Friday, May 18

Dear Jim,

Hace buen tiempo as they say in Spanish.

I’m sitting outside at my favorite coffee shop. There’s no wind. It’s not hot. There aren’t too many people.

I just read the New York Times. I enjoyed it. There was a good report about the City of New York’s efforts to find apartments for its’ 60,000 homeless, and the opposition that the city receives. The opposition especially does not want shelters for men in its’ neighborhoods.

I can’t blame them, but most of the homeless are men, at least here in Sacto. What is America going to do? Our city council just approved a 16-20 bed facility for terminally ill homeless people. That is a great idea.

Also in the NYT were letters in response to an article about a college student who committed suicide. Of course the university gets blamed for the death.

People say that professors should say something to a student who has started to behave strangely. But what is a professor supposed to do?

He would say that he isn’t a mental health professional, that he would be stepping out of his domain. He might also say his students’ problems are none of his business. If a courageous and empathetic professor approached a student who seemed to be on the edge, the student might curse him, or sue him for being nosy.

We complain about the invasion of privacy by the government and business, but we want universities to keep tabs on their students’ mental health.

It would scare me as a college student if I knew that the software that reads my papers for class sends a report to the dean when I write: I am lonely.; They should throw the scum in jail.; I get plastered every weekend. It’s a gas.; If somebody breaks into your apartment you should be allowed to kill him.; There’s nothing wrong with spanking your child.

The more we try to monitor people’s mental health, the more mentally unhealthy we become. Who can I trust if any negative, angry, lust-filled, profane statement might be interpreted by the authorities to mean that I need help – forced prescribed drugs or required counselling?

It’s a double whammy for people who are on the edge. You don’t want to tell your family and friends you are suicidal because you don’t want to burden them.

Yet you can’t trust the mental health profession. It keeps an electronic record of all your appointments and what you revealed about yourself. That’s scary because all your information can be sent to insurance companies, hospitals, and police departments with the click of a button.

So We’re here to help, but Our neighbors are watching you. And We report all suspicious persons to the police. And Smile. You’re on camera.

I think I said this before – no wonder people don’t seek help. We are trained to be afraid. If we were not a police state there would be good mental health. There would be more trust – of yourself and of others.

Remember last year when I wrote to you about the new building for the natural foods co-op? I told you it made me feel good because of the natural light, healthy electric light, and a great view of the sky from the outdoor eating area upstairs. What I was saying was that it was good for my mental health. I really needed the shot-in-the-arm.

But now I hate it. Like one of my friends said, “It’s so yuppie.” Now they want to sell hard liquor, just like all the stores they think they are different from.

We keep talking organic in America, but we are so full of fear and alienation and anality that we are light years away from an organic state of mind. However we might get an organic police state.

You will have a view of the mountains and eat organic beans and rice when you are in jail for something you didn’t do. The mountains and organic food will help your healing process.

I feel like I am in jail. Crazy people feel trapped. We are exiled in our own country.

Sorry to bitch Jim.

Love,

Dave

Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko

Friday, April 20

Dear Jim,

I’m sitting outside at the coffee shop I always wrote to you from last year. Now with nice days like today, I will be coming here more.

I wonder if you would have gone to coffee shops to study theology and read poetry? I wonder if we would have met at any to philosophize?

If we did, I don’t know what you would order. You would probably get bottled water or juice. You would sit on the sunny side of the table with your visor and lotion on your nose. I would sit on the shady side wearing my ski cap and having a hot chocolate.

Neither of us wore sunglasses when we were young, but you would probably be wearing them now like I do. When I picture you in sunglasses, it doesn’t seem right. They would cover your longing eyes.

We both criticized people in sunglasses because we thought they were trying to be cool. Now I look like the people I never liked.

Coffee shops are one of the changes of the last forty years that I approve of. I definitely take advantage of them.

Usually when I come here I read the paper, then comment to you about an article. Today there was a real short one. 500 Central American immigrants are fleeing their country to come here. They are taking a freight train from Guadalajara to the United States. It didn’t say where they would end up.

It’s incredible how many people try to escape from Central America or leave Mexico to come here. They hop freight trains, but there are no open box cars or empty flat cars like when you used to ride or I used to ride.

People sit on running boards. They get knocked off by branches. They fall when they lose their balance or miss a rung.

When they leave the train they get beaten and robbed by gangs. Girls get raped. The police beat them too, then send them back to Central America.

I’m listening to an audio book in Spanish about a Honduran boy who left home to come to America to find his mother. He rode the freight train but got caught and sent back to Honduras six times. On the seventh try he made it to the U. S.

I’ve always loved the romance of America’s freight trains. I loved the freedom they gave me. But there is nothing romantic about ten or more people sitting on a running board in the sun, wind, and rain becoming ill and not having anywhere to pee or poop.

The people who survive and make it to the U. S. probably have great memories of beautiful scenery and peaceful starry nights like I do, but they were looking to become politically and economically free, while I wanted to see the country and avoid working at a soul killing job.

It’s terrifying that kids leave Central America to escape gangs, then get beaten in Mexico by Mexican gangs and Mexican police, then worry about getting arrested when they cross the border into America. I wonder what it feels like to be scared shitless all the time, then end up in this soulless country of ours? ”I went through all that for this?”

I miss you Jim. I wish you were here to take a trip with. We could go to Hungary, Prague, Poland, Russia looking for something real, looking for our roots.

I don’t know what we would find. Maybe somewhere in Russia there is still the great Russian soul.

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