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‘Settling Down?’
The Crackpot’s Brother Inquires as to the Crackpot Future: Ocean City, MD, 7/28/2020
© 2022 James LaFond
“Have you thought about settling down, about getting a job and making a home? Or are you just going to continue the circuit?”
-Tony, smoking an expensive cigar while the author drank a cheap beer on a nighted deck after a beautiful pink sunset
I responded in wise close to what I write below:
“The only reason I consent to remain on this planet is to write. My writing is now built around travel. I don’t like travel. So it does tempt me when someone offers to have me stay and live with them. Megan has asked me to stay and live with her many times. But l would have to go back to work at a low wage job at least 40 hours a week, which would kill the writing, since in my old age I require sleep.
“Besides, within a year in Baltimore I will have stabbed a negro in a street altercation. I no longer have the patience to play the hunt whitey game I honed as expert prey in my younger years.
“Of course, there is the complication that I have lady friends on both coasts who I promised I would not abandon. Also, although my writing is centered in the west, most of my family and friends are in the east. I did not chose this life. I had a choice between living in a Baltimore ghetto renting a room and hauling all of my valuables every time I left the room, or hauling said valuables around the country to take up offers that I visit with various folks. Various women have offered to house me. But once a woman keeps a roof over your head, she loses respect for you and the process of erosion sets in to the relationship.
Below are the reasons that I did not give my brother, who is a smart fellow and probably has guessed at it.
I have spent most of my life living with people who expressed constant disapproval of my earnings, my line of work, how I dress, my appearance, my diet, how I speak, what I think and who I associate with.
As Jimmy, the pathetic creature of childhood, I was laughed and scoffed at by parents, picked on by cousins and generally herded into activities that were counter to my odd nature, like this trip I have made once again to Ocean City, Maryland, a place I hate on a gut level and my family adores as a mecca, for I am odd and they are normal. I am here only to be my brother’s best man at his wedding to a beautiful young bride. The obligation discharged, I will not return here unless for a funeral, and I don’t think they bury people on this spit of sand.
As Jim, the husband of an uncaring wife, I was treated like garbage to the point of seeking refuge in constant work outside the home, working up to 120 hours a week just to remain outside the home until I could pass out from exhaustion and not have to hear about how lazy, skinny, broke, ugly and poorly endowed I was. I would even sleep in the bath tub with the door locked and ears under water.
As Mister Jim, a renter at Steve’s, I had privacy, but was subject to disapproval to the point of other renters demanding my removal for my writing, mildly but regularly demeaned by the landlord for being a small odd fellow, was hunted extensively by local savages as I aged, and even had a roommate sneak into my room and steal. That was more tolerable than most of the living arrangements. But my physical inability to earn meant I could not afford to rent from Steve any longer. I still lack the ability to pay rent adjusted for inflation in any areas where I have human contacts, with my writing income. This is the situation that propelled me into hobosim.
Now, as James, which my family insists is an impostor identity even though these people hung that label on me, I am treated like a respected human being by people I visit, despite my low earnings and odd nature. Two of my lady friends and a half dozen fighters, who have called me James in front of my family, have been corrected by my family, “He’s JUST Jimmy around here!”
All versions of my name are just meaningless government labels adjusted downward. But the various versions reflect the level of respect I am held in by the speaker.
This is what happens when you live with or near family as a low earning man or an odd fellow. A good example of this is two recent cases in which the senior member of my family introduced me to younger men, who shook my hand and said, “Nice to meet you, sir.”
In both cases, these men were told, “He’s JUST Jimmy. He’s no better then you. He doesn’t deserve to be called sir. He should be calling you sir.”
That actually hurt, still does.
So, by traveling and being a model house guest who is helpful to my hosts, I am treated with a respect that I had only experienced in the boxing and stick fighting setting in my first 55 years of life. These were ironically activities that excited increased disapproval among family and employers in my otherwise slavish life.
So, part of my reason for remaining a bum, is that being an old, broke-ass hobo named James, gets me infinitely more respect then being a boy named Jimmy, a clerk named Jim, or a manager named Mistah Jimmy.
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Barry Bliss     Mar 22, 2023

Thank you, sir.
nc     Mar 26, 2023

Master Jimmy!
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