Friday, January 30, 2004

pinions of buddy don:
willpower n sickness

ever mornin i get up, generly around 3:30 am on a counta i cant hardly sleep till 4 no matter whut i try, n i have one idee in mind, witch i always plan to rite a nuther chaptur on the novel ima wurkin on, life n pinions of buddy don, hillbilly. i keep a copy as a wurd document sos i kin tell how minny manuscript pages its gut n i reckon i should feel purty good bout gittin it up to app. 770 manuscript pages or app. 230,000 wurds. the hole plot wood take it till i gut to mayhap 2,000 pages n 700,000 wurds.

so i shouldnt feel too bad when i wake up sick n tired n jes plum outta inny energy fer ritin. i know that ifn i had the willpower to push harder, mayhap i wood rite innyway, but seems that whenever yer sick, tiz hard to cunvints yerself to have willpower over innythang.

so twuz today. i have the nex chaptur purty well wurked out in my mind n ye mite wood thank twood be nuthin to doot, but seems lack tiz a mountain ye half to climb everday. why dont it git no easier?

so looks lack i should make it thru today n have the weekend to recover frum whuts ailin me n then git back to a nuther hard week of wurk, witch tiz never lessn 55 hours thar n sumtimes more dependin on whut hotfixes microsoft dun released or whuther a new wurm has made it into our enviromint or whutnot. so ima hopin we dont git nun of that nex week.

i wish i could promiss all three of my readers how i wood rite sumthin tomorrow, but thays a nuther problem thar, witch seems lack whenever i have plenty of time to rite, lack on a saturdy, i jes dont git a round tuit, but when i only have the hour or two in the mornin befor wurk, its use it or lose it. so i use it lack as not.

this willpower stuff is hard on a counta ye dont never really git no momentum goin. in sted, ye gut to git started brand new ever sangle day.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

readin of buddy don:
whut me n emily wuz readin in 1980

a typicull day durin the time me n emily spent in west germany wood include a lot of readin. in fack, jes after brakefuss, we wood wait fer the mail to cum, witch that give us a cuple of hours to read, n lack as not, we wood lack whut we wuz readin so much that we mite never git out the door ceptn to go buy vittles at that buy palace. yer gonna note rite away how twuz mostly novels we wuz readin, not flossofy or histry. we read severul of them out loud to each other, witch tiz a practiss i recommend fer innybidy that luvs grate books n luvs to share em with thar significunt other. heres a list, witch these is the ones i read n i reckon emily read most of em n a lot more besides on a counta she was the fastest reader i ever met:

  • The Moving Target by Ross MacDonald
  • The Drowning Pool by Ross MacDonald
  • The Way Some People Die by Ross MacDonald
  • Find a Victim by Ross MacDonald
  • The Barbarous Coast by Ross MacDonald
  • The Galton Case by Ross MacDonald
  • The Chill by Ross MacDonald
  • The Far Side of the Dollar by Ross MacDonald
  • The Goodbye Look by Ross MacDonald
  • The Underground Man by Ross MacDonald
  • The Blue Hammer by Ross MacDonald
  • The Murder of Roger Ackeroyd by Agatha Christie
  • The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie
  • The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
  • Peril at End House by Agatha Christie
  • Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  • The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie
  • Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie
  • Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie
  • And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
  • One, Two, Buckle My Shoe by Agatha Christie
  • The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie
  • The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie
  • They Do It with Mirrors by Agatha Christie
  • A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie
  • Dead Man's Folly by Agatha Christie
  • Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie
  • The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie
  • The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side by Agatha Christie
  • Third Girl by Agatha Christie
  • By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie
  • Elephants Can Remember by Agatha Christie
  • Roderick Random by Tobias Smollett
  • Humphrey Clinker by Tobias Smollett
  • The World According to Garp by John Irving
  • Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler
  • The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
  • Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  • The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Stern
  • The History of Tom Jones, Foundling by Henry Fielding
  • Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
  • Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
  • Das Glasperlenspiel by Hermann Hesse
  • Phaedrus by Plato
  • Under Western Eyes by Joseph Conrad
  • Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
  • Typhoon by Joseph Conrad
  • Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
  • Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain
  • A Tramp Abroad by Mark Twain

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

pinions of buddy don:
sick, but not that sick

last nite it cummenced a'snowin around 7 pm n did its best to snow all nite long. corse, this bein the grate northeast, folks wuz out a'scrapin the white stuff offn the roads furst thang this mornin, witch that means the bus is lackly to run n take me to wurk. twood be a blessin ifn wall street wuz to close on such snow days, but that could be problematick in the long run if tiz true that more snow n bad weather is lackly to cum as the polar ice caps keep on a'meltin.

innywho, that lil tickle in my throat has turnt into a lil pain in my ear, the kinda symptums that means my bidy wonts to have a cold, but i cant be off frum wurk at the moment. fer one thang, my boss is off nex week n that means i have to take care of thangs he normally gits, witch thatll mean gittin reddy to handle the thangs on his plate. fer a nuther, tiz a real busy time on wall street.

speakin of wall street, i been wurkin thar [here] fer the past 16 years, n heres sumthin i have noticed bout bankers. when times is bad, meanin thay aint hardly no wurk fer yer investment bankers, them bankers gits rite chatty n friendly, but they kin turn vicious in a instunt. when the economy gits on the mend, they git happy but too busy fer ye. ifn thangs keep heatin up, we should be seein yer cranky bankers: thems bankers that knows they couldnt possibly make all the money thays out thar to be made even ifn they could double thar staffs n wurk without sleepin.

at the moment thangs is heddin fer the cranky banker, but thays one thang differnt bout thangs makin them bankers cranky this time. whenever they wuz gittin cranky back in 87 or mosly frum 93 till 2000, they wuz as cranky as they could be, but ye had one thang goin fer ye: ifn ye gut fed up with them bankers, ye could always git a nuther job. thay wood be hed hunters a'callin ye up, astin ifn ye wuznt reddy to make a change.

nowadays, the hedhunters are callin to ast do ye need innybidy? n the resumes that cum in chasin yer basick administrative assistunt jobs has got years of eggsperients n sumtimes post-graduwait degrees. tiz a verr ruff job market.

n thats a nuther reason i cant stay home even ifn i am feelin sick. im lucky a nuff to have whut they call a 'client facing' job, meanin tiz the kinda job ye cant do frum india or the philippines or china. but that dont mean thay aint a slew of folks with grate resumes a'chasin my job. so i slept too late to rite a nuther chaptur on that novel, life n pinions of buddy don, hillbilly, hopin the exter sleep kin hep me keep frum gittin too sick. or ifn i kin jes hold it off till the weekend, mayhap i kin be sick then.

tiz a ruff worl n i have to remind myself ever day how im one of the lucky ones that gits to go to wurk, even when im sick, but not that sick.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

life of buddy don, chaptur 103:
the far see apparatus

whenever me n emily gut back frum our new years in berlin, we found a slew of cards n letters frum tennessee, most of em with a lil money tucked inside: $50 frum mama, $100 frum daddy, $200 frum her mama, $25 frum her nanny, $10 frum her grandmother, $40 frum her daddy pete smith. thay wuz probly more that im fergittin. ye kin magine how we wuz feelin rich n furst thang i sed to emily wuz did she wonta git us a tv. ye couldnt have sed nuthin that wood make her inny happier.

so we looked up the wurd fer tv n found twuz called a fernsehapparat, witch wurd fer wurd that means far see apparatus. that lil black n white box changed our life in lots of ways. fer one thang, we gut purty good at unnerstandin news in german. ever night we wood wait fer that fernsehansager, witch that means far see talker wurd fer wurd by means announcer jes the same, to say, 'Meine Damen und Herrn -- wir bringen Nachtrichten!' we hadnt been that innerested in the news much back home, but twuz a differnt story here. we had always herd bout how we had a free press n everwhar else they had sum kinda censorship, so twuz quite a sprize to real eyes how in amurka ye mite have plenty of free press folks but they wuz all sayin the same thangs. now we were in a place whar they wuz real serious bout thangs n wonted to git moren jes two sides fer ever issue.

purty soon that far see apparatus wuz makin plans fer us, lettin us know bout blitzreisen, witch we had seen ads fer them quick trips but dint never unnerstan em all that well till we saw a speshul on em on tv. we ended up takin a few, one to amsterdam, one to paris, one to london, n one to rome, witch i plan to tell bout sum of them by n by.

them germans had em a cuple idees bout tv that i wished we wood use in amurka. fer one, they dint lack interuptin thar programs fer the cummershuls, so they held em all fer the end of the show. then to git ye to watch em, they had differnt rules than we wuz used to. fer one thang, they wuznt so upset by the look of a womans breast n dint thank twood be so awful ifn folks could see em on tv. so thay wuz plenty of em to see, only ye had to watch keerful n the mane place to see em wuz in them cummershuls. fer instunts, they mite be trine to git ye to buy deeoderunt, so they wood show ye a woman wearin the skimpiest lil bikini bottom ye ever saw n no top. fer sum reason, she wood be jumpin in the waves at sum vacayshun spot that they dint have nowhar in west germany on a counta how they dint have no sunny beaches. or ifn in a drama a woman woke up in bed n wuznt wearin pee jays, she woodnt walk roun holdin her blanket in frunt of her. she wood jes git up, lack folks duz in real life.

