Happy Birthday, Happy Veteran’s Day 


Last night I walked down a cobblestone street in the city and as I was thinking about how long it’s been there and how during its cobblestone lifespan there’s been all the horrible bullshit that has happened to society and all the good things that have happened to society. 

By a stoop, I overheard a woman talking to another woman and she said, “That motherfucker deserves to be kicked in his tiny little balls and I want to be the one to do it!” 
A couple blocks up, there was an old man sitting on a bench waiting to get in a restaurant and he was hissing into a cellphone, and he too wants to fight the guy that’s supposed to be president. 

I wish for two things:

These cobblestones to never get paved over and for these beautifully combative, clear minded people to never leave New York. I love them so much. All of them.


Later in the night, I was sitting at a restaurant on the street last night and a man walked up on the sidewalk next to my table and was asking for money because he was a Marine and having a hard time. While I searched my pockets, he asked other people for help, all the while singing “From the halls of Montezuma! To the halls of Tripoli! …” and doing a little march, and generally and truthfully talking about his time in the service. I had no money in my jacket and no money in my pants.
Don’t you know it, there were all these rich assholes coming out of the hotel across the street, and goddamn you should have seen them looking right though this man, as he talked to them, it was like like he was a ghost. 
Found out that the birthday of the Marine Corps is the same day as my wife’s birthday. He told me that. Happy birthday USMC! Happy birthday Rae Buleri!
My wife was in the bathroom of the restaurant and when I couldn’t find even a dollar in my pocket for the Marine, I opened up her purse that was sitting by my feet and found some money, and I had to leave the table and walk down the street a little bit to catch the Marine, but I caught him on the corner talking to some people who were dressed up like they were going to the opera and on the way to the opera they weren’t in the mood to be held up by anyone who doesn’t have gold dust for blood. 
Had a talk with the Marine on the corner, shook his hand, thanked him for his service, gave him the money I robbed out of my wife’s purse on her birthday and the birthday of the Marine Corps. It wasn’t much money but he looked at it and said, “Damn man, you didn’t have to do that …”
We don’t have to do anything, ya know, technically.
When I got back to the table, my wife still wasn’t at the table, and when she came back we finished our meal, paid and walked over to the next place to celebrate the rest of her birthday. On the walk, a homeless man flagged her down and without missing a beat she gave him this huge sloshing handful of change that she keeps in her giant jacket so she can ride the bus from our apartment in jersey city to the path station that takes her into new york city.
I don’t know, I think there is so much goodness in this world and most of it we can’t even understand, or identify, let alone be empathetic with. It all comes down to people who sometimes can’t see beyond the immediate forcefield of their own life. I feel that way too much, caught up in my own bullshit and oblivious to what others are going through … but when someone comes walking down the street and sings, you have to hear that song.
Happy Veteran’s Day today. I’m off of work today. We switched President’s Day for Veteran’s Day as a holiday in our contract at work and I’ve never been more happy to think about that. Sitting in my apartment, thinking about my grandpa who in world war two worked in the shipyards, and from doing that work, he began my family’s line in the trade work that I do now. 
Saluting all you Veterans, thank you for fighting for a country I am thrilled to have been born into, because we have the right to do things like march en masse through the streets and voice our concerns about this that and the other thing. 
Nothing is perfect, except my wife, who when I mentioned I stole five bucks from her to give to the Marine, she looked upset I hadn’t been able to find any more money to rob from her to pass on.