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A Sartorial Selection

June 17, 2012

[please feel free to play the video prior to reading this paragraph]

The ragged nut pouches, the torn hems hanging down in loops, the slack elastic waists; these boxer shorts have had some long careers.  Literally slinging dick, winding about in this sewer of an ass-crack each one in succession, day after day.  I envy their resolve.  One bare seat has been playing pants to trousers for nearly six years.  Many have toured other continents.  They’re wearied soldiers, and if they could get leave for some other branch of service, they would have already fucking taken it.  Yeah, they’ve been trapped like so many before them by what they saw perhaps as their duty, only now to think of it like a sentence, ticking a mark up on the wall with tailors chalk for each day spent pressed against my sweating taint.

So, that’s their job, anyway.  Some people schlep away in porn, prostitution.  Everybody’s got a job to do.  Me, I sell dreams, vapour.  Steam from piles of bullshit.  Oh, I don’t take a moral stand on it.  It’s a living.  But it’s such a load of bollocks that sails right over most people’s heads, until it smacks right into the face of those dumb enough to buy it.  Fuck me, what a truckload of winners, the marketplace is just for them.  They just keep lapping it up, the puddles oozing out of the cracked sides of those fetid piles.  I should go to work at the stock market.  Just a bigger row of stables.  More bulls.

This ex-banker I met, he’s been floundering since the banks imploded four years ago.  I hadn’t spoken to an ex-finance guy in a while.  I hadn’t even thought about them in a while, those guys – just pencil pushers, playing the leveraging game the way they had been coached to do.  Like when their dads used to yell over little league umpires, or pump their arms in the air from the side lines of the high school football fields.  Go go go!  Push those pencils, goddammit.  None of those guys got fired or anything, they just had no job to do anymore when the credit disappeared and the product was revealed to be empty of all value anyway.  Selling nothing.  Only so much of that around.

How were you to know then, I tried to reassure him.  ‘We knew how CDO’s worked,” he said through his eyelids.  He looks a lot like the current president, and I kept wanting to ask him if he hasn’t tried to make it as one of those  impersonators, at least taking coin tips posing with tourists on the south bank or Covent Garden.  I kept this to myself.  I told him you can’t blame yourself for everything in life, it’s unhealthy.  He said, “we knew what we were doing.”  Just another guy, trapped by what he saw as his duty.  He can’t spend what he doesn’t have these days – he seems to think that’s  justice enough.  His sentence.  But when will it be over already?   That’s between himself and his bathroom mirror.  I wonder why I don’t meet more of those guys, those ex-finance guys.

Take this kid I knew when I was growing up in Indiana, Allen.  He was the kid selling gumballs out of a sack in grade school.  When he was twelve or fourteen or whatever, he was selling advertising space, on restaurant place-mats, to businesses up and down our county seat high road.  Later the next year or so, he was booking vacuum cleaner sales calls out of a legit-enough looking office, him and a telephone and a stack of phonebooks all filled up with various highlighter colors.  He explained it to me one evening when I visited.  Actually, the guy who was helping me buy some pot, he had coincidentally met the dealers outside the main doors of the building, and since I had nothing to do while he was making the purchase, I buzzed the intercom.

“The first step is to ring a person, get them on the phone and find out about them.  Just tell them the office is involved in a hygiene study.  Are they earning, do they own their property.  Do they give a fuck about clean carpets or whether airborne particulate could cause respiratory disease, cancer in kids.  If they’re responsive, thank them for their valuable input and copy the number to the sales-log.

“Once someone’s information is in the sales log, they get a juicy phone call a couple weeks later – this is the offer to have a state of the art machine clean their home for free.  No obligation to buy, just watch a man work his magic and compare.  Someone who books an appointment goes up on the wall.  Once they’re on the wall,” he points to the cork-board covered in thumb-tacks and index cards, “a sales rep takes the vacuum to their house and scares the shit out of the poor bastard for about twenty minutes.  Turns on a UV light and uses various sprays that show how dangerous their existing vacuum cleaner is; it’s up to this guy to sell the person on the sofa a finance plan so they can afford the vacuum.  The vacuum units are fifteen hundred dollars, but we make our money off of the finance plan service charges, got it?”  I think he did well enough at that operation.  I remember the office not being there the next year, wondering what he had moved on to.

This crazy bastard, Allen, he was always pretending to be or have been schizophrenic, I couldn’t tell if he thought anyone else actually believed it;  I couldn’t imagine anyone buying into anything he said if they knew anything about him.  He  would concoct these sprawling dramatic histories, self-made myths pasted together out of cinema reels and practiced in the chat rooms and bulletin boards on the mid-‘nineties internet.  After I left town, I heard he was claiming he was going to die of a brain tumor.  Fat bastard deliberately went bald, would mutter it as an answer or excuse to anything and everything, “my brain tumor, my brain tumor.”  On a visit home one year, I found out he was running a pool hall near the river, that the police were watching it as a known area for drug peddlars.

One time, I think I was about fourteen, him a few years older, he asked me go to the bank with him.  Except it wasn’t the local credit union, we drove to Indianapolis and went to one of those huge banks downtown without tellers.  The kind rich people go into.  He had no appointment, but he told the receptionist that we needed to speak to someone in charge of speculative commodities investments.  While we waited, he tells me, “keep eye-contact with this guy.  It’s the first thing they teach you in business school.  Never break eye-contact.”  And this investment guy, he comes out a lot quicker than I expect, and he stops dead when he sees us.  His smile, it’s not friendly, it’s amused.  Two teenagers, one with a thick file of maps and invoices describing some gem mine in some part of South Africa.  The banker guy sits us down in his office, and Allen pitches him a chance to invest in these mines.  No, he cannot reveal how he obtained this information.  No, he cannot reveal ownership of the operation, only that they are going to make who ever invests in their expansion a big, fat return in two year’s time.  The banker never breaks eye-contact.  He starts to look annoyed with Allen.  Slides the file back across his desk.  Says the bank cannot consider a proposal without discerning whether it has come through the appropriate legal channels.  Allen just tells him that no one has ever seen a success without taking a little risk, gives the banker a business card and a chance “to sleep on it – but keep in mind that we’ll be shopping the offer around to other banks in the meantime.”  Then my mom picked us up and drove us the three hours back home.

You have to wonder, if that banker guy has ever thought to himself even for a moment in all the years since we sat there having our staring contest, whether he made the right decision on that diamond mine or whatever; you have to wonder whether that crazy bastard Allen might have been on to something.  Some people just spend their whole lives hustling a big box of bullshit up on one shoulder, twirling a big, filthy wooden spoon around, singing “who wants seconds!”  All they’re waiting for is one person dumb enough to think they’ve already eaten shit, they might as well have another helping.  You get enough dumbies doing it, and normal people around them who wouldn’t otherwise dream of doing something so horrible, well, a few of them start holding their noses.  Don’t want to miss out.  Next thing you know, everyone’s kind of stuck smiling with their lips closed, wondering how they got there.

Anyway, I need a few new pairs of shorts.

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From → Diary ah?

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