Thursday, February 20, 2020

Big City Nude Parties

The Big City
Part 20 of 28

As the friendly narrator here, I know my place is always to be the voice of conventional morality and decry any slippage from the straight and narrow, basically defined as at least an average life of fair-play, respect for others, and personal and societal reserve. Yes, I can comment on murders but not condone it. I can fawn over newborns but not advocate for them to reject their parents and go rogue. And naturally I can feature hedonists at their parties, groping one another, sucking down the hootch, and getting so “friendly” with each other that they're buck naked, but … what the hell, why can't that be me! But at this point in my life, I'm sure I'd cover my frailty out of embarrassment.

Anyway, how do you even get in with a crowd like that? That’s always the question I have, on the off chance it came to anything. It comes down to this, basically, you need to be born there, or be there a long time, or just insinuate yourself as best as you can. For me, I was already born where I was, with particular people of some fixed morality, so I can’t go back and do much there. As for my lifespan, being so old, I could legitimately live another 20 years, probably, and learn to insinuate myself with some good old fashioned hedonists. But never forget, to insinuate yourself you have to be very bold. I can see you can ease into it by imitation -- looking to a friend with an in -- with the proviso that you might be evicted with the first bold move. Because it's not your natural turf.

Thinking it over a little more, I think I could have two sets of profligate friends. I meet the first set and learn the basics of their lifestyle, but do not insinuate myself. Then I take my findings to the second set, and without waiting to see what they do, merely launch into the behavior, sidling in, nonchalantly making myself at home, etc. First guy with his zipper down! The group might wonder about me but once they've assumed I'm friends with someone, my directness would yield good results. I'm swimming naked in the pool and I'm all hands!

My quick recommendation for others, if you have all the time in the world, look for a natural way of sidling up and becoming accepted. But if you’re old and could die at any minute, just get in there and let the chips fall where they may. Because, well ... there’s lots of reasons. The fullness of life isn’t for the meek. Life’s a banquet, a buffet, and buffets are free-for-alls. Everyone has a lifespan to worry about, but set it aside and make yourself at home. I’ve got two hands, baby, and they’re not doing anything! We’re back in ancient Rome and no one’s going to know! I’ve seen the history books and the authorities barely touch the average guy.

One other observation on the graphic. That’s the Big City “on a slow night”! Picture, then, the average night, or the night that blows the average out of the water, the other extreme. You’ll have stories for the ages, stories you dare not tell. Just don’t catch anything, that’s number one. And if you’re out of good names, name the little hellion after me.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Rush Hour: A Biggest Curse

The Big City
Part 19 of 28

I never once in my life thought I’d plan my day based on rush hour. But I never lived anywhere else crazy enough to go crazy every morning and afternoon like clockwork. Which is the way of life in the Big City, and no one’s thought of a way to fix it.

Maybe no one else sees it as a problem. Which is a legitimate solution to the problem if there isn't a problem, just deny it. I had a friend who had lots of girlfriends and some of them weren’t good for his health. And he didn't see it as a problem. He kept denying that the constant itching of his junk was indicative of something requiring at least a doctor look-see. And then once it began creeping north of the belt-line, it was too late. Sexual fungus finally ate his head off and made a mess of his torso; it's tragic to say, what remained was suddenly of little value. The good times were but a memory, and he died somewhere in the vicinity of his head being eaten and his torso becoming a mess.

But back to rush hour. Even the word we use for it tells the trouble. We’ve legitimized it: “That’s just the way it is,” with city planners sitting helplessly on their ass, throwing up their hands and saying, “Don’t look at us!” Or they speak some foreign lingo, pretending that it’s impossible to be engaged on the subject, when obviously they’re guilty as sin. I’d love to get every one of these scoundrels on the carpet and dress them down with indignation: “You did this, and you are hereby banished to some unpopulated wilderness where there’s two intersecting roads, and the only thing besides an occasional stagecoach are the skulls of those who've fallen by the wayside." That place could use a little more traffic, just nothing like what we’re dealing with now.

The honest to God truth is -- take those guys of the old west -- they’re a lot like the city planners we have today. Completely irresponsible. Have you ever tried to talk to one of them? Whatever problem there is was done by XYZ, someone on the scene 10 to 50 years before they showed up. Or it was in a neighborhood that they claim that they've never heard of. Or, or, or, you name the excuse. They’re certainly creative enough to escape responsibility, you’d think their so-called city planning "skills" would allow for a little more thought! (That's gotta hurt!)

I know it’s too late to go back now and do it right. You’ve have to tear down everything and start from scratch, which at this point would only make traffic jams worse than what we face now, if that’s possible. But if we could redo it, we’d have some decent roads with 50 nicely-paved lanes and the ones we know now would barely be used. We’d just leave them rough like cow-paths, as a sad reminder of having done it all wrong.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Big City, Twilight State

The Big City
Part 18 of 28

Let’s establish a hypothetical situation. You’ve read this far enduring my many pleas for caution; I’m on my knees, listen to me now. Be cautious not to make the same mistakes I made and move to the Big City. My situation was very specific, I didn’t do anything rashly. The city fathers of my little town wanted me out. They led me to the city limits by gunpoint. They were vigilant, blocking every path back. Grandma’s house went down the drain after a few years of bad income and brutal weather. She herself was deceased, old and dead, her eyes wouldn’t open, her heart was shot. It barely worked when she was alive, imagine the rot after her passing...