nuther thang they dun wuz they dint even have nuthin on till bout 4 in the afternoon, witch that seemed lack a purty good idee to me, but i wuznt no big fan of tv. but lease that kep us frum wontin to sit in that lil apartment all day doin nuthin but watchin tv. in sted, we mite sit thar jes readin or sumthin, witch nobidy never luved readin bettern emily. we wood even read thangs out loud to each other, fer instunts Gone with the Wind, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman and The History of Tom Jones, a foundling. we laffed so hard we needed a breather with them last two, n ifn ye lack laffin out loud, i strongly recommend ye git copies n read em. ifn ye gut sumbidy that luvs ye -- or luvs readin -- that much, read em out loud. i reckon we woodnt have read nuthin out loud to each other ifn that tv wuz showin programs all day long. we probly wooda sat n watched.

twuz on that thar far see apparatus that we furst larnt bout that musickul group call police n thatn called talking heads on a counta they had em on tv. thang wuz, we caught the police show in the middle n thar wuznt no way to tell who twuz nor nuthin. they dint have no talkers to splain to ye whut ye wuz seein, no lil wurds on the bottom of the screen neethur. so we dint know who twuz, but we lacked thar musick purty good, speshly that song name of roxanne. we couldnt hardly tell whut wuz a'goin on with that band called talking heads, but we wood see thar albums bein sold all over the place, witch we never had us no record player while we wuz thar.

now it mite seem lack emily wuznt even trine to quit smokin, but twernt the case. after i give up bein the person to say no to her n tole her we wuznt a'gone play thatn no more, she gut to whar she wonted to quit, mayhap to proov sumthin to me, mayhap to proov it to herself.

so twuz that without no smoke in that lil box of a home, we wuz able to git thru my birthday deepreshun, witch i wuz deepressed on a counta i wuz 28 n fer sum reason i figgerd i hadnt dun nuthin with my life. problem wuz, no matter how i tride, i jes couldnt git a nuther novel a'goin. in sted, i rote a lot of verr borin stuff bout whuther twuz honest to use the thurd person omnishunt ifn ye aint never been omnishunt or whuther ye had to rite everthang in furst person or whuther ye had to have some kinda splainayshun bout how the verr book cum to be, witch i had ansers fer that in crap notes on a counta how twuz the notes gregory gurley made while he wuz takin his daily dump. thang wuz, i wuz jes larnin that i wood eethur be wurkin on sumthin new or feelin deepressed. i jes never really gut it till i wuz 28.

innywho, i figger emily mite coulda kicked her habit ifn it hadnt been fer frieda. lack ever german we met, frieda lacked to smoke a lot. when she wonted to have a treat fer herself, she wood git sum marlboro cigarettes, witch twuz amazin to us how it seemed lack them germans broke all cigarettes down into jes a few categories: (1) marlboro, (2) mos everthang else, ceptn (3) speshulty brands frum turkey or france or morocco or sumwhar eggzotick. so whenever frieda wood cum over fer dinner n talk n maybe a lil tv, she wood be smokin n twuz moren emily could resist.

so she cum to thank she could quit smokin ceptn whenever she wuz wurkin on her masters thesis or ritin. i mentchuned she mite swell include whenever she wuz with frieda n she add mitted it. thang wuz, she n frieda wuz takin lots of the same classes n gut to be such fast friens that ye dint hardly see one without tuthern ceptn at nite whenever twuz jes the two of us.

corse, frieda wuz wurth the eggschange of emily not bein able to quit on a counta twuz frieda n her sister erika who showed us moren we ever wooda seen of frankfurt am main n other places too. she wood ast, 'Haben Sie lust ins Kino zu gehen?' witch that meant did we wonta see a movie n she wood take us to see it. she had her a boyfriend name of herr krugel, witch he wuz a lil stiffern she wuz n dint thank we wuz good a nuff friends to use his furst name. ye had a lot of that overn west germany, so it dint seem too odd. but he treated her bad so we dint lack him much, n whenever she ast emily bout it, emily splained how she woodnt never put up with sumbidy treatin her thataway, witch when we wuz out, he wood ack lack the gurls shouldnt never open thar mouths on a counta nuthin they had to say seemed wurth hearin to him.

the good thang bout whut emily wuz trine with her smokin wuz how it gut her to rite a cumplete story, witch twuz the furst time she had ever dun that. twuz also the lastn on a counta by then she n frieda wuz purty much smokin together as much as they had ever dun alone so she dint need to be ritin to justify smokin. i hate to add mitt how i figgerd that prooved she dint really wonta be a riter but only wonted to git her a eggscuse to smoke.

corse, tv wuznt our only source of news. tuther thang we lacked a lot wuz the internashunul herald tribune, witch twuz a newspaper made frum the new york times n the washington post n it cum out five days a week. the one that cum out on fridy wuz the one we bought on a counta they cost dm1 n we couldnt afford to git one everday. thatn we wood git on fridy wuz fer the weekend n we wood parse it out as keerful as we could to make it last.

fer instunts, it had a big crosswurd puzzle. we wood save that till sundy on a counta how thay wuznt nuthin open even half a day on sundys n thay wuznt no mail, so twuz the hardes day fer us to git thru. we wood sumtimes splurge on a pack of them pringles n she wood take the across n me the downs or vice-versa n we wood split them pringles eggzackly in half, witch i wood eat mine rite away n she wood try to save hers till she could bargin with me usin em. generly by then we wuz watchin that far see apparatus, the news at lease n sumtimes whutever show they had on after.

i member one sundy nite sittin thar watchin sum show bout a avalanche, witch mane thang i member wuz the beeyootiful woman who had long stretches whar she wuznt wearin much of nuthin. i had roasted a chicken n then turnt the leftovers into soup with rice, n twuz a big hit with bofus, speshly when ye put lil chunks of roggenbrot in it. we had the couch folded out into a bed n she wuz leanin back agin the wall, smokin n pullin on her hair n drankin her sum coca cola, witch thats whut she dun in sted of drankin ice tea. outside twuz bitter cold n the nex day i wuz spozed to read my referat to the class. the verr thought put a lil jolt of fear into my stumach. but fer that mint i wuz pulled back frum the scene, almos lack i had my own far see apparatus, n it seemed to me that despite all the truble we wuz havin gittin by in west germany, we wuz warm n well-fed n safe n happy in our lil home. i couldnt see far a nuff, tho, or i wooda known by then that such moments is about the best thang ye git frum life.

Monday, January 26, 2004

life of buddy don, chaptur 102:
new years in a divided city

bein as how me n emily dint hardly have nobidy else to talk to ceptn fer frieda n her sister erika, we dint have but each other to argue with, so thats whut we dun whenever we needed to fuss n fite with sumbidy. we could find mos innythang to fite about, but we had a few natcherul thangs built rite in. furst n foremost wuz smokin, witch she had dun quote quit unquote three times by the time we gut to germany: (1) whenever she gut the news i had asthma, she deecided she wuz a'gone quit n fer the furst servrul days of us knowin each other, she dint smoke, but it dint last a week; (2) whenever i ast her to git marrd, she quit agin, only this time she made it near 10 days till we went back to looseburg n her mama give her a carton, witch it seemed lack a waste not to smoke em, so she deecided she wood quit as a weddin gift to me, witch that dint last past her furst day in west germany on a counta twuz verr stressful; and (3) rite after we larnt how cigarettes cost so much more in west germany than they did in the states, she deecided she really wuz a'gone quit.

that last time she tride to quit, it gut us into one of the wurst fites ever on a counta how i fell fer this: she sed she wood be able to quit but wood need my hep to keep her frum backslidin. that meant she wonted me to keep her frum smokin no matter whut. so we agreed to start thatn as quick as she ran out of her current bag of tubacka, witch that tuck near a week. but finely, she wuz dun n since twuz a fridy n we wuz dun with inny skoolin we had to wurry bout that week, i deecided to clean up the place, witch that meant to clear out all the cloze frum the floor n chase the cockroaches back to thar holes in the walls by sprayin sum bugkiller at em n wash down the kuhlschrank n bathroom n sweep n mop the floor. i give her the cloze on a counta she wuz the eggspurt in washin cloze n dint wont me to mess em up, witch i felt the same way bout cookin as she did bout washin cloze.

i tuck all the loose butts that wuz lef over n put em in a bag n tuck that n all the res of the garbage out to the dumpster, witch i also opened the winder wide fer sum frische luft n while twuz open, i clumb out n put away all the garbage. i figgerd i wood make pizza fer lunch, so once i gut dun with the cleanin, i walked down to the buy palace n bought whut i needed, witch twuz sum cheeses n salami n onion n tomater sauce. i had brought the big tute, witch thats the cloth bag we finely bought to keep frum havin to pay fer plastick bags evertime we went to the store, so i figgerd i mite swell stock up on sum more spaten pils n plan a big evenin.

emily wuz thar whenever i gut home, n rite away i knew sumthin wuz a'goin on. thays jes a certain eggspreshun a person gits on thar face whenever thar up to sumthin they dont wont ye to know bout. emily wuz wearin that verr eggspresshyun, so i ast her whut she had been a'doin n she sed she had been a'washin the cloze. i sed i knew she had dun that, but whut wuz she a'doin whenever i cum in.

