Friday, June 22

Dear Jim,

It’s gonna be hot. It was hotter last evening than at midday, so I knew today would be 100° or more.

I’m at my favorite coffee shop. I’m surprised it isn’t crowded because the weather is so nice. I’m also surprised there are so many women.

Women come with other women. I think women justify the expense of gourmet mochas and expensive pastries as the price they are willing to pay to keep up their friendships.

I justify the expense because I need to be outside to read and write, to read their newspaper, and to have somewhere to pee. But too many men are too cheap to come to a coffee shop and spend some money to enjoy their friends, or to have a classy place to sit.

I’d love to have a garden to sit in to write and read. Since I don’t, I’m thinking of renting office space – $50 a month – to go four days a month. The lighting is relaxing and some places have outdoor areas. It’s important for me to do that since I can’t sit outside for five hours anymore when it’s really hot or really cold. Besides, as I get older good office light becomes more important.

It will get me out of my rut. I will be around young business people and young dynamic people. It will broaden my scope a lot.

I’ve gotten out of my rut this week. I worked at one of our offices in a different part of town, way down in the South Area where the sky is big.

You should see the building. The north wall is three stories and all glass. There are windows everywhere and soothing electrical light. I was in my glory feeling relaxed and looking out the window all day. I might be working there a lot this Summer.

Even though I was in my glory and can’t wait to go back, it kills me to think what my life would have been like if offices felt good to be in. I’d be much less pissed off.

To get to the office I had to take lite rail. It’s only been a year or so that lite rail went that far south. When the train left what used to be the end of the line, I closed my eyes for what I thought would be a one mile trip to my stop. I wanted to relax a minute.

Well, the train kept going and going and got faster and faster. The car was rocking and the wheels screeched and squeaked. The train stopped at two stations, then I opened my eyes for the last stretch.

It was great. There is a bridge that goes up as the tracks curve over a creek. I looked out as the train went up and over to see the beautiful expanse of what remains of the wild South Area. Then the train came down and grooved straight into the last station.

On the way home I kept my eyes open the whole time. For most of the trip I was the only one in my car. I ogled at the long shadows and evening light, thinking how great it would be for a kid to grow up wandering the South Area.

I thought too, ”God I’ve got to come down here when it’s raining to watch the rain blow,” and on blustery March days when everything is lush and there is a lot of water to reflect the clouds.

It connected me to nature. I wasn’t expecting that. There’s something else I wasn’t expecting.

My friend went out of town and wanted me to go over to feed his cat for a few days. So I did.

Wow! Talk about connection. I’ve always loved his cat. She purrs a long time when I pet her. I go down her back to the end of her tail. Sometimes I start at the head and go to the end of her tail. Then she’ll turn on her back so I will pet her stomach. She gives me lots of love bites but I have to tell her to stop.

I went from seeing and fantasizing in the evening light on the train to touching and cultivating a relationship in my friends’ dark abode. I got out of two ruts. I feel lucky, but I am afraid I will not be able to stay out of them.

It’s getting hot. As I stop and look around, I see professional women on their phones and women with kids on theirs. These phones are more important to women than to men.

For men the phones are a tool to make money or a gadget to kill time with. For women the phones are a way to keep track of their kids and pester their husbands, to have more control over the family than they had when we were young.

Remember when our photographer cousin said his camera was an extension of himself? That’s what smart phones are for women. I think that women with phones are the new technology, that if you want keep up with the times you have to use a phone like a woman does.

I wonder what a wife would say if her husband said ”I’m getting rid of my phone. I don’t want to be standing in the superstore listening to you tell me what to buy for dinner.”

I wonder if any kids ditch their phone at a friend’s house while they go out to get stoned or steal. Mom would be outraged. Just like dad used to be when the kids weren’t home on time. Poor dad doesn’t have any power anymore.

I look at these moms with their baseball caps, their phones, their stressed faces. They are tough, confident, determined. And so male.

It’s no wonder there are so many lost men. Who wants to chase pussy or court when, except for the organ, you’re sleeping with a man.

That’s it for now.

Love,

Dave

Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko

Wednesday, March 28

Dear Jim,

I’m sitting in a nice patio garden at the utmost of snobby coffee shops. The guy who took my order did not say ”Hi how are you?” or smile or make small talk. The guy who put my drink up on the counter didn’t smile. I thanked him, then he said “You’re welcome.”

But no warmth. Each guy was dressed meticulously with an expensive haircut and with tattoos. It reminded me of San Francisco’s snobbery and pretension. All show but no go.

