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Events, Places, and Things


Events, Places, and Things: Between 2/6/69 and 3/19/79.



As I looked at the clouds below, I actually felt a lift of happiness: I WAS afraid of flying, I WAS afraid of the risk, but I was doing it because I WANTED to do it. No one knew when this plane might crash, but in the same way, no one knew when their life would end. I certainly wouldn't want to refuse to LIVE simply because I was afraid of dying, thus the whole thing was somehow WORTH the risk involved. Everyone HAD to die, no matter how much control over their lives they tried to take: this was the thought that was coming clearer and clearer to me, and looking out the window at the slowly curving highways barely visible through the clouds, I felt some of the old exhilaration of flying, and some sort of triumph at the thought that I WAS, actually, not on a plane, and somehow the fear sort of melted away, and I looked avidly out the window as the plane lowered over the windy fields of Ohio, breaking through the clouds to the blowing snow of the airfield. Out of the plane feeling reasonably good, and meet Rita and, surprise! Marion in the terminal, and Marion's driven her car because Mom was afraid of Rita driving in the lousy weather. Along the turnpikes to the hospital, and up to Medical 181 to see no one around, and poke my head into the room to see a yellow old man in the near bed, another old man in the next bed, and wizened mummy in the third bed, and Marion beckoned to me "That's him, Bobby, don't you recognize him?" And it was him, hook-nosed and jawed where his cheeks sank in under the absence of teeth, yellow from the jaundice that worried his mother and me the last time I saw him, with a plastic tube inserted in one nostril, lying motionless under a white sheet. Rita hung back near the door, and Marion and I tried to talk to him, and I fooled myself into thinking he recognized me, as he choked and tried to move his legs in what I took to be response. I talked to him, feeling terribly self-conscious, and said "If you mean yes, flick your eyes over to the side." His eyes flocked over to the side. "Can you see me?" The eyes flicked over to the side. "Don't try to talk---."



I'm talking to John Barber and his girl and her friend and Hal Boyle with Yalka and her fiancé and Cyndy in Muggs on December 30, and I'm saying to John Barber "I'd just like to go off and write somewhere, say Mauritius."

"Oh, that's nothing," said John, "I go to the Moriches often in the summer."

"No, I didn't mean Center Moriches, I meant the island in the Indian Ocean. Near the Seychelles."

"Say, how would you like to go to the Seychelles and work for the government?" said John, suddenly alive with enthusiasm.

"What do you mean?"

"I'm not putting you on. I don't know much about it, but you telephone Roland Paine, no "P-a-i-n-e," at the National Science Foundation in Washington, and tell him that John Barber told you to ask him about the writing job in the Seychelles. He asked me to go, but I couldn't because I'm married with five wives."

I giggled at his attempt at humor and wrote down the information he proffered.

My friends were universally enthusiastic about it, but it wasn't until the Friday in the following week that I finally got up the nerve to call Mr. Paine. He professed ignorance of anything concerning the Seychelles, but said it was a possibility that the letter went out over his signature, and that he personally hadn't heard about it. "Maybe it wasn't the National Science Foundation, but the National Academy of Sciences. John knows Warren Edgerton there."

So back to long-distance information I went, and through the same sort of central switchboard at the enormous organization level, and got through to Warren Edgerton, but he said essentially the same thing as Roland Paine. He certainly was a friend of John Barber, but he didn't know anything about the Seychelles---if he did, he'd be certain to take on the job himself, anyway.

I called back John Barber for a sort of a showdown, but he apologized, and I ignored an impulse to leave my name and number with him in case he ever again had to turn down an interesting job because of his marriage with five wives.

DIARY 1008


The kids bought tickets for the 7:50 show, and we didn't sell tickets for the 11:15 show until the 7:50 show was filled, then we sold the 550 tickets right in the next half-hour, and 550 kids stood in line in the rain, but huddled up against the door under the marquee.

When the 7:50 show had 10 more minutes to run, the rectifier broke, but this goon from Warner told the kids, "Wait, there's another 10 minutes," so they started chanting, and carrying on, and smoking, and screaming, and then when the movie started, the house lights wouldn't go off, so they chanted "Shut the fuckin' house lights off," and then in 5 minutes the house lights went off, but the projector went off, too, and then it went back on and they showed the end of the film about half-hour later.

But they couldn't go out the front, because the kids were mobbed there; they couldn't use one side exit, because that was the line, and they'd just pile onto line again, so 550 kids had to file out through one small side door. When we opened the two doors in front, they just piled in, dozens at a time, showing little white pieces of paper, nothing at all, trying to push money in our hands, and if we'd fallen, we'd been trampled! So the kids got inside and there were still ticket holders left, but that was OK, since they sat on the floor, doubled up in seats, that didn't matter. We called the cops but they just stood around and looked pretty. The guy from Warners said leave two doors open, but we just couldn't take the tickets at all! Some girl stood in line for three hours with a baby, and then the president of Trans-Lux said "You can't come in with the baby," and she'd been standing for THREE HOURS! Even the morning shows are sold out, but maybe because it's Easter vacation: everyone's smoking pot, even the ushers, I'm bringing some tonight. We can tell them to put out cigarettes, but we're supposed to ignore them if they're smoking pot: once the usher lit a joint RIGHT IN FRONT OF TWO COPS, but they didn't say a word, just watched the show. If it gets any worse, I'll quit: I just can't take this jazz.

DIARY 1084


1) Indirect lights on at ALL times gives interior a sick yellow look.
2) Coach windows were CLEANER than these.
3) NO NON-SMOKING CARS! "You won't smell it."
4) Lots of rattle and jolt and rock (maybe not on seamless tracks?)
5) Not terribly much faster Trenton to NYC (50 versus 60 minutes).
6) Seats nicer.
7) Less headroom (one guy actually bumps head on sitting down).
8) $2.75 one-way versus $4.75 one-way!
9) NO window shades (and no tinted glass, either).
10) Guaranteed seat, but reserved seats cost even more.
11) Doors confusing: you have to PUSH on a panel to have the door SLIDE open.
12) Upper limit of speed 1/2 speed of sound, or get sonic boom when passing?
13) Annoying chink of coins from in-car bar.
14) Windows MUCH smaller.
15) BUT, black kids POINT to us!
16) Great talk with engineer instructor, who says that the top speed reached was 165 in the test runs, and he wanted to be the one to push it up to 170, but the powers that be said no. There were about a dozen test engineers, and of course each wanted to attain the top speed. Tracks are 1440 feet long, just over a quarter of a mile, and they fastened them to 40 or so railroad cars and took them around curves with no trouble at all, they bend very easily, seeming never to crack through bending, and they've solved the problem of heat expansion completely. There are inspectors on EVERY train, and he talked to me about the electrical/air combination brakes which were foolproof, the warming system on the panel that the driver must touch (or break contact) every 20 seconds or an alarm will ring or the thing will actually BRAKE, and we WERE on a side track while the central track was being repaired, and the top speed I saw was only 95, and on the poor track it really seemed that we were bucketing along. I reported my complaint of no-smoking cars, he agreed, and I didn't have the heart to say any of the other negative things, since the talk with him was so pleasant.

