Portrait of the Art as an Old Fart
And yes, I'm too busy to serve up an essay here again this week. Foremost, I'm about to leave for the Uptowner tavern/charm school where me and the fellas shall gather to make our Polish Fest plans for the weekend. Yeah yeah, perhaps “she's too fat for me,” but you can bet your buck two-eighty that never not ever is “she too drunk for me,” you betcha.
And yes, here in my gala 25th anniversary year of whipping out essays for this newspaper, I recall that June 16 is to celebrate the 107th anniversary of the novelistic day that took an Irish guy by the name of James Joyce practically 10 million pages and who knows how many gallons of whiskey to write about, lo, those years ago—perhaps the greatest focking novel nobody's never not ever read all the way through.
And yes, I'm reminded of a little story:
Once upon a time and a very good time it was, there was an Irishman, an Italian and a Polish guy in a tavern, sitting around and enjoying a couple, three rounds of cocktails. James, the Irishman, says, “Aye, this is a nice bar, but where I come from, back in Dublin, there's a better one. At Lucky's, you buy a drink, you buy another drink, and Lucky himself will buy your third drink!” The others agree that it sounds like a nice place.
Then Don the Italian guy says, “Yeah, that's a nice bar, but where I come from, there's a better one. Over in Brooklyn, there's this place, Pozzo's. At Pozzo's, you buy a drink, Pozzo buys you a drink. You buy another drink, Pozzo buys you another drink.” They all agree that also sounds like a very great bar.
Then the Polish guy, let's call him Kumbalek, says, “You's guys think that's great? In my neighborhood, there's this place called Godotski's. At Godotski's, they buy you your first drink, they buy you your second drink, they buy you your third drink, and then they take you in the back and get you some action!”
The other two guys are smithied with wonderment. “That's fantabulous! Did that actually happen to you?” they want to know. And Kumbalek, the Polish guy, says, “No, but it happened to my sister!” Ba-ding!
And then later, Kumbalek approached a lady named Didi wouldn't you know, sitting solitary at the end of the bar. A man of direct address, Kumbalek said he'd been waiting to meet an attractive gal such as she was, and told her he'd like to get into her pants. Didi says, “No thanks, there's an ass in there already.” Ba-ding-ding-ding!
And yes, I am not much an optimist. But as the hysterical Tea Party Republicans rue Big Government establishment of Shariah law in lieu of Paul Revere's Constitution, I am reminded of an item a few years past that bloomed epiphanically within my soul the most fragile belief that this clash of civilizations in our modern day does not necessarily need to lead to the inevitable destruction of us and them. No, sir.
It was a magazine story out of New York City by the writer Elizabeth Rubin—“The Jihadi Who Kept Asking Why.” She was in Saudi Arabia, homeland to 15 of the 9/11 hijackers, and writing about former Islamic radical jihadists who at the risk of prison time (not to mention heavy flogging by the lash) had come around to think that maybe the nutty, repressive Saudi system could stand a little reforming.
And yes, she was taking a drive with one, Abdullah Thabet—“the image of apostasy” (hey, look it up like I focking had to)—a former fellow of the Salafiyya movement (one of those “death to Christian and Jews and let them choke on their infidel blood” cults) but now a poet and novelist. She wrote:
As Abdullah Thabet and I were winding through Asir's jagged, rock-crested mountains, we rounded an outcropping, and all along the stone banks there appeared hundreds of baboons, some of them fornicating, masturbating, howling and laughing. Thabet slowed down, lingering in their exuberance. “I want their life,” he said, and drove off.
Eu-focking-reka! You and me both, buddy. I am your kinsman, Abdullah, for I, too, “want their life,” goddamn it. And yes, we must teach religious nutbags of all stripes that life is more than howling. There is also fornicating, masturbating and laughing. Need there be anything else, besides the occasional sandwich and ice-cold bottled beer? I think not.
Yes. Amen. So be it. “Kumbaboonism,” and I am its prophet and yes THERE IS HOPE yes now I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of the nonbeliever and forge the uncreated conscience of Kumbaboonism yes I said yes I will Yes again run for high political office, 'cause I'm Art Kumbalek, and I told you so.