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Thread: Once upon a life

  1. #1
    Viejo del Foro Daddy-YO's Avatar
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    Default Once upon a life

    This has nothing to do with Nicaragua, real or imagined. It was provoked from silent memories by the following comment in the threads on 'Guns':

    Quote Originally Posted by el duende grande View Post
    Sweet dreams. May you never get in a gun battle, but if you do I hope you win!
    T'weren't no dream. Had a down & out stretch in Baltimore. Not being particularly choosey, my friends were bar flies. 'Friends' may be too strong a word. I was no bum. Never bummed. Drove a 'Good Humor' ice cream truck through the poor, mostly white then, neighborhoods well beyond the interstate highways that make Baltimore another knot in the East coast megagopolis. It was a white pick-up with an ice box (used dry ice) built onto the bed. I rang the bells on the roof of the cab (in order to condition kids to salivate with desire) by pulling a cord.

    Chuck Berry's comeback hit "My Ding-A-Ling" played on the jukebox of the windowless waterfront bar I'd sometimes stop at for a cold one and a cheap, but good & hefty steelworker's sandwich that can only be found in such out-of-the-way dives-with-heart. When the police confiscated my ice cream truck one morning and put me in jail (only for a few hours but long enough to do a line-up strip search, me the only white in the group of ten) for making an illegal (during certain hours) left hand turn, I decided I'm no 'good humor' man and quit. (In court later the fine was dismissed cause a slick lawyer before me, who'd made the same mistake, said the sun got in his eyes.)

    Got another job in a near-hidden paint factory that I'd happened upon while driving my ice cream truck around Essex. I was hired as an asphalt chemist. (Junior chemist was my title.) I knew nothing about asphalt but that didn't matter, I had aptitude. Basically I formulated new, improved & resistant goo. The game was to hit a viscoelastic target. Successful recipes were used to coat underground electrical cables. The job had high turnover. Compounding high temperature tar all day wears on one. Slum wages were little help, but I managed, living on tuna, crackers & canned beans, in a studio with whacko Nam vet neighbors for drinking buddies.

    So, how was it I got in the middle of a gun battle? It was another one of those non-descript bars in a part of the city that progress had totally by-passed. Bar food was boiled eggs & pickled pig's feet; no yuppie peanut-crunchy bowls. I knew of it cause it served the cheapest drafts around. Inside I found an old 'friend' getting stupid. Just the company I thought I needed to help me forget my black, so, so black, sticky & hot job wrestling with the tar baby.

    But before long the fool got into an argument with another patron over the sort of nonsense that only drunks think is important. Soon they wanted to fight. "Take it outside!" orders the bartender. I went out with my friend, but before I realized what happened he had drawn a gun, a small tarnished nickel-plated one, from his jacket. The other guy as quickly pulled out a revolver from a shoulder holster under his coat and stood behind a car holding it police style with both hands on the roof of the car. Stupidly I got between them, back to the guy who looked like he knew what he was doing, and talked & talked something like sense & reason to my stupid friend. It was as though I hadn't been drinking at all, the alarming seriousness of the situation had sobered me so rapidly. Either that or another part of my brain took over, a part that the bubble-driven intoxicant hadn't reached, a sanity reserve. I prevailed. He put his piece of crap pistol away. The other guy was an off-duty cop. Police came, summons were issued. I had to go to court a couple weeks later. I didn't recognize my 'friend', all clean & kempt, weary wife & kid in tow. (She thanked me.) The judge threw it out when the guy went weepy repentent. Besides nobody had gotten plugged with lead. ('Plomo' in Nicaraguan, thus plumbers, q.e.d.)

    It wasn't really a gun battle, I suppose, more a dumb standoff. All lived to burp through another day. Did we win?

