us, tolerates us at best, yet leaves
us here again to destroy the one vital Creation (Nature) left, and
through which so much magic and goodness remains prevalent, 
while we destroy it? What sort of paradoxical and chimerical 
entity, this 'G-d' we enjoy so well, and make money off of, is this?
Take water, for instance. We've completely wasted and ruined 
the water supply, which is unextendable. Now befouled, and
now running short, because of our own overpopulation and
over-growth and nasty, chemical tendencies   -  all an outgrowth 
of Mankind's evil search for lucre. Once, crowded man used
the rivers and streams for toilet. Then it went into the ground, 
later, in more congested and urban settings, as latrine or 
outhouse or offal ditches. Once the 1880's concept of the 
flush-water toilet tank was conceived, that immediately and
suddenly entailed enormous  -  vast  -  new uses and flows
of water in order to flush and wash away nasty, filthy sewerage, 
often replete with the toxins and banes of disease. Why did
not the consciousness of Nature, at the point, revolt, turn on us,
rear up and fight back? Is it docile and so automatic that it cannot
conceive of threats to even itself? Is an occasional storm, hurricane,
volcano, tsunami or earthquake all it can conceive of? And why are
they most often set then in the most beleaguered and often still
primitive areas of the world? Things like that would set me back
for days  -  if one is to 'accept' consciousness, when does that
conception cease? How far does it expand? I always happen to
think of it as universal and of the illusionary life-presence of
the world around us a shared equally  -  tree-consciousness, 
rock-consciousness, animal-consciousness, sky-consciousness.
All speaking, and all bequeathing. We just don't see it because of 
our wrongly divided and closed-off consciousnesses. Like the TV
I'd watch  -  Howdy Doody on Channel 5, yes, because that was the
one I was tuned into, watching  -  but an entire myriad of other
channels running on at the very same time, unseen or not
interpreted, only because of my own paltry unawareness or
attention-effort to retrieve them. All messages, all the time.
I had my problems, and I caused problems for others too. To
this day, I hang my head sometimes in shame for the things I did
against my parents, the grief I caused them. I was an idiot, and it
wasn't really fair to them. They had no learning, no basis, no
understanding of things that I was presenting to them, against 
them. They were wonderful, and loving, simple people  -  and I
was being nothing to them but an intellectual thug, pushing back
and constantly rubbing their faces in (my own) shit. It was wrong.
had we been equals, I could say them at least they had a fair chance.
But I was haughty and by lording my supposed superiority (which
was really nothing more than a wise-assed irony) over their heads,
all I was doing was causing harm, humiliation and injury. Fact of
the matter is that such guilt is still so all-pervasive over my 
character that I cannot hardly bring myself to visit their graves.
It still all too raw. I know where those graves are. 
And I send my regards.

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