“You tell me lies that should be obvious to me
I’m in so much love with ya’ baby that I don’ wanna see
If the truth makes love last longer
Why do lies
make my love stronger?
Ain’t that peculiar?”
— Marvin Gaye
I loved Marvin Gaye’s music…probably the most redeeming aspect of the phenomenon that was to become Barry Gordy. No more raw, nor unfiltered, nor uncensored, account of the illness of addiction has ever been broadcast in the popular media before or since the days when Marvin Gaye’s lyrics punctuated the creeping fascism of the 1960’s and 70’s.
When I heard of Marvin Gaye’s death as an adult, it hit me as hard as the death of Louis Armstrong when I was seven or eight. That Gaye had died under circumstances so common in the lives of addicts and so reminiscent of untreated addiction only made his death seem more tragic. When Louis Armstrong died, the pain came from the sudden and shocking revelation that someone had lied to me about death, about the fact that it wouldn’t hurt, about the fact that the German Nazi lady down the street and her opinion of Satchmo as, “just another nigger,” wouldn’t shatter my illusions about love and how its purity would prove victorious in the fight to save the human race from itself.
Marvin Gaye spoke the truth; everyone else was feeding me lies and wishful thinking.
The popular media is no longer in the business of broadcasting the truth and has not been for some time – not without an unhealthy, untruthful and widely publicized counterpoint that sounds more like an echo from 1930’s Germany than 1960’s America. In 1960’s America I could name my yellow Labrador, “Satchmo,” as a reflection of what I and my mother considered to be a statement of unconditional love. My collision with 1930’s Germany, however, meant that Satchmo would drink the leftover antifreeze the Nazi Lady left outside like a bowl of water, shit himself nearly to death on her prized patio, before wandering off someplace lonely to die a wretching, miserable death. Satchmo loved me unconditionally; Nazi Lady loved me with a number of conditions related to my performance. Those conditions were easily met by me most of the time, but I did have a number of assets in my favor over which I had little or no control. Condition one, I was a cute-looking kid. Condition two, I could eat breakfast, lunch and dinner faster than any of her children even if she blended it up and fed them through a straw. Condition three, I was smarter, for my age, than either of her two sons. Condition four, I naively saw her as a source of love and nurturing that I could not obtain from within my own home. This last condition, of course, changed as I began to experience the full range of emotions and behaviors that the women in my world who were raised during the Nazi occupation tended to exhibit.
Nazi Lady stole from her tenants.
That she had tenants was certainly one in the plus column for her that complimented her husband as a Midwestern American, government civilian employee with a Depression-era learned neurotic compulsion to scrimp and save that would make the Indian on a wooden nickel scream and cry for mercy. What kept Nazi Lady around, however, in spite of their obvious age difference, was a shitload of life insurance, a fact she had no problem revealing to my mentally ill, though not entirely permanently out to lunch, mother. I guess the fact that my mother didn’t seem entirely engaged with reality meant that she could use my mother’s attention as a confessional.
Nazi Lady always covered her bases and was an absolute clean freak.
Everything had to be in its place at all times, reflecting a homey-ness and sense of welcome that was vacuously absent for said home’s occupants. If Nazi Lady wasn’t pleading and coercing her children to eat faster, work harder or jump higher, she was chasing them out of the house so that she wouldn’t have to follow behind them and clean up the evidence that people actually lived there. Everyone got a free pass on the first visit, of course, since they were visitors. After visit one, however, you needed to respect the placement and display of precious objects Nazi Lady had taken great pains to steal from her tenants. No, that’s not entirely accurate. Nazi Lady stole from her neighbors and relatives, too, but only things like towels and dishware – things that could not be readily identified.
Nazi Lady liked fattening up small animals that she could then feed to her son’s pet King snakes.
Nazi Lady felt that it was critically important to teach her sons the truth about nature and the natural world. She had no problem turning us loose in her backyard with our BB guns to protect her many fruit trees from marauding birds. In one case, a family of sparrows had the misfortune of building a nest in what they must have thought was a piece of vacation real estate. We did our job murdering the parents with sublime efficiency. Nazi Lady did her job rescuing the chicks and feeding them oodles of noodles until they either died or became bloated and fat. The one remaining chick was given his last meal before she gathered us around and dropped the too-fat-to-fly sparrow chick into the hutch that held the King snakes. “You see, Bubby? This is what happens when you don’t move fast enough!” The snake swallowed the bloated little fruit-eating thief head first quite quickly. I thought it was pretty cool at the time, watching those dirty little birdy feet walking down the throat of the hungry black and white snake.
Nazi Lady didn’t like fair fights.
As soon as my mother made the unfortunate mistake of informing her sons that all was not well with their mother, that perhaps Nazi Germany had taken its toll on the judgment of a neighbor who might otherwise be deserving of respect, Nazi Lady brought forward the truth about my mother. My mother was an alcoholic. My mother drank too much. My mother was a liar. And she told these facts to the loving eight year old son of said criminal, perhaps so that I might dissuade my mother from opening her lying mouth to anyone else in the neighborhood. Of course Nazi Lady was essentially correct in her assessments as was my mother, but my mother was ahead of her by at least a dozen shock treatments and medical incarcerations, so the truth coming from my mother’s mouth had a very interesting way of sounding like pure babbling horseshit. Could Nazi Lady actually be correct about my Mom? The thought enraged me so much I couldn’t contain my ire.
I kicked a hole in our screen door at home.
I later lived in sin with the daughter of another Nazi Lady for nine years and never married her lying, two-faced, emotionally-disturbed ass.
I laughed in the face of said daughter when it became clear that her lying, corpulent ass was finally catching up to her, that everything she touched was actually dead or near dying. She laughed right back since she was able to fuck her way into keeping the house we had bought together.
So I moved to Texas, to the original scene of some imaginary crime, and have made a point of getting in the face of every Nazi-loving, fascist, brain-dead pig I could corner and let them know just how fucked up their thinking and behavior has been, will always be, it’s hopeless, put a gun in your mouth and pull the mother-fucking trigger and put us all out of your misery – you Nazi-loving, Fox-News-watching, flag-waving piece of human waste.
But I’m not bitter. I love the ignorant masses. There are so many of them and so many to choose from. I love hearing the marbles spin and spill in and out of their ears.
Here we sit, in Texas, on a death-watch, guns at the ready, waiting to see which one of us is going to pull the trigger first and declare the competition finished and over with.
Maybe I’m crazy, but I thought we won the Second World War. I thought the Nazi’s ate cyanide pills to escape the indignity of having their neck’s rung from their skulls…I thought the Nazis were bad, evil people who killed Jews just for the sport of it…I thought the Jews were the victims of the world…I thought Christians were supposed to love Jews no matter what….
Ain’t that peculiar?