Do you know anyone with a crippling, morbid fear of flying? Well, you do now.
I have a theory: An event one spring day in the town cemetery at the dawn of my existence had everything to do with planting a stark view of life and death which led, eventually, to a profound mistrust of infernal contraptions that carried you up into the sky. Because of that profound mistrust, vast portions of my prime were spent (and misspent) on long journeys aboard trains. A trip that would have been a blip in time by plane was an entirely different deal on the train—days and nights, not hours. Veritable miniature eternities. This led to encounters, adventures, dilemmas and situations that could only happen on a train—and not merely because of the train’s comparative slowness, but because train people are an entirely different breed of human from airplane people (or bus people, for that matter, and that’s another story). Trains are so....well....so existential.
This stark view of life and death, which also had plenty to do with me lobbying my mother (in vain) to get busy on building a fallout shelter in our basement, had some stiff opposition. To be an American child in the 50s was to open one’s innocent eyes on the post-WW2 decade, an era jumping with progress,plenitude, dazzling crazed optimism and fun. Nightmare glimpses of atrocities from that big bad war we missed by the skin of our teeth bobbed to the surface occasionally, sobering us and reminding us of our aberrant good luck, and in my case, whispering that innocence was but a thin, thin membrane, that this world I’d been born into was a seething, infinitely complicated place, and I’d better pay attention.
But let’s have some fun! Here we go, with Bad Boys. What’s rock ‘n’ roll but the shot heard ‘round the world?
- Upcoming Essays: True stories, all....
- Bad Boys
- Strangers On A Train
- Hitler, Lassie And Me
- She Walks Among Us
- Iron Lungs And Fallout Shelters: The Fearsome Fifties
- For A Short Time, An Angel Rested Here...
- The Wages Of Fear
- Requiem For A Pasha
- Before The Deluge: N'Awlins, Mon Amour
- No Country For Old Women