June 14, 2014

Throwaway



I threw away my wedding suit in a parking lot dumpster in northern Virginia in 1979. It was white. I was trying to lighten the load in an old Chevy van I'd rebuilt and was living in and it just came up and I tossed it with only a twinge of regret. The marriage had ended in 1974, three years on. I'm sorry now that I dumped it. It would fit like a glove. When I'd worn it at our wedding someone had joked that he hadn't known who was the bride, because I had long hair too, I suppose.

People thought I was a hippie but I was a yippie. Still am. What's a yippie? A political hippie. Not content to hang out getting stoned and listening to music, I kept up with current events and tried to be effective in the antiwar movement, something I never quite accomplished. One reason I think is that I never had the desire or enough ego to promote myself.

I went to a lot of demonstrations from New York to Berkeley. I'd go to one today but there aren't any in Las Vegas that I ever heard about, except the one I helped some Serbians organize during the bombing of that country, one of our oldest allies. The first demonstration in this phony fiberglass town in twenty five years, someone told me. My uncle began to hate me when I told him about it. "You demonstrated for the Serbians?" He was astonished. Twenty two trips on convoy across the Atlantic. "I fought a world war to prevent that sort of thing!"

I'd done it because I don't trust the U.S. government to tell the truth about war. I figured it was only another way to continue the Cold War by weakening Russia. I didn't know then about the Bosnian and Coatian genocides. After I read up on it I realized I'd been wrong. It was a heavy blow. It undermined my confidence. Today I'm more cautious about that sort of thing. But my uncle still hates me. At least I think so.

I'm probably a romantic but I've tried to be a realist. In my heart I want a revolution but  today I know that reform is revolutionary. It should be self-evident but it isn't to romantic anarchists and libertarians, both fancying themselves as revolutionaries but not that different from one another, who now want to trash the whole system. I wanted that before I matured. Revolution is the headiest adventure. But without government and imperfect law there would be no civilization at all. Somebody has to sign the Social Security checks for the old and jail pedophiles, thieves, and murderers. You can't leave it to the goodhearted people because in the first place there aren't that many.

The world is complicated and complex but on the other hand as simple as a grain of sand. Everything is connected and action and inaction alike have endless consequences. This sounds paradoxical or simple minded depending on your viewpoint or world view. You throw away a nice, expensive white, wedding suit that is yellowing only a little around the cuffs and forty four years later you wish you had it back. You can never get the woman back or the kid either. Regret is a sour apple but somehow still nutritious even tasting bad. Sometimes it is all you have and you have to live with it and press on. Chew it up, rewrite a few times, and put it out there to see if anyone will bite.

Looking at the explosive war in Syria and Iraq puts me in a bad mood. This is bad shit. Cooperate with Iran for boots on the ground to find targets for drones, and eat some crow, or lose the whole Middle East, that's your choice.But as Richard A. Clarke said, the fight is between Sunnis and Shiites and is aimed ultimately at the Shiite government of Iran, and, "There is nothing we can do about it."

America in flames. I can see it coming. Suicide bombers, truck bombs, paramilitaries herding leftists and homosexuals into stadiums for public execution, torture schools, lynchings, gang wars, corrupt courts issuing summary execution orders, and the people fighting losing battles against foreign intruders, that's the future I see. You can call me a pessimist but I'm optimistic that sooner or later the killers will be exhausted and dying of the plague. Millions will be dead and in a hundred years forgotten. A new generation will come along and be horrified at what their ancestors had done. The world will settle down and humans will get it together or perish altogether.

I feel sorrier for the poor, innocent animals. Am I anti-social? A little. Some days all of humanity's greed and selfishness hovers over my mind like a dark, sultry cloud.

Meanwhile I wish I still had that white suit. I could wear it to casinos and people would say look at that sharp old man, I bet he was a player once. I'd sit at the bar sipping rum and staring into space as if I were remembering better days. And I would be. The better days when I didn't know anything and thought I knew not everything, but enough. You never know enough. Ignorance was bliss I see now. Everything they warned me about has come true: save your pennies, work hard, enjoy life and try to be happy, ignore the news, be positive, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse, or you'll be sorry. The good die young. When you're dead you are dead. This is it. Try to understand, and try to be nice.

You should have seen me in that suit. My wife looked good too.












1 comment:

mm.mason said...

I think you dress pretty hip anyhow!!

Post a Comment