DIARY 1215


Old lady leaving early: "I enjoyed EVERY BIT of it," plodding wearily.
Chinese couple with wrapped broom: "Sweeping beauty."
Never saw so many FAT MEN.
"Draw an Italian." If you CAN'T TELL THEY'RE ITALIAN, they're American.
Italian unity day is a perfect source of U.S. DISUNITY.
Old Jewish woman selling "I'm proud to be Italian" buttons.
If they saw movies of themselves, would they laugh, cry, recognize, agree to?
Microphone amplification is perfect for hate and demagoguery, awful for compassion and love.
Cops eyeing me, seeming to WANT to MOVE me.
Many truly lovely numbers walk by.
I'm on roof 11:30-12:30, then shave and eat yogurt, to roof 12:45-2:00, then down to street, up for pen at 2:20, microphones still going at 2:30, people leaving from 1:30.
Huge plastic streamers from top of the old GM building.
Window washers and construction men gaping, getting paid for it.
Italian speech MUST end "Viva America, Viva Italia" or no one would UNDERSTAND.
Italian-American day shows where STRESS is, when it changes to American-Italian day, I'll like it.
I'm sure in Italian apartment houses they have to re-estimate the average weight (HUGE) per person for elevator capacity.
Orientals, blacks, Puerto Ricans, Jews, all for "Italian Unity." Wow.
Weightlifter twin brothers bring on all kinds of fantasies.
Disgusted-looking Italian whores plodding back home, but not to bed, yet.
Even the THIN women had fat "pasta" legs.
As crowd passes, sidewalk gets more and MORE littered.
Frustration: Hey, did YOU come in my bus?
I'm sure Italian women wear more mascara per square foot than others---I think they even use it in their HAIR.
While jotting, I miss cuties, and regret it.
Ceil, telephone operator, shambles past, talking to family.
Some definitely DON'T need badges to identify them as Italian.
Certainly over by 2:45---no more shouting from the microphones.
Women carry bouquets of red, white and green carnations. (So the IRISH make all the difference between the Italians and the Americans???)
Some cuties pass by twice, double yummy (and one even goes by three times, but no deal)
Old married harried office worker watches my crotch.
"See if you recognize anyplace we pass; we gotta FIND the BUS."
Back so broad that pre-sewn pleats in back flow out in inverted V rather than falling parallel.
"Coconat Ecler" painted on Good Humor wagon.
Doll after curly-haired, tight-belled, big-crotched doll passes.
Cop stops to peer over bent black in my doorway who goes through paper bags, transferring blue jeans from torn bag to freshly stolen one.
Cops move out in scooter squads.
Cutie in T-shirt and sawed-off shorts about the nudest anyone got.
Horn and Hardart's does GREAT business.
Why do the VERY fattest choose "Italians are beautiful" buttons?
Ludicrously fat man with tight polo shirt has two buttons, as if at the end of each ample tit.
Crowd about petered out by 3:30: no more nice peters to watch.
Of the thousands passing me, only TWO are speaking Italian.
Woman wearing what look like small chair-leg cushions on her high spike heels.
Some women's wigs are so HIDEOUSLY obvious.
Up to roof afterwards to see one whole section snowily strewn with handouts.
On the Wednesday following, the banners are still sickly waving above the streets.
Lists of speakers in the Village Voice show all-Italian names, and other politicians who are trying to make it big with the "hate everyone else" coterie.
Crowd estimated at 50,000, which is ridiculous, since it was only about 50% larger than the Gay-In crowd I'd looked at the day before.
The statue of Columbus was looking AWAY from the whole crowd, the whole time.

DIARY 1371


The most striking image was a white shroud-like figure that rose quickly from the flowing colors at the bottom, and in the graceful drape of darkness at the top I interpolated the cowled head of Death.

But the figure quickly became phallic, and I swept from Death to the petite morte of the orgasm, and the upward shooting white stream from the agitated base became translucent semen spurting in slow motion from some thickest cock below the frame of the screen.

Then as my mind reveled in sex, and the thumb-like shape bent slightly at the top, and the cowl parted to show a darkness which was similar to Death's body, I saw that the orgasm had ripped the cock from base to tip, and the pulsating interior hollowed inward to become the prodded vagina which rippled with the involuntary contractions of pleasure.

All this with such grace, such tranquility, that it seemed removed from the sweaty thrusts of humankind and became the leisurely copulation of gods, cool and gracious, transforming the languor of living into the soft swoon of giving up their juices to a lambent pleasure-death.

I thought then of constructing a random pleasure machine of copulating penises and engorged cunts, slipping gently in and out and through each other, mimicking the frictions of humans disembodied on a wall. But that might prove technically and mechanically difficult.

So I then thought of a cartoon drawn in milky inks, sufficiently innocent so that children would smile and point at the filmy figures, but so impressioned that knowing adults would grin and smirk with knowledge. Cunt into cock into Death into a resurrected God into a light burst of infinity, playing against a fluctuating background of color-music, showing the unity of background and figure, proving that all is light, all can be interpreted in infinite ways, nothing need be explicit or ribald, all can be slow, suffused with beauty, taking place over infinite time, but graspable as a monism of substance and form in that quick plasma, the mind.

DIARY 1413


Against a background of a two-tone anvil chorus of telephones ringing alternately, one higher than the other, at long intervals alternating with another of the SAME tone but at a great distance---against this continuous chorus the single clerk at the end one of three tables attempted to reply in three or four languages to the broken-tongued complaints from the long line in front of him. Next to me on the bench the landlord and his lawyer talked quietly, "They really hate me," "No, they just don't like what we're doing, but they don't HATE us," and then he said, "Oh, I have another case for you" and proceeded to describe another building in which the landlord built himself a 9-room penthouse on the top, and they buzzed on about legal matters. Then at 11:20, phones still ringing, we were ushered into a hearing room, and tenants lined up against landlords (Schwartz, Walentis, and the hearer vs Sheldon, Buckley, Zolnerzak, Berkeley, Hershey, Cohn, Agouti, and Linehan) and Goodman represented us. Names were taken, and jokes made about the 8 tenants outnumbering the two representatives from the landlord.

Buckley leaned over to repeat that there would be NO compromises, because that would go against us in case of appeal. Walentis sat across from me, young, short, compact, with nipples making bumps in his well-tailored shirts, cute and appealing. "16 stories, 120 residential apartments, 7 fulltime, 1 part-time employee. Four switchboard operators, 1 relief, super, handyman, porter. 38 apartments don't have own phone. 827 message units per month, maybe 750-900 message units. 21¢ per call, THEY pay 5¢, never does billing to tenants cover cost of board. Lawyer stumbled 3 times over Walentis' name---very poor. Lawyers gradually get on each others' nerves "You said it, I DIDN'T say it, I'll say it NOW." 10-12 vacant apartments!!!, only 6 NOT connected to switchboard. Never a residential hotel. Finished at 12:40, at about $45 for transcript. William Diamand was the chairman, Greenburg was the steno. 1952: elevator taken out, and 24-hour switchboard guaranteed; 1966: take away attendant on elevator (8-8), then 6 pm-9 pm, then none. "LANDLORD WILL CONTINUE TO MAINTAIN 24-HR SWITCHBOARD OPERATION."

DIARY 1427


Onto the rather more than usually crowded platform at 8:40, and the E train stood with closed doors which swept open and closed again as the patient sweating crowds stood cattle-like inside. There was a murmur in the crowd waiting that there was some trouble with the doors, and I walked down the length to see one of the conductors manually trying to open and close the doors to get rid of the red warning lights with a cumbersome key.

But no amount of trying sufficed, the crowds on the platform grew, and trains going the other direction paused to see what was going on. Then at 8:50 there was a garbled announcement: "The E train is out of use, please empty the train." VERY slowly the crowd mingled with the growing crowd on the platform. I walked back and forth, gazing at the cream spilt from the crowded cars, cruising and being cruised vaguely by hundreds of people who were going to be late.

Some chose to walk up the stairs, probably to walk to another station. Others seemed to know where they were going and caught the train going in the other direction, maybe back one stop for the F and another way into the city. Still others milled around, asking questions of the conductors of the other trains how to get to the city, and stupidly being told "That train goes toward Manhattan" indicating the empty train that was just now starting to pull out of the station.

Lights on the track at the rear indicated lines of waiting trains, and as the E pulled out, there was a full A which got fuller, then another A, and still another A, and finally an E, which was filled to capacity and got fuller as crowds squeezed aboard. People seemed to hang back, as if thinking "We're late, what's the use of rushing now?" Then another A, and people refrained from pushing, another E, trains coming every 2 minutes, just about capacity swiftness. Then an A that I was thinking of taking, but the platform was still crowded, then two E's made me think there were no more A's, and a three-minute wait took me up to 9:10, and an A came which was less crowded than any, taking in the rest of the people, and the crisis was past.

DIARY 1525


Want to file the books I just read with the books I had, and decide to remove the phone books, and everything fits nicely, but the phone books look lousy on top of the bookcase, so AGAIN I'm faced with the dilemma:


My first reaction is to throw out books, but I can't really think which to throw out: look at "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men," and there's a lot of beautiful writing and poignant observation in it, so I can't do that. Think Camus "Myth of Sisyphus" was awful, but find how much food for thought there was in it, and I can't do it. Try throwing out "Great Gatsby" and find I like a lot of the writing at this point. Look through other books, and there are reasons to keep fiction: I might want to look at their style; history and science, I might want a reference book; poetry, only those poets I liked did I get; plays, I might want to read them again---so AGAIN I'm up against the wall!

Debate buying a wall unit, but it costs $100, and I've GOT the bookcases, which are as flexible as a wall unit, if piled on top of each other. Buy another bookcase? Better get rid of the books. Read the old sections of "Books thrown out," and figure it's good to get them down to this point, but figure it'll take at least a PAGE to digest each of the 350 paperbacks and 230 hardcovers I have, and that'll take quite awhile.

