Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

It wasn't all Proust and Ulysses

In Britain I’d have (reluctantly) identified H as working-class. But this happened to be Pittsburgh and so he was blue-collar. H’s origins were one reason why we became pals. Since both of us were appallingly under-educated our friendship depended on what we said rather than what we were. He saw me as a foreign exotic, given to useless long words and my pretentiousness tickled him. I delighted in his concise one-liners seemingly riven from a William Goldman script.

Most of these are now lost, one remains. I mentioned that X, a vertically challenged colleague, had a remarkably tall wife. “And X wouldn’t have it any other way,” said H lubriciously (an adverb he would have poked fun at).

H was brought up in Mount Oliver, on a cliff to the south of Piitsburgh overlooking the Golden Triangle ( At the confluence of Allegheny and Monongahela rivers; Mount Oliver to the right.). As a result we spent laddish evenings there in a bar called Moike’s which I would never have dared enter alone. Moike communicated via insult, it was all he knew. We always drank 25-cent beers and I asked H what would happen if I ordered a martini. “Moike would slam the gin and vermoot bottles on the bar and say: make it yourself.”

Political correctness may not have been invented then but it would been badly received in Moike’s. Mostly the talk was coarse or of sport. I liked baseball and football, could get along with basketball but Moike’s customers liked hockey (the qualifier “ice” was unnecessary in the USA) and I was often left out. Nobody cared about that.

Evenings ended with a hot-sausage sandwich which was impossible to eat tidily. I would give my right eye for one just at this moment.