Those of you that know me reasonably well know that I do not like to be ridiculed when it comes to the whole ‘Jew’ thing. Not because it’s insensitive, and not because I’ve heard it my whole life, and not because of the whole NAACP, ADL discrimination reasoning. Just that, “I’m not fucking Jewish!” I am, but I’m not at the same time. I neither practice Judaism, (I loves me some bacon) and my parents are both converted practicing Catholics, (in that they bitch all the time) and since my mother is in no way shape or form Jewish, being welsh, and the Hebrew people are a matrilineal people, then fuck it.
I prefer to be called… a Hawaiian. My father, like me, made a foolish decision once to join the military. The only difference being, he was actually asked to follow through on it, being a bit more trim. As such, he was asked to live in either Anchorage, Alaska, or Wahiawa, Hawaii. We all know what happened, let’s not play those games, and until the age of three I was the prettiest hale baby on that isle. When the term abruptly ended, however, I was transferred. Keep in mind, babies who move at a young age are doubly affected, especially boys, as they had already been ejected from their original homestead a mere nine months after conceiving of it. What kind of fucking lease is that? So we moved, and while I like to blame my parents for taking me from the loveliest place on the planet, a place people dream about living, to a relative shithole, well, I have to say that I understand. Without military-sponsored housing, it would have been practically impossible to continue to exist on that high cost-of-living, unless we worked our asses off in the pineapple fields and ate palm fronds every day, which I hear makes you sick. So I left at the age of three, so don’t ask me to speak any Hawaiian, don’t ask me to hula, don’t ask me if I’ve ever been to a luau, but you can ask me for a lei.
And we moved to Cincinnati, where there are still race riots, police brutality, discrimination, and the necessity for a civil rights movement. The city ignores this, however, by trying to book Bill Cosby as a guest, (or when that fails, Orenthal James Simpson) and building a cultural respect center. Not only that, but sometimes cows get loose and nobody knows what the fuck to do. I suppose there is some relief, in the fact that we gave the key to the city to a baseball player with a constant hamstring breakage, and gave him a parade based solely on who his daddy was. You see, Mark Twain said it best “If the end of the world were tomorrow, I’d like to live in Cincinnati, it wouldn’t happen there for another forty years.”
After getting my superpowers, I saw my refuge. I went off to college, to the spectacular city of Pittsburgh, in a faraway land. At the very least the most aptly named city, Pittsburgh boasts more septic water main breaks a year, raining down shit upon the city, than the rest of the United States combined, but enough about the Pirates. I went back home once, and sat staring at the stars, and my friend (a practical brother) Mike said to me, “what the fuck are you doing that for?” He didn’t realize you see, that in Pittsburgh, there ARE no stars in the sky. Either obscured or simply nonexistent, we have a sky of mottled grey and reeking of past deaths in mines and train machinery.
But before I went off to college, and several times before that, in fact, I was able to go to New Orleans. After graduation, but before college itself a span of a mere month in my case, I was able to traverse that city on my complete own, going to show the level of independence my parents grant me. I loved it. I love that city. I can’t say it enough times, I love that city. I think I love that city more than I have ever loved a woman, but that just goes to show how many of THEM have ever really been worth it.
I love its downtown, I love its boroughs, I love its denizens, I love its architecture, I love its history, I love its little dimples, I love its smell, its music, and sweet merciful God in heaven, I love its food!
That is all gone now.
I will never be able to convey to you how much I truly love that city, when I have loved no other city in my life, that is, after the age of three. I wish it were the same, that it had never happened, because I want more people to fall in love with it the way I did. Love is the most precious thing, and apparently, the most fragile.
It is silly for me to wish it hadn’t happened. That accomplishes nothing. It DID happen. Now it is time to DO something about it.
But I hesitate, you see, to use past tense verbs such as “I loved that city.” That city still exists. Granted, fifty feet underwater, but it still exists. The people are scattered, dead, or worse, trapped. The food is gone and the music is still. The architecture slowly rots under sewage and saltwater. Septic dangers of tetanus linger around every puddle and hidden jagged piece of metal. The Superdome, a lovely and apparently very sound structure, houses now the refugees of that terrible storm, breathing in only each other’s sweat, blood, anticipation, and fear.
I’m making calls to the Red Cross, as I encourage anyone else to do, not just for N’awlins but for Mobil and other areas damaged. Their lines are busy now, but keep trying. I cannot give any money, or blankets, or food, as I don’t have any of my own to give, but I do have two things; time and labor. I would like to go there now, if they’ll have me, and I apologize for not coming back for this next quarter of school, if that’s what it takes, but its something I want to do, and those of you that know me know that I only EVER do anything because I WANT to. It just so happens that, sometimes, what I WANT to do coincides with what I NEED to do.