THE INFORMATION #928
“Whenever I think of that filthy midget Little Joe the Grifter,” said Count Victor Justin, “then quite naturally I think about the fact that he was the first in his family to graduate from the ninth grade. This was a source of inordinate pride to him, and all his chums, and all the Yellofs in the old neighborhood, treated him as though he were some kind of Joe Harvard Princeton Yale, instead of being what he really was–a sawed off, jumped up shrimp with a bowl haircut and a lousy attitude. My advice to you Yob, as you travel down life’s highway, is to don’t ever form an alliance with someone just because you feel sorry for them and maybe want to help them out. That is not the strategy of a winner, and furthermore, in 99 cases out of 100 it just don’t pan out. If a person is a pariah, there’s usually a very good reason for that. Don’t go thinking you can rescue him–or, God help you, her–because that sort of thing just never works. And chances are, even if you are able to extricate them from a fix, they won’t be grateful–they’ll be resentful, you see, because you will have shown yourself to be the bigger man. Literally, in my case.
“Yob, you can pretty much judge a man by the quality of woman he manages to attract to be by his side. Men know this as an operating principle, and women know it too, by mere instinct alone. And I should tell you right now that Little Joe the Grifter seemed to have a hard time attracting a suitable mate, even in spite of his impressive educational credentials, but when he did finally start squiring a Zook about the town, she was a real horror. She wasn’t that bad-looking, considering she was a Plain Jane with mousey hair. But her temperament was of the very worst. Every time she opened her flabby maw, it was to whine about some slight, either real or imagined. Her cake-hole, and doubtless her cunny too, resembled the soft, flaccid toothless mouth of a superannuated barking hound. I never once heard her give forth with a single word of praise for the singularly unaccomplished Grifter. No, with her, it was always something petty and spiteful and mean. I guess she thought she was pretty special–like maybe her shit smelled like vanilla puddin’. To be sure, he had no end of shortcomings for her to be blubbering on about. If it were the Puritan days, you can be sure they would have sentenced her to the ducking stool, as a common scold. Alas, we are civilized, and we no longer hold with the good old adage: ‘A woman, a dog and a hickory tree, the more you beat ’em, the better they be.’
“Now, don’t get me wrong, Yob. Of course, nowadays no gentleman would ever hit a woman, and that’s the way it ought to be. But still–if you could have heard the singular lack of respect with which she treated the poor sad sack of shit, you might have found yourself reaching for a slippery elm club just as a matter of general principle. No person should be allowed to talk to another the way she talked to him. It was clear that Little Joe had had little experience with wimmen, and didn’t know how to handle ’em. Come to think of it, he also had a hard time getting along with most men, unless they were his special cronies he had known since the short pants days. He had a real knack–a knack for making people vicious. I suppose I took him in hand as a sort of challenge to myself–to see if I could make a grifter out of him. He had all the ingredients to be a successful grifter, after all–he didn’t care about anybody but himself, and, furthermore, in spite of an utter lack of any accomplishments–as far as I can tell, he never worked a day in his life–he acted like he was the guy who hung the moon.
“And–he needed constant reassurance! He was as vain as any ham actor. He was just like an old bitch gone long in the tooth who rouges up like a whore in an attempt to perpetuate a pitiful masquerade of long-vanished youth. When he went to a tavern, he would never pay for a round, and yet, like some fop, he would seek to dominate the conversation with his loud boastful brags about the hosses he rid and the women he fucked and the suckers he took and the scores he settled. Not only that, but he would never have what everybody else was having–no, for him, it had to be the stuff on the top shelf that costs three times as much. Even drunks full of fellow-feeling found him obnoxious! What does that tell you? The most disgusting thing he did was, when he was walking down the street, he would press one grimy finger to his nostril and blow his nose onto the street, then repeat the process with the other nostril. Down South we used to call that a ‘farmer’s handkerchief.’
“He treated the whole world like it was there just so he could do whatever he wanted to. And, as far as I can tell, nobody ever called him on it. You’ll find that to be an operative attitude among members of the criminal underclass. Nothing is ever their fault. They’re always being done in by bad luck, or jealous rivals. No, it’s never their own stupidity that results in them landing in stir. It’s always a jealous woman, or a bent cop, or an incompetent fat mouth.
“So it’s no wonder that the little woman was always hectorin’ him about chewing with his mouth closed, and not fartin’ in polite company, and sayin’ ‘excuse me’ after a belch, and not making a fool of himself when they were out together at dinner parties and such.
“Pretty soon, she gave up on him, I guess. Because she wasn’t seen around no more. Maybe he kilt her, but I doubt it. He didn’t have the nerve. Anyway, it wasn’t too long after that that he left town for good. He’s now taken up residence in some backwater hick town in New Jersey, where he can be what he was always destined to be–a little fish in a little pond.”
K-MART IN STORE MUSIC XMAS 1974
DAN RATHER: DETROIT SCHOOLS: A NATIONAL DISGRACE
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An under-regarded masterpiece starring Rock Hudson, but with dark subject matter and in black and white, which is no wonder why it stiffed, in spite of the ten minute orgy scene, which I have thoughtfully cued up for you, here:
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WHAT LIFE IS LIKE IF YOU DON’T LIKE FOOTBALL
CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE.