Other voices other brooms

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  • pt

  • Let me tell you about Ralphie the neighbour boy when I was six and seven and lived on Antrim Road always dressed in women’s clothing. Huge lobster, perhaps the hugest lobster ever, hung over the fireplace mantle in the playroom. Couldn’t tear my eyes offa it. It figured largely most likely to succeed probably. I feel like I am making this up. I can’t remember if he wore makeup. And another neighbour kid who later lost her arm. And her sister Kathleen … and a huge collection of Catholic memorabilia branding me for life. German last name. They drew on their genitals seems weird but it was true. I abstained. Use your arm while you got it I guess.

    I don’t know how this emerged today. Stole it from a good friend and super writer five or six years ago. Stuffed it away so I wouldn’t lose it. Like this memory…

    Once in Berkeley in the botanical gardens, I crossed a bridge over Strawberry Creek and there on the bank below me was a young woman with no arms gazing into a pool at a huge cray fish (Procambarus clarkii). I fixated on its claws. The irony, the contrast, was intense. The crustacean had powerful arms, huge pincer claws. The girl, I imagined she was as struck by the unfairness of it as I was, but that’s hubris. I can’t read minds, but I certainly can project.

    Today in America it’s “Presidents Day.” We used to celebrate the birthdays of Washington (February 22) and Lincoln (February 12) separately, but Richard Nixon, assuredly deserving of no holiday of his own, combined the two and decreed the third Monday of February to be Presidents Day. Now we’ve diluted our heritage but we’ve added a three day weekend between the Super Bowl and March madness. That can’t be all bad.

    Posted in People, The Proprietor, Writing



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