This was posted on the Vietnam War boards on AOL a number of years ago. (maybe 1997) The site with its combat stories from dozens of vets was erased by AOL because it wasn’t “family friendly”. Ten-thousand posts written by vets disappeared. This one showed up in the bottom of a closet, the victim of having been printed by someone.
Others downloaded some. This is one of the ten thousand from one of the few dozen who wrote them. The time is the Clinton scandal and the election. It is in response to a cut and paste of a “Geezer” story copied from a right-wing patriot site. The “Geezer” was the usual heroic, simple American who so often tends to blindly follow our periodic political forays into fear and fascism.
And so it went:
Reminds me of Kansas…hellish Kansas
Dodge City, I think.
They have Geezers in Kansas…a state full of them and “it”.
In another world there were Geezers, too. Run the clock back to…let’s say…1959. I was a kid on vacation with my parents and older brother in northeast Ontario.
We, and a ton of people from Ohio, fished there on the French River. We stayed in a cottage on a small rocky island with 4 other cottages. It was owned by a guy named Lew from Cleveland.
The French River is one of the most beautiful waterways on the planet. It is a hundred miles of twists and turns and high rocky banks.
Down about a mile or so from the island I was staying on, there was a shack. In it, for uncounted years, lived “The Commissioner”. Nobody knew why they called him that.
Like most Canadians we met, he was probably a vet. From his age, I would have guessed he was a vet of The Great War, as the WW2 vets were then a lot younger than we are now.
His shack was surrounded by birdhouses and carvings he had made. You could see them when you went past in your boat. At a distance, it looked like a junk pile, kind of like those “lawn jockey hells” you pass nearly everyday here in Ohio. But, up close, there was that clear air about it that only handmade wooden things can give.
There were also animals. You always saw deer begging at his door or flocks of birds.
He had an old, homemade rowboat. He could often be seen out on the water with birds flocking around him. If you got close enough, you could see the birds sitting on the boat…on him…his shoulders or sitting on the back of his hand.
In Kansas he would have been stoned. Children would have burned down his house and poisoned the animals.
He was….different. He was my “Geezer”.
People there in Canada loved and respected him. Nobody said he might be a pervert or child molester, even though he was a veteran but didn’t belong to the Canadian Legion. They just left him alone.
Eventually he died. I went back there this summer, and nobody remembers him. Only the foundations of his shack remain…the shack he lived in for 50 years.
The birds remember.
The deer remember.
The river remembers.
But, as I point out again, this was not Kansas.
They have Geezers too, especially in Dodge City. I spent a year there one day.
God, if he or she lives, never made Kansas. The God (or G-d) I hear about made Colorado and Northern California. Kansas was made by the pioneers.
Kansas had been Indians and buffalo and, before that, mastodons and giant sloths, and before that, the bottom of an inland sea.
Dinosaurs had roamed Kansas. Imagine the mighty tyrannosaurus rex being replaced at the top of the food chain by “Geezers”.
Geezers are the top of the food chain now. Geezers hunt. But they only hunt on Sunday.
The rest of the week they spend watching the mailbox for that social security check or some new advertisement for beltless pants, so they can finally retire those suspenders.
Their nights are spent on sleeping pills, coming down from the caffeine-driven haze. Sleeping pills come from the drugstore, paid for by Medicare. They have no insurance nor any retirement.
Butchering animals or working in a fetid feedlot is one of those “no benefit” jobs. Kansas is a “no benefit” state. Benefits only come in those autoworker states with the good schools and things like that. Those states have “negros” and welfare.
No “welfare” in Kansas, only Mexicans.
Kansas is full of Mexicans. Only Mexicans work like dogs with no health insurance or benefits. No Mexican would be dumb enough to vote for politicians who want bad schools for their kids or to oppose laws that would make a safer workplace.
But, I have been to Mexico. Even Mexicans complain about Kansas.
Kansas has Geezers. Geezers hunt on Sundays. Maybe it’s their pioneer genes.
Pioneers traveled the Oregon Trail. Pioneers traveled the Santa Fe Trail. Funny, the Santa Fe Trail starts in Dodge City. If the pioneers on the Santa Fe Trail started in Dodge City, who is it that stayed?
Didn’t the Oregon Trail go to Oregon? Who are the people who stayed in Kansas? Was it the dry soil or the ugly brown weeds that kept them there?
Did they foresee a future of bleak towns? Did they see grain elevators or the steaming stench rising off the corporate feedlots? Did they somehow know that tractors and combines would eventually be air-conditioned?
Even Eisenhower left Kansas. So did John Denver, who wasn’t even named John Denver.
So did Gene Autry.
They ran and never looked back. Maybe they were running from the Geezers. They only hunt on Sundays. I saw them in Dodge City.
The suspenders used to be red. They are pink now, just like the eyes. The hair used to be black and greasy. It is grey now or gone.
Geezers used to hunt with the pack. Geezers dreamed.
They dreamed of Cadillacs and sex with movie stars. They dreamed of being a hero on the battlefield. They dreamed of touchdowns, and sex with cheerleaders.
Now they dream about winning the lottery or having people they don’t like get cancer….or of dark things. Things that even get taken off the internet.
On Sundays they hunt. They sit at their table in the truckstop, bones from their kill stacked in front of them. It was a tough day for cows, chickens and potatoes. The signs of the struggle were everywhere…shirt fronts, table tops and the worn tile floor otherwise strewn with tobacco juice and cigarette butts.
To help shove it all down there is gravy…from cans.
While they hunt, they chew and smoke and spit. Today’s prey is Chelsea Clinton. The fangs used are wagging tongues and store bought teeth. The “kill” is accomplished with a leering comment.
This is how they hunt on Sundays. They train all week long. Endless hours of Rush Limbaugh and TV preachers leave them stoked up for blood.
Geezers hunt on Sundays…in Dodge City.
When they die, the wind forgets them. By their final breath, their children have already picked their bones clean.
Their kids learned to hunt with the pack too. Eventually the checks stop. The mailbox goes unwatched.
A lazyboy recliner sits empty. A remote control goes unused. No more carefully punched ballots for this hunter.
No more Mexicans or Negros or “liberals” to strike down in the name of patriotism.
A TV preacher has to find money elsewhere for his crusades…his Mercedes…his air-conditioned doghouse…or his whores. (“I have sinned!!)
Even Bob Dole left Kansas.