The Birthday Girls

30 Jul




Overall it was a relatively uneventful weekend of driving taxi. Both Friday and Saturday were busy, and I booked close to $300.00 each night, along with a total of over $100.00 in tips. The way that I determine whether an episode or passenger is worth including in my blog, or entering in my journal, is by the emotional impact that they make on me, or if I remember them the next day. Sometimes the night is too hectic to try and write journal entries, unless I force myself to, so I just do my job. On those nights I put my memory on auto pilot and wait until it plays itself back, the next day after I wake up. Sometimes the night’s memories can seem uneventful, but as the dross floats to the surface, there remains a story, or a connection, between passengers or incidents.

Around 9:00 PM, on Saturday night, I was driving the number 44 van, when I got a call to a nice house in South Keizer. I sat out front and waited until 3 people got in my cab. An attractive woman who looked to be in her mid 40’s sat up front with me, while a couple who appeared to be in their mid 20’s sat in back. The younger couple were the woman’s daughter and spouse. It was the older woman’s birthday, and they were going to Copper John’s downtown to celebrate. On the way there we talked about movies that they had recently seen and the one that they just watched that was fresh in their minds, was “Pretty In Pink”. It was the coming of age movie for the mother, who shared it with her daughter. When we arrived at the bar, the woman up front paid me and gave me a $3.00 tip.

“If you need a cab later,” I told her, “ask for Number 25.”

An hour later I got a call to “Copper John’s,” and I thought that it might be the same group, but it was three women, who appeared to be in their early 30’s. One sat up front with me, and two sat in back, when they told me that they were going to the South Liberty Bar & Grill. The South Liberty Bar is one of the hot spots in Salem, owned by the Beamer family, who own a few other bars as well. After we started driving one of the women in back asked me what my name was, and when I said Bob, they all shrieked and said, “no, anything but Bob.”

“I guess that you must have had a bad experience with someone named Bob,” I told them, “how about Robert?”

“No!” They said, “it has to be something different.”

Suddenly I remembered my alter ego name, Trevor. When you spelled Robert backwards, it read Trebor, so I said, “just call me Trevor.”

They all liked Trevor and began to put their hands all over me, as I continued down the street, then as I entered the parking lot of the South Lib, the woman up front with me asked me to guess the age of the woman in back who was celebrating her birthday. I realized that I would be in trouble if I guessed too high, so I tried to weasel out of it by saying that it was dark and I was looking at her in my rear view mirror, but that didn’t work. I guessed that the woman up front with me was in her early 30’s, so I said 29, they all began cheering. The woman up front paid me and gave me a $5.00 tip, as she told me that the birthday girl was 31 today. After the other two women got out, the woman, whose birthday it was put her hands around my neck and kissed me repeatedly as she thanked me for guessing that she was younger than she was.

They reminded me of another group of women that I drove from Cokie’s Landing to the South Liberty Bar & Grill, on Friday night. Nobody was celebrating a birthday, but they wanted to know my name, and when I said Bob, the woman up front, with me, who had some Hispanic blood in her, said “Roberto, you are Roberto.”

“Yeah, you can call me Robert if you want,” I said.

“Roberto, your name is Roberto,” my passenger insisted.

So I agreed with her and she gave me a $5.00 tip. Around 1:00 AM, I got a call for the South Liberty Bar & Grill, to pick up some people who asked for me. I wasn’t sure exactly who it was, since I dropped off more than one group, plus other people sometimes ask for me. It ended up being the first trio, of the woman in her mid 40’s going out for her birthday with her daughter and son in law. They were going back to the house in South Keizer, but wanted to stop at a 7/11 on the way, which we did. The woman whose birthday it was, had an okay time, but said that she really didn’t fit in the bars that they went to, which were a much younger crowd. When I dropped them all off at my starting address, the woman gave me a $5.00 tip.

One of my last fares of the night was, a group of Mexican young people, who looked to be in their early 20’s. I picked them up at a house party in the downtown area and drove them to the apartments on Silver Park, off Silverton Road. As I drove them they talked in Spanish, with some occasional English. We passed a couple of Sheriff’s cars, who had a guy pulled over, just West of Lancaster. One of the guys got out on the corner of Silverton and Lancaster, while I waited for the light. When I arrived at their apartment, they paid me and the female asked me what my name was.