So I’m here, protected from the cool breeze on a warm morning. I needed to do something different. I feel good. It feels good.

Last night I went to the Spanish group I only go to once in a while now. I was actually able to speak, although it was hard and I had to repeat myself sometimes. But there too. It amazes me how terrified people are of strangers and it pisses me off that someone refuses to talk with the person next to them or across from them. I didn’t have a good time.

I had a great burrito. I don’t know what was in it. It had red sauce and the perfect amount of spice for my bland taste buds. I also had a great cup of fresh squeezed orange juice. It was $5.45, but I am glad I bought it.

You should see the machine they juice the orange halves with. Vrrrrrrrrmmm! and they are done. The machine really looks classy. The travel books say that in Mexico fresh squeezed orange juice at restaurants is an inexpensive tradition.

It’s been a stressful week or ten days. I’m really getting too old to work. It drives me crazy and I’m bored to death. We are short a really good staff member and we’ve hired some new people who I like a lot.

One of the reasons I’m stressed is because I am pushing hard to speed up Spanish. It takes a lot of time and effort and is hard for me, even though I love it. But I understood almost everything people said last night.

I did not enjoy the crowd like I used to, but I told myself that I really need the group, so go like it is a business meeting and don’t worry about whether the guy next to me is an asshole.

And then there’s a book I’m reading: Domestic Tranquility: a brief against Feminism. It’s incredible. It was written in 1998 by a woman seven years younger than dad. She went to law school, became an attorney, then gave up her job to be a housewife.

She loved it. She said being a housewife was more rewarding to her and more of a contribution to society than being an attorney. She said anybody can take your place at the law firm, but nobody will or can raise your kid the way you will or can.

The main goal of feminism was to destroy patriarchy and it worked. We all know that, but she puts a different angle on it. She said that rather than fight to make motherhood more respected, the feminists encouraged married women to leave their husbands, and single women not to marry. What these women should do said the feminists, is pursue a career just like the males who oppress them so they can be aggressive just like the men who oppress them.

The author said that feminists felt that motherhood was bullshit, then tried to bring the sensitivity that housewives used to bring to their family into the male-dominated work force by pushing for things like day care at the office.

One of the things she said was that the main reason that feminism of our time got started was because men were abandoning their role as breadwinners. She talked about the beatniks, Playboy Magazine, and the hippies. She said the beatniks did not respect women. Women were just a pain in the ass and you may as well give a blow job once in a while.

To her, Playboy made men teenagers, rather than a proud bread winning husband and father. Men were told that being single is the best way for a man to live. His manhood is based on his job title and on all the expensive toys he has.

As for the hippies, she goes on, at least they didn’t acquire all the horseshit playboys do. But still, they wanted to be promiscuous and they expected women to be promiscuous. There was no expectation or desire for hippie men to be an adoring husband or dynamic father.

The book has me thinking about my sexuality and what I need or want from a woman. She said women need to demand that men adore them and are willing to support them before they sleep together. I’d love to meet a woman I adore to see if I would devote myself to her and to a happy few years together.

There’s a real short book I just read that this author quoted from – The Penitent by Isacc Bashivas Singer. He wrote it in 1983. Did you read it? It is incredible.

It’s about a Jew who had run all over Europe during World War II starving and freezing trying to avoid the Nazis. After the war he ended up in America. He had no money and didn’t know what to do. So he used the business skills he learned from his father, then became unexpectedly wealthy. He didn’t care about money.

He was a philanderer. Then after a failed affair and during his failing marriage, he decided he had to give up the adultery and inhumanity of the modern world. He longed for the purity of the Jewishness of his father and grandfather.

He took a taxi to the airport, then a plane to Tel Aviv to begin his difficult journey to become a Jew the way Jews were before they embraced the soullessness and immorality of the post war Gentile world. One day he sought a Jewish religious library to delve into his roots in order to save himself.

An old rabbi came over to him with a twinkle in his eye and love in his bearing and said, “Welcome home my son.” Isn’t that incredible! I never felt anything like that from a priest.

You know I often refer to things I’m reading or doing but never talk about them again. So I’ll mention some.

On Sunday I watched the Paul Newman movie I told you I was going to watch. It’s set in Antioch and Rome when Saint Peter was old. There is a great scene of Peter healing a girl who can’t walk. She is between her parents struggling to stand as Saint Peter exhorts her. Finally, she awkwardly walks to Peter where he hugs her to him.

