a writer's journal - politics, music, american culture, esoteric aspects of life, and stories

Sunday

Belatedly, a farewell

Jerzy the doorman for the high-rise was going on vacation for the whole month of October, so we had pitched in to get him a replacement. He thought it was great, and comes in all the time to see us (he spent a weekend in Dallas with his brother, and I think they spent all his vacation money at a couple of strip clubs) and more importantly, change the batteries. He also fixed its jaw when it got stuck too far open - someone must have been pretending (?) to make out with it, or making it drink (to see the liquor spill through its ribs).

Anyway at first I was quite repelled by the fact that one of the songs it sang as you walked past it was "Superfreak" but after all, Rick James probably appreciated the crassness of it. In life, in death. The fans don't seem to mind either. We got it at the Wal-Mart, after we saw they had one their by their entrance. It's Wal-Mart who made famous the geriatric door greeter whose ostensible purpose is to brighten your day, and perhaps employ one of society's castoffs who probably once owned a mom & pop store that couldn't keep up with the times, but whose real job is to peskily check suspicious looking people's receipts as they leave the store. Now there's a truly morbid skeleton paying ironic tribute to a recently deceased disco singer (people insist on dignifying Rick by calling him a funk musician, although he really wasn't; and why should funk be more impressive than disco?) to keep the greeter company, or lighten the work load perhaps.

Miss Sheila on the third floor says it all the time how it scares people (her?), I could see how it could, with its sinister eyes and muffled ventriloquism, unpleasant tarantula dance moves and smart black suit. I tacked a post-it on its lapel that says "Rick James RIP, Bustin' Out" and then someone stole its legs, now it's a funky midget. Jerzy's pissed at that, says "that shows how much I'm needed back on the job... all these vandalisms."

Future historians will often begin the story of our times with, "Americans were a crass people." It's a highly refined crudeness, though. Born of an almost instinctive appreciation for stupid and garish ironies. A highly developed love of profound inversions displayed through cheapness, trivial desecrations of (for example) a man's death. A man who sang about sleaze, sex, and clumsy pleas for reconciliation. Who then came to embody those songs and the destructive drives implicit in their glamor. And pretended to dig his way out, pretended to clean himself up, in order to be granted another shot at the big time; although he probably didn't believe it was honestly given to him. It wasn't. He was returning to pop culture cachet as the butt of a series of lampoons by a cable comedian who wasn't even out of diapers when Rick made his first recordings, then he died with a dozen drugs in his veins including more than one popular antidepressant, and then some fucker stole the legs off Jerzy's skeleton doll that memorialized him for us. It's just so tragic. It's not grand tragedy, but it's more affecting because it's trivial, pathetic tragedy. Why, god? Why did you have to take the skeleton doll's legs away from us??? Just when Jerzy had refreshed the doll, changed his batteries and fixed his jaw? You saw fit to call to you the legs of your faithful servant, can they do more good with you in heaven?
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