While away in the kitchen dishing up Friskies Pate and mincing raw liver it occurred to me that I had better explain a few things before continuing my tale of gratitude for being forced by my Dad to take a course in Typing and how it affected my entire life.
I want to make it perfectly clear that NO one, upon reading my descriptions of Life with Father should ever feel the teeniest bit sorry for me. It may appear at times that he was brutal, unkind even sadistic, and all of that may have some aspects of truth, but I do not condemn him for any of that nor do I wish that things had been substantially different .......the fact is that without having had to cope with, endure, survive, forgive and ultimately understand him I would not be the person that I am today (whoever that may be)and possibly not even be here today. And, for better or for worse, I am relatively content with who I am and how I got here, so whatever feelings you may feel upon reading my tales......take my word for it......feeling sorry for me should not be one of them.
There is a theory I read about in some philosophy book that one actually picks one's parents depending upon what lessons one must learn this time around that were not learned or dealt with in the last lifetime. (and, I do believe you have to keep going around until you learn 'em all..........what a terrible waste if we only got one shot at it) I have come to subscribe to that theory .....it certainly fits perfectly with what I have observed about the way life works and I will keep it until I find something that fits better. It is my belief that I picked my parents precisely because of the vast opportunities they would offer me to learn a number of my unlearned lessons, and, heaven knows, my family provided me with a goldmine of possiblilities for my "education". (too many options, so little time, but I hope I will get to deal next time around with some of the lessons missed or failed at in this trip. I mean, for crissakes, a person can only do so much ........)
Anyway, my servitude as typing slave continued through high school and college and while I remained a rather inept typist and never really got to be a great one my skills were adequate enough to get by, .......except for the time I was writing a letter to some Government Agency about selling them a stock of surplus zinc chromate tape that Pappy had acquired and I sent it off without properly proofing it, resulting in a proposal to sell them the entire stock in my father's vast Whorehouse instead of Warehouse. (of course, I never heard the end of that one, but I'll bet some bored Govt. paper pusher blessed me for brightening his day and, as I recall, my Dad got the contract. (I wonder if they were disappointed when all they received was zinc chromate tape?.....) But my insipid typing got me through a hundred college term papers and further, got me a job as a Girl Friday for a family of Builders when I graduated and could not find any work at all in anything remotely related to art or design. Further, it kept me from starving totally as a starving artist when I opened my own studio and found one could not live on art alone.
Now, my studio was one of 3 which had been built onto the front of an old house, the house in turn having been subdivided and parcelled out piecemeal among the shops with leftover rooms being bundled into so-called apartments in the back of the building. My studio was the middle of the 3 and if fell to my lucky lot to win the living room of the house - a fair sized room with a real FIREPLACE and a tiny bathroom with no sink but a toilet and shower.......(the sink was in the work areas)......I ultimately moved in and lived there but that is another blog. My neighbor to my right of me was a friend who had a design studio and what was called in those days a Studio Greeting Card Co......that meant one of the first outfits to dispense with flowers and sloppy sentiment and to approach things with humor and disrespect. This was my outlet for a line of my own greeting cards......very disrespectful and some even humorous. But to the left of me was most fascinating business on the block.......a shady establishment we jokingly called the Dirty Record Business.........run by a dreadful man we called Dirty Bill who thought that the funniest thing he had ever heard was that there was a real town called Intercourse, Pa. The records were not really that dirty.....most were simply bawdy or vulgar songs but his prize piece was one called "Erotica" which consisted of nothing but creaking bedsprings whose cadence increased, culminating in silence and a loudly whispered, "Oh Baby". All of these were sold via mail order and, to put it simply, the dirty dog was making an effing fortune. The only catch was that periodically the police found it necessary to make some token effort to stamp out this foul blight on our city and performed a sort of raid on the place. The first time they actually caught Bill there and took him off to the pokey for an hour or two. Subsequent raids were somehow tipped off so Bill could run out the back if he were there, leaving his office manager and chief record packer, a nice, middle aged Jewish lady named Roz, to be hauled off to the jailhouse in his stead. This was all a source of much merriment to us until the fateful moment when Roz needed help in handling the orders and I, as usual, needed money to pay my bills. So before you can wink and twirl the ends of your moustache, there I was for 4 hours a day typing labels for the Dirty Record business and eating again.
I could go on forever with this story but I will save some of the good stuff for yet another blog. Suffice it to say that Dirty Bill may have been a pig but typing for him saved my bacon.
My next bout of gratitude came at age 40 when I decided there had to be a better way of trying to make a living and I went to computer programming school........I never would have had a chance had I not been able to type my programs into the computer so we can chalk up my entire second career to my ability to type. And the latest set of "thank yous" have been prompted by this whole 3rd career as a blogging fool which would be impossible were it not for my ability to be staring into space thinking of what I wanted to say while my fingers obediently put my thoughts onto the screen.
So, actually, all of you lucky beneficiaries of my blogging should really execute a few low bows and say, "Thank you, Freddie"..........it only seems fair, doesn't it?
The New Yorker covers: February 10, 1975
5 hours ago