When I was fourteen or fifteen and living in NE Texas, ‘Famine’ County to be more precise, I used to frequently cross the border. Not Mesico. No, Oklahoma. Yep. Go figger.
You see, back-in-the-day (Early Seventies), the drinking age got lowered to 18, mainly because it just was not fitting for a boy to go to Vietnam and not even be able to buy a beer ere he got there. Time enough for that once he got there, but you see, it became a matter of principle.
Well, my ‘group’ took advantage of that. You see, it was very difficult to tell a teenager’s age: I mean,
“How do you know he ain’t eighteen? He looks twelve, but hell! Ok, serve it up.”
And even better: In Oklahoma, well, they just did not give a shit. If you had money and could reach the bar, well, there you go.
OK, enough preamble and background. Early one morning (after about 0100hrs) my buddies and I, after having closed down the bars in Commerce (Texas), decided we were not drunk enough. So, natch, we drove to The Border, as I said: Oklahoma. Our mission: To hustle Pool and make the next day’s beer money. Our favorite hang was a place just ‘cross da river. A place who’s name escapes me, but trust me: it was famous. There is a very long, very dark, very narrow bridge across the Red River. If one could successfully navigate that, being drunk… well, you needed a drink.
Now, do not mistake me, this establishment was always ‘closed’ by the time we usually arrived at thereabout 0200hrs, but I knew the guy behind the ‘Speak-Easy’ window and I knew the password: “Joe sent me.”
Good to go.
They legally closed the bar at 0100hrs, but then remained open until first light. If one arrived around 0200hrs, one could shoot pool for four or five and then migrate to the back room where the crap tables were. I knew all the drills.
My gang and I sauntered in, bought some beers and Bob and I proceeded to ‘hustle’ pool. For beers. ONLY.
We were already drunk; we did not need to hustle beers. We wanted money for the crap game. Bob and I spent the better part of two hours hustling beers, and had pretty much drained the joint, when this dude drops his quarter on the table. He was long and lankly and had his right hand missing. Yep. He was ‘handicapped” Errr… handless. I nudged Bob and said, “This chump cannot beat me. At pool.”
And, of course, I was right, but… damn! He was good. He used his ‘stub’ as a bridge and shot a mean Eight-Ball. I beat him outta bout a case of Coors. He got pissed and walked by me:
“You done stepped on my foot,” he said.
“No Sir, I did not, but if you think I did, well, I’m sorry…”
“YOU done STEPPED on my FOOT!”
Bob took me aside along with my other entourage; Peanut, Gene, and Jessie (a big black kid who had played star halfback for the Honey Grove Warriors back in the day—yes—he was older, and I did notice him putting razor blades between his fingers)
“Many-Feet” Peanut said, “That there one-armed man gonna beat you to some death with that nub.”
“Bullshit!” I said.
“No bullshit. Go ahead; hide an’ watch.”
To be continued….
He beat me ’bout to death with that nub, just as Peanut foresaw.
Wish I had ‘foresaw’. Dem Okies…well.. they some tough sons ah bitches, all I gotta say.
Months before the events inked here, here, here, and here, I found myself in Paris (actually two Paris’s—One Texan—One French). Confus’d yet? Stand by: it grows worse(r)
Let’s back up a mite (mites are hard to back up by the way, militarily that is: damn small and damn slippery, them mites… and they tend to mite-bite one, usually on one’s ass)
We call that “Green on Blue” and if you are following the recent news cycle, you will surely know that, that is inappropriate. But that is just how I roll. Fuck Afghanistan and their pretended bullshit “We gonna take over security of our country…” Won’t happen. But after ten plus years there (and some several months there by me, after Iraq–got ‘liberated’–now there is yet another joke, I can speak to the idiocy that is ‘our’ foreign fallacy.
I was in Sinai, 1978 (if memory serves), and I received a letter from my step-sis. This was not unusual back in those days, as we were still ‘speaking’. She sent me a rather long and boring letter regarding Honey Grove and all the ‘Happenings’ thereabouts. The letter was indeed ‘boring’ until I got to her ‘PS’. It read and I quote (loosely), “By the way, R is marrying J. Jesus-Beezus!”
This was, to me, devastation by way of bad, unspeakable news!
‘How could she?! She was MINE. Mine to mine and to have and to hold… just as soon as I finished with my wanderlust. How dare she?!” How DARE she?!
What to do?
