An Aisle, is an Aisle, is an Aisle

Loving couples walk down the aisle, and exchange vows. The invited guests cheer and wish the couple the good luck.

I purchased a ticket to the New York Giant football game against the Cleveland Browns. As I approached the bleacher section Number 14, an attendant walked me down the aisle to seat 23B. I was seated in the midst of rabid Giant fans. The game was great, but my aisle mates made it a unique experience.

Aisle 6, contained the mustard that I needed for the salad dressing. But Aisle 6 was blocked due to a leak in the ceiling. There was a store clerk in the aisle replacing buckets. I asked her to get me a jar of Roland’s Extra Forte mustard. She brought the jar to me and I went to the check-out.

The Aisle seemed rather normal. Perhaps six or eight feet in width. Carpeted, and it ran the length of the chamber to the entrance doors. To the left and right of the aisle were leather upholstered seats. Perhaps several hundred seats. At first glance, one would think that the seats on the right or left of the aisle were available to any person. Not So! Absent any reserved notice, or do not trespass, the aisle represented hallowed ground. Not ground memorializing heroic acts of citizens. Not ground that symbolized good will, respect and fraternity. The aisle was inviolate. All persons entering the chamber, and walking down the aisle knew which side of the aisle was theirs, and not the other side.

Tom Golden, writers cramp, 2018

SMALL TALK – I LOVE IT

Small talk is seen as trivial, meaningless, and superficial. “I can’t stand small talk!” “Oh, all that small talk is driving me crazy!” Why do we engage in small talk? Because we are small people? No. Big people engage in small talk. Perhaps it is because we have small minds. I don’t believe so, since many small minds are known to talk BIG. The main reason for small talk must be the mouth size. Small talk is probably caused by a small mouth. BIG mouths are known to talk BIG. In fact, BIG talk is the hallmark of a BIG mouth, or is that a loud mouth? Have you ever heard loud mouths talk small talk? It might not be possible. Since small talk is bad, then BIG talk must be good. Remember the joyful hours we spend listening to BIG talk. BIG talk, out of BIG mouths, with small minds. Small talk is not at all trivial. Small talks allows us the time to become acquainted; small talk allows us to gracefully engage a stranger, or to painlessly tolerate the friend. Copyright, Thomas Golden, Writers Cramp, 1980

Up Against It

 

Just this evening, MSNBC commentator, Kacie DC, was interviewing Andrew Young, a past representative to the United Nations, and renowned civil rights leader. She asked him about the recent children’s march in Washington. He responded, but not completely since she had another question. After apologizing for her interruption, Kacie asked him about Martin Luther King, and John Lewis, and he was responding, but less than completely since Kacie was up against the clock. She apologized for the rush job, and he accepted the apology. Kacie was up against it. Up against what? Up against PNC Bank, AWAY luggage, Cisco, and two pharmacy commercials. Kacie was up against a loss in revenue – her loss of a job. Kacie was reflective of how our life is UP AGAINST IT. Up against money. Up against the power of capital. Up against the need to pay for everything we do, despite our desire to comfortably hear Andrew Young. MSNBC invited him to speak. He was asked to talk about rather important social issues. Mr. Young was politely given the old heave ho. Given the ‘hook’, to allow for the real stars of the show – banking, drugs, a touch of technology and a piece of travel equipment.

Tom Golden, March 2018.

Walking and Talking

I was turning onto my street to park my car, when I noticed a young woman crossing at the opposite corner. She was talking on her cell phone. After parking my car, I sat for several moments thinking about the woman and her talking on the cell phone. before cell phones, what did I do when I was walking? Besides looking where I was going, did I talk? Did I talk to myself? At times did I talk out loud? As a child if I ever saw a person that seemed to be talking to himself, I knew the person was crazy. Stay away from him! During the early days of the cell phone, it was not easy to tell if a person was talking out loud, into a hidden microphone, or nuts. Whether a hidden microphone or a visible cell phone, the isolate walker was talking.
 