finely it cum out how she had dun been lookin everwhar in the hole house fer jes one leftover butt. i splained how i had dun cleaned everthang up, witch twooda been obveeus only she had dun started shuckin her cloze the instunt she got in the door n alreddy the floor wuz gittin coverd up tween her dirty cloze n the basket of cleans that wuz sittin in the middle of the room. she ast whut had i dun with the butts n i splained how i had gut rid of em fer good. nex thang ye know, shes trine to open up the winder n i splain how i dun had it open till it got rite cold in thar, but i had made shore we gut our frische luft. turnt out she wonted it open fer a nuther reason, n quick as i shut it n went to the bathroom, i could hear the creak of the handle ye use to open it.

i cum out jes in time to see her climbin out that winder, so i tuck my keys jes in case n follerd rite behind her. i ran to pass her on her way to the dumpster n then twuz a physicull fite with her trine to climb into the dumpster n me trine to hold her out. i kep remindin her how she had made me promiss not to let her smoke no more n she add mitted it but sed she wuz rong. i reminded her how she had sed not to listen to her no matter whut she sed n that lef her with nuthin to say.

so we turnt to go back in. we gut to the winder n i bent down to offer her a boost to git back in, but quick as i wuz down on my knee, she turnt n run n vaulted herself rite into the dumpster. i went over n saw her lookin thru the trash to find witchever bag had the butts, so i splained witchn twuz n sed i woodnt never hep her quit agin. i tole her i druther buy her sum new n i ast her to make shore not to lite a butt while she wuz still a'sittin in the dumpster, witch that made her maddern innythang i had yet sed on a counta did i thank she wuz jes stupid? i looked down at her in that dumpster n thang wuz, i dint thank she could git out by herself, so i compounded my miss take by sayin i dint thank twuz too smart the way she gut herself into a dumpster she couldnt git out of. but ifn she wuz mad bout me acktin lack she wuz stupid, i wood ignore it n did she wont 'bugler' whenever i went to git sum more tubacka n she sed she did.

so i lef to git it n she gut to hollerin bout she couldnt git out, witch i had dun noted n i lef her thar. thay wuz a kiosk rite outside or place, n ifn i hadnt been so mad, i wooda bought her tubacka thar, but it cost more so i figgerd she wood unnerstand if i had to walk round the corner over to leipziger strasse n then down to the buy palace, witch that took a lot longer on a counta thay wuz long lines by then.

it musta tuck near an hour befor i gut back, n furst thang i dun wuz open that winder back up n went out to check on her. she wuz sittin coverd in paper on a counta twuz cold. she had found her a good strang of butts n a cuple german magazines sumbidy had throwd out, so thar she wuz, smokin n reedin lack twuz the mos natcherul thang she coulda been doin. i ast her did she wonta cum out yet n she did, so i jumped in to whar i could give her a boost n then clumb out my ownself.

after that thay wuznt no more quittin episodes n i could always git her goat by mentchunin that dumpster n whut a addick will do fer a high. shows how much more addicktive cigarettes is than theevil weed on a counta she wuz havin symptoms frum not smokin n mane thang givin up theevil weed had dun fer me wuz make it so i dreamed a lot more. but she had shakes n pains n jes couldnt stand bein without her tubacka.

one thang that  meant wuz how i gut sick a lot more, n rite near christmus i gut sickern i had been the hole trip, not countin the hernia as bein sick. she wonted to go to berlin fer the holidays on a counta how she wonted to see as much of west germany as she could n even go thru checkpoint charley ifn they wood let amurkins gp thru sos she could git a look at tuther side. that meant she wuz mad at me fer bein sick. why? cause sumbidy had to go to the Reisebüro n order the tickets fer the trip. twuznt a'gonna be her neethur on a counta how she hated havin to speak german in the furst place n even more ifn twuz with innybidy wurkin in a offus.

meanwhile, i wuz havin a nuther sinus infeckshun n it jes gut wurse till my temperchur wuz up over 103 n even she wuz gittin wurried, lease a nuff to cunsidder how maybe we oughta try out our new west german student insurants, witch we dun n the hole trip cost us jes dm11, dm10 fer the docter, n 50 pfennigs each fer the two kinds a medicine she perscribed fer me, one of em penicillin, tuthern sum kinda stuff to make it so my sinuses wood run lack crazy. i had dun tole her i woodnt take no antihistimeans n she agreed they wuznt verr good ifn i wonted to git well, witch thats why she give me that medicine to make thangs run.

that penicillin gut me on the mend rite away, but i dint git well in time to plan no trip to berlin fer christmus n twuz a verr lonely christmus eve. i tride makin a pot roast n sumthin nice, but thays only so much ye kin do without havin a ackshul oven.

but the nex day we visited with sum folks that wuz wurkin at amana. they wuz friens of friens of pete smith n he ast us to call, so we did. they had em a huge, verr nice place with a exter bedroom that wuz biggern our hole apartment. they made em sum turkey with all the trimmins ye speck n twuz almos lack bein back in amurka. they insisted we call home on thar nickel n i wuz lucky a nuff to catch my hole fambly at the christmus dinner, witch they wuz makin a recordin to send me n that phone call ended up bein rite on that thar recordin. turnt out them rich folks wuz lonely fer amurkins, so they gut us to stay the nite n spend mos of the nex day with em.

mayhap the mos amazin thang bout that visit wuz how they showed us sumthin called hi definishun tv, witch twuz so clear n purty that twuz almos lack lookin thru a winder at folks. they wuz trine to splain how ifn we wood jes agree in amurka, we could have high definishun tv too. tv wuznt sumthin hi on my list, but ye could see twuz killin emily to have to be without one n she wooda enjoyed that tv they had ceptn thay wuznt nuthin on wurth watchin.

but i could see how much she lacked even whut lil they did have, so i promissed we wood git one as quick as we gut back frum berlin, witch by the time i wuz well a nuff fer us to visit them amurkins, i wuz well a nuff to go to the reisebüro whenever they opened after christmus n git everthang arranged fer us to take a trip to berlin.

twuz quite a trip. fer one thang, it seemed lack a big add ventchur jes to travel thru east germany. we dint know whut to eggspeck. wood they have a problem with amurkins travelin thru? we wuz afraid they mite, but even tho as quick as we gut to the border twixt west germany n east germany, sum soljers cum on the train with machine guns, twuz jes a lil scary n they dint barely even look at our passports.

berlin wuz a verr differnt place frum frankfurt n twuz lucky we wood git to cum back soon a nuff. we dint have hardly no time durin that trip, tho we did git to checkpoint charley n make our way over to east berlin. we noticed a few thangs rite away: (1) they lacked to talk bout havin full employment in east germany n ye could see why rite thar at checkpoint charley on a counta they must had em a hole battalyun of troops, bof men n women, sittin roun in thar uniforms a'doin nuthin but bein thar in case truble wuz to brake out; (2) thay wuznt no ads fer nuthin in east germany so twuz hard to tell whut wuz fer sale at differnt places; (3) they wuz still usin coal to heat, so everthang smelt lack it did back at grandies up in morgan county tennessee n all the buildins wuz brown with gray or black smudges; (4) the coins wuz made out of aluminum n felt jes lack play money; (5) it looked almos lack the cars wuz made out of cardboard n they sood shake fer a bit whenever they cum to a stop sine; (6) the churches had eethur been lef burnt out or cunverted to museums n such; (7) the only brand new thangs bout the place wuz the statues of soljers n the mane message them statues had wuz how twuz the soviets that beat the german, witch ye woodnt speck them germans to be so proud of that till they wood allow them soviets announce it rite out lack that, but thay wuznt nuthin else could they do; and (8) ye couldnt find hardly no books to buy, n thonly books ye could find frum the west wuz by jack london, bertolt brecht n mark twain.

we et while we wuz thar, n that wuz a disappointment on a counta they dint have hardly nuthin listed on the menu. we had to order three times befor we struck sumthin that wuz bof on the menu n in the kitchen. twuz as sad n pore a place as ever we had been in. even the porest east tennessee hillbilly livin in a tar paper shack could put on a better feed n smile to boot.

twuz the new year, so that evenin, we deecided we wood git out n see how folks celebrated. west berlin wuz lack a war zone with firewurks a'goin off everwhar. kids wuz hangin out of winders n shootin bottle rockets at folks down below, only twuz hard to aim em, lucky fer us. but the contrast twixt them two cities was grate n obveeus: one side twuz lites n eggsploshuns n folks drankin n laffin n carryin on. tuther side wuz dark n quite as a graveyard. ye could tell whar ye wuz by lookin fer the dark spot, n that wood be the east side.

while we wuz walkin round dodgin the bottle rockets, we met a fella frum australia. we went out with him to this italian restrunt n orderd sum pizza. they had pepperoni pizza listed n i figgerd since twuz a real italian place, mayhap the pepperoni wood be the lil sausages i memberd frum the states, but twuznt so. in sted, i gut a pizza coverd with peppers, witch they turnt out to be rite tasty even ifn twuz a big disappointment whenever they furst brung it out. i dont member the name of our australian cumpanyun, but he gut us to order a fosters beer, witch i hadnt never known bout them befor that. emily gut one too n by time we wuz dun with that, we wuz reelin n barely able to walk. but our australian friend insisted, so we went out with him n follerd him down unter den linden to friedrichs strasse n finely back to the house of youngns whar we wuz a stayin.

