Superman talks about Racism

Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage—the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors. Racism claims that the content of a man’s mind (not his cognitive apparatus, but its content) is inherited; that a man’s convictions, values, and character are determined before he is born, by physical factors beyond his control. This is the caveman’s version of the doctrine of innate ideas—or of inherited knowledge—which has been thoroughly refuted by philosophy and science. Racism is a doctrine of, by and for brutes.”
Ayn Rand

I have largely stayed away from the topic of race on my blog. I was inspired to take some notes when the whole Rosanne thing happened and I read some powerful, well thought-out posts on the subject. I felt the heat of the topic on my keyboard and I chose to let it simmer a bit. But now I am ready. I intend to discuss this volatile subject in a frank and honest manner without the intention of offending. I shouldn’t offend after all, because I do not consider myself a racist.

Despite the fact that I once called a man a Nigger. A moment that I have tried to distance myself from ever since.

I was in basic training in Fort Knox, KY for basic training in 1985. Of a 50 man platoon, I was just one of 8 “white” men. The rest was entirely African-American. As a naive Northerner, unaware of the remaining and prevalent racial tensions in the South, I had absolutely no issue with the numbers and expected no issues. I think it’s safe to say that I liked everyone. But the same can’t be said for all and the white guys were mercilessly made fun of and called names. Not by all but by enough. Some of it was pretty hateful. There were some physical altercations. I still managed to get along with most of my platoon. That included Spanky, my black bunkmate. We got along really well, joked about the black/white thing and even hung out while on leave.

We were on a merit system and were awarded points and given demerits for things such as bed-making skills, uniform, conduct and the state of your locker. I was slightly ahead of Spanky in points and for some unknown reason, I didn’t see it but another party did,  he trashed my locker immediately before an inspection. Presumably to gain points over me. Without time to fix it, the inspection occurred and I was given several demerits. I was fuming. Once the coast was clear we went at it. In the heat of anger, I blurted out “You F%@ing N@##%+”. The room got quiet, he stared at me in disbelief and I immediately dropped my shoulders, apologized and told him that “I was not that guy.” He never forgave me, and I have never forgiven myself. That wasn’t who I was, I had wanted to hurt him so badly that I went at him in the worst way. I still feel bad to this day…and I am still not that guy.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

I was raised in a town that could best be described as lower-middle class. Most of us were actually poor, myself included. We didn’t know it so we didn’t care. I was raised in a very nice family that was no better about containing “folksy” ethnic jokes than anyone else. My father and grandfather made the occasional joke about blacks but they weren’t cruel. One that stands out was about my Dad’s black co-worker “Smitty”. I knew Smitty and I liked him a lot. As the story goes, one day the lights went out at work and someone yelled out “Hey Smitty, smile so we can see!” Smitty laughed along with everyone else. It wasn’t any crueler than the other slurs of my time i.e., Polacks being dumb, Irish being drunks, Asians being good at math or Jews being cheap. It was just stereotyping, all of which of course had some basis but were never all-inclusive. None of this struck me as anything more than fodder and created no lasting prejudices in me. When I met my first black kid in school, for some reason there weren’t many African-Americans in my town, I was one of the first to say hi to him. He was a great kid who would later famously joke in Gym class when no-one would pass him the basketball “what am I, Black!” We all laughed our asses off. Everyone liked him after that. Why? Because he could make…and take… a joke.

When I moved out of my childhood town I entered a much more diverse world. While working and going to school I met, and often partied with, people from all backgrounds. I had friends who ranged from Rastafarian to Muslim and everything in between. If I ever saw a difference in them, it was cultural. That only inspired cultural curiosity and a desire to get to know them better. My friends were clearly the same way because I don’t remember anyone pulling me away from the others because we were “better” than anyone.

The more I think about it, the more I know how oblivious I was to racism. My good friend in my Sophomore year Jon Silverman once said something that I will never forget. We were hanging out and he asked me if it bothered me that he was Jewish. I looked at him funny and said, “that wasn’t on your application to be my friend.” We laughed and then he told me that he had lost friends over that. I could not then, and still cannot, wrap my head around that. We’re still friends today.

