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Please Remain in Line

Oct. 7, 2009
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I’m Art Kumbalek and man oh manischewitz what a world, ain’a? So listen, I’ve been dogged, paddling through some blue, dark deep waters of late. And I’m figuring it’s on account of this gut feeling that somehow I got switched at birth (hell, I could’ve been switched yesterday for all I know), and that rightfully really I’m some kind of scion who otherwise right now ought to be calling the tune at some big-shot company grown from the ground up by some pissant ancestor from off the boat to the New World way back when. Yes sir, the kind of big-shot company where I’d only need to put in a couple, three focking minutes a day milking the family cash cow, instead of the more than several minutes per week I spend milking the day’s events so as to provide you’s with these back-page essays I pen.

And I’ve discovered that my heritage perplexity especially clogs my compass always ’round about this time of year. All I can figure is that it’s some kind of pre-Columbus Day stress syndrome. And how could it not be? After all, here you wait for weeks in anticipation of the big day, it finally comes, you don’t get your mail and then BOOM… it’s over. For christ sake’s, it’s enough to blow any guy off course, what the fock.

But thank the lord, the fellas came by and took me out to buoy my sinking spirits with round after round of tall and frosty cheer over by the Uptowner tavern/charm school, during which we toasted the diversity of certain mighty members of the pink-skin pantheon— Paul Revere, John Wayne, Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Mickey Mantle, Russ Meyer, Marco focking Polo, John Philip Sousa, Audie Murphy, Soupy Sales, Casimir Pulaski, Chet Baker and James Joyce, to name a few, and of course, Christopher Columbus (hell, I think we even worked in Dag Hammarskjld).

The only thing these guys have in common besides being white is that as far as I focking know, they have never ever before had their names hauled out and stuffed into the same too-long sentence in the entire history of the printed word, I kid you not.

So after hours and hours of respect-paying, the fellas hauled my sorry ass back to my dinky apartment, where sometime later whilst lodged in a dream state—half awake, half asleep, but still wholly in the bag without the foresight to take the monstrous leak my bloated bladder screamed for—the image of a 900-foot golf putter came to me. Yes, the putter, proud symbol of the white man. I dreamt that it was the Great Navigator himself who had invented it, then carried this marvelous tool ’cross the ocean blue, to discover a place where he could use the goddamn thing; but to no avail, he had arrived to this New World on a weekend, and had forgotten to make reservations.

In fact, it would be a few hundreds of years before reservations were to be invented, so as to keep the brown (some say red, but I’m colorblind) native people that Columbus had stumbled upon off the course—these so-called native people who had yet to assimilate the difference between a 5-iron and sand wedge.

The tawny so-called native people were nothing but a nuisance to the white man, ’cause how you going to shoot par with a fairway full of buffalo and guys with bows and arrows mounted horseback? It is to wonder. Oftentimes, the white man who found himself in the rough not only would lose his ball, he’d lose his scalp to boot—talk about your 1-stroke penalty, ain’a?

Dream on, I did. I dreamt that we are all what-you-call “universal Indians,” that we are all “natives” on this planet and who knows where the fock else, and that had the so-called New World native people been as adept at sailing big boats as they were riding ponies, in 1492 they may have landed on the coast of Normandy in search of a trade route to the West and then how history would be different, ain’a? Hey, you tell me.

And then I’ll tell you I also dreamt this, I think: A white woman, wife of a member of the U.S. Senate, was driving toward home in southern Nevada when she saw a Navajo woman hitchhiking. She stopped the car and offered the woman a ride. During their small talk, the Navajo woman noticed a brown bag on the front seat between them. The politician’s wife said, “If you’re wondering what’s in the bag, it’s a bottle of wine. I got it for my husband.” The Navajo woman was silent for a while.

She then nodded her head and said, “Good trade.”

Ba-ding! It was then during my nocturnal voyage that I did indeed take the Niagaraesque leak I had considered taking earlier. I awoke moments later, the gosh darn victim of an unfortunate sequence of events, again, what a world, ’cause I’m Art Kumbalek and I told you so.


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