Yes, it’s true -- setting aside her carcass -- weather can really take a toll on a house. You start thinking, How can I ever overcome these terrible conditions and feel better? What can I do to change my pathetic circumstances? A guy could, of course, learn building skills. Which is hard and not as foolproof as they think. Or I could've changed my outlook on things, mind over matter. No matter how things rot away to nothing, it doesn't have to affect you quite as much. My path was to train my mind to go into what is called The Twilight State. Crossing your eyes, locking your arms at the chest, nodding quickly, and briefly holding your breath. Goodbye cruel world, hello Twilight State!

However -- and this is important, the basic key to failure -- not everyone takes to alt consciousness quite as easily. And the techniques, like most secret techniques, come with strict rules about sharing them. That's an ironclad thing a guy vows to uphold. I took that vow. But, you know, what the hell… They didn't give me a choice, so to hell with them.

I will say, though, that everything here is “For Entertainment Purposes Only,” and any materializing and de-materializing that may happen around or to you is at your own risk. If you become a vapor and evaporate before your time, I cannot be held responsible. This is precisely the point where a friend of mine, Maha Raymond, gave up the ghost in the Himalayas and became an immortal. To give you some idea of such an achievement, it’s like winning a third place ribbon when showing cattle. It’s huge.

And with that, with only two more days of semi-strenuous practice -- grunting is encouraged -- you may encounter the deadliest, most dangerous passages. If that happens, the directions are essentially, “Feel your way.” Anyone incapable of feeling their way is immediately terminated, which is always hard for loved ones. The few who manage to feel their way -- and I saw a family of 12 halfwits make it so don’t tell me it can’t be done -- are deemed immortal with all the advantages pertaining thereunto, including gold merit badges up the yin yang and a ceremonial kiss from the only blonde in them thar hills.

But remember this truth: Mountains aren’t just there, they grow incrementally through extremely slow tectonic movement. Similarly, we advance quickly to the heights, by leaps and bounds, so be patient, stick with it because it’s definitely worth it. Breathe in, breathe out, let it happen. And there you have it, the Twilight State is now yours, and now you can spend the rest of your life mastering it.

For mastery, your purpose must be righteous. Your purpose cannot be to enter the Twilight State willy-nilly or for trivial purposes. If it’s not something righteous and something massive -- a purpose for the ages -- then most of your hopes, however sincere, will be for naught. You seriously need a righteous purpose. One such purpose, completely good, is merely because you moved to the Big City and need something more to help you cope. You’ve heard of the devil? The devil is a metaphor for Big City life, so it takes something bigger and bigger yet to transcend such an obstacle. Try your damnedest, on your word of honor, and see how it goes.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Big City Gets Negative Verdict

The Big City
Part 17 of 28 - My favorite

Of course it’s easy for me to sit here day after day railing against The Big City. You know I make a lot of good points. And this isn't something I’d lie about. I actually live in The Big City -- a guaranteed fact -- so everyday I'm mulling it over. Between watching TV, feeding the dog, and doing laundry along with a bunch of other chores. So it’s not like I’d be unfairly biased against it when it's now my whole life.

So that validates some of my opinions if not the bulk of them, and perhaps all of them. But no one can be right all the time. Whereas the less you say, naturally the better your opinions are and the more squarely they'll hit the bullseye of the public’s sense. I make that claim for myself, and statistically it’s borne out, I'm either always right or close, hitting the sweet spot on most of my statements and beliefs.

All that said -- which alone would prove my point -- I was still willing to put my opinions to the ultimate test by arranging a completely random interview with an individual, with all the safeguards and controls that go into it to keep the statistical hounds at bay regardless of other factors. Like it or not, I definitely went the entire extra mile, a lot farther than most guys go to show good faith.

OK, here's how it went: First, I took the time and expense to assemble a focus group, and they seemed fully prepared to judge the case. But  I detected bias with one guy saying it was a good day to be alive, which tainted the pool. I abruptly dismissed nearly the entire session with severe prejudice. I spared just one guy of the group, the same guy who thought it was a good day to be alive! The others were out, not only being tainted, but they were also either pessimistic or suicidal. It was this other guy's optimistic spirit that made me optimistic that he’d see it my way about the Big City.

This, however, was a sensitive moment. I had to keep him from bias, so I asked him not to speak again but to signal his verdict on The Big City solely by facial gestures. So we shall proceed to the questions and his facial answers:

Question number 1: Do you like sticking it to the man? A smiling UP, with eyes decidedly closed. For me, this was a big positive, saying he was more than happy to stick it to the man. I figured the survey would be a slam dunk against the Big City, but we still had quite a ways to go.