Well, I had some R&R time ‘on the books’ so I hopped on a freighter (airplane), and flew back to Texas, ostensibly to break up the marriage, just like Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate. Problem was, was that I screwed up the dates and the logistics, and arrived not in time to bust up the wedding, but just in time to see the happy couple speeding off fast to Waco and their honeymoon…
Never having been more depressed at missing a rendezvous, what to do? Rebound Son! Rebound!
So, I sought out Janet. Let’s call it a ‘bank shot rebound.’ I knew she was working at the Hopkins Lamar (See? To this day, I never know which county I am in) County Courthouse as a probation officer, so I timed (this time, my timing was spot on) my entrance during her lunch break: Intercepted her coming down the stairs of the courthouse.
“C’est moi! How’s Trix?”
“You are supposed to be in Egypt,” she said.
“I escaped,” I said. “Wanna have lunch?”
“Uh… Sure. Why not?” (Why not indeed)
We went to lunch. Then she took the rest of the day. We went to her apartment and drank gin. Later that eve, after I had regaled her with fantastical tales of the Middle of the East, she took a drag from her Virginia Slim and asked, “So are you gonna fuck me tonight, or what?”
I said, “No Ma’am; I am gonna make love to you—something I should have done five years ago.”
So we did—I did—make love to her.
The problem now became that I had a plane to catch to that other Paris: that one in France. The other part of the problem was that my plane was waiting in Houston. I was about five hours at seventy miles per hour away from my Air France plane at Houston Intercontinental. I had to go. Now.
I hit the road to Houston, not really wanting to go, but I had promised my buddy, Bart, Black Bart, that I would meet him in Paris on such and such a day. Naturally, I ended up missing my flight and arrived Paree a day late. On the taxi ride from Charles de Gaulle airport, we drove under a bridge and the taxi car lost its windshield to a lone rifle shot. (my theory) “Terrorist?” I asked the cabby? (en français).
“Merde!” Was all he said, as he dodged the flying glass. (true story). I did not care anyhow, but this rather happenstance occurrence did not bode well for my first day in Gay Paree…
“There’s my hotel!” I exclaimed as he had managed to (somehow) keep driving.
I paid him off, got out of his now mangled, windshield-less cab and made my way into the cheap hotel lobby. Went up to my room, dropped my shit; then went looking for my buddy. Found him at last sitting on his rack, rather sullen in mood. I checked out his room. It had a wonderful view of the Eiffel Tower.
“So Bart,” I asked finally, “What have you done here in The City of Light for twenty-four hours?”
“You see that tower there?” he asked, pointing to the window.
“Yep,” I said. “That would be the Eiffel Tower.”
“Well, since you didn’t show, I went out on my own… and hey! Ya know, they don’t speak English here? I went out on my own. (You mentioned that) Walked over to that tower, looked up at it—kicked it—and said to myself, ‘Yep. That there Bartamus, that there is the Eiffel Tower. Then I came back here and took a nap. And would you please tell that France Maid that I do not want no fuckin’ breakfast? She wakes me up in the fucking morning with her biscuits (‘croissants’ Asshole) and lousy coffee.”
“Sure Bart,” I said. “I will post a note, en français on yer door.”
“You speak France?”
“Well Hot Damn then! You be Bogey. I’ll be Bacall.” (of course)
“I weren’t able to bust up the wedding.”
“Oh you mean between R and J?”
“Yep. That one, you moron.”
“Yer better off,” he said.
“OK. Then why am I so depressed?”
“Dunno. Did you have any other adventures while you were back In-The-World?”
“Matter of fact, I did. I hooked up with Janet.”
“Nope. No bullshit. Why I missed my flight, in fact.”
“Well, I was just about pissed off at you, but now I unnerstand.”
“Thanks for that,” I said.
“Hey!” he said. “Let’s smoke a bowl and you can tell me all about it while we go and kick this town in the ass.”
“Light her up,” I said. We smoked and drank and then off we went stoned and semi-drunk and in Paris (France) Just two more ugly Americans (Texans)
I hesitated while choosing the vid to represent this post. Then I swerved onto this one below. It is somewhat depressing, yeah. But, but… This is how I see my life ending up. I hope you will take the time to watch, listen, and comment.
And ‘somewhat’ related: And…Talia Shire Will never, ever look so good.
(That Beret! That Beret! Cabaret!)
And of course, not without saying…
And Michael York.
And… whatever happened to Jimmy Buffett’s hair??? (I did read his book, “a pirate looks at forty” fifty, sixty??. did not glean anything from it ‘cept that he loves ‘boat-planes’– shit! I could have ‘wrote’ a better book. Jes sayin’…)
My tweet (if I ever tweet) to Jimmy:
Dude, stick to music. That is what you do best. Leave the prose to those who have some prose… to share. And no! I ain’t talking ’bout me, but in general speakin’…)
(See way below for the JB bits)
(and, yes: Navy SEALs)
Picks up that conversation:
“Not too much,” I must confess.