I could not hear the walking talker since I was in my car. Often, I can hear the person talking on their cell phone. Cell phone talking is ubiquitous. There is someone talking on the cell phone in the grocery, coffee shop, elevator, dentist waiting room, airport lounge, and in the backrow at a burial ground, The talker has no interest in privacy. The cell phone talker could care less if you hear every spoken word. It may be, that the talker delights in having an audience. “Hey, look me over, lend me an ear…”.
 
But, back to pre-cell phone days. I know that I am always talking to myself whether I am walking, or stationary. I am talking to myself without any response. I am speaking to an audience of one – me. Boring, no. I am never bored when I am talking to myself. I have innumerable images, feelings, sensations and ideas. I could, if I had company express much of what I was saying to myself, but I don’t have the need. There are times when I would like to speak to another person, or that I must speak to someone else. But not always. For most of my waking hours, I am quite comfortable talking to myself, as in the following private conversations:
 
“I am hungry, and it’s almost noon. I think I’ll go to the bagel shop. No, I better get my hair cut, before the salon closes. What day is it? Is the salon open today? The place is always packed on Tuesday. Oh, the bagel shop is closed. The sign says on holiday until June 6. Damn it! Pizza, I’ll get a slice.”
 
OR……. “Harry is never going to pay what he owes me. I don’t give a shit. He’s tight for funds, as usual and I like him. I like his wife even more. She is stunning, and, well- I think I must go to see Mitchell. I have a pain in my right knee.”
 
OR…….” That fuckin president. I can’t stand him and the rest of the politicians- what the hell are they doing. Wow, that cab almost hit that dog.”
 
Most of the time, when I talk to myself, it is rather mundane. Most of my thoughts would not be of interest to anyone. The thoughts are not crude, or insightful, but rather commonplace, and allow me to get through the day, and night. Should I have thoughts that are particularly meaningful, I would tell a trusted family member or friend.
 
So, what more can I say about the walking and talking that is the marvel of the cell phone. I assume that if the cell phone talker was with their listener, the conversation would be like that on the cell phone. That may not be the case. With the technology of today, as in texting, email and cell phone one does not have the feedback of face to face communication. No angry stare, sneer, smile, twinkle, blush, nod, look aside, or even turn away.
 
Why the need to speak to someone from the moment of waking to sleep? Why are people so needy of constant verbal contact with another person? Was this always that case? Did we realize how deprived we were of immediate human contact? Has the invention of the portable cell phone allowed us to fulfill a constant need to affiliate? The need to be certain that we count – that we matter. The cell phone has eliminated the dreaded state of alone. Alone with our thoughts, feelings, and desires. Alone with me, with I, with life.
 
Tom Golden, May, 2018

Cottage Cheese and Chives

I reached for the container of Crowley’s Large Curd Cottage Cheese. That was to be my lunch. I opened the vegetable drawer and looked for the scallions. None. There were no scallions. Large curd cottage cheese requires diced scallions. A feeling of loss, yes, more than disappointment. A dash of salt, and crushed pepper would not do.

Chives! I could use chives. Not as pungent, but an excellent replacement for the scallions. I opened the cutlery drawer and took a pair of scissors. I immediately went to a garden patch in front of the house. In the early spring, we always had chives. They were perennial. I scanned the patch, and there was a bunch of fresh, vivid green chives.

Desire: a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen. Cottage cheese and chives….

Tom Golden, May 2018.

HELLO

The Vice President was focused upon the hockey game. The North Korean representative was seated just behind the Vice President. The scene was as cold as the ice.

I had no idea that my sister could skate. Not only was she skating, but on ice, and dancing to music. Michelle was taking dance lessons for several years. She hated going to class, but hating to go was no excuse for my Mother. Both Michelle and I would express our “hate”, “do I have to,” and “I have a headache” in a forlorn attempt to cancel the next piano, dance, or karate lesson. “You wanted to have the lessons, and we paid for them. At least finish the year”, she said. I was just three weeks into the karate school.

