My co-best friend recently lost his dad, several years after the death of his mother. Like me and my sister a decade ago, he and his sisters are now “orphaned” at a relatively young age. I will probably spend an indeterminate amount of time back in my hometown fixing up his house to make it saleable. It is nestled at the base of the Appalachians, and one can get to this spot:
after a relatively brief hike. I’ve had many spiritual experiences along the Trail.
Since a lot of landscaping will be involved, I will return to the more familiar dangers of snake bites and Lyme Disease. I will certainly not have to worry about being jumped by people, and if I happen to get shot it will surely be from a hunting accident. And, crucially, I will not have to listen to talk about “loose ones,” “butes,” “ready,” “bars,” “pills,” “footballs,” etc. I will hear the word “Yo” 87% less than I do now, the word “Nigger/Nigga’,” 72%. There will be ravens, not “The Ravens.” And no one will obsess over them. Suffice it to say, it will be a welcome reprieve from (C)harm City.
I will almost certainly return to Baltimore when the project is complete, but I’m curious to gauge my reaction when I return to the sticks where I was raised. I’m a country boy, thank God, and would thus like to return to a rural area when I become a millionaire from writing my stupid books. Not my hometown, though, because I’m too popular there. Yet will I find that life boring after several years of city life?
Ideally, I would bring a hard-working and trustworthy Baltimore buddy with me to help. After all, any tool more complicated than a screwdriver makes me nervous. I thought of three candidates, but eliminated two for various reasons. The viable one, Marcel, is employed at a real, i. e., nontemporary, job.
When I broke my nose recently, I was grateful that my teeth remained intact after my drunken fall. (Although I’m somewhat curious about what the Tooth Fairy brings when one loses one’s first homeless tooth.) Mine certainly need a cleaning, but I make irrational prejudgments about those with deficient or decrepit teeth–I’m a dental-ist.
I thus prematurely misjudged Marcel based on his missing teeth. I surmise that it is the result of a crack habit he developed in college, thus derailing what could have been a promising career in the science-y field that he was studying. Yet he’s gone clean and would make an ideal worker and companion for this project. We had the following geopolitical discussion yesterday, sparked by a discussion about a Russian acquaintance’s chess acumen:
Me: We’re in one of those fucked up, tumultuous moments in history. It’s like, the American and French Revolutions were pretty close in terms of time. 1848 and 1968 were two years marred by turmoil.
Marcel: And now you’ve got the Arab Spring and this clusterfuck in the Ukraine. Shit’s hitting the fan everywhere.
M: Ukraine had their–was it the Orange Revolution?–several years ago. They just need a good catch phrase for this shit now.
M: It’s all about marketing. I took a business course in school and I know that’s basic. The Ukrainian Uprising, maybe?
M: Nah; too easy. We’ve never played war with the Ruskies, even though both sides have at times itched and bitched for one. This could lead to one, so–
M: “It’s on, bitches!”
M: Or “Finally?” We had the Cold War, but now it’s time for a real one. How about “The Heat Is On?”
M: On the streets.
[One of the things I regret about smoking since I was 14 is that I can no longer hit high notes. So I was unable to complete the “Whoo hoo!” component of the Glenn Frey lyric.]
Marcel: You better hope it doesn’t happen, man. It could fuck with your vodka supply.
M: Oh, I assumed you were referring to my conscientious concern for world peace.
M: I would never say that. You just want to get drunk and laugh at shit.
M: Well, you better hope the Chinese don’t get involved. [Marcel is half Chinese.] I’d hate to see you end up in an internment camp like they did to the Japs. But I would turn you in if the reward was high enough.
M: Yeah, like five bucks!
M: Seriously, you know Putin would probably be on the front lines himself.
M: Bad ass motherfucker, man. I’d surrender if I saw him coming.
M: Crazy fuck would have his shirt off, it’s 10 degrees out, and all he’s got is a knife. “Guns are for weak pussies!”
M: And he’d take out a brigade himself.
M: The Charge of the “Oh Shit!” Renegade.
M: That famous poem was about the Crimean War.
M: Oil and gas; that’s what wars are about anymore. Not even pussy like with that Greek chick.
[At the mention of gas, I fart as if on cue. It was a particularly raunchy one.]
Marcel: Damn, dude, what did you eat today?
M: Not much, just a little chicken.
M: Chicken Kiev?
M: Good one. Seriously, I’m pretty fucking hungry right now.
M: I’ve got some shit in my bag. Do you want some M&Ms?
M: Thanks, but I’ll pass. I’ll also pass–
I break wind again and our conversation wound down. We were two semi-informed news consumers, just armchair pundits. Our discussion had no bearing on the winds of history. After all, Who the fuck were we?