Monday, July 27, 2015


Out on a Limb

    He said it was a true liberal's dilemma.
My friend was miffed that he found himself in league with Ted Cruz.
     "Hate to say it, but the idiot's right. Mitch McConnell is a liar."
    If you missed it, the right wing ideologue called his Senate leader a liar. That set off fireworks in the clubby old boy, old girl parlor. Republican Senators railed at Cruz for his lack of decorum and civility.
     "That's the other thing about this. As bought and paid for as most of the Senate is, I like the pretense of civility, you know, "as my honorable friend from the great state of…." and etc. Cruz is just a cur dog cretin, but McConnell is a lying son of a bitch, among other things."
     I told him he wasn't damned by association, being in alliance with both Cruz and Republican defenders. He should enjoy the show. Between Cruz and Trump the GOP is getting taken through the sawdust of the side show tents. Historic establishment Republicans are likely spinning in their graves while living traditional GOPers may be seeking identity change. 
    I had my first Hell's Angels sighting the other day. It was a large public venue and in came a couple of fellows flying the colors.

    I was honestly terrified of the Hells Angels when I read of them as a high school kid. Their exploits of taking over little towns or running drug rings were no doubt amplified by movies but as a reporter a few years later I learned some of these motorcycle gangs are truly criminal gangs.
    I'm not saying these two gentlemen are anything but law-abiding and tax paying citizens who even volunteer at their church thrift shop, but seeing their famous logo stirred alive an old memory.
    The Monkey Brothers, Steverino and Dave, lived just around the corner. Monkey was not their surname but it was what all of the neighbors called them, even the vintage, proper, diminutive widow Mrs Picquaneou. Their heads were an interesting shape to say the least.  And maybe it was because they went through life being called Monkey Brothers they copped the tough guy, bully boy attitude. Dave was more passive, but older and bigger. Wiry Steverino spent his time spitting through his teeth, chewing gum or tobacco and making fists, if he wasn't pushing you, shoving you, knocking you in the back of the head or kicking over your bike.  Maybe because they lived so close, and their mother could speak to mine across the alley as they hung out wash, Steverino left my younger but bigger brother alone and gnawed at me only on rare occasions, however-
    When we went to the junior high school on the edge of the downtown, the Monkeys made friends with the Dork. They called him that, I certainly did not. He was huge for his age, and as we used to say in those days, a little slow. His upper lip hung over his jaw and it began to twitch when he was ready to "smash yer face," as I learned the hard way.
     Steverino and I were the same age and competitive ball players.  When I made the basketball team and he did not, he must have commissioned the Dork to kill me, one smashed face at a time.  
     I walked to school with a friend, Bill Paris. Bill was a good guy, a little too small for basketball but a great second baseman. A couple of times as we got to the alley where the Dork was standing by to "smash yer face" Bill tried to jump in and pull the big guy away, only to be tossed aside where Steverino started pumping away with his fists and spitting in his face. I was starting to get stomach aches thinking about having to get to school and past the face smashing. Basketball season was a blessing because we practiced after school and the Monkey Brothers and the Dork had gone their separate ways by the time I was walking home.
     I had a paper route in the same general area so some days after school I would detour to my route and collect. I was starting to feel better about things until the Dork and Steverino began laying in wait on the way to school. Two days in a row and my buddy Bill is also getting hammered and we show up at school, mussed, banged up and ashamed.
      I digress for a moment to tell you Bill had an older brother also named Dave. He was a high school guy, handsome, a letterman and popular.  He was a kind of neighborhood role model and Bill and I were embarrassed that he might learn we were getting our faces smashed and butts kicked.  
      OK, day three and I see the Dork coming out of the alley and Steverino coming at me to shove me into the Dork, when out of no where a high school letter jacket blurs into the scene and the Dork is up against a wall, his jaw being squeezed with a finger pointed in his eye. It's Dave who shoves the Dork to the ground and grabs Steverino by the back of the neck and lifts him off the ground. He tells the sprawling Dork and the shaking Monkey Brother that if they as much as say anything to his brother Bill and his friend Tom, he would be back to finish them off.
     I never saw much of the Dork after that. And Steverino seemed to go out of his way to avoid any contact. And our great Defender became a hero.  I thought about him the other evening when I saw those leather vests.
Lana has raised a couple of giant sunflowers this year…. 
and this one reminds me a bit of the Dork.

  See you down the trail.


  1. Yeah, we all had those bullies in our youths. One of mine went to reform school and I think later the penitentiary for a spell before he died.

  2. I have a cousin who was a Hell's Angel back in the 70's. He wasn't very bright and died from a drug overdose.

  3. When I was in my biker time back in the late 80's (yes, I had a Harley Springer, black raspberry paint., lot's of chrome.) I met a biker named Jabba the Wrench, he'd scare the shit out of the guys in your pictures. He did work on my bike for me and we hit it off. Jabba was a member of the Outlaws. He was an alcoholic in addition to being an incredibly talented mechanic. One night at Jabba's singlewide trailer, he was drunk and said to me, "I have to get out of this 'fckin" life, I can't even remember why I'm in it." He'd done two prison stretches, one for car theft three days after his 18th birthday and the other for working in a chop shop. I hope he did..

  4. The irony of the pot calling the kettle black. It is interesting to see the true stripes of a politician be revealed in the heat of battle.

  5. I don't quite know how you did it but the elements of this post formed a continuous progress toward Lana's sunflowers and, of course, William Blake:
    "Ah Sun-flower! weary of time,
    Who countest the steps of the Sun:
    Seeking after that sweet golden clime..."
    Maybe bullies teach us something about resisting coercion, intimidation and, indirectly, appreciating the real heroes who oppose them and help us find strength to keep life positive, untroubled. A painful curriculum, though, and in much need of revision.

  6. Oh those bullies are kids who never grew up. Trying to be tough outside but really are broken inside. At least that's how psychology describes them.

    Hey, sunflower is my favorite flower but our place is too hot for them to grow apparently. Sad.