twuz nice walkin round with that australian on a counta how he seemed to see the worl more lack we did, witch he dint thank the united states wuz the big evil in the worl n that he figgerd we wood leave everbidy alone once the soviets quit the cold war. he figgerd them soviets couldnt keep thangs a'goin much longer on a counta the east wuz near bankrupt alreddy, only we dint have no way to judge that. twuz a fack that ever german ye met figgerd thay wuznt no way the rest of the world wood let em git back together n be jes one germany, witch we dint figger that wood happen neethur. sum thangs wuz meant to wurk better divided, or so it seemed to us.

round midnite, we tuck one las walk n watched them firewurks really git agoin. over to the east twuz dark, but i could see the sparkles of them firewurks reflectin in emilys eyes, n i kissed her to celebrate the new year. twuz one of them moments when ye fergit yer cares n woes. twuz a new year n innythang wuz possibull, even in a divided city.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

life of buddy don, chaptur 101:
wakin up frum that strange amurkin dream

ifn ye ever smoked much of theevil weed n then quit, then ye probly noticed whut i eggsperientsed whenever me n emily moved over to frankfurt am main, west germany. las thang i wonted wuz sum kinda midnight eggspress add ventchur, so i dint even see could ye git inny over thar. turnt out ye could, but i still dint wonta risk it. point is, that meant i quit cold turkey the day i gut on the airplane to fly over. n that meant i started dreamin lack crazy.

dreams kin be torcherus thangs n mine wuz no differnt. i member one that had darlene in it whar virgil n i snuck into the plant out at carbide whar she wuz a'wurkin n i went into her offus n twuz lack she wuz eggpecktin me n nex thang ye know we wuz a'lyin in a big grassy field watchin the clouds. she wuz talkin bout how nice it felt bein thar with me n i wuz a'thankin how twood hurt her whenever i tole her bout me n emily bein marrd n how i wonted her to feel that hurt, but no matter how i tride, i jes couldnt find the wurds to brake into whut she wuz a'sayin. twuz as if i dint know the langwage. i woke up befor i could say innythang n i felt such frustrayshun at not bein able to say nuthin that i jumped n that woke emily.

as i walked to skool, i couldnt hep but wunder why yer subconshus or whutever tiz that makes ye dream, why wood it do ye thataway? i dint wont nuthin to do with darlene n dint wonta git no kinda revenge, so why wood i dream lack that n wake up frustrated that i couldnt say hurtful wurds? seemed lack quite a mystry. twuz the furst mundy in november that i had that dream n i member that on a counta whut happend later in the day at that dialectickull materialisum class.

as ye mite magine, whenever i gut started in skool over thar, they had set up sum activities fer the forn students whar they wood throw us all into a hat, so to speak, n see did we make friens. one of the furst thangs they dun wuz have this dinner fer us, with twuz at lunch time, n i met two fellas frum yugoslavia thar, one of em name of branimir n tuthern name of radmilo, witch thang bout them two is how they wuz frum the same cuntry, but they wuz as contrary as could be. branimir wuz frum the town of zagreb, witch he sed that made him a croat, witch ye say thatn 'crow-ott.' he wore blue jeans n boots n a leather jacket n he smoked marlboros. radmilo wore sum kinda uniform all the time n he wuz as strate as a bidy could git.

we had bofem over to eat on differnt occayshuns. radmilo wuz furst n pore thang, ye never met a stiffer fella. ever wurd wuz spoke keerful. he couldnt talk no english n he wuznt verr good at german, but ye kin always communicate ifn ye try. so we tempted to talk bout various thangs, but wuznt nuthin we had in common, not a book nor a movie nor music nor nuthin. he jes couldnt talk bout certain subjecks tho ye could see how he wuz curious, speshly bout the beatles, but when he sed he dint know nuthin bout em n dint need to know, whut could we say? thang wuz, after we had et n drunk us a lil beer, he gut relaxed jes a wee dab to whar ye could see he mite could turn into sumbidy innerestin. he wuz acktin so tuff n brave, but he jes wuznt. he wuz young n timid n scaird to deth of thangs. n he hated us fer noticin.

thangs wuz way differnt with branimir. he wuz a novelist n he splained how in his cuntry thangs wuznt lack folks thought. fer one thang, everbidy ackted lack they wuz a nayshun name of yugoslavia but twernt a nayshun a tall but a random divishun of a few nayshuns. n he splained how yugoslavias central gummint mite seem lack it had everthang under cuntrol, but jes beneath the surfus, he sed, thangs wuz happenin. corse we dint know much bout whut wuz a'goin on thar n whenever we add mitted it fer the furst time, branimir laffed n splained how murkins cum over to europe n ack lack wuznt nuthin goin on till they gut thar. n ever amurkin he had ever met had lived life lack twuz sum kinda dream about thar ownself.

that wuz the furst time we hurd sumbidy talk strate out bout us as dumb amurkins n we shoulda been reddy fer it, but we wuznt n it stung. but ye couldnt stay mad at branimir. he wuz a educayshun in how to live.

fer instunts, he splained how he had writ severul novels when he wuz a lil yunger n whenever he tried to git one of the later ones published, he had to send it off to the censors to read. he sed they wuz a big offishul name fer them censors, sumthin lack department of state information security department or sum such but twernt wurth puttin into his mouth since they wuznt nuthin but censors. they sent the book back n woodnt let him publish it. he splained how sum of his earlier novels had dun made it past the censors on a counta he had used irony n them censors wuz all blind toot, but by the time he had his new book, they had herd bout irony n rejeckted it jes in case they wuz inny in it. so branimir tuck out sum ads in the newspapers announcin his own funeral. he knew the jurnalism biz in a cynicull way so he had made up a lil press release splainin whut a loss twuz to the nayshun not to have this promissing yung novelis with em innymore. shore a nuff, the story grew legs n gut tuck up in a wire in the west n nex thang ye know, twuz a topick in the nayshunal press of yugoslavia. n thats when he called a jurnalist to protest bout how he wuznt ded a tall n that he could proov it. corse, twuz a huge sensayshun till it give im a chants to mentchun how he had writ a new novel. them censors couldnt do nuthin but let it git by too.

me n emily went with branimir to see bertholt brechts play name of die drei groschen oper one time, witch thats 'the three penny opry' in english. durin the innermishun thay wuz sum of em communist protesters n they gut up on the stage in tuck thar places in the jail cells on a counta twuz a scene with jail cells in it. then they gut to carryin on bout west germany bein a morderstadt or sumthin lack that. branimir wuz disgusted n he stood up n started yellin back at the students. he tole em how in his land dint nobidy have the freedum to protest nuthin n here they did n they oughta be thankful. one of em hollerd out whut wuz his land n he said he wuz frum croatia n pounded his fist into the air. then he sat down agin n turnt to me n emily n sed, cockin his head at the stage, 'babies.' then he splained how them babies wuz a'gonna be the verr thang they wuz claimin they hate whenever they grew up.

branimir splained how radmilo wuz really frum a differnt cuntry furm his. radmilo wuz frum belgrade, witch thats in a place name of serbia on a counta tiz full of serbs. as fer branimir, he wuz a croat frum croatia, witch he splained how sumday whenever the soviet union fell, his cuntry wood git independents frum so called yugoslavia n then he woodnt be in the same cuntry as radmilo. ye could tell he dint thank much of the serbs n he figgerd radmilo wuz a purrfeck eggzample of whut wuz wrong with em on a counta had we ever seen such a conformist? he claimed they dint have no courage n that made em weak n cruel.

hearin branimir talk bout the worl wuz jes part of the educayshun we wuz a'gittin in how folks sees thangs. we gut to here a lot more bout whut folks wuz thankin bout amurka. one time i wuz on the way over to one of them dinners n i run into this fella frum greece, witch i cant member ifn i ever gut to know him by name. we talked a lil on the walk over, long a nuff fer him to ast wuz i frum amurka n soons i add mitted it, he switched to talkin english, witch twuz one of the thangs folks dun fer two reasons: (1) they dont thank the average amurkin is smart a nuff to really larn sumbidy elses lingo n (2) they wonta practiss thar english. innywho, furst thang he sed wuz, 'you come from baby country.' i wuz a lil sprized, speshly how it stung me fer sum reason, so ast whut he meant n he splained how we wuznt but a lil over 200 years old. he sed how amurkins all thank theys so powerful n all, but tiz early in thar histry. he gut onto the topick of greece n how twuz 2,500 years old n had been the world empire at one time, but they had outgrown thar need fer imperialism.

i mite wooda wonted to talk to him bout greek cultchur, but he dint seem to wonta been seen with no amurkin, so i kep my distunts after that. i did end up at a table of folk that included him fer lunch that day, n he gut em speakin english rite away by pointin out how i wuznt able to do much else on a counta bein amurkin, but i tole em in german how i could speak german jes fine. twernt the case, but i dint wonta add mitt it, n thang wuz, dint nobidy give me a chants. they all wonted to practiss thar english, so thats whut we dun.