As an adult, I now know that Racism has been a hot-button issue in this country for a long time, my minimal exposure to it notwithstanding.  With the exception of my unfortunate incident in the military, I didn’t give it much room to breathe in my little corner of the world. I made amends by vowing to never stoop so low again. Yet racism permeates almost every aspect of our society and a real dialogue on this issue seems completely inescapable. Hate crimes based on skin color, religion, and country of origin are on the rise. Most people reject it as much as I, some have embraced it and have run with the ball, yet still, others rely on it to play identity politics and recruit votes. As a society, we have simply not progressed, possibly have even regressed to the days of the Watts riots and the Boston Busing crisis, in this area and I fear for our future.

 

 


If we don’t soon realize that there is only one race…the human race, we are doomed and are not worthy of calling ourselves an advanced, compassionate nation.

tomorrow…a deeper look

Something big between my legs…conclusion

When I left off, I was lying in the woods, behind a rusty guardrail on a sparsely traveled road. Unconscious. If you would like to catch up you can here, here, and here.

“Bill… can you hear me?” a strange voice boomed over me. It was noisy and chaotic, I was freezing and disoriented. The surface I was lying on was incredibly uncomfortable and I attempted to shift my weight. A tsunami of pain washed over me and I cried out. Several sets of hands suddenly were on me forcing me to sit still. Again, the booming voice called out to me. I opened my eyes to see 8-10 faces, all staring at me with anticipation.

“Where am I? ” It was then that I realized that I was wearing an oxygen mask. I tried to reach to take it off when I realized that my arms were strapped to my sides.

“Bill please don’t try to move. You’ve sustained a serious back injury and you are in a prone position until we can determine the severity.”

I think I next asked about my bike. He dodged the question.

A nurse burst into the room. We’ve got his dad on the phone, he says the patient has kidney disease. I heard a quick exchange between them and before I knew it my shorts were at my ankles and I was being catheterized. I have two powerful memories of that moment. The pain of a plastic tube going the wrong way up an exit brought me to full consciousness right away and I realized that I was in the presence of about 10 medical students.
med students
Embarrassing. My second regret is that I didn’t have the mental acuity to make a good joke such as “aren’t you going to buy me dinner first?” I don’t remember much after that. I either blacked out again, was anesthetized or I fell asleep. My next memory is of being in a stuffy hospital room in traction.

My parents were my first visitors. I managed to find the strength to thank my father for the heads up that led to me being “pantsed” in front of a team of medical students. We laughed a little about that one but laughing and fractured vertebrae equaled agony so we kept the joking to a minimum. Soon after, a wave of my friends arrived with thoughtful gifts such as books and dirty magazines. Their visits were helpful but I was in a funk. Then, on the afternoon of my second day, a cute little blond poked her head in my room. It was Cheryl. She had called my house and my father had told her what had happened.

She came into the room with the facial expression of a woman delivering a cancer diagnosis. Despite her dour demeanor, I lit up. I was so happy to see her. She proceeded to profusely apologize for what happened. I assured her that it was in no way her fault, hell I would do it again. As her visit would reveal that would not be necessary. She told me that we can’t see each other anymore because she wanted to “make it work” with her boyfriend. That was exactly the dick-slap I needed at that time. Of course, I didn’t know that the next day I would get another one. I received a call from my employer. Because I had not shown up for work without a call I was terminated. That was the good news. I also learned that the bargain-basement health plan that my company provided did not cover an accident that wasn’t work-related. Believe it or not, health care has improved dramatically. This was a deplorable policy that is now illegal. I would accrue over $27,000 in medical bills from the accident.

I spent 2 1/2 weeks in that hospital. I had a collapsed lung, 4 fractured vertebrae, 3 broken ribs, a broken wrist, a concussion and “road rash” on 70% of my body. A muscle shirt, jean shorts, and sneakers may have been a great choice for fucking in a van, but it was a poor choice to ride in that day. They were picking rocks and pebbles out of my ass for a week. I was in traction for 8 days and the pain was excruciating. As I laid there high on pain-killers, watching TV and wishing I was anywhere else I attempted to piece together the moments after I blacked out. I had so many questions.

I cringed at the memory of the moment when I gasped for air and failed. I really thought I was going to die. Why didn’t I? I asked my Dr. and he explained the medical phenomenon of your body going into “shock”. Incredibly, my body sensed that I was losing control and it “took over” my panic and shut me down. It enabled me to breathe and consequently survive until I was found.

