Sunday, June 7, 2020


No, not the stuff you smoke. I'm talking about the Mexican guys who worked the dishwashing machine at MCC federal prison. I don't know exactly why (though I have my suspicions) our south of the border brothers drew the short straw for long duty in a hot kitchen's hottest area. I wasn't one of the dishwashers. But because I'm semi-fluent in Spanish, liked the dishwashers better than the other guys, and wanted access to the officers' mess food leftovers (which the dishwashers commandeered), I joined in and helped with the dishwashing duties.

Everybody in the kitchen had a designated job. Except for me. In theory, I was termed "sanitation." Which meant I swept, mopped, cleaned up messes and wiped down countertops. But in reality, I was a utility player. Generally, I opened and racked canned vegetables, and worked the dish machine in addition to my designated duties. Sitting around and doing nothing wasn't for me.

As a result of my industry, both the officers and dishwashers became my friends. One day, the dishwashing crew waxed envious (in a benign way) in view of my more or less imminent departure. All (including two Puerto Ricans) advised me to take a trip not to Puerto Rico or Mexico. The DR (Dominican Republic) is where they said I should go. The weather's is cheap...and whores are even cheaper. A little bit of money goes a long way in the DR. A schmuck like me could really get over down there.

Which brings me to the subject of expatriatism. I'm a born and bred American boy. I have a cum laude degree from a major Mid-western university and probably know much more American history than the DA's who prosecuted me. I also know my own history with the US and New York State governments and legal systems. And I can't help but feel little loyalty to this country nor entertain much respect for the realization of its ideals or the competence of its bureaucracy. In short, my country doesn't much impress me. Maybe when my probationary period ends (this November) I should move somewhere else. 

Let me start with New York City. Why am I here? Forty five years ago, I came off the road after spending a year in a Holiday Inn band and rented the first apartment I found in the Village Voice reasoning that "this will do for a few months." I'm still here! And this apartment for which I pay roughly a 1/3 market price is the only incentive for me staying at this point. When I first rented it, my objective was to enter the "real" music business which at the time, was more or less centered in New York. But that ship sailed 30 years ago when I left the business. 

My next life phase demanded I stay in the city owing to its proximity to taxi garages (where I could work), a deep sea boat fleet (so I could fish), and lap dancing parlors (where I could squeeze up on girls). And there you have 3 good reasons to stick around. 

Then came a division of hookers and a boatload of money most of which the government took from me - but still left me enough to coast for the rest of my life. Now that I'm out of the companion business, exactly why am I here? I don't go to museums...or fancy restaurants...or concerts...or anything city people cherish. In fact, I look for places with trees and mountains and fresh air. I hate the fucking city.

Recently, I've been checking out properties in Sullivan and Ulster County (via Zillow). Depending on the area (Woodstock is expensive...Sullivan County is much cheaper), 200k will get you a decent house on a few acres. And get this: The money I save not paying city income tax would pay most of my property tax on the joint in the country. Plus, I could get between 50 - 75k from my landlord just to get out of this place. Tell me gain why I'm here? To work a 35k/year job which requires not even a first grade education to perform? 

I'm here for only two legitimate and one not. The former is probation. It would be a big hassle to buy a house and move to a new jurisdiction. I can wait until November. The illegitimate reason is simple inertia. Just too lazy and set in my ways to move. 

And finally, it embarrasses me to live in a country whose electorate could choose an awful guy like Donald Trump to be its leader. I remember a couple of years ago hiking in the Hudson Valley and meeting up with a British lawyer on vacation. We strolled the trail together for a significant period of time talking about anything and everything. At some point he asked the question "How could you Americans possibly elect a guy like Donald Trump?" I had no legitimate answer except "Americans are lazy, stupid, uninformed, opinionated and entitled." With an opinion like that, is it any wonder I'm considering expatriatism? 

When I was in the 6th grade, my teacher told the class that in 30 years, it would be China that the US feared and not Russia. It actually took 65 years for that prediction to come true. And that is just about to happen. The world wants to know "What happened to the United States?" Answer in part: It elected Donald Trump.

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