“Bob,” I told her. Then I thought better of it and said “Roberto, my name is Roberto.”

They all laughed as they got out, and the guy who paid me, gave me a $1.00 tip.

Bob Gersztyn | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)

The Top 10 Black Keys Albums

29 Jul
The Black Keys 2019 Moda Center Portland, Oregon

This is a link to the “Blues Rock Review” article that I wrote listing the “Black Keys Top 10 Albums.” See how your list compares to it and if you aren’t familiar with the band it will introduce you to their entire discography of studio albums.

Top 10 Black Keys Albums – Blues Rock Review

Dusty Hill Eulogy

28 Jul
Dusty Hill of ZZ Top

Dusty Hill ZZ Top Collage | Etsy

Dusty Hill the original bass player of ZZ Top went to meet Jesus today and it wasn’t on a bus to Chicago.

ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill dead at 72 – Blues Rock Review

Revised Trailer of Wrath

27 Jul

It was Labor Day in 1984 when my pregnant wife Kathy and our 5 children ages 2 through 10 finished Dinner at Wendy’s and were heading to the freeway in Barstow, California to continue our cross country move to Detroit, Michigan. I was driving a 1980 Dodge Diplomat station wagon pulling an overloaded Jartran trailer when I realized that the freeway entrance was at the top of the steepest hill in town. I decided that if I could get a running start and make it through the light at the base of the ascent that I would have enough momentum to reach the top.

As I began to pick up speed a police car appeared behind me and the light turned yellow, so I slammed on my brakes and stopped. When the light turned green and I began driving I got up to 20 mph before we began losing speed and came to a dead stop about 30 feet from the entrance for I-40. The police officer behind us turned on his flashers and walked up to my rolled down window and asked if he could call us a tow truck. Instead I convinced him to give us a push with his reinforced wooden front bumper. It was enough to get us to the entrance at the crest of the hill, so now we were on our way.

We were heading back to our original home state of Michigan after spending 13 years on a spiritual quest living on the West Coast when my girlfriend and I first moved to Los Angeles, California in 1971. During that time period we got married, I finished school, became an ordained minister and served as an associate pastor in an inner city church until 1980. Between 1980 and 1984 we moved 5 times between Oregon, Texas and California totaling 6,000 miles in search of God’s perfect will. I was frustrated and gave up on the ministry by now and decided to move back to square one where it all began. All the moving that we had done finally brought us to Bakersfield with nearly exhausted finances so we could only afford a trailer instead of a truck to move this time.

We made it past the Arizona border and I was so exhausted that we pulled into a rest stop at 3:00 A.M. for a few hours of sleep. Flagstaff was the goal for the day and it was a white knuckle uphill ascent all the way since sometimes we were only able to get up to 10 mph and if we were forced to stop we would be dead in the water. We already were on our 2nd transmission since the trip began 3 days ago and I didn’t want to fry this one. After gaining 7,000 feet of elevation we reached Flagstaff that evening and got something to eat and a motel room for the night.

The next day was uneventful as we drove across New Mexico and spent the night in Albuquerque. After leaving Albuquerque it was a downhill descent into the Texas and Oklahoma panhandle. I decided to make up for lost time and found myself going 80 MPH with wind gusts causing my trailer to jack knife twice. Fortunately I managed to regain control both times after my wife screamed “you’re going to kill us” and slowed down to 50 MPH.

When we hit the flatlands we got something to eat at a roadside hamburger stand and an hour later 3 of the kids got sick from food poisoning and we got a motel for the night in Oklahoma. After a restless night of retching and groaning we got on the road again and made it to Waynesville, Missouri. Saturday morning we headed into St. Louis and crossed the bridge into Illinois when I noticed that the car was losing power. I pulled over and discovered a cracked metal fuel line so I taped it and got off the freeway. I found an auto parts store and purchased a rubber fuel line hose to replace the cracked metal one and we were back on our way.

That night when we got a motel room I calculated that it was only 600 more miles to Detroit which we could make in one day if we made good time. The next day we crossed over into Indiana and it seemed like it would be smooth sailing all the way to my mom’s place and she was expecting us. Then when we were driving through Anderson, Indiana my oldest son Michael told me that the car driving next to us was frantically pointing at our trailer. I looked in the extended side view mirrors and saw that flames were coming out of the trailer wheel well.