I wanted to know who found me. Remember, this is before cell phones. Was it a good Samaritan driving by that saw my bike and found a nearby house to call 911? I don’t remember a house in the area that I went down. In addition, how long was I lying in a ditch before they saw me and how much time elapsed before the ambulance arrived? I had no memory of the ambulance ride. It was a blank. I still don’t know nor will I ever.

The last question that nagged me, and does to this day was who was the asshole that hit me and why did he leave me there? He had to have seen the crash. To my knowledge, no arrest was ever made. I still harbor an unhealthy bitterness towards that sonofabitch.

I would wear a back brace for 6 months after the accident. I was out of work for a year.  I had to deal with many issues during recovery including lower back issues resulting from compensating my posture to ease the pain. I still struggle with it to this day but I don’t dwell on it because my ever walking again was once in question.

I still love motorcycles. I will ride one again. The only reason I don’t have one now is money. I also believe in helmet laws. My father recovered my helmet, it was cracked in half. Despite all of it, when I can afford it I will again enjoy the sensation of driving that only an iron steed can provide. Amazingly, the memories of my riding days are still fun ones. Sun on my skin, wind in my face and bugs in my teeth. Cheryl on the back with her tiny arms wrapped around, sexy-talking me while holding me tight, damn I will never forget my times with her. Whenever I see a bike, which if you recall is what started this story, I smile.

As I do when I see a Nurse’s uniform. Did I mention that I began dating one of the medical students immediately after the crash? She slipped me her number as she wheeled me out of the hospital when I was released. I suppose she liked what she saw when I was “pantsed” and catheterized. She was fun.

But that, my friends. is a story for another day.

fini.

 

 

Something big between my legs… Part 3

To bring you up to speed, you can catch up here and here.

I had just been asked, nay, commanded by my captivating temptress to meet her at a destination some 25 miles away for a steamy rendezvous. Having absolutely no control over which head was doing the thinking, I jumped on my motorcycle and rolled out of my driveway on my way to what was certain to be another afternoon of memorable debauchery.

The route I needed to take was largely highway followed by a series of back roads that seemed slow and endless, as if designed to discourage the impatient from traveling them, therefore preserving the quaint little towns they rolled through. I hated highway riding on the motorcycle but looked forward to the side roads. And of course the destination.

Massachusetts drivers are notoriously rude and aggressive and bikes often become victim to overzealous tailgaters and lane-changers. Despite the hormones raging through my body, I maintained a safe speed on the 2-lane highway for the entire 18-mile stretch. Speed wasn’t my thing. I rode to experience, to savor, to be a part of the road and everything around it. This made me a major burden and obstacle to other drivers. As expected I was passed as if sitting still several times and I was cut off more than my fair share of times. I wasn’t angry, I took great satisfaction knowing that my destination likely held way more fun in store than theirs.

As I got closer, the soaring seagulls above me and the salty taste of the air stinging my face teased my sense of urgency. I would be pulling off of the highway soon. Before I knew it I was at my exit and I pulled off. The treacherous part of my journey was over and the scenic part was upon me. I downshifted, felt my steed angrily and loudly object and began the last leg of my journey.

The road was one of those roads that you can lose yourself in. With few stop signs, an abundance of woodland briefly interrupted by the occasional beautiful home on each side, it is a road that you could “zone out” and not remember riding it but know you loved it. I was coasting along, leaning into the winding corners when I noticed in my left mirror a car coming up on me very quickly. I tensed up a bit, I wasn’t the most experienced rider and tailgaters made me very anxious. He got on my rear wheel pretty close and I knew I had to let him by me, but where? There were no houses in sight and the shoulder was soft and loose. After one very anxious and angry mile, I spotted a pull off. I could see from a distance that it was a scenic spot that many people used to pull off and enjoy the view (the sand dunes were visible at this point). I could see that it was all dirt and rocks so I signaled and slowed in preparation to turn off.

