Once more our very own Bagwan has reached out to we the unwashed. This time his fears and concerns revolve around our collective tendency to get melancholy while longing for those carefree days when “men were men and women were grateful” Bagwan’s personal hell of wandering from bar to bar has become burdensome with little hope of finding bonhomie has now reached what could only be defined as a desperate cry for help. Please read and do unto the Bagwan…..enjoy:
Do you ever yearn for the good old days? I’m wise enough to know that there is no such thing as the “good old days,” but I am also sentimental enough to know that we should preserve that notion. I am reading this book about the great Speakeasies of New York which operated during Prohibition. The book was written in 1933 so it has the feel and vocabulary of the time. No whitewashed version by some pain in the ass Jewish liberal who graduated from Columbia Journalism in the 1990’s trying to condemn the Cotton Club for having all black entertainers and all white audiences. Hey, Washington and Jefferson had slaves; there has to be some point where we can stop feeling guilty and just acknowledge that times change.
The author of my book speaks of a wonderful lady who in the midst of Prohibition opened a very high end night club which she described as a “salon of culture, wit and bonhomie.” Who wouldn’t want to go there? To be one of the swells admitted at the door on sight to soak in all that and more. “Culture, wit and bonhomie” – not exactly the experience of sitting between JJ and Zuki although there is occasional bonhomie. Her place was raided a number of times by the Eliot Ness types of that era and she was eventually carted off to jail for 30 days. When she got out she closed down the place permanently and moved to Fresno never to be heard from again. Unfortunately the culture, wit and bonhomie did not make the trip to Fresno as anyone who has ever been there can attest.
I can imagine that every generation as it aged fretted over the loss of civility and decorum by the next generation. Frank, Elvis and the Beatles all represented the end of the civilized world to someone. But I worry about civility in the more particular sense of being respectful to one another and decorum as it relates to the bounds of good taste and propriety. I am not just talking about a Miss Manner’s thing here, but that is part of it. What I am thinking about is almost religious. I am talking about treating others as we expect to be treated – the Golden Rule. In fact, that is the only rule that religions and bars need. For example in bars Happy Hour should be whenever I walk in and no religious organization should be concerned with what I eat or when I eat it. I don’t know all the different rules for the various religions but I have been told that the reason Baptists don’t screw standing up is that they don’t want people to think they are dancing. I’ve also heard that if you are going to take a Mormon fishing that you better take two cause if you only take one he will drink all your beer.
Drinking and dancing don’t take you on the path to Hell. There might not even be a Hell at least for those of us who have experienced “hell on earth.” Hell on earth isn’t sitting and listening to Cush talk about his new boat (although that is closer than having your toenails removed with needle nose pliers). It isn’t even listening to Zuki’s plea for just one woman desperate enough to believe his tale of woe. No ‘hell on earth’ is simply recognizing that it’s never going to get any better.
You ever heard the one about the guy who is hitting himself on the thumb with a hammer when another fellow walks up and asks “Doesn’t that hurt?” “Hell yeah it hurts” he replies. “Then why are you doing it?” “Because it feels so good when I quit.” That’s it, that’s all he wants. He just wants to know that things can get better.