Archive for September 2, 2019

https://rainn.org/

They Call Me Red

……

7 May 2013 

The first person I met, after getting off the bus, was Chester.

“Hi, Chester, have you heard any news about Joy?”

“Only that she’s home from the hospital. She’s got a lot of stitches across her head. Mariah lives in the same building, so she’s been checking on her. That’s all I know.”

“Do you have any idea of how she was hurt?”

“All I know is that she was with Andre (he grimaced) and Hippo. They haven’t been seen around since.”

“Thanks, Chester, take care.”

In Joy’s spot for the second time, this week was Clark, sitting quietly on top of his backpack. In front of him was his usual sign HELP CURE HOBOPHOBIA. Above it was another sign, KEEP OFF THE CRASS. As I sat down I could see a third sign, hidden behind the first, WILL YOU MERRY ME? I asked, “Clark, how are the signs working for you?”

“I get various responses from smiles, to laughter, to hostility.”

I said, “Why the hostility? Why would these signs invoke any hostility?”

“It’s partly the season; protest season is coming up. It seems to start in the universities. They’re always protesting something, then it spreads to the smaller colleges. I think they watch to see what the reaction will be, then they follow the lead.

“There seems to be a hierarchy. There are leaders and there are those who follow, but I’ve seen other groups called volunteers. Some of them are like nazis, most are white, anglo Saxons.”

“Do you mean like white supremacists?”

“Yeah, something like that. They don’t seem too organized. We had an incident at my building a while back. It houses a lot of people on a disability pension. Not me, I pay my own way. I saw one of my neighbors holding this guy by the throat. He was saying to the other guy, ‘You don’t grab me by the throat. You don’t grab my mother by the throat. Understand?’

“Then the police showed up. All they did was get out of their car, put their arms across their chests and shout, ‘Volunteers!’ a bunch of guys from other buildings came out and there was mayhem. I didn’t stick around. I see us falling into, sort of, a police state.”

I said, “You seem well informed, what is your background?”

“I went through the separate school system, under the Roman Catholics, then high school, then university. University really opened my eyes. I studied a lot of biology, anthropology and sociology. It wasn’t what the professors taught me, but I learned how to learn. After that, I didn’t see the need to pay tuition, so I left.

“I guess my biggest influence was Abraham Maslow. He developed the hierarchy of needs. He extended the idea to include his observations of humans’ innate curiosity. I read a lot of his books. I stay away from psychology, and psychiatry; that’s mostly Freud and Jung.”

I said, “Maslow was the greatest mind of the past century. I’m now reading a book that refers to his theories often.”

Clark said, “I see a slow disintegration of democracy, I call it global swarming. You can see it with the kids on the streets. We’re moving away from the idea of the individual, except for celebrities and sports heroes. We seem to want to know everything about them; what they eat, what they wear. These people are just fronts. They’re told what to say by their publicity managers.”

“How would you define yourself, your ideas?”

“I think of myself as a Stoic Epicurean and a skeptic. The world always needs skeptics.  This is based  on the Aristotelian belief that ‘the sort of person one is and the lifestyle one adopts will  have an immediate bearing on the actions one performs.’ Epicureans argue that the path to securing happiness comes by withdrawing from public life and residing with close, like-minded friends. That’s me.”

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https://rainn.org/

……

7 May 2013 

Willie was standing by the fence, Jacques was sitting on the lawn eating cheese, beside him were Wolf and Shaggy.

Wolf said, “When you finish eating that, Jacques, I’ve got more for you.

“So, Dennis, how’ve you been. I guess you can tell I’ve had a drink. I’m slurring my words. Yesterday, just after you left, the cops rode up on their bicycles. I told you I was going to get even with Jacques. I’d already packed up, Shaggy was in her cart. I said to them, ‘Look, I’m all ready to go. I know I’m not supposed to be here, so do what you will.’ They gave me a warning. Then I said, ‘Those bastards, at the memorial. They should be thrown in jail. It’s a disgrace to our soldiers and our vets.’ So, last I saw, the police were riding up there.”

“Have you heard anything about Joy,” I asked.

“Everybody’s talking about that, nobody knows anything. Toothless Chuck, you know who I’m talking about, threatened to give Andre two black eyes. Weasel threatened to punch him out. Mind you, last time, it was Andre who put Weasel in the hospital. I’m not a fighter, that’s why I have Shaggy, also I don’t like getting hurt.

Nobody, especially me, likes to see one of our women hit. We don’t look kindly on that sort of thing. I don’t think any woman should be hit. Joy’s boyfriend is serving two years for the last time he hit her. From what I understand Emile gave Joy a shot in the face, she fell and hit her head on something. Mariah has been checking on her, she’s probably the best person to contact if you want more information.

“I love Joy, I put her up at my place when Big Jake beat her, but that woman has a knack for getting hit. Pardon the expression but, she attracts punches like shit attracts flies. My feeling is that if she acted like a woman, she’d be treated like a woman.

“I’ve known Andre for a long time. I’ve never known him to start a fight, especially with a woman. Now, Willie here, he loves to fight, but Andre, he’s usually laughing, making jokes, carrying on. You’ve seen it.

“You know Shark, don’t you? Of course, you do. He’s known Joy for thirty years, since Winnipeg. When he introduced me to her,  about fifteen years ago, do you know what he said to me? He said, ‘Wolf, don’t get involved with this woman. Don’t fall in love with her, because she’s trouble.’ That’s what he said.

“Even Shaggy, who’s bitten nearly everyone around here. The only time she drew blood was with Joy. Does that tell you something? Animals have a sense about these things.

“Anyway, enough said. Let’s change the subject.”

Raven arrived wearing a short denim skirt, looking much more cheerful and sober than yesterday. She walked over to pick up Debbie’s lighter. Willie said, “Raven, be careful when you bend over, or Shakes will look up your skirt. Oh, too late. Shakes, did you get a good view?”

“Yes.”

Kenny arrived on his bicycle. He said, “I got hit by a car this morning.  I was riding next to the curb and this guy turned right in front of me. I went over his hood and landed on the other side. My elbow is scraped, the side of my face, and I think my finger is broken. My bag had been full of beer. People were scrambling around, gathering my cans, they were rolling everywhere. The cops came. I just wanted to get out of there. I still can’t bend my finger.”

Two women at the other end of the park were practicing Pilates. Shakes imitated them. Everyone found it hilarious. Just another day at the park.

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