Oh, but I do love this city, you know

I was at Ogi’s Restaurant and Bar one Friday night, drinking with several coworkers and enjoying the night air on the patio as we waited for closing time. We talked literature, Dan Brown to Mark Danielewski, Ann Rice to Voltaire. The bartender sat down to join now and again, and a stranger overheard us and occasionally chimed in (he favored Mark Twain).

When we headed out after last call, a crowd leaving the Black Gold Sports Bar next door had gathered in the parking lot. Two men, or maybe two groups of friends, were having some sort of disagreement and violent posturing was obligatory on the part of some. People shouted, shirts came off, two guys struggled to the ground, punching. It was a dispassionate British man’s narration away from being a National Geographic program.

Anyway, the cops showed up and the show was over, and everyone did what was right in their own eyes and left.

Odessa.

Continue reading Oh, but I do love this city, you know

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Truly our collective individuality is wonderful

My Grandpa Rod was an accountant, but even he had questions when it came to doing his own income taxes.

When he called the help line, he never asked questions he needed answered, not right off. He asked several to which he already knew the answer. If the person got them right, then my grandfather asked what he didn’t know. If the person got the first questions wrong, he thanked the fellow, hung up, and tried again with someone else.

Continue reading Truly our collective individuality is wonderful

Either the rabbits go, or I do

It began harmlessly enough. One over-sized rabbit downtown commemorating I don’t know what for tourists to come and take their pictures next to.

In the ’90s, Jack Ben was even popular enough to make it in a promotional commercial for the state of Texas. A middle-aged couple talked about the Alamo, the San Jacinto monument and that “big ol’ jackrabbit in West Texas.”

And I dealt with it. He brought people here, which was good for the economy, and Jack Ben and I kept our distance.

Then in 2004, some slobbering imbeciles or consorts of Satan got the bright idea to make more of them, more of these 6-foot-tall bunny abominations, and place them all over town.

I hate that horrible hare and all his Jamboree progeny. I hate them, and I can’t stand to see them around anymore.

Continue reading Either the rabbits go, or I do

I used to work nights at a gas station

Because I worked alone and because the manager opened most mornings, it was my responsibility to make sure everything was clean and ready to start the new day. In theory, everyone cleaned whenever they got a chance in their shift, but in practice it was rare.

Our public bathrooms were outside, and even though the doors had keys, by the end of the day, especially, the bathrooms were as gross as you’d expect. Transients and carnies seemed to use it to take showers (both men’s and women’s just had a sink, toilet and mirror). In a way that’s anatomically impossible to happen on accident, feces, urine and used toilet paper could be just about anywhere. And for hygienic specifics that need no elaboration, on occasion the women’s bathroom would be far worse than the men’s ever could.

All of this was in addition to the expected grime and trash from the traffic of dozens of people who knew they didn’t have to clean up after themselves.

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