Question number 2: Is the Big City a good idea for children and other living things? Instead of his big smile just seconds before, he became like a wounded animal at the very thought of it. He gave it a firm DOWN. His answer strengthened my stance that the Big City is anathema for living things, being a negative gesture. 1-1.

Question number 3: Would you like to date the mayor of the Big City? A quick scrunchy-face DOWN. Which was a big surprise for me, because the mayor’s really quite an attractive guy. But it's probably just a case of him not swinging that way. Suddenly we were DOWN 2-1.

Question number 4: I was hoping this wouldn’t be a DOWN, because with only one question left there would be no way for the Big City to possibly eek out a victory. But I asked anyway: “What is your favorite thing about the Big City?" Since he could use only facial gestures, he seemed disappointed and would've preferred to give an oral answer. That gave us a DOWN, 3-1, with no favorite thing. Now the only way of climbing out of the hole being for the last question to be UP along with something underhanded. I could've gleaned that he'd rather marry the mayor than merely date him. But we didn't go there.

Question number 5: In what way is the Big City like lemons? He did what everyone does when they think of lemons, puckered up in a positive way -- making it an UP vote -- rounding out an otherwise disappointing total for the Big City at 3-2 DOWN.

So it was a negative result for the Big City, justifying my original negative take. Reflecting back on the interview, I thought it over, and realized how close it actually was. Clearly, the interpretation of the answers might’ve been jimmied if I were that kind of guy, a Big City shyster. But instead I played it fair and square all the way.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Bow To Big City Dictates


The Big City
Part 16 of 28

Once again, the Big City takes us to a dark place. At least it's kind of dark, the shadows creeping everywhere. The barest light is sooner or later extinguished, with what little bit of light that remains flickering with promise, but the promise is next to nothing, then it’s gone. Everything is fairly dark, with moneyed interests and the way they’re forever greasing each other's palms, winking, signalling the separation of groups into those on top and the rest of us. The supposed new day begins, then it’s immediately dark, and that’s all the light we see.

How everything goes to hell like this -- which is my go-to sociological theory no matter where I live -- is a thing both to rue and celebrate, though darkly. Certainly ruing it is warranted, because the response to every injustice ought to be a stand against it. But because this response is never welcome with the powers-that-be, it’s tough to sustain, and is usually met in one of two ways: 1) A passive/aggressive affirming of their stance, then quietly tabling it once you’ve been sidelined; and, 2) An overt rejection, threats, mental/physical harassment, browbeating, criticism both to your face and subversive, or strangulation, or telling you the so-called parable of the Good and Bad Eggs, how the Good Egg sits unmolested in the refrigerator till it’s eventually retired to the dumpster, whereas the Bad Egg is immediately killed and eaten, although not digested but brought again to public shame with heaving and hacking, and all of it with severe prejudice. Ho hum.

But, my friends -- and my expertise in Big City sociology is more or less something I picked up on the fly with minimal experience; I’m a fast learner -- they can’t hide the truth forever. From the great unwashed masses, yes, they can hide it in a sense. Those unwashed masses are happy to live their pathetic unwashed lives constricted like this. It’s the old line about bread and circuses, keep them sedated, docile, and distracted -- mentally stymied, socially sidelined, forever in the vain pursuit of being Top Dog or what have you. Step by step, then -- and there’s lots of baby steps here -- they're finally kept in their place only apparently by force. Once inured, they maintain their station at the bottom rung by a sort of sleepy forgetfulness, knowing next to nothing of their lives. What an objective person would see as constriction, they see as freedom.

Just going over the more cheerful aspects as I have, I also see it as a negative thing. Which is only made worse by our own complicity, failing to keep our minds fresh and free, basically what’s common in the small town setting. There are, however, in the small town the Big City wanna-bes. Cheerful on the outside, but conniving behind the scenes, they want to emulate the Big City, and bit by bit to exercise power toward that end. Example: “Let’s build a spouting fountain in the park!” The unusual unwashed masses think that “sounds good.” In the interest of time, I’ll leave out some of the social progression here. But a couple months later you’ve got your precious fountain, then suddenly the town is the Fourth Reich and in deep. They may as well have moved to the Big City when they had the chance and forgotten the middle man!

It's all so typical, I almost regret boring you with the same old run-of-the-mill details. But the Big City is an octopus with its tentacles around the so-called Master’s legs. And the Master and the others are sooner or later, inevitably, dragged down to their demise.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Coping With Big City Life

The Big City
Part 15 of 28

Going from the small town -- with all the great small town values, such as leaving our car jacked up all night and still having most of the tires in the morning -- to the Big City can be a daunting thing. Very challenging, and I don't like challenges. Make it the simple life for me, next to no effort.

