§ Compassion is the basis of all morality.If there is anything in the world that can really be called a man’s property, it is surely that which is the result of his mental activity
It all came off brilliantly. And I got my reward. I got Rena.
But I don’t know what the heck to do with her, now.
The situation was this: my dad , 85 yr old principal of the local high school where Rena and I work, had a big meeting with the parent and lawyer (same person) of a young man who had been bullied. A Chinese-American boy who wore a red t shirt that said “Atheism Rules” to class, and was rewarded for this bold statement with his head stuck in the toilet and his t shirt stripped from him by some athlete-scholars of consummate families whose ecclesiastical ethos was seriously bruised .
The meeting went well, because I got Dad stoned, a tiny bit. I surreptitiously put some pot in his pipe an hour before, and it worked like a charm, becalming his dementia-driven anxiety, allowing him to get back to being George. In all his magnificence. And it was something to behold…
An hour before the meeting: Dad said, “jim ! wake up!”
I was sacked out on the living room couch. Rena and I had had vigorous sex the night before, and I’d only gotten six hours sleep. Not enough. Not nearly.
“Whuh? Dad? “ I said.
“Yes. Jim, I am a bit nervous about this meeting. There are a lot of butterflies in my tummy. We need to put our heads together. Come out on the porch with me, for a smoke break.”
“A smoke break from sleeping, yeah. Ok, Dad,” I said as I dragged myself up and out on the porch.
Before I’d gone to sleep I’d packed his pipe for him. I hoped he wouldn’t notice.
He started to pack his pipe, and looked puzzled. “oh, heavens, I am so distracted I didn’t notice. Look, “ he said, showing me the full pipe.
“Well, that is your condition , Dad, your dementia. You forget sometimes, “ I said.
“Oh, yes. Well. “ He lit a match, I smoked a cig. I had also packed my cig with pot. Why not. I couldn’t and didn’t want to drink, which was my usual response to stress.
It took a few minutes, but Dad’s physiognomy settled into a brutish immense presence . Me? I was gratefully drinking in this brief trip to Eternity.
He said, smoke coming out his big German nose, “James. Son. “
“Vater,” I said.
“Ja, sehr gut. .. you sprechen, ja. James….”
A bit of time passed. Dad listened to the birds. He stood stock solid motionless. As did I. My head was exploding into infinity, but Dad’s? I hope to God it was centering. I pushed a bit, not too much. The awful thing about getting drunk or high, for me, is the increased social skills, the ability to read nuance, and to sing with my voice into the universe, with my tongue. Sober, I am cramped and sullenly silent or overachievingly glib of mouth.
“The meeting, Dad. It is soon. What shall we do?” I asked.
“We shall be resolute. Even though women will be there. The boy, this Japanese boy? His mother is a lawyer. God bless her. A career gal.”
“She is Chinese, Dad, “ I said.
“Oh, goodness, this must change our strategy.”
He retreated to the birdfeeder to sift the birdseed thoughtfully, his pipe clenched in his jaw, the smoke erupting from his nostrils. I watched. Then I heard a whimper. It was Joseph, our 14 yr old dog, up against the screen door, wanting to join the Old Men, the Big Guns… I opened the door. Joseph came out , looked at me questioningly, then nudged against Dad, and fell at his feet with a contented sigh.
Dad gave him a friendly kick as he came back to me. “
“James, will our Rena be there?”
“Good, very very good. Let us get ready to go, “ he commanded. He looked at the dog. “Damned dog. What does he want? I gave him a good walk this morning.”
I was a fountain of lovingkind wisdom as always, when high. I said, “Dad, he wants your love.”
Dad erupted in a snort. It was very nasal and guttural, due to his genes. “Blechach, spuhtchick.”
He reached down and thumped Joseph on the head. “Good, good dawg, ja.” He looked at me. “OK?”
As we went in, Dad told me his theology: “Ahhh, the damn dog oughta know I love him. I don’t gotta say it, ja?”
Later: Dad was behind his principal’s desk, I was at his right, Rena was standing in the background, and the kid and his Mom came in. Rena took in a breath. She was startled.
A woman of exquisite beauty entered with a fat kid with a sneering mouth. She sat down in a chair I offered her. The brat sat, with protest. But not ever gonna go against his momma’s wishes.
Dad said, “Hello, Mrs. Wu. How do you do.”
I wanted to giggle, as I knew Dad did too..we kept our poker faces. Rena’s eyes were getting bigger in , I think, arousal. She had never seen the sheer presence of my Dad. I had, for 20 years, til he lost his mind, but it was back. And then some…
“Sir,” the lady gave a respectful bow.
“This is my son. This is the school counselor,” Dad said, leaning back in his chair, motioning to us. “What do you want?”
The woman was in no way taken aback. She said, “Sir, I want at the least an apology. If I cannot get this, I want money. From your school system.” She crossed her elegant legs. Her kid was snickering. She shushed him.
He was wearing, of all things, a t shirt with Hitler’s ugly mug.
With the message, emblazoned below that black blurry terrifying image (scary, in my current condition, I mean..like, what the f-ing f? Hitler? Damn good negotiating move, maybe….): “HITLER PAINTED A WORLD”
He said, the little shit did, “Principal, my mother is alarmed. By this school’s lackadaisical attitude in addressing the bullies. Bullying, sir, is wrong . It cannot be countenanced.” She nudged him to shut up. Not for his words, but his tone.
Dad sank further back in his chair, then slowly moved to a perch on his desk, hands on cheeks, big smile, jolly tone: “Ah, good, Kevin, you make your argument well. Can it be we have taught you something at our school?”
The kid wasn’t expecting Jolly George. He shrank back. His mom was unfazed. She said, “Sir, my son was well educated in your system, yes, but he was also brutalized. What should we do about it?”
Rena, bright eyed, was suddenly waking from her coma.
I was loving the show…..
To be continued..
§ Change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal.
§ Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see