we gut to talkin bout the world situwayshun, mainly the cold war of corse, n it seemed lack frum the way they wuz carryin on, they figgerd the united states wuz the big danger in the world. finely i ast em wuz that whut they wuz trine to say? they looked at me lack i wuz crazy or jes nigh-eve. corse amurkas the big evil power, they sed, lack twuz a matter of fack that ye could look up in the encyclopeedia. so i ast whut about the soviet union, n they all sed how thar trine hard to be number one but they jes aint rich a nuff. twuz such a shock i shut up n listend n dint say a nuther wurd. 

but seems lack they wuz talkin at me, trine to cunvints me of sumthin, n twuz all bout the middle east, witch they gut to splainin how twuz the real problem in the worl. they kep at it till twuz lack i wuz back with darlene n daddy playin risk, ceptn they kep sayin that till amurka played fair with bof sides -- n they wuz all lookin at me lack i wuz amurka its ownself -- till we amurkins treated the palestinians same as the israelis, then thar woodnt be no peace. thay wuz a fella frum iran thar n a nuther frum saudi arabia n the greek n all three of em wuz jes shore the only real problem in the worl wus the middle east. the greek splained how twuznt long till thar woodnt be no soviet union nor no east block, but even after that, thay wood still be the middle east n twood be a problem long as amurka kep armin the israelis.

thang wuz, i had herd my daddy say the same thang bout the middle east. he sed relijun wuz a hole lot deeper n irrashunul than eke onomicks, so i dint try to change thar pinions n twoodnta matter ifn i had tride. nobidy changes thar mind in a argumint lack that, so i jes listend n the two thangs that wuz scary wuz (1) how thay dint hardly any two of em disagree the least whit n (2) how it made me so mad n how i wished we wuz on the rite side of thangs n how i wished i knew a nuff to defend our posishun, witch i dint know a nuff about to know wuz we on the rite side or not.

i gut to thanking bout the time with that fella name of 'said' at that party in knoxvull. everthang he had sed wuz jes assumed to be true by ever person at that table -- ceptn me. whar wuz they gittin thar informayshun? why wuz it that bof folks frum behin the iron curtain n folks frum the west agreed on everthang -- ceptn me.

innywho, ye kin see how bein in europe makes ye wonta know more bout whuts a'goin on in the worl, only ye jes cant keep up with everthang. purty soon, ye fine yerself lack i wuz that mundy in november, walkin to skool thankin bout a dream that dint mean nuthin, wunderin why my subconshus duz such a thang to me. twuz late in the day, after we waited out the mail man who dint git thar till near 9:30 sted of rite at 9:00 lack he dun mos times n had dun had sum knödel suppe n bred n cheese fer lunch n i had dun walked with emily to the post offus with a lil trip to the antiquariat on the way n i had dun kissed her goodbye at the corner of ginheimer n leipziger.

i gut to the bildin whar the class wuz held a lil early n went to stand out in the hall. i reckon ye mite could say i looked lack a hippy. my hair wuz down past my shoulders n my beard down to my breast bone n i wore blue jeans n boots n a ole cordaroy coat, so i reckon to them students i found standin out in the hall, i looked lack mayhap i mite even be a communist my ownself on a counta they wuz dressed purty much lack i wuz n ever one that could grow a beard had em one. they wuz as eggcited as i had ever seen em n soons they saw me cummin, they hedded my way.

one of em wuz carryin a lil paper name of die rote stern, witch that means the red star in english. twuz a cheap lookin paper lack ye mite speck frum yer nashnul enquirer but whut gut me wuz the hedline. i had to read it a cuple of times n then read the furst paragraph to make shore i wuz gittin it. twuz sumthin that had happend jes the day befor in iran. i dint know sum of the main wurds: Geisel, Botschaft, entführen, but i could unnerstand Diplomat jes fine. i looked up tutherns while they all waited, eggcited to see how i wood reack once i figgerd out whut had happend n purty soon i had it that the embassy in tehran had been attacked n the diplomatick staff tuck hostage.

i ast wuz that it n they all started cheerin n sed twuz it all rite n twuz the beginnin of the revolushun fer shore, the beginnin of the fall of amurka. they give me that thar newspaper n tole me i could have it n patted me on the back n ast me dint i thank twuz a wonderful thang? now ye mite wood thank they wood switch to english, but these wuz all them communists n they dint wonta study english. they wuz studyin russian or polish or other slavick langwages, so they kep chatterin away in german.

now ifn ye ever dun larned ye a forn langwage, then ye know how ye git to whar ye kin unnerstand whut folks is sayin long befor ye kin anser em back n twuz so then. i could unnerstand everthang they wuz a'sayin to me as they all stood in a circull round me: wernt it true we had 20% inflashun in armurka? n wuznt it so that couldnt no engineering graduwaits git jobs? dint we have racshul strife? dint folks in amurka tell polack n nigger jokes? n dint we have a histry of lynchin? n dint we all drive gas guzzlin cars n pollute the earth? wuznt we the ones that had that three mile island acksident? n wuznt i happy that the revolushun wuz started n we wuz a'gone be liberated frum the capitalist system? n wuznt it just n good how the mouse of iran had dun tripped the lion of amurka to git it all started? n they cheerd the iranian students.

i wonted so bad to tell em i wuznt happy, that twuz a awful thang that had happend, that my cuntry wuz not about to fall n that thar hole communist bleef system wuz bankrupt n yew name it, but i couldnt git a sangle sentents out.

finely i turnt n tuck off but they follerd n one of em ast me ifn twuz a shock to wake up frum the amurkin dream n fer sum reason that made me thank of that dream i had dun had the nite befor n how i couldnt say nuthin in it neethur. twuz the same feelin.

i dint go back to that class agin. i started goin to the histry of the novel class with emily, witch they wuz readin tobias smollet n i hadnt even known who he wuz till then. n i gut to readin a lil bout the worl n the middle east, a'trine to git a lil more educayted. n i rote n rote n rote, a trine to git sumthin started that wuz 'engagiert,' as the students wood say. twuz painful trine to wake up frum that strange amurkin dream whar we could bleeve we wuznt even part of the rest of the worl.

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.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

life of buddy don, chaptur 99:
pieces of home

innybidy who has ever tuck out frum his home cuntry to live sumwhars else, even fer a lil while, is almos bound to be larnin sum thangs ye woodnt eggspeck. fer instunts, i had been readin books by folk frum europe lack crazy, flossofy n german literchur in particlar. frum all that readin i gut this noshun in my hed that i had more in common with folk in europe than in amurka. i gut to thankin thay wuz minny a thang bout my own cuntry i dint lack in 1979: (1) disco music, (2) fedrul debt up to a whoppin $845 billyuns, (3) jimmy carters neutron bomb, (4) kramer vs. kramer, (5) crimson tide beatin the vols ever year, (6) gas-guzzlin cars that made folk in germany laff at us n hate us, n most of all, (7) publicans usin the southern stratgy, witch i had voted fer nixon n then wonted to keep on bein a publican but jes couldnt stumach whut ye had to pertend ye bleeved to doot. couldnt vote fer carter nor fer ford neethur, so i gut into a habit of wastin my vote fer a few years, includin wastin it on john anderson in 1980 on a counta seemed lack he wuz thonly one who could see whut our dependents on oil wuz makin us do.

tiz shameful to member, but i reckon i figgerd since i wuz readin folk lack kant n nietzshe n friedrich dürrenmatt n even the bible auf deutsch n listnin to nuthin but mosly german classicull musick, then mayhap i had a europeen sole or mayhap i wuz more a citizen of the worl than of amurka.

it dint take but about two weeks in germany to set me strate on lots of thangs. fer one, everwhar i went, folk knew i wuz amurkin befor i opened my mouth, jes by how i dressed n walked n ackted. n seem lack everbidy had one rong idee or a nuthern bout amurka, witch twuz one thang whenever i wuz crit-sizin it but a verr differnt thang when sumbidy who hadnt never been thar gut into the ack. much as i wonted to thank i wuz more part of worl cultchur or even europeen cultchur, whut i wuz findin out wuz jes how amurkin i really wuz. fack is, i gut to lackin lots of thangs i hadnt hardly noticed bout my cuntry.

fer in stunts, in west germany, far as i could tell, everthang wuz under cuntrol, witch thay wuz this german sayin that went 'ordung muß sein,' witch that means ye gut to have order no matter whut. ye dint have no stray cats nor stray folks nor nuthin lack that. ever inch of ground wuz accounted fer n bein used. thay wuz this joke amungst sum of them german student communists that whenever the revolushun wuz to cum to west germany, when it cum time to storm the hauptbahnhof n take over the trains, everbidy wood buy thar ticket furst.

they wuz happy to have a nashnul po-leece registrayshun of all the folk. ye couldnt be anonymus, no how, no way. everbidy had to be counted n accounted fer. they dint thank nuthin of nobidy havin guns or inny rites to have em. ifn ye read bout sumbidy gittin shot, ye could bet twuz sum amurkin soljer pullin the trigger on a counta dint nobidy else have guns that shot bullets. ifn ye wuz homeless, ye couldnt even find a lonely corner to lie down in, witch thank goodness we wuznt. they wuz no open meadows that wuznt in a park, no forest that dint have concrete paths runnin thru it. even yer graveyards had fences round em n tho they wuz sum of the mos beeyootiful places ye could find, ye had to pass by a guard to git in.