As I shifted down to pull onto the shoulder the driver behind me accelerated. Underestimating my speed he hit my left leg and foot rest. My bike and I sharply shot to the right and plunged into a section of deep sand. My bike stopped. I didn’t. I was thrown from the bike and my last recollection was of slamming into a old, rusty guardrail. I hit it and rolled down an embankment where I vividly recall frantically gasping for air futiley three times, realized that breathing wasn’t possible, thinking to myself “I’m dead” and then blacking out.

to be continued…

 

 

 

Something big between my legs…cont’d

Hopefully you read my last installment and you are hanging on like I did when I was 13 reading Penthouse forum. Unlike those stories, this actually happened. Tune in here for part 1. Here is where I left off
schwing

I had just been propositioned by a beautiful, sensuous and did I mention older (?) woman at work. Up until this point I thought that we were only playing around. Surely a woman ten years my senior is out of my league. It’s akin to a dog chasing a car…what would he do if he caught it? Slowly realizing that this was for real I kicked the remaining vendors the hell off of my dock for lunch. One vendor saw the exchange between us and gave me a coy smile as he left. I locked up, punched out and headed for the Leggs van, or as I have forever known it as, the original “shaggin’ wagon”.

It was running. As I approached the window I saw that the driver’s seat was empty. I looked in and a voice called out

“in the back!”

I went to the back of the van, opened the panel doors and she motioned for me to hop in. After what seemed like seconds of small talk, she began tearing my clothes off. Nothing, I repeat nothing like this had ever happened to me in my life. I immediately knew that every sexual experience I had had up to this point was with girls. I was now with a woman. She truly rocked me to my foundation that afternoon. When it was over, she nonchalantly got dressed and informed that she had to finish her route. I checked my body for skid-marks,  put out a couple of small fires, got dressed and went back to work.

As I walked back to the market I asked myself, was I just used for sex? My brain responded immediately with a profound “what’s your point? Go with it!”
walk-of-shame

For the remainder of the afternoon, and I suppose of the entire week before I would see her again I was consumed by the memory of that day in the van. I was curious what would happen when I saw her again. Was it a one-time thing or the beginning of many? I was a man obsessed. I was also becoming an overnight legend. I was spotted getting in and out of the van and it didn’t take long before my name was immediately followed by “the guy who banged the Leggs lady.” You may choose to believe me or not, but I didn’t welcome the notoriety. I respected women as much then as I do now and I was a gentleman. But it was out there none the less.

Friday afternoon would roll around again and like clockwork, she showed up at 11:30. We exchanged smiles as she came in with her dolly stacked high with product. It was taller than she was. She went about her business and I was very busy with deliveries. As she left she handed me her paperwork to sign. I reviewed everything, signed off on it, kept my copy and gave her back her copies. She handed me a piece of paper and said:”this copy is for you” and winked. I looked down, it was an invitation to meet her at  “The Cove” a popular section of beach in a town nearby at 8:00. Scrolled at the bottom was “bring the bike”.

In the days before cell phones, it was exceedingly difficult to coordinate meetups like this so I asked her how I would find her. She told me to look for the van.

Thus began a tumultous, wild ride that I would never forget. We met up at various places; my house, no-tell motels, and of course the van. But I didn’t take the time to notice that we never actually went in any establishments, we always met outside of places. I figured that she was outdoorsy and loved the summer. I did as well so I went with it. We rode my bike, had incredible sex all over the east coast of MA and hit the repeat button as often as possible. Life was indeed good that summer.

One Friday I decided to take the day off. I had some friends over and we were hanging out in my backyard. My home phone rang (remember no cells then) and it was Cheryl. She was calling from the market.

“Why aren’t you working?” she asked.

“I took the day off. I forgot Friday was your day.”

“I want to see you. I showed up today expecting lunch in the van and you weren’t there. You owe me now.” Her voice was throaty, sexy and incredibly matter of fact. I had never met such an assertive woman. Parts of me were scared stiff. Well, one to be exact.

I explained to her that I had friends over. She simply told me to get on my bike and meet her at a market about 25 miles away. She “needed” me. I told her to hold on and updated my boys on the situation. They unanimously agreed that I would be the world’s biggest putz if I didn’t take this opportunity.
just go
I told her to give me 45 minutes, got rid of the boys and fired up the Honda. It was a hot day, I was in a hurry and I decided that the sneakers, tank top and shorts would have to do. I was off for another afternoon of Van-rocking debauchery.