What was amazing is that the guy who made the movie had the insight to think that maybe the apostles, since they weren’t Jesus, couldn’t heal as effectively as he did. And Peter, as an old man, probably couldn’t heal like he used to. So the girl didn’t just get up and walk delightfully away like the cripples who Jesus healed did.

Remember the 1300 page book about Texas I was reading and told you I would stick with like a Texan? I stopped on page 1100. I wasn’t interested in what happened after 1970. I guess now I can’t go to Texas.

Well Jim, it’s been great writing. I’m filled with passion, and you always admired me for it.

Love,

Dave

Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko

Friday, February 23

Dear Jim,

It’s been the most exciting winter of my life. There have never been this many cold and invigorating days. Even though the wind is exhausting, I hope it lasts until April.

Yesterday during lunch I took a great walk into the wind. It was like March. All these big clouds of various shades of dark gray with a few white ones blowing along. I could have walked all day.

I’m trying to let myself get excited, be carried along and away with beautiful days, especially cold clear windy ones. Whenever I tell people I just had a great walk, they are usually amused. It’s always too cold or too windy or too hot for people to get off their ass to go outside.

Last weekend I read a graphic novel. It’s about a girl in Japan who is going to apprentice as a witch when she turns thirteen. Her mom is a witch.

On the night of her big day, all the relatives and neighbors gather outside of her house to wish her luck as she flies away on her broom with her cat, trusting in the universe that she will find a place to learn and a mentor to teach her.

They’re having a ball flying around trying to figure out the wind patterns. Suddenly a storm comes up. They get soaked.

As she is trying to figure out what to do, she spots a freight train. So she flies down to it. When she sees an open hatch on top of a rail car, she guides them in and they land in a huge pile of hay.

What luck! She takes off her wet clothes then snuggles into the hay.

I loved it. There are three more books in the series, so I’ll read one book each of the next three months. It’s nice to be excited about something.

Did you hear about the killings in Florida last week or whenever it was? I’ve tried to avoid it, but today at the coffee shop I read an article about it. I didn’t know the FBI received a tip about the murder, but failed to act on it. There was a local cop who answered the call about the killer, but did not go into the school when he got there. He stayed outside until it was over.

Everybody is saying we’ve got to ban guns, or not sell machine guns, or run more extensive background checks, or raise the age of gun purchase to twenty-one, or arm teachers so nut cases will fear to enter schools.

But these are not going to solve the problem of mentally ill men, angry frustrated men, and alienated men. We need to have forums: ”What Happened to the Confident American Male?”, ”Why Do You Feel So Small Guys?”

Of course most of the people who showed up would be women wondering what’s wrong with their husbands, sons, brothers. Men don’t know we have a confidence problem. But women do.

One thing to do is not tell boys they are potential rapists. Another thing to do is don’t call a father with no money, car, property, or job a deadbeat dad unless you are calling an unwed mother with no money, car, job, or property a selfish bitch who has abused her feminine intuition.

When I see billboards encouraging men to embrace fatherhood, I cringe. It’s like women have designed these billboards of feminine men being gentle with their kids. Just like mom.

Mothers should be the nurturers. Fathers should be the inspirers. I would love to see a billboard of a father looking sternly at his son. The billboard would say, ”I don’t give a fuck if the other boys steal. Don’t you do it. It’s not right.”

A billboard like that would not be allowed. Comedians can say it every other word. Rappers can say it in every song. Writers can title their books ____ the Boss and ____ Courtesy. But to say it in such an important situation as I just mentioned would offend the people who make family law and lead discussions about the family.

These people are less offended by a man who says fuck you to his wife or calls his son a dumb fuck because in each case the man is weak. Hearing a father judiciously and threateningly use it to his son shows a strong confident proud dad who loves his son and wants him to be good and do good.

The other night my neighbor and I went to a chain Chinese restaurant. We like it because it is close to home. We also like it because it is clean. I got sick of going to the Vietnamese place in the South Area. It was filthy. When you went to pay your bill, you saw huge streaks of black footprints coming from the kitchen.

We always receive a fortune cookie. I never eat mine. I open it, split the cookie, then give it to my friend. He reads the fortune, gives it to me, then eats the cookie.

Last time he handed it to me with a ”Take a look at this.” expression on his face. I laughed when I read it. It said Your confidence will lead you to success.

I stuck it in my pocket. When I got home I taped it to my lamp. I crack up every time I see it.

That’s it for now.

Love,

Dave

Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko

Friday, January 19

Dear Jim,

The pope’s in Peru. I turned on Radio Católica expecting to hear the regular programs, but instead there was coverage of his trip.

