Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pulse of America


KHUK KHAK, Thailand - There are times when I attempt to take the pulse of America, and every time, I'm stopped by two things; one, my fingers aren't long enough, and two, medically speaking, I forget what's normal for a country of 300 million people.

But sometimes I sit gathering information, like the average blood pressure of 300 million people, and just spontaneously SPIT OUT some stuff that I later have cause to regret, torn between id and superego, pious practitioner and profane pedestrian, half-serious writer and half-wit comic. I feel what the pulse says, and just say it.

I should know better than to let just anything fly, and often wish for an editor to keep my stuff in check. Or a woman around who can always be helpful in offering a man unsolicited advice about what he ought to do, harping repeatedly on the same ol' stuff that we men repeatedly seem to fail to hear.

'My woman says I never listen. At least, I think that's what she said.'

And Lupe' says, "I try to tell you, Hector, but you no leeson."

Well, I offer no excuses, except to say I blame it on Ron Greene and Phil Woodward and the Brunswick Club pool hall in Wabash, Indiana, where I was influenced during my most formative, impressionable years. Tried to walk like them, talk like them, be cool like them.

Or maybe a repressed urge of revenge on Buddy H., a bully crossing guard and hall patrol in elementary school who would shake me down for my loose change.

Or it could be that stretch in the Army or the pen, picking up things you'll carry with you the rest of your life. Or it might have been that nasty fall from a couple stories up, where they said 'he's not right' for a long time afterward.

Or maybe that time the parachute didn't open, or that oxygen-deprived-I'll-never-do-this-again scuba accident. But I'm not looking for excuses, just to say, you know, it could've been that other guy, the one-armed man, the second gunman on the grassy knoll.