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Tuesday, 27 November, 2007

Back in the Spring of 1959 another fellow named Stan Baker was tooling around Downtown Louisville, Kentucky during rush hour in a 1957 Chevrolet Nomad, the top of the line for that year. This car wasn’t his own, but “borrowed” from his employer a car importer, used car and Lincoln-Mercury dealer in a prominent location. (Specifically, Monarch Lincoln-Mercury-Peugeot on Broadway in Louisville if you want to know.) Some versions of the story say he did this often, although the purpose of this curious mission may have been deliberately obscured.

He later purchased this very car. Later still, he became fixated upon the model eventually collecting every variant of the 1957 Chevy sold. An ambitious project considering he had no place to properly store them. He later got into some finance-company-debt trouble and was compelled to sell the cars when his wife became pregnant.

His best friend through high school, and into middle age, was engaged to a nice girl with a job and everything. The nice girl was employed by Belknap Hardware, and in the tradition of the times, was hoping to make nice with some executive of the company. Nonetheless, she actually fell for Stan’s best friend, a worker on the lines of the General Electric clothes-washer factory. He was ambitious and attending the local university, eventually graduating with a Masters in Electrical Engineering. In those times, such ambition was rewarded and he eventually joined the management of the plant, and was personally involved in the evolution of the clothes washer and dishwasher.

One Spring day, the nice girl was waiting, along with a work friend, at the corner of Sixth Street and Liberty Street, waiting for the bus which eventually goes down Preston Street. Unfortunately, Stan was on the prowl. Seeing a familiar face, Stan stopped offering a friendly ride. For reasons not completely known, the nice girl declined an offer of a ride. The work friend, however, practically jumped into the nice car with the brown-eyed, handsome man.

It would seem, nearly fifty years later that Stan had a fetish-like attraction to scrawny red heads, and that there is a genetic component to this.

This is all well and good by contemporary standards, were it not for the fact that Stan was married at the time. They wound up at the Dizzy Whizz, a drive-in restaurant of local consequence, and something happened along the way.

Shirley, Stan’s first wife, applied for divorce in early 1960 and as the year changed he was married to the elfin redhead to whom he fed the mediocrity of Dizzy Whizz somewhat earlier. I can almost sympathize with his desire to be not alone. In the tradition of out people he traveled to Jeffersonville, Indiana mere minutes away for the marriage ceremony.

The short version is: While the still-little redhead’s father lay dyeing of cancer, she came to the realization she was pregnant. For reasons I won’t begin to fathom she came to the realization that she was her father’s favorite of four daughters and that the child to be born would be his resurrection.

She never quite recovered from the experience of pregnancy and child birth.

That said, Stan’s best friend and the woman who became his wife, never quite let go of the responsibility they felt toward the marriage they didn’t really destroy (and the recently-born progeny) and the new child born to irresponsible parents who would be left to the vagaries of such parents, and fate.

Fearful of the world outside the chaotic home in which he was raised, the child. also called Stan Baker, was determined to conquer it. That was a noble, but largely futile gig. In an effort to avoid the random foolishness of his upbringing, and generally socially inept due to that same experience, he finds himself forty years old in a world not of his making in which he sees himself as a consistent victim unless …

One strives not to participate at all.

Frankly, the non-participation part is almost easy given the cultural vacuum in which he finds himself.

The time has come, but as the failures of his previous lives come haunting, the question remains: time for what exactly. They say life begins at forty and I hope to know what that means. Even I have something to depend upon should the worst happen. I think.

However, I find myself in the interesting position of losing my grip upon reality. This isn’t poetry or something like it. I must create a world in which my kind can live without undue interference. Then I can wait to die in relative comfort.

It is the same thing I’ve been fighting since I was fifteen, except now I don’t have the excuse of youthful indiscretion or inexperience. All I can do is sit here and wait to die.

As long as I can pay the rent, that is all the world expects of me.

A peculiar form of relief comes when you know your are exempt from the possibility of happiness, joy or love. Really it is so much trouble that I can’t be bothered, and shall not bother anyone else.

A witch of my acquaintance told me I would die at sixty-three and would only marry late in life. So far, she was right. More details abound, but I do not wish to tempt fate. This is why I am ignoring this journal. I am no longer interested in even my own vain interests.

and I seldom get comments anyway. Believe me when I tell you that I know it is not because of my allegedly towering intellect.


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