The Lord’s Work

20 Oct

Monday, July 12, 2010

Grab a Cab

Driver #11, Dora Dimes was sitting In front of the Amtrack station at around 2:30 AM waiting for a call, while she was listening to a talk radio show about re-incarnation.

“Now what your telling me,” the show’s host said to his guest, “is that everyone goes to heaven, because we are all the same person?”

“Exactly,” the guest said, and further explained, “the same entity lives every life that ever was, is and will be, until completion is accomplished. At some point the same entity is everyone from Mother Teresa to Adolph Hitler, so how could they go to hell?”

“But then if there is no hell,” the radio host countered, “how can there be a heaven?”

“There really isn’t,” the authority answered. “I use the term, because culture demands it. It has become part of the group mind, zeitgeist, and I’m just trying to stay on that wavelength.

“So then if there is not heaven or hell,” the host asked, “what is there?”

“Another dimension of reality,” the authority answered. “What you have to remember is that all we know is…

“Number 11, get Wal-Mart North,” the cab radio blared, as #11 turned down the talk show volume to hear the call.

“Okay,” Dora said, as she wrote it down on her trip sheet.

“Do you have a cigarette?” The voice startled #11, so that she jumped and let out a stifled scream. “I’m sorry,” the voice, that was connected to a homeless man, whose age was probably somewhere between 40 & 60 years old said. “I didn’t mean to startle you, but do you have a cigarette?”

“No!” Dora emphatically said, “I don’t smoke.”

“Are you a Christian?” The homeless man asked.

After waiting a minute, #11 answered with a “yes.”

The homeless man then held out his hand with something in it and said, “here, take this for the Lord’s work.” Then he put something in Dora’s hand.

When she looked at the piece of paper in her hand she realized that it was a hundred dollar bill, and held it up to the dome light to check for the water mark. “This is a hundred dollar bill,” she said, as she put it in her shirt pocket.

“Yes it is,” the homeless man said, “and I want you to use it for the Lord’s work, because the end is coming soon. Jesus Christ will be returning to Earth to take his followers with him, after he smites his enemies and reigns in the new Jerusalem for a thousand years. Then he turned and began to walk off.

“Wait,” Dora called, “do you need a ride?”

“Yes,” the homeless man said, “I need to go to Wal-Mart on Lancaster to get some apple juice.

“Then hop in,” she told him.

After he got in and they started to drive, the homeless man told Dora that his name was Larry and that he was a born again Christian, although he smoked 10 joints one time with Abbie Hoffman, and that Mario Savio had been a personal friend of his.

“The next stage in Christian marketing will be Christian Pornographic stores,” Larry told her. “Every church can open its own pornography store. Imagine, pornography that features only born again, married porn stars, having sex with their spouses. Then there could be dildos shaped like a cross and frankincense and myrrh scented body oil. Imagine a video or Jesus having sex with Mary Magdalene in heaven or Salomé having sex with John the Baptist just before he was decapitated.”

Then he changed the subject and began talking about how Jews controlled the world, and that he was a Jew, so he should know. “I used to know Henry Kissenger very well and talked to him about some of the policies that he helped create, back in the early 1970’s. He was a very smart man, but was very evil.”

“Obama is a great man, and I have the deepest respect for him,” Larry said. “Have you read his book, ‘Dreams From My Father’?” He asked and then went on to explain that it was the story of his Kenyan father. The book begins with him living in New York…” Larry wandered from one subject to another as we drove down the deserted streets, towards Walmart.

“…The Sahara desert was where the garden of Eden was. After God drove Adam and Eve out he set an angel at the entrance with a flaming sword, to block anyone from going back in, after He banished them. The angel represents the sun, and how after drought created the desert, the garden of Eden became a myth.”’

Larry apologized for talking so much, but he said that he had a mental disorder that caused him to talk continuously, so it was okay to ignore him. Then he offered #11 another hundred dollars, but Dora refused to put out her hand to take it, so he finally put it away, as they pulled up to the grocery door, where her next passenger was standing with a shopping cart full of groceries. Larry got out and started talking to the man and asked him for a cigarette, but he told him that he didn’t smoke, and asked #11 if she was picking him up.

“Yes,” #11 told him, as Larry turned back to her and asked for her Yellow Cab hat, to which she refused.

“I would like some kind of a souvenir from our encounter together,” Larry said.

Dora thought a minute and then popped the trunk, and opened up her back pack find a Yellow Cab ball point pen, which she handed him. After he thanked her, and walked away, she turned to the elderly man who looked to be in his 80’s with a shopping cart full of groceries. On the drive to his apartment he ranted about the way that people whined about the bad economy, when they didn’t know what deprivation was. “I was born in 1927,” the man said, “ two years before the stock market crash. I grew up during the great depression, so I remember it like it was yesterday. What they call a bad economy today is a joke, compared to back then. There was no welfare system or even social security. People died of starvation. Since then safety nets have been put in place, by the government, so that people are taken care of in a bad economy. Now you have Starbucks and latte stands all over the city, along with tattoo parlors and other unnecessary frivolity, that this spoiled generation considers a need.

After she helped him carry in his groceries and he paid her, #11 gassed up, and headed back to the office, since her 12 hour shift was over.

The GI Party

19 Oct

Friday, March 8, 1968, 159 days.

Mopping the Floor

I got up at 0540 hrs. and I’m dead tired.  I worked with Gary Williams in the latrine this morning.  I hate latrine detail more than any other, because it’s the dirtiest and requires more nit picking than any of the others.  Not only that but the NCO in charge is Gary Williams, who is the shakiest squad leader.  His areas always pass inspection, and he could easily become part of the IG inspection team.  Maybe that’s what his goal is. 

Top spent most of the day in the blockhouse working on some project there, so I sat in the mail room reading and writing letters to Larry and Mike.  Somehow I missed the mail truck this morning, so the letters didn’t get out.  We had spaghetti for lunch, and I sat with Stryder, Smart and the Monk.

“I’m expecting a package,” the Monk told me,  “it should be coming any time”

“It didn’t come in this morning.”  I told him.  “Maybe it will in the afternoon.”

“If it does, don’t put it on my bunk.”  He said.  “Hold it in the mail room until I see you after work.   This time I’m getting something really special.”

When I got the mail in the afternoon, the Monk received his package.  It was post marked from San Francisco.  I assumed that it was another shipment of weed or hash from one of his friends.  When I saw him after work he jumped for joy and said that we would all have a great time Saturday night.

After dinner, which was pork chops and mashed potatoes with peas we were having a G.I. party for our regular Saturday inspection.  While I was waiting for the party to begin I decided to go gung ho and put military creases in my fatigues and spit shined my boots.  Only five guys showed up for the G.I. party, so it didn’t last too long and by 1930 hrs. everyone quit.

Afterwards, Van Bueran, Stryder and I went to the Showcase and met Mitey, Nyles and Weeks there.  Jerry and Perry were in great form tonight and did a couple of new songs. One was “Positively 4th Street” by Dylan.  I really like that song, and want to get the album with it on it. We had a few pitchers of dark beer, and as usual I added tomato juice to mine.  They performed FTA (Fuck The Army) again, and the entire place sang along.  It’s one of the few original compositions that the duo performs.  Since they were both in the Army, stationed at Fort Sill, before their discharge, they sing from experience, and have a great rapport with the GI’s.  We finally left when they closed at midnight.  I got to bed about 0030 hrs.

What is the Purpose of Religion?

18 Oct

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Checker Cab

John Fro is an area celebrity, who plays at the Salem venues like the Triangle, The Big Kahuna, The Ike Box and The Space, and other local venues. He was playing this weekend at the Space and #52 must have had a half dozen fares throughout the night coming or going to the show. Number 52 had a special interest in John Fro, since he knew that he was driver #25’s son, and Fro was just his stage last name, from his skateboarder days when he had wild curly hair that looked like an afro. He had 4 albums out, including a rap album called Room 4, a rock album with Nuclear and 2 solo albums. Tonight he was going to be playing solo, to a sold out packed house, for 3 shows, at $5.00 a head.

His fans talked about him like he was the messiah revisited. Number 52 found out that he was one of the best skateboarder’s in Salem, back in the late 1990’s, and was in bands back then, like Sylphid, with Steve Seahorn. The discussions tended to gravitate towards the metaphysical or spiritual, as the night progressed. When #52 picked up the last passenger, from the 3rd show, at nearly 3:00 AM, his shift was nearly over, when his drunken passenger asked, “what is the purpose of religion?”

Trevor didn’t respond immediately, since the question caught him by surprise and catapulted him back to his youth when he was a student at the NUC academy.

“What is the purpose of religion? Superior Entity Zzzyyk rhetorically asked, and then after a long enough silence, for effect, he proceeded to answer his own question. “The purpose of religion is to regulate the evolution of a planet as sentience incubators transform the group mind into the stuff of the Overmind. This of course would raise the question, what is the Overmind?”

Superior Entity Zzzyyk loved to hear himself talk and would wax eloquent, as the students sat, in polite deference to his irritating harangues, not realizing that he was explaining secrets of the universe that most sentient beings would never have a clue about. Students, he would begin, “The Overmind is the aggregate collection of all the individual minds that were once part of the group mind, prior to their discorporation.”

Then of course would come, the question, “what is the purpose of the overmind?”

To which Zzzyyk answered in his monotone staccato recitation delivered in a robotic manner. “The purpose of the Overmind is to take its place as one of the infinite number of parts that make up the whole that never was but always will be.”

Superior Entity Zzzyyk specialized in the subject of paradox, and founded the 1st Gathering of Skeptical Scoffers. The true nature of the universe and its ultimate purpose was first understood when ultimate entity Qqqwwm went on the first birth expedition to the 3333347th galaxy to observe the birth of an Overmind, after the destruction of its host planet. After Overmind exploration began, the first mathematical formula was created to explain the purpose of existence.

Once an Overmind achieves maturity, it begins to collapse in on itself, and initiates a vortex that absorbs all matter within a diameter of a few billion parsecs. The resulting black hole becomes the Blastula of a new universe, after the cosmic ovum is impregnated. This process takes place billions of times within a universe, until it finally becomes empty of all sentience and takes its place as part of the lifeless mosaic of anti-Bara.

After a few minutes of silence #52’s passenger said, “Okay, I understand,” “you don’t want to lose your tip by getting into a religious discussion.”

“No not at all,” #52 said, “I was just pulling my thoughts together, to answer your question, ‘what is the purpose of religion?’ The purpose of religion is to act as a brake in the liberal progress of civilization, at least if you accept Toynbee’s comparison of the evolution of civilization to that of an organism.”

“But that reduces us to mere cells, in that organism,” #52’s fare responded.

“Do you have a problem with that?” Number 52 Asked.

“I’m not sure, but how does God figure into all of this?” He asked.

“That’s another question,” Trevor answered, “but I’ll try to answer it to the best of my ability. God is the organism that you call the universe, and we are the fingers of God and are creating what  is required, while at the same time we do it through googolplex variations in the form of stories that weave themselves into a tapestry that is the universe of our reality. Our stories fulfill a function, whose purpose is to achieve ‘Teleo.’”

At this point #52’s mind reached into his passengers mind, who called himself Jim Long, and the connections were made, for “Teleo.” Then he imparted the thought that God is a trinity of mother/father/it, because of being asexual in nature. Universes are being reproduced of an infinite number and always have been, yet never were because none of this is happening, except as a story, if you take all of this to its logical conclusion.

By this time they reached their destination, and #52’s passenger paid him, as he called in his clearance and headed back downtown. There were no calls in the South, and he needed to gas up anyway, since his 12 hour shift would be over in less than half an hour.

The Other Guy From Detroit

17 Oct

Thursday, March 7, 1968, 160 days.

Morning in the Barracks

I got up at 0530 hrs., and made it to breakfast after reveille.  Top had me running ragged today.  Before the mail came in I had to check out a 3/4 ton truck from the motor pool, to bring in some new office furniture for the orderly room.  When I distributed the mail at the Blockhouse, LTC Newman was in the middle of reprimanding 2 Lt. Jones for something.  It was nice to hear an officer getting it for a change.  Besides that, it distracted LTC Newman from asking for mail from his girlfriend. After lunch the rest of the afternoon was spent bringing in a couple of desks, and a file cabinet.  After I took care of the afternoon mail, Top let me off early, so I went to the gym to work out, but got back to the barracks too late for chow.

The Monk invited me outside to take a couple of hits off his hash pipe.  Then he asked me if he could borrow fifty cents.  All I had was a $5.00 bill, so we walked over to the PX, where I got change and gave him 50 cents and got myself a couple of burgers, fries and a shake.  After I gave him 2 quarters The Monk took off, so I sat there eating my burgers and listened to the juke box playing Percy Sledge’s song – “When A Man Loves a Woman.” The song’s lyrics tell the story of a man who loves a woman so much that he is willing to overlook all her faults and even “turn his back on his best friend if he puts her down.”

I remember how one time when I was sitting in this same PX talking with Frank Ryan that song came on and tears welled up in his eyes.  Then he started telling me about his girl friend back home who cheated on him with his best friend, who he wanted to kill.  He said that’s the reason why he dropped out of college, even though he was getting straight A’s and let them draft him.  He just didn’t give a shit anymore.

I started dating when I was fifteen and had a bunch of girlfriend’s but wasn’t really that serious about any of them.  We just mainly did things together.  The one that I was most serious about was named Sheila Dombroski.  She was a stone cold fox, and I met her through one of my mom’s co-worker friends who was her mom. I was getting really serious about her, but she dumped me for another guy.  I felt like shit, but was just beginning my senior year in High School, so I just partied with my friends more to forget about it.

James Lemur came in and sat down next to me.  He was the only other guy from Detroit, currently in HHB, so we were friendly towards each other because of our common geography. He was black and lived in the ghetto, while I was white and lived in the suburbs back home, but here we were like old buddies.  It’s funny how bonds are created by such simple things. Lemur worked as a clerk in personnel, and would be ETSing soon.  He was over six feet tall, but lanky. Off duty he usually wore a doo rag on his head, both with fatigues and civies.

“Hey Grines.”  He said, as he sat down.  “You goin’ back to Motown when you ETS?”

“Yeah.”  I said.  “But I’m thinking about going to San Francisco for a while first.  I want to check out the Hippie scene in Haight Ashbury.  How about you?”

“My parents got another house.”  He said.  “It’s by 7 Mile and John R.

“Did they manage to salvage any of their stuff after the riots?”  I asked.

“Not too much.”  He said.  “After they put out the fire there was so much smoke and water damage that most everything was ruined.”

Lemur’s family lived in the 12th Street area on the West side of Detroit where the riots began last year.  When I went home on leave my friends and I would go down to the Blind Pigs that were in the area. We frequented the Negro ghetto since we were in High School because there were no questions asked about age.  Prostitution, gambling, drugs and alcohol were available to whoever had the cash to pay.  The rioting began at one of the Blind Pigs after 80 people were arrested, who were celebrating the return of a couple of local soldiers from Viet Nam.

James and I walked back to the barracks at around 1840 then we went into the dayroom to watch TV.  It was packed, but would be emptying out when the bus to Lawton came by at 1900 hrs.  Some of the colored guys from the 4/46th were in the TV room and greeted Lemur as he walked in.  It’s funny how we act differently towards each other when we’re alone than we do when we’re in a group.  James and his gang often commandeered the TV and generated heated arguments, that sometimes escalated and fights would occur over who controlled the channel selection with hillbillies from the 4/46th and sometimes even the guys from HHB.  I tried to stay neutral and watched whatever everyone else was watching, unless I was the only one in the room. You learned to not plan on watching anything, unless you owned your own TV set.

After watching TV for a while I shot some pool with Nyles, until 2100 hrs.  It was dead, so I went into the bay and laid on my bunk while reading a couple of chapters in Henry Millers “Sexus.” I was tired so I went to bed at 2200 hrs. and fell asleep almost immediately.

Reversing the Tower of Babel

16 Oct

Monday, July 5, 2010

Cab & Cross

“Turn with me in your Bibles to the book of Genesis, chapter 11,” the voice on the radio said. When it’s a slow night or I’m driving without a passenger, sometimes I turn on talk radio or a religious station, just to hear something different. You never know what you’ll pick up on the AM band, after midnight, as stations fade in and out from leaping frequency’s emanating from who knows where. Tonight I had some radio preacher who was doing a study of the story of the “Tower of Babel.”

“Read with me beginning in verse one, ‘And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.’ Then the writer, who was penning God’s word, that most conservative scholars believe was Moses, said that this mass of humanity that was the earth’s civilization at this time journeyed to the East and settled in the ‘land of Shinar,’ in what is today Iraq. It says that they took burned brick made out of straw and mud to build a city called Babylon, and then erected a tower in the center, that was supposed to reach to heaven. They had plans to become something great and God was going to help them do it. They were erecting a ziggurat, which was an observatory for studying the stars. They figured out the first yearly calendar and began to make astronomical calculations that would have advanced them faster than their philosophical base had support for. Imagine if they had discovered iron and steel and created the internal combustion engine. Before you know it they would be building colonies on the moon, and polluting the solar system with their shallow theology, so in order to slow things down, until a more sophisticated theology and philosophy could be developed over the period of a few millennium through wars, pestilences, famines and other character shaping episodes that could create a collective consciousness that is worthy of being controlled by the overmind.”

“So it says that the Lord said, ‘let us go down and ‘confound their language,’ and so He did, along with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. God speaks in the plural, because the Holy Trinity is being established at this early point, because He knows that non believing anti-trinitarians, like those heretics the Jehovah’s Witnesses will try to say that the Bible doesn’t support the trinity. They try to use Tertullian’s treatise on the trinity, from the second century, as the beginning of Trinitarianism, but they fail to realize that the Old Testament scriptures were Tertullian’s source for information about the trinity. Just because Tertullian believed that Montanus was the incarnation of the Holy Spirit and followed him out into the desert to wait for Christ’s second coming, where he was massacred by Roman soldiers along with the rest of the heretics, doesn’t mean that his writings are just as crazy as he was.”

“My point is this,” he said and continued, “God created all those different languages to keep people out of communication with each other, but now, the computer reverses that act. How do we deal with this morally? After all what is the brain of a desk top computer called? ‘A tower!’ And what is this tower made of? Plastic, whose early forms was called Bakelite. The bricks that the original tower of Babel was constructed with were burned or baked bricks made out of clay and straw. Now doesn’t baked bricks sound like Bakelite? I believe that in His infinite wisdom, the God of the universe caused the word bake to enter into the vocabulary of both events, for the purpose of linking them together.”

“You have computer programs that allow you to translate one language into another, and blog sites offer the opportunity to change the language to any of a number, depending on the reader’s preference. What will happen when every person on the earth is able to communicate with others and exchange ideas, until our technological advancements give us the capability to create a new universe. Then what do we do? Do we play God, or do we commit suicide. I believe that God wouldn’t allow us to play God, unless He wanted us to. Maybe we will destroy reality and create hell, but then again we may create heaven, or we may just create a new universe that we can be the God of…

“Number 25, they need 2 vans at the St. Paul Rodeo,” Dotty, the dispatcher said, “and I’m sending you and #37 to pick up 2 parties, that I already have credit cards run for. When you pick them up make a copy of their credit card with your slider and I’ll give you the authorization number. Since neither of us knew how to get to St. Paul Dotty told us to head up Wallace Road, in West Salem, until we saw signs for St. Paul. We did so and after we reached Dayton, #37’s GPS said that we should be on the East side of the river. Then Dotty said that we should have gone up River Road in Keizer on the East side of the river instead. So now we had to drive North to a bridge to cross over, since the Wheatland ferry quit running at 9:00 PM, and it was nearly 2:30 AM. I was running low on gas, so we had to stop and fill up.

By the time that we finally arrived at the fairgrounds the party of Chris, that I was supposed to pick up was still there, but #37’s group was nowhere to be found. So I ran his credit card on the slider and headed back to Salem. They lived in Keizer, and we made it there in 20 minutes. When we were back at the yard vacuuming out our cabs, #37 said that he could choke Dotty for getting us lost, and wasting so much time for nothing, since he would not get paid, because he never found his party.

The Giant Sinkhole that Destroyed the World

15 Oct

Captain Cho was called to the bridge at 0300 hrs. when the “Chong Ryu 2,” a North Korean Merchant ship crossed the equator in the Atlantic Ocean. A massive underwater disturbance was picked up by sonar that was serious enough to wake captain Cho. What he saw didn’t make any sense because the ocean’s current completely changed direction from North to South. There was a central point that the newly directed current was flowing to and it was only 5 knots from the ships present location.

The reason that the captain had been awakened was because the ship was being drawn towards the anomaly in spite of engines moving full speed in the opposite direction. In other words they were heading straight towards the unknown anomaly. After putting out an SOS and Mayday call the captain told the first mate to fire a couple of flares. The lighted up night sky reflected on the surface of the water but about a couple of knots ahead where the anomaly should be there wasn’t any reflection but just black.

As the ship was drawn closer they continued to fire flares until they saw that they were heading to a hole in the ocean that measured over two miles in diameter and of an unfathomable depth. The last message that Pyongyang received from the “Chong Ryu 2” was a hysterical voice screaming “we’re doomed.” The distress call was heard on maritime radio around the world so it was immediately communicated to every government for analysis.

Recon drones were immediately dispatched to the scene and came upon it as the sun was rising. The picture that they relayed was heart stopping when one considered the implications. The drones descended nearly a mile before they saw an immense underground opening that the water was pouring into. It now was an underground ocean underneath the ocean floor.

As seismologists began to investigate they discovered a series of sinkholes that were appearing all across the world. At first there was curiosity but the curiosity turned to terror as they realized what was happening. After over a century of removing resources from beneath the earth’s surface it weakened the balance connecting tectonic plates by removing the liquid buffer that stabilized them. After cities started to disappear in sinkholes and more of them occurred in the world’s oceans the shit hit the fan. The oceans of the world finally reached the molten center of Earth’s core and the steam pressure that built up was more that the planet’s crust could withstand so it exploded and the Earth broke into three pieces that now orbited the sun.

The Ultimate Goal

14 Oct
Black Hole

Professor Xenbyz realized that the process which he perfected resulted in the creation of the primer molecule. The primer molecule is the single molecule of matter that is universal to every other existing molecule that comprises the planet called Earth. What this means is that now for the first time in their existence the human race has the ability to completely destroy the planet that they inhabited and take out most of the Milky Way galaxy as well. This has been the goal all along which is why all of the ancient religions called for a cataclysmic end in their written and oral traditions. The unconscious mind of humanity understood that it would eventually create and instigate its own demise which is why violence and war never subsided.

The dualistic fight between good and evil was over now that professor Xenbyz locked himself inside the impregnable cube that housed the trigger mechanism. He thought about all the pain and suffering that humanity experienced over the myriad of millenniums since his proto-hominid ancestors first experienced consciousness. He thought of everything from the rise and fall of the ancient empires of Babylon, Egypt, Greece and Rome to the modern empires of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

Billions have suffered and died and billions more will follow whether or not someone puts a stop to the needless pain and suffering. Since it’s apparent that the human race is completely incorrigible it must be eliminated for the good of all concluded professor Xenbyz. With a simple flick of a switch he began the chain reaction that enveloped the galaxy as it imploded into a black hole of anti-matter.

Born on the 4th of July

13 Oct

SUNDAY, JULY 4, 2010

July 4th Fireworks

I was born on July 4, 1947 just like Ron Kovic, but when I was drafted, they sent me to Ft. Sill, Oklahoma for 2 years, instead of Vietnam. Lucky for me, some say, but I didn’t care. I was young and stupid, and came from a culture that accepted war as a way of life, and doing your duty by fighting and possibly dying for your country was an accepted part of the picture. My father’s father was a Cossack drafted into the Russian Czars Army before immigrating to America in 1912, and my father was drafted into the Army and fought the Japanese in the South Pacific in World War II, so why shouldn’t I go fight the Viet Cong Commies in South East Asia?

However, as I said, that didn’t happen, and then while I was in the Army the entire country went through a revolution and the society that I returned to, two years later was a different one than the one I left. No longer were people passively accepting that their sons, brothers and husbands go die for their country, but mass protests were happening, everywhere and not just in a few hotbeds. The crux of the protests rested on the draft, which no longer exists, now that we have an all volunteer army.

In this present stage of humanities evolution, you need armies for the violent and overly exuberant among us to exhaust their energy, until they either get killed or tired of it, make a career of it or come back to their home society and join the police force or CIA. This July 4th weekend was busy, so I didn’t get a chance to do much editing done on my book about the history of “Contemporary Christian Music” that I just purchased a laptop notebook computer for.

I picked up the one legged woman in the wheelchair, who has a ramp made of 2 – 2×8 planks, that she once had me get her up. That was a dangerous maneuver and I told her that I couldn’t do it again for both her and my safety. This time she wanted to go to Walmart and just got out of the theater, where she saw the new movie in the “Twilight” series, “Eclipse.”

She talked about how the vampires were good, and was disappointed with the climactic battle scene. Then she switched over to the return of Jesus, and began telling me that a lot of people believe that Jesus is coming back again soon.

“When do you think that the second coming will be?” My passenger asked.

I thought of the time that David Bergman, of the “Firesign Theater” told me that he didn’t believe in the first coming, and then I said, the Bible says that “no man will know the day or hour,” I answered her.

“Yeah but when Jesus comes back, he’s going to make everything right and solve all the world’s problems and reign for a thousand years,” She said.

“But first there has to be the battle of Armageddon,” I told her. “The entire world will meet on a plain in Israel where they will have a massive battle, where the blood will flow like a river, and Jesus will come back with all the saints and kill the anti-Christ and his armies.”

After I dropped her off I picked up a guy at the Point that wanted to smoke a cigarette in my non smoking cab, and when I told him no, he told me that I was a jerk for not letting him smoke. He complained so much that I began to get angry and was debating about pulling over and telling him to get out when I decided to just go with the flow. He had been difficult from the beginning by not wanting to give me his address, and finally just making one up, that I realized later. We had to drive in 3 different driveways before we finally found the right one. I was wondering whether he was as drunk and confused as he acted or if he was just trying to push my buttons, but I kept my cool. When I finally pulled up to his apartment he paid me and gave me a $5.00 tip for all the trouble he caused.

I picked up a regular from “All Stars” and drove him to his house, while we talked about Islamic Jihadist’s and insults that warranted the death sentence. Then he began to compare radical Islam with Communism, because it was more of an ideology rather that a faith inspired spiritual path. “We have to fight them the same way that we did the Commies,” he told me. Hollywood needs to start making movies about the Islamic Jihadist’s taking over the USA and forcing everyone to become a Muslim. The movie would have mass executions of people of other religious persuasions who refused to convert. This would freak people out and we would have mass paranoia about Islam.”

“Yeah, but is that something that would be good?” I asked. “It would divide the country and we have to assimilate and integrate all religions in order to create homogeneity.”

“That sounds like heresy to me,” my passenger countered. The only good Muslim is a dead Muslim. We could blanket the Muslim areas with posters of Mohammed having sex with a goat, and drive them crazy.”

“What about that hippie guy, who was detained in Pakistan for wanting to kill Osama Bin Laden?” I asked him.

“That man is a real patriot,” my passenger said. “We need more like him. Imagine if people like that started to pop up all over. What to you think that Al Jezirah would say. Osama would be shitting in his pants, if he’s not already dead. They’ll never tell us if he does die. Heck he could have gotten killed when they first invaded Afghanistan. They won’t tell us, because then we can’t have the satisfaction of saying that we killed the mother fucker that was responsible for 9/11.

The First Time

12 Oct

Wednesday, March 6, 1968, 161 days.

Everyone Must Get Stoned 1967

I got out of bed at 0540 hrs. and missed breakfast again because of the 4/46th’s IG.  Tomorrow we get back on a normal breakfast schedule, so I can start eating it again.  I laid back down until 0700 hrs., and nobody woke me to work on detail.  More than likely I will be transferred.  So to cover my ass I applied for a secondary MOS of 76K30 (Small Arms Weapons Repairman, AKA Armorer).  Since I worked in the MOS for 8 months and went to school for it, I feel it would help me out if I should get transferred. Besides that it’s an easy job and is usually E.D. (exempt from duty).

I went to a career class this afternoon for my army re-enlistment lecture. What a joke.   I found out that there are around eight people getting transferred from HHB, and I’m one of them.  I’m supposed to go to the 222nd Maintenance Co.  It’s one of the most fucked up units in 3rd Gp.   I talked to the BC (Battery Commander) about it and he said that he will try to get me sent back up to HHB on TDY (Temporary Duty Assignment), until my discharge.  I sure hope so, because I couldn’t hack going to a new unit with only 160 days left, especially that fucked up place.  I did a rare thing today after I got off work.  I ironed my fatigues. Probably because I’m shakey about getting transferred.  After chow, Rublay, Mitey and myself are going to go to the NCO club for happy hour and get happy.

Mitey is the battery clerk, so he works with Top all day long.  He was a retail clerk before he got drafted and wants to get a degree in accounting when he gets out.  He’s one of the straightest guys in the unit, but isn’t a snitch.  He never did any weed and said that he never would consider it unless it was legal. Case closed.

The first time that I got stoned was in the summer of 1967, right after I got transferred into HHB.  I was ready to do it, because Frank Ryan, my training partner, who shared my semi-private room in the 395th with me, and I had many discussions about it.  My only knowledge about marijuana came from the films that they showed us in High School, like “Reefer Madness”.

I remember one time when I was in a car with Jim Black, and a Puerto Rican guy who moved to Michigan from Harlem, New York named Rocco. They lit up a joint and I just about freaked out.  It was 1964, and I still believed that marijuana led to heroin addiction, and the horrors that “Reefer Madness” advertised. 

George had used it when he was at radio school AIT at Fort Ord, California.  He used to go on pass to the Haight Ashbury district in San Francisco, and smoke it with the Hippies.  We could never get hold of any in the 395th, but when I transferred to HHB 3rd Group, a lot of the guys were heads.  The Monk approached me the first night I was in the unit and asked me if I got high. 

“No.”  I told him.  “But I would if the opportunity arose.”

“Let’s go for a walk.”  He said.

We walked out into the training field East of the barracks and I sat on the PT stand with the Monk.  Then he pulled out a brass pipe and a wad of aluminum foil.  He unwrapped the foil and there was a light brown chunk of what looked like brown sugar or sandstone. 

“This is some premium grade hashish.”  He said.

Then he broke off a small piece and put it into his pipe, and pulled out a pack of matches and after striking one, he held it in the pipe bowl, as he sucked in.  Then he passed the pipe and matches to me, and began to cough.

“Take a hit.”  He said. 

I did as he told me and began to cough.  After we took about 5 hits, he asked.  “Do you feel anything?” 

“I’m not sure.”  I told him.  “What’s it supposed to feel like?”

“Oh, you’ll know when it hits you.”  He said.  Let’s start walking back to the barracks.

As we walked, I felt as if we were taking forever to get there, and it seemed as if we were on a treadmill that was going nowhere.  Then I started laughing for no apparent reason.  We passed one of the guys from the 4/46th who was walking in the opposite direction and he seemed to be looking at us suspiciously.  I mentioned this to the Monk and he replied. “You’re stoned.”

“Really?”  I said.  “How can you tell?”

“Because you’re paranoid..”  He answered.

When we returned to the barracks some guys were playing music on a record player.  As we got closer, the Monk introduced me to them, and I sat down on the bunk and began to listen.  The music sounded more beautiful than any music I had ever heard before in my life.

“What is that you’re playing?”  I asked.

“The Doors”.  They answered.

“Wow.”  I said.

“This is his first time getting stoned.”  The Monk said.

After that, getting stoned became a regular thing, when we could get it.  It was better than getting drunk, and didn’t have any of the side effects.  No headache hangover, and everything was beautiful. I headed to the NCO club with Rublay and Mitey and we got there in time for happy hour so we all ordered an exotic drink. I ordered a Zombie, Rublay ordered a Grasshopper and Mitey got a Whiskey Sour. On Wednesday nights they sometimes had local entertainment and tonight they had a local artist that came on and did a solo act for most of the time that we were at the club. Her name was Ramona Raylor and she did some covers of Joan Baez and Patsy Cline along with some of her own compositions. The influence of the hash gave me a greater appreciation of Ramona’s music that I would normally have.

When Rublay, Mitey and I got back to the barracks it was around 1930 hrs.. The dayroom TV was broken so a few of us started to watch Sgt. Bravo’s TV. Then about the time that we got into the program that we were watching,  Bravo came in and walked off with it.  Then the Monk took Nyles, Smart and me out to have a few drags off his pipe. After that Nyles and I went back into the bay and studied Sampson’s towel for an hour.  We saw some fantastic designs in it, even though it was plain white.  I finally went to bed about 2300 hrs.

My Midlife Crisis

11 Oct

Bob Gersztyn 1978

My midlife crisis took place 30 years ago so I can look at it with some objectivity in my old age at 74. As the 1990’s began I found myself frustrated by the fact that after I spent a decade preparing for and being in the ministry I was now an assistant Sunday school teacher and father of 7 children working at the post office to support his family. I kept beating myself up and dwelling on my failure in the past rather than looking towards the future.

I was still relatively young in my mid 40’s when I saw an infomercial by Anthony Robins on TV about his fire walk seminar. I purchased his book “Unlimited Power” and I began to think about the future rather than the past. I decided that since I was a serious photographer that I would pursue this direction. This new attitude opened many doors of opportunity for me that I never knew existed.

Sometimes you don’t recognize opportunity when it presents itself but if it is part of your destiny then it will become obvious. In my case it was the dream that I could photograph my favorite music performers so I could hang their pictures in my house. I had been photographing weddings as a freelance photographer since 1974 and recently began doing scenic photography to sell in gift and coffee shops.

A new postal worker who transferred from New Jersey to Salem, Oregon was a “Deadhead” with connections and would talk to me about music until he invited me to go to the Grateful Dead concert with him back when they were taking place yearly in Oregon. After I thought about it I recognized the opportunity and told him that if he could get me an official press pass that I would go.

The next day he gave me a phone number to call which I did and ended up photographing the July 1994 “Grateful Dead” concert in Eugene, Oregon. After that I pitched the photos to different Dead Magazines and ended up working for one and getting photos published in a dozen publications. By 1996 I could get in most concerts for free and photograph the performers. That same year I began to write reviews of the concerts that I attended and got them published as well. After that I not only photographed my music idols but began to interview them as well.

It was a dream come true as I regularly gained access to major rock concerts that took place in Oregon. I ended up writing for encyclopedias and a half dozen of my own books along with selling my photographs on line and in galleries. Today when I look back on my failed ministry I have no regrets because I understand that everything that I learned in preparing for the ministry was applicable to my final avocation. So I guess that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

%d bloggers like this: