Friday, January 23, 2004

life of buddy don, chaptur 100:
becum whut ye are

whenever i wuz back in knoxvull thankin that with strate a marks in skool, shorely i wood be able to git a trip to sum forn cuntry, i wuz purty much on top of the worl. i had minny blessins i dint even know a nuff to be countin. thar wuz the farm n the good skools n good friens n the freedum to be crazy or alone. ye dint have nun of that overn west germany on  a counta thay wuz sum kinda folk n die polizei ever whar ye went.

then thar wuz the problem of food: twuz sumthin bout amurka i never knew i luved as much as i did. fer instunts, in frankfurt am main thay wuznt no way ye could git sumthin as simple as corn meal sos ye could make corn bread, witch we wooda had to make corn pone on a counta we dint have no oven, but we couldnt fry simple corn pone without no corn meal. thang wuz, the germans seemed to thank corn wuz sumthin ye only used to feed farm animulls. ye couldnt find no food lack fried okra nor turnip greens nor fried chicken nor pepperoni nor cheddar cheese nor even jes taco bell mexican.

thay wuz also this weird thang bout the langwage that made ye hardly wonta eat sum of them thangs they had. fer instunts, ifn ye wonted to buy sum ground beef, whut ye bought wuz hackfleisch, witch that means chopped flesh wurd fer wurd but stands fer ground beef jes the same. pork wuz schweinefleisch, witch ye kin probly figger thatn out yer ownself on a counta schwein mean swine. beef in generul wuz called rindfleisch, witch that means cow flesh. kin ye magine goin to a restrunt in amurka n havin the waitress ast ye did ye wont cow flesh or swine flesh? twood make us a nashun of vegetaryuns.

then thar wuz the problem bout how rude them germans could be to ye, not that twuznt easy to see why. fer one thang, the way thar system wuz set up, whenever thar children wuz 10 or 11 year old, they give em a test n dependin on how they dun, they wuz a'gone be put into one of three paths fer life: (1) ifn they dun real good, they wood git to go to 'gymnasium,' witch thats a hi-falutin wurd fer 'hi skool' only tiz a lot hardern the hi skools we gut in amurka; (2) ifn they wuz middlin good but not real good, they wood git to study on how to be a buracrat n wurk in a offus; n (3) ifn they dun so bad that they prooved how wuznt cut out fer skoolin, they wood be taught how to be a handwerker, witch i speck thats a nuther wurd ye kin figger thatn out yer ownself.

so ifn ye went downstairs in yer buy palace n wonted to buy sumthin frum behin the counter, ye wuz gittin a handwerker or mayhap one of the buracrats that dint lack paperwurk to take yer order. now thang wuz, yer germans gut lifetime jobs, so however they started out, twuz how they wuz a'gone end up. it seemed a lil sad to thank ye could git stuck bein a butcher or cuttin cheese off fer folk n never git to change up n try nuthin else.

so why wood such a person, say that fat lady with the mole on her cheek down in the buy palace, why would she be plite to sumbidy who cums in astin fer sum gouda cheese, witch tiz spelt the same way as in english, only we say it 'goo-duh' but they say it 'gow-duh,' n yer spozed to make the 'g' sound lack yer trine to clear yer throat of mucus. why should that lady be plite? plite or not, she has got that thar job fer life, so she kin sit thar n say, 'was? was meinen sie, bitte!' when yer pointin rite at the gouda cheese n sayin, 'ich möchte etwa goo-duh käse, bitte.' ye know that lady mus have a good idee whut ye mean, but she kin jes sit thar brayin lack a stuck pig, 'was? was ist den diese goo-duh?'

befor we went to west germany, neethur me nor emily wuz much on cheeses that wuznt eethur pizza cheese lack motzarella or provaloney or cheeses that wuz yella, but once we wuz thar, we dint have no choice on a counta ye couldnt hardly git yella cheese n ifn ye found sum, it tasted awful. not only that, they had em 57 kinds of cheese ever whar ye looked n ye had to be rite keerful witchn ye picked on a counta how sum of em stunk too bad to be etabull.

i larnt how to make pizza in that pan we had. with all them cheeses they had, ye still couldnt git no motzarella nor provaloney neethur one, so ye had to figger whut ye could use fer replacement cheeses, witch we used gouda n edamer, witch edamer is the same as edam. since thay wuznt no pepperoni -- or ackshly, thar wuz, but twuz peppers n not meat! -- we used salami whar we wonted pepperoni.

corse, the way they dun thar food wuz the bigges reminder of one of the bes thangs bout amurka. i aint sayin twoodnt be nice to have a gaurunteed job fer life in sum ways, but twoodnt be wurth it ifn ye dint have no chants to try sumthin differnt. twuz a topick that wuz on bof our minds to a grate eggstent on a counta dint seem lack neethur one of us wonted to go after whut we cum thar for. she dint make no purtents bout not wontin to spend her time studyin german n german histry. i purtended lack i dint wonta use no english n wonted to git serious bout flossofy. but i couldnt hold on toot.

fer one thang, in that class on martin heiddeggers book sein und zeit, we spent the furst three weeks jes gittin to page two. we spent two hole weeks on the lil note heidegger had writ at the frunt of the book n that wuznt 30 wurds long! twuz a terrbull waste of time. then in that other class, linguistisch und philisophie, i had sined up to rite a paper they call a referat, witch that means seminar paper, n read it to the class. only thang wuz, perfesser mourikis give me the main text i wuz spozed to use n the author had filled it up with quotes in greek n latin n french n english, but he dint give ye the meanin of nary a one of em, so i gut to whar i tole that perfesser i couldnt use that book, witch i ast him dint it seem a lil crazy to rite a book on how langwage wurks n then put thangs in thar that ye dont translate fer yer reader? taint everbidy that knows five langwages n seems lack he wuz cuttin way down on the number of folk that could ever read n unnerstand the book. the perfesser thought i wuz makin a joke on a counta dint everbidy half to study greek n latin n hi skool? n dint everbidy half to git em a lil english n french jes to git by?

twuz a horrbull moment on a counta i figgerd i wuz rite n he figgerd i wuz makin a joke. i tuck a long walk n gut to thankin over everthang. it kindly seemed lack i had tuck a rong turn that wuznt leedin whar i wuz hopin to git. i wonted to be a riter, but i dint see no way of earnin a livin n doin the ritin i wonted to do at the same time. i know thays folks that gits thar books published n makes a livin thataway, but i dint thank twuz sumthin ye could count on till ye had a good book writ. i dun gut sick of crap notes the mint it cum back from alfred a. knopf even tho i later larnt thay wuznt no way thay wuzn a'gone read sumthin that cum in 'over the transom,' witch that means twuz sent to em without thar astin fer it or gittin it frum a agent of sum kind. but far as i could tell, twuz no good.

but that dint stop me frum wontin to write, frum goin to the philosophische bibliothek to study flossofy n try to write my referat, only to open my fickshun notebook n start trine to scribble the start of a new book, witch i rote a lot of stuff over thar but jes couldnt git no book goin. so i kep acktin lack i wuz wontin to be a flossofer, but i dint wonta be that neethur.

finely i cum home n thar wuz emily. she had jes gut dun readin lettin go by philip roth n she wuz deepressed by it n wundern her ownself bout had she dun the rong thang n wuz it a miss take fer us to marr so quick or wuz i really wontin to have children n whut wuz we a'gone do whenever we finely gut to go back home. i tole her i dint know innythang to say that wood make it better on a counta i dint know whut i wonted to do my ownself, ceptn i wuznt reddy to say the marrg wuz whut wuz vexin me. twuz whut i wuz a'studyin that wuz a'doin it. it seemed lack a waste of time to study flossofy when i wonted to be a riter of fickshun.

she agreed n ast me dint i member that book i red her big parts of by friedrich nietzsche? i ast her witch one she meant n she sed the one bout zarathustra, witch thatns also sprach zarathustra, witch in english tiz thus spoke zarathustra. tiz one of the mos beeyootiful books ye could ever try to read n tiz loded with good lil bits ye could quote. i tole her i did member readin her all kinds of thangs frum it, so witchn did she have in mind?

