Thursday, March 03, 2011

A Candidate For The Shopping Cart Brigade


by James Jarvis
from My Life With Creepy The Soap Fondler

  The actor who played 'Grady' on Red Foxx's "Sanford & Son" seventies sitcom, Whitman Mayo, used to push a shopping cart full of scrap aluminum cans and refundable bottles down Cochran Street next to my old Crookside Country Club Apartments complex. Two or three times a week we'd see the actor cum homeless bum pushing his rattling cart past our cozy little gated apartments. He generally had a grin and a gladhappy word for anyone who called out "Grady" to him.

    Gladhappy and lighthearted in the face of imminent starvation, like many demented homeless souls whose choices and circumstances have awarded them a luxurious drift of time and freedom, freedom to walk down the middle of the street at noon, pushing a shopping cart with one hand and giving yourself a hand job under your greasy dungarees with the other hand.

    This is how I picture my roommate 5 years from now: a jabbering bag man for the aluminum recycling industry. Actor cum bum. Except my roommate's personality won't be so charming.

    Every time I have written anything more than four lines (I write with earphones on, playing Sade or Tom Waits on my portable CD player), my roommate has at least at one point tapped me on the shoulder, interrupting my train of thought, to make some incongruous and silly-assed announcement like "Clover honey is hard to find" or "LBJ ruined this country". Sometimes he explains. Most times he just restates his pop Goes The Weasel pronouncements over and over again, even after I put the earphones back on again and crank up the volume.

    During this writing jag, my roommate has announced that there is garbage near the motel dumpsters in the back parking lot and he bought a $13 fishing pole at the swap meet . . . MADE IN THE USA. You can't go wrong for $13!

    "You can't go wrong for" is a mainstaple phrase in my roommate's lexicon. He shops every day (EVERY DAY) and I feel I must emphasize EVERY in EVERY DAY, at either the 99 Cent Store or the Roadium swap meet or both. If you wanted to take a picture of my roommate's soul, it would be a snapshot of a crazy-looking man carrying cheap plastic bags full of swap meet crap down the sidewalk towards room 118.

Today, besides the fishing pole, he bought his fifth poorly painted plaster of paris piggy bank. This one was the bald eagle with a natty American flag painted across its chest in the wrong colors.

    He's a candidate for the shopping cart brigade if I ever saw one.

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