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A Harm City Snapshot
© 2013 James LaFond
Yesterday I interviewed a person I used to work with, who asked me about a mutual coworker. This brought back a flood of vivid images and words, as this man was a classic hoodlum-turned-curmudgeon.
His name was Joe, and he added the –Damn! whenever he wanted to make a manly point. Joe-Damn! had no fear, backed down from no one, not even "bosses en big muvasuckas". I met Joe-Damn! on the job when he was picking a fight with his supervisor, who towered over him menacingly. He had no racist sympathies and always stood up against what he thought was "not right." He changed employment often. Therefore our relationship was necessarily brief. The man did work. I can vouch for that.
What most endeared me to Joe-Damn! was the fact that he did not back down. He got into one scuffle with a racist white floor tech who was intentionally mopping over his new white shoes, and mumbling something about those shoes being too white for a black man to wear. When he dove for the redneck with the mop I grabbed the redneck and a black crew member grabbed Joe-Damn! who repeatedly exclaimed, “Damn! son let me at ‘im so I can beat the race out a ‘is ism!”
The redneck continued his insults until, after finding out that I—the only other white man there—was going to take sides with Joe-Damn! When this realization washed over his face he began to cry, out loud! I spent some time with my arm around him, letting him know that everything would be alright as soon as he got home to Redneck RFD, and was once again surrounded by racist bigots who would hate precisely as he did.
I returned to Joe-Damn! And inquired, “So are we cool know?”
He responded in his gravelly voice, “Damn! How can I even think about whoopin’ a muvasucka who is cryin’? How’d you make his dumbass cry?”
“I don’t hate black dudes. He can’t deal with that—like a knife in his soul.”
“Damn! you is a cruel muvasucka, turnin’ on yo own like that! Sheeeit! Damn! Son! Fat liddle whiteboy all alone up in hea—knows it now—ole-no-hatin’ Jimmy throwin’ his pasty ass to the bruthas!”
After that, Joe-Damn! and I were fast friends. He had a liking for the ladies, but lacked the sophistication necessary for courtship. Once, when we were punching in, we walked past the aptly named Ebony, a willowy dark-skinned babe with short greased-down hair, in heels and tight jeans, who weighed perhaps 90 pounds. Joe-Damn! stopped, looked her up and down and around, spun on his heel, looked at her tight jeans again, looked at me, looked at her petite breasts, looked away, and then finally looked at her face, and said, “Damn!”
Ebony then looked at me as I nodded hello to her and asked, “What the hell is his problem?”
Joe-Damn! then spread his arms, expanded his chest, took to one knee with backswept hands as if ready to serenade a princess up in a chastity tower, and said, “Damn! Don’ you know that I love your fine ass, you beautiful, bald, black bitch!”
Ebony just looked at him with disgust, looked at me with amazement, and said in a huff as she walked by me, “You can jus’ take his ghetto ass back where you found it!”
Now, what did Joe say to that?
He stood up, shook his head, and said, “Damn! son, that shit was cold—been workin’ on the delivery all week!”
Off we went to work.
Considering Joe-Damn’s lack of polish it came as no surprise that he did not get along well with the big bull dyke that worked in seafood, who claimed Ebony as part of her babe stable. I forget the lesbian lady’s name, but Joe-Damn! had his own name for her, "Silvaback."
One evening I came to work and was informed that Silvaback had been fired for cussing out a customer. An hour or so later Joe-Damn! and I were in the back aisle breaking down freight. We had had no discussion as to the fate of his rival for Ebony’s affection. To illustrate how Joe-Damn! communicated in a bard-like way, rather than as a manner of discourse, I leave you with the last words I heard from him, just days before he was fired for fighting a coworker in front of the off duty cop that stood guard while the manager closed down the ghetto grocery store.
Thus Spake Joe-Damn! Upon the Virtues of Womanhood
Each line in the following passage was preceded by a long look at the seafood case, and a harsh snort or a damn! as the bard lifted cases of detergent onto a six-wheeled U-boat.
“Invincible dyke bitch?”
“Invincible pussy-eatin’ dyke bitch?”
“Invincible ugly pussy-eatin’ dyke bitch?"
“Invincible fat uglay pussy-eatin’ dyke bitch?”
“Invincible silva-backed fat uglaay pussy-eatin’ dyke bitch?”
“Invincible shit! Hah!!”
“Yeah Silvaback, how much pussy you eatin’ now with nary a paycheck?”
“Not a patch! Hah!!”
If someone knows where Joe-Damn! is could we please get him lined up for an appearance on reality TV?
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ELLEN KUSHNER     May 16, 2013

LOL!Very entertaining!
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