Little did I know that I wouldn’t make it to see her that day.

to be continued…

Something big between my legs

This is a re-post. I was perusing my older posts and I noticed that almost all that read and commented on this, with the notable exception of a few of you, are no longer active on my page. This is one of my favorite series and I hope some of my newer readers read and enjoy it. It was sure fun for me to write.
Because it really happened.

I was driving on a very scenic, winding road today. I had gone to run some errands and I decided to take the long way home. I was alone on the road for a good while, enjoying the cross-breeze through the open windows of the cab of my truck. Eventually, I approached a group of bikers, all on late-model Harley’s. They were taking their time, driving the speed limit, not in a hurry as they navigated the challenging curves the road offered. Respectfully, I kept a good distance between my bumper and the bike in front of me.

It’s “Bike Week” here in NH. Bikers from many neighboring states visit the Lakes Region of NH, primarily concentrated on the area in and around Lake Winnepesaukee. Bike Week has been a standing institution in NH for decades. It has evolved from a drunken, bloody week of hell-raising to an enormous gathering of bikers from all socio-economic backgrounds, all celebrating everything that is the motorcycle. Local businesses prep, advertise and rely on the revenue of this event. My Mom and Dad used to go as well.

I personally think that nothing screams ‘Murica more than thousands of loud, shiny 2-wheeled stallions ridden by men in helmets or merely bandanas and sunglasses on bikes ranging from choppers to full-dressed cruisers with women of wildly varied levels of attractiveness, decorum and let’s face it, weight class. You are almost guaranteed to get flipped off and flashed at least once during this event. The problem is that some of the “flashers” would be well advised to keep them under the shirt.
fat chick

It is truly a sight and a “people watcher’s” paradise.

Today, as my peaceful road morphed into a crowd of motorcycles I was in no hurry. I let them pass. I respect them and know how to keep my distance. I was now on a different road. Memory Lane.

I once had a bike, and although it was only for a brief, fleeting period it was one of the happiest times of my life. Every time I think about my riding days I’m not going to lie, I get a bit aroused. Seem unusual? Not when you hear this story.

In 1987 I worked at a local supermarket. I had been there for many years and had been promoted to Receiving Manager. The RM is the guy who takes deliveries from vendors and makes sure no monkey business is happening. I dealt with bread guys, the Hostess Guy, the milk guy etc., everything went through me. It was a great job. In the summer months, I would ride my motorcycle, a glimmering Honda CB650 which was a real nice bike in its day and park it on the loading dock so that I could keep an eye on it. It made me happy.

One vendor in particular was the Leggs pantyhose driver. I don’t think they are around anymore but in the day they sold their pantyhose in egg-shaped containers. They were also notorious for almost exclusively hiring smoking hot women to drive their trademark Vans. Our driver was no exception. Cheryl was a gorgeous woman of about 33 years old when I met her (I was 22). Five foot nothing, blonde hair, a cute smile and a posterior cortex that would make Perez Hilton straight (OK I exaggerate). Every time she made a delivery, she would progressively escalate her flirtatiousness towards me a little more. I was helpless to stop it. When she walked away, I truly couldn’t take my eyes off of her. How’s the saying go? “I hate to see you go but I love to watch you leave?”

One day, she motioned to my motorcycle outside and asked me if it was mine. I told her it was. Her reply floored me. “I like motorcycles, it’s something big between my legs.”

My only response, after rolling my tongue up and forcing it back into my mouth was “I”m taking lunch soon, care to join?”

She looked at me and began walking out the back door. Transfixed as always by her gait, I was surprised when she did a hair flip, looked over her shoulder and said “meet me in my van.”
schwing

to be continued…

Modern medicine

I heard a tragic story today.

A man was involved in a terrible car accident. Among his multiple injuries, he lost his penis in the crash.

Once the doctors treated his other injuries and he was stable, they began the difficult conversation of options for his future sexual health. Amazingly, the hospital was one of the few that had performed successful penis transplants so this was presented as an option.

The Doctors explained the process thoroughly to the patient and suggested that he discuss it with his wife. They explained that it was critical that they discuss every aspect of the transplant to avoid further upsetting their lives. Size, length, girth were all important to discuss. The doctors also informed the patient that there was a $10,000 grant available that he and his wife could use for anything they want.