Michelle did a leap on the ice, and she landed into a full split. The audience went wild. Everyone cheered. Everyone except for my Father. My Father starred at the ice rink, with Michelle in a full split, and he showed no emotion. He just sat and starred straight ahead. His head held fast, as if in a neck brace. I turned to look at my Mother, and she seemed to only see her history, and not Michelle.

I forgot to mention, that when we arrived at the skating rink, our seats were reserved for parents of the contestants. In our row G7, sat my Father, my Stepmother, and me. Also in row G7 sat my Mother, and her husband, Bert. My Father sat in Seat 16, and my Mother sat in Seat 15 – just to the left of my Father. I sat in Seat 17, just to the right of my Father.

The exhibition ended and we all left. As with hello, no goodbye.

Tom Golden, February, 2018

 

Economics 101: Supply and Demand

The Veterans Administration is the second largest government employer. The first is the Department of Defense. The VA employees 377,805 persons. The Department of Defense employs about 1.3 million persons on active duty, and 800.000 on military reserve. As of 2014, there were approximately 21.8 million veterans. Veterans of what? War!  Or perhaps a Police Action, or some activity where people get injured. Regardless of the name, we have a very large VA to service a very active Department of Defense. The Department of Defense offers a constant supply of veterans to service the employment needs of the Veterans Administration. Now that is a classic example of a supply and demand economy.

Thomas Golden, March, 2018

 

 

Words Are Not So Easy

Grandson: Papa, I like democracy. Do you like democracy?
Grandpa: Of course I do.
Grandson: Is that like Democratic.
Grandpa: Why do you ask?
Grandson: My friend told me that Democratic was bad. He said Republican was good.
Grandpa: Well, son, democracy is really good. Democratic is not exactly the same.
Grandson:  But they sound almost the same. Grandpa, is it good to be right?
Grandpa:  Yes. I guess so. Why do you ask?
Grandson: My friend told me that the left is really very good, and the right is not.
Grandpa: Well words are not so easy.
Grandson: I know that I’m going to be democratic, and also I want to be right.
Grandpa: Sounds good son – just fine.
Grandson: I love you Grandpa.
Grandpa: I love you too

 

The Importance of Furniture

The President of North Korea, Kim Jong Un has a nuclear launch button on his desk. The President of the United States, Donald Trump says that everything is on the table.  Does that include a nuclear launch button? Whether it is a desk or a table, clearly a piece of furniture is central to issues of world survival.

If Kim Jong Un’s desk resembles mine in any fashion, Mr. Kim may not find the button so readily. As for the Donald, he claims to have “everything on the table.”  We have been told that a military attaché carries the nuclear controls in a case, close at hand to the President. Let’s assume that the case is placed on the table along with “everything” else. “Everything” else is a series of possible diplomatic agreements – nothing physical, as is a button.

Kim Jong Un has his button on a desk, and Donald has his control case on the table.  Aside from the clutter on Kim’s desk, in a showdown, the launch button may be reached, prior to Donald’s opening the launch control case and pressing the button. North Korea one, United States zero!!

“Kim, Kim he’s our man, if Kim can’t do it nobody can!”

Thomas Golden, Writer’s Cramp, 2018

Safety Box 617

The bank clerk she could not find the safety box sign in card that would allow me to sign in to Safety Box 617. She searched several times through the hundreds of cards, and still could not find my signature card.

“I know it is there,” I said. “ I have accessed the box just last month.”
“I don’t know what has happened, but I can’t find it”, she said.
I was certain that the card was there, and with some hesitancy, I requested that another bank person search the file. The clerk agreed.

Within minutes the bank manager arrived, and began another search. On his first attempt, he found the card. It was in the G file, but stuck to another card. I signed the card, and the officer allowed me entrance to the vault. He removed, Box 617, and brought me into the private viewing room, and he left the room.

