Another birthday gone, and when a old horse see the end of the track ahead, and already forgot how far back the gate was, he bound to ask himself, no matter what place he in: “Why they keep whipping me?”
Right up front: I’m not talking about working for Courthouse News. I’m talking about being an old workhorse — and what I seen in our summaries of millions of lawsuits in the past 16 years.
And if you think I’m faking black English, to be cool or something, lemme tell you this: I ain’t faking it. I learned it fair and square, on the South Side of Chicago and in Harlem and on the bandstand, and I prefer it, like Sam Clemens did, and Mezz Mezzrow and Stan Getz.
I’m speaking it like I heard it, and learned it, and if y’all don’t like to hear it, y’all don’t have to listen nor read no further. You might could want to go off where you all alone and apart and try to attempt an anatomical impossibility.
Since I quit the music business, 42 years ago, I been unemployed for maybe six months — and they were the worst, miserable months of my life. Except for some others, which I could tell you about but won’t.
Many moons ago, when I was on the bum (back before those 42 years ago), a black family took me in when I was hurtin’ — me and my saxophone. They taught me a whole lot real quick before they booted me out.
One thing I remember was the young man who saw me, alone and forlorn, on a street corner in Berkeley. He took me to his house half a block away, and introduced me to his mom and sisters, and they showed me into a room where I could lay down my weary head. He was younger than I was, and I was a young young man.
I remember their living room, where that wonderful family greeted me. I wisht I could remember their names, but I don’t. The whole house was immaculately clean, with religious photos and icons on the walls and in ever’ corner. And Mama and her daughters bustling in the kitchen. My savior and I were the privileged sons.
That’s right: savior. The Talmud says, if a man save one life, it is as though he has saved the whole human race. (Emergency update for today: And if you destroy one life … ?)
“You know,” my savior told me, showing me around, “black folks like to have things nice.”
That was news to me. I didn’t know that black folks liked to have things nice.
I’d never thought about it.
I suppose if I had thought about it I coulda guessed, but I’d never thought about it.
So what’s the point of this rambling story?
Nothin’, I guess. ‘cept that if you ain’t never been there, you ain’t gonna understand nothing about it.
Whatever It is.
And that is my point.
I know: This is a news page. But this is an op-ed column — an opinion, not the neutral editorial function. That’s what op-ed means.
You white folks out there, you Confederate battle flag-loving, Evangelical, so-called Christian supporters of a lying, whore-mongering vindictive, greedy, little-guy stiffing, racist neo-Fascist of a president: What do you know about any of this?
If you don’t know nothing about it, here is my suggestion for you on November 3: Don’t vote.
Stay home. Protect yourselves from the virus. All kinds of viruses out there.