Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Whitney Houston and My Homophobic Four Minutes and a Half.

Nearly twenty-five years ago I was a brand new employee in an office whose next least senior person had been there seven years. That was the downside. The upside was after about six months I knew more than he did. His name was Denny Howell but he had the nickname Den Ho, even though he wasn’t remotely Asian. The guy who ran the office explained to me that Denny meant well and he had a good heart, but intelligence wasn’t his strong suit, and he had a really wicked bad memory. He once forgot why he had driven an hour away to another office and simply drove back, happily oblivious to the parts he was supposed to deliver.

Denny’s biggest problem was he had gotten involved with a woman who was draining his wallet as well as his soul. She was a bar fly he had met while with a friend watching a football game in a bar, and after that she realized she could “borrow” money from Den Ho without ever having to pay it back. She moved in with him, talked him out of the keys to his truck, and he would have to bum a ride to work on this mornings she hadn’t come home yet. Any excuse she offered was good enough by Den Ho. The people at work gave up on it all when she told him she was pregnant and the baby was his. The fact she was still married to someone else kept them from legally being wed, but he signed the birth certificate and so at least by law, Den Ho had a son. And he did love that boy with all his heart.

It did not take long for the mother of the child to return to her wandering ways, and she left the baby with Den Ho, and that was fine. Father and son bonded. After six years of an off again off again relationship she moved out and moved in with another man. And she got a lawyer to take sole possession of the child.

The lawyering stuff happened right after I realized that I was going to get a promotion before Den Ho did, and he had been there for over seven years. Everyone agreed not to mention it around him, but one day someone congratulated me and Den Ho was standing right there. He took the hit like a true champion, and to this very day has never uttered a word against me for it. I could tell it hurt, and it hurt worse that people he had known for a very long time had hid it from him.

Maybe it was that, maybe it was the fact that he really wanted to prove to me that he was okay with me getting promoted over him, and he wanted to share his life with me, to allow me to see it wasn’t a bad person at all, I have no idea, but a couple of days later we were out in the company truck, in my hometown, downtown, at lunch, and the Whitney Houston song, “I will always love you” came on and he pulled over and parked the truck and told me that every time he heard this song it reminded him of that woman and no matter how she acted he would always love her. So he started to sing, loud, off key and horribly, in public, with me sitting in the same truck, and the only thing I could think is, “Oh My Dog, people with think he’s singing to me.” And for the next four minutes and a half, or whatever it is, I felt like getting out of the truck and simply walking away. 

Shortly after that, the woman in question went off on a beach trip with a couple of friends and they ran out of beer. So they pretended to have a gun to steal some beer and the guy behind the counter had a real gun. There were drugs found in her purse and she wound up getting sentenced to a couple of years in jail for her part in the deal. For the first time in a very long time, Denny Howell was a free man. He changed jobs, got sole custody of the little boy he always called his own, and one day met a woman who sat him down and told him that he was a wonderful father and he had a beautiful soul, but he was the worst cook on earth. (He was, seriously) They got married and pretty much really did live happily ever after. Den Ho is a grandfather now, and the woman he left behind, well, she never did show up again.

We live in a world where men aren’t supposed to be emotionally supportive of other men, especially when a Whitney Houston song is being played, and sang, and I have always wondered what would have happened if I had just started singing with him.

Take Care,

Monday, January 2, 2017

The Serial Killer/Sex Slave White Van and Me.


I went to buy dogfood for the first time since the second week in December of last year. I bought enough so I wouldn’t have to face the crowds and the madness of Christmas, and finally, it’s thinned out enough I don’t feel like I’m walking around in an insane asylum being operated by the patients, who come and go as they please. All in all, with any sort of luck at the checkouts, “Unexpected item in bagging area, would you like to use your own bag, please wait for assistance” nevermind. I can get out in less than ten minutes, or twenty, depending on traffic. I get a huge bag of mutt food, some soy milk, and I’m heading for home but two women, both older than me by about ten years, nearly push their buggy into mine. They’re buying a case of beer. They are Alabama fans, and suddenly, we’re besties because they just know I want to talk football with them “That Saban he’s a genius and The Tide is unstoppable this year” I tell them even though I haven’t watched the first college game this year. I can talk football about nearly any team playing the sport at any level and still sound like I know what I’m talking about even if I have no idea what team they’re in love with.

The parking lot while sparsely populated, has far too many people who seem to be aimless and unconscious. Christmas is over. It’s done. But they’re returned to the scene of the crime in order to try to reignite that feeling of purpose the commercials gave them for the last six months of advertising for Christmas. The employees seem shell shocked, traumatized, and demoralized. It’s over and they know it, but they’re putting out decorations for Valentine’s Day, and getting ready for the big Fourth of July sale.

I’m listening classical music and as I hit the last traffic light out of town and back towards home I realize that I may be able to get home in just two songs. It’s a good twenty-two minutes back but these are pieces of music that were put together to enrapture an audience’s hearts and minds for more than three minutes and a half. There’s a Cheshire Cat moon smiling at me and the road is empty, more or less. Violins sing to me as I put distance and time to good use.

There a vehicle ahead of me, and I find it odd that I’m gaining on it. I’m riding fifty-five and usually that means I’m the slowest person on the road. I move to pass the vehicle and it’s a panel van, one of the white ones, that people associate with serial killers. It’s more or less one of those things that’s morphed into an Urban Legend but at the same time, I cannot help but wonder about who is driving this thing and why. But the van speeds up as I try to pass it. I slow down and the van slows down. There’s a car coming up fast behind us so I drop my speed to see how the van drive reacts to faster traffic.

Oddly, the van driver speeds up as the faster car tries to pass him. We’re on a four-lane highway. There’s room for everyone here, but the van driver doesn’t want to be passed. I speed up because these two are going to get out of sight before long, if they keep this up. But the car takes a left and now the van driver slows down. He’s driving at about fifty-seven miles an hour, just fast enough to slowly pull away from me, but at odd intervals he hits his brakes. Unicorns, maybe? Floaters? Who knows? I do know that as long as I keep this guy in front of me I won’t have to worry about him.

I wonder what or who, this guy is got in the van. Odd isn’t it? I assume it’s a male driving, and I’ve been preconditioned to think of white vans as rolling crime scenes. As weird as my life might be, at least I don’t have the same nightmares as women. You never hear about guys being kidnapped and used as sex slaves. A woman has that fear, and it isn’t an unreal fear in some part of the world and this country, that a man might take her away from the life she knows to chain her up and use her until he decides to kill her. Young women from Asia get sold off to monsters in this country who use them as prostitutes, moving them in white vans, from one place to another, and their lives are consumed by the idea that they’re alive only to bring in money for sex. Men never have these sorts of nightmares. Men are these nightmares.

It’s not impossible, you know, for there to be women chained together in that van, being taken to their next destination, without any sort of hope of rescue, and they do not realize that half a mile away is someone who can sense, somehow, they are there, but thinks it’s just imagination, or hallucination, that these thoughts occur. Prostitutes, whether forced into it through brutality or the lack of any other opportunity, have historically been non-people as far as society and law enforcement goes. Serial killers have targeted these women simply because we as a society care less for them than we would a woman kidnapped out of her home or place or study. They will not see the dreams of having children of their own and a family to raise and care for actualized. They will be beaten if they become pregnant or maybe even killed. Abortion is a work requirement for these women. Their reproductive organs, if they become fertile, are a hindrance to the men who have enslaved these women.

The van pulls away and into the night. Some guy who operates a rolling repair shop, or someone who is moving a friend to another home likely realizes that their choice of vehicles causes these thoughts in other people, but maybe someone just needed a van, and it just happened to be white.

It does happen, I suppose.

Take Care,