Saturday, January 24, 2009

Call me when you're loaded, I was raised on robbery

A quick nod to uptempo Joni Mitchell. You're welcome. Although the actual lyrics are "You're mean when you're loaded, I was raised on robbery"engrish-funny-no-candy-food
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7:13 AM. Strong, Cafe DuMond coffee. Now 49 years old. Except for I can't see, can't hear, and my knees are creaky, I still feel like a youngin'. I read a quote the other day. I forgret who said it, but I have to agree. It states:
We are here and it is now. Further than that all human knowledge is moonshine.

Been away from this for a while. Thought about blogging pretty often, acted on it not so often. Like aluminum foil, I have been somewhat reflective lately. Don't know why. Maybe a mid-life thing. I hope not. I can't afford a red sports car and girlfriend half my age.

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They say it's not work if you enjoy what you're doing, so for 10-11 hours a day I'm at not work. I don't want to bore you with details, so I won't. But you know how sometimes you feel like you really have the hang of something and you're getting better and better, faster and faster? I am in that zone. And it feels pretty good.

Two of my friends have lost their jobs. Makes the sick economy hit close to home when that happens. I was able to sit with one and work on cover letters and resumes and the like. Then, completely without need for help from me, he found his profession in the yellow pages, picked up the phone, and starting with the A's, he started calling and looking for work. Before getting out of the A's he had a job as a supervisor. Unemployed only for one day and then hired with a raise. At least I would suspect there was a raise, but we did not discuss it. I am a lot of things, but crass and uncouth enough to ask for salary details is not two of them.

My other friend, up in PA is not so lucky. She is a few months out of work now and without ready prospects. What could I do? Other than co-miserate. I am a lot of things, but co-miserator is.... well, actually, co-miserator is something I d0 well.

Headed to Orange County and San Jose, CA and then (probably) Boston, and then (assuredly) Iraq. Probably Boston because I need to learn the equipment that the Iraqis bought. While not knowing what I am talking about is not a show-stopper, knowing does lend a certian amount of authenticity to the training. And I am a lot of things, but polyester bride is not one of them. (What?? I dunno...ask Liz Phair.)

Could not contact Saving and publishing may fail. Retrying...I still cannot get blogger to accept my videos, despite their assurances that it will. Imagine how cool it would be (for me, maybe not so much for you) if I could communicate "in person" in 17 second segments. I could rain down philosophy, candid commentary, and all manner of life's little minutae. Maybe I will just post them to youtube, then link to them from there. Seems dishonest to do it that way, in that I would be using youtube as a conduit into my blog to post what I should be able to add directly. But I imagine the people want action, and action is what they will get. Eventually.

OK, I did this all the dishonest way.

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He was sitting in the lounge of the Empire Hotel
He was drinking for diversion
He was thinking for himself, out
Ramblin' Ed

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Zip City

I was listening to my normal DBT rotation coming home from work the other afternoon. I listen to a country station out of Sarasota going in because, at 0500, there are no commercials and they have a great playlist.

Anyway, it was warm, I had the sunroof open, and I was in a slow motion, reflective sort of mood. The track ZIP CITY came up and I commenced to singing along, as I am wont to do. And as I did, me, Cooley, and the boys got to the verse that always reminds me of NW Louisiana and a particular dirt road trailer park. And a 12 year old girl. It is a rather sad memory, and the song nails it cold.

I was stopping by to see the soon to be ex-wife. She was still living up in Shongaloo, LA and I was stationed down in Pascagoula, MS. And, by the way, you just gotta love the way the towns are named in that neck of the woods. Anyway, I was in town for a lawyer visit, or to go to court, or something. We parted real amicably, so dates and events are not burned real deeply into my memory. She allowed as how she would not be home, but would be babysitting for a single dad friend of hers who had to go to work but would lose his kids to his ex if he left them home alone when they got out of school. She gave me the address down in Dixie Inn and I told her I'd meet her there.

