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Tuesday, January 1, 2002
By Paul Ford
Pieces of the aural environment from Dec 30 to Dec 31, 2001
2 men in their late 40s on the train to Philadelphia.
1: But there was a good cop, Tom Shank. He used to bring my father home from the bar. Put him into the back of the squad car. He's got the squad car parked outside the bar at 2 or 3 and waits to see who needs a ride - to cut down on drunk driving. They'd get pizza on the way home. Get him up the stairs with pizza, my Mom waiting. Sad he died.
2: A couple years ago, yes?
1: Heart attack. But he was on Vicadin. I think he might have had the whole bottle. You know. He was on workman's comp. His old lady left him for someone on the Internet.
2: That so, huh? The Internet.
1: His wife moved out and kept using his insurance to get her meds, right? And then he finds out she moved out and is going to Alabama because she met some guy on the Internet. So Tom can't use his back and he's on workman's comp and he's sitting there and his old lady is shacked up with some guy in Alabama. You know what the motherfucker of it is?
(At this point I lost the thread because an 8-year-old-boy seated in front of me wearing a derby hat, looked back at me then began to hop up and down in his seat and said “I'm a cupcake! I'm a cupcake!”)
1: And then she gets his goddam insurance. And she gets the take on the sale of the trailer.
2: Poor bastard.
1: Yeah, he's dead, and she walks away with all of that. Nice double-wide. No one should get married. You're young, then you're married. That's it, that's where troubles begin.
At the Counter of PAL Supermarket
Shopper 1: I got 15 cents!
Clerk: I don't do that.
Shopper 2: You need the 15 cents?
Shopper 1: No, they give me the fucking beer.
Clerk: He wants it for 15 cents.
Shopper 2: Come on, man. You can't have no beer for 15 cents.
Shopper 1: You give me this beer, goddammit! (To Shopper 2): These white people are motherfuckers.
Shopper 2: They're Black. These are Black people working here.
Shopper 1: They're Osama Bin Laden motherfuckers.
Clerk: You shut up!
Shopper 2: No, they're Black too.
Shopper 1: 15 cents! Take it or leave it.
Shopper 3 (Bearded white boy): Ah-ight! AhzalamalAY-kum, yo.
Clerk: Wa-Salaikum. (To me:) two-thirty-five.
Shopper 3: That's right, salaam, saLAAM. Ah yeah. Let me get that 8 ball right there. That's right.
Shopper 1: Motherfuckers! 15 cents! Take it or leave it!
Clerk: Shut up! Get out! (To me): Happy New Year!
With my mother in the car
Your grandmother and grandfather were worried that if I moved in with them to help out I'd never meet any men. I said, maybe when Daddy goes to Lions if he knows any nice-seeming divorcees or widowers, maybe he could bring them back for a cup of coffee to meet me. And that would be a good compromise. So your grandmother looks at me in shock and and is quiet for a pause, then says, “Dear, we're not Italian.”