An Irregular Column
by Mykel Board
So the prophet went into Gomorrah and preached to the people. He screamed to warn them that they have to repent and stop their evil ways or they'd be destroyed. The people didn't listen, but the man continued to walk through town screaming his warnings.
After several days, a little boy came up to the man.
“Why are you still shouting?” he asked. “Don't you see that you can't change anyone?”
“I used to scream to try to change humanity,” said the man. “Now I realize that's impossible. So now, I scream to keep humanity from changing me.
I'm madder than a pedophile at a nursing home. It's my stop. I struggle up from subway seat, putting my RAZORCAKE in my bag and wiping the bagel crumbs from my pocket. I reach the door, and there's this massive hunk of blubber trying to force his way in.
'What the fuck? Dija go ta retard school? Let people OUT first, you fuckin' ape.”
I don't say any of that, of course. This guy is 6 foot tall and weighs three of me. He could crush me with a flick of his index finger. But I think it. And I think it hard. I hate people who block the subway doors. Kill 'em.
It bothers me until I get to work. It keeps coming back. The I shudda saids and What could he have done to me?s. I spend much more time on this guy's stupidity than its worth. But that's what pet peeves are all about. Getting worked up over stuff that isn't worth getting so worked up about.
They're weird, these pet peeves. It's logical to get mad at George Bush for the murder of so many people in Iraq. It's not logical to get mad at the old lady who stands blocking up the walk side of the escalator. But logic is not part of pet peeve. It's a deep emotional immediate feeling. Fuck logic.
On the way back home, I'm trying to walk up Lexington Avenue to get to Grand Central. Ahead of me is some tourist family, lazily walking down the sidewalk. Asses like twin watermelons. This is probably the first time they've walked since they got into their new pick-up truck in Omaha.
Shoulder to shoulder. Taking up the whole sidewalk. Not letting a single person pass this way or that. Jeezus fuck! Go back to Nebraska! I hate people who take up the whole sidewalk. Kill 'em!
And then there're people with sandals. At a punk show? If I want to see your toes, I'll ask if I can suck them. This is punkrock. This is army boots or Docs or cop shoes or most anything not Nike or so hippie it inspires that foot I want to shove up their asses.
Sandals? Unless you're an Arab belly dancer with a jewel in your naval, you should not be wearing sandals. Fuck sandal wearers. I wanna kill 'em!
So I walk back from ABC NO RIO and I see this guy in a black leather jacket. Between him and a mailbox is this ugly girl. White skin, little white blouse, tied in a bow under her tits. She's leaned back against the mailbox. He's pressing her into the blue, his entire body leaned against her, like she's a piece of dough being flattened for a pizza. His lips press against hers. Her arms feebly wrap around his back. His hips press tightly into her. Grinding.
Dammit, jerk. I'm the first in favor of screwing, but this isn't screwing. This is a show. You wanna prove to the world you're getting laid? Ok, hand out cards. Wear an I'm getting laid button. Write a letter to MRR. This guy's worse that those jerks who talk about their private life on a cellphone in the bus.
Listen Buster, keep your public displays of affection to yourself. I'm not impressed. You disgust me. You're so insecure about your sexlife that you need to show it to the world. Wassamatter? Afraid we'll think you're a homo? Need to prove yourself? You're only proving how pitiful you are. I should kill you.
Every time I heard U.S. troops are mowed down in Iraqi, a little shiver of joy went up my spine.
“Yeah!” I would say to myself. “The bastards are getting what they deserve. I wanna see more. Georgie Bush is getting his ass kicked... and here's another one.”
It was like pro-wrestling. The good guys score a point! The bad guy's down! He's out.
Rarely has there been a war where the division between the good guys and the bad guys is so clear. There are the invaders and the invaded. The attackers and those defending. It's as clear as a chancre.
Every day, I'd check the NY Times report. Watch the rising graph of American Troops Killed, and cheer on Iraqi victories. I hate those fucking American murderers. Kill 'em!
