Ok, lately my professional success-rate seems to be on an ever-steepening descent-vector.
It’s entirely possible, however, that any American drama in Tonawanda, NY is doomed to be, as someone once observed, a one-act play.
Contracted to the parent company for the ‘Dextro-mart’ chain of convenience-stores, my task was simply to organize a real-or-engineered community out-pouring of support for building yet another of the familiar red-and-yellow Dextro ‘Quikee-marts, in this heavily Italian-Catholic suburb of Buffalo. NY. An area where I’d thought I had a feel for the locals, despite my obvious religious and cultural ‘understanding-gap’.
(And in fact only my more ‘veteran’ neighbors show a smile of recognition when I recount having spent hundreds of hours glued to The Joey Reynolds Show’ on WKBW ‘1520 on your radio dial’ as a young pup in far-off PA)
And so again this time, based on a record of previous victories, I elected to enlist my big-shot friend, Vasco Santino, for the effort. Fifty-something+ by now, but looking all the part of ‘one-of-us’ in the ‘hood’, he quickly agreed to sub out the chores of collaring ‘demonstrators’:
“Yo, ‘Da Gamma’, I’m’a not-a gonna ask ‘how you done it?” I joked when we met. (Oy, he has never yet shown any reaction to my calling him ‘Da Gamma’ I always wonder why not. And in fact, all the true homies call him ‘Santa‘. More on that later.
So ‘Santa’, whose friendship I consider a gift here in a locale I will never truly comprehende, swung into action, and the late-afternoon gathering, painted signs held aloft, was a joy to see as I approached the scene, trying to stay anonymous.
(OK, I must admit that ‘Dextro-mart’s success in the tight market owed me at least a complimentary large pizza or plate of ‘to-die-for’ Lasagna . Having come up with their constantly-repeated blurb: “Dextro-Mart: Right there when you need us, and on the right side of the road!!’, I felt rightly proud of my ‘clever-but-probably un-appreciated’ coinage. Kinda like Maine’s Dexter Shoe Company’s famous (?) “Dexter; We make the right shoe for both feet!” gem. But having busted my ass this time only to fail, I do need to realize that there’s a clever word-smith born every Tuesday; to wit; ‘Fractured, but whole’: If my modest slogan was an industrial diamond, the above phrase is, to it, the “Great Star of Africa”.
Anyway, ‘Santa’ pressured/ blackmailed over a hundred ‘eager shoppers’ to line the street last Thursday, (at the corner of Colvin Blvd and Woodcrest, where Wolf Blitzer went to high school hoping to be a journalist, or at least a celebrity long ago.)
One of them, unfortunately, was his wife’s hairdresser’s cousin, a ‘screw-missing’ probably Trumpf-wanna-be named Morton. Now it’s difficult to remember in these election-season dystopian latter-days how public discourse was once the provenance of reasoned logical thought. Mea culpa; I had no premonition of how ‘Mort’s ‘traitor among us’ crude sign blaring the message “SANTA is SATAN BACKWARDS!” could so quickly foment a sea-change among the purported fans in the crowd. These are ostensibly normal citizens, with jobs and a high-school diploma, albeit living in 2-room row houses with twice as many Velvet-Elvis pictures of Jesus and the Virgin Mary on the walls as electrical outlets.
I’m tempted, but will resist the temptation, to detail the micro-course of mob-mentality over the three-hour event here. Culminating in ‘Santa’ being helped into his Volvo sedan, knees a bit shaky, and my own incognito but shaken exit, having pretty much declared failure. Whether I will be paid for this fiasco is only a private concern; no, the greater message is that one un-principled bozo-idiot-charlatan can destroy ‘life-as-we-knew-it’ in this low-info climate which we had plenty of warning was on the horizon.
The vote at City Council in November on the store is pretty much a lost cause at this point.
And I’m left ‘twisting on the bed‘ with this cyclic ‘backwards-or-forwards’ Mantra running endlessly through my sleepless brain:
I PUT SANTINO ON IT, ‘N A STUPID ‘EXTRA’, ‘MORT’ X-ED A DEXTRO-MART. X-ED! I PUT SANTINO
ON IT, ‘N A STUPID…
You ‘normals‘ have no idea what it’s like to hear this on ‘Repeat’ at 3AM.
I also ponder whether anyone in fact ever reads my ‘creations’.
I do work hard to make them coherent, captivating, and instructive.
But ‘any major dude’ will probably tell me I’m doin’ it for me-self alone. Like with my last couple posts. At least it’s documented on my ‘permanent’ record./ JS