I was 14 years old and sat looking across the desk at a woman who was only ten years my elder. It was my first year in high school, and she was brand-new to her job as the school’s counselor.
She was asking me several questions about my educational goals.
“Nothing specific,” was all I could think to say to her.
She was obviously asking me questions straight out of the manual. “I see here that you’re in the band.”
“Yes, I play trumpet.”
“Why do you do that? I mean, why do you like to play the trumpet?”
“Because I like it.”
“Is it because you want to express yourself?”
Express myself? I express myself pretty well, and I don’t need no stinkin trumpet to help me express myself; and even if I do. I’m not going to admit it to her. The bimbo.
I brooded over that question that whole day. Looking back on I think it was that same chick that, when I had won a free ride scholarship to any college in the country, I think she was the one that sheepishly looked at me and said, “Oh!, I think we made a mistake forgot to register you for this scholarship. And then looked at me with a stupid look on her face. “Sorry!” “Oh, never mind! “ (In my mind right now I can still see her in that classic blonde moment!). What an airhead! How could she JUST FORGET to register her brightest student for the scholarship? I just goes to show you what idiot school counselors are, and shrinks in general.
“Oh, never mind!” (“Duh!”)
So I struggled through college, working and paying my way. It was a halfhearted attempt on my part, and after three years I decided to sign up with the union and be an electrician like my dad. And I have to admit that life has been good for me. I raised two fine daughters that way.
I’m thinking the rookie high school counselor may have had a pretty good point. That stuff about playing the trumpet as a means of expressing myself. I mean, take a look at me now, writing all the time and trying to get Kelvin Marshall to publish it in the San Juan Del Sur News. What is that, except for baring my soul and hoping people might understand me better, and maybe relate to me? Could be a lot of truth to what she said.
I write. I can get my point across, unmolested by my barroom friends, and my girlfriends. They all tend to drown me out because they have a desire to hear their own voice. I, on the other hand just want to have a regular conversation where I talk, and they listen; and then they talk and I listen. Listening is a very important part of the conversation. People don’t listen very much anymore, and how can you listen when your mouth is open? But the reality is that I am way quieter than most people, and the table would have to be darned near empty, or my buddies really drunk, for me to say much.
That’s why I write. The dumb bastards can’t fuck it up that way.
The bar down by the beach in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua, is called Dorado’s. The afternoon crowd there is the largest, because the afternoon heat is terrible, and the cool ocean breeze flowing through the bar makes for a tolerable environment. It is the perfect gathering point for a bunch of gringos.
I went down there for karaoke, and sang a few songs. The interesting thing was that during a lull in the action, I told some short stories that I had made up on the spot. They all came out good, although I don’t remember getting any applause. They were all probably too drunk anyway.
Fortunately, the stuff I put on paper is generally good reading, if I do say so myself.
I have several friends who are avid readers, and who actually read my stuff. I like everyone to read my writing, but the ones who please me the most are the rare ones who don’t drain the frothy brew of my myth in a quick quaff, but nose around in the brine of my mind, while giving it skeptical sniffs.
But then again, I dismiss the dumbass knuckleheads who get ahold of this and piss all over it, because they all have severe mental issues, and probably would laugh me right out of Dorado’s anyway.
That’s okay though. I’ve been thrown out of better places than that, by better men.