Saturday, August 2, 2008

Gumbo Logic in New Orleans

Po Boy Views
Phil LaMancusa
Gumbo Logic
No One Speaks English, and Everything’s Broken
‘Wasted and wounded; it ain’t what the moon did, and God what’m I payin’ for now?’
I resisted the temptation of having a beer for breakfast. Well, almost. Then again, what was I supposed to do, leave it by itself in the fridge and me on the verge of a hangover…..question mark, question mark, question mark. Oh, the choices we have to make when we’re on our own, especially when we have the whole day off.
Speaking of choices, is it just me, or is anyone else out there feeling older by the nanosecond? I mean, I hear folks talk about computers that will do everything but wipe your behind and my response is to go out and buy my landlady flowers to help her overlook the fact that I sit out late on the porch smoking Luckys, drinking PBR and listening to Buddy Holly on my turntable singin, “ that’ll be the day-hey-hey, when I die.”
I read in the paper that because Chinese people have to learn how to write all those squiggly kinds of handwriting (whatever it’s called) that they suffer from a lack of creativity. Who knew? Yet it figures, ten thousand years of civilization and the best that they can come up with is Moo Goo Gai Pan? C’mon my yellow brothers, we, on the other hand, know how to butcher people in the street as well as in other countries, and we’ll go you one better…. our children can do it as well, even in their schools!! Just think, maybe because our kids are dumber than dirt, they can concoct ways of smuggling AKA 47s into the gym without being caught… way to go guys.
In the same newspaper, I learned that if we stopped spitting and urinating in public, our crime rate would go down. Well, I tell ya, this American did his part only as recent as last night. That’s right, I could’ve whipped that bad boy out and let’er rip on the fence post, but did I? Not on your tintype! I held it!!! And I just know, that the world is a better place for it.
AND, just yesterday while listening to the plan to rescue a three-legged dog (anybody want one?) I heard about a State Trooper who apprehends an alligator, lassoes it, drags it behind his pick up to a ditch and puts a bullet through its head. Let’s see, what reading level would you put that role model at? Is it just me?
It seems to me that I come from a simpler, more gentle time; a time when singers were harmonizing “could it be I’m falling in love?” as opposed to grunting “gotta find me a Project Girl uh, uh!”
I’ll tell you how it was when I was growing up as opposed to how I see things now.
1. Then: I believed that by dressing smartly, learning to converse intelligently (on a variety of subjects), having skills on the dance floor, speaking politely to everyone but my peer group and, later on, knowing how to handle my alcohol intake would gain me the respect I thought that I deserved.
2. Then: I considered crossing at the corner, saving a candy wrapper for the next litter can, and finding a reason to compliment the next person I spoke with.
3. Then: I considered asking questions instead of demanding answers, meaning “excuse me” instead of “get out of my way” and never to taking a kindness as a weakness.
4. Then: I put romance before finance and even politeness before truth. I had never heard the phrase “talk shit, take none” and wouldn’t have believed it if I had. I practiced patience. Go figure.
5. Then: I didn’t trust anyone over thirty or younger than seventy, weighed my words before I spoke them and knew that this was ‘all about me’ but tried not to let anyone else see it. I believed in miracles.
6. Now: I don’t know. It seems that not only am I out of step and time, but that the drummer that I’m marching to got shot in a cosmic drive by long ago by weapons of mass distraction. I wonder if that last beer had a buddy in the box?
7. Now: good guys do finish last, bad guys won’t get what’s coming to them and being meek does not insure me of any inheritance what so ever.
8. Now: the phrase “have a nice day” means nothing. No one is having a nice day. What are you looking at? You know that it’s true! Do the terms ‘two weeks to live’, ‘ got mugged on the corner’ and ‘there is no cure’ sound foreign to you?
9. Now: I look a someone riding a bike to see if it’s mine that was stolen, make sure that I lock the door behind me and look over my shoulder when I walk home at night.
10. Now: I just don’t know.
Here’s what’s in today’s paper, and I’m not making this up.
1. In the 1990s New Orleans lost 9,000 jobs, mandatory helmet bill killed in House, Panel OKs easing video poker rules, they’re clearing out Tallulah Prison, SARS fatality rate higher than thought, Malvo’s confession can be used and a man is arrested after a ten hour stand off.
2. In the main section there are ads for one-day sales, no interest or payments till June 2004, you won’t believe our low prices, sex for life and it’s the laser procedure you’ve been waiting for.
3. In other news: man shot, killed after visiting friend, New Orleans man admits to 1976 rape and killing, man, 81, booked on obscenity charge and 4 are accused of beating deputy in a parking lot. There’s a woman arrested in a shooting, a man sought in a slaying, and, a girl, 16 sent to jail after shooting her boyfriend claiming that they were in bed and she was merely ‘playing’ with the gun. Oh, and a seventeen year old student died Thursday of blows to his head. Do you wonder why I drink?
4. Here’s one on the front page of the sport section: “ The 1-2 punch of Hurricane Lili and Tropical Storm Isadore last year accelerated the ecological nightmare known as coastal erosion.
On the lighter side: Jade Jagger designs jewelry for the stars, plasma screens are so sleek, they hold a sophisticated, almost artlike allure, Ben and J. Lo have found a Georgia retreat and there’s a new computer that will wipe your butt (alright, I made that one up)
Oh, and if you needed to know: my horoscope advises me to write in a journal, Snoopy is starting on a book entitled ‘The Dog’, the answer to 27 down is not ‘Rosebud’ and today is Jimmy Ruffin’s birthday.
Excuse me while I fetch a beverage.

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