Sunday, May 11, 2008

WHO CARES

TODAY I met a minister. I asked him where he was from, and he said, "New York." Well, years ago, I was told that if you wanted to sound like you were from New York, you would never ask "New York City?" but instead say, "Manhattan?" And so I did that instead. I felt a little foolish, though, because he said, "Almost ... Yonkers."

As a young boy, I enjoyed eating SCREAMING YELLOW ZONKERS, but I always felt as though I was committing a crime. It's hard not to feel like you are committing a crime when you are eating SCREAMING YELLOW ZONKERS when you are ten years old: just look at them! It's not like a 'Smoking a Cigarette' crime, though – it's more of a 'Spin the Bottle' size crime. Maybe even a little less, because if you are caught, you are pretty cool. Spin the Bottle? Not so much. Someone might remind you of it years later, when you are a little hard of hearing and don't seem to recollect them very well but have to take their word for it. After all, they were there, and they say that you were, too.

When I was a lonely teenage boy, sometimes I would get so lonely that I thought I would go bonkers. What to do? Well, I used to look at a box of PLAYER'S NAVAL CUT cigarettes and I would feel better. Neither my Mother nor my Father smoked them. I just love the ocean, though. And Navy things, a little bit. Not too much, though. Mostly, the ocean on cigarette tins. Everything, better.

I never know what to say to somebody if they tell me something and I have nothing to say about it. Sometimes it is even worse if I only have one thing to say about it, and it doesn't seem particularly relevant.

I am thinking about that minister now, from Yonkers. Where did he go? Somewhere, I bet. It was rainy outside, the stadium lights were on, graduation was continuing apace, and there was a soft feeling of winter in the air, even though it wasn't winter anymore.

Ira Gershwin once wrote: "“Who cares what banks fail in Yonkers / Long as you got a kiss that conquers?”

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