Wha’ Happen?

by J.D. Tuccille
September 13, 1996

I’ll bet you folks thought I wasn’t coming back. C’mon, admit it. Uh huh. Well, you can’t get rid of me that easy. Not while some of you owe me money.

It’s true that I’ve been out of circulation for a little while. Longer than I’d intended, for sure, when I signed off on the last installment of Full Automatic. Nope, I wasn’t abducted by militant safety nazis enraged by the contents of my refrigerator. Nor was I held incommunicado by rogue BATF agents miffed by my good-natured tweaking of their agency’s impressive body count — you’d have seen the smoke if that was the case. Uh uh. My absence has a much more banal explanation. Ya see, in my recent move to New York City, I made the fatal error of thinking that I’d planned for every contingency. Whoops.

That’s always a bad idea, of course. We all know it intellectually. There’s no way we can really plan for everything that might go wrong and we mock those who try — deservedly so. But then comes our own lives and our own plans, and out of a nagging need for reassurance and a near-religious belief in the power of the checklist, we rely upon our presumed powers of precognition.

Or so it seems, now that I look back upon my own careful preparations. It started innocently enough, of course. These things always do. I rented a truck weeks ahead of time, bribed and browbeat a large group of friends on the (well-founded) assumption that some would be called away on mysterious, urgent missions the day of the move, and had my utilities all set to go the moment I walked in the door of my new digs. I scheduled another buddy to help me on the New York end of the move, and my new landlord to meet me to surrender the keys. I was all set.

Just one problem, of course. Ya see, I’d taken a newly renovated apartment for the obvious reasons — it’d be clean and modern, without the accumulated detritus of past tenants. As it turned out, my new apartment was so free of accumulated detritus that, as my rather embarassed landlord explained, the workmen hadn’t actually gotten around to adding paint to the walls. Or polish to the floors. Or installing the plumbing fixtures, stove and refrigerator. The place was entirely detritus-free — and habitability free, as a result.

As I stood on the street outside my fully loaded truck, I found that I had no place to live.

Spurred on, perhaps, by an air of impending violence, my landlord came through — sort of. The ground floor of the apartment building contained an unused store front of Victorian vintage. It was mine to inhabit until such time as my apartment was available. He also knocked off half-a-month’s rent. Smart fellow.

The store in question was one of those old-fashioned, turn-of-the-century establishments with a small apartment to the rear where the proprietor’s family lived and (as seemed apparent in this case) died, too. I spent my nights in a sleeping bag on a table, while roaches the size of my thumb scuttled about the floor.

I hit one of those roaches with a twenty-pound dumbbell. The little fucker just gave me the finger.

After a week of such accomodations I was finally able to relocate to my apartment. It took only one more week for my carefully arranged telephone number to be complimented by a live phone jack.

I’ve learned my lesson folks — again. Risk can’t always be anticipated away. It’s a natural part of life and will bite you on the ass the moment you think you’ve beaten it down with careful preparation.

Oh! Did I say what my new expanded paycheck looks like after the local tax authorities are done?

Stop me before I plan again.

From the Notebook

What is this nonsense? Let Harry Browne in the presidential debates, already! Browne is on the ballot in all 50 states, has gathered support for his participation from a slew of newspapers, 28,000 petition signers, and 180-plus talk show hosts, and has qualified for and refused to accept federal funds for his campaign. Moreover, unlike the jug-eared Martian, Browne has over 1,000 candidates running down-ticket from him across the country.

Of course, the U.S. presidential debates these days are hardly a non-partisan affair. The folks running the show are gatekeepers for the two old political parties and can hardly be expected to let the rabble in to shake things up. Especially not when their chosen faves are an astonishingly corrupt Arkansas shyster and a man whose continued health is measured by the volume of his crankiness.

So all right, Harry should meet the debate organizers half-way. How ‘bout if he brings a girl for Bill and some Metamucil for Bob? That should be worth a few minutes of air time.

Ah well, and so much for the power of argument. So back you go to Full Automatic or to my home page.

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Copyright (c) 1996 Jerome D. (Il Tooch) Tuccille. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Il Tooch is prohibited. Mess with me and I’ll use your polished skull as a beer mug.