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Oakland Blues Alley Festival

July 14th, 2001

Let Him Out
I think maybe I've had it with angst. I've just finished watching Hard Core Logo, a very good movie filled with angst. Angst, after a certain age, seems more unsettling than it did when I was younger, although it could just be a reduced willingness to stick my nose out into the emotional cold. Makes you more sensitive to the walls, when they start closing in. It does not make you want to go out and watch The Sound of Music of course. There are still lines that you never cross.

A thought on the woman who's little white dog was snatched in a fit of road rage from her open car window by a 28 year old guy named Andrew Douglas Burnett and thrown to its death in oncoming traffic: Yes, you want to act in a way that will encourage the judge and the world to send this guy over for the maximum, but you don't say idiotic things like you'd rather take the bullet yourself than see your little dog shot in your presence. Yes, you loved your dog. Yes, I have a little cat I'm rather fond of myself, but you don't make yourself sound like a complete bloodthirsty idiot prostituting yourself before the public by saying something this stupid trying to get this guy fried.

You take a bullet for your children. Maybe you take a bullet for your sister or brother, butOakland Blues Alley Festival culturally that's optional. Nobody will make accusations if you duck and, say, a brother goes down, unless they are "baby" sisters or brothers. You can, probably, as a woman, still get a public bye, but it had better look as if it all happened quickly before you had a chance to think it through. You don't have to take a bullet for your husband. These days you can live quite well and raise the kids without their father. In fact, odds are, in this world, you will finish the raising of your kids without the father. The husband should take the bullet for the wife, the kids, the parents, the sisters and the younger brothers. Aunts and uncles are optional. That's part of the deal. You do not, however, take a bullet for a fluffy white bichon frise unless he's actually a collie named Lassie or a cat named Wuss.)

Your bichon frise was your good friend, your good and lovable best in the animal kingdom friend, but push come to shove, his life is not the equivalent of yours, even if you say so on television.

They gave him three years, by the way. Sounds right. Son of a bitch. Three years doing hard time. Maybe he'll learn to be a new man, upright and proud, after three years in the company of his new friends and mentors in jail, and, as I said, I have a cat and I'm not sure the sentence wasn't appropriate. Do remember, though, time passes, and one day they are going to let him out.

The photographs were taken at the Oakland Blues Alley Festival. The quote is attributed to an English professor at Ohio University.