Then I think of the compromise: I haven't moved the books BACK in the white bookcase, so I can put a second row in front---and anyway, if I REALLY want to leave NYC, and put my books somewhere, I can always box them up and crate them to Mom to hold in the basement or attic, and anyway, WHY should I throw them away, they ARE part of me, and more valuable than a ticket stub or a souvenir: If I keep THOSE, I can keep a book, which in general took LONGER to read than the play took to see. So later I start piling up the bookcases in the hall---that'll be it, and I can pile them up to the ceiling without worrying about it, and buy new ones, and stain them or paint them if I want a unit. So that's the end of the book problem.

DIARY 1976


Sadly, we aren't escorted into the legendary basements, but first we see the offices behind the Pompeii frescos, lushly carpeted, lined with bookshelves that seem to house catalogs and nothing else, with fence-wire partitions in the back, where in the gloom appear to be paintings, but we're out onto the gallery floor and across a number of rooms to another large locked door, and behind that door we go through two rooms with huge vertical drawers lining both walls. Each "drawer" is a fence-wire frame about 20 by 30 feet, each of which can be drawn out from the wall on its own rollers, and there, on both sides, are paintings hung for storage. From the sides it's only possible to see the ornate gilded frames, and only a narrow sliver of the painting nearest the aisle on each side. Then into another room, containing maybe 30 frames along each wall, and she goes by rack number down the side until she comes to the "Saroyas," and it turns out to be Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida, who paints in pre-Matisse flamboyance of purples and dark greens, a woman in a dark dress, and a wooded shaded scene of Germanic Impressionistic creatures swimming in a lake, which both Hollister and Hamp go into frenzies of exclamation over. I'm left quite cold by them, but am fascinated by the El Grecos, Velazquezes, Picassos, Modiglianis, Cézannes, Rubens, Goyas, Zubarans, and dozens of other names of like importance, and this one room ALONE contains over 600 paintings, and we have no idea how many other rooms are equally filled, though she says with some apology that the renovation of the museum and the large Centennial exhibits have forced the storage of a larger percentage of old masters than is usual. I was flabbergasted with the NEED to store them: if the museum buys them, why doesn't it SHOW them, but here they are, where only study groups can see them with special permission, and otherwise they are hoarded with MORE miserliness than gold is stored, for who could learn what from the study of gold ingots? But the richness, the vulnerability to a single bomb, the profligateness of such enormously GREAT paintings, gathering dust in fence-wire, staggers my imagination and boggles my mind.

DIARY 2672


The guide afterwards announces that the estate comprises 2000 or more acres, and that there's a large house somewhat distant from the greenhouses, that she's off somewhere traveling (where do people like her FIND to travel after a number of years of it?), and that visitors aren't permitted to wander alone around the gardens at ANY time of the year to see the mostly natural and farmland remaining of the estate. The tour again took just under one hour, and I copied down the numbers of the gardens as I saw them: [DETAILED DRAWING]
1) Italian---fountain and moss-covered statues, gravel floor, with the Dombeya trees in bloom with what looked like pink snowballs, fairly large.
2) Colonial---wood trellises covered with vines, hanging pots, magnolia tree.
3) Edwardian---Orchids and ferns and bromeliads, jungly and sweet smelling.
4) French---Patchwork formal plantings edged in hedge, fleur de lis, spiral ivy around columns, plastic REMOVED from open woodwork in summer: lattice house.
5) Topiary Garden---bird, rabbit, bear, squirrel, penguin, peacock, and shells.
6) English Summer---side banks of lovely flowers, and strange sparse hyacinths.
7) Elizabethan Herb---tiny patterns of unnamed herbs, savory to crushing fingers.
8) Succulent Wheel---largely pictorial, certainly part of a larger garden.
9) Desert---cactus, many in bloom, including 100-year plant, from southwest.
10) Chinese---pool, bridge, willow, rocks, grotto with mirror, zigzag walk, black bamboo as a sign of luck, and bees making multi-ripples in the water.
11) Bamboo---Bonsai with hand-tied bamboo latticework with antique tiles.
12) Japanese---rocks and dry and wet rivers, going from dense to sparse planting.
13) Indo-Persian---walk with central stream, tall thin Italian blue cypress.
14) Shah's Private---waterfalls over electric-candle niches, and side seats.
15) Shah's Rose---rather spindly bushes encircled with white plaster FORMS.
16) Jungle---stone trail, orchids, vines and leaves, ginger and banana trees.
17) Semi-Tropical---Spain, Florida, large bird of paradise is PURPLE and white, about 14-16" long, and the commoner small is orange and purple, smaller.
It was LESS impressive the second time: I KNEW the extent, and was busy taking notes, though there seemed to be far more BLOOMS than the first time.

DIARY 2864


Walk the streets somewhat straighter, and Hamp's the only one in the gallery when I get there, and he introduces me to Bob Chapallier, and I look at the $35,000 catalog and browse around the paintings, and I'm not at all impressed with the work, figuring that the family and close friends and the gallery are trying to unload some of him, so they're making him seem very important when he really isn't. He starts out very academic, like Joe's academic portraits, and then gets rather impressionistic and sloppy, but there's no real character to them. The gallery fills up very slowly, and the "feast" that Hamp assured me would be there turns up in the form of tiny sandwiches and loads of champagne. I have one glass, but figure I'd only get gloriously drunk if I continued drinking, so I put the glass down and watched the clan gather: the matriarchal daughter-in-law sitting on the sofa being served drinks and eats, the son doddering around in his grayness, but then the great-grandson is reddish-blond with sparkling blue eyes, and we exchange glances a number of times at some unsophisticated sophistry from an amateur expert, and I get around to talking to him, and he's quite pleasant, but seemingly also quite straight. I go down into the "drawing room" ("where we keep the drawings") in the basement, and then look out onto the garden in the back, which is filling up with the snow which has begun falling through the day, and there's a marvelous sculptured mobile of bird-feeling and flight-sensing rotating under the winds, and when I tell Bob that I like it, he introduces me to the artist and his wife, and he talks about the rotatable bearings that he thinks makes his stuff better than Calder's, and I praise the one in the back garden. The place begins to fill up, and Hamp's also interested because of his co-foundership of the Santa Clara museum, but I don't find much of interest at all, and I talk to people to find them moving away (DO I have bad breath?) and finally sit on the white rocker in the garden corner and take down some notes that struck me while wandering about in my stoned state. I kept adding to them through the next few days, until now they're mostly completed, but might not account for much, as proven in the "there's a smell in this room" type of "insight." I think "Time Must Have a Stop," and that flows into "I Must Have a Stop," or more accurately, "T'I'm" as in the French "J'aime." Then UMBRELLA with a Puerto Rican accent becomes OM-BRELLA, which is a nice mantra-covering idea. Again I get the idea of "Life as an amnesiac prison-term for criminals from the far FUTURE." And the idea of "This is a test" and some alien super-culture is testing a whole WORLD of stupid ones, and I'm the SENDER or RECEIVER of great secrets OR I'm the unknowing REPRESENTATIVE of the super-race. The idea that---and as I write, the idea goes---hopefully to return. Try again: that YOUR mind has been chosen to represent YOUR planet in an intergalactic sweepstakes (but Sheckley DID that before!---but that's not the important PART) and that YOUR thoughts are being BROADCAST to millions of real-time "scientists" on Tsarkon, who marvel at your every THOUGHT [just as I think the WORLD will marvel at my every WORD, and I keep telling myself that I should write down my conversations, but then I'm distracted by THE WAY IN WHICH I'm now thinking these things, and want to write THAT down, and then I'm amazed that I WANT to write that down and I want to write THAT down, and then I DO write that down and get the feeling that the whole edifice collapses: hot air, baloney, laughing woman moving in front of Art Gallery [and I KNEW I was going to say Art Gallery---and I want to write here that I KNOW this is called fugue and I DO write that down] and so it's not some clever Freudian slip of the pen, merely a catastrophic slip of the MIND and THAT'S not funny]. My hand hurts, I won't be able to read this, I'm through writing, I'm at the bottom of the page, the toilet flushes, someone walks upstairs, THINGS race ahead of WRITING about them, my hand's SORER. There's the feeling: I'll never learn. I KNOW I don't care for gallery openings, but Hamp Gillespie lures me into the Duveneck show (a thoroughly third-rate artist) and I get bored immediately (not to mention being stoned on Roger's good grass) and wish I weren't there, and worse, feel GUILTY about going, though the bird-mobile in the back is TRULY extraordinary as it moves from goose to swam to pelican to crane to waterbird to flying flock, I should get RE-stoned with champagne and joint the crowd. **I came parachuting from the heights of grass to be lofted again by the rising bubbles of the champagne. AND, the idea that life is a redding-up process, as I fussed about the house putting things AWAY that my living had disturbed, the WHOLE PROCESS OF LIFE was a simple redding-up of actions and messes commenced by the union of egg and sperm, or better still, by the FUCKING that PRECEEDED that union. How about a DOUBLE "primal memory," one for EACH atom in EACH cell of the EGG, and one for EACH atom of EACH cell of the successful SPERM! Though there's a great difference, one tries to distinguish between the POT high and the ALCOHOL high (distinguishing comes easier when one rapidly succeeds the other (see **) in time): the POT high involves TIME, which is stretched and you're SURE people are aware of your high because actions TAKE SO MUCH TIME. The alcohol high involves THICKENING of everything, and you're SURE people are aware of your high because actions are SO BROAD. Also, on subway, the LIVE person presses against ONLY the people NEAR him, no matter HOW vibrant and ALIVE he is. The only way to contact everyone in the car (aside from shouting aloud, or farting, both of which, sadly, leave doubt as to the source) would be to DROP DEAD, the exact OPPOSITE of being vibrantly alive. All that was written in very small printing on the City Circle Realty envelope, and I had her write everything I had to remember, the appointment tomorrow morning at 11AM with Mr. Goldner, or his brother, the copy of the application, the card with their $450 fee on it, notes to call Warren and transfer the money from savings into checking for the $750 for the first month's rent and the security, and I had to make sure I recalled to myself where I was at every moment, for fear I'd go into physical, as well as mental, fugue, and make everyone even MORE aware of my drinking. I think the gals who poured the champagne knew how much I was drinking, and ignored me afterwards.