The box was full of jewelry – some real, and other costume jewelry. The box was Suzanne’s history. The box was Suzanne’s stuff. I intended to collect the jewelry and send the pieces to my daughter Tania.

I had previously packed some pieces in small storage bags, and others of more value I wrapped in tissue paper. Earrings, pins, broaches, and rings were all packaged separately. As I unwrapped the real jewelry, I found a multiple stranded pearl necklace, with a gold clasp. I knew that piece. Suzanne had worn that necklace so many times. She wore the necklace when she was wearing a dress or gown that was quite revealing. The pearls rested on her chest, and she looked so lovely. Among the jewelry was another very long string of pearls, but not as ornate as the multiple stranded set of pearls with the gold clasp.

As I looked at the necklaces, and the bags of jewelry, I became overwhelmed with emotion. Tears in my eyes. My hands trembled. I touched the pieces, and brought the necklaces close to my face, and to my nose. Could I smell Suzanne? I thought I remembered her smell. I did remember her smell, and I could only think of Suzanne. Her skin, smell, smile – mostly her smile. I took some of the tissue to wipe my eyes. Box 617 held Suzanne – her person, and not my memories of her – but her. Many thoughts of our life together. Each one just fleetingly, and not complete, but each one joyful – so joyful. I was missing her, but the jewelry kept her in the room.

I had brought a cloth sack to use to take the jewelry back home with me. I placed the jewelry in the sack, and checked the box to be certain that nothing was left in the box. Prior to leaving the private room, I contacted the bank clerk to complete the visit. Upon leaving the vaulted room, the clerk would check the box for any content, and search the room in case something was left on the table, or floor. Everything check out, and I left the vault and signed out on the identity card.

When I arrived back at my apartment, I took all the jewelry out of the sack. As I searched thru the contents, I did not see the multiple stranded pearl necklace with the gold catch. I searched again, and several more times. Where was the necklace? I was becoming quite anxious, and I could not understand what had happened. I know I placed the necklace in the sack. I know the clerk and I searched Box 617, and the private room. We both were satisfied that nothing was left in the room. Where was the necklace? I actually panicked. I went to my car, and searched the car. Perhaps the necklace had fallen out of the sack. The car was clean. I know I saw the necklace – I held the necklace – I smelled the necklace.

I called the bank, and requested that the clerk who had checked me out to search the room again. Perhaps someone had been in the room after I left. The clerk told me that I was the last person to use the room, and that she would check the room. I should stay on the phone. Within minutes the clerk informed me that there was nothing in the room. I must say that I did think that perhaps the clerk or someone in the bank found the necklace, and had stolen it. The necklace was there – it was clearly there – in my hands.

My despair was all consuming. I left my apartment, and went back to the bank. At the bank, I spoke to the clerk who did the search. She suggested that we both check the room. We did. It was empty. I apologized for the need to search. I stood in the bank for several moments. I could not leave. Perhaps just one hour ago, I had the necklace in my hand in this bank. I know I held the necklace in the private room. How could I have lost the necklace? How could I have misplaced the necklace from the bank to my apartment? Nothing made any sense.

Standing in the lobby of the bank, I saw in one office the bank manager was seated at his desk. I needed to speak with someone about my plight. I needed to speak with someone about my loss, although I could not accept that I might have lost the necklace. I knocked on his door, and he asked me in. He immediately recognized that we had met at the vault. He asked me of my concern. I told him of the entire sequence of events, from the moment I entered the bank to search Box 617, and the lost necklace. In telling him, I did lose some control, and started to cry. He was silent at first, but then he asked me to tell about the necklace, and about Suzanne.

And I did. I told him about our chance meeting in 1963 in Toronto, Canada. I talked about France, family, the farm, animals, gardens, and Suzanne, and Suzanne. He listened and hardly spoke. I rambled on, but always where was that necklace. I told him of how that Box 617 awakened a lifetime of memories, and feelings. As I searched thru Box 617, I was once again with Suzanne. It was so strange, emotionally consuming, and yet so meaningful. I think that the jewelry and its placement on her body, her hands, and her ears all generated her presence.