I immediately pulled over and grabbed a gallon of drinking water that we had in the car and doused the flames. I noticed that the wheel that the flames originated from was now crooked and realized that I needed to contact Jartran so I decided to drive to a pay phone to call. When I tried to move the wheel fell off and the axle hit the pavement with a scraping thud so I immediately stopped.

The freeway went through a residential area that was separated by only a 5 foot chain link fence. I climbed over the fence of the nearest home and knocked on the back door when a woman answered who let me use her phone after I told her our circumstance. A little while later a flat bed tow truck arrived and pulled the trailer aboard with chains and a winch. We followed the flat bed to the Jartran office where the manager offered us the opportunity to get a truck and load all our possessions from the trailer into it to finish our journey. Since it had been a week since we began travelling and we were now only 300 miles from our destination and were exhausted I decided to return the next day for the truck.

We drove straight through to my mom’s house in Michigan and made it there before it was dark. When we arrived and told my mother about our trip she immediately said, “It wasn’t God’s will for you to move.” I was flabbergasted by her comment and saw my circumstances with brutal clarity. Since leaving Michigan 13 years ago I was now married and my wife was pregnant with our 6th child and I was returning to Michigan broke, homeless and with all my possessions 300 miles away.

We temporarily moved in my widowed mother’s condominium and the next day I called the Jartran office in Indiana. I was shocked when I was told that it was determined that I was responsible for the damage to the trailer because it was overloaded. Damages came to $800.00 and until I paid my possessions would not be returned. Since I was broke and didn’t want to borrow money from my mother, I  tried every other recourse until all my options were exhausted.  

It was 6 weeks later in the middle of October before I finally was able to regain the trailer contents and after they weighed it they told me that it weighed over 7,000 lbs. when there was a 2,000 lb. limit. In the meantime the mother of my best friend from high school had a house to rent just down the street from the high school that I graduated from. They gave me the first month’s rent free for painting the garage. Since I worked for the post office for over 6 years before I resigned and became a minister I applied for re-instatement.

I was re-hired by the U. S. Postal Service in November 1984 a total of 8 years after I resigned in 1976 to become an inner city pastor. I still believed in God and never doubted that everything would work out no matter how bad it got. Once we were back in Michigan a short time we realized that it was a mistake coming back so in July 1986 I transferred my job with the post office to Salem, Oregon where I still live today with my wife Kathy where we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary with our 7 children and 6 grandchildren. Over half the states have a city named Salem because the early Christian missionaries named them after the English version of the Hebrew word “Shalom” which means “peace” or “rest.” This time we rented the largest “Hertz Penske” truck for our cross country move.  For an interesting post note, a couple of months later I had to replace my transmission for the 2nd time and Jartran declared bankruptcy for the 2nd time.

Gamblers

26 Jul

As the economy has grown worse, rather than better, gambling has run rampant. I drive thousands of people, thousands of miles, each year, mostly on the streets of Salem, so I get to see the big picture, and know what businesses open and close. Some bars have changed ownership 3 or 4 times in the past 6 years, but they keep reopening. Then, along with the bars, which all have video poker machines and keno in them, are a couple dozen Deli’s, like Joe’s, Dee Dee’s or Cooper’s, which, also have keno and video poker machines, and most have opened in the past 2 years. The cab company lost some gambling business because of the bus line offering bus rides out to the casino, for only $5.00, instead of $70.00 by taxi. Believe it or not, there were people who took a cab out to the casino, regularly

One of the regulars who took a cab out to Spirit Mountain casino, almost weekly was a double divorced middle aged legal secretary, named Glenda, who lived in a mobile home park. She was originally married to a charismatic pastor of a church, who was having regular affairs with female parishioners. After they got a divorce she married a State police officer, who was faithful, but had other issues, and divorced her after he retired. Now she stayed single and spent her free time involved in a casino ministry.

“The reason why I go out to the casino,” she told me, “is because there are a number of people that go there that I minister too. It’s like having church, because we all have regular spots at the slots and video poker machines, and pray for each other’s needs, while we gamble. I have one woman, who is in a horrible abusive marriage, and she comes to the casino to escape. Then there is an elderly couple who have wayward grandchildren that they have me pray for. I can feel the presence of the Holy Spirit as I walk in the front door. One time when I didn’t go to the casino for nearly a month, I found out that one of my parishioners committed suicide, after they lost their house and their divorce was finalized. That was when I promised God that I would do everything in my power to come out, at least once a week, and God is faithful to somehow miraculously provide the money for me to fulfill my promise to him.”

One time I got a call to pick Glenda up, out at the casino, and when she got in my cab, she told me that she didn’t have any money, but would write me a check. When I told her that the company didn’t accept checks, she assured me that the check would be good. Every time that I have ever accepted a check, it’s been a problem, and if a check bounces, I get stuck with a $20.00 penalty fee, from my bank, plus losing the fare. Sometimes when I call them, the number is disconnected, and they don’t even live at the check address anymore. In the best case scenario, I have to become a bill collector and go back to their house and knock on their door. Then there are the rare times that the person leaves an envelope with the money in it at the cab office, but no matter what happens, checks are a problem. The solution to not having to pay the penalty, is going to their bank to cash the check, or at least see if there are sufficient funds to do so.

Since she said that she didn’t have a debit card, and we had talked about spiritual things all the other times that I drove her, I was forced to become a hypocrite, or possibly eat the $60.00 fare. I chose the latter, and the next day, the bank told me that there were insufficient funds in her account. After leaving her phone messages for the next two weeks, the dispatcher sent me to her address, where she gave me $125.00 to cover the money that she owed me, plus have me drive her back out to Spirit Mountain casino, and leave me with a $5.00 tip. Later when I was talking to Driver #1, he told me that she used to be his personal fare out to Spirit Mountain, until she burned him a couple of times. He always collected, but it’s a hassle that you eventually get tired of.

I’ve driven some big winners, home from the bar, like the time that I picked up a guy at Player’s Lounge, who just won $4,000.00 playing video poker. He lived over by felony flats, near the main post office, and on the trip there he bragged about how smart he played the machines to win today. Then he confessed that he owed over $50,000.00 on his credit cards, that he lost gambling, so today’s winnings wouldn’t really help too much. When we arrived at his address, the meter was at $9.90. He pulled out wads of cash from his pockets in the form of $100.00, $50.00, $20.00 and finally a $10.00 bill.

“Keep the change,” he told me, as he handed me the ten spot.

“Thanks,” I told him, as I thought to myself, “maybe I should give him his dime back and tell him that he needs it worst than I do, like number 44, told me that he once did.”

One night I was sitting in front of the Greyhound station, waiting for the buses to come in, when a guy who just arrived in town, approached me to see if I was available. After I loaded his luggage and got his destination in West Salem, we started off. He was coming to visit his brother he told me. Then he told me that his brother’s wife had accrued over $80,000 in credit card debt, playing video poker, on line, on her home computer. When we arrived at his brother’s house, it was dark, but the front picture window curtains were still open. As we pulled into the driveway, we could see a woman sitting at a computer, in the living room, playing video poker.

Smashwords – The Transcendent Taxi Cab – a book by Bob Gersztyn

Military Reflections

25 Jul
PFC enthusiastically accepts his orders for Vietnam

Smashwords – 165 Days Short – a book by Bob Gersztyn

I served in the US Army during the peak of the escalation of the war in Vietnam between 1966 & 1968 yet I remained stateside at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma the entire time. The only action that I saw were bar room fights over who would take home the Go Go girl that night. A returning Vietnam vet ironically got killed in a mock ambush during maneuvers in a unit that I was the armorer for, but it was while I was home in Detroit on leave. Then when I returned to base the Detroit riots occurred right in the middle of the area that my friends and I used to hang out at in the ghetto.

I became a mail clerk my last year in the army and naturally went to work for the US Post Office in 1970 after I dropped out of college using the GI Bill and needed a job. I worked on and off for the post office until I finally retired in 2004. While I was there I worked with many other military veterans who served in Vietnam. Many vets don’t like to talk about what happened when they were in battle but when you work with the same guys for 10 or 20 years you get so familiar with them that you become like family.

During the course of the night some of the guys would talk just to make the time and tedious boredom of sorting mail seem to go by faster. Gene was a tall Texan with a slow Southern drawl and he calmly talked about how he did 3 tours in Vietnam as a crew chief and second door gunner on a Huey. He said that the helicopter that he flew in during one of the tours was nicknamed lead bottom because of all the bullets imbedded into the armor platted undercarriage from the VC shooting at them.

