Originally uploaded by jayfherron

I live in a very rural area that is situated geographically between three small towns. None of them are convenient from here,the smallest may be the easiest to drive to,but there ain’t much there. The largest of the three is the most distant and is where the post office insists I live and the third is where the court-house is.

Living in these parts for the length I have you tend to make acquaintances that are no more than someone you would recognize and say a howdy to but in general you know nothing about the person such as where they live or how they make a living,you just know them by sight. Because of the three town triangle and the rural parts of our area it is not uncommon to be in any of the three and not see someone you know really well,or see one of those folks you recognized enough to say hello.

There are some of these folks you don’t mind seeing and enjoy the half a minute spent saying “have a good day” to and then there are those that just grind your nerves and you have a hope they haven’t seen you.

Grace Slick (Jefferson Airplane) sang a line that said “mistakes are made because words are misunderstood”. I always thought that was so true…actually,I know it is true.

There is one such guy that works in the largest of the three towns. He seems to have myriad jobs as a city worker but is likely best recognized as the fellow that jumps off the back of the trash truck to dump the barrels set curbside. His name is Warren. I’ve seen it on the name tag embroidered on his city worker shirt.

Warren has this thing that gets on my nerve and I expect it to come from his lips every time I have a occassion to be in the grocery line and bump into Warren. He never says “hello…how’s it been”….ever! It is always “there’s the man with all the money”! I have no idea why he says that but it bothers me that it is said in front cashiers and others waiting in line and none of it is true and there is no way Warren could ever know what or where or how or anything about my life. He just recognizes me as I recognize him…but we do not know one single item about either of our lives. For all I know he might just say that to everybody…but at the moment he is saying it to me singles me out and it makes me wonder what people are thinking.

It reminds me of Billy. There was a guy on our ship named Billy who worked with us in the galley. He was nosey,some would used the term ‘brown noses’! A term for mates that would find the guy in charge and do everything in power to seduce the leader with flattery and become what many would know as a ‘skater’…someone who managed to skate through work by cheeseing up to the boss and not actually getting any work done.

Billy had a habit of coming into a conversation in the middle and then carrying bits that never added up to tell to others…basically filling in the parts he had no answer for.

What happened to me in 1969 had something to do with Billy. I know he nuzzled up to my brother Frank but what was the parts in between will always be a mystery to me. I do know it had something to do with drugs. I do know that became the only conclusion someone like Billy could have because he was busy body that spent no time analyzing any information he might accident upon. I gleaned facts about Billy’s part later after being brought back to the ship to retrieve uniforms and hearing that he had heard a conversation some sailors and I were having in the mess decks one night. The mess decks were the usual social area of the ship after hours. Hands from all over the city of the ships population came to the mess decks. Movies were shown,letters were written and guys would just have checker games or building models or just having conversation. Billy came in the middle of one of those conversations and built conclusions that had no basis or fact.

What Billy did was say things that were not true.

What Warren does is bothersome to me. Every time he does it  I feel that I am going to say something to shut him up…and never do. I am intimidated by the man who slings trash barrels. That part about is fact…I am intimidated by Warren and people like him who mutter untruths in jest. Sure,Warren is just kidding around in a way of familierness that he has no business making,but Billy was jus telling a fabricated conclusion to a conversation he was not a part of. It just all connects that way with me.

I remember years ago over in St.Augustine (FL) on the Bridge of Lions (a two lane draw bridge)  we were coming across from Anastasia Island and the traffic was backed up from the bridge. There was a large crowd up on the bridge and people were kneeling down looking through the metal grate that  carried the weight of vehicles across the bay.

There was a man stuck under that bridge ,it seemed the bridge tender had tried to free up a stuck gear and got pinned into it. A rescue operation was under way and watching its progress was perhaps two hundred folk all assembled there by accident by this one mans accident. They freed the man but he was dead and the phenomenal part of this was how the wave of people jumped up and as if it were a football touchdown all of these strangers began high fives and this cheer rang out “he’s dead”!

I bet the odds of any of those of us there knew each other or even knew the man who had died so suddenly are nil yet we all seemed to be like huge wave that couldn’t be stopped. It was eire enough to have this everlasting impact. It reminds me of things people can say and how easily words can be misunderstood. One person stood up from that crowd and high-fived the person next to him and that grew into a mass of strangers all cheering because some one started it. Not thinking of how wrong.

I know. I get a little far-fetched here in my comparisons. But the real connection is that words can be misdirected and misused and become like that wave. Unstoppable.

2 Responses to “”

  1. Carolyn Says:

    The tongue is a mighty weapon; true but I’m wondering if the ear might not be a collaborator of it. Then of course, there is that object: the brain; oh, let’s not forget that other one: the heart. It too makes mistakes.

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