Saturday, November 17, 2007
Writing the title of this post made me reflect on the absurdity of arrogant racist and patriotic paradigms in the United States. Not just because most of us are from somewhere else or that there are a lot of people on both continents in this hemisphere that have the right to call themselves Americans. Because most of us shouldn't be throwing stones. It brings to mind an indelible moment in my life. I was in the fourth grade. My mom was married to an outlaw biker and we lived in a trailer in Scappoose at the end of Smith Road where the asphalt stopped and turned to gravel. We shot our guns from the side of the mobile home into a mound of dirt. I stole Marlboro's from the drawer in the kitchen where Grubby kept his carton. Just down the road, there was house and barn that seemed forever covered in mud. I had a Huffy bmx bike that was always getting flat tires. When my bike was up and running I rode down the hill past the muddy house to the Turner's where I lost my front tooth or to other kids' houses that weren't covered in mud. When I had a flat I would walk down and play with the kids that lived in the muddy house, but always felt superior to them. Because they had a huge cow tied up in the barn that didn't have any doors or a floor. Because there was always mud everywhere. Because they seemed like little muddy urchins. I gave them Marlboros and we smoked while slogging around in the mud. One not-so-beautiful Saturday morning my mom and step-dad got into one of their brutal fights. One thing led to another and soon my mother was running down the road. She collapsed in the middle of the road in front of the muddy family's house. Paramedics came. The sheriff. It was a big scene. My mom regained consciousness. I don't remember much else. But one day not long after that I was riding my bike down the rode and as I was passing the muddy house, the dad came out onto the porch. The kids hid behind him. He told me he didn't want me coming around there anymore. He told me I was trouble. I didn't really care about not going there anymore. And I didn't know anything about irony. But I was very surprised that he of all people, a guy that lived in mud up to his ankles, thought I wasn't good enough to play with his kids.
I didn't sit down to write about that proud moment of my past and I'm a bit short on time now. What I've had in mind are the millions of Americans out there skulking around the parking lots of fast food restaurants wearing dirty slippers and tank-tops with strange little bruises and sores all over their bodies and with little brown nubs for teeth. All those people that are either gigantically obese or thin but flabby living in trailer parks and cheap motels watching hours of television, drinking gallons of soda pop. I am thinking about those racist and patriotic Americans thinking that they're too good to play with their neighbors, living hopeless lives where the asphalt runs out.
Come to think of it, my step-dad Grubby was a Native-American, though he may have been a real American, he didn't exude earthy joy and compassion any more than the rest of us.