That evening, the wife came to visit and the patient explained all of the criteria given him and ended with the $10,000 bonus. They talked for a while and she left. The patient summoned his doctor.

The doctor entered the room and asked: ” did you and your wife make a decision?”

The patient replied “yes, we did. She’d like to go with Granite Countertops.”

The stories within the story

Yesterday was quite the eventful day. As it turned out, it would be a story that actually contained many smaller but hugely significant stories.

Saturday night Mom and the boyfriend came back from dinner at around 7PM. He came in the door like a whirlwind and headed right to the bathroom and vomited. Mom came in a moment later and said that they had a wonderful dinner but the fish must have been too spicy. He went into the bedroom soon after and went to bed. He slept.

This morning when he woke he was feeling nauseous again and began shaking uncontrollably. I called 911, put the dog out back so that he wouldn’t be in the way and went to the end of the road to flag down the ambulance. Considering how remote we are I was impressed with how quickly the police arrived. The ambulance was only 2 minutes behind. I directed them into the driveway and then stayed on the deck to not be in the way. He was taken to the hospital moments later, Mom opted to stay behind with a promise that she would pack a bag and meet him there soon.

After the dust settled, the coffee was poured and the dog was let back into the house, I looked at my mother’s face. She was trying to hide it but I knew what she was thinking.

Not again

As I stated at the beginning of this post, there is a lot of subtext in this story. Let’s start with the basics. My mother buried two husbands in 3 years. She cared for my father as Parkinson’s ravaged his body for 8 years. It took a tremendous toll on her. The ambulance came to this house many times during that 8 year period.

When he passed in 2013, she met another man 6 months later. Deciding that life is too short to worry about what others (me included) thought, she began dating Frank. At approximately one year into their relationship, he had a heart attack while driving and hit a tree head-on. The boat in tow crashed through the cabin of the truck and narrowly missed killing them both. He was badly hurt, my mother was unscathed. He would do his rehab in the same room (subtext) that my father passed away in at the rehab center. As she sat by his side she thought to herself, I can’t be a caretaker for another man. This is too much. He recovered, moved into her house and they got married. 3 months after the wedding, he was admitted to the hospital…by ambulance…from this house…for weakness and chest pain. He was diagnosed with lung cancer and died 10 days later.

Reluctantly, after about 9 months my mother began dating David. He is not without issues but to our knowledge, he is overall free from crippling medical issues. This morning, as the ambulance kicked up a big cloud of dust on the way out of our driveway, she was telling herself again…I can’t be a caretaker to another man.

I drove her to the hospital. It was the least that I could do to make it easier for her. The good news is that it’s only a UTI. With some rest, antibiotics and a few days away from the trans-gendered, intravenous-drug-using Philipino prostitutes he should be a new man.

Despite the anti-climactic ending to his ambulance ride, there are two more asides to the story that continue to resonate with me.

One is the dog. Our cute little Lhasa Apso is 12. For those who may think that dogs are dumb with only Short Term Memories I assure you they are not. He was there for all of the 911 calls to our house for my dad and Frank. He loves the alpha-male and is very drawn to the men in the house. The way he acted today after he saw the EMT’s has me convinced that he knows what it means, he has seen it before and he is really upset. He has been acting strange all day. And Dave doesn’t even live here. Smart dog.

The last, and possibly most disturbing piece of subtext is that of family dysfunction. Frank went through a nasty divorce many years before he met Mom and one of his boys never spoke to him after the divorce. I don’t know why, Frank swore that his son simply chose his mother. They both moved up here from MA many years ago and lived one town apart. Frank’s son became an EMT in our town. He was on the scene when his father was rushed to the hospital from this house and he was here today. When I saw him I was simply amazed at how cold the human heart can be. He never acknowledged his father during the entire time he was treating him, the ride to the hospital or after. He didn’t even attend the funeral. And today, he didn’t even give my mother, his father’s second wife, the courtesy of a hello. I hope I never become that cold-hearted towards anyone.

So much happened in one day. It was a lot to process. But the fortunate thing is, despite all of the bad memories and associations, David is going to be OK and my mother doesn’t have to worry about again assuming the role of caregiver.

It’s time for her to live her own life.