14 January 2011
And To Think I Got In Free!
I read. Everybody knows that. That is why I get a book or two for Christmas each year. This year it was just one book, Jim Taylor's "And To Think I Got In Free." My mom gave it to me. She thinks I am still the same little fucker who used spread out the Sun on the raked orange shag, reading everything, sports first, and cutting out the pictures I liked for my scrapbooks. She is right except somewhere along the line I learned how to write my own stories.
Taylor's book is signed with the inscription "Keep On Writing!" My mom likes that I write. When she reads my shit she knows I was at my desk, drinking beer and making shit up. "Beats watching the crap they have on tv these days," is how she puts it. Mom thinks television has never recovered from the cancellation of the Carol Burnette Show. She is right.
When I unwrapped the book on Christmas morning she pointed out that Taylor had signed the book. "How's Jim doing?" I asked her over the champagne powered din of colourful paper torn from gifts like the skin of Hiroshima's yellow victims.
"Well," she said in the same tone she uses when talking about one of her many friends dealing with the complications af age, "he is skinny as fuck. I didn't ask but he is recovering from some disease or other. His clothes were hanging on him like girls hung on Elvis when I was a girl. Says he is not going to buy any new ones though. Too cheap. That's the way newspaper sports writers are. Too used to being pampered like athletes by rich asshole team owners."
"He didn't smell bad?" I asked. I knew he did not. Mom always mentions it if an old guy starts smelling like stale urine. That is the beginning of the end.
"Not that I noticed," she said, "but there is hardly enough of him left to raise a smell."
Thanks for the stories Jim. When I was a kid you kept me reading until I read "Hells Angels" and the world opened up to me like a poppy in the morning sun.