The Rip Post




       You find them everywhere. Blowing down sidewalks, crumpled up in bushes, rumpled and stained in curbside gutters. Bits and pieces of daily lives, discarded or lost, there at your feet. Each one a chapter from a story, somewhere in the middle of a human book. Call them city footnotes. . .
        There it was, balled up and thrown away, just outside a chainlink fence surrounding a junior high school. I smoothed it out:
        "Go to Ms. Kight (130) after lunch because I'm gonnna drink it on the P.E. field."
        This piece of three-hole notebook paper had been used for homework ("Using Vocabulary," featuring a whopping five new words), a brief note from one student ("Dear Ponyboy, Whats up!"), and the above libatious instruction. Three different purposes! Good that kids are so ecologically minded!
        And of course, what the child planned to drink on the P.E. field was obviously carrot juice.
        Found in a park in West Los Angeles. . .a computer printout ad for a job with something called the Alliance for Aging Research. The ad was posted at "YOUR CAPITAL JOB SOURCE." Yes, that's correct---this was a guv'ment ad straight from Washington, D.C.
        I pondered. . .Was the Alliance for Aging Research in favor of aging? Well, probably not, but you never know with these weird Washington lobbies. They all have names like "Institute for Progressive Progress," and "Project to Promote Prolific Prosperity," and generally are fronts for The Very Big Corporation. So maybe this was a right-wing "think tank" that wants all those dirty hippie "Baby Boomers" to die off ASAP. . .
        Whatever the Alliance for Aging Research was, the job description was impressive: a "politically skilled person" (guess that leaves politicians out) with knowledge of health policy to "develop and implement legislative and political strategies." It got even more um, specific: "build relationships with congressional offices, the Executive Branch officials, and key health, aging, and research associations and interest groups."
        Wow. Government sure sounds conspiratorial, doesn't it? To read this, you'd think that all the influence in Washington comes from lobbyists, not the average taxpaying voter.
        Here was my favorite part:
        "Qualifications: college degree, five years experience (doing what?); working knowledge of federal regulatory and congressional budget and legislative processes; excellent writing, speaking, and relationship-building skills."
         Relationship-building? I didn't realize this was a skill. I thought relationships were things that happened naturally, easily, by force of mutual interest. Boy, do I live in a dream world. And here I could have built lots of relationships with powerful people, if only I'd tried. Instead, I just wound up with friends.
        Well,, it turns out, is part of, which is a Capitol Hill newspaper all about big happenings in Congress. A recent issue featured an article entitled "The Rites of Springer on the Stump," all about Jerry Springer's run for congress. So whoever lost or threw this ad away on a West L.A. street was sure setting his or her sights high! Heck, they might wind up "relationship building" with Jerry Springer!
        Or maybe not. I noted that the job description was circled, and the prospective applicant (presumably) had written, "Coalition build---ASAP" in the margin. Ha! Everybody knows that coalition building went out with Bill Clinton. It's all "relationship building" now.
        Or maybe---just maybe---the person noted that the "capital job source" people could not even spell "capitol" correctly, and threw the ad away in disgust.
        Found near a local high school: a small, dirty file card that on one side contained the address and pertinent info for Home Furniture in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
        On the other side: the results of a contest to name. . .something. Written in runic scrawls of the ilk spray-painted in parks, on churches, schools, and blank walls throughout L.A., this might have been the labor of a gang kid looking give a handle to his Homies. Or it could have been a contest to christen something as innocent as oh, a human sacrific cult. Here is what I could decipher:
       "The Cronic Feens"---1.
        "The Chozen Few"---2.
        "Token Cronic Fisels."---3.
        "This Crew Forever."---4.
        "This Crew F---ing Kisses."---5
        "Taxing Cute Females."---6.
        "Taking Control For Z Rif."---7
        "The Chime Factory."---8

        It was signed, "Smog The Cronic Feen."
        Well, I figure that, if I had ingested the amount of crack or PCP this kid has---or, perhaps, the amount of music videos---I would have voted for "Taking Control For Z Rif," too. I mean, "The Cronic Feens" is too dope for words.
        Written in red pen on a folded sheet of heavy bond paper, this was someone's get-rich scheme---legal or not, I don't know. Excerpts:
        "The Pitch: The business model. Intermeds---credit line---underwriter. Cannot compete with Fidelity's etc."            And. . .
        "The IDEA: To use the "IDEA" of using your name without even using your name as an entry to these intermediary banks."
        Right. Using your name without even using your name. I would say this sounds rather illegal, or at least unethical, but then, given the state of American business dealings, it probably passes for smart. Here's more:
       "As an entry, without using your name, and just stating that we manage a portion of capital of celebritys (sic) figure. With your global presence, 33.5 percent cash and all you must do is call and say hello once in a while."
        Once again, I would like to think that I found the semi-literate discarded plans of a criminal telemarketing fraud. . .but given the American Way of doing business in the 21st century, probably not.
        A teency bit of paper stamped "Sweet Love" at the top, with a giant amount of fledgling human romantic anguish all over the rest of the page. Squashed up against a fence on Sawtelle Boulevard, by wind and neglect.
       "To: Connor.
        From: Someone."

        Uh-oh. . .anonymous. . .
        "When I don't see you I cry a lot, I try not to think about you every single night. But I keep thinking that you love her and not me. Why am I think of you if you don't like me. If one day you call me I will not talk to you because you are always egnoring (sic) me when I am talking to you and I will try not to see you every day. I love you!!!"
        It was signed, oddly, by "Karina and Magali."
        This guy is driving two girls crazy?
        I wish I could tell these kids that Connor is probably just a Cronic Feen, but then, they would certainly hate me for it.
        Strangely enough, there was more, and it seemed written by someone else---yet was in the same printing:
       "Karina and Magali are so stupid that's what I think because they are always talking about boys not about school. I think they are strippers because they are always. . ."
        The rest of the words were erased, yet you could make them out: ". . .chasing every boy."
        Well, I'm baffled. Are Karina and Magali two girls? Or a girl and her imaginary alter-ego, ruthlessly criticizing herself? Psychosis in the making? And "strippers?" Huh?
        Reading this, I was suddenly glad I'm not in grade school today. I couldn't handle the pressure of "Sweet Love."
        Although this footnote was not something that could be picked up, it is no less a page from the book of humanity. Written with a finger in wet cement, years ago, near the intersection of Pico and Sawtelle in Los Angeles, are these words:
       "John Lennon lives."
        If only, if only. . .
        For more City Footnotes, watch this space.


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