I actually was practicing the simple life back home -- the problems with the house were so horrendous, I had little alternative but to ignore them -- then I heard it from both sides, the city and the county, that I needed to vacate the now-vacant lot that once was Grandma's. The house was shot and, believe it or not, so was I. A few family members said, “Come live with us,” etc., but I’ve never been one to live by half measures and so I said no. No doubt they were crossing their fingers behind the back that I wouldn't. So I left and chose a life guaranteed to be the complete opposite of everything I'd known, finding myself within days in The Big City.

Now it’s going on two years and I have a history to look back on, how I coped with it and what’s still to be done. A lot of guys in my situation, having grown up with a terrible fear of the Big City, would stay in and keep the doors locked tight. I actually do that now, except for taking the dog out and a few other chores. But right away I got out of the house and started coping with it.

It actually helped that money was tighter in those earliest days. Because I made a friend and got together with him and went scrounging for aluminum cans. Doing that, almost everyone I ran into assumed I was a Big City guy, since historically small town immigrants stay in and keep their doors locked. But there I was, digging through garbage cans, hiding sacks of cans in the woods for safe keeping, etc. Then when I had enough cans, of course, I walked or rode my bike to the salvage place.

By the time the year was finished and when the next summer began I was totally out of that and comfortable enough to keep a low profile. The friend had moved away, disappeared one night after his cat gave birth to kittens and pissed off the landlord. The second summer, if I saw a can somewhere, I just left it alone, on the off chance that maybe there was a new small town guy trying to get his footing, who might wonder where all the cans were if I picked 'em up.

One of the weird things about my senses in the Big City is I’ve had a terrible time remembering which direction is which. And it doesn't help if you're riding a bike. It’s easier in a car because you’re turning more often. So just fitting in was my project for the first year, and now getting down the directions has been my second year goal. In the last month I’ve been proud to realize that I’m getting the direction SOUTH down very well. Sometimes I still have to manually reorient myself on the other directions based on south but it’s all getting easier.

One of my weirdest moments in the first year -- another thing to cope with -- was I met a prostitute on a dead end road. Just me and her. I can’t remember what we talked about, but I wasn’t looking for a prostitute, not with my germophobia. It actually didn’t even occur to me that she was one. I just asked her nice questions because maybe she was in trouble. It looked like she'd been crying. Then she asked if I wanted “a date,” and I graciously said no and got the hell out of there.

Since then I've more or less been a hermit, going out when I need to -- the dog's bathroom breaks -- and I do go to the grocery store, then after that I eat a lot of leftovers.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Big City, Sleepless Nights

The Big City
Part 14 of 28

O! What I wouldn’t give for one decent night, my brain settled, nerves calm, adjusted, without rancor, instead of this persistent, nagging, uncomfortable, infernal inflammation! All the time with the nerves. They're like explosions, brain eruptions. Plus, not only have I wet the bed by tossing and turning, I've managed somehow to wet the pillow, the curtains, and towels in the drawer. What'd I ever do to deserve this? I'm also screaming, shrieking ... Where'd my precious life go with the sleepless nights? To sleep is nearly impossible, excluding my delirious daydreams through the day.

(I'm currently in the process of changing doctors, leaving our dear old family doctor for someone closer at hand in the Big City. I'm sure she's seen everything, but I'm still afraid I'll scare her off when I list my symptoms, the Big City driving me mad. But I'll try to soften the blow.

So I stand before you, my bitter cry giving real testimony to the indescribable absurdities and troubling realities of what the Big City can do to a person’s life, his possibilities and shattered nerves. I’ll hold my hand out. Look at it shake. I’m not “just doing that,” but my hands have a life of their own. And when I do sleep, I’m blubbering through the night, with whatever sleep so unsettled it feels like I'm awake. With tossing and turning, calling out to the saints to preserve us. I've bargained with the Powers That Be to take me, just give me one night of actual rest to redeem myself at long last from this horrible place.

O! What I wouldn’t give for one decent night, my brain settled and quiet, my nerves calm, adjusted, dependable, without rancor, instead of this inflammation. All the time with the inflammation! What'd I ever do to deserve this? Again, I say, I scream, I shriek, where'd my precious life go with the sleepless nights? I bet I haven’t slept in a year. To sleep is nearly impossible.

I stand before you, then, my bitter cry giving mute testimony to the indescribable absurdities and troubling (though unbelievable) realities of what the Big City can do to a person’s life, possibilities, and shattered nerves. I hold my hand out. Look at it shake! I’m not “just doing that,” the SOB at this point has a life of its own. And when I do sleep, they say I’ve been blubbering, with sleep so unsettled it’s like not sleeping at all; instead, I’m tossing and turning, calling out to the saints to preserve us, and I've been bargaining with the Powers That Be to take me, just give me one night’s sleep to fulfill a devil's deal.