DIARY 2886


(Taken from flyleaf of "Human Knowledge") Jury 3/20/72.

8:45: Arrive to chaos. 8:55: Line forms and starts moving. 9:10: Inside room 452 (160 people) about 3/4 men, about 10% black. 9:15: call to room 3, near door. 9:20: call to room 1, near door. 9:25: call to room 3, far door. 9:30: call to room 1, near door (me), about 51 people, 7 female. 9:55: Arrive at Civil Court Building Juror's Room, 111 Centre Street, which encompasses Criminal Court, Supreme Court, Civil Court, 6-man juries, 12-man juries, 3rd floor, room 362. 10:35: "Fill out stub and pass to aisle." 10:50: Here are the rules: sick, call 9-9:30, 566-2792, smoking in the rear of the room only, lunch 1-2 pm, and "That's it." 11:00: Alphabetic roll call: "Gilroy is here," 11:15: Roll call over. 11:17: THIRD name called to impaneling room for a six-man jury. 11:37: DISMISSED from damages case. He questioned woman whose WORK was a super in a commercial building, and then he turned to me and dismissed ME, ONLY reason I could see was that I HAD good eye contact with ELEVATOR representative but NOT with HIM. Talked to Miss Humble when they came back, said replacement for me said that everything ALSO applied to him and they were dismissed back to the general room. 11:40: 6-man jury selected, 5 alternates. 11:50: 6-man jury selected. 12:00: 12-man jury. 12:10: Jury I was tried for leaves room. 12:15: 12-man jury, 8 alternates. 12:17: A case disbanded, jurors dismissed. 12:18: 6-man jury. 12:42: Excused to 2 pm. 12:52: Nixon and Rockefeller. 1:04: Harlan and Lobritto. 1:25: Monterrey Coffee Shop. 2:05: Back to 362. 2:08: Things start again. 2:15: Another case settled. 2:20: 6-man jury. 2:21: 12-man jury leaves room. 2:25: 6-man jury. 2:30: 12-man jury EXCUSED for rest of day. 2:50: 6-man jury. 2:55: 20 of US called to CRIMINAL court. Address by judge, ridiculous questioning by defense. 4 people dismissed, then 1 person dismissed, then I was the first (and only) person chosen for ALTERNATE and it stood. 4:05: We 7 go into jury room, Mrs. Underhill and I read. 4:35: Dismissed, with a charge to return to Room 105 at 10 am for the start of hearings on my first case.

DIARY 2889


(Taken from flyleaf of "Human Knowledge") Jury 3/21/72.

9:53: Four of us in room. 10:13: "There will be a slight delay." 11:07: Called into Judge Pinkus's courtroom, assistant D.A.'s statement, call first witness (Montalbano), examine and cross-examine (Santiago Bonilla, or Sandy). He's accused of carrying a gun and menacing Mr. Montalbano, who truly seems frightened, but the real show is in the interaction between the defense counsel (Bernstein or Goldstein or something) and the DA. The defense is very Irish, belligerent, objecting, taking exception, seeming to shout for the sake of shouting, trying to make it look like he's a poor defenseless soul who's put upon by the entire world. Some of the ludicrous questions to Mr. Montalbano about which direction his feet were pointed when he looked around, what HE heard and what he said HAPPENED (about the pulling of the trigger), and one tended to think that the only possible defense would be that he didn't really have a gun, but that everything else was substantially the result of paranoia, though for what reason, I couldn't tell. 12:47: Release for lunch. 2:37: back from lunch, call second witness (Nelson). He's black, so there doesn't seem to be any point to claim racial discrimination, since Bonilla is less black than Nelson, and he essentially agrees with Montalbano. 3:15: third witness (Hallquist), who seems soft and flabby, and has the added liability of being Montalbano's brother-in-law, but aside from the obvious fib that he didn't speak to his own brother-in-law about the incident (obviously to imply that there was no effort in collusion), he told it so convincingly SIMILAR to the other two, without being EXACTLY the same as to be rehearsed, I was beginning to think him guilty until I heard something to prove him innocent. 3:43: Fifteen-minute recess. 4:15: called back, fourth witness (Gomez) and here's another Spanish-type, which puts prejudice out the window completely, and then at 4:45 we're dismissed until 10 am tomorrow. Cute comment by a stupid juror: "Marlon Brando did 'Caesar," and he was awful." "Yeah, but the guy who played Mark Antony stole the show." The talker insisted on talking every moment of the time, while I was content with reading.

DIARY 2893


(From flyleaf of "Marijuana, the New Prohibition.") Jury duty 3/22/72.

10:00: Arrive to find ONLY Troyano present (and he's not related to Tatiana Troyanos). 10:10: Last juror (the talky one) arrives. 10:35: Bonilla testifies, and he's not convincing with his "just turned and went downstairs." 10:52: Recess for twenty minutes for summation. 11:23: Called back---defense summation, and he ruined his chances by bluntly saying how stupid Bonilla was, how the others obvious were in collusion, how intelligent the jury was, and in general trying to throw up so many details that it became almost transparently clear that the only thing he was trying to do was confuse the jury so much that they'd entertain reasonable doubts about unreasonable details. 11:53: Prosecuting summation, which was quite clear, making the good point that if everything the witnesses had said HAD agreed, it would have looked like collusion, but the reasonable differences in their tales were due to the reasonable differences in the powers of observation, memory, and relational abilities of people. His calmness was such a relief after the bluster of the defense attorney. 12:06: Judge's charge to jury was a bit simple-minded, but he made things perfectly clear, and in general seemed like a credit to the bench ("spectators who WILL leave, leave now"). 12:41: "Anything missed?" and nothing was. 12:45: finally dismissed (alternate to sit in courtroom, also eat lunch there), but I can wait for the verdict, and they give me a side room to sit in while I eat the chicken dinner ordered by them with their $2.50 allowance from Mayor Lindsay, and I got a vanilla float from someone who didn't even get near their limit. Two counts: possession of a dangerous weapon or what LOOKED like a dangerous weapon, which I DID have a reasonable doubt about, because, in his position, he would have just had his HAND in a shadow and the fearful Montalbano would have thought it a gun, and menacing, which I WAS sure he did. 1:30: "They reached a verdict." 2:20: Jury called into court. 2:22: Guilty on BOTH counts. Jury polled. Thanks by court. 2:29 BACK in jury pool, talking about discussion with Lois Underhill, telling her about my talks with clerks and attorney. 4:01: Dismissed to 9:30 am.

DIARY 2895


(From flyleaf of "Marijuana") Jury duty 3/23/72.