fack is, thay wuznt hardly room a nuff to turn around n after a while, i gut to whar i kindly lacked how emily could make such a disorderly mess of our lil apartment on a counta twuz lack amurka: loose, messy, free. i woodnt add mitt that to her, but twuz sumthin nice bout cummin outta yer perfeck german streets to a place whar ye couldnt see the floor fer discarded cloze n papers n books n ash trays n cigrette butts n yew name it.

corse, whut ye miss bout home is the folks moren mos innythang n twuz way too eggspensive to thank bout makin fone calls. that meant ye wuz at the mercy of the mail.

me n emily gut to whar we woodnt leave out fer skool of a mornin till the mail had dun cum. ifn thay wuznt nuthin in it frum home, we wuz a lil deepressed all day. as ye mite know, they gut way too minny holidays in west germany n we couldnt hardly figger when one wuz a cummin up agin, so thay wuz days when we wuz sad that it jes dint cum n we dint know why till twuz almos too late to go out.

after i gut out of the hospitull, thay wuz a slew of letters fer me. turnt out that the verr day i went in, my bruther eli tride to kill hisself. emily dint wonta git me upset while i wuz in the hospitull, so she kep em fer me to read whenever i cum out. turnt out the v-a had give eli his munthly medicine in a liquid form in sted of the usual lil bottles of pills. that meant twernt much of a trick to drank up the hole munths supply all at one time, n thats jes whut he dun. furst letter sed he wuz in a coma n secunt one splained how he wuz awake but wuznt able to do nuthin n the docters had dun tole mama she wuz a'gonna half to ackcept that her sun wood be lack a vegtabull fer the res of his life.

lord knows i wonted to call home n find out more, but whut could i say? we couldnt pay fer no fone call frum west germany n ifn we could, i reckond all we wood git is the sound of mama a'crine on the fone. so i went thru feelin verr deepressed n guilty fer sum reason on a counta i knew part of whut made eli sad wuz how he wood compar his life with mine n the hole fambly wuz eggcited bout me bein in europe n all. tiz sumthin ye live with all the time ifn ye have a sick siblin lack i eli.

in a few daze we gut a nuther letter n mama rote bout how the docters sed twuznt possbull n mayhap twuz a murkle, but eli wuz cummin back, furst barely able to talk n then havin no memry but barely able to stop talkin n then gittin his memries back till he tole em he wonted to go home. so they let him go.

in the same mail with that letter wuz a letter frum alfred a. knopf along with the manuscript fer crap notes that i sent em. it had been rejeckted n that meant i felt lack i had been rejeckted.

twuz a moment whar i wunderd whut i wuz a'doin with my life. i dint much lack the classes i wuz takin. dint much lack the germans, ceptin fer frieda muller n her sister erika, dint much lack bein stuck in such a cold n awful place. i gut to whar i couldnt hardly sleep n one evenin i tole emily i had to take a walk.

i gut up n put on plenty of cloze on a counta twuz gittin on tords october n the weather wuz turnin verr cold. i walked all the way to sachsenhausen n back. i thought bout how i wuz readin books bout the novel on a counta thats whut emily wuz a'studyin n whut i wonted to do. i had been readin one book of essays colleckted by malcolm bradbury bout the modern british novel n fer sum reason it gut me riled up. seemed lack ever essay in that book wuz arguin that yer novel only matterd ifn twuz a'doin the novel in a new way. twuz as if ritin a novel the ole fashund way, with a good plot n strateford narrativ wuznt good a nuff. ye had to do thangs lack git yer novel printed as loose sheets n put all in a box n ast folks to shuffle em befor they read em.

thang wuz, i had cum to west germany to study flossofy, but thonly reason i wuz wontin to study flossofy wuz so i wood be able to rite better. twuznt no way to make a livin n i knew i had to find a compromize with life sos i could keep gittin the means to pay fer food n shelter n everthang else ye need to keep the body n sole glued together. so that meant gittin a job that wood pay a nuff, witch twernt sumthin i wood git with flossofy. sides that, now that i had dun read bout elis trubles, seem lack i wonted to git back home moren innythang only thay wuznt no turnin back, witch that mean finishin the year furst.

but when i gut to cunsidderin goin back home, the questchun cum up of whut wuz i a'gone do to pay the bills? emily wuz halfway thru her masters, so we had to git back to utk to let her finish, witch that wood take a year. i dint wonta wurk with no computers no more n fack wuz, i dint know how to do much else to make money. i wonted to rite, but ye cant plan on makin money thataway.

so i figgerd i wood go fer a masters my ownself, only i wood quit goin after flossofy n git to studyin literchur. i dint tell emily rite away on a counta i figgerd she wood wonta go home that mint. i kep goin to my classes n gittin reddy to give a presentayshun to that linguistisch und philisophie class. but my hart wernt in it.

bout a week later, i gut a letter frum eli his ownself. he splained how he had figgerd twuz time to die but god musta had sumthin else fer him to do. turnt out he had been in the hospitull the same 12 days i wuz in, witch he figgerd he wuz a'goin to the europe of the sole while i wuz visitin the europe of the earth, that he wuz studyin the spirtchul worl n i wuz a'studyin the physcull. how i wished i could be home n see him agin.

fack wuz, i wished i could be home, period, but i wuz too stubburn to add mitt it. so i rote a bunch of letters to everbidy i could thank of, even weird walter, in hopes that sumbidy wood send sum back. emily dun the same. n we waited on the mail everday, no matter whut, on a counta them letters wuz pieces of home, thonly thangs that fit the empty in our harts.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

life of buddy don, chaptur 98:
skool daze amung the germs

by time we wuz eggspeckted to git down to the johann wolfgang goethe-universität n cummence a'takin classes, we had dun been thru a lot n twuz ackshly rite hepful on a counta we had larnt a lot more german than we had cum over a'knowin. so we tuck our walk down leipziger strasse to whar ye register fer classes, n rite away we found ourself facin more cultchur shocks, only these wuz a lil easier to take.

fer one, we wuz at a big university, witch i wurked my applicayshun fer a fullbright thisaway:

  1. furst i picked the best skool they had over n west germany, witch fer whut i wuz a studyin, twuz a place name of eberhard karls universität in tübingen. (did ye notice how i larnt to git them two lil dots to stay over sum of the vowels without makin a mess of my page? i reckon i'll go back n fix em all direckly.) thang is, even the bes west german students wood have truble gittin in thar n i knew i wuznt as good as inny of them on a counta they wuz much better at the lingo than i ever wood be. but ye gut to set yer sites hi, n thats whut i dun.
  2. nex i picked a place that wood be the mos beeyootiful of em all ifn we wuz lucky a nuff to git in, witch thatn wuz ruprecht-karls universität in heidelberg n fack is, thay aint a hole lot of settled placed thats as beeyootiful as heidelberg. but they dint have a verr big skool, so i knew my chantses wuz slim of gittin in thar.
  3. so i picked me a big ole university that wuz in the middle of a big city n i figgerd thar wuz whar they wuz mos lackly to have a exter place fer sumbidy frum amurka, n corse that wurked out.

as ye know, i gut a d-a-a-d in sted of a fullbright on a counta that treaty we had with west germany n best thang about it wuz how we wuz paid in marks. as ye mite recolleck, the economy in amurka wuznt all that good in late 1979 on a counta the oil crisis n inflayshun n the hi interst rates, witch seem lack they wuz knockin on the door of 12%, so twuz a bit of luck to be paid in marks on a counta how the dollar wuz droppin. whenever virgil wuz stayshuned in west germany, thay wuz gittin dm4 fer thar dollar, but he wuz thar in the early 70s. by the time we gut thar, ye wuz gittin maybe dm1,70 fer yer buck, so everthang ye bought with dollars seemed hi.

innywho, we larnt a lot our furst day thar. fer one thang, emily wood be able to odd-it all the classes she could stand, witch that meant she could sit in but woodnt half to do no wurk. i figgerd she wuz lucky till i larnt that i woodnt half to do no wurk neethur on a counta in them west german universities, ye dint have a lot of the thangs that ye gut in amurka: (1) ye dint half to take no tests till ye had dun been thar two years, when ye wood half to take yer zwischenprüfung, witch that means 'between test' wurd fer wurd n fack is, we dont have no such thang in amurka; (2) nobidy wuz takin attendance; (3) ye dint half to buy no books lessn ye jes wonted to; (4) ye dint half to give no presentayshuns, lessn ye wonted to; n (5) ye dint half to rite no papers, lessn ye wonted to. fack is, ye only had to commit to doin wurk in four of yer classes the furst two years. then when ye tuck that zwischenprüfung, ye wuz spozed to know everthang ye had sined up to study by then, speshly the four classes whar ye had earned yer schein, witch i reckon thats a grade or such lack, proof ye tuck the class n rote a paper n give a talk of sum kind.

twooda dun me sum good to know all this rite frum the gitgo, but i dint, so in one of the classes i wuz takin, witch twuz a class name of linguistisch und philisophie, witch the meanin of thatn is purty easy to suss n the mane reasons i sined up to git a schein in it wuz (1) twuz a subjeck i wuz innnerested in studyin, (2) the teechur, a greek name of perfesser mourikis, couldnt talk german much fastern i could, so it made him a lil easier fer me to unnerstan, n (3) i wuz thonly student in the class who had ever read inny of them greek flossofers, witch i had dun read everone i could git my hands on n the furst six volumes of frederick coplestons histry of flossofy, witch that meant readin bout all them greeks on a counta they gut the hole flossofy thang started n that meant they purty much tuck the furst volume or so.

i also sined up fer a class on heideggers zein und zeit and one on materialistische dialektik, witch that means dialectic materialism n tiz mosly bout them communists. but i figgerd twood be innerestin, n thay wuz a lease one innerestin moment, tho it dint have nuthin to do with the class. i reckon ill cum to thatn direckly.

thay wuz a nuther class i sined up fer, witch twuz a class on sittlichkeitsgefühl, technologie und philosophie n witch that means 'morality, technology and philosophy.' it feetchured a verr poplar teechur n wuz held in a big auditorium so i only went a cuple of times. but i do have two strong memries frum that class. fer one, the teechur wuz verr poplar on a counta he tole a lot of jokes. as ye mite know, ifn ye ever larnt ye a forn lingo, the hardest thangs is jokes n fone calls, on a counta them jokes is built on everbidy knowin insider dope on thangs n on the fone, ye cant see the person yer a'talkin to, witch ye git a lot of meanin by seein em say whut thar trine to tell ye. but i noticed that ever time that teechur tole us a joke, the hole class wood laff n i gut so i wood be laffin too, even tho i dint have the lease idee whut he wuz a talkin bout. but twuz sumthin bout how the crowd wuz a'laffin n purty soon i could tell the perfesser wuz bout to deeliver a nuther punch line, n shore a nuff, i wood be laffin my hed off lack i knew whut twuz all about. twuz a moment when i could planely see how thars sumthin powerful in a mob.

tuther thang i member bout that class wuz whenever he wuz splainin conflick n how ye kin git to grater evil as ye git more technicull power. fer instunts, ifn all ye gut to fite with is yer fists, thays a good chants bof sides mite give up befor eethur side wuz ded on a counta ye could git wore plum out befor ye had killt yer enemy. once ye git to the point of pickin up rocks n usin sticks, thangs gits easier, but ye mite still quit befor ye had killt yer opponent n mayhap ye wood negosheeate sum other outcum. once ye git to the point of havin a long bow or a rifle, ye kin kill with a bare squeeze of yer fanger. n once ye git a hole army wurkin fer ye, cumplete with cruise missles, ye kin sit in a room eatin yer dinner n order a hole peeple to be deestroyed. fack is, ye git to a point whar ye mite kill the hole planet off jes by miss take.

twuz sumthin the worl used to wurry bout a hole lot on a counta how amurka n the soviet union wuz loded with weppons pointed at each other n everbidy else fer good meashure. corse nowadays we dont have that problem, but we have cum up with new ones to wurry bout, lack whar is all them weppons gone to? or even the stuff ye use to make em?

corse, when all them students dont have to do much in class, they have plenty of time to do thangs outside of class. whut they dun wuz a real sprize to bofus. fer one thang, thay wuz a slew of communists thar n all of em bleeved that the amurkin empire wuz about to fall. thang wuz, they wuz much more innerested in arguin twixt thar ownself than in cunvintsin innybidy that dint alreddy bleeve in communism. so ye had two big groups a fitin all the time, one of em the communists who figgerd stalin wuz rite n tuthern the communists who figgerd twuz trotsky, witch that mean them stalinist communists lacked leonid brezhnev n them trotsky folk lacked chairman mao.

i used to watch em frum a place i found to sit n rite up in the mensa, witch means 'cafeteria' wurd fer wurd but stands fer lounge n twuz whar all the students used to hang out when they wuznt in the liberry or in class. twuz a big buildin with a lower level that had couches n tables n such. the upper level wuz filled with desks, but it only went round the edge of the buildin so ye could sit n look down on the furst level, witch thats whar they pitched thar battles. i couldnt see how innythang wuz ever accomplished in them fites on a counta how they wuz set up. ye wood have all them on one side lined up behind thar mane talker with all them on the other side facin em but set up the same way. then them mane talkers wood git to hollerin, only dint neethur side listn to tuthern. they jes hollerd loud as they could at each other, thar noses jes inches away frum each other.

corse they had other thangs they lacked to do, witch one of thar faverts wuz to march agin amurka. we gut stuck trine to cross one of them marches a time or two, witch we noticed the mane events wuz (1) burnin a big jimmy carter doll, (2) burnin the amurkin flag, (3) shotin slogans n (4) scrapin swastikas on all the mercedes benzes. they also lacked takin over abandund buildins, witch they called 'squattin' n holdin 'teach-ins' bout how awful amurka wuz, witch ye mite wood thank they wood wonta use german wurds fer them events. a nuther thang they lacked doin wuz gittin a hole bunch of em in a cirkle down in this underground mall they had thar called a einkaufscentrum. they wood cart in sum drums n tamborines n maybe a guitar or two n they wood git em a beat a'goin n cummence to screamin bout the thangs they hated bout amurka. i member one time the leader wuz callin out in german how muzak wuz to musick whut macdonalds wuz to food n other insults. thang wuz, near ever one of em wuz wearin levis n they mosly looked lack leftover hippies frum hate ashbury.

tuther groups that lacked to fite in the mensa wuz the iranians, witch they had em a slew of iranians thar. they wuz divided up into two groups, witch one wuz them that wuz follerin that ayatollah khomeini fella. tutherns wuz them that wuz wonted iran to have modernizayshun, but neethur side had inny use fer the shah. ifn they found the battlefield free, they wood git thar battles goin, n they wood use the verr same method, ceptn ye could tell which side wuz which on a counta the khomeini folk wood have thar women wearin hed scarfs, ifn thay wuz inny women with em, n lots of the men wuz wearin lil hats that looked lack they wuz made out of lace.

since i had lots of thangs i wonted to rite, i spent a lot of my time up on the second floor of that mensa. i wood rite letters n wurk on trine to git a new novel a'goin n rite in my diary n yew name it. sumtimes emily wood cum along, but she had her own classes to take, so we wood generly go home once neethur of us had no classes.

ye mite thank how emily wood study german histry on a counta that wuz her major n she wuz halfway thru her masters, but twernt to be. she wuz takin classes whar they talked in english, thangs lack the histry of english in amurka n theory of the novel n amurkin literchur. i hate to add mitt it now, but this led to a bad fuss n fite on a counta i had figgerd we woodnt be trine to talk no english but only german on a counta how else wuz we a'gone git good at it? also, wuznt she spozed to be studyin germans n thar histry?

corse, thar wuznt no reason fer us to be fitin n turnt out to be one of the luckiest thangs of all that she wuz takin them classes. fer one thang, she found out thay wuz a liberry with jes english books in it, witch that saved us a lot of money. fer a nuther, in one of them classes, she found the mos preshus thang they gut in west germany: a german friend.

i dun mentchuned how folks in the ex-pat communty used the term 'germs' to refer to the local folk in west germany. i been usin the term up to now on a counta when i recolleck them early days in germany, we felt lack we had been let loose in a land of germs. but fack is, i dint larn the wurd till i cummenced a'goin to skool thar. n once emily made her a friend, witch twuz a gurl name of frieda muller, we dint thank of them folk as germs no more.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

life of buddy don, chaptur 97:
back on our feet again

thays a sayin that thangs is darkest jes befor dawn, witch ye mite also say the pendulum gits to its highest point on one side befor swangin back on a counta thangs kin only go so far n either they gits ye to disaster n everthangs over or not. ifn ye live to tell the tale, then tiz lackly thangs dint git to outrite disaster, witch tiz obveeus they dint git to disaster with us or else i woodnt be ritin this.

the turnin point wuz that day i gut to go home n risk everthang fer a lil hot sex. twuz lucky the risk dint cause further damage. corse, thays no causal relayshunship twixt my bein able to go home fer a visit n all the good that finely started happnin, or at lease, not everthang is related. fer one, twuz a bit of good luck how the fambly gut news of our plight n started sendin us a lil money. furst cum the $20 frum maureen, witch thatn wuz jes her bein nice in generul. then cum $50 frum mama on a counta she had gut the news by letter. twuz too eggspensive fer even a thought bout a phone call, so we sent off letters as quick as we knew we wuz stuck with that operayshun, n as soon as mama red one, she tuck $50 frum daddy behind his back n sent if off speshul deelivery, witch jes that cost near half the $50. then daddy sent us $150, n we wuz feelin almos rich by then.

but thar wuz this one conneckshun with that visit n that wuz how it gut emily out n fitin fer us agin. ye mite could thank that emily wuz too weak to carry on, but ye wood be rong. it has been my observayshun of folks that them that whines n cumplains n cries easy n sez thay cant bleeve how bad thangs is, well, theys jes as lackly to be the ones that does carry on n make it, cryin n moanin n cumplainin the hole time, but gittin thangs dun. so twuz with emily.