I swear on Grandma’s heart that I've never had this level of difficulty back in the small town, where the biggest impediment to a good night’s sleep was the occasional squeakiness of the outhouse door. Just the slightest breeze might set it off, but just an ordinary brick from the foundation would prop it in the mud in such a way that it didn’t budge for years. That was reliability, a standard I had, and recommended to neighbors many times. I’d tell people how truthful I was like this: dependable as an outhouse brick in the mud, baby, an outhouse brick in the mud.
Now look at me, a full blown toilet just down the hall, shared with eight others who come and go at all hours of the night. Two or three old ones die off and two or three new ones sign the lease. What they died of, whether they deserved it or not -- and probably they did -- these are things no one speaks of. Who do you trust? As long as they’re not blaming me, I’m OK. I keep on living, don’t think they've missed that, and one of these nights it could be me, apparently shaving when I'm suddenly sliced ear to ear.

It’s tough to sleep no matter how you cut it. And then the furnace will die, and someone will have “borrowed” a blanket, and unknown friends will be illegally sleeping in the basement. And there's a crazy guy down there who can’t sleep so he’s beating the pipes, trying to jump start the heat; you can hear it three houses over. This Big City life is not real life in the truest sense of the word.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

The Freeways Are Terrible

The Big City
Part 13 of 28

During my time in the Big City and all the traveling I have to do, I’ve gone from the greenest blushing newbie to something of a critic, and since then to fancying myself a city planner. I could show 'em how to do it! That’s sounds like a lot of boasting, but expertise works like that; the expertise bug hits this guy, this guy, and sometimes even me. Really, though, how hard would it have been to install some decent way of killing road-hogs?

There actually are a lot of good ideas from those of us with the city planning gene, with the biggest drawback being there’s a lot of stuff set firmly in place, and that looks like how it’s going to remain for decades; they say we just can’t change. Now, I have nothing against my fellow city planners from 100 years ago, 50 years ago, 25 years ago, or even those from the last few years. Yes, they failed miserably, but they gave it their all, and now thanks to their great failure we’re that much more behind the eight ball and in the ditch.

Do I take responsibility for any of this? I actually don't, and if you find someone who takes responsibility, those are the ones you should never listen to. The rest of us can dissect the situation, carefully making the incision, gently anesthetizing the patient and opening the various folds of fat around the carcass, looking for problems wherever they're found. And later, we'll sew it all back up and either throw our hands up in desperation, cashing in our chips because nothing can be done or working our healing magic, making things right that have been askew for decades.

The only responsibility I take is to admit the fact that had I been there, these various traffic jams on the freeway would’ve never happened. I would’ve recommended a wider road where bottlenecks are constant. Or a narrower road where hardly anyone goes. There's a mall or two where hoodlums hang out; I'd close those ramps entirely. If you can't keep your nose clean, we don't want to deal with you. The fact is, I can see the whole situation, not just half of it like so many of our uninformed city planners. I know what they say, with the gift of hindsight everyone’s a critic. But I'd just brush that off and take it a step further, fining the families of city planners from the past, or at the very least herding them together and banishing them from town, if there's an open lane for their deportation.

A lot of the freeway problems we have -- more cars 'round the clock than there’s room to keep them -- were put in place by functionaries at the highest level, the Feds. And the best you can say about them is “Cookie cutter!” They found a pattern that worked in one place, where basically five cars was a busy day, and foisted it off in various places around cities destined to have 10 times that. So now we’re bogged down in endless traffic jams, stacked like dominoes, just waiting to be tipped over and destroyed. I'm not sure what the penalty should be for them, although continuing to live in polite society is not among the options. So take your pick, banishment or death, whichever is most economical.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Big City Car Chases

The Big City
Part 12 of 28

Just a glimpse at my browsing history shows how I was briefly interested in car chases, but am now pretty much fed up with them. It started out I was watching every action-packed minute, then I started fast-forwarding through the many lulls in the action, then finally I was fast-forwarding through everything from start to finish to see how they met their fate.

Along the way I picked up a bit of trivia -- and I’m not sure of either sourcing or accuracy -- that a full 18% of car chase perps get away with it. Strangely, of all the chases I saw, 100% were captured, but they say a lot of chases are called off because of the greater danger to the public in pursuing it. In the ones I saw, there was no hope of escape. You would need the earth to open up and swallow the police, and so far that's never happened. But in real life, if you play it right and become a real public nuisance -- where it's more hazardous to chase the perp than letting him or her go -- that's all it takes to get away with it. (Although they still take down your license number and catch you in the early morning hours.)

Still, quite the lesson! I might not have ever been in trouble in school if I only knew how to maximize my wrongdoing. “You may as well let me dip your pigtails in the inkwell because if you don’t … Let’s just assume you appreciate having hair.” Pretty good lesson, the bigger the nuisance you are the more likely you’ll get away with it. Of course, it’s still hard to get away with it. And there's always the midnight knock on the door, a quick cuffing, taking you out in your jammies, how ya like THIS ride?