9:37: Arrive in 3/4 full room. 9:52: roll called. 11:05: Leave for unemployment. 11:50: Return from unemployment. 12:43: Excused until 2 pm. To Szechuan Gardens, meet Michael Gonzalez and friend. 2:00: Return to jury room. 3:51: excused to 9:30. It really wasn't THAT bad, since I could always look at the Jack Austin-like face (if that's the name of the tall skinny guy with the bushy mustache in the Charlie Chaplin one-reelers) and beautiful body of the 36-year-old eccentric-sweater dressed blue-jeaned booted guy, or at the older, longer-haired, bigger-boxed guy who kept using the john. Talked to Miss Humble on the subway coming home, and she chatted about her job at Riverside Church, and then some older woman sat next to me and talked about her younger days as daughter of a rich family who could afford to send her for summers of boating, swimming, sunning, hiking, and tennis up in Maine, but she expressed puzzlement about why HER son, who could also afford such leisure, preferred to get part-time jobs during the summer, and agreed when I suggested it might be peer pressure, since not everyone's rich enough to afford leisure, and he might not like the STIGMA of being rich. We talked about travels across the US in campers, and she was sorry she never got to Yellowstone. Otherwise, it was a jabbery crowd with whom I quickly adapted the use of earplugs, through which I could hear the amplified announcements of jury selections anyway. I was amazed the number of people who just SAT, staring at the floor, doing absolutely nothing but scuffle their shoes and change their positions, not even many being able to nap. Others talked and talked, walked around, smoked in the corridor, took off for probably fictitious doctor's appointments, and groused about the selections. But it seemed everyone had enough duties to keep them busy a lot of the time with duties of juries being called, sitting, disbanding, and many many copies of newspapers and magazines were thoroughly read before being left on the seats for someone ELSE to read. But it's a nice change from a job, I would think, and will accept it again in three years.

DIARY 2899


(From flyleaf of "I Will Fear No Evil.") 3/24/72 jury duty.

"Tears of Joy: Tears nonetheless." There are TWO readers of the "Lampoon" in the jury room. 9:42: Arrive. 9:50: Roll call. 10:30: Called for seat 1, room 5. 11:00: Dismissed to room after THREE dismissed. 11:30: Up to juror's room on 10. 11:35: Into court, 1-6 from left to right, not right to left. 11:42: Judge Weiss sweeps in and mumbles juror's oath. Lydia Montfleury (Haiti) falls in Jonas Department Store on October 8, 1970, defendant's lawyer, Mr. Goldstein, and dept. store lawyer Mr. Herman. "re-GU-la shoes" becomes "goulashes." 1:01: Dismissed for lunch. Told "Don't bring in book, they think you're taking notes." Judge "Proceed apace with the case." "Our next play will be on Broadway." "We won't examine impertinence---I mean pertinence, at this time." "They're good friends out of court." "Let's get this show on the road, if I may say so." Policeman witness NOT there on time. Records arrived JUST before case. Judge concerned about time. Two right central teeth DISPLAYED to jury. Lunch in "Wise Man" Chinese-American restaurant. Roast pork and bean sprouts, had to be beefed up with soy sauce and horseradish. Egg drop soup and dish for $1.65. (1) Anyone who believes in PRE-determination should sit on a jury. HUGE impact on me: I'm not WATCHING what's going to come out, I'm DETERMINING what's to come out. I'm not PASSIVE, I'm ACTIVE; not an OBSERVER, but a PARTICIPANT. (2) Comment of juror: "Ah, mess it up, you're PAYING for it, might as well MESS IT UP" (for putting a Carvel cup into the john). 2:07: Back to jury box. 2:13: Dismissed for a recess. 2:25: Back into courtroom: CASE SETTLED OUT OF COURT. 2:30: Dismissed to 9:30 to main jury room. Here the contrast between attorneys wasn't high sharp voice against new meek voice, but it was joke against joke, ploy against ploy, leading the witness and joking about papers, with the judge doing most of the joking. His secretary sat on the bench beside him, there were no others in the very much smaller courtroom on the 10th floor, and the jury room, with its own johns, was much nicer. Pity I couldn't continue through deliberation as foreman.

DIARY 2906


(From flyleaf of "I Will Fear No Evil") 3/27/72 jury duty.

9:40: Arrive and roll starts. 11:05: into room 5 for auto accident suit on June 2, 1971, and when the juror in seat 1 is excused, one of the ALTERNATES takes his place, rather than me moving up to seat 2, hoping that the NEXT seat 1 will be challenged and I'll be foreman again. 11:45: OK for jury duty. 12:34: "Come up front with belongings." and to room 429. 12:38: to courtroom, Judge Davis presiding. 12:43: Dismissed for lunch till 2 pm. To Joy Luck Restaurant, awful. 2:00: Back to room. 2:20: Into courtroom. 2:45: dismissed to 10 am. The only thing we had a chance to do was listen to the summaries of both attorneys, and we were told that the case was only to be decided as to liability, and that damages would be part of ANOTHER case. They figured they'd make things simpler, I guess, if they decided first who was GUILTY. The jury was sort of the bottom of the barrel: a cool black kat who dozed most of the time and expressed fear over being the foreman of the jury; a dark black older man with a huge growth on the base of his chin, like a goiter the size of a skin-covered golf ball---he hardly said anything at all. The guy who went to lunch with me: mousy, unself-confident, pushy because he was afraid of being stepped on, and uncomfortably inquisitive about my living as a "freelance writer" so that I had to invent magazines (Think and a Pan-Am in-house) that my travel articles were accepted by, had to figure my agent got 15%, and steered him into my travels, rather than into my travel articles. Then the two overweight Misses, one working on commercials on CBS, white and crewcut, and the other black, a "crew leader" at Squibb, a real Mammy type with a rocking laugh. Thankfully, there was little talk among the group, each being content to sit and read or work out their crossword puzzles, which they were lucky when they finished half the blanks. The judge was judiciously acid, asking good questions when necessary, seeming to tolerate no nonsense: the lawyer for the plaintiff, Mr. Therman, obnoxious and slightly cruddy, the lawyer for the defendant, Mrs. Lehman, young, muscly-gone-to-flab, sincere.

DIARY 2909


(From flyleaf of "I Will Fear No Evil") 3/28/72 jury duty.

10:01: arrive in 429. 12:01: excused to 2 pm. Eat at Macau. 1:57: "Everybody here?" "Yes," but I JUST arrived. 2:07: Into courtroom. 2:13: Out of courtroom for motions. 2:23: Into courtroom again, and during the next hour I'm one of the most confused persons around. Thurman's testimony is quite fixed in my mind, so that when Richardson, who was coming up behind in a truck, testifies, he seems to get right and left mixed around, has no stopped cars in the left lane, and the questioning doesn't help matters at all. Then Olmon, the policeman, testifies, and he confuses right from left, says he remembers conversations from the little notebook, says that "Since he didn't write it down, there was nothing unusual about it" meaning speeding or conflict in stories. Mrs. Lehman is very confused, and I get mixed up on rates and distances and times, and I'm trying to fix things in my mind, but finally just dismiss everything, saying that I can draw myself all the pictures in the world afterward, if I want, and there's no offer to have the transcripts available to the jury, but as it turns out, they weren't necessary. Then the attorneys bicker back and forth, and by the time the afternoon is over, I'm quite sure I don't know what's happened or what's what, and if any one of the attorneys WANTED to do that, they did it masterfully. 3:40: Conclusion, out of courtroom for motions. 3:55: back for summaries, which didn't help a thing. I was hoping to get the judge's charge this evening, so that I could think about it, but since it was still all a very confused blur, I had no trouble putting it out of my mind, except to tell John that I'm feeling VERY hemmed in now that I have something to do every day, and something to do most every evening, and he should have some experience of what I'm like during these times, because if I get a job, that's the person he's going to be living with. 4:35: Dismissed to 10 am, and we go back with feelings of relief, except that the guy I had lunch with insists he knows EXACTLY who's guilty, and I rather marvel at his certainty, and can't wait for the decision tomorrow.

DIARY 2914


(From flyleaf of "Magic Mountain") jury duty 3/29/72 (Last day, and a short one, hopefully).

10:06: arrive, last one in. 10:34: called in for judge's summary, and thankfully he came up with the phrase "contributory negligence" which summarized in my mind PERFECTLY what the confusion had been: maybe she WAS guilty of going too fast, or of not keeping her car under control, or of not looking at him cutting into her lane soon enough, but whatever HER guilt may be, HE seemed to have certainly CONTRIBUTED to it, particularly on the basis of the attorney's skillful: he didn't see HER car at all, he didn't see the TRUCK at all. I wasn't sure what or now or where the "reasonable doubt" would enter in on someone versus someone else cases, but as the PLAINTIFF, he had to prove the DEFENDANT'S ENTIRE guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and I DID have a doubt that she was ENTIRELY guilty, so that meant she was innocent, and we had to find FOR the defendant, and thus against the plaintiff. I guess that's the plaintiff's chances when he BRINGS the suit. Though he was certainly an attractive, and seemingly quite intelligent, person, notwithstanding the difficulty he had negotiating the steps to the witness stand with his two wooden legs, products of an earlier auto accident. Also, his attorney's scruffy appearance and manner didn't help things, either. Looking at him you had the impression he would have bad breath. 10:51: Dismissed for verdict (5 of 6 OK), and this made it even EASIER to choose, since all of us knew that if just ONE held out, it wasn't going to do any good, but quickly we found we ALL agreed that he was SOMEWHAT guilty, so we rang for the clerk. 11:05: Verdict reached FOR defendant (Mrs. Lehman) AGAINST the plaintiff (Mr. Thurman). 11:14: Into courtroom (Judge Davis). 11:17: Out of courtroom after being polled, as seems to be usual. 11:20: Back to noisy room 362. 12:23: Excused to 2 pm (lunch at GREAT Bo-Bo except for tip-assuming). 1:48: Return to 362, since I didn't feel like shopping, just wanted to go HOME. 2:25: "At this time, you are dismissed," and he passed out the cards, I was credited for a correct 8-days' service, and went home, quite satisfied with my first jury call.

DIARY 3293


Fifth person to sign the book, and I put my bag on the coatroom shelf and wash my face and hands, and get in for a drink and start talking to Ivan Michaelson, or whoever's picture was in the news, and his wife about India, and a number of people are introduced to me through them, the last to them being the old but lively Mary Malone, who's wearing not her attention-getting broad brimmed hat, but a small sedate cap to celebrate her recent marriage. She starts talking with us, then they go off and she's talking to me alone, saying that I'm far better than a proof-reading job, far too imaginative to be in computing, and she talks vaguely about some freelance consulting firm she's just joined, and she says that she'll be in touch with me in a few days, but she repeats it so many times, and reassures me that she WILL call so many times, that I begin to doubt it, and lo, then whole days have passed and she HASN'T called me. Just before the meeting starts I'm introduced to more people, and then I'm told that the house is worth seeing, and I've already marveled at the inner court with the Mercury standing in the basin of fountain water and the tile roofs of the reception areas surrounding it, and I'm up the oval staircase to the baronial second floor, where a group of men are having a meeting in an enormous room which may have been the sumptuous master bedroom the guy told me to look at, and I wander up to the wooden-painted doors of the servants' quarters on the top three floors, but the door to the roof is locked, so I have to get back downstairs---to the area of hall carpets, and back to the meeting for "motor mouth" to give her fast talk about women's lib, prefaced by a packaged slide show that shows that advertising treats BOTH men and women as sales objects, but she makes the point about the women only, and it IS a good gimmick to turn around "man/woman, husband/wife" and see how the ploy comes out: the woman SHOULDN'T be so uninterested in the luxury phallic car, nor the man so oblivious to the need for a clean kitchen and oven. I leave at 9:30, sneaking out the side door, and it dawns on me now that THAT may have annoyed Mary Malone, and THAT'S why she didn't call me: but I have her card, so I can ALWAYS call HER!

DIARY 3364


(1) ... the roof of a house with its lower portion perfectly insulted =a/ (Happened)

(2) ... judicial power of said Territory shall be vested in a supreme court, district courts, probate courts, and injustices of the peace. (Didn't happen, but the print was so close together that it sort of reminded me of it.)

(3) May Turgenev, who has given us so many landscapes, not have been unconsciously thinking of his first love? Though John didn't think what I thought: namely, "Funny, I never knew Turgenev HAD a sister named May." Elizabeth liked it.

(4) Note taken last night, before being stoned: What a THOUGHT! To use CBS's composition machines, after dark, having been taught the rudiments in an hour or so by a friendly night man (maybe even paying some small machine rental fee, and certainly for the paper, which is probably expensive) for TYPING my "Acid House," proofreading, correction, and PUTTING it into galleys, PAYING the art guy (what, $100 maybe? 20 hours at $5/hour?) for mechanicals and page numbers and title pages, and getting the CHEAPEST paperback cover for it and producing maybe a hundred copies (for what, maybe $100?) for MY OWN USE, to send to reviewers and everyone else that I can think of, maybe even sell ten or twenty for $10 each, and maybe GET it reviewed and REALLY printed somewhere! How great it COULD be! Maybe EVEN an ad in the Village Voice, or, if it got the LEAST bit of nibble from the public, an ad on the New York Times Magazine pages. Because I STILL want to be a writer, and I STILL know that you have to be established before you can start publishing things like my DIARY, and I STILL know that the most immediately salable thing that I have IS "Acid House," and it seems that Sidney won't mind: he's had enough time already, and even HE should be ready to say he's tried everything he can, and he doesn't care what I do with it. At least it'll get it out of my MIND, even if it DOESN'T sell, but it'll still be printed in SOME form, and I can dream of what might happen to ACTUAL copies of the thing, rather than xeroxed pieces of it. Now all I have to do is feel out my connections with Crebos to see if that sort of thing is ACTUALLY (or even clandestinely) possible on their machines!

DIARY 3492


The brownies, indeed, taste grassy, with bits of dirty earth thrown in, too, and the effect comes on so gradually it's hard to tell when it starts and when it stops. I keep working through until 2, but there are more and more jokes around the table where the two Marges and I are crowded in, and Elizabeth is getting flushed and smiling, so we're out to the center to find a five-foot hero laid out on its paper-covered board in all its glory, with filling of salami and bologna and cheeses and pimentos and tomatoes cascading over the precipice to the "gift" carving knife. No one cuts until Marge duMond picks up the knife, and the foot-fraction I get isn't that bad at all: the crust is tasty, the fillings are filling, though some of the tongue or roast beef gets caught in my teeth. The groups stick pretty much together, with loners like Nancy Conboy and Harold sort of roaming from group to group. Joan Brietbart, who started the whole thing, is back, looking very efficient and pretty and bright, and the new salesman is there, too. Compositors stick together, looking warily at Harold, and the faggoty art fellow sort of sits with his arms waving languidly, as if undersea ferns, waiting for people to drop by and chat with him. Others pick up brownies and start laughing, and Harvey finds out about it and volunteers that Marg can be made catering chairwoman from here on out. Nancy's feeling no pain after a few drinks, though she can get me a packing slip for my manuscript, and Leslie's almost under the table with vodka-and-tomato, about half and half, mixed by a sillily grinning Harvey. Gifts are funny: Tom getting a bag of marbles for lots of laughs; I've bought a pound of nuts for $2 to go with Ruth's vegetarian brownies and other donations, and Nancy Conboy, as Santa, has gotten notepads and aftershave for the guys, kitchen towels for the black compositors, and, for some reason, a comb and nail kit for the faggot in art. Nancy Doctor gets a bouncy executive's fuzzy creature, good also for lots of laughs. Lots of food, so I repack my lunch uneaten and get out about 4, convinced I've seen everything, including Tom's mother-in-law, who actually DOES arrive, to everyone's delight, to take him "home." The evening people eat the last of the sandwich, so everything went well.

DIARY 3495


There's only a table with paper cups on it, but people are gathering around already. Then the drinks come out, and I take a vodka and orange before I remember I ordered red wine, and people are standing around awkwardly; Marge has gone home, so she's not there to talk to, and who comes up to talk but the smooth-faced boy from the typing department, and it turns out he's only temporary too, maybe for another week or two, and then he's going back to school to get a master's degree from some institute in business administration. He's just so innocent, and refuses to look me in the eyes when I gaze into his clear brown eyes, that he's just got to be straight, but his singling me out to talk with IS curious. Talk for a long while with Monique, who's about the only person worth knowing in the place, and she says that Haiti's a nice place to be a tourist in, but when you rent a car you have to rent a driver also, but that it's much nicer than Puerto Rico, not being as commercialized. Then Ronnie's there, jabbering away about all the things that interest her and nothing else, and I keep looking at the tight-crotched gay kids from Art, but they look and evince a sort of curiosity, but they seem always to be in a group. Susan had given a small eggnog party in her office earlier (Ginny had left the day before), and the cute one's hands shook tremendously while pouring out his liquid measure. Long-hair wasn't there at all, the sandwiches from Junior's were rather drab thick things of roast beef or ham, so I had one of each, with tasteless cole slaw and equally blah potato salad, which I followed Ronnie's example at by scooping off a large black olive. The drinks were going fast, but there didn't seem to be much interest: only the boy-girl tension that seemed to be in vogue 15 years ago. I couldn't take much more of it: talked to the only people I found interesting (Cecile may be pretty, but she seems AWFULLY quiet), the cute little boys didn't seem to pay me any attention, the food was uninteresting because I'd had to finish my two-day old lunch, so I felt I could use the time better at home and left, feeling good not to be in this sort of hassle most of the time: but all these people ARE.