Today’s event was the right-to-life march. You should have heard how loud the marchers were. It sounded like a party. The announcers said that there was a very large amount of young people.

It’s nice to hear people celebrating rather than complaining. I wish I had something to celebrate. I am glad that these young people oppose abortion. One of the reasons Europe and America have degenerated is because of all the abortions women have had and still demand.

It’s amazing that I’ve never heard any boomers say how badly we screwed up, and how badly we screwed up the country and the West because of our successful demand for cheap legal abortions.

I remember the time you told me you were sitting in the cafeteria at S. F. State. A table of women were talking about their abortions. You were shocked how nonchalantly they talked about them. You were surprised that more than one woman at the table had more than one abortion. They had no sense of guilt or shame.

It’s funny that the Progressives and people who are not Christian demand that The Church apologize for it’s sins against Jews and other groups, that the United States apologize to blacks, Indians and Mexicans, that white people apologize to Indians, Mexicans and blacks; but nobody is saying that European governments, and the American government, should apologize for passing laws that allowed so many babies to be killed, and that the citizens of Europe and the United States should apologize for all the babies they flushed down the toilet and all the hosrseshit relationships that created the abortions.

Last Monday was MLK Day. I turned on the radio twice. I listened for a half an hour each time. Each time he wasn’t the focus.

I listened because I knew I should get out of my comfort zone. I enjoyed each show. I learned a lot.

But I get tired of black people never mentioning how badly they have screwed up themselves and the country. I get tired of white Progressives who are offended when I say I think 52 years is plenty of time to get it together.

I told dad the pope was in Peru. He already knew it. I said, ”Wasn’t one of the popes in San Francisco?” He said that he was at the cathedral when the pope said Mass there.

The poor pope. I wonder how many body guards he has. What if somebody killed him?

But I want to talk more about race. The other night when I got home from work I was exhausted. I couldn’t read or study, so I turned on YouTube. I typed Sacramento, then I think I typed something else. A boring list came up. Then I saw Sacramento Rappers.

I like rap. Sacramento was, and maybe still is, a famous rap city. So I clicked it.

There were several rappers listed but I kept scrolling. I saw some descriptions of videos saying that ”This is the video of the such-and-such gang.”

I clicked one from two years ago. There were at least 50 Mexican gang guys on the stage at Southside Park. They were milling around, each guy singing the song that a professional rapper was singing for the video. I could hear the singer but not the guys on the stage standing with Aztec murals behind them.

It was incredible. They were so pissed off. So filled with hate. The camera went from one small group of guys to another, focusing on one guy as he pulled up his shirt to show his tattoos, on another guy as he made angry faces at the same time he was making gang signs with his hands and fingers, on another guy as he pulled a pistol out of his pants. Every once in a while a couple of guys were taking a swig of liquor. And they were all singing.

It’s terrifying that there are so many pissed off young men with guns. Progressives laugh when somebody like me talks about proving one’s manhood, but these pissed off young guys show that there is a need to prove one’s manhood.

The argument usually is that white people are responsible for all the brown and black gangs. If only there were not these horrible white racists making all these black and brown guys join gangs to kill each other.

I think it’s a gender issue. There is nothing for young men to do. Black and brown guys join gangs. White guys camp under the freeway.

Nobody is doing anything to get these guys working so that whatever fears they have will not take such a violent terrifying turn. It’s a woman’s world, but everybody blames the young men for being pissed off and afraid.

It’s the playoffs. Last Sunday there were two incredible games.

I think about football all the time. My hero is Merlin Olsen. He played all 15 years of his career with the Rams.

I remembered when he retired. There was an article in the LAT one Sunday about him. It said that the guys he played against said that Olsen never cheated.

Isn’t that something!

It’s a bad time to be male bro. Those gang guys hate me and I hate them, but they don’t know we’re both pieces of shit.

I hope it’s freezing in New England on Sunday.

Love,

Dave

Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko

New Year´s Eve

Dear Jim,

I´m writing to you on the patio at Starbucks. I´m looking south into gray and white clouds of this hazy day. It feels good – cool but not cold. I have my sunglasses and sun hat on for the glare and my tear-open hand warmers in my pack if I need them.

Sis II and our Irish brother-in-law gave me two $25 gift cards to Starbucks. I did not want to carry home presents.

So here I am. On the bus ride over, the driver had Christmas music blasting form a really good stereo. It made me laugh. At first I thought it was one of the riders.

It felt good, but you would not have liked it. It was jazz played to Christmas standards. I wonder if anyone will call in to complain. She could get in trouble. It was way too loud.

