E-Mail Filler for a Brutal July

by LF (7/24/99)

It's been so damned hot in Raleigh lately that it's hard to think, much less write anything worthwhile. The humidity is high enough that sweat does not evaporate, so even a short walk coats you with the equivalent of warm spit. Getting into your broiling car fogs your glasses. Entering an air-conditioned building fogs your glasses.

All I can offer right now is some dashed-off material based on my e-mail:

> Hey, what's your take on John-John kicking it?

When I heard that the gent was snuggling with the oysters, I felt, you know, nothing. I think I saw his picture a few times on the covers of tabloids while standing in line to buy groceries. And I picked up George magazine once. It blew. So he was nothing to me other than the punch line to a handful of late-night TV monologue jokes.

But NOW, after all the fawning saturation coverage, I'm glad the guy is dead.

Sounds like every media bleeding gum in Washington had been counting on boosting JJ to the Presidency ever since he hit puberty and proved to be a completely fetching stud.

Policies? Policies? Fuck that shit! He was a Kennedy! And he had the Vagina Vote sewed-up! His buddies in the mainstream press were poised, apparently willing to pantingly do ANYTHING, to tell any lie, destroy any opponent, cover-up any indiscretion, or bury any embarrassing fact for JFK II.

But then he pulled a Teddy times two. And then some.

(Just think . . . if a trained dolphin with a Limpet mine on its back had been able to intercept the funeral ship while the Senator from Chappaquidick was delivering the eulogy, the Kennedy clan might have disappeared from the national scene for at least a generation, maybe even for good. Would've been a shame to waste an intelligent mammal on that bunch, but . . . ahhhh.)

Sayanora, scumbag!

> Guns are for men with small cox.

[That swipe came from some cow who lives in Australia. If you've not heard, the Ozzies recently suffered a firearm confiscation program just shy of the almost-total grab the English have already submitted to like sheep.]

Bet you're walking bow-legged these days since all the men-folk down your way must now be sporting telephone poles -- they sure as shit cannot acquire any more nasty guns.

How nice for you.

> What I do not share is your demeaning attiude
> towards us poor fools. Many of us may be accused
> of ignorance but not stupidity.

Oh, that's a good one.

Is there such a thing as a Free Lunch? Does federal money grow in cabbage patches? Would you personally get funds for the programs you like in the same fashion they do?

So yes, my honest opinion is that the average American maintains a childlike level of faith in the government so dreamy and sickeningly sweet that it makes me want to evacuate my bowels. Did you catch word of the astoundingly depressing Fox News Opinion Dynamics poll from July 16th? Thirty-nine percent of the respondents knew that Washington gets its ducats via taxing individuals and businesses. Eleven percent had no opinion. FIFTY PERCENT thought that the gubmint had plenty OF ITS OWN BUCKS to slather around like rich creamy butter! Sounds craaaaazy, don't it. But according to a recent estimate by the libertarian Cato Institute, about forty percent of the households in America PAY NO INCOME TAXES AT ALL. Oh, many of them get stung for Social Security, but do not directly drop a single penny into any of the other thousands of programs . . . which is exactly why the dead weight should not be allowed to vote. That's a simple rule, isn't it? If you don't fucking pay, you shouldn't get to fucking play.

But they do, so all the politicos are rolling in swag. All the armed agencies are stocked to the gunwales with greenbacks. All the judges have been paid-off. All the juries are stacked. Everyone is fat, dumb, and happy (well, maybe the first two). Here are your manacles. Nice craftsmanship, eh?

Dude! It's OVER! Get it?

> . . . just *why* do you think the bars in your area suck?

This one came in about six months ago, but I'm resurrecting it now because I just got told to "take a walk" at the Stingray Room, which was my favorite place to drink for the first couple of years after I moved to Five Points.

Way back when, the Stink had two types of bartenders: Punk-types who thought I was kinda funny, and slackoff poseurs ("Hey, I'm in my early thirties and still work for minimum wage, so that makes me better than you!") who'd slap my beers down and stomp away. It wasn't that I was ever anything other than polite to the latter group -- always going with "Please" and "Thank you" and remembering to tip -- they just despised the content of the conversations I had with hipster patrons who deigned to chat me up while I was sitting by myself, reading novels or writing or editing the technical stuff that pays my bills.

The last fun bartender recently left town for a far-off college. The slag who took her old shift, some fat blonde whose name I don't remember, gleefully delivered the brush-off after violently tossing the beer I ordered into one of the stainless steel sinks when she recognized my face.

The point of this tale, which is admittedly an extreme example, is that the bars here suck because most of the owners of drinking establishments never bother to put in an appearance. After having hit a majority of the joints in the Triangle over the last eight years, I can name five. The remainder (undoubtedly good Baptists) probably figure that slinging hooch is an ugly business, and gladly turn the day-to-day operations over to underlings who have little incentive to treat customers as anything other than pissy annoyances.

So if they're talking to one of their friends, you'll sit parched for as long as it takes. It's like drinking at the DMV.

Here's another kick: I hit Northside Billiards down on Whitaker Mill Road a few weeks back during a sweltering afternoon. It was me and a bunch of old guys. At 2pm, the bartenderette decided to mop the floor. Not that there was any puke on it or anything, but the task was part of her normal before-opening routine.

Since she came in way late that day, it just seemed like a good time to catch up.

So eight comfortable boozers had to get up off their stools and stand against the far wall or over by the pool tables while she swamped down the main area. And she made us move before she even filled her wheeled bucket. I pounded my $1.50 PBR and left. The rest of the bums just took it.

Up the spout