Gene didn’t go into detail but Richie was a naturalized German who came to America with his family in the middle of the 1960’s. He got in trouble on the streets of Philadelphia and was given the choice of enlisting in the army or going to jail. He chose the army and became a Special Forces Green Beret. As a tank commander he led a platoon forward on a search and destroy mission but they were ambushed by an overwhelming force of VC Regulars.

Richie and his platoon were all either killed or wounded including Richie who in spite of being shot twice managed get control of the tank’s 50 caliber machine gun on the turret. He then proceeded to wipe out the entire VC force single handedly and then managed to get all the wounded either inside or on the tank. Then after repairing the damaged track he managed to drive the tank back to base. Richie didn’t tell me the story, I read it in a copy of the “Stars & Stripes” the military newspaper. For all that he only received a “Silver Star.” With a reconstructed arm after the shattered bone was reassembled with pins he stayed in the army until he retired in the mid 1980’s and got a job at the post office.

Smashwords – 165 Days Short – a book by Bob Gersztyn

Suicide

24 Jul

Suicide!

Smashwords – The Transcendent Taxi Cab – a book by Bob Gersztyn

“Did you read about the guy who jumped off the roof of the three story Salem parkade?” My passenger asked me.

I tried to recall if I had or not, but before I could respond he started to tell me all about it. “Three years ago I lost my job, my visitation rights for my little girl and my wife had just finalized our divorce. I wanted to die, so I threw myself off the top of the parking lot, but all I did was break my arm and leg and cause a bunch of internal damage.”

I just picked him up at the emergency room, where a nurse wheeled him out in a wheelchair, as she rolled her eyeballs, when she saw me waiting. This guy was a real flake, with a demented world view. Later, I found out that number 42 was friends with his mother, but it made it no easier to deal with him. Tonight the hospital was footing the bill, which the nurse gave me a signed charge slip voucher for.

“I broke my arm in 14 places,” he told me. “My leg was nearly shattered, but they managed to reconstruct it with pins and by keeping me in traction for a month. Now I have to go in to have my gall bladder removed. I wish that I had died.

Suicide is a hot potato, when it comes to having an objective discussion about it, and the thing is, even the Bible doesn’t really condemn or condone it. The five examples that come to my mind when I think about it are Abimelech, Sampson, Ahithopel, Zimri and Judas. They were all in a bad way physically, mentally, spiritually or all three.

When I pick up suicide attempts that are released by the psychiatric unit, they usually have a signed voucher, so I don’t have to worry about collecting, when I get them home. Then almost every time that I pick someone up there, they start telling me about what happened. I guess that trying to kill yourself, purposely, or accidentally makes you want to talk about it. After all it is a life altering experience.

The worst case that I saw unfold before me, took place over a two year period, beginning shortly after I began driving cab in 2004. The first time that I picked the woman up was in the early afternoon, and she had just purchased a dozen crystal punch bowls, that I had problems fitting in the Dodge Spirit, that I was driving. As we drove to her domicile, she was reticent, and I finally gave up on conversation. When I arrived at her address, in a large apartment complex, she had me carry everything up to her place, on the second floor. When I walked in the door, it looked like a warehouse, with boxes and clothing stacked and strewn everywhere. After I brought it all up, she asked me to wait for her, so I could driver her to the court house downtown. Then when she came out, she was in high spirits and talked nonstop, as we travelled downtown.

“Don’t you just have to go out and buy yourself something, just to do it, once in a while?” My passenger asked me.

“It depends on whether I have the money to buy it, and need it,” I responded.

She ignored me, and began telling me, “I love this time of the year, fall is my favorite season.”

As we drove she asked me questions, and found out that I was a freelance photographer. She wanted to set up an appointment for a shoot in Bush Park, but first she said that she needed to get back in shape. She said that she used to swim laps at the YMCA, but had slacked off the past couple of years. She had a charge account with Yellow Cab, and paid with a voucher

I drove her many times after that and she remembered that I was a freelance photographer and brought it up a few times. Then one time in December 2006, I picked her up in the downtown mall parking lot. When she got in the cab, her eyes were glazed and she could barely give me her address. It was different from last time and was in West Salem. When I got her there, she paid on a charge voucher, and acted disoriented when she exited my cab. The next week there was a photocopied notice on the bulletin about her being missing, and reward offered for information. Three months later there was a newspaper clipping on the bulletin board about her death. Her bloated body washed up on the banks of the Willamette River in March 2007. Memorial services would be held the next week at the same Catholic Church that I used to pick her up at, when I worked the day shift, on Sunday.

Smashwords – The Transcendent Taxi Cab – a book by Bob Gersztyn

Angry Passengers

23 Jul

4:00 AM Taxi


Smashwords – The Transcendent Taxi Cab – a book by Bob Gersztyn

“Do you believe in God?” My passenger rhetorically asked.

I learned that my passenger’s questions were rhetorical, the hard way. That is, I responded, once. He’s a regular that I drive every 6 months or so, and every time that I drive him, it’s from a bar or lounge, usually after midnight, when he was drunk. How drunk was hard to say, except that he was pissed off. Not the threatening obnoxious kind of anger that forced you into a confrontation, but just a constant flow of speech that always began in a calm reasonable tone of voice, and gradually escalated until he was excitedly talking about whatever the subject of the day was. One time he was talking about marriage and companionship, another time he talked about the economy and the threat of losing his job, today it was religion. He is of Oriental heritage, and looks like an average person with no unusual characteristics. He’s about 5’10”, weighs about 160, is clean shaven and keeps his hair short and neat, and wears average clothing. Everything about him is average, except his angry drunken tirades. Tonight I picked him up at Big Shots, one of the biggest dive bars in Salem, where I direct anyone looking for trouble.

“Jesus was God,” he explained and continued, “so if you believe in Jesus you believe in God. None of us is worthy of untying the shoes of Jesus, but he wore sandals, didn’t he? Yeah, back then they dressed differently, but they probably still dress the same, where the Arabs live in Palestine. Do you think that there will ever be peace in the Holy Land?” Then after a minute of silence he angrily said, “there can be no peace until the prince of peace comes. At least that’s what my pastor says, and he knows what the fuck he’s talking about, because he graduated from seminary. He can read Hebrew and Greek, and explained how the world will end from studying the books of Revelation, Daniel and Ezekiel.”

I found it interesting that he was so well versed in the Bible, and was almost tempted to engage him in conversation, but I thought the better of it and let him continue.

“None of us is worthy of standing before the Father,” he explained and asked, “do you think that you are worthy? Well you’re not. None of us are. Me included. This whole world could be destroyed by a meteor or comet and we would deserve it. Look what we’ve done to the planet and each other. Jesus Christ is our only hope, he is the answer to all of mankind’s problems. At least that’s what my pastor believes, or says he believes. Gee, I hope that he believes what he’s saying. What if he didn’t really believe any of it? What if he’s just acting like he believed, because he had to, too keep his job? What if he thought it was all bullshit, invented by some fiction writer trying to make a fast buck with a new religion a couple of thousand years ago? What do you think?” He asked me.

The air got heavy with expectation, as I realized that he wanted me to respond this time, so I said, “those are interesting points.”

“What do you know?” He asked, “have you graduated from Bible college or seminary? You’re agreeing with me because you want a tip. You cab drivers are all the same

I was tempted to tell him that I did graduate from Bible college, but thought better of it, so I listened to his harangue until we finally arrived at his place, where he paid me and gave me a $1.00 tip.

Last Monday night I picked up a guy at the Super 8, who was going to the Travel Lodge on State Street, that was seething with anger as soon as he entered my cab. He looked to be about 60 years old with a short closely cropped beard, and a regular haircut with salt and pepper hair, weighing about 150 lbs., at 5’5”, with a plaid shirt, blue jean jacket and black levi’s.

“Oregon has more fat people living in it than any place I’ve ever seen,” he said. “Doesn’t anybody here care about the way that they look and the health problems that obesity causes. I hate this place, and Salem is the worst city in the entire state. Of course I can understand that with half a dozen prisons, jails and then the mental institution it’s got a fountainhead of new debris.”

We were driving by the State mental hospital, which was currently undergoing renovation, as his tirade coincided with it, so I decided to try and mellow him out with a change of subject. “They filmed “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” right here at the State mental hospital. In fact I drive a lot of the workers, that were extra’s in the movie, and are now either retired or doing different things. I almost always pick them up at Noble’s on Center and 17, just down the street. One guy who is around 80 now, tells me the same story every time that I pick him up, about the footage that contained him ending up on the cutting room floor, and Jack Nicholson being an asshole.”

That was the wrong thing to say, because it only changed the direction of his anger. “He was absolutely right,” he said, “Jack Nicholson is an asshole. One time when my sister was at a party in Aspen that he was at, he locked her in a trunk for 3 hours. I found out that my passenger was a native Cajun, from New Orleans, Louisiana, who moved to Colorado, in the late 1970’s, and moved back to Mardi Gras city, just before Katrina hit.

Then he ranted and raged about Jack Nicholson, until we arrived at the motel. At that point he apologized for complaining so much, and gave me a $5.00 tip. Then there’s the time that I drove an enraged passenger who punched me in the face and exploded the glassed off my face, but then that’s another story.

Smashwords – The Transcendent Taxi Cab – a book by Bob Gersztyn

History Flashes Before Our Eyes

22 Jul
Grandparents Celebrate 50th Wedding Anniversary 1960

My wife Kathy and I just celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary and I took a self portrait of the 2 of us on that day using a tripod and remote shutter trigger. A couple of weeks later our daughter Rachel threw us a surprise anniversary party. I remembered that back in 1960 when I was 12 years old that I photographed the 50th wedding anniversary of my Dziadzai (Jaja or grandfather) and Busia (Busha or grandmother).  I got a Kodak Brownie camera for Christmas in 1957 when I was 10 years old and took photos of my family when we got together.

Grandchild Celebrates 50th Wedding Anniversary in 2021

The Truth or How I See It

22 Jul
Bob Gersztyn 1975

I was born in 1947 and graduated from high school in 1965 and after working in the auto industry in my home state of Michigan in the city of Detroit for a year I was drafted into the army. In 1966 the war in Vietnam was escalating and then in January 1968 just 7 months before my discharge the “Tet Offensive” occurred uncovering the lies of the LBJ administration that the war was almost over and won. LBJ didn’t run for a 2nd term and Nixon won the election and eventually ended the war after lying about what he was doing.

While all this was going on I got out of the army became a hippie college student and used LSD, Mescaline and smoked kilos of weed. In 1971 I transferred from my home state of Michigan to Los Angeles, California with the post office as a mail carrier. Before I moved I quit using psychedelic drugs and began to read the Bible and listen to “Jesus Christ Superstar.” After 2 weeks in Los Angeles everything came to a head and I decided to give away everything that I owned including my girlfriend that I loved to follow Jesus.

The reason that I made this choice is because the 1960’s, the war in Vietnam and all the politics were part of a stew that was cooking in my brain in a pot full of LSD and mescaline seasoned with ganga. The Bible was the bowl that the mix was poured into and I drank it to the dregs. In my drug induced visions I saw that the entire system is corrupt and that the only way to survive is to either become part of it or completely reject it.

So I did exactly that, I rejected it and my girlfriend decided to come with me and met a minister that convinced me to keep my stuff and use if for God, so we got married a week later in the church that we now became part of. I became active and then a deacon and elder and went to Bible College and became an ordained minister in that church. I became involved in all the politics of church life and by the end of the 1970’s Jerry Falwell Sr. co-opted the church into becoming affiliated with the Republican party because of the Pro-Choice vs. Pro-Life issue.

I was attending graduate school studying ancient Biblical and secular history with a 70 year old Egyptian professor that enlightened me. After that it was a slow downhill slide to my faith as I continued to build my family until I had 7 children by 1991. Now it is 30 years later and we’re coming out of COVID19 Lockdowns, mask wearing and vaccinations and I’m brought back to the same conclusion that I came to in 1971 when I wanted to give all my possessions away and follow Jesus. The system is completely corrupt and everything any politician tells you is a total lie to benefit them in some way. You’re only choice is to either give away your possessions and join an Ashram or live like you want and ignore all the bullshit and don’t believe anyone, whether they claim to be Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Socialist, Communist or Marxist.

Smashwords – 165 Days Short – a book by Bob Gersztyn

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