"Do I contradict myself? Very well, I contradict myself. I am vast. I contain multitudes." -Walt Whitman

:malicious user:

Friday, June 11, 2004

ramblin' man
it's been a week of 10 and 12-hour days at work. wednesday the temperatures here on long island (pronounced "lawn GUY-land") hit 87 degrees. It will surely get hotter, but it was the warmest it's been all year, and it hit a lot of people like a a big wet slobbery dog bursting through the door. so when i got home i did what any good pale white yankee would do: i sat barefoot on my front stoop, drank jamacain beer, and watched the traffic go by while the sun went down.

i have a fairly green view from my stoop. not farmland, but big lawns & woods. as the sun and the beer diminished in the west (the beer was in my left hand), i noted that the primary difference between suffolk county, where i currently reside, and virginia, where i spent an awfullotof weekends the past six years, is in the farm equipment. in virginia, farms have farm equipment. real farm equipment, driven home from the john deer dealership at 5 mph by grampa in "ought-eight" and rusting lovingly to pieces ever since. from my stoop i can see my neighbor's luxury tractor. the hubcaps on that vehicle cost more than my first car.

the only other place i've ever spent considerable time is thirty miles west, in nassau county. the most noticeable differences between nassau and suffolk counties is (1) the noise and (2) the bugs. in nassau, you hear churchbells in the distance; in suffolk you hear trains. there is probably profound meaning in that difference (we'd rather stray than pray?), but i wasn't feeling very profound wednesday evening, and things haven't changed since. the bug thing is more obvious. in nassau there are two types of bugs - ants and spiders. all kinds of ants, all kinds of spiders. the occaisional fly. end of bug classification schema. in suffolk we have bugs modelled after navy stealth aircraft. you don't hear them, you don't see them. it's just a sudden BAM and a stinging sensation and blammo there's a welt the size of an orange on your arm.

i have permission from the protagonist of the following anecdote to retell it. Mr. P worked for Large Company, Inc. some years ago, during which the company would host an annual Vegas Night to raise money for charity. These evenings typically featured musical entertainment by acts brokered by the Where Are They Now talent agency (a subsidiary of I-Thought-You-Were-Dead Enterprises, LLC). This particular occasion featured the rock/jazz/soul sounds of Blood, Sweat & Tears. For those who are too young (or those who just don't give a damn), BS&T produced three blockbuster albums between 1969 and 1971, and then imploded, losing vocalist David Clayton-Thomas (who himself had replaced founder Al Kooper). The band moved through the years producing drek that suggested a creature that didn't realize it was dead and headless. Clayton-Thomas returned to the fold a few years later, but the group had lost its spark.

Being a music aficionado, Mr. P nevertheless seated himself second-row center to enjoy the show. Well into a heavily gospel-infused number, Clayton-Thomas decided it was audience participation time, and urged the employees and guests of Large Company, Inc., to join him in hand-clapping, arm-waving, feelin'-the-spirit gestures. Unfortunately, BST's performance wasn't up to conveying the spirit to the entire audience; Mr. P. sat second-row center, arms folded, hands blatantly unwaving.

At which point Clayton-Thomas stared at Mr. P., extended his hand to point stiffly at his unmoving audience member, and declared, "You, sir! You are going to HELL!"

At perhaps Clayton-Thomas was right. After all, Mr. P and I are co-workers.
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i used to be disgusted. now i try to be amused.
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