Saturday, September 10, 2016


The first time I ever
dealt with someone I
considered 'foreign' or
not American, or
whatever kids do with
that, was, surprisingly,
in 1958 while I was in
that hospital stay after
getting hit by the train.
It took some time, but
I'd awakened slowly back
from the coma I'd been
in, (I've written deeper
about all this in more
detail elsewhere, and
won't go all into it all
again here)  -  'Hey
whoopee! I'm alive!'.
I was all set up, in
'traction', which is like
you see in old cartoons:
an injured person, all
bandaged in white, arms
and legs tied up into
these elevated stretches
and things. It looks like
you're being tortured, but
I guess all that stretched
and taut arms and leg
stuff helps healing and
stops movement. Problem
was, like every second day
they'd change the sheets.
Of course, I was laying on
them, all kinds of broken
bones and things, and set
in traction. Also, I couldn't
do much but grunt because
my jaw was wired shut and
braced closed due to it being
broken. So, as it was, I'd gotten
assigned to this Filipino guy
-  which I didn't know at
the time. Practice nurse.
I thought he was like,
maybe Tonto or something.
I wasn't really fully back in
the swing of things yet, hazy
from being out for a long
time. Wasn't sure where I
was and what had exactly
'happened' to me. I kind
of thought next would be
the Lone Ranger. Maybe
I was dead and all these
cartoon and TV people
had to come see me one
at a time. No one had told
me what was up, least alone
Tonto here. In order to change
my sheets, this orderly-nurse
guy, in a blue work-uniform,
kept coming by and he'd
lift me, raise me up some,
while he pulled off the sheets
and put new ones in place.
Man, everything hurt! What
was this jerk doing? I never
got to like him, one bit. And
why, I thought, was a man
a nurse here anyway? It took
a long time before I was ever
comfortable again around
anyone who looked as he did.
Turned out, he was a nice guy,
soft-spoken, and apologetic
too  -  but at first, I had no
clue. 'Hey, Felipe, I'm
trying to heal.'
There were only one or
two black kids in my
school. Donald Brown,
oddly enough (cool name,
considering I later met a
Floyd White, true to form
too), and some LeRoy guy.
Might have been Leroy
Jones, but not the writer
guy. Years later I found
out he used to bug the
living hell out of the girl
who did later become my
wife. I was gone, by then,
of course, but she had
lunch with the seniors,
somehow, and each day
he'd  sit next to her and
eventually manage to be
jamming his hand up her
mini-skirted thighs, under
the table. Looking for some
kind of glory, I guess. Or
glory hole. Sounds weird,
yeah, I guess too, but things
were like that then. No one
did much about anything,
and girls were docile and
she just kept taking it until
eventually just going off
to sit somewhere else and
the hell with assigned
table-seating. Old days,
weird days. There were
geeky teachers and lunch
aides too, going around,
on the lookout for that
kind of stuff  -  supposedly.
What's a girl kid supposed
to do, dump the meatloaf
and mashed potatoes on his
head? I think she was more
perplexed over this guy's
behavior and interest more
than anything. I just said,
when she told me about it,
'Honey, you sure had a lot to
learn.' Nowadays, of course,
he'd be in jail, or hanging
from a tree - well, c'mon,
you know what I mean.
You must have heard of
Emmet Till, and seen
That's how far-off and away
old life was, and that's the
kind of enforced fraternity
that Government Schooling
forces you into. Pretty sad
for kids, and adults too. No
one ever reviews this stuff,
it just goes on and on.
Teachers want more money,
always for less work, and
they get it. The buffoons
who get elected to Board
of Education seats, they
just think all's right with
Heaven and Hell and all  -
they're just the go-along
type, which is why they
run for stuff like that. Ten
minutes of asshole fame,
and then maybe they can
run for council. They don't
care two bits about 'education'.
Probably don't even know
what it is, really. They've
got a 7 or 8 year old at
home, going to school,
and they want to show
some perfect, churchy,
participation in their kid's
education. Yeah right. Might
better tie him or her up in
the shed until they're 18.
Vacuum their brains.
Otherwise, they're headed
for panhandler's heaven
behind every locked school
door. It's all so nasty, and
it's all so disingenuous how
frothy people lie about what
they're really up to. My
dog's got better smarts.
Y'know, a part of me wants
to take that out of there, that
last crack about my dog,
because I know that,
someday, if I go on living
and my dog is dead, I'm
going to read that and really
just break up. And I don't
mean laughter. I might die
first, I guess, and then it
won't matter. But I think
it's going to be a close
finish either way. That's
why you need to be
careful about things
you include, when
writing like this.
Everything changes,
goes away, dies, and
you run the risk of
looking real dated, old,
out of fashion immediately.
Pick and choose with care.
Like that Leroy Jones guy;
I happen to know who he
finally did marry, and I
even saw him around once
or twice in later life. Never
said anything: 'lemme see
your hands, you monster' :
and he never let on. He
married, (let me tell this)
a girl I knew, named
Theresa Buccarelli or 
Buccherini, or something. 
I don't know how that 
happened, or if they're
still together, nor do I 
know anything now 
about either one of
them  -  but when I 
knew her she was 
pretty amazing. She had
Flaming Italian/Irish red
hair, I guess  -  a wicked
face lightly touched 
with freckles too. There
was something about her;
she exuded sexuality, like
I'd not much seen it before.
A really strange genetics.
Maybe 18 or 20 years
old then. Something a bit
unearthly, an unprepared,
wild, human experiment, 
and it worked. But all
that was some 50 years 
ago. Believe you me,
things change. I remember
my time there, Star Trek 
had just come out on TV, 
and the two fat guys I had 
to sit across from would 
just go on and on, each time,
ad nauseum, and in complete 
detail, about whatever last 
Star Trek episode they'd 
watched. Total Trek-freaks, 
and all that stuff hadn't 
even started up yet - the
fan clubs, Trekkies and 
conventions and all 
that Leonard Nimoy 
and William Shatner crap.
It was, so to speak, all
just getting ready for 
take-off. I never even
knew how those two
had time to shut up and 
eat to get so fat. 
Man, I hated school, a 
complete crock and a 
waste of time. I only had
that tail end of a last year
to do, after seminary 
school, and I wasn't happy
about having to do it with
them, in such a crummy, 
low-brow, environment.
I let them know about it,
and they kept sending 
me home. Clothes. 
haircuts. Shoes. Sandals. 
Any crap they could
find to heave me, they 
would. I used to get sent
home by ten, change my 
shoes, and maybe drag 
myself back by two. All
horrendous shit  -  sitting
through that miserable
daily lunch setting. I just
finally pulled myself off
to sit with all the other 
undesirables, off at a
corner table. Kids in leg 
braces, and the kind of
semi-retarded oafs
that there used to be 
around. You never see
those kinds of kids 
nowadays. I guess they 
don't make them 
anymore. There was 
this one girl, with a
withered arm or leg,
I forget. I got to like 
her a lot, Valerie Klein
I think was her name.
No big deal, just the 
occasional small talk, 
but she was nice. The
funniest thing I 
remember, she'd come 
in Mondays, and 
Monday and Tuesday
she'd mostly spend 
carefully going over 
the wedding photos
and announcements
pages of the Sunday
 NYTimes. Mostly it was 
rich people, fancy big 
doctorates  and schools and 
names. With lineages, and 
big-deal parents and 
locations and causes. She'd 
read every one, carefully too, 
and sometimes aloud so I 
could hear it. None of it 
ever meant much to me, 
but it was way better than 
that Star Trek dreckand 
she was pretty cool, 
and forget foreign.

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