At one point, the gentlemen, whose name I have forgotten, said that perhaps – just perhaps the necklace was not there. He suggested that perhaps I thought it was there, and it had to be there among her jewels, but in fact it was not. He said that my need for it to be there, and my memory of the necklace was all there was, and not the actual piece of jewelry. As he spoke, I was not upset, nor doubting his notion. In fact, I could believe that I was so emotionally involved in those moments in the private room, that I could have imagined the presence of the necklace. Perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps I never did have the necklace in my hands. Perhaps I did not smell her skin. I had been with him for at least thirty minutes, and I thanked him for his time and concern.

I told him that what I felt in that room, and my search in Box 617, was a moment shared by many persons who search through other safety boxes. Other persons who are also reminded of their loved ones. Other persons who relive their soulful moments with departed loved ones. He suggested that was likely the case, and that I was fortunate to have had such joyful memories. I thanked him for the time and left the bank.

Upon my return to my apartment, I immediately telephoned my daughter  and asked her if she remembered the necklace. She said that she did, and she asked what had happened. I told her of the mornings search, and the loss. I asked her if I had ever given her the necklace, or did Suzanne give it to her. She remembered that during her college years, a pearl necklace was given to her, and that she could not find it. Tania believed that perhaps a roommate had stolen it, but nothing was ever done with that possibility. She did not believe it was that necklace, but another set of pearl strands. There was nothing more to say about that possibility.

I am writing this piece because Box 617 has become such a striking moment in my life and how the things of our past can prompt feelings that are never forgotten. Perhaps I did not see, nor hold the strands of pearls with the gold clasp. What I did see, and hold was Suzanne – her smile, her smell and a life of such excitement and love.

Tom Golden, March, 2015.

 

Mental Health Kills

Just assume that if you are mentally healthy you will not kill anyone, or perhaps anything. If you are mentally ill, there is a possibility that you will kill someone or something. For the moment forget about self-defense killing. The nation is faced with regulating guns and/or fixing our mental health. As a society do we have a mental health problem? If a citizen never killed another citizen would we still have a problem with mental health. What is mental health? One thing for certain, is that when someone kills another person, the killer is likely to be mentally unhealthy. I think we can all agree on that proposition.

Now for the cure, or at least identifying the mentally unhealthy person likely to kill another person. For example, the following are three citizens of concern:  Peter screams out, “Drop dead!” Murray hollers, “I could kill you!” Martha shouts, “I wish you were dead. I mean it!”. Peter owns a Ruger 22 rifle. Murray buys a Glock pistol. Martha purchases some rat poison. History has it that Peter was in child therapy when he was 8 years old for drowning a guinea pig in the toilet. Murray was discharged from the Army for sexual harassment of female officers. Martha has had a diagnosis of Bi-Polar disorder since she was 19 years of age, and several suicide attempts.

Peter, Murray and Martha were all passengers on the Orient Express. Who did it?

No Collusion – Just Tweets

Definition: Collusion:  a secret or illegal cooperation or conspiracy in order to deceive others.

“Alright already”. I will accept that there has not been any collusion by any person(s) in the administration, election committee, nuclear family, extended family and assorted friends.

Collusion may be a serious problem for America, but more troublesome is that Donald Trump can tweet. Millions of people tweet, but the original tweeters were birds.

As the song goes, “when my sugar walks down the street, all the little birdies go tweet, tweet, tweet.”  Birdies do their ‘tweeting’ during the daylight hours. “And in the evening when the sun goes down” Donald ‘tweets’ “when no else around” as in the “the wee small hours of the mornin” (Sinatra song).

Donald is likely an insomniac. We will all rest easier, If he were able to enjoy a full nights’ sleep. Donald will not tweet during the daylight hours. Why, you ask? Because Donald Trump is not a bird, but alas, some instincts cross species.