Saddam Hussein was my hero. He was the Abraham Lincoln of Iraq, the only man who could bring together the waring sides and actually rule. While he was president, the Sunnis and the Shiites lived, and worked together. Iraqi women were freed from the burqa and gained more power than in nearly any other Islamic country. I admired Saddam for these things. But mostly, I admired him for having the balls to stand up to the U.S. His murder was a great loss.
Except for that, the war went well for me. Although U.S. newspapers never showed war dead, the statistics were enough. As the numbers crawled to (and eventually passed) 3000, I cheered the power of David's slingshot against the techno-weapons of Goliath. Go David! Kill 'em.
So I'm visiting my pal Stephie in Connecticut. I've known her for years. We used to work at The Scribner Bookstore in New York. In the 1970s, that was the bookshop for the hoity toidy. Norman Mailer shopped there. Lillian Helman too. I was impressed by the clientèle. I lusted after Stephie.
As usual, things don't work out. Stephie got hitched, rehitched, dropped some puppies, became a poet of some note, and moved to Connecticut. I macheted a different path through life's jungle. As happens, we got in contact again and I visited her in West Hartford.
It's a modest suburban home. Stone foundation, pale blue siding. A shed sits off to the side, and a large driveway sweeps up to the 2 car garage. I pull my rental into the driveway, get out and ring the doorbell. In a few seconds, the door opens.
“Yeah?” he asks... not aggressively, but just surprised.
“I'm an old friend of... er... your... er... Mom?” I say, figuring that's the most likely relationship.
The kid is big. Six foot something, with shoulders wider than most doorways. He's built like a football player, but his face shows an intelligence not usually associated with the NFL.
“Are you Mykel Board?” he asks.
“My mom told me all about you. I'm Tristan.” he says.
We shake hands.
Suddenly, I remember. Tristan took off for the army. Despite Stephie's wishes, he said he loved helicopters, wanted to be a pilot... or a teacher... and needed a boost from the military. He enlisted and they shipped him to Iraq.
“What are you doing home?” I ask him. “Did you get out?”
“I'm on leave,” he says. “I go back next week. They keep extending and extending. Tour after tour. You can never get out... Wanna Coke?”
“Got any beer?” I ask him.
He laughs, disappears into the kitchen and comes back with a pair of Coronas.
“Mom's out with the husband and the dog,” he says. “They like to take long walks in the summer. Ya know. Mom's a poet. They do things with dogs and trees.”
I nod, unconsciously staring at the guy. His perfect features. His wide forehead, like a scholar's. His nose, strong, yet not hooked or over-bearing. His blond crewcut.
“So, what's it like over there.” I ask him.
“It's like hell,” he says, using like like a 1960s teenager. “You read the reports, but the stuff you read about isn't the awful stuff. The awful stuff isn't big. It's like little. It's like we're not allowed into town. We can't talk to the local people. The base is like a jail. We have like a little radio station. We can download stuff on our iPods, but like our internet connection is really bad. And it's censored. We're like prisoners.”
As he talks, I have to force my attention back to his words. I keep staring at his face. I see the left side of that wide forehead splatter onto the window behind him. His brain leaks out over the exposed skull. An eye dangles from the optic nerve. His lips, blown away, expose teeth fragments in what looks like a bubbling pit of red tar. His shattered mandible wags up and down as his strained breathing pushes out words.
“... and I just want to sit and like listen to my music and read a book. But you can never do that. You're always like on edge. Waiting to fly, waiting for... for... are you all right?” he asks me. “You don't look too good.”
“No,” I tell him, “I'm fine. I'm just spacing out a bit.”
“OK,” he says. “I'll leave you then. Mom should be home like soon.”
“No,” I say. “I want to hear more.”
But I'm, like, not feeling too good.
ENDNOTES: [email subscribers (email@example.com) or website viewers (www.mykelboard.com) will get live links and a chance to email comment on the column]
-->Junkmail from hell dept: I got in the mail what I thought was an offer to subscribe to a history magazine. On the front of the card, it says "Become a Part of History"
Then I thought it was a science museum. Inside in big green letters: Come for A Visit. Stay for An Eternity. Wrong again.
The card is from Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.