DIARY 3499


As I'm typing, I hear the sweetly sour trumpets and French horns of the Watchtower people caroling, and it's a measure of New York that I feel that the only way I'd watch them would be to turn out the lights and go surreptitiously to the window to watch. But what do they expect? To cheer people up? What do you think of when you hear Christmas carols? Childhood, when you and the world were more innocent, when you had no responsibilities and your parents were still all the gods you wanted or needed. When the war was far away and justified, when people might smile to each other on the street and know everyone else in the houses on the block in the neighborhood. You had to memorize words you didn't understand, but loved to smell the tree, anticipate the meals and the gifts, and peek into the shop windows for the mechanical dolls and the skating bears. Christmas lights were right and you deserved them. Now there are no children anymore, old people put up the lights with running noses, if at all, and everyone wishes they were back in that childhood that seemed to go so slowly. Now, you're hardly in the mood for Christmas when it's gone for another cold slushy year. And without snow, it's nothing anyway. No wonder people get depressed and commit suicide around the holidays: holidays are always better for children when they're with their parents: now you either have a lover with whom you can mutually commiserate, or you have no one and wish you HAD someone who could somehow make the world whole again. But the crowd singing carols is full of cracking pseudo-baritones and flat sopranos screeching wildly off-pitch. "Oh, star of wonder!" hidden behind the rain clouds. "Oh come all ye faithful" and be mugged in the streets. "Deck the halls" with plastic ornaments you don't have the money to buy or the taste to look at without a shudder. "Joy to the World" with the US bombers raining death on the gooks and creeps of another race. "Oh little town of Bethlehem" torn with racial and religious strife. Who do they think they're doing a favor, walking Hicks Street and blowing their own horns: I won't even LOOK for the hatted humble fellow with the out-held tambourine to catch the bills thrown from the windows that will open. It's just given me page 3499 of my diary: hurrah, hurrah.

DIARY 3527


(Continued from previous page)

(3) Sam applies for a proofreader's job, but he'd been magazine editors for years, laid off, and now he's put in charge of scheduling, seeking and finding problems, their solutions, tracing lost and duplicated and mis-numbered units and answer sheets. But he doesn't know anything about the units THEMSELVES, and on 1/12 I hear that he's LEAVING!

(4) Ginny Cudlap (from Crebos) comes in to be introduced to Ginny Croft by the mustached art department director (Bill Mutter) who took over from the long-haired art department director, who's now ALSO busy checking lost, strayed or stolen items. (Yes, office memos DO go around about stolen articles and wallets and handbags and to lock the doors after 5:30 pm). And then I hear about the FORMER art director who has a "personality clash" with Tom Aloisi, and he was "released" because "his standards were too high."

(5) Today I TRY to work, but unit G4 has THREE Spanish translations (original boards, xerox of AUDIO script, and xeroxed boards with errors marked in felt tip). Many of them disagree with each other. French also has 3: original boards, xerox of a "master change list" (that OMITS many sentences that have errors), and xeroxed boards with errors marked in felt tip. And of course I find errors not listed in ANY of the three sources. So I try to consolidate all of them, go to a GUY in the Spanish, and Chela says I have to check it with HER. Then the phone rings and I resort to reading the Times while she chatters in Spanish. She apologizes, comes back and answers questions, and there go NEW changes. Then go back to correlate ALL the changes, and come up with FLAGS of non-agreements, check with Chela again, and go to Monique. But the translation department is moving DOWNSTAIRS. FORCE myself on her, and she gets through some, adding MANY MORE CHANGES with en and y and particles like that, then the movers cluster around, asking for coats and bags and desks and wall charts, and she HAD to force me away. [The REASON is the stupidest: long-hair is in charge of BOTH audio and translators. AUDIO is moving down to 5, and HE'S moving down to 5, so he INSISTS, though he has little to DO with them, that his OTHER people, the translators, come down with him too.] So I go back and take LAST folder, G3, and it has many TINY corrections, so I have to xerox it. Over to find some young kid sitting there with a STACK to do, and I go back in disgust and write THIS.

(6) Ginny talks to Ronnie, saying that Sam was an ART director and should be in ART, but "someone" gave him logs and lists and graphs and charts to maintain, so that his MAIN use is to change shading on the overlay to screening. Tom wanders in and asks how things are, Ginny says Sam is actually trying to organize SALLY, and other problems. He's going to California.

(7) I moved AWAY from Ronnie to get away from her PHONING, but she uses the phone in OUR office, as well as OTHERS on the floor, and they keep moving furniture upstairs, and it's noisier than anywhere, except that Ronnie says their new office, in marketing, is LOUD with people shouting back and forth. Bob is the worst nudge in the world about his wife, family, divorce, old jobs, schooling, commuting, car, personal problems, and Barry is a calm SAINT.

(8) Go BACK to xerox and get away from Ronnie, the guy's going out to lunch and Ginny Cudlap and I talk while I do mine and she does hers, and I come back to FINISH this and then get back to work again, wishing the day were over. Out at 5:30 and subway down to Jeff's apartment to read until 6:15 when John passes by, and we're searching for a restaurant HE wants when we pass the new "Big Dish," which looks great for Christmas, so we're in, it's a pleasant place, the food is pretty good, we chat about all the new restaurants, and get out at 7:45 to drive up to the Des Artistes on 67th and CPW for the Spector apartment, which isn't a duplex, but either Rudolph Valentino, Flo Ziegfeld, or someone else may have lived there, and the tankas from the New York advertisement are pleasant, particularly the one she wants $2000 for on her main wall, but we leave at 9, get back to find the bill for $18 and change for my fixed typewriter (though today is the first time I use it), and we shower and smoke and have sex for the first time in ages, feeling good about stealing a few free hours, though I wanted to do proofreading, so I decide I have to stay HOME tomorrow to catch up with things, bed at 11.

DIARY 3545


We talk about the upcoming (AHA!) Science Achiever, and talk about not "Write and see" but "Lick and see" the flavor of hydrochloric acid, and for the anatomy section, there's "Rub and SEE," with the instruction "Rub the Box"---and someone adds, "With the blunt instrument," and I top it with "Making sure that the tip is kept wet." J16-1 has a character description "Girl---Tom's granddaughter. Can be woman or girl." And the SCRIPT has "Boy, Boy, Boy" for the dialogue attribution////Audio: Captain Morgan had BARRELS of gold; Illustration: CHESTS of gold; Caption: "BUSHELS of gold"////"Time divided by time is a number. Time divided by a number equals time. If your answer is more than 59 minutes remember to rename minutes as hours." THEN; 2 minutes divided into 3 hours, 16 minutes is a. 98; b. 98 minutes; c. 98 hours. Says Ron Tieger, the mathematics "consultant?" "Oh, that's OK." AND THEN: 6 hours divided into 18 hours 20 minutes is a. 3 R. 20; b. 3 hours, 20 minutes; c. 3 R. 5, and the math editor says "Oh, that doesn't bother me at all." WHAT WOULD??////Suddenly, out of nowhere (actually, out of Susan McMahon asking "Where's the Product Number on the Unit Book?), there should be PRODUCT NUMBERS on unit books. "But EVERYTHING at ACC has product numbers!" "Someone told me to DELETE them" says Bill Mutter of the art department.////Sam comes in and announces: "No more proofreading of French and Spanish. Whatever there IS, just LEAVE it! Also, in unit 121-A,

4 hours 20 minutes (NO translation)
+ 3 hours 20 minutes
7 hours 40 minutes (TRANSLATED)

This inconsistency is PERFECTLY OK.

Ron: "No, don't reduce the answers. If smart student REDUCES them and then sees that answers aren't reduced, he'll see that it wasn't necessary to reduce them. But if a student isn't TOLD to reduce them and they're REDUCED, he'll be confused." THEN GINNY says "Stet." "You can't change too many things." And then, about every other day, someone in the office reminds someone else in the office that Math Achiever is DESIGNED as remedial teaching materials for students who are SLOW learners, who have TROUBLE with schoolwork, who are FAILING, so that this SHOULD take extra care of them, and here we're assuming they're all budding GENIUSES who are taking this course!

The following I wrote back during the week of December 18-22, 1972, when I was going out of my mind with the work: On 12/14 I wrote a note to Sally about H24-1, saying "One of the BEST units yet: literate, interesting, informative, neat ... BUT, questions 11-15 and 21-25 have NO statement of the problem in the SCRIPT OR in the unit book. Isn't this a BIT much??? And Sally wrote back a note "Bob, I appreciate your concern. I think that "under the circumstances" is O.K. Sally" Then on rereading it, it looked sad to her, so she slipped a t' into the trough of the is, producing "it's OK." And that was the end of THAT. Then, with the help of Marge and Ronnie, I wrote laboriously BY hand the following agonized testimonial:

"I. The Quality Control-Designer, Lewis D. Eigen, has said: 1. If female voice is called "he," don't change audio tape, because "This will teach children that the world is sometimes confusing." 2. It was FIRST designed for remedial reading, now it's a GENERAL product, and "Other products will solve problems." The problems that this one CREATED?? 3. His philosophy of education changes to produce a permanent condition of "STET." 4. Announcing his wedding on an interoffice memo: "Ramona and I will be firming up our personal arrangement on Thanksgiving Day, all invited."

