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‘What Do You Tell People You Meet?’
Yeti Waters Wants to Know How Cracked Pottery Skulks Under the Thought Penetrating Radar: 12/15/21
“James LaFond, I suppose this is kind of tacky, playing dominoes with my favorite living writer, while my favorite dead writer reads his poetry in the background. [Bukowski recites over YouTube.] I met you through your writing and its good to have such a friend as you—having a friend is very important in life. But I wonder, now since you seem to be making friends at The Bar, what do you tell people you meet about what you do for a living?”
-3:00 A.M., over a geriatric Coors Light and a Yeti Vintage bottle of wine
The question has come up recently. Some folks are suspicious of me, look at me like I’m a bad actor.
“In their defense, you look sketchy as shit.” -YW
I was sitting next to a lady and she wanted to buy me a drink. But I’m sensitive about letting a woman buy me a drink after I have declared to her and her friends that I am a hobo. So I bought her a drink.
A married couple who was good friends with her asked of my health, and then the man, who had already explained to me about his tree topping business, asked me what I do for a living.
I said, “I’m a hobo, a bum.”
“I doubt that,” he decalred.
“I saw Robert Wagner’s reverse mortgage commercial, and since the bank had already taken back my house and I didn’t have a mortgage, I quit my job. I plan on going back to work—I worked as a grocer for 38 years—when I’m 65, swiping my time card, and dying of a massive heart attack my first day on the job.”
He looked at me narrowly, “I doubt you’re a bum.”
“Well, I am homeless. I travel around the country staying with friends in return for doing house work and chores, house sitting and such. I am also a C-list boxing couch. I even give boxing advice online. So I get enough money for train tickets doing that.”
….
“So, James LaFond, you don’t say, ‘I write books, in fact I’ve written more books than anybody alive,’ and that far from being without a place to rest your head, you have readers competing for you as a house guest” -YW
Hell, no! Think about it. Four years ago I had 29,000 readers, people who liked my work enough to come to the main website three times a month. Now I have 4,500 readers! 25,000 people who liked my writing decided, at some point over the past four years, that I was what people in these bars suspect I am, a bad actor. I don’t need that kind of negative magnetism.
Half of the folks I stay with, at this point, never read anything I write, for which I’m glad. I write many outrageous things, bad thoughts, misanthropic sentiments, heathen beliefs. However, as you know, in everyday life, I am mild mannered, do not behave outrageously and side step just about any possible discussion that could become a debate or an argument.
In a way, it would be misleading for people to read me first. In large part, my mild manner in person is facilitated by venting in outrageous prose. For instance, an attractive woman who might read this site might meet me, and expect that I would make an advance on her. But I would not, because I’m too much of a coward to risk rejection, and she would be disappointed and feel that I had judged her as ugly. This would cause bad magnetics, and I am superstitious.
It is my belief that the greater beings of heaven that await us in the Outer Dark and the Inner Bright to feast upon our perishable souls have varied tastes, some being regular foodies that delight in our agonized throes. I am working on becoming bitter or bland, having no desire for my departing soul to carry the sweet scent of a life well-spent. But it has occurred to me lately, as I eat 95% cocoa, that some god out there has a taste for bitterness. So I’m dialing back my taste profile…
I would say that most of the folks I stay with, including many who found me through my writing or by way of an appearance on a podcast, do not read my work often or at all. Indeed, I’d say I spend more time working with or for, or coaching people I stay with then they spend reading me...and that by a large margin.
So, in essence, I am not being too deceptive, for my life is really sustained by being a model house-guest, [1] which is very easy, and by helping men with boxing, stick-fighting and blade-survival. Without warm, dry places to stay, my writing would go away soon, as the laptop would meet a bad end and my health would spiral downward and out of control.
For instance, when some one asks about stick-fighting, I point them to The Dog Brothers, not even mentioning Agonistics. Particularly, pointing people who are not in depth and extensive readers at my work, would confuse them about me. You could actually use my non-fiction opinions as references for a three-sided debate on numerous subjects. At best I come off as suffering from multiple personality disorder.
Of course, the fact that I am a politically incorrect civic contrarian is good reason to conceal my identity, as most Americans would form a virulent dislike for me based on certain published works.
The coaching thing has its own pitfalls. I had a woman who was a TaeKwonDo black belt ask me about what I did, and this led to her asking about who I coached, and she grew angry when I said that I do not coach women. I default there to it not being right for me to deny female coaches who are better people and better fighters then me, by using my links to the patriarchy to keep them from training their sisters. Since I am a man and roll out of bad making more money than corporate female CEOs based solely on my privilege, I must recuse myself from coaching women.
When people ask me about my fighting, I simply recount defeat after defeat, injury after injury, until they grow weary of it.
I do not give my last name out. Eventually one woman got my last name out of me and found Hobo History and said, “You are a conspiracy theorist?”
“Yes, certifiable—my mother says I’m demented. My editor calls me a crackpot. My youngest son has declared himself the adult in our relationship. I should be read for entertainment purposes only.”
Notes
-4. I have found, that working an hour doing household chores is a good break for my eyes and hips from the toil of writing. Doing four hours of intelligent work in a day makes a huge difference in the quality of life of any home owner who works full time and is tired, or who is retired and has medical issues.
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