Wednesday, January 27, 2016

7739. BELOW THE WATER LINE (pt. 144)

(pt. 144)
Well, looking back is easy, mostly it's the looking
ahead that gets difficult and pointed. I'd have to say
that nothing much came from my time in Woodbridge 
High School. I'd just go home each day, wearied by a
lot of fool circumspection and irritation. It's difficult
for me to aptly get across, only because the times were
so strange : I hate to say 'you had to be there', but you did.
I've written about it a little too, in the early chapters, but 
there's just so much to wade through that I could be doing 
this for a long time. The one big mooncloud over everything
was Vietnam. It was looming, that was it. Period. Guys were
getting taken off the planet, it seemed. Occasionally there
were rumors so and so had gotten killed, or someone or
someone. I never knew what was true, who was there and 
who wasn't. If a big rumor got started, like the kind everyone
would begin whispering about, it seemed to be always the
name of someone who had been really disliked anyway, and
it turned out to be false. Like 'Billy Ryan', as a for instance.
His name kept popping up as a dead Vietnam guy, from
Iselin. But damned if I ever found out. I never even really
knew him, though I had shared classroom space with him 
back in 7th grade  -  only because he'd been in 7th grade
about 3 times already; so he was older, and bigger. Shoot,
he was 'sexually experienced' already, as it was told to us,
with Laura Brezewski, whom everyone sort of knew of.
She was in her rightful grade, maybe 9th, and she'd already
bloomed a quite proficient set of mammaries, as it were.
So, Billy Ryan had been there first; or so the story went.
And then, a few years later, the same story went that he
was dead in Vietnam. Never found out, nor did I ever ask
Laura, who is also lost to the ages now, somewhere. So,
as I was saying  -  go ahead and try to live a normal high 
school life with the thought looming over your head that
in about 6 months or so you could very well be in some
rotten jungle somewhere shooting at things you couldn't
see, and having those same things shooting back. It sure
put all our prison-farm frolics in perspective quickly, but
sure as hell made Avenel a lot more valued too. The place
you suddenly didn't want to leave. Most certainly not for
Khe Sahn, Danang, or Pleiku. The politicians were all
playing games with stuff  -  call-ups and drafts and shit  -
and no one was ever sure really where they stood. Staying
in college was, at first, thought to be a good bet for 
deferment, but then that stopped helping too. Pretending
you were gay (that word wasn't really in use then), or
retarded or crazy, that only worked sometimes. And then
you had to live with the result. Lucky you. Maybe you could
get married and have a quick kid; it was thought that helped.
But, in the end, if your number was up, it was up. A lot of 
guys gave up the guessing game and just joined. But, inside
the high school, no one ever advised us anything, never spoke
about the war or what we were doing there or why or how we
should be comporting ourselves, especially as and when we
came around to thinking it was all a bunch of bullshit and nothing
worth fighting for. A cause with no cause, just a political war,
and one where YOU were the expendable game-piece. You'd
think any one of those geeky male teachers would have had
some real wisdom to impart, an assembly or a teach-in or
something. But, no way. Salute the damned flag, and shut up.
All we ever had were guys like Emery Konick, my Homeroom
Teacher, who mentally, it seemed, was still in military mode 
anyway. There was militarism all around us, in varying degrees.
It had to be difficult, because as much as all that Vietnam stuff
was on our minds, so was the tempting idea to snag one of these
wonderful little girls who were growing up all around us. That's
a tough one to figure out. Everybody wanted to get lucky, but
everybody said, at the same time, 'girls love a man in uniform.'
What the hell was that? The only real place that some of these 
issues coould be shouted out was Mr. Brown's History class. We'd
get the NYTimes there each day  -  piles of them were brought
in for free  -  and everyone would then just dive into issue-oriented
diatribes about this or that issue; war, peace, finance, you name it.
I don't actually mean 'everybody' would join in  -  some kids just
weren't there, in the head, for that stuff. Others were, way over
the top. Like Jeff Gutman. He was a small, smart (considered)
Jewish kid who like went off the deep end with Jew-pride over
the Six-Day War, (June 5-11th, 1967. Also called the June War,
or the Arab-Israeli war). It was a quick, blitzkrieg like action,
by both sides, Egypt's and Israel's, and fact of the matter is
Isreal won it stunningly and quickly. The Arabs were 
outmatched, and we here in the USA probably had a lot to
do with the Israeli imbalance too, but, whatever. Jeff Gutman,
each day, would just about burst out of his little clothes with
enthusiasm and rallying cries for Israel. It got pretty sickening
