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Fri Jun 15, 2012, 02:35 PM

 

"Perspective"

This is a blog post from my friend Kris Leeds, who blogs as "1 Evil Mofo." His blogs are usually full of gratuitous profanity and vitriol, but he went out of his way to make this one relatively PG.

The original version can be found at http://1evilmofo.blogspot.com/2012/06/perspective.html and is reposted here with permission of the author.

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Some of you might have read this on my blog, but there are others who won't see it there because they don't like my tone. I understand that. My tone isn't for everyone. this post, however, IS FOR EVERYONE. It does not have my trademark vitriol, and I think it's important enough that it ought to be seen. this is called "Perspective."

At about 8 oíclock this morning, my wife and I were trying to figure out what to do about cigarettes. We usually make our own, but this morning, there were about a dozen tubes left. That means, of course, that Iím going to have to go to Rite Aidô later and get a box. Not really a big deal, the store is a few blocks away, and an easy walk, but still a bit of a pain in the ass, because I have work I have to get done today. Iím going to be chained to the computer most of the day. I have deadlines to meet. So whatís our solution? She decided to send me to the corner store to tap the ATM, grab a transitional pack of smokes in the meantime with a coupon, and withdraw a couple bucks to go get tubes later when I get the chance. Itís a good plan. Hell, I might as well take out a few more so I can begrudgingly go up to the Chop Shop on South Street and get my hair cut. I hate getting my hair cut, but part of being married means giving over aesthetic control to your wife. Itís a pain in the ass, but it has to be done, or there will be a nonsensical argument, and probably some name calling. So, off to the corner store I go.

I tap the ATM, intending to take out 30 bucks, but the damned pain in the ass thing only dispenses twenties. 20 wonít cut it for what I need today, and 40 might earn me a free dirty look from the Mrs. Solution? Take out 40, give 10 to my wife. Iíd like her to eat later, too. I go up to the counter with my coupon and some cash, and wait. Why am I waiting? The shopkeeper hasnít noticed me yet. Heís busy preparing stacks of lotto paperwork. Heís 3 feet away. He still doesnít see me. Iím the only one in the store. My wife has to go to work. He still hasnít seen me. Iím getting annoyed. I clear my throat, and he still hasnít looked at me. I come to this store at least once a day, what the fuck? Come on, dude! Heís still playing with those damn lotto tickets.

As Iím waiting, and bitching in my head, a man walks in. Heís dirty; obviously homeless. His dog tags make less of a clink and more of a muted clunk, because theyíre caked with who knows what. I hope he doesnít come too close. I donít do too well with people in general, and my experience in this city with the homeless has jaded me, even though I was one once. They arenít like I was. A lot of them stay on the streets because they want to. They call themselves ďtrain kids.Ē They go from city to city panhandling enough to get liquored up until theyíre bored, and move on to the next city via train (this I know, because I had a conversation with a group of them before they demanded that I move on because, and I quote, they were ďworkingĒ).

The disheveled veteran (I assume heís a veteran, because who else in their mid-forties / fifties walks around wearing dog tags) shuffles into the store. The door is propped open, because itís already a beautiful day. As he ambles in, something halts him. Itís the wire coming from his prosthetic arm. He has one of those old-fashioned steel and plastic harness-type hooks instead of a left arm, and one of the cables caught the edge of the door. Now I feel bad. Iím bitching about stupid, mundane, everyday bullshit, and this guy went and left his left arm somewhere halfway across the world to protect my privilege to do so. I catch myself hanging my head in shame, and no one knows why but me. I watch him turn around. Iím assuming heís going to unhook himself, for which Iím glad, because watching this pains me. He doesnít unhook himself.

Why?

He doesnít have a right arm, either.

Fuck.

Not even a hook.

I want to show him some sort of respect, but how?

Somehow, I donít think a salute is appropriate.

He does a 360, and unhooks himself flawlessly.

Heís done this before.

Many times.

As I walk by, all I can think to do is smile, tip my hat, and whisper ďthank you.Ē

I can barely get it out.

I will never forget this morning, and I wonít be complaining about too much today.

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