It was a depressing little trailer park right at the intersection of US 90 and LA 7. If you live in a trailer park in northwest Louisiana, you already have 2 strikes against you in life. The trailers were shabby and had seen their better days, just like their inhabitants. You might know the place. Sweltering heat despite the shade of the long, graceful branches of the live oak trees. Discarded toys intermingling with discarded cars. Folks who labored for a living sitting around front porches, in their work clothes, knocking down Bud after Bud in a slow, steady manner, because in these parts after work you drink, after you drink you fall into bed, and after you wake, the same damn day awaits you again.

So I find the trailer and thus I find the wife. She's with the kids. A boy around 8 and a girl who was 12, but could pass for 17 or 18 easy. In fact, when I learned she was 12 I did a double take and then, just in case, asked the Lord to forgive a couple of my previous thoughts.

Their trailer was a mess. Not filthy or unhealthy, just unkempt. The kids were bored, same as yesterday and the day before, and the day before. I talked to them and they were pleasant enough although it was clear that this was their understanding of the world and they knew little of anything outside of it. But what caught my eye, and really saddened me deeply, was something I saw written on her school notebook cover. She was 12 and she had written "Safe Sex Sucks". I don't have kids but that still stunned me. How does she know? She's 12. Is she sexually active already? Why does she really think that? Surely it is just something she heard somewhere. I mean, seriously, that can't be a researched opinion....can it? Dudes, my mind was just filled with an uneasy wonder.

I took the wife and those kids into Shreveport and bought them all a nice dinner. I made the kids dress in their good clothes if they wanted to go. They protested. I insisted. Partly I wanted to try to give them some self-esteem for the evening and partly because now that I knew the daughters real age, I was not near as appreciative of her slutty dress as I was when I first walked in.

I think of that evening a lot. Like I said, I don't have kids and normally don't have a natural empathy for what their future holds for them. I wish 'em well, of course, but in an abstract, detached sort of way. For this young girl, though, There was no doubt in my mind. I knew her future was this trailer park.

So I see her whenever Me, Cooley, and the boys sing Zip City and get to the verse that states:
Keep your drawers on, girl, it ain't worth the fight
By the time you drop them I'll be gone
And you'll be right where they fall the rest of your life

There you go. Another true story. Another snapshot from my archive of fading memories.

To listen to Zip City, follow this link:

To sing along, simply read:
(Cooley / DBT)

Your Daddy was mad as hell
He was mad at me and you
As he tied that chain to the front of my car
and pulled me out of that ditch that we slid into
Don't know what his problem is
Why he keeps dragging you away
Don't know why I put up with this shit
When you don't put out and Zip City's so far away

Your Daddy is a deacon
down at the Salem Church of Christ
And He makes good money as long as Reynolds Wrap
keeps everything wrapped up tight
Your Mama's as good a wife and Mama as she can be
And your Sister's puttin' that sweet stuff on everybody in town but me

Your Brother was the first-born, got ten fingers and ten toes
And it's a damn good thing cause He needs all twenty
to keep the closet door closed
Maybe it's the twenty-six mile drive from Zip City to Colbert Heights
Keeps my mind clean
Gets me through the night
Maybe you're just a destination, a place for me to go
A way to keep from having to deal with my seventeen-year-old mind all alone

Keep your drawers on, girl, it ain't worth the fight
By the time you drop them I'll be gone
And you'll be right where they fall the rest of your life

You say you're tired of me taking you for granted
Waiting' up till the last minute to call you up and see what you want to do
Well you're only fifteen, girl, you ain't got no secretary
And "for granted" is a mighty big word for a country girl like you
You know it's just your Daddy talking
Cause He knows that blood red carpet
at the Salem Church of Christ
Ain't gonna ever see no wedding between me and you

Zip City it's a good thing that they built a wall around you
Zip up to Tennessee then zip back down to Alabama
I got 350 heads on a 305 engine
I get ten miles to the gallon
I ain't got no good intentions

Seems to me you'd have to have a hole in your own to point your finger at somebody else's sheet, out
Ramblin' Ed