Monday, February 4, 2013

Don't Get Around Much

This song is too excellent. The descending melody followed by a stepwise ascension in the bass is so simple like the garden of Eden birds singing a contrapuntal melody of grief.
I don't get around much anymore...a confession and sad refrain from a broken man trying to keep his dignity. The song is from 1940 post- Cotton Club era was republished in 1973 and that's the copyright.


"Then you are a fool."

Kurt Vonnegut once asked the anthropologist Margaret Mead when men were most happy. I'm sure it had something to do with happiness eluding Vonnegut for most of his life. Mead not only studied many cultures I think she was predisposed to observe objectively, not buy into the Walmart sales bargain propaganda of the world. But some people are not hung up by the endless lies, they see patterns in the lies and truth in the horror...they see it all as destiny and humanity in an endless array of variations with some common traits. That's anthropology. Vonnegut (an anthropology major but not a very objective anthropologist) thought men should be motivated by reason. Mead probably saw this as totally naive. In general, men are not motivated by any one thing...but culturally we find meaning in completely different goals. But there is overlap and correlation. The trouble starts when the culture and the man do not match and Vonnegut is a good example. Another example is T.E. Lawrence. Oggy struggles but weakens in his scar tissue and flagging belly rolls.

End of Road

He'd lived with two Puerto Rican fags for 8 months. The Vicodin prescription had run out long before the pain. Cow Milk Blues had faded Polaroids of decks and stair bannisters he built when Reagan was president. He was grasping to dreams of pretty roadies in dirty bathrooms, panties pulled down to their knees, he was rock hard and could fuck all night. Now he had to hunt for his shriveled cock when he went to release the pressure on his cancerous prostate.
"62 years old, and working for a fucking nigger wage." he said with his head crooked to one side to relieve pressure on his spine.

He could play a song on the $10 plywood guitar, Milk Cow Blues and other songs he likes to say he wrote. "Jimmy Buffett stole this song from me when I was in Key West," he'd say before playing Margaritaville. The nut on his Korean plywood guitar was the wrong size so he shimmed it with a piece of plastic he found in the backyard. It didn't stay in tune but he could fake it. His hearing was so bad that intonation didn't matter. And then there were the screws in his leg. The damn titanium leg that he thought was funny when he mentioned it at first. He been beaten after trying to play the hero in an alley where a girl was getting raped.
"Hey, leave that girl alone," was all he had said and the hero's reward was a busted leg and a broken jaw. He woke up under a police horse. The police even tried to pin the rape on him. Why not? When it rains it pours. Like the time he was coming home from a day wrestling with locust thorn trees, bleeding, tired, looking pissed, trying to maneuver his bike to the liquor store. Three federal marshals lock their assault rifle sights on him.
"Get on the ground!"
He matched the description of a man running wild in the neighborhood with a gun.
He fell as ordered and in falling his chainsaw dropped with an awful sound to the pavement...never to work again.

Bunch of bullshit. $8 an hour at his age? Doing Mexican labor? For what? He was broken, working for pain pills.
"The doctors think I'm a junkie and I tell them, 'Hey, I'm not looking to get off. I hurt."

When it rains it pours and though the country was gasping in the middle of a deadly killing drought, Cow Milk was soaking wet with bad news. Couldn't catch a break. He could bet on the 1924 Yankees and they'd lose by a run in the bottom of the ninth.
"These fingers," he said showing the stubs on his right hand, were burned off by caustic the wrong bottle.
And the worst part was trying to sleep on the crooked mattress. If he didn't take an overdose of pain pills then he couldn't even fall asleep. He was tired but the pain of relaxation, the release of tension on his torn ligaments, took hours to subside.
"40 years of carpentry. I could build you a deck or a staircase. Now look. Fighting for dollars with the Mexicans. It's a race to the bottom."
He rubbed the protruding screws in his tibia and tried to lick a few more drops from his 16oz can of Natty Light beer.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.