Can you imagine that during his waking hours, and while in attendance at a cabinet meeting, Donald excuses himself and rises to leave.
“Say Mr. President, where are going?”
“Oh, no where special. Just getting some fresh air.”
“But, sir we must decide on the latest strategy for the North Korea missile launch.”
“I will be right back.”
“But sir, can’t you just stay. It won’t take long.”
“ I will be right back- right back.”

The President leaves. After several minutes, the Secretary of State turns to look out the window, and he is startled to see, the President perched on a lower limb of a Sycamore tree. He is holding his cell phone, and you guessed it…..

The End
 

Follow the Leader

Roy Moore, the likely new senator from Alabama has a very loyal following. Perhaps as many as 30 percent of the citizens of Alabama. That probably equals about 67 voters – they are loyal. The reasons they hold firm in their support of Mr. Moore, are varied, but the most likely reasons are the following: Mr. Moore believes that homosexual behavior is illegal, and so do his followers. Mr. Moore believes in man/woman marriage, and so do his followers. Mr. Moore believes in the right to carry arms, and so do his followers. Mr. Moore believes in preserving the Civil War statues, and so do his followers, and Mr. Moore believes that a ten commandments sculpture should stand on the state capital grounds, and so do his followers. Mr. Moore is a down home, god fearing, family man, and he was fairly granted the Republican candidacy. And one more thing. Mr. Moore is a Republican. Mr. Moore is not a Democrat. The distinction is not only a label. For many the distinction is as profound as that between gay and straight, or Black and White, No and Yes, or a 31-year-old pervert and a 14-year-old cheer leader.

Not a Photo-OP

We are here at the San Juan airport, and await the landing of Air Force One with the President, and the first lady, Melanie. My first reporting assignment, and I can’t tell you how excited I am. This is the first visit of the President to our island. Porto Rico is devastated, and we are looking forward to the President’s visit. Our hope that his stay is not just a photo opportunity, and just another opportunity to gain personal favor with his base. The advance notice suggested that we would all be surprised by the President’s visit.

The plane is just landing. I am trying to get close to the tarmac, but the Black Water security personnel are refusing to allow us to move any closer.  I must tell you, those men look serious, and somewhat mean. I just heard one of them speak to a colleague, and they spoke in German. Another guard was holding a AK 14, and softly singing in Hebrew. Interesting international group of personnel.

The doors of the plane have just opened. Several assistants have exited, and now the President is standing in the doorway, and climbing down the stairs. It is hard to see him clearly, since several aides and guards are standing in my sight line. It appears that the President is wearing what looks like a hard hat. Yes, it is a hard hat. His typical baseball cap seems to be underneath the hard hat.

I am about 30 feet from the President, and I now can clearly see him. He appears to be wearing combat fatigues, and black boots. Around his waist is what looks to be the typical carpenters belt – full of tools. I can see a claw hammer, several chisels and a large tape measure hanging on the right side. He just turned around to answer a MSNBC reporter, and he is carrying a back pack. I can see at the top of the pack what looks like a reciprocal saw, or at least some type of saw. The sight of the President is remarkable. He looks like a walking Tractor Supply. Draped over his right shoulder is a coil of heavy duty rope, with large hooks on each end.  Just beside the rope is a holster with a hatchet. In his left hand he is holding a crow bar that looks to be at least 4 foot long.

I just noticed that the first lady, Melanie Trump has exited the plane and she is also wearing a hard hat. It seems to have a decal of the football Patriots on the side. Holy cow, she too is dressed in a workman suit, but in black with gold trim. She is carrying… I can’t believe it, but I was just told that she is carrying the Jaws of Death machine. The machine that helps cut through steel, or concrete. It is clearly heavy, and a guard with a very heavy Italian accent offered to help her with the equipment, but she has refused.

The President and the First Lady are entering an armored personnel carrier. They have just sped away. No questions have been asked of the President. Clearly, this was not the typical photo op. It appears that the President is here to do something. What, who knows, but hopefully he and his wife will not hurt themselves.