I got here at 11:30. I was expecting to read a NYT or a Bee that somebody left lying around, but there were none in the discard rack and none on the ´to buy´ rack. They must have been very busy.

That´s okay. I got my news last night.

I was listening to Mexican music on YouTube, then to songs I have had on my tablet since I got it. I was too tired to read, so I listened to an interview I heard before.

It was about feminism and the sexual revolution. A conservative host was interviewing a conservative writer.

The writer was criticizing old school conservatives who think that the sexual revolution caused men to be promiscuous and caused men to be deadbeat dads. The old school conservatives say that men need to man up and to stop taking advantage of women.

The writer said that prior to the sexual revolution, companies were forced to pay men enough money to raise a family. Business did not like the idea, but there was nothing it could do.

As traditional jobs for men disappeared and women went into the labor force, business benefited from lower wages due to job competition, and the government benefited from more people paying taxes.

Men started earning less money. They did not have the money to get married. They were not taken seriously by women who wanted to marry.

The writer was trying to answer the question raised by old school conservatives, ¨What is wrong with today´s men?¨ He mentioned all the men who don´t work or who work part time. He mentioned that men are not industrious like they were in dad´s generation and his dad´s generation.

He wasn´t talking about the deadbeat dads of our generation, but about the guys five to ten years younger than I am who grew up on low wages and could not expect a job geared toward men like dad and our grandfathers could. The new economy was hurting men while women adapted well to the service and tech economy.

These guys were laughed at by women. He said a lot of women didn´t want to stoop so low as to marry a poor man, but pursued the Alpha males who did not need or want them. While the average man was getting less sex than he he was when he was a married man 50 years ago, the Alpha males, the rich guys, were getting a lot of it.

The poor unwed man did not have kids. A lot of successful women did not want kids. But at 40 things changed. If a man had become successful, he was full of confidence at 40. Men are attractive in their forties.

But a woman at 40 isn´t attractive anymore. Men their age who had a job did not want anything to do with the stuck-up cunts who shined them on when they were young.

He talked about monogamy – how monogamy is central to Western Civilization. He said monogamy provides a husband for every woman and a wife for every man. He said monogamy is dead and we need to restore it.

He didn´t just speak theoretically. He said most men should be married. I agree. It gives men something valuable to do.

It´s funny. None of the presidential candidates talked about re-establishing monogamy or paying higher wages so couples could get married in their early twenties.

It´s a beautiful day. Still cloudy. A great day for wandering around town with your future spouse – holding hands, looking to the clouds and the specks of blue between them as your dream about your kids.

Love,

Dave

Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko

Friday, October 6

Dear Jim,

It´s a gorgeous late afternoon in Sacto. I´m at my favorite coffee shop. I´m surprised it isn´t crowded.

This afternoon I talked with dad. He sounded strong but he wasn´t animated. It must be horrible living in a rest home.

Today´s the first of our four October birthdays. Too bad there is so much family strife. It
breaks dad´s heart. He wants there to be a reconciliation before he dies, but I told him it isn´t going to happen. I did not mention the birthday to him.

Poor dad. Mom too. Everything they dreamed about when they were young, and the close family they thought they were building when we were young, has been destroyed.

Sis II and I were talking about the family strife last year. She wondered whether there would have been less if you had not died. Then she said no, you would have taken the other side.

You would have tried though. You would have tried to keep dad and mom from being heartbroken. The three of us have tremendous respect for dad and mom. You revered them.

Mom and dad lived their religious beliefs. But it´s more than that. They had incredible love for each other. They showed us how to be in a relationship, how to treat a woman and a man.

You realized they were living their love of God and practicing their faith in God. Their faith was not bullshit. They weren´t looking for something to do by being active in the parish. They did not go to Mass for psychological healing but for spiritual healing. Your love of God, religion, The Church, and your trust in authority figures made you realize how beautiful they were.

One of the reasons I never married is because I knew I could not have a marriage like theirs. It´s something you and I would have had to talk about as I got into my forties. I didn´t want kids. Did you?

The thing I really like about my job is all the kids. They crack me up. I usually try to engage them. As women say, ¨They´re so cuuuute!¨

If I retire I will miss them. They keep me from being an old fart. It´s too bad I didn´t want kids. They are the greatest joy, especially if you are madly in love with your wife.

Luck has a lot to do with life. Dad and mom felt blessed with each other, with you, the girls, and me.

I think that´s why you revered them. They were blessed. They blessed us with their love.

Love,

Dave

Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko