The International Writers Magazine: Comment
What do I have to do around here to get a drink?
My girlfriend, Magpie, is a very moralistic person. She is convinced that the individual can make a difference in constructing a more wholesome world. Unfortunately, having no impact on society at large, all her efforts at reform are centered upon me. This is the curse of American womanhood summed up in a nutshell.
Nevertheless, tacking against the wind, I am still trying to have a few laughs. I recently ceded to her importunings and lugged a picnic lunch, ice and cocktails and a boogie board to Rockaway Beach despite the fact that the gray cloud cover suggested an impending rainstorm.
Our timing was perfect. The minute we got to the beach it started to rain. The rest of the swimmers raced for the exit, but we decided to sit on the boogie board, sheltering ourselves with tiny umbrellas, and drink the lethal concoction of cheap vodka and fruit juice that we had brought with us.
This was all fine and dandy. For the most part we kept ourselves dry. After we had drunk most of the devilish formula, we set into a fine lunch of goose liver paté sandwiches and rich macaroni salad made with mayonnaise. This combination, added to the pint of vodka that we had finished off prior to leaving our domicile, combined to combust a fusion reaction in my stomach similar to the Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico. I excused myself, bent over away from the boogie board and puked the whole lot of it into the sand, which I then covered up like a dog concealing its traces.
“Sorry about that,” I offered lamely.
Magpie, who was herself pretty loaded, seized upon this to launch into one of her morality tirades. “You’re on heroin,” she incontinently screamed.
“Fuckoff,” I told her.
“No, I saw it on television. Heroin makes you throw up.” Magpie gets all her medical information from watching television, which is constantly fulminating on two major topics, the War on Terror and the War on Drugs. Since she can’t tie me to terrorism, she has, in the deepest Star Chamber recesses of her addled female consciousness, declared me to be Public Enemy No. 1 in her personal crusade against drug addiction. Every day I lament the death of Columbian cartel operator Pablo Escobar, whose untimely demise booted me into the number one slot in Magpie’s pantheon of satanic threats to humanity, based on the fact that I like to take a couple of hits off a joint from time to time, like 50% of the American people.
Anybody who has got a deranged woman can identify with my plight. Once she has pronounced you guilty, it’s a Sisyphean endeavor to crawl your way back to innocence. In a lot of cases the guy’s old lady is convinced he is playing around on the side. “Why are you home late from work? Probably because you were fooling around with that whore from work!”
What do I care if Magpie is off her rocker? Every time she sees a feature on Mel Gibson she comes away convinced that I am on steroids. She saw a story about Israeli drug mules and decided I was on ecstasy. When crack is in the news, she figures I am freebasing. I figure she is the victim of a chemical imbalance. Her whole family is in AA and they are militant teetotalers. What do you say about a whole family of people who are so unstable that they are afraid to take even one drink? One time I accepted an invitation to spend a weekend at her sister’s bungalow on Long Island, and when the sister snuck up on me in the garden, where I was taking a hit off a joint to better appreciate the honeybees buzzing around the lilac bush, it set off a volcanic rage that led her to throw me out at the top of her voice in front of a houseful of guests. No problem, but to this day the sister can’t figure out why I can’t stand the sight of her or the rest of those department store dummies.
Screaming and throwing fits have no impact on me. I am a trained boxer and martial artist. Much more scary than a screaming woman is a quiet guy holding a knife in his hand. But that doesn’t mean I like it. New Yorkers, being poorly armed, are disposing of their only available weapon, a robust set of lungs. I have been screamed at and threatened for every imaginable offense, but mostly for not respecting the self-ordained authority of the screamer. Once, in a crowded store, I brushed against a woman with my gym bag. “Excuse me,” she insisted, as an admonishment to me for not excusing myself. Not judging myself to be guilty of an excusable offense, I ignored her. The place was crowded. “Excuse me,” she repeated. Again I ignored her. Finally she resorted to her trump card, a shrill, screaming nightmare voice of a freakin harpie: “Why, you mutherfucking faggot!”
The whole place turned around, eager for some entertainment. I ignored the bitch. Now she was the focus of the excitement. Embarrassed, she explained to the crowd, “He bumped me with his bag!” But I was already gone.
An old Spanish proverb has it, “The baby who cries the loudest is the one who gets fed,” and that is the system we are dealing with today. When Lawrence Summers, who is the head of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, was the president of Harvard, he made an unfortunate remark about how females were under-represented at the engineering school because they weren’t as mechanical as men. The shrill feminist Greek Chorus of underrepresented females was loud enough to get Summers fired from his post.
Now the State of Israel is having to deal with the same dilemma. With the influx of hundreds of thousands of Russian immigrants claiming Jewish heritage, Israeli religious authorities are having to try to figure out how many of them are really Jewish, and how many just immigrated for the money. Jewish law is very strict on this point. Years ago I had my own controversy with Israeli authorities when I applied for an immigration visa. The rule was strict. You had to prove to the satisfaction of the authorities that you had Jewish blood. Since I am a sinner and a bastard, no rabbi would go to bat for me. Finally, the authorities in Jerusalem determined that I was, in fact, a Jew, and they accorded me a visa, which I never used.
No matter. The scholars in Jerusalem, after studying and debating the situation arrived at the right determination. For all my temporal sins, and they are legion, I was accorded the status of a Jew and given permission to enter the Holy Land. Now those authorities are trying to figure out which of those Russian persons conform to the same criteria. Even though I personally stink as a Jew, I recognize the right of the religious authorities in Jerusalem to judge the Russians according to the same criteria that was used to evaluate me.
How could it be otherwise? Who is qualified to decide who is a Jew if not the religious scholars who have devoted their whole lives to the Jewish religion. Should I decide? I don’t know shit about religious law. In terms of Judaism I am only qualified to decide who has got the best reefer, Mexico or Jamaica.
But the American religious community is up in arms against the Israeli rabbinical establishment. They feel that they deserve to have a say in Jewish religious law as it is applied in Israel. This country, with its talent for innovation, has come up with lesbian rabbis who perform gay marriages on the beach at Fire Island, and they figure that their cash contributions to Israel entitle them to have a say in Israeli religious life. By this logic, who is to say what’s good: a guy who marries a Jewish guy on the beach? Give me a break!
Who’s to say what’s real anymore? The U.S. government is now going after seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, who has passed every doping test that was ever administered to him, on the basis of hearsay evidence from certain of his jealous former colleagues. The government’s case against Illinois former governor Rod Blagojevich, which was the basis for his impeachment, has totally collapsed. If the jury votes to acquit Blagojevich, is Obama going to call him on the telephone and apologize to him like he did for Prof. Gates and that lady from the USDA? Not bloody likely!
I am not convinced that social attitudes have any basis in reality anymore, but unlike past years, the dichotomy no longer exists. The luxury of social attitudes living in a separate reality from economic life is at an end, and any attempt to extend it will only result in increased pain.
The crunch is here, readers, and the chickens have come home to roost. I’m glad I lived to see it, because the whole time we were living in a fantasy world, I was calling it that, and people were writing me off as an antisocial nut job. Going forward, people are going to have to rely on real skills, as opposed to hot air, and they don’t come in a cereal box.
© Dean Borok August 2010