Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org & Knatz.com / Personal / Stories / Themes / Racial /
The first bunch of stories to go here will be personal pk experiences, yet, since they have a single theme, I stow them among my Themes, not chronologically. Initially, the stories will deal with only two ethnic or racial types: Blacks, and Jews.
West Side Story
How? pk doesn’t have a “kind.” What am I? A WASP?!?!?!?
Kid: First, Blacks:
The first time I was ever aware of anybody being different from the bulk of us was in grammar school. The teacher introduced two little black girls: identical twins. They wore cute little white and pink frocks. Their to-me curiously stiff braids were tipped with pink ribbons. They were distinct in primary colors, the rest of us blended this and that pastel.
I loved them: particularly the one girl who was slightly taller than her sister. (She did though gave me heart failure the way she held her pencil, her finger not arched, but bent backwards: merely the finger joint holding pressure on the pencil. I went weak kneed as though I’d seen someone jabbed in the eye.)
A couple of days later they were gone, never to be seen again. I asked the teacher, Where are the girls? Got some fudged non-answer.
In high school there was one black guy who stayed on hand for a few months before he turned sixteen and could drop out: under who knows how much pressure to drop out. Actually, he may have been nineteen, if not thirty. Compared to the rest of us, he was gigantic. The music teacher tried to get him to solo. I don’t think he was very interested in singing. In a football scrimmage I was assigned to block him. At the snap I drove at his mid-section as hard as I could, not budging him by so much as a grass blade. Once he determined where the play was going, he picked me up, set me gently aside, snared the runner with his long arm, and carefully laid him on the ground.
JD we called him. Was JD naturally a Christian? (or Buddhist?) Or had he been warned that he’d better not use any of his all too real assets against us poor pathetic white people? we Lilliputians.
From these two stories a Martian might guess that no black families lived in Rockville Centre.
(Notice the assumption (a joke) that a Martian would notice something like “race” in the first place.) This Martian thought so: for the longest time. They, they blacks, etc., were kept well hidden: so well hidden, the citizenry had no idea it was hiding them! or hiding anything.
As I wrote this morning in another context:
Civilization commits its thefts in the dark: the dark of itself.
The senator sends Custer to do the rape, the pillage: then Clem and Floyd quell the victim-families.
The right hand is ignorant — innocent! — of what the left hand has done.
But then how come my mother’s friend the doctor seemed to have so many stories of big fat stupid black women at the hospital? How did they wind up in the hospital if they didn’t live somewhere?
The most memorable of those stories told of a woman so big, so fat, so stupid, she didn’t know she was in labor. She thought she was sick. They found the baby in the toilet, where she’d been unable to flush this unaccountable huge turd.
(I now know that such incidents are commonplace: you don’t have to be black to not know you’re pregnant or that your constipation is really a baby trying to get born.)
It wasn’t until after my freshman year at college, when I temp’d for the town over the summer as a garbage man, that I discovered a number of black men working for the municipality: all in sanitation, most of them at the incinerator (one guy famous for never changing his pants: shit in them and everything). One drove the night truck that collected for the restaurants and taverns, and another drove a truck days: but mostly only in a neighborhood I had never heard of, never stumbled upon. I don’t think it was on the map. One day I was assigned to him, and I soon learned he ate his lunch at home.
Where did this neighborhood come from? How had they kept it hidden? Where did the kids go to school (if they went to school)? I had stumbled upon Rockville Centre’s black ghetto.
Ah, but you see by that time in my life my association of things black were mostly wonderful. When I was a kid Bach of course was great: I mean I really felt the greatness, I wasn’t just mumbling boiler plate. Chopin was OK … When all of a sudden certain performances really excited me. First it was just Spike Jones type garbage: kids’ stuff. (Hell, I was a kid.) Then Dixieland got to me. But it was white Dixie: Firehouse Five Plus Two. Nevertheless, that led me to discover Kid Ory. And Satchmo. Before long I found Benny Goodman: with Lionel Hampton, Teddy Wilson …
So by the time I was approaching junior high my pantheon was very largely “black”: Prez Young, Billie Holiday, Duke …
Mind you: don’t think I confused DJ or the garbage truck driver for Louis or Mahalia. I knew that my heroes were unusual: not unusual blacks; unusual period: plain great. But I’d never socialized with a black. There were no blacks to offer the opportunity had I sought opportunity.
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