pretty quickly, but good for him it was over soon. He would
have probably, eventually, have taken a beating for his
yarmulke waving. In public school no less!
This all went on while Mr. Brown  - a dense, deep, quiet and
reserved man  -  would try to slowly expound the various issues.
Not the issues about Vietnam, mind you, which to me counted
a lot more than Jeff Gutman's merriment around the 
Getzvalstimenial Memorial Tree (I made that up), but about
the issues of the Israeli-Arab conflict, of which he had lots to
say. That didn't make too much sense to me, but then again
Mr. Brown was in no danger of being sent to Vietnam to pick
bullets out of his ass. That was left to us. It got to the point
where I started fearing for my own life  - figuring one more
dress-code infraction and they'd ship me right off to Hanoi
for target practice. So I started wearing Brooks Bothers. 
OK, kidding. The room got pretty raucous, but no real
information ever came out of it. The issues were always
confused and misrepresented  -  as in all such arguments
everyone was only convinced and concerned with the
'rightness' of their own side. School's not really very 
even-handed about things like that, even though they like
to say they are. It's like the New York Times itself, supposedly
all the 'News', but most of it propaganda muck setting out to
make a pre-determined point. The NYTimes only represents
one opinion, ever. Its own and it's largely upscale and largely
Israeli-flavored readership. They were rah-rahing for Israel
all along. Just as was Jeff Gutman. All a bunch of know-nothing
flatheads, if you ask me. Isreal doesn't even belong there, where
it is, and there's nothing semitic about it as a nation -state. In
fact, putting aside all their 'desert God' stuff, they don't even
know what they're talking about. An interloper police-state in 
someone else's land. The nation-state of Israel is, today, really
nothing more than the transplanted east-Euro Khazars, a nation
of nothings which stole an ancient religion and claimed it for
their won and then, about 1920 or whatever it was, with Balfour
and those guys, decided to land-grab, based on their stolen 
historics, and suddenly claim to be Semites, Arabs and the 
rest. The Semites (means sand-dwellers) part of Israel's present 
state, is a joke. There's not a damned thing Middle Eastern 
about them. From Begin to Netanyahu, they were all East
Europeans running with a stolen ancient religion and they've
never had any business talking Palestinain lands, no less 
being given Palestinian lands. Yeah, there's 'Holy Sites' there, 
but they belong to the ages of History, just as do Plamyra and
Assyria, not to the fake East Euro-Jewry who now claim them, 
as 'Home' no less. No wonder Jeff Gutman was full of shit. It's 
like the American  Indian fiasco all over again, and it's all crap.
Well, that's what we had to put up with. I never did see any
Jeff Gutman type go off to Vietnam. They had too many 
rich schools to hide away in and pontificate (Christian word, 
that) from while their parents paid the tab. It's a gimmick, 
like everything else. I would have swatted him with a
frying pan, if I was a Mrs. Goldberg who was willing to 
know and admit the truth. The world's a dark place, and
things like this just make it darker. Woodbridge High
School, professing itself in terms of self-importance and
radical middle-ground, achieved nothing, taught nothing, 
and instilled nothing. Even its limp flag wouldn't fly straight.
Just about this time, too, the world of 'education (har-har)
was opening itself up to new experiences. They introduced a
course adventurously called 'Non-Western Cultures.' It was
run by a horny fop named Mr. Figliorini. He was eventually
fired, teaching was taken away from him, for fucking around
with one too many of his girl students. His family owned,
in Plainfield, a thriving fruit and vegetable store, on the 
main drag, fresh produce, etc., and they soon branched 
out to having a truck or two, and delivering their produce  
to restaurants and diners and things. Which is where this  
Mr. Figliorini guy ended up after he was canned. I think he 
may have impregnated  someone, though I can't recall the 
incidentals. Trust me, you can look it up. The  idea of this course 
(which somehow I sat in on for a month  or a term or something),  
was that this fast-talker up front, between flirtatious comments 
and leers at the varied girls in the room, would 'teach'
about South America, or hone in on Peru, or Africa, or
whichever, and top it all off with sampling the 'cuisine' of the
locale being studied. Oh boy! What a delightful trap. The weird
thing was this was the one guy who never said a word nor could 
not have cared less about what I or anyone wore to school.
You'd think the 
opposite  -  figuring he'd get some real delight 
over singling out some girl whose top or skirt he had to check for 
length and fit. Know what I mean, Mr. Zucchini? See, I guess it's 
apparent I hold no grudges against the wonderful education 
I received at Woodbridge High School, in 1967, finishing up  
in the June of the Arab-Israeli War.

No comments: