please stop tickling me

In which we laugh and laugh and laugh. And love. And drink.

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Location: Portland, Oregon

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Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Man Who Was No Longer There

It should be noted that Hank Oak is back in town. He walked into Miss Kitty's kitchen this eve, as I was makin' up some victuals, and I said that I was glad to see him, and: "Where the hell you been? Last time I checked, you were goin' to Tequila!"
"For four days," he responded. Tequila actually is the name of a village in Mejico, turns out, and although he'd planned to stay there a month, we hadn't heard from him for six. He had, in fact, only been there four days, and some explanation was certainly in order. I received it, by fits and by starts, over the course of the bi-weekly Tuesday night dinner thing.
Turns out that he has turned his back on his old career in tech support, and is now making pseudo-Indo food at this Tea/food joint up on Belmont favored by hippies and yuppies. Thing is; the guy knows more about food than I've even forgot, and he has never even worked in a kitchen, like me. Tha' don't matter. What matters is that we are making plans for a dinner party competition, and perhaps putting together a food magazine for actual people, and he wanted to know where to find me, so we could go downtown and make fun of the awful people on First Thursday. "Well, I live over the Troika," I says.
"Where?"
"Over the coffee shop? Across the street from where you used to live?"
"Ohhhh!" he said. "Hey, do you live in the apartment where the guy who died lived?"
"I live in his room," I said.
"AAAAHHHH-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!"
"Yeah, I know, 'take care'!"
It's true, though. That's where Quicksilver died. He had a congential heart defect, and it was gonna get him some day, and on one particular morning of his twenty-fifth (?) year, it happened. I remember, because I was walking into the Troika, where I worked, at the time.
I was greeted by this little poodle dude who was dating one of the upstairs ladies. He was in tears, and when I inquired why, he told me, and I immediately was no longer in the mood to work.
Quicksilver was the nicest one of the activists, by any stretch. "He reserved his anger for The Man," was how his girlfriend put it. She put it to me on the occasion of his being dead one month. She was also the one who had been jarred awake by the convulsions of his body, trying to live, even though the heart was dead, the brain soon to follow.
They called out the ambulance, and unfortunately, News Channel Eight just happened to be driving by (or some loser local affiliate; it scarcely matters which one), saw the commotion, and couldn't get anything clear out of everyone, as every person involved was either grieving or a emergency services professional. They determined that since the near-deceased was tatooed and twenty-something, that clearly drugs had been involved. Thanks, as always, to you fucking coke freaks who make too much money, and are qualified to eat lunch at best, who nonetheless report the news.
A week before, he had been on the news, when the Nice Mister Bush had been in town. A lot of people (including infants, I needn't remind you) showed up on the news that day, being pepper sprayed, but Quicksilver made the front page of the paper, and I believe CNN. I had stood in the middle of all of it, wearing a suit and shades, photographing it all, as people on either side were being beaten and gassed...
I'm straying from the point. Our friend was dead. The nice one. I spent the rest of that day at work having to break the news to people who had not yet heard, and playing mournful songs. But far worse than this was that I also wasn't going to lie to strangers, and that led to awful exchanges:
(The chick with bilateral myopia from across the street says) "Well you know; Death Is A Celebration!"
(To which I respond) "I understand your point. Your comment is ill-timed."
And later, I go back to Gringa Alta Prima's joint, and I finally get to have the good solid cry I'd been needing to have all day. All day long, I'd been inadvertantly playing these songs that I'd just brought with me, but seemed like farewells for the Quicksilver. "Hold To the Unchanging Hand of God" by Ry Cooder, "Uncloudy Day" by the Staple Singers, and that song by Takako Minekawa where she just keeps saying, "In the skyyy....In the skyyy..."
Then I make the mistake of goin' down to My Fuckin' Pal, where I encounter a drunk bunch of people I parenthetically know. One is this silly girl with whom I had once shot pool. I told her the story. She decides that the best way to deal with this information is to say-"Well, in Mex-ican cul-ture, death is a celebration!"
To which I could only respond, "I ain't Mexican!", when of course what I really meant was, ' you silly white fuck, could 'ya just shut up for half a second, and not turn everything into your anthro seminar?'
I went outside for half a minute, to gather my thoughts, and was pursued by her table-mate and acquaintance of mine, Zephry. He chooses to respond to my distress by drunkenly gripping my hand and saying, "But we're still alive. We're still alive!"
I agreed, thanked him, and went back inside.
I encountered another group of people with whom I was parenthetically acquainted. For some reason, I still couldn't keep how I was feeling inside sufficiently, and told them exactly what was on my mind at the moment. One of them said, "Well, you know what they say; Grief is for The Living."
"I've never heard it expressed otherwise. You know, maybe I shouldn't have brought it up."
The rest of them rushed to make up, but by that time, I was over this whole being in public thing. Wherever I went, people had the awful judgement of either trying to make this actual death of someone I liked and could no longer talk to into either some awful Grieving seminar that they'd learned in Counseling, or some Life Affirming bullshit, of which it was neither. I've been well acquainted with Death my entire life, and don't consider it to be something out of the ordinary. At the same time, I also feel that it's entirely okay to be bummed about it. The fact that the rest of these people couldn't see that is a monument to more than just their crap communication skills.
Pathetic as it may be, I chose to deal with this by making a mix tape. Probably this is the one I should have analyzed, in lieu of the last entry, but it's not. It was called 'The Man Who Was No Longer There'. Side A is titled 'Grief Is For The Living', and has a somber aspect to it, and side B is titled, 'But We're Still Alive', which has just the opposite aspect.
Even that has a story. The next day, a friend was driving me up to ( a cemetary, of all places, to look at the view), and I was telling him the story of the last couple days, including the mix tape part. He chose this as being an appropriate time to tell me about the inherent superiority of MP3 technology, as opposed to those silly old magnetic tape things. I chose to not throttle him, on that occasion.
I missed the ash-scattering ceremony out at the coast, as I was not invited, and had to work in any case. It turns out that Quicksilver's mom had the zinger that day. She thanked those assembled for coming, and pointed out that they all clearly had 'big hearts'..."Hopefully not as big as his was, but..."
And the wake was the following weekend. It was too damn full of silly Wobblies who showed up ostensibly to say farewell to a brother union member, but it quickly regressed into a stupid party, with too many damn strangers. It was disappointing, and still too damn sad.
The aforementioned girlfriend dragged The Reverend and I into the apartment where I curently live, and poured three shots of whiskey. We held them aloft, waiting for the words to come. They didn't.
"You know," I said.
"You know," the other two said, and we drank it down.

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19 Comments:

Blogger alder park said...

I have to believe that in the flesh you must be a spectacular being. Like Daniel Boone your smile can charm coons from the trees. A bronzed and well muscled Adonis surely reflects when you gaze into a mirror. And your head! My god your cranium must be large enough for a Hermiston (Or) watermelon farmer to envy. You have no peers Richie Rich. There is no one who could possibly reach as deeply into the souls of others as you.
To speak to you of death so ignorantly, how dare they? Those around you could not possibly comprehend the passing of a friend as you must. I am sure they do not have the capacity to understand grief in the profound way that you do.

6:39 PM  
Blogger rich bachelor said...

Okay folks, clearly this alderpark is somebody who knows me, and worse yet,is out to fuck with me. Let 'im have it.
At this point, I'm suspecting it's my brother.

1:13 AM  
Blogger carrier said...

RAF, I created a blog account since your email is down and I could not comment on your site without having one myself.
It isn't me. I have no idea who it is. I love you and would never talk shit about you. Whoever this jerk-off is he does seem to have it in for you. Piss anyone off lately? Give me a ring.
Your big bro.

6:57 AM  
Blogger carrier said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:00 AM  
Blogger rich bachelor said...

I appreciate that, carrier. I wasn't doubting your love, by the way: like I say, a lot of the time things come out differently in this medium than we intend them to.

3:13 PM  
Blogger alder park said...

You are a thin skinned sally aren't you richard. Truthfully I enjoy your galloping prose and caustic wit. From time to time you come across as being a bit superior in the way you view others. No offense was meant.
By the way we have never met, at least not that I know of. The suggestion by your "big bro" that you may have pissed me off is no where close to the mark. As I have said before, I roam these pages in search of interesting people and the interesting things they have to say.
I have left many comments with any number of bloggers. I may be critical, I may heap praise. It does not matter to me how these comments are received, they are what they are. Only my opinion in a public forum.

6:43 PM  
Blogger baby bulldog said...

dear alderpark,
in all honesty i'm quite a big fan of cynicism, sarcasm, and over all mocking of anything and anyone. if only you were able to pull it off with wit, intelligence, and polish. unfortunately you come off like a pretentious, pseudo-intellectual who reads the pocket version of webster's dictionary on his lunchbreak for whack-off material. Luckily you provide endless pieces of arrogant, badly written criticism for me to mock.

6:50 PM  
Blogger carrier said...

I concur BB. And what the hell is Mr. Park insinuating when he places quotation marks around my phrase big bro? It might be that the idea of big brother makes Mr. Park uncomfortable. Although I suppose that idea makes me a little uncomfortable too. But I would still like to know why you used the quotation marks.

