I gave America a Labor Day party this
weekend and it was a lot of work. The kids aren’t so much interested in
fireworks anymore, but rest assured we adults still like our alcohol. America, are you tired? I know I am.
Tired of the 50-hour workweek, or the no workweek. Tired of 1 % of your
population owning 40% of your wealth. Tired of record profits and
thievery being subsidized.
Anymore, our situation is reminiscent of a mid-90’s Britpop song. It’s become the haves against the have-nots again, with the one caveat being many of the have-nots — perhaps as a result of a perpetuation of ignorance via our dilapidated educational system — have been boondoggled into joining the haves at their own expense with hopes, I guess, that the little money they pocket might be transubstantiated into gold at the local casino or, failing that, there’s always that Good ol’ American work ethic to fall back on.
Two years ago I was renting a shitty, overpriced, one-bedroom apartment with a hole in the ceiling in the Clifton Heights area. Ever since I had moved out of the dorms, I had been weary of the neighborhood. I heard about my friends getting in fights for no reason while walking home and people getting their cars broken into. I never thought people could be so cruel to one another. I was naive.
At the core, I long for both sides — the practical and the soulful connection. No, I don’t expect this all of the time. I am realistic as well. The mountain woman, sure, she saw other people, and I was a mess, but how she often brought out the joy in me. The driveway man, sure, it was a one night stand. I guess I could see it like that. But he shook me up, pushing me to write, and I’m still at it.
I don’t know for sure of Goodie’s sexual orientation — don’t know if he was gay, straight, bisexual or something else. What I do know is that 40 years ago, southern Indiana wasn’t exactly a hotbed of sexual freedom.
I wasn’t supposed to be kissing my stepsister. No, it was supposed to be one of her friends, The Twins. Which one I wasn’t sure, but, no matter, she chickened out and my stepsister suggested herself as a replacement. Thus, we lay in the basement making out, my head swimming with the absurdity of it all.
On most mornings while at the bus stop downtown to catch a Tank Bus over to Kentucky, I see this guy. Before he gets on the bus, with his hands, he makes the sign of the cross. I'm smart enough to know this is a Catholic ritual. That's all I know. One morning, I got curious about what he was doing. I asked him why he went through this ritual.
The irony wasn’t lost on me: Mere weeks following my debut in these pages, the alternate title to which might have been “In Defense of Suicide,” I almost died by my own hand. The little I do remember has me in front of a wooden door with two rectangle panes of glass, poised to throw a punch, thinking you’ve broke your hand twice, try something different. Thus, the glass.
I must have been on some kind of list of people to notify when she died. I didn’t know the person who delivered the sad news. A few days later, on a Wednesday morning, I took a bus up to that funeral home on Glenway Avenue where she would be laid out. I wanted to show my last respects.
Now, since I'm having another birthday, it's a time for reflection, a time to purchase reading glasses, a time to eat straight icing and a time to crawl under a rock and hide with my dark blanket of complete, utter, desperate, lonely depression. Joking. Actually, last night I thought about a boatload of strange things that have changed in this world since I was little, and the following are some important things that I’d like to mention.