One of the benefits of watching car chases -- if you’re new to the Big City, and I’m relatively new -- is it teaches me the geography of the place. Plus, I’ve seen exits and ramps, twists and turns, that I haven’t got time to pay attention to when driving. The freeways are always clogged up pretty badly and if you take your eyes off the road for too long, you’re dead. Making any shortcuts you might find a moot point. Just the other day I saw a chase that ended in a neighborhood I have business in. It was great to see some familiar sights and a few shortcuts. I just don’t want to show up the same time as that guy, because he was badly lax with the standard road signals and rules.

There’s one compelling video on YouTube, and there’s no reason giving you the link because if you’re watching car chases it pops up so often that you’re tripping over it. A guy was in a chase, then got off the main drag but continued on, finding himself in the end blocked in a tiny parking lot that was also a dead end. This is the time for any reasonable person to say, “Clearly I’m not among the 18% who will get away. I’ll give up and try again some other day.” But that wasn’t his choice. He tried to squeeze past the last obstacles in his way, the fence and a police vehicle. When out popped the guns and the cops cut him down in his tracks. There aren’t a lot of shoot-outs to the death in chase videos, but this guy managed it. Sympathy to his family, if warranted. I hate seeing that one pop up all the time because I’ve already seen it three or four times. Warning, you can eat a whole bag of popcorn just watching this stuff.

Are you out there on the road? Keep your nose clean. Obey the rules. Don’t mistake the freeways for a playground. The rest of us want to live. The life you save might be mine. If you’re driving on your rims because you’re too stupid to pull over, you might want to look into life insurance. And so on and so forth. Don’t be stupid, because it’s obvious you are. The Big City hates you (1) but thanks you for the entertainment (2). It’s terrible to get any degree of pleasure in someone's wrongdoing, which is why I’m cutting back if I can.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

I Fear Molestation

The Big City
Part 11 of 28

There’s nothing funny about the fear of molestation. As far as bad-ass crimes go, it’s classified with the hardest to overcome. Just the thought of it gives us the shakes. In part thanks to our upbringing, but of course thanks to our instincts for survival and avoiding pain; we know it has to be a bastard. And it's not just in the Big City, but the same fears are in the small town -- because anyone could jump out and do something and then it’s done. But the Big City has it over the small town, usually, because the threat’s always there, one molester after another.

My usual thought about everything is 'I’ll be OK.' Which I’m reluctant to sketch out, because it'll certainly put me in a bad light for being at my most calculating: ‘Please, if you're going to molest someone, take the next guy, but let an old burnt-out cinder like me pass.’ This is actually one of the glories of old age. By comparison, I am a has-been cinder, burnt out, too old to cut the mustard, and if anyone has choices to make, I’m obviously good for nothing and a reluctant last resort, like if you’re a molester and you’re dying and you simply have to fit in one more before arriving in Hell.

The wrench in the machine, though, is we have to go by the Big City standard. So you could be as old as the hills like me, and crustier than I ever expect to be, and if the perp is hopped up on the wrong combination of uppers, downers, and neutral substances -- vegging out can also put you in this frame of mind -- any creature would be susceptible to victimization. As unbelievable as it is, there’s still the possibility the molester would want me. I'd certainly be good enough if he were already delirious or in the death throes.

The main thing is, whatever it is, to be ready, and that’s why an in depth study of the Big City is so critical. Literally everywhere you go there's someone else you don’t know. Big, little, ugly, uglier. Demented, senseless, wasted, hopeless, ready for anything, rolling up a score, in some jaded state getting it on because he's not himself, and if he were it might be worse.

I'm presenting some good teachable moments in the graphic, which boils down to your stance. “I stand before you hopelessly inexperienced, a virtual innocent, never having pleased a single soul, more often than not given to uselessness, and if the truth be told, if you’re after me, it's bad news, because you’ve fallen low, you have no standards. What a remarkable past you may have had, that even this late in your life -- don’t think of yourself as a has-been, more like still a great person, only confused -- you have the ambition for socializing, but with what? A limp rag like me? You could stand here and do better in mere minutes and be proud of yourself, rather than lower yourself to my level -- a guy not proud but a loser."

OK, somehow I escaped that dreadful fate. But the Big City’s not always so easily swayed. You might have a strong self-image. Get rid of it. It’s better if you look like disease on two wobbly feet, if you want to escape, get on with your life, and share your favors elsewhere in a more gratifying, consensual way.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Twisting Toward Murder

The Big City
Part 10 of 28

All the characters are gathered for this perennial drama. They may have come from far away, even the ends of the earth. Or they may have come from right around here, the Big City. I’ll be direct and say that is where came from, right here in the Big City, because unless they’re missing several key chromosomes, there's very few characters like them back in the small town. Thank goodness, but now here I sit in the Big City, and this is what I’m surrounded with!? Right now there's a siren outside, maybe arson, maybe murder, could be mail fraud for all I know.

When I see a newborn baby, there’s something about that that gets me all sentimental, with a kind of warm feeling leading to optimism. Of course I know I won’t be around to change the child’s diapers and tend to cuts and bruises and steer that precious one straight down the primrose path. But in most cases, just being generous, he or she will turn out exactly like me, an honored member of society, someone who contributes, whether it’s a dime here or there to a worthy cause or some great societal legacy like this blog. But of course that doesn’t always happen.