    Once my divorce was settled I left Baltimore.
    I never met a Semite I didn't like.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Once upon a life

    Good read. I'd say you won, considering how lucky you are both guys didn't use you as cover. Baltimore is pretty corrupt, good thing you left there.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Once upon a life

    Quote Originally Posted by Daddy-YO View Post
    This has nothing to do with Nicaragua, real or imagined. It was provoked from silent memories by the following comment in the threads on 'Guns':



    T'weren't no dream. Had a down & out stretch in Baltimore. Not being particularly choosey, my friends were bar flies. 'Friends' may be too strong a word. I was no bum. Never bummed. Drove a 'Good Humor' ice cream truck through the poor, mostly white then, neighborhoods well beyond the interstate highways that make Baltimore another knot in the East coast megagopolis. It was a white pick-up with an ice box (used dry ice) built onto the bed. I rang the bells on the roof of the cab (in order to condition kids to salivate with desire) by pulling a cord.

    Chuck Berry's comeback hit "My Ding-A-Ling" played on the jukebox of the windowless waterfront bar I'd sometimes stop at for a cold one and a cheap, but good & hefty steelworker's sandwich that can only be found in such out-of-the-way dives-with-heart. When the police confiscated my ice cream truck one morning and put me in jail (only for a few hours but long enough to do a line-up strip search, me the only white in the group of ten) for making an illegal (during certain hours) left hand turn, I decided I'm no 'good humor' man and quit. (In court later the fine was dismissed cause a slick lawyer before me, who'd made the same mistake, said the sun got in his eyes.)

    Got another job in a near-hidden paint factory that I'd happened upon while driving my ice cream truck around Essex. I was hired as an asphalt chemist. (Junior chemist was my title.) I knew nothing about asphalt but that didn't matter, I had aptitude. Basically I formulated new, improved & resistant goo. The game was to hit a viscoelastic target. Successful recipes were used to coat underground electrical cables. The job had high turnover. Compounding high temperature tar all day wears on one. Slum wages were little help, but I managed, living on tuna, crackers & canned beans, in a studio with whacko Nam vet neighbors for drinking buddies.

    So, how was it I got in the middle of a gun battle? It was another one of those non-descript bars in a part of the city that progress had totally by-passed. Bar food was boiled eggs & pickled pig's feet; no yuppie peanut-crunchy bowls. I knew of it cause it served the cheapest drafts around. Inside I found an old 'friend' getting stupid. Just the company I thought I needed to help me forget my black, so, so black, sticky & hot job wrestling with the tar baby.

    But before long the fool got into an argument with another patron over the sort of nonsense that only drunks think is important. Soon they wanted to fight. "Take it outside!" orders the bartender. I went out with my friend, but before I realized what happened he had drawn a gun, a small tarnished nickel-plated one, from his jacket. The other guy as quickly pulled out a revolver from a shoulder holster under his coat and stood behind a car holding it police style with both hands on the roof of the car. Stupidly I got between them, back to the guy who looked like he knew what he was doing, and talked & talked something like sense & reason to my stupid friend. It was as though I hadn't been drinking at all, the alarming seriousness of the situation had sobered me so rapidly. Either that or another part of my brain took over, a part that the bubble-driven intoxicant hadn't reached, a sanity reserve. I prevailed. He put his piece of crap pistol away. The other guy was an off-duty cop. Police came, summons were issued. I had to go to court a couple weeks later. I didn't recognize my 'friend', all clean & kempt, weary wife & kid in tow. (She thanked me.) The judge threw it out when the guy went weepy repentent. Besides nobody had gotten plugged with lead. ('Plomo' in Nicaraguan, thus plumbers, q.e.d.)

    It wasn't really a gun battle, I suppose, more a dumb standoff. All lived to burp through another day. Did we win?

    Once my divorce was settled I left Baltimore.

    Sounds like the perfect resume for a Nicaraguan expat.

    Residency requirements should be waived for a good story like this.

  4. #4
    House SOB Little Corn Tom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Once upon a life

    Quote Originally Posted by kwah2249 View Post
    Good read. I'd say you won, considering how lucky you are both guys didn't use you as cover. Baltimore is pretty corrupt, good thing you left there.




