—From the Fool—
Fool here. Long time I haven’t posted here, being as I had the urge to better myself. You’re never as much of a fool as you could be. So I took some time off and hung out on Facebook a lot. Which is where you get the really expert fools. Learn from the masters, they say.
That’s where I met my friend Moondog.
Of course this wasn’t the Moondog famous for standing in a Viking suit and doing music and being blind. My friend Moondog calls himself that as a tribute to the famous Moondog, “And maybe I’ll get famous,” he says.
He doesn’t wear a horned helmet. “They never did that,” he says. He wears a baseball cap that says ACE, like the hardware store. It hides his bald spot, which covers pretty much all of his head. “All the facts in there,” he says, “they push out the hair.”
And wisdom, which he says he’s got a lot of. Which you can tell: he calls lots of people asshole. Which is part of “thinking outside the box,” he says, meaning that he calls lots of people asshole.
But for example, he’s pissed at the news calling everything “disproportionate.” Racism, poverty, disease, convicted felons, the cops shoot a black guy, it’s disproportionate. So his idea is, make it proportionate: let the cops shoot more white guys, so it evens out. Plus, it lowers unemployment. That’s a thought.
I asked him about UFOs. Opinions are like roaches: if there’s one, there’s gotta be more.
“You notice one thing about those?” he asked.
“I never saw one.”
“Lotsa people haven’t. They hide. But which way do they go when they’re spotted? North. They’re all coming up from Mexico.”
“How do we know?”
“It’s a known fact. You hear the government saying it?”
“That proves the cover-up.”
I think I’m entering a whole new dimension of fooldom. It opens out before me.
I was a hidden branch of my family tree until three years ago, and my joy at finding the sunlight was immense. I was greeted in the open by both sides of my original family and I know what that feels like. This week, I was able to return the favor.
My adoptive father was a big honest sweet man who never forgave his father for being a serial philanderer. I got an email this last week that said, “The purpose of this letter is to let you know your father has a half sister, making her your aunt. We hope you can help us fill a few gaps in mom’s story.”
She had been his legal secretary, married to a WW I vet who returned alive, but mentally damaged, and it was her responsibility to earn their living. Since he was confined to a hospital, she had to conceal her pregnancy. The baby was offered up for immediate adoption, the PTSD vet died four years later, and the mother died the next year. A sad story, and not an unusual one.
That daughter, adopted into a good family, will soon turn 94. When her son told her he was doing an Ancestry DNA test, she wept and sat him down. She felt shamed by her adoption, not knowing what her origins were or why she was given up, and her son set out to find her story. They are making her a genealogy book, and needed whatever I could provide about her brother.
I searched old boxes, found photos and scanned them. The toddler at 11 months, the proud little boy at six, the beautiful young man, the father welcoming his adopted daughter, the contented executive at sixty. I told them how he’d had to court his beloved for a long, long time to overcome her old history of an abrasive destructive father and the image of men as either gay or cheating. (She’d been a vaudville comedienne.) I told them about a long life of love.
They have been profuse in their gratitude. I look forward to knowing how their mother feels about the book. And I am heart-deep grateful to have taken this journey back through my dad’s childhood, youth, and loving adulthood.
And this other long-hidden branch of the family tree? It is beautiful.
I pride myself on living a somewhat truthful life. It’s easier at a certain age. You have less to lose. Your kids have flown off into Reality. And the remainder of life is a bit more predictable, though truth is still an issue throughout the Solar System.
20 years ago or so, we produced a radio series called FAMILY SNAPSHOTS: 65 90-second micro-dramas. Here’s one that still has resonance.
DAD: Okay, now before we cross. Here. Look. Okay, can you read that?
DAD: Great. Okay, now wait just a second, till it changes, and you can try that. You ready? Okay?
CHILD: “Don’t Walk.”
DAD: That’s great. Wow. You’re a reader! That’s terrific. And okay, now when it says that, then you don’t walk. It says Walk and you walk, and Don’t Walk, and then you stay here and let the cars go. Okay? That’s great. Okay, let’s cross now. Hold onto my hand.
CHILD: It says Don’t Walk.
DAD: Right, fine, that’s true, but I mean right now we’re in a hurry now, it’s okay if you’re with Daddy and you hold onto my hand…
I mean it’s not something you ought to do, but we’re okay, there aren’t any cars coming, but you shouldn’t ordinarily cross, I mean, although people do, even when they’re not supposed to, and that’s called jaywalking, but I’m not saying to do that, but right now we need to or else we’re gonna be late, and we want to tell Mommy how well you’re learning to read!
(Shift. Sudden burst of simultaneous talk, confused responses from Child.)
MAN: Okay, cross now. No, stay. Okay, go. No. Stop. Hurry. Wait. Go. Don’t just stand there. Do what I tell you. Obey the law.
(Music. Child, to herself.)
CHILD: I read okay. But I don’t understand the words.
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