I hate to dig into the sociology of it too much because there’s often a lot of tragedy involved. The FBI’s Top Ten Wanted List, they all started out young, too, and now what? They’re animals, hunted down like the vicious SOBs they are. Even they had a childhood. And had they only been born gorillas, they might’ve turned out halfway sane. Swinging from tree to tree, peeling bananas, mating in the veldt, beating their chest and protecting their turf. Which you don’t really have to be a gorilla to do, but you can get in trouble if those trees are in someone else's yard.

The way life works, I’ll give you two images, the blender and the mixmaster. Sort of the same, but blenders get a household job done fast and mixmasters (roads) are inert, depending only on the motorist to figure out the key to it and the key to success. Mixmasters in the Big City can be extremely complicated. When you first see a bunch of them stacked up with no clear rhyme or reason, you pull your hair out. But if you lived there, you’d have it down in no time. Then there’s blenders, put the fruit in and three seconds later it’s yogurt. Quite the contrast.

So what’s the cause of going from a bundle of joy to a glowering murderer standing over his prey with the smoking gun declaring his guilt? It’s a three-pronged thing, with the Big City constituting a sort of super prong. Something in his head is askew, something in his environment is askew, and no one taught him never to point a gun at another person in anger unless you’re prepared to use it. Which I guess he was prepared, but still it’s a situation askew. This is when the average perp runs, which is the best thing he can do. His chances of not being caught are slim, but they’re not none.

But I think the real lesson for a successful life has to be, Don’t be born in the Big City.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Bonnie & Clyde Types

The Big City
Part 9 of 28

Here we have a car that I likely would’ve given away, with all those bullet holes. As much as I'd love a car like it, it obviously saw its day, and had better days, like the day they drove it off the showroom floor. When they said, “This one's a beauty, a real nice model. Let's keep it in tiptop condition, and someday when it’s collectable, we’ll put it in a barn and only take it out to warm the engine, then back it goes. It’ll be worth a lot of money if the hood doesn’t fly up someday and ruin it. Which it won’t!”

Then it turned out to belong to Bonnie and Clyde -- making it eventually collectable anyway -- who got it so shot full of holes that their main goal wasn't to preserve it but to run for their lives. Of course Bonnie and Clyde lived in a time when you could get away (a relatively long time) robbing banks and shooting people. These days they would’ve been nailed five minutes after the first job.

But here in the Big City there's a lot of criminals who do get away with it for a long time. But they’re not as blatant and in the open as Bonnie & Clyde were. They’re holed away in an office, pulling the strings for a series of jobs by low-level thugs, criminal wanna-bes, and they’re doing jobs that spread their realm out like many tentacles. That’s how I picture the drug business. It’s not just one guy but a network, and you fit in the network -- a secretary, a guy who buys plastic bags, or a mule -- or you don’t. If you fit in, you prosper. If you don’t, skritch, the noose takes another guy by the neck. And they find you hanging from a tree, your DNA telling a mute but plain tale, this guy was a crook.

At this point in my life I’m not trying to be a crook and I’m not trying to be a hero. But the Big City’s obviously so completely rife with crime of every caliber that we could use a dozen super hero do-gooders out there cracking a few skulls. That'd be a good life, to be the hero. But I can see both sides. If it’s not hurting anyone, and in some cases actually helping people with glacoma eye pain, what’s the harm? And if the crimes are more or less technical, they themselves could be a crime against nature. Which is no good. But society has come along with certain dictates and, whether relevant to anything or not, we’re stuck with them. Say no more, I know. Mum’s the word. Let them shoot it out at city hall and every block from there to here, I’ll just sink out of sight and mind my own business.

My recommendation, for your own good avoid every criminal influence, whether genetic or not, and if you didn't avoid it, please go straight before it’s too late.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Big City Criminals' Backstory

The Big City
Part 8 of 28

This one has great interest to me because it’s rare to get in on the ground-loor of people’s lives. Usually when we get to them, whether in prison or old age, we have no idea what they went through. What was their journey? How'd they arrive as they did on death row, with a hideous smile and the vain hopes to carve just one swastika on the warden's back? What's the backstory?

But then there’s the rare case where you have not only the resources but the clearance to really get in there and study the quick disintegration that life sometimes manages -- evolution in hyper-drive -- that drops the whole enchilada, from juvvy hall all the way to the electric chair. For which I guess we can only thank the gods above, who know all but tell little. In this case they’ve shown plenty…

I will, however, cover it somewhat with a veil, because the families are still out there, ashamed as they rightly should be, for having raised two pea-brains like Dirk and Dingbat. And even by unleashing them among the other goofy-assed SOBs in the Big City we have, at least in a roundabout way, condemned their family as well. Because it’s true that no matter how bad you are there’s a back story, a system that failed you along the way. The idea that we’re always wholly responsible for our outcome is crap. Show me a thoroughbred and I’ll show you a breeder and trainer. And the same goes for every pernicious runt.

Dirk and Dingbat had their run of the Big City. Their story has been told a thousand times, not always with the same names. But it always essentially boils down to the same conclusion. Neither one was any good, but put together they were twice as bad. It would’ve been enough if each had acted on his own, Dirk without Dingbat or, if you prefer, Dingbat without Dirk. The only change I see is neither would’ve had the same bad influence of the other, and without a strong influence the situation might’ve been entirely different.

Let’s think how it might’ve been. Dirk with his obvious advantages might’ve gone in for his kindergarten physical. And instead of being drawn as he was later to a life of crime, have been inspired by the kindly physician and set an early goal for himself that he too would be a doctor. It’s true, doctors come from somewhere. They don’t just get old and pop into a fully blossomed doctor. I was talking with a doctor literally just yesterday about my downhill slide, being a few years older than the average person. And I had to think, a doctor, there but for the devil that could’ve been me. I wouldn’t have minded getting rich mapping veins or whatever he does. And cheerful, too! But forget about me, that could’ve been Dr. Dirk.

Then there’s Dingbat, a little green around the gills, with severe disadvantages, the other kids berating him mercilessly as Baby Hulk, etc., the kind of nasty nicknames we hate hearing. But when you’re a kid it seems to come with the territory. Again, thinking of me, I might’ve been Dr. Dingbat but for my lack of green skin and the fact that no one encouraged me to look into doctoring. They didn’t exactly say I’d never amount to anything. Whatever, it had to be even worse for the actual Dingbat.

Both were obviously disciplined, as seen in the graphic. The full extent of that, I guess we’ll never know, but we know the influence toward crime was even greater. This sad state of affairs led to a sad conclusion, as they became the terror of the Big City, and ended up, not vein-mapping doctors, but rock-pounding criminals, and took their place among the goofy-assed SOBs who do those sorts of things and end up tragically, slamming a wrench on someone's head or worse.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Dear Grandma Therapy Letter

The Big City
Part 7 of 28

The same thing happened to me that's happenedd to small town immigrants to the Big City through the ages. I got down in a funk, and had to go to one of the raging hyenas who sit in their ivory palace mental clinics just waiting for easy prey, a quick buck, from supposedly "counseling" us, tamping down our desires toward a popular uprising because we’re so desperate for the old ways.

And, yes, my eyes were closed to the situation, that’s how desperate I was. Then, like sheep to the slaughter -- They still slaughter sheep, right? I haven’t had a sheep and biscuit breakfast in 30 years -- the guy had me with the teary-eyed Big City therapy exercise of “writing home.” In dark moments of life like that I don’t fight back as I should. I wish I would’ve seen through it immediately and literally gone "full terrorist" on that guy’s office, which you can do and get away with it. Counselors love bragging to other counselors about clients who completely erupt and destroy their office. The main problem is that there’s very little you can do to piss off a counselor, so they win.

Anyway, the dude roped me into the simplest, stupidest technique -- what am I paying the guy for when I had to write my own letter -- the Dear Grandma letter they make you write. Since she was the main authority figure in my upbringing. And who could win me over, back to sanity, any more than Grandma? See what the Big City does? I sort of support the idea of writing to Grandma, but the idea that these worms forced me still rankles.

“Just pour out your heart and spirit,” the counselor went on, his straining weasel voice giving me the creeps, like someone or something that just slithered out of Eden, a snake from central casting if I ever met one. Yet with all that, the wool was still pulled over my eyes somewhat. It was a battle royale, really, as I saw the truth that I should reject The Big City, but I also knew that under the circumstances, Grandma’s house being moldy, pulled down and hauled to the dump, I had very little choice. “Go along to get along.” So I did my best, putting the letter in my own words, not copying out of a book:

"Dear Grandma, This is your old sonny boy here, hoping you haven’t forgotten me during your stay in the heavenly palaces. You probably haven’t. You may know more about me than I know about myself, from your perch above, so I’ll tell the truth. The counselor has narrowed down most of my trauma to the loss of our house. Remember, it was already very old. And the construction seemed to be a jumble. Starting like a small shed, then being built on over the years, whenever the mood struck our ancestors. It was always a patchwork. Weird cracks between pieces, and the wind would blow and separate everything even if just slightly. Those places where the roof didn’t join perfectly then took on water. Drizzle was no big deal to the better houses, but in your house it was Public Enemy No. 1. Then you and Grandpa gave up the ghost, leaving me as the caretaker/resident. On a limited income and with no knowledge of maintenance beyond patching the obvious. Which over time can be hard to catch up on. Well, eventually, the city came by and shut the place down, and came in with a court decree that I vacate, and finally carted it off to the dump wall by wall, everything from the floor to the roof, in that order.” My last tender words over the rubble were, 'It was nice while it lasted.' Which was a tribute to you and Gramps. Who probably could've done a better job maintaining the place when it was new."