wuznt thar sumthin bout becomin yer ownself? i sed seem lack thar wuz n i gut that book name of werke out n gut to lookin thru it till she sed wuz i a'gone study all nite? i pall gized fer that n sed i had dun found the quote, witch twent lack this in english: a drawer, a trainer, a training-master, who not in vain counselled himself once on a time: "Become what thou art!"

i tole her i lacked thatn a lot, but whut wuz i spozed to becum ifn i dint really know whut i wuz? fer sum reason that made her a lil angry, so i ast whut had i dun? she sed couldnt i see how much she wonted to be whut i wuz, wuznt that the main thang we talked bout, how she should be happy to have so much time so she could rite? wuznt that whut she wonted to be, but twuznt whut she wuz? i tole her i dint git it. ifn she wonted to rite, why dint she jes rite?

she splained twuz on a counta how she wuznt no riter n dint matter how she tried to trick it out. she wuz a reader.

'but yew, buddy, yer a riter. tiz all ye do ever chants ye git.' i hadnt never seen it thataway since it seemed lack the main thang i rote about wuz how i wuznt gittin much ritin dun, but twuz a fack the notebooks wuz pilin up.

so i ast her did we have inny beer lef n we did, witch twuz spaten pils. i opened one n pored sum fer each of us n sed she wuz rite. thay wuznt no reason fer me to pertend i wuz a'gone study flossofy. i also had to figger whut wuz i a'gone do once we gut back home, witch ifn i wuznt in skool, i had to cummence payin off a loan of $2,000 but ifn i wuz in skool, i woodnt half to pay n thay woodnt be no innerst pilin up neethur. so i sed how i wood start on my own masters when we gut back, only i wood go fer english in sted of flossofy. twuz almos lack i wuz speakin wurds of luv to her the way she melted n clinked my glass n said 'prosit,' witch thats german fer 'cheers' or 'down the hatch.'

but i tole her i wuznt reddy yet n sed i wuznt a'gone to pertend i wuz studyin no flossofy no more. i wood jes put in a lil appearants in class to keep frum losin our stipend. so she clicked my glass agin n sed, 'prosit!' only i still wuznt reddy.

then i sed i wuz a'gone try to git all the ritin dun i could n we wood do our best to enjoy our time thar. then we bofus sed 'prosit!' n drunk deep.

she tole me how she dint thank she had ever luved me moren she did that mint, witch i couldnt hep but ast her why. she tole me not to wurry bout it.

'jes keep on doin whut yer a doin.'

twuz a fack we had kissed n cuddled n she had tuck off her bra n i had dun hepped he pull off her blue jeans n panties, witch she wuz lef wearin nuthin but her flannel shirt n knee socks , so twuz only natcherul how my fangers had strayed down thar to play in her curls. so i figgerd that wuz whut she meant. i give her a lil stroke i knew she lacked n sed, 'yew mean this?' she laffed n pushed my hand away. turnt out she dint mean that at all. so i ast her whut? whenever she anserd, thay wuz a moment when everthang seemed so simple. fer whut seemed lack the furst time in my life, i knew jes whut i wuz spozed to do. 

'buddy don, how kin ye be so dents? becum whut ye are.' by then she pulled my hand back n purty soon we wuz driftin off to sleep, cuntent n satisfied. i figgerd everthang wood be simple frum then on.

i lacked to thank we had it bettern them germans on a counta we wuznt stuck in the same job all our lives. we could change. i fell asleep verr inspired, jes positive i wuz a'gone git everthang rite frum then on. emily wuz rite bout whut i wuz, a riter, n i wood git a novel writ, a good one, or else a play or short stories or who knows whut? dint matter on a counta i wuz a riter n i wood rite grate thangs. i wuz shore of it.

corse, twernt near so easy as i thought, n nex day, i couldnt git a thang writ to satisfy me. n frum then till now, i been larnin jes one thang: thay aint nuthin harder to do in life than larnin to becum whut ye are.

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