-->Get a loadda that finger dept: Bottom Line Health magazine reports that children's scores on math and literacy tests are "linked" to the length of their index finger in relation to the ring finger. I did some research, and here's the scoop.
DISEASE: Longer ring finger: Heart disease. Autism and ADHD are also common.
SEXUAL ACTIVITY: Longer ring finger: Researchers at the University of Cheminitz, Germany, found men with long ring fingers had more sexual partners in the previous year and during their sexual careers
MUSIC: Long ring finger: There was a University of Liverpool study of 54 members of a symphony orchestra. The study found almost all the members had "exceptionally long" ring fingers.
DEPRESSION: Equal Length: A study at the University of Alberta found men with ring and index fingers of similar length - more like women - were more prone to depression.
HOMOSEXUALITY: Equal Length: Scientists at the University of California found men and women with index and ring fingers of the same length were more likely to be homosexual
INTELLIGENCE: Equal Length: Research at Milan University showed men with index and ring fingers of similar length had better verbal skills and were more likely to get good grades.
--> There had to be a word for it dept: Sexsomnia. That is the word for sleep fuckers... well almost. The actual definition is "People who exhibit sexual behavior during sleep-- fondling another person, masturbation, etc." I'm up for some etc. How bout you?
-->Vegetarians get smart(er) dept: A recent booklet put out by vegans urges members to tone down the shrillness in order to recruit more people to the cause. The booklet "Guide to Cruelty-Free Eating" says, among other things:
"It's important to remember that equating meat with honey will make the vegan case seem absurd to the average person."
They also urge members to lay off abortion and "other political or ethical issues" to avoid conflict with the potential convert.
-->Americans like it big dept: According to the SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE, in the 1960s, the average chicken weighted about 3 1/2 pounds at slaughter. Today it's 4 1/2 pounds. The average cow was 1,011 pounds. Today it's 1,275 pounds.
Oh yeah, people: in 1980 the average male was 168 lbs. Today 180. (I'm 130.) The average female was 142. Today she's 152.
My favorite statistic is about the International Journal of Obesity. It had 509 pages in 1993, its first year of publication. The latest issue has 2,322 pages. My guess is that the increase is mostly from ads for diet pills.
-->Invention of the year department: Mitch Altman, a San Fransisco man, has invented a key-chain accessory called TV-B-Gone. You can use it switch off any TV in a public place. It's small, discrete, and $25 including shipping. Order from tvbgone.com. Maybe I can get a free one for the publicity.
--> Oh yeah, I hate Ellie Weisel. I think he's lost any integrity he might have had when he started. Now he's a cog in the holocaust exploitation machine. Throwing in holocaust, and Hitler, and anti-Semite when anyone criticizes Israel or any Jewish organization.
That said, I have to give the man credit. That quote at the beginning is not an exact one. It's from memory. It was in the prayer book at the local homogogue where I went for Yom Kippur. But even if I didn't remember it exactly, it's a good one.
-->What's for dinner, Mom? dept: In Belleville Missouri, K. Vickers was charged for “criminal neglect.” Someone called the cops about “an injured woman.” They came, and found that Ms Vickers was falling down drunk... not injured. They helped her to her apartment. Inside they found her mom. Dead. Her leg had been partially eaten by the family's poodle.
I wonder if the neglect charge was because of mom, or the pooch.
-->Just the caption dept: Here's the caption of a photo published by The Getty News Service.
“At a new rehabilitation facility at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Army Spc. Marco Robledo, aims an M4 rifle at a firearm training simulator as instructor Ross Colquhoun helps adjust Robledo's prosthetic arm.”
-->Kyle Nonneman sent me clippings about Mom Eaten By Dog, and Walter Reed Hospital. I used them for these endnotes.
Kyle's a jailbird in Missouri. He could use some letters, old fanzines, whatever you got. Write to him! He's: Kyle Nonneman, 68528_065, Medical Center for Federal Prisoners, POB 4000, Springfield MO 65801
Plus, you'll get tidbits from him like “Cannibalism is DIY as fuck, isn't it?”