Monday, December 7, 2015

High School, Respect, Christmas and Stuff

I never went to college. I wanted to go, especially after hearing so many great stories told by my friends, most four to ten years older than I was, about getting high and getting laid and seeing great live music and road-tripping and hiking and getting high. But you had to finish high school to go to college, and I never went to high school. I showed up at my high school, had a locker and a favorite teacher. But he was only my favorite because he didn't give a shit if I left in the middle of Biology or if I brought a friend in from another class, to sit with me in the back of the classroom to talk about David Bowie while he dissected a puppy. (Or, maybe it wasn't a puppy. So long ago.)

I "went" to high school for 2 1/2 years, during which time I played handball, bought records, got high, played poker and went to the beach. I also read a lot and watched the news, and read newspapers and went to the library and to museums. I wrote plenty, too. I wrote songs, a few one act plays, two screenplays, essays, jokes for actor/comedian friends and a TV pilot that ended up in the hands of someone at NBC who apparently loved it for 6 minutes before he tossed it in a trash bin under a half-eaten tuna sandwich. (Or so I'm told.)

I wanted to do stuff and I wanted to know stuff, just not the stuff the jerk-off staff at my high school was teaching. I wanted desperately to engage in conversation with confidence. I didn't want to fake it. I didn't want to say stuff and then turn away in a panic, afraid someone might challenge me. I wanted to be challenged and so I tried to only speak of what I knew. I don't always, but when I am uncertain, I point my right foot towards an exit, giving me a slight advantage if I have to run for it. (Maybe this is why I only buy aisle seats at concerts and plays.)

I love the respect people have for each other on this page. That is not a given. Just surf Facebook for a few minutes. Bile runs rampant amidst the cat videos and the "likes" and "thumbs-up" emoticons. There's a lot of hate out there. A lot of disrespect, for people and friends. Disrespect for people's beliefs. Disrespect for our President. And there's a lot of people faking it; spewing and then running away. That doesn't happen here too often. I love that.

I took a ride to Albany this morning because a long time reader and fan of this blog contacted me to say so, and decided he wanted to donate his record collection to me. This is what he wrote:

"We share a mutual love of New Orleans music, Todd and the Rascals - and I am sure many others too. I have purchased a number of records based on your recommendation (The New Radicals, The New Mendicants and others). My wife and I are downsizing and I have about 250 records mostly in good to great condition that I would like to donate to your business to help keep your blog going." 

I met these wonderful, selfless people today and if you're reading, I want to say thank you. This was a beautiful day.

It's the Christmas season, damnit! Think George Bailey, eat your guns and fuck Donald Trump.



William Repsher said...

Jesus, you've done pretty well for yourself for someone who didn't even get through high school! I never would have had a clue if you hadn't stated as much. My brother works as a manager at a warehouse for one of the big-box hardware chains, most of his staff high-school diploma folks ... and some of the things he tells me in terms of lack of manners, intelligence, self respect, are just incredible. It's not a given that people with your similar educational background are as well-spoken and intelligent. I suspect you know how much of an anomaly you are.

So I'm imagining what has gone in our neighborhood over the past decade must be even more mind-blowing to you!

It's good to hear that someone liked what you're doing and was willing to back it up with real gratitude, especially this time of year. Always nice to get unexpected jolts of approval like that.

steves said...

This blog needs a "like" button.

(But I guess that would result in fewer posts, so perhaps not.)

In any event, I loved that post!

Michael Giltz said...

Not to rub it in, but I've totally got a high school diploma. And college was fun -- I stayed for seven years but forgot to get a degree.

Intellectually, however, learning to read critically and think for yourself is all one needs to learn (assuming you're not a brain surgeon) and clearly you did that.

The reader who donated their collection: that's really cool. I'm heartless and cold myself, but I respect generosity in others.

jmsafree said...

Thanks for the kind words Sal. Marilyn and I enjoyed meeting you and John. We hope to see you sometime in NO with Dan and Kathy.

You're right. There is too much hate out there. Not good for the soul. joe

buzzbabyjesus said...

Once I'd learned how to learn, I figured there was no more need for school. So I quit after 4 years of college. I couldn't see why a license was necessary to practice Art. I still don't.
Nice post.

kevin m said...

Sal - Your writing skills would put most English teachers to shame. Well done. And Happy Holidays!

J Lark said...

Well said cuz...and I also would like to thank the wonderful people we met upstate yesterday.

Happy Holidays to all the readers of this wonderful blog...

Charlie Carr said...

Great stuff! Respect. Easy to define, hard to come by. I had a similar experience when I recently donated a voluminous analog cassette collection to an archivist of same. Magazines, memorabilia, parking lot newsletters all went into the pile. Off the point (already) but witnessing his gratitude and the mutual respect that oozed out of a face-to-face meeting - that resonated from your post. Maybe there is no place for that stuff on Facebook and comment threads, and maybe that is a good thing.
And the puppy, and the tuna sandwich - I liked those too.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmmm...."eating a gun", where I come from, means doing like Kurt Cobain & Hemingway (presuming they put the barrels in their own mouths)! So I'll abstain from that....but otherwise, an ace post!
C in California

Sal Nunziato said...

"Hmmmmm...."eating a gun", where I come from, means doing like Kurt Cobain & Hemingway"

Hadn't thought of that, C in Cali. Just sounded better than "shove the guns up your asses."

cmealha said...

Merry Christmas

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh....but if DarnOld Chump ate a gun -- by whichever way one could interpret the phrase -- I'd have no objections.
C in California



Noam Sane said...

Against my better judgement, I did give college a shot since it would get me 5 hours away from my folks. It had a radio station, where I lived (they tell me the school had something called "classes" - not sure about that.) I remember opening the mail there on the day the first Elvis C. record came out, and I sat in a little production studio and listened to it front-to-back as my jaw worked its way to the floor.

After a year they threw me out of school (when they said sit down, I stood up). In the meantime I tried all the drugs and got laid and saw the Rust Never Sleeps tour on acid at the Spectrum. So - yeah, college.

Ultimately we did alright without memorizing the Periodic Table, eh?

Love this place, and of course the tone for the dialog here is set at the top - you have strong opinions and you can snark with the best of them but there is a basic respect for others opinions and a general kindness to the whole affair. That's why I check in daily. Here's to you, Sal.

I have 3rd row Todd tix for 12/23, my present to myself and the Mrs. I assume you're catching a stop on the tour as well? Either way I'll let you know how it goes.

michael said...

Yes, we can "fuck" Trump...but, who to embrace??? really.


Sal Nunziato said...

I will be seeing the man on 12/19

peabody nobis said...

Hi Sal,
Longtime reader, sometime commenter here...just wanted to stop by and say "Thank You" for what you do here at this blog. You see, I love music, but I have very few opinions that I trust when it comes to new music. But you, I trust. We're in the same age bracket, and I feel much the way you do in that most new music is unmemorable.
Anyway, these are some interesting selections; I had never heard of Kamasi Washington, but I'm presently listening to the third Youtube posting. It's a keeper.
Also loved the Jon Cleary-a real toe-tapper. And the FFS is some pretty sharp pop-rock. Rickie Lee, what can I say? Much like you, I have been somewhat disappointed with her musical directions after her amazing debut, but the new one is very intriguing.
I picked up the Jeff Lynne on your recommendation a few weeks ago, and have not been disappointed. He sounds as sharp and focused as ever on the new material. I feel Lynne has never received the respect he deserves from the music world, so it was delightful to see Macca and others dancing along to his performance.
As to the lack of respect on social media? Pure and simple, it's a cancer, eating away at the nation's soul. Many lonely people want attention, so they make provocative or derogatory remarks, as would a child. Although it can be difficult, it's best to ignore them. There are many more nice, decent people out there; they're just not as memorable as the bad ones.
In closing, just let me say "Merry Christmas", "Happy New Years", and "Thank You", again.