i mentchuned how she wuz deepressd n crine n all, but whut i dint mentchun wuz how twixt her tears she wuz sayin, 'sine this' n 'read that' on a counta how she wuz gittin all the paperwurk reddy sos she could go down to the po-leece n register n then to the d-a-a-d n testify bout how we wuz marrd n had the papers to proov it n planned to stay together the hole year we wuz here n wood sine papers to promiss as much, witch she had me sine em n gut herr friedrichs to witness fer us.

thang wuz, she wuz hopin i wood git out n go doot on a counta how she hated to speak inny german, but thar wuznt no hep fer it, so she tuck them papers n a letter i had writ to my folks n off she went. furst she went down to leipziger strasse, witch that street twuz more or less the main drag in our part of frankfurt am main, n got her a pitcher made witch they calls a passbild, witch that means tiz a pitcher ye could put on a passport. she needed that pitcher fer them po-leece, but furst she went over to deposit that $50 frum mama n gut out dm85, witch even that wuz hard fer her to do on a counta our bank treated ye lack they wuz shore ye wuz a'gonna rob em sumhow. but she dun it n then went strate to the polizei or po-leece n tuck keer of our anmeldung n aufenthalterlaubnis, witch anmelden means 'to announce' n in this case, twuz registern with the po-leece n aufenthaltserlaubnis means wurd fer wurd 'stopover permission' but stands fer forner residents permit jes the same.

odd thang bout emily is how she wood pinch a penny till it screamed to be set free befor she wood spend it, but once she figgerd we had a nuff, she wood go out n buy the mos useless thang ye could find, witch as soon as she wuz dun with the po-leece chores, she bought a wooden horse with a rider fer a christmus present fer sumbidy back home. i knew we wuz ok then, n fack is, she surprised me with the news that the d-a-a-d had sent dm200 to us n gut it put strate into our bank account, witch ye wood thank they coulda writ us a letter or sumthin splainin that n whenever she gut home, she found the dm700 frum das experiment.

all this happend on windsdy, september 12, witch that wuz a speshul day fer me in a lot of ways on a counta twuz the day darlene n me gut hitched n even tho twuz also my mamas 48th birthdy, bout all i could thank bout wuz how it had dun been 9 years since marrn that furst time n how we had ackshly dun been apart longern we wuz together. but wurst wuz how i knew i still had feelins fer her, witch these wuz feelins couldnt nobidy splain on a counta i dint wonta be with her nohow noway. but i wood have a dream ever so often n thar she wood be n i wood eethur be trine to hurt her by showin off how much in luv with emily i wuz or trine to git her to cum back to be with me.

twuz a blessin that i dint tell emily innythang bout whut day twuz, not even to say how twuz my mamas birthdy on a counta that mite remind her bout my furst marrg. turnt out she knew all bout it n dint mentchun it to me on a counta she dint wont me to git to feelin guilty fer feelin thangs i shouldnt be feelin, witch she unnerstood moren i give her credit fer on thatn. she even splained how i had dicktated a birthdy card furst thang whenever i cum out of surgry, witch she had bought one n ast me whut did i wont her to rite on it n i had tole her n sined it only i dint member nuthin bout it.

twuz late in the day whenever she tole me this. we wuz sittin out on the balcony with herr friedrich n a new payshunt name of herr eckhardt, witch herr eckhradt had lived 12 years in ireland n could speak purty good english in a irish brogue. he piped rite up n sed twuz a good thang emily had dun n ye could tell that he wuz kindly sweet on her even ifn he wuz near 80 years old.

herr eckhardt wuz a innerestin fella n wuz one of the only folks in all of west germany we ever gut to add mitt innythang much bout the nazis. ye mite could thank frum talkin to the folks in our generayshun that thay hadnt never been no thurd reich, but herr eckhardt sed ye had to be honest bout yer miss takes ifn ye wuz a gone git over makin em. since he talked english, me n emily dint have the privacy we wuz used to with jes herr friedrich sittin thar. we couldnt jes sit out on the balcony while i wuz playin chess with herr friedrich n we wuz talkin over our cares n woes in english n couldnt nobidy listen in. in sted, we knew herr eckhardt unnerstood everthang. fack is, he wuz good fer us on a counta how emily dint wonta whine in frunt of him n he give her lots of encouragmint to git out n git her thangs dun. hes the one tole her how she needed to jes git her passbild n anmelden mit der polizei or else, n i thank thats whut gut her to doot.

innywho, he sed a cuple of verr innerestin thangs. fer one, he wuz a lil mad with amurka on a counta how we wuz willin to bomb the germans to the ground but we woodnt push the soviets out of eastern europe. dint we have mayhap 10 millyun soljers thar, reddy to go? couldnt we see how bad thangs had cum out by our not doin that? he sed he knew we had good bombs on a counta how we deestroyed his town of dresden n he figgerd they wood wurk on them soviets jes the same. why did we stop? we tride to splain how we couldnt speak fer our hole cuntry n thays deecishuns that gits made by gummint n as nuthin but a lowly citizen, ye more or less jes half to go long with em.

then he gut onto the marshall plan n how twuz so good fer amurka to do that even if at furst thay wuz a lotta fear on a counta how everthang wuz labeld 'gift,' witch thats the german wurd fer poison. but once they real-eyesd that twuznt poison atall but food n clothin n yew name it, once they saw how we wuz heppin rebuild thar cuntry, mos folk could barely bleeve innbybidy winnin a war wood treat the losers so good. n fer that, he sed, the german peeple wood always luv amurka, no matter whut, even ifn we did let the soviets take whut they dint desurv n led the worl to the brink of nuclear destruckshun, witch he pointed out thay wuznt no marshall plan fer rebuildin after the nex war on a counta thay lackly woodnt be nobidy lef alive n no cuntry fer rebuildin.

then he turnt to emily n his eyes wuz sparklin as he tole her that she wuz gittin sum real german histry frum a real german n he hoped she knew the differnts twixt that n jes gittin it in books. she ast him did he member hitlers rise to power n he gut real quite till she sed she dint mean to insult him. she wuznt trine to blame him nor nuthin. she unnerstood he wuz a citizen n how histry kin be biggern inny lil person, jes lack we couldnt take the blame fer amurka not kickin out the soviets frum east europe.

that gut him goin on a counta he sed twuz the same whenever hitler cum to power. twernt sumthin ever german wuz happy bout, but he sed twuznt lack everbidy knew he wuz a'gonna go n start a worl war. he never mentchuned the concentrayshun camps n fack is, we couldnt find but one sangle german that wood, n she n her sister wuz good friends we wood make later on. but he did add mitt how he wuz verr eggcited whenever he furst herd bout hitler on a counta twuz sumbidy that wonted to stand up fer germany agin them french n english n that awful treaty, witch he meant the treaty of versailles, n he pointed out how twuz such a bad treaty that amurka never sined on toot.

he sed hitler give em hope n gut folks bleevin in tharselves agin. he sed he wuz part of the hitler youth only twuz more lack a soshul club than innythang ceptn he lacked bleevin the germans wuz a grate peeple. he sed twuz good to call out to a peeples pride lack hitler dun, only ye cant let pride becum everthang, n he figgers that wuz part of whar thangs went rong on a counta hitler started bleevin that since germany wuz the mos powerful cuntry in the worl, they could fix all the worls problems, lease the ones they wuz wurried bout. in sted, thay wuz brought low n wood live in shame fer hitler fer all the res of thar histry.

twuz the happiest i had seen emily since we cum. everthang wuz lookin up. the evnin meal cum n we shared it n then i walked her home. that meant i missed the evenin visit frum the docters, but herr friedrich tole me they had seen my pile of books, witch i had agatha christies n friedrich duerrenmatts n the bible n my diary, n herr friedrich sed they wuz rite impressd n figgerd i mus be gittin purty close to bein well.

that nite i tole the nurse i dint thank i wood need no schlafsmittel n i slept real good. nex mornin, jes after havin our coffee, i finely went n tuck my furst dump without the hep of that vile liquid them germans give me befor my operayshun in near a munth. twuz a moment of revelayshun fer me. ye mite could have a millyun dollars, a dozen of the mos beeyootiful women in the worl, the brains of goethe or the heart of saint francis of assissi, but all these thangs woodnt be wurth much of nuthin ifn ye couldnt take a dump. i hadnt never noticed jes how satisfyin it could be, even ifn tiz too disgustin to rite bout.

twuz a sine, tho, n whenever i tole the nurse i had dun made a stuhlgang the nex mornin, i wuz tole she wood tell the chefarzt, witch that wuz the head docter. he tole me i wood be able to go home the nex day, witch that wuz saturdy the 15th.

that evenin, we treated ourself to a nite out, so to speak. i put on one of them three-piece soots n she put on the mexican weddin dress n we went to wienerwald, witch that means 'vienna woods' n i reckon twuz more or less a chain but seemed to us lack a eggsclusive restrunt since twuz the bes place we had been since helmut tuck us out. we bought a cuple glasses of the cheepest wine they had n i toasted her effurts in our behalf, but she sed she wonted to toast sumthin else, so i lifted my glass n she sed, 'to bein back on our feet again.' we clinked the glasses n drank. then she sed we should pay the bill n go home on a counta she had plans fer us n they dint include bein on our feet atall.

whut a nite!