“But surely you have touched some lives?”
“Yeah, but mostly in a bad way. I did my best in war zones. I was ‘The antithesis’ of the ‘Bad American.’ Other than that, nope.”
“Perhaps you are being too hard on yourself?”
“You really don’t know me, do you?”
“Well… no. Not exactly. This is just a job to me. Go on.”
“I’d rather not, but hey! Thanks for stopping by.”
“I suppose my ‘work’ here is done. Then?”
“Yeah. You may be excused.”
“Thanks, because I am late for my appointment with J-Law.”
“But you said one thing; got my attention: You said ‘torched’.
“Naw! I said ‘scorched’ There is some difference.”
Or, as Mammy (Hattie McDaniel) said, via ‘Gone With The Wind’:
“It just ain’t fittin'”
(She ‘won’ an Oscar for that. Ya surely know) And in her acceptance speech, she said, and I quote: “I sincerely hope I shall always be a credit to my race.” Can you believe she actually felt compelled to say those words? Well, it was 1940… I suppose.
Lance loves you Mammy (Hattie)
And look up the word ‘class’ in any dictionary. There you will find a photo of Katherine Hepburn.
Oops! I meant Bette Davis (shit! I cannot tell from the vid which one, Kate or Bette–HBO!–help a brother out here. Which one?) Personally, I am gonna go with Kate. After further review, I am going with Bette.
(Yup. I changed the Title. It’s My Blog After All, Ain’t It?)
The Eighties SUCKED Music-Wise
Wow! What a Bold Statement!
“Yes, and I stand by it.”
Now… Y’all, fess up! The Eighties were devoid of decent music, save a few, (Damn few) exceptions.
Hey! We are talking ‘bout the decade of want here! The Decade of “We want shoes! Therefore we am!” Ya know what? Fuck The Eighties! I was still a young man during them yet, even I, even I… scratched my head and pondered The End of Western Civilization.
(But Damn! How I did love Madonna!)
I served my country during The Eighties.
I loved Reagan during The Eighties.
I grew prematurely old during the Eighties.
What the hell was there not to love?
About The Eighties?
The Eighties were not The Sixties, nor The Seventies.
The Eighties Had NO Moral Compass.
The Eighties had NO WAR to protest.
The Eighties had Nothing, save for ‘Michael Jackson’ and ‘Rambo’ and such jokes make not a decade to be proud of.
OK: Bet Yer Boots
There is more to come.
And Comments along the way: Encouraged
This Post Will Be Heavilyslightly Not Edited, but you will see all the edits (of which there will be none), as per my wont, and my promise in a previous post. (Yeah: work in progress…)
(Then again, I may probably won’t just delete this and move on)
So read fast; leisurely if you’re of a mind to…
And, if you have come this far:
I actually want really desire this to be a ‘community post’. Now, what I mean by that is this: Throw in your comments/musings/rants/raves/loves/hates about The Eighties. I will mesh them into the post. (with credits to authors) This could be fun (if we allow it)
(And if y’all believe that shit, I have a bridge for sale–just kidding–I swear! I will fold any comments into the post)
Since I am in “Peanut Mode” tonight, I thought I would post this excerpt from a very ‘early-in-my-blogging days’ post regarding same, in the vain hope some would read the bits in their entirety:Sharking, Campin’, Bow-Fishin’.
Seems to me we sometimes realize far too late the true value of friends had and lost.
There is a scene in “Tombstone” where Wyatt Earp hands a smallish book over to a bed-ridden Doc Holiday, entitled:
“My Friend: Doc Holiday.”
Here is to wishing Peanut could receive same from me.
Alas, he cannot.
Jimmy ‘Peanut’ Piland was a character like none other: Possessing a smallish frame, medium blond hair always askew and asunder, Paul Newman blue eyes, a perpetual boyish ‘possum’ grin, and a wiry build replete with a hard-wired energy. Yet looks can be somewhat deceiving: he was tough as nails and feared nothing, or no one. There was no Brahma bull he wouldn’t attempt to ride, no man he wouldn’t attempt to fight (if provoked—him usually doing the ‘provokin’—“That sonuvabitch done pissed me off…”), no tractor, truck, nor heavy machinery he wouldn’t attempt to operate, instructed or not. Good that he never had access to an airplane, for he would have, no doubt, tried to fly it.