Palecek website: www.mikepalecek.com
I'll be a guest of Denny Smithson on Cover To Cover, KPFA radio, Berkeley, Monday, Aug. 27, 3 pm, PST. We will be talking about "The American Dream." Wow. I am excited. Should be fun.
Is This Heaven?
by Mike Palecek
Jesus Mary and Joseph! God Bless America.
Howya doin'? Let me catch my breath.
I'm deployed with the guys on one of the silver metal benches outside the city swimming pool.
They can't swim.
It is also late in the summer and I suppose the moms have those el primo tans, as well as the lifeguards in their one-piece red suits and those whistles that dangle like necklaces.
We - that would be myself, Don, Milt, Al, Fred - we are the newly formed municipal special forces team: Total Information Terror Surveillance.
We have been duly organized and chartered and deputized I think, by the city council, to guard against terrorists, beginning this month and running through the school year, is how I understand it.
Don came up with this idea to come here. The pool's open up to Labor Day.
He says "why do you think they call them wetbacks?" And the rest of us had to admit it made perfect sense.
And then of course everybody knows, Arab-types will often position towels on their heads.
Lots of towels around here today.
Al's got four in his lap, won't give any out to anybody, "without good reason," he says.
It's hot today, big crowd, lots to watch, keep track of, monitor, observe.
Sometimes we get soaked. We're pretty close to the action. We act like we like it that way.
Al's got the beeper in case we need to call for backup towels. His wife's home most of the day. Tomorrow she's got sh*t to do.
By now the lifeguards don't wear that white stuff on their noses, everything au naturale.
We've got sunglasses from Ben Franklin, orange terror vests and shorts, and special "Homeland" orange hardhats. That was Al's idea. They came from the state highway maintenance shed from the big patch job they had last summer out by the Go-Kart track. If it gets too hot ... well, Don's going to ask a councilmen who's his neighbor if we can take them off while the pool has rest break, get some breeze.
Some ladies get up quick when they are napping on their stomachs, and maybe they have that one string not tied ... Milt had to go home early yesterday. It gets to a guy ... this work is not for everyone.
And we've each got a terror whistle on a string around our necks. Fred blew his, loud, for about a minute straight just a few minutes ago when Mrs. de Champlain walked past on her way to the water fountain. I don't think he even knew he was doing it.
Some days it's about all a guy can do not to blow the damn thing all day long.
Don keeps his in his mouth all the time, like a referee. Does not move, scratch, nothing. He loves freedom that darn much. He is so dedicated, an inspiration to us all.
Okay, well, Nothing happening here at the moment. Look out ... cannonball. God Bless the USA.
Go about your day.
I got this.
From "The American Dream"
They call me "Butterfly."
I probably weigh as much as a million butterflies. Or more, probably, I don't know.
It's because when I knocked Jim down in the lunchroom for calling me a pig. I stood over him and yelled at him to get up so I could knock him down again.
He wouldn't. He's not as stupid as he looks, I guess.
Sanndra said I looked like Muhammed Ali on the History Channel.
They also call me "Rosey The Riveter."
It's like that one pretty young woman on the poster with her sleeves rolled up showing her muscle, saying something like we can handle it or something.
It was for one of the wars. Well, there's a WWF wrestler called Rosey The Riveter, too, so we were watching and Sanndra says I look like her.
Sanndra calls me that, too. Maybe she watches too much TV.
Rosey The Riveter, the Butterfly.
Whatever. Ain't no thang.
My dog is worried.
That worries me.
Tuffy's my dog but he's at my parents'. I see him when I go there and he looks worried about something.
You can't live with 'em and you can't live with 'em.
I guess I thought the sit-down protest was pretty neat and most everybody else does too.
Sometimes now when staff tells us we're having hamburger helper or we have to work on a Saturday morning to get caught up we say we're going to have a sit-down protest.
And they have to pay attention 'cause they know we could. That's pretty cool.
I think we should have a sit-down protest about what's going on in Homeland.
They're not nice.
Most people are nice to disabled people. I'm disabled. Some aren't. Some stare, but they probably don't know they are.
But nobody is nice to Mexicans or poor people.
They think there's something wrong or bad about them. Something they should be afraid of, something about those people.
They're not afraid of us. We embarrass or annoy some people, but let me tell you, absolutely nobody is afraid of us. I'm a hundred percent sure.
I read this column, "HomeTown," in the Homeland newspaper, by this white-haired lady that looks like Aunt Bee. There's recipes for jello and soup and she was asking would today's youth follow Hitler.
Well, of course they would, and they do and they are, today, this morning, tonight.
They follow anyone, like puppies, and you train them to hunt and kill as they grow.
She said Hitler was not a Christian. Actually, he was. The Nazi fighter planes had "Got Mitt Us" on the side. God is with us. My dad said.
And in Hitler's Germany in 1939, Aunt Bee would write "HomeTown" in her little town's newspaper and give recipes, asking would today's good Hitler youth have followed Napoleon.
I go to church. I help with the wheelchairs and sit in the first row and I don't understand.
I know know what they're talking about fighting evil.
Makes me think of a little Mexican kid with horns.
We moved here for a funeral. We came here from Kentucky, my folks and me, and we just stayed.
That was quite a long time ago.
The American Dream: I like The American Dream because it's like punching America in the nose, it's like punching George W. Bush in the nose and Karl Rove in the nose. And I think those two pussies need to be punched in the nose. And it punches those ministers with American flags and dead children on their altar, and it punches my neighbor right square in the kisser for mowing his lawn and worrying about his damn lawn while we are killing children in Iraq.
Publisher: CWG Press/www.cwgpress.com
"Palecek is fearless, skewering religious extremism, political right wing fundamentalism, gung-ho patriotism and the use of fear to play upon the innocent...and ignorant. And it works. I finished the book in one night...but it's been in my brain ever since, like a song that won't go away...haunting."
- Marie Jones, Book Ideas
Amazon: click here
View "The American Dream" Cover: www.mikepalecek.com