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Fresh idiots

I'm a little low lately, on whatever gumption it takes to write again what I always write — observations of idiots on the bus, at the diner, etc.

A general blueness engulfs me. It happens to all of us, I've been told — the simple realization that everything's meaningless, that we're just killing time until time kills us. "Nothing really matters, anyone can see..."

Mostly, though, I haven't written because my inspiration comes from seeing idiots while I'm out in the world — but I never leave home any more.

Unemployed and not really looking for work, I live life in my recliner, surfing the web or reading a book or watching a movie, then falling asleep in my recliner. Waking again, I surf the web or read more of that book or watch another movie. 

Last Saturday's bi-weekly breakfast with the family was my first excursion out-of-doors since the previous bi-weekly breakfast, and my farthest walk since Saturday was to the dumpster with a bag of trash.

Can't write about the idiots gnawing on my nerves if I'm always in my recliner.

Well, unless I write again about my forever talky flatmate, Dean. Nobody wants to read yet another Dean story, but damn it, he's in the kitchen right now, gnawing on my nerves.

Only a door separates us, and Robert has joined Dean in the kitchen, and they're talking about football.

Always it's football.

♦ ♦ ♦

Dean works 3-4 days a week. I know this because he tells me, often, and tells me which days they'll be this week, and which days next week. The days he works are my good days in the recliner.

On days he's not working, he sometimes cooks, accompanied by classical music. He sometimes stays in his room, but with the door open. And on most of his off days, Dean finds plenty of time to sit alone in the kitchen, in the chair that squeaks.

He sits there and reads a book, or surfs the net on his tablet. If I come out of my room to make a meal or go to the bathroom, he'll tell me what book he's reading, and what marvelous entrees he made yesterday at the restaurant.

Usually I ignore him and say nothing, but damn my good manners, sometimes I reply, which only extends the agony. I rarely tell him to shut up, because saying it never gets him to shut up, and never even gets him angry. It only gets me angry, so ... usually I ignore him and say nothing.

I'm glad he prefers the squeaky chair. The squeak warns me that he's in the kitchen. The squeaks, and his three slight coughs every half-hour or so — kf, kf, then wait, then kf.

Dean sits in that squeaking chair, alone for hours, hoping someone will come into the kitchen and join him for The Dean Show. Usually it's Robert who'll wander in to make soup or take a shower, then sit in the other chair, the chair that doesn't squeak. Robert will mostly listen, as Dean talks about football for hours. Sometimes it's 'L' instead of Robert, but always it's football and almost always it's hours.

It comes close to literally amazing me, that grown men can talk about football for hours on Tuesday, and then the same men will talk about football again for hours on Thursday. What's left to be said about football? 

They'll discuss at length a particular play from a game weeks or years ago, then a great pass or rough tackle from a different game, and who's the finest quarterback and who's the tightest end.

Once The Dean Show is underway, it's an hour, often two, sometimes three or even four hours. It's not all about football, but that's most of it — even in the off-season.

On the very awfullest days, there are two episodes of The Dean Show — he'll talk to Robert about football for an hour or two, until Robert fades back to his room, but later 'L' comes out, and they'll talk about football for an hour or two.

Today, though, is the best of all Dean days off. After only an hour of squeaking and kf kf coughing, Robert came into the kitchen, and after only a few minutes of those two talking about what happened in Monday night's game, 'L' came home. He'd seen the game, too, and there's a third chair in the kitchen for this very scenario, so 'L' joined the conversation, and the three of them, Dean, Robert, and 'L', have been talking about football for an hour now.

And that's good. That's the best I can hope for — serving my sentences concurrently, not consecutively. 

And maybe it's time to ride a bus to anywhere and back, just to see and overhear some fresh idiots.

10/26/2023   

24 comments:

  1. You never write about the diner anymore :(

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    1. The diner in Wisconsin? I have notes enough for a few more entries, and ought to get on it.

      If you mean Mrs Rigby's here in Seattle, it's the dangedest thing, but Mom and the fam keep being charming every time we get together. No fireworks, only sausage and eggs.

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    2. But what about that girl you dated in the eighties? She didn't call again this week?

      jtb

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    3. Nope. Mom hasn't mentioned her in... months?

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    4. Hell, I was asking for myself. Without reports of Mom pestering you, how are the correspondents on this site going to keep up with your 40-year-old love life?

      jtb

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    5. She's seriously changed. After poking at her in my writing for 40 years, I suppose I ought to write about the change.

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  2. I think I would enjoy sitting at the kitchen table with Dean and Robert, talking football.

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    1. If Dean's at the table, you won't do much talking. You'll be listening football.

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    2. I'll tell them about the 1971 Michigan - Ohio State game, and then the walk home from the stadium after the game when my old man had us stop at the grocery store and made me carry home a 22 lb turkey because his back hurt too bad for him to do it. I can drag that story out for a good 30 minutes, with impressions of my old man, descriptions of the frozen turkey, etc.

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    3. J Man, you keep releasing books through amazon (or wherever), I'll keep buying them.

      How about a "Collected J Man Times"?

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    4. I appreciate you buying those books! As for The J Man Times, I only got a couple issues of them. I think only one person has a copy of every issue, and last I heard he was in Poland. Probably dead by now.

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    5. Hey Hank, tell us that story of the 22 lb turkey!

      I can second Claude's remarks. I'm reading a Racicot book now.

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    6. The 1971 Michigan-Ohio State game was on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. That was a strange day. It started out snowing, then it turned to rain, and by the end of the game the sun had come out and there was a rainbow over the stadium. We lived in an apartment about a mile and a half from the stadium. We walked there and we would walk back. Before we left my mom told my dad and me to bring home the Thanksgiving turkey. About halfway between the stadium and our apartment was a Kroger store. So on the way back we stopped in the Kroger and the old man picked out a 22 lb frozen turkey. At the check out lane the old man told the cashier we didn't need any bag or anything, we had a blanket with us that we took to the game. He put the turkey in the blanket, made kind of a sling out of it and gave it to me. He said his back hurt too bad from sitting on the stadium bench for three and a half hours. I would have to carry the turkey home. I slung that turkey-filled blanket over my back and trudged home, while my old man strolled by my side, literally whistling Dixie, for some reason. I was 10 years old. That turkey probably weighed about 1/3 as much as me. I remember all the stares we got from passerbys on the street and people driving in their cars as I tried to lug that fucking turkey home and the old man with his whistling. The kicker is my mom overcooked the fucking thing, too. Dry as shit. That’s life.

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    7. Frickin' perfect story — fun reading, you can feel it in your head, and then there's a punchline that makes it extra worth the time spent reading.

      How it should be done.

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  3. Let's have some football talk. There are two kinds of football: professional and amateur. Professional football has been played since the late 1970s by males over 15. Professionals get paid one way or another, but before the late 70s all but a couple percent of the professional players worked at Sears in the off-season, or attended a local high school. Today most professional football players could buy a Sears store and a Ted Williams autographed baseball (Ted was a star of the Sears catalog). A Ted Williams autographed baseball has positive value (meaning a value greater than zero). So the Sears store sort of balances the aggregate value at around zero.

    How 'bout those Rams!

    John

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    1. Doug, I know you're in writer's pain, but this was a pretty damn good column. I feel a little bad being entertained by your inability to get out of your room and your chair, but the only thing more painful than participating in a football conversation is overhearing a football conversation and you communicated that pain in at least four dimensions. Thanks.

      John

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    2. Thanks, JTB.

      I have heard tales of the era when pro athletes were middle class folks, people's neighbors. Fuckall, I might've been a sports fan in such a time.

      Are there still Sears stores? Never seen a company try so hard to go out of business. They're trying harder than Xitter. I remember always shopping there when I was a kid and a young man, and then the mounting frustration as every visit to every Sears got only ludicrouser and ludicrouser.

      Dean says the Rams are back in L.A. now, kissed St Louis goodbye.

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    3. The Rams left LA? Now people are going to have to drive down to San Diego for some gridiron action.

      jtb

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    4. I catch up on these things years after the fact, but the Rams apparently spent some years in St Louis before returning to LA. Why anyone feels 'loyalty' fo such corporations is beyond me.

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  4. The Earth's core is leaking. Well of course it is. The poles are melting (north and south, not Warsaw), the oceans are intruding onto the cranberry bogs of southwest Washington, Alaska is eroding and it's stopped raining in Kansas, all sure signs that the Seattle Mariners are getting closer to a World Series and that life as we know it, with no relief pitching and outfielders teetering against the Mendoza line, will end before their stadium is decorated with faux-paper circular bunting.

    The proof is here, in what used to be Newsweek and is now called CNN dot com.

    https://www.cnn.com/2023/10/27/world/earth-core-helium-leak-scn/index.html

    I'm preparing for a global cork drive to plug the hole and save Micky's mantle. god help us all (and I score a double on the lower case g).

    Johnnywithoutcash

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    1. Several smiles. :) But I think the World Series will be cancelled by climate change before the Mariners make it in.

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  5. Looking for more idiots? There are still plenty in San Francisco. Take a bus here, and take a few home with you.

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    1. Too long a road trip. I can get enough idiots with a ride on the #99.

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    2. A few years ago, I thought I'd be taking one last vacation to San Francisco. COVID killed that, and I don't think it'll ever happen.

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