II. Because it has to be done so quickly: 1. Africa is a CIRCLE with Tanzania and Zambia sketched: "We PAID $5 for articles, kids have to get USED to rough sketches: a circle for Africa? 2. In lesson with "Multiplying" by 7, it says "Seventh light year annual Laser Rocket Race," without explanation of what a light year is. Proofreader: "That light year is meaningless; it's a distance---an undefined math term." Math Editor; "No, it's a physics term." Proofreader: "Still, it's wrong." Math Editor: "But it ISN'T USED." 3. Problem 44: 4/5 is used for ... Problem 45: 5/6 ARE used for ... 4. Horrid page layout. 5. Are formats consistent in THAT ONE UNIT? Then that's good enough.

III. Authors and artists have thought to include:
1. Cleo Computer with hemispherical tits boasting square nipples, with a look on "her" face that makes one proofreader think of "Hedge shears between the legs."
2. LaVerna LaRue, French nightclub chantoosey, whose passion for clothes and "more and more shoes" gives her manager, Nedick Newyork, arithmetic problems.
3. Read-Achiever (Mob storms jail to kill students---London grave-robbers-for-medical-cutups throws dissevered arm at young boy, who "runs away screaming in fear."
4. Catman and Sparrow; Alfred Hitchkick; Captain Marvelo; Fractionville Five playing "Jackson Five" music; Dr. Sprock; Avengers-parody.
5. Unit K2-1: "A man in the country of India had hair 26 feet long, That's about as long as four men standing on each other's shoulders would be." That's 7½ feet per man, thank you.
6. Ecology: "The longest stalactite is in a cave in Spain. It's 195 feet tall from the ceiling to the floor. If a stalactite is 195 feet tall and a piece 96 feet long is removed, how many feet remain?"
7. Inductive leaps: "The maidenhair tree of China first began growing on earth 160 million years ago. Trees of this type are still growing in China today. If Stone Mountain is 284 million years old and the maidenhair tree is 160 million years old, how much older is Stone Mountain?"
8. Biology: "There are 13 pints of blood in the human body. 6 pints are removed. How many cups of blood remain." Let's try it?
9. Surgery: "This amputation I'm talking about was of a man's leg, and took place in 33 seconds."
10. Math: "This I call the FIRST LAW of 7. Any number times 7 is the same as adding that number of 7's. No second law, and why of 7?

IV. Susan's schmucky sayings: 1. "Oh, I've just been crossing out all your "Move head" statements. I suppose I should have told you."
2. "Printing code's not on overlay; we decided that last month. Maybe you should know that."

V. Sally's Contributions: "I appreciate"---same note as before.

VI. Literary gems: these to kids who are being taught READING COMPREHENSION. They are REMEDIAL tests for a maximum age of SIXTH GRADERS:
1. Poe: "The Black Cat": "I again plunged into excess and soon drowned in wine all memory of the dead." "In my perverse madness, I hung him BECAUSE I knew that he loved me---and BECAUSE I knew that I was committing a deadly sin."
2. Entomology: Cock roaches can live for two months without food by eating their own skins.
3. Man in dream boards bus "Room for one more," sees face of death and leaves bus which later crashes into a truck and everyone's burned to death. Question: what was so unusual about this man's dream?
4. Smog in London going into coughing and wheezing of people dying of bronchitis.
5. Not to mention 7 x 7 = ? True or False?
6. Politics: Atomic Bomb: "In the city of Hiroshima, thousands of Japanese men, women and children are killed in the mushroom cloud. It happens again at Nagasaki. There is no answer to THIS weapon: America is invincible."
7. A took 10 seconds to run 100 yards, B took 9. This adds to 19. One score is missing in following problems: 17 + ? = 19; 19 + ? = 19." running 100 yards in 2 seconds, or in no seconds???
1/15: K23-1 Answer Sheet and K32-1 Unit Books are found to be matched up.
1/18: Actual Quote: "One yard equals 3 feet. One foot is made up to 12 inches. So one yard is 36 inches, and half a hard is 18 inches." WOW!!
1/18: Write your answer [DETAILED DRAWING]
1/18: Other things wrong with blueprints for answer sheets: things that are "right":
11. Product number on the SECOND page of the answer sheets
2. All the ANSWERS are on the black plate
3. All the PROBLEM NUMBERS are on the write and see.
But, as of NOW, there are only 10 working days left on this job; and I'm GLAD!

DIARY 3730


Called Joe Skolnick when I saw the writeup about the Brooklyn Scrabble Tournament, advertised when we were in Florida, and he said he didn't have too many entrants for today, so I could just come down at 11:30 and look through the Funk and Wagnall's dictionary they were using, and could play. The War Memorial auditorium was nicely set up with tables and rotating deluxe Scrabble sets with inlaid tile spaces so they couldn't even be KNOCKED out of the way, though it made it rough to clear the board after playing (what they need, pat. pending, is a MOVABLE grid-ridge set). I look through the dictionary and find, among other words, "VAV" which I start my first game with Amy Heron with. She challenges me, and then goes on to clobber me 409 to 249, and I really get NOTHING. She ends up somewhere in the top ten, due to come back for the finals the first week of May, and my second game with Pauline Shirr (a horrid woman who said she was going to beat the pants off me, and then even recanted THAT when I beat HER 279-266), and then the third with the pleasant Kathy Schmitt, who won 326 to 282, though the 50 points she got for putting down the FIRST word whole (ENGINES) was all that she needed to get her ahead of me. They had prizes for the highest TURN score, and week 1 it was 98, week 2 it was 112, this week it was only 100. They had a secret word, NO one got it the first two weeks with regret or leave, but 2 got it THIS week with RAIN. I guess it was just in the air. There's NO tile subtract, which makes the scores a BIT higher, but J. Kastner, with 456 and 473, seemed so FAR ahead with his TWO-game total of 929 that his third 216 was a GREAT surprise, though he was still FIRST with 1145, but Koestler with 371, 399, and 365, a more stable set of scores, was second with 1135, and might do BETTER than his K-friend. Amy ended up with 1096, and you had to be ABOVE 1050 to even have a CHANCE, and an average of 350 a game is pretty GOOD. These are the REAL JEWISH professionals, and it might be just as WELL that out of the 100 people, I was about 66th in the whole day---with 4 in the 400's, and 28 in the 300's in the first game. Well, so much for THAT fantasy of winning!

DIARY 3797


We thought, hungrily, of Tastee Freezes on the way back. Back to another class, and kids were taking some sort of tests, so the classes were small. We went to a reading class, but the students were surly and talked back to the teachers, and it was a bad impression for the schools. When we got back to work, Syva talked very condemningly of the teacher who impressed me so much, and she said that she WAS good, but she kept harping on the same points all the time. Indeed, when I typed up the notes I took while I was listening and watching, I DID find some repetitions, but only, I thought, because they truly DID concern her. There were many aides in the class, and hands were always waving in the air. It startled me now many of the kids didn't even listen to the tapes at all, getting the gist of the problems through sheer logic, while others mis-hear the directions and get behind, or ahead, and don't bother to shut off the tape, merely wait till it comes to the next stop to catch up as much as they can see fit, or letting it come to the end before they finish the work. Many things wrong with the units, spelled out in my memo to Syva, but the dogged endurance of the kids was impressive, as was their complete halt when something puzzled them. There was a LOT of time demanded from the teacher, and she had me grade one of the units to see how difficult it was, but when I finished, barely getting through it, she said patronizingly and a bit sarcastically, "VERY good." Many of the questions were production or sales questions, and we really SHOULD have had a sales person along to answer all THOSE elements. Caught in traffic on the way back, and there was little conversation, Ron reading the Times for the most part, and I even got a few pages of War and Peace finished, though I did much of the talking. Repair of the divider on the Long Island Expressway made us come back by the Northern State. Ginny sat through our post-discussion, though much of it was repetitive, I went to type up my memo, and left at 5:30, getting home to eat dinner, then getting off to the ballet again, for a star-filled evening (see next page). Home and John was probably in bed, and I probably jerked off again, well or ill depending on how long since last time.