Louie-duh-lawyer was aggravated… again. I should say: As always. Man just can’t seem to find peace and contentment. Not to mention a little happiness – even though he can quote Abraham Lincoln who exhorted: ‘You’re only as happy as you want to be.’
But Louie is an old curmudgeon well before he’s even attained the AARP benefits age of 55. It’s hard to comprehend sometimes. His 4 grown sons are grand. He’s still married to his high school sweetheart (even though she has begun investigating some ‘liberal’ causes). He owns his home, a seashore house and the building where he practices law.
But Lou views life in black and white – just like he dresses his well-honed, slim, fit and muscular body. In fact he’s the guy I mentioned a couple of years back who finally bought a somewhat snazzy pair of gray dress boots. I thought he had started to make progress. I mean they were actually gray.
But then he polished them black.
Go figure… Italians and their black on black on black on black. I mean those guys dress like they’re always going to a funeral… or a wedding. Or, as Ralph, who has had a proud 22 proud years of being sober, explained it to me: ‘It’s duh same ‘ting.’
Ralph speaks in the tongue of South Philly.
Anyway Lou was disturbed, as always, about Obama. And the Iran nuclear agreement. And gay marriage. And liberals… and some fat people over-stuffing their fat faces on the street that he could witness through the cigar shop window… and… and…
In other words, just about everything that caught his mind’s eye.
I think Lou needs to drink more – even though he makes his own wine. Or perhaps he should take up a real sport rather than the lonely weightlifting he vigorously pursues with those just-as-rigid dumbbells.
Anyway he got to his annoyance about these punks perhaps 16 to 22 years old. Hanging around on the street in one of the still-Italian South Philadelphia neighborhoods.
Apparently they had their predator eyes set on this 10 — year-old girl’s cell phone.
And when they saw the opportunity they swooped in and swiped that rather expensive android.
Even though Lou isn’t any more or less racist than anybody who is black, white, Asian or Hispanic, he quickly surmised – correctly it turns out — that these ‘predators’ were another couple of black kids giving the other 93% percent of black kids a bad rep.
I immediately chimed in that the same thing had just happened to me the other day.
‘You had your phone stolen?’ wondered Lou, somewhat guardedly. He well recognizes my wise-ass delight to regularly smack his cheekiness.
“No,” I said. “My donut.”
Hmm… there are times when Lou – a card carrying member of my least favorite ethnic – a lawyer – wants to throw more than the book at me.
So I explained that the other day I was reveling down in Atlantic City. And on my early morning walk on the boardwalk I stopped for a cup of java and one of my favorite donuts – a white-crème, powdered-sugared tasty delight. Just the thought sets my mouth drooling even more than espying a woman whose bikini just got swiped by a wave.
And after wiggling my skinny bottom in a nice wooden chair by the seaside railing I was holding my yet-to-be-nibbled tasty delight in one hand. Overhead the scores of seagulls were screeching and collecting. And just as I sipped my first nip of the hot and black brew in my right hand — and faster than my comic-book superhero Flash could dash — a seagull swooped down. His wing brushed across my face as his claws slightly scraped the skin on the back of my left paw.
At that he snatched my entire, un-tasted, untried donut up and away. He was so smooth I had to simply admire. Obviously this wasn’t the guy’s first heist.
However, only the rich can truly escape to their high towers of low morals. For immediately my donut thief was pursued by hundreds of his fellow flying garbage men. Providing me with a glint of satisfaction… that my little black and white bandit was not going to get to enjoy my delicacy any more than I did.
So, there you go, I said to Lou-duh-lawyer. Scavengers and predators abound. And no one really gets to enjoy the bounty. Evil is always lurking. By the way, I wondered, how come a 10-year-old girl’s got a better phone than I do?
Lou didn’t know where to begin. His dark eyes glowered like Tricky Dick Nixon denying Watergate.
‘And you think some of the things I spout are outrageous?!’ he finally stammered. ‘And here you are comparing some teenage punks to a bunch of seagulls? People are supposed to know better. We have free will. We have morals. We are able to know right from wrong. We are taught right and wrong.’
Uh-huh… uh-huh… uh-huh…
‘Certainly,’ I concurred… sort of. ‘And that’s why our jails are bulging. And our churches are empty. People only remember their morals when they get caught. It seems we lack character in this world. And character,’ as I informed my intense friend whose aging judgementalism has led him to intern his boyish humor, ‘is how we act when no one is looking.’
Nevertheless, Lou is correct. If the world were perfect. And it operated the way he does. On the straight and narrow. Boring and banal. Then we wouldn’t have any need for lawyers. Or cops. Or prisons… Or most of our government.
But we all know that since Cain killed Abel, even the family unit ain’t what it appears. The sick, helpless, young, old, naïve, infirm are always being subjected to predators and scavengers.
Cops lie. Colleges overcharge. Lawyers steal from their clients. Investment houses rob accounts. The government indulges its bureaucratic pensioners but doesn’t service its military veterans. No matter how we regulate insurance companies and bankers they’re always finding loopholes. Neighbors forget to return borrowed tools. Painters only slap the wall with one coat. And the wrestling coach is doing more than ‘wrasslin’ your son…
It’s not just street punks stealing cell phones and seagull snatching donuts. Their pathetic crime is usually only one sad victim at a time. But duh big guys as well as all of us wanna-be-big-guys have enabled us all to become victims.
We have all become corrupted. Even me. Even Lou. I mean he’s a bloody lawyer. He well knows that just because something may be considered ‘legal’ that still don’t make it legit. Or moral. Or ethical. Or even ‘right.’
As with anyone, the more passionately Lou argues the more he forgets that the law is supposed to be of reason – not of passion. After all, both those thieving street punks as well as those donut snatching seagulls are protected by the law. And like it or not, the reason we have government is precisely because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice, without constraint.
Hmm… Makes me sound like I really know what I am talkin’ bout… don’t it?
Anyway, as we all recognize, the more passion in any argument is inversely proportional to the amount of real information being advanced.
But of course!
And all I really wanted to advance to Lou was the ability to laugh… and open his darkening eyes to see that things are rarely what they seem. That perception becomes reality. To put it more succinctly we all have a deficit when it comes to simple, straightforward honor. And when there is a lack of honor in the family, the community and those who represent the government the morals of all us regular ‘church-going’ folks are poisoned.
And we all end up doing what comes naturally… versus the morals and ethics inculcated and instilled.
Those street punks did have choices:. They could have bought a phone like the one they coveted in the little girl’s hand. Or, steal it. Or, like the notorious “Godfather” (who I pointed out to Lou was putatively one of his fellow Italians) make her an offer she couldn’t refuse.
When people lose their honor, their faith, their hope, their sense of justice and a lot of dignity, they do things that apparently come naturally – at least to savage beasts that live only to survive – like the seagulls.
These days, it seems, that not only our politicians, but the rest of us as well, don’t let our morals get in the way of what is expedient. And all this time I actually thought we aren’t supposed to let our sense morals get in the way of doing what is right.
But then again, ‘right’ seems to get kind of vague – especially when desire is the cause of all action. And although I desired that donut, so did that seagull. And who really had the right. Or was in the right. In that place. At that time. On his turf.
Furthermore how am I going to reason, without passion, to a goofy bird… a seagull… which, like all seagulls, follow the trawler because they actually think sardines are going to be thrown into the sea.
Hmm…. I’d rather try to reason passionlessly with Lou.
And dats yDrewIS on dis penal colony…