    Yeah....Good thing you had the sense to move someplace with no corruption.....

    Nice read....I remember Cincinnati with $.15 draft beers and those jars full of hard boiled eggs.... and spooky 'Nam Vets.
    Life's different here ... It's a whole 'nother pace.

  5. #5
    Viejo del Foro Just Plain John Wayne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Once upon a life

    Good story, but it also holds to my theory...

    Guns and booze don't mix very well...

    When I was 28 had a friend got drunk and shot himself. That was not very smart. but he did ir right right behind the ear, I was a pall bearer...
    To be called a "Has Been" I must surmise, is much Greater than to be called a "Nevah Been"... JW...



  6. #6
    House SOB Little Corn Tom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Once upon a life

    Quote Originally Posted by Just Plain John Wayne View Post
    Good story, but it also holds to my theory...

    Guns and booze don't mix very well...

    When I was 28 had a friend got drunk and shot himself. That was not very smart. but he did ir right right behind the ear, I was a pall bearer...

    Natural Selection at work!
    Life's different here ... It's a whole 'nother pace.

  7. #7
    Active TRN Member RGV AG's Avatar
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    Default Re: Once upon a life

    I miss pickled eggs and pigs feet. Nothing like sitting in a crappy bar, during the heat of the day, eating that stuff with a cold brew in hand.

    Cool story, folks forget or don't know how rough Baltimore really is.

  8. #8
    guaro y mujeres ejb3's Avatar
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    Default Re: Once upon a life

    Quote Originally Posted by Little Corn Tom View Post
    Natural Selection at work!
    aka: "Darwin Award"
    political correctedness has run wild and the outrage police are everywhere

  9. #9
    House SOB Little Corn Tom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Once upon a life

    Quote Originally Posted by ejb3 View Post
    aka: "Darwin Award"
    Yep!

    http://www.darwinawards.com/
    Life's different here ... It's a whole 'nother pace.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Once upon a life

    Quote Originally Posted by Little Corn Tom View Post
    Yeah....Good thing you had the sense to move someplace with no corruption.....
    True true, good call.

  11. #11
    Viejo del Foro Daddy-YO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Once upon a life

    Had a couple friends commit suicide with guns. Quick & effective. The one was a creative genius, an English prof at a women's college in Ohio. We'd been drinking buddies in Baltimore, but had gone our separate ways a couple years before he'd ended himself. He did it in front of his live-in girlfriend when she told him she was leaving him - cruel & twisted, for sure, but it'd seem he left her first. Before the gun he'd effectively destroyed his brain with much too much speed and freon (anoxia) - of all shit.

    The other was a work-friend in Tennessee. What made it so memorable was the ceremony he orchestrated before doing the deed. He arranged for some ten of us to get together after work Friday for brewskies & camaraderie at a classy spot in town with lots of private rooms. I sat across from him. I got talking about sunsets on a Mexican beach and night-swims in the phosphorescenting ocean in the buff with a babe, but he dismissed it as uninteresting. He wasn't unpleasant, just totally engulfed by negativity. We were all too wrapped up in our own egos/lives to realized this gathering for him was his way of saying good-bye to friends without outright telling us his intentions. Sort of a last supper with work-friends. Saturday he spent with his brothers. Early Sunday he left his wife a letter, kissed his two young daughters good-bye, and went behind their house to blow his brains out. That Sunday was Father's day. Years before, his father had committed suicide.

    There's a locus in our brains, and those of mice too, called the 'pleasure center'. Mice with low-voltage electrodes implanted there, in experiments where they can control the current applied by pushing a bar with their paws, keep juicing themselves to the exclusion of all else, including eating & drinking. Why would such a joy-spot exist in our brains? Each of us know.