Meanwhile back at my blog. As you know Roboblogger Bachelor, I opened an account with this outfit for the sole purpose of clearing my name. But, since I have a place to speak my mind now I suppose I oughta go ahead and do it. Nobody wants to listen to an aging mailman rant and rave though. So I came up with something a little different.

Take a look and tell me what you think. Also for anyone who cares, there is a brief explanation of why RB might think I was messing with him by posing as this notorious Alder Park jackass.

It's getting late and I need to get some sleep. Gotta carry the mail tomorrow.

10:10 PM  
Blogger alder park said...

I think somebody...I won't mention any initials (BB) has a crush on Richie Rich. Isn't that cute? Oh and by the way bulldog, I believe the proper spelling of wack-off would be without the H following the W where you so carelessly inserted it. Would it make you squirm if I told you I had all but lost that particular function in the battle to defend South Vietnam from the communist scourge sweetie? Pull the blanket back over your head missy.
So while you are easily provoked by a few words of observation Richie, your "big bro"...it was only that I found the self-endearment quaint mr. mailman...is horrified that his reputation may be besmirtched by words uttered from a complete stranger. Paranoia seems to run in your family Richard. You should all stop taking yourselves so very seriously.

11:25 PM  
Blogger carrier said...

Well I guess we can all understand the reason for Mr. Parks aparent bitterness.

Regarding his suggestion of not taking ourselves too seriously, I would just like to say in the immortal words of the probably mortal Chevy Chase "Fuck you very much." I would also offer his advice right back to him.

No Post on your blog this morning RB, I'm disappointed. I look forward to reading your latest stuff in the morning before I go to work. I hope you haven't let this jackass discourage you from writing your shit. Let me know if you create another spot, I will read it without comment so Park can't follow you around.

Time to deliver the U.S. mail.

6:38 AM  
Blogger tallywacker jesuseyes said...

dig it.

11:34 AM  
Blogger rich bachelor said...

Bro, I'm not writing because I don't really have anything to say. Regardless of what that shitheel thinks, I'm going to keep on writing. He has the delusion, commonly held, that if one disagrees with the criticism of another, it's due to too much sensitivity. No-even though it takes a pretty serious lack of grace to shit on me after that last post, it is still the work of some jackhole who writes shitty, pretentious poetry.
It's just why he keeps at it that is the real mystery (and why the discussion has wandered as far afield-Vietnam?-as it has). He likes abuse, and has a great deal of time?
I'm sort of thinking that ignoring him is the best option.

2:56 PM  
Blogger carrier said...

Sounds good to me. I wasted some of my valuable computer time to read some of that "poetry"...my turn...and it is shitty indeed. 'Course I have little use for any poetry, shitty or otherwise. People are always trying to say something other than what they're actually writing. I suppose I'm just too damn literal to figure out what the hell it is they're trying to say.

7:33 PM  
Blogger baby bulldog said...

oh alderpark, you're so right, this is junior highschool, ihave a crush on richie rich and you're reggie who always seems to get outsmarted by archie. damn that must be frustrating. as far as me sqirming because you're lacking some function, uh, no. i do find it a little sad that you try to pull the pity card. and i'm sorry i didn't spell whack off right, here let me clear it up for you JACK OFF.

8:32 PM  
Blogger coco_mees said...

yes I am doing it as a school project, how did you come across my blog anyhow,how do you browse different blog categories and how do you post pictures? Thanks!

11:57 PM  
Blogger BitchSlap The Monkey said...

coco - prolly by clicking the "next blog" button at the top of the page. Are you a student in media and communications?

12:23 PM  
Blogger tallywacker jesuseyes said...

wow, man, my simple "dig it" seems to have been swallowed up by crazy shit. I didn't mean to step into the middle of something (which, if you scan down the comments, it looks like I did). frankly, "rich dude" (if you really are so rich) I just wanted to point out that your writing is pretty damn good. keep on.

12:40 PM  
Blogger tallywacker jesuseyes said...

oh, and one more thing, I just wanted to give "alder park" the big finger (I'm sure he can figure out which one).

12:46 PM  
Blogger littlesongs said...

As a longtime citizen of Buckman and the EID, that evening's news hit home. He wasn't the first talented young person to die in the neighborhood, nor will he be the last. Perhaps, one day, one of us will die with a little dignity.

When I flipped on the set, it was obvious that they were winging the entire thing. As usual, they inserted "breaking news" to show their blatant opportunism. The reports were entirely spurious and based on ill-concieved conjecture.

It was a classic case of neo-journalism. Although the deceased had the luxury of being anonymous, I remember being positively infuriated by the exploitation of his beautiful shattered lover.

You wrote a moving tribute to a fine human being. I hope that fact isn't lost here in the side chatter of Commentville.

12:40 PM  

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