    Illness is organic whether from infection, injury, poison, cancer or genetic. No organ, no tissues, no cells are exempt. Suppose there's a time-bomb in those particular brain cell genes that, once triggered, renders continued living tortuous, instead of an occasional joy. I'm just supposing out loud here.
    I never met a Semite I didn't like.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Once upon a life

    Hard to understand when most of us have never been in that place. I've been discouraged, down and out, but have always managed to find some perspective that didn't including closing the door. It's ALL very temporary except that final decision. When I lost my younger son things seemed pretty dark. Shelley and I had no one else to blame, so lashed out at each other. Part of the healing process I'm sure, but VERY painful.

    It probably IS some illness, look at all the lifers who soldier on . .what kind of life is that, confined and humiliated? Some people do exhibit a destructive streak, perhaps there's a gene misplaced somewhere.

    I can understand those who wish to die because of a debilitating illness or injury that leave them little movement. I watched >Mar Adentro< the other night, an excellent telling of the story of Spaniard Ramon Sampedro, who fought a 30 year campaign in favor of euthanasia and his own right to die.

    The "celebration" was a good way to go for your Tennessee friend. It would be rude to leave without saying goodbye. It is, afterall, about the ones we leave behind, and not about ourselves. It softened the blow considerably. . .

  13. #13
    Para aquí para acá Jonh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Once upon a life

    First rule of a gun fight: don't be there.

  14. #14
    Viejo del Foro Just Plain John Wayne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Once upon a life

    Oh we was nasty diesel mechanics, work a haulics the both of us, Jim and I...

    Just wanting our wives and child, we both had one each daughters to live well.

    Sunday's would go to a fishing hole with the Girls, catch fish and cook them over a fire.. Life was Grand.

    Both of our women got to playing around at about the same time and thus ended a stage in life that brought quite a bit of pain.

    The worst of the pain with us both was the way our wives used the daughters as a weapon to inflict more pain and hurt.

    Jim got to drinking, I didn't drink a case of beer in a year at the time.

    He kept telling me he was trying to drink himself to death.. Come on man forget that shit I said you are tougher than that.

    Well he then after a while started a saying, I have tried to drink myself to death, and it ain't worked, looks like I am gone have to try something different.

    That crap talk went on for a spell with me the whole time trying to talk some sense into him.

    One fine Sunday to a family reunion of his family tree he got drunkup and walked to his car and got in it, fired it up, turned on the air conditioner and took out his .22 pistol and shot himself right behind the ear. And it was because of his Ex and Child abuse she did to him over his daughter by not allowing him visits with her.

    I got pissed with the SOB and even didn't want to be one of his pall bearers. But I went on and did it anyway silently cussing his dead azz the whole time. We were 28 at the time...
    To be called a "Has Been" I must surmise, is much Greater than to be called a "Nevah Been"... JW...



  15. #15
    guaro y mujeres ejb3's Avatar
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    Default Re: Once upon a life

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonh View Post
    First rule of a gun fight: don't be there.
    The secret to a long life
    Is knowing when it’s time to go...
    - Michelle Shocked
    political correctedness has run wild and the outrage police are everywhere

  16. #16

    Default Re: Once upon a life

    Quote Originally Posted by ejb3 View Post
    The secret to a long life
    Is knowing when it’s time to go...
    - Michelle Shocked
    Is that "Michelle Shocked" when she found out about Barak and Reggie?

  17. #17
    guaro y mujeres ejb3's Avatar
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    Default Re: Once upon a life

    dunno about any "Barak and Reggie"

    http://michelleshocked.com/?s=the+secret+of+a+long+life

    political correctedness has run wild and the outrage police are everywhere

  18. #18

    Default Re: Once upon a life

    Quote Originally Posted by ejb3 View Post

    Always good to know when to leave:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8F55puGHIs

  19. #19
    House SOB Little Corn Tom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Once upon a life

    Quote Originally Posted by KeyWestPirate View Post
    Is that "Michelle Shocked" when she found out about Barak and Reggie?
    http://hillbuzz.org/is-barack-obama-gay
    Life's different here ... It's a whole 'nother pace.

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