Saturday, November 09, 2013

Classic Post Saturday #2

I love this post from June 1, 2012.  Speaks, prolly, to what I really feel about Wall Street better than most of what I've scratched down on these pages.  And I love the bit about Gandhi.  And the part about writing Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands on the 43rd floor.  And the quick note on the departure of Crown Victorias.  And the guy with the Don King haircut.  And the fact that this happened, in reality, almost exactly as I wrote it down.

As I write now, I'm listening to the Waterboys album titled Fisherman's Blues.  I wandered around the web, looking for Emilia Clarke's version from the Dom Hemingway soundtrack, but couldn't find it.  The Waterboys are great, though.

Here's the post ...

They Told Us You'd Be Coming

So, as I typically do, I sent a nice note to JPMorgan corporate communications a couple of days prior to showing up in front of 1300 6th.  Or whatever the address is.  Just to tell them who I am, what I plan to do, offer to answer any questions, etc.  I'm a lover, not a hater.

The silence in return was deafening (although, given the timing, this was not surprising).

Fast forward to last Tuesday when I actually do show up.  There, parked in front of the  building, is a shiny white NYPD vehicle.  It was, perhaps, a Taurus (the sheer insufficiency of which makes me miss Crown Victorias all the more).

I wave at the cop through the window and he rolls it down.  I tell him who I am, what I plan to do, offer to answer any questions, etc.  I'm a lover, not a hater.  And he says, "They told us you'd be coming."

Savor this, my friends.
They told us you'd be coming.
Hah!  A wave of warm feelings washed over me.  Consider for a moment all the shit that was involved in the simple act of a New York City policeman telling me he knew I was coming.  Dog!  As he said it I knew, for a moment, how Gandhi must have felt when he brought the British Empire to its knees.  That kind of a feeling.  Exhilaration tempered by great humility.
Great humility?  Really?
Sure.  Why not?
I dunno.  You do the math.  You're not a very humble person.
I'm as humble as the next guy.
Okay, so maybe humility isn't my strongest suit.  But I did have an enlightening conversation with a pretty scraggly looking guy who walked by the painting and decided to stay a while.  Definitely not homeless, but a man clearly at loose ends.  And damned scraggly.  A black man about my age.  Gray hair in a kind of Don King electric doo.  And he and I stood there for a pretty long time, just shooting the breeze, watching perhaps a hundred JPMorgan employees walk by us, a subset of which looked at us with such scorn and disregard as to be palpable.  The kind of look that, if you had to withstand it on a daily basis, might change your life for the worse.

Then he turned to me and asked, "Do you want to know something interesting?"

"Sure," I responded.

"All these people walking by us, looking at us like that?  They all think they're better than we are."

I nodded.

"And you know what?  It isn't necessarily true."

And with that he shook my hand and walked off into the afternoon.

I report this as fact, although perhaps not verbatim.  But the thrust of the conversation is accurate.  The gist of the thing is fact.  If a gist can be a fact.

Me?  I've spent most of my life (rightly) thinking I'm the smartest guy in the room.  It's a character failing that I still wrestle with.  And what he said kind of annoyed me.  Who the fuck are these people copping a superior attitude with me?  Or my scraggly friend for that matter?  What are they doing, really, to move the world forward?  To make it a better place?  What, of importance, are they really doing?

It's not like they're up on the 43rd floor composing "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands."  Which I'm listening to right now.

"The creation of wealth," they might answer.  Wealth.  Wealth, I would suggest, is a good thing.  But creating individual wealth at the expense of societal wealth?  Not so much.  And that, my friends, is the business of JPMorgan Chase.

It would be fun, just once, instead of being extraordinarily polite, if I started to verbally harangue them.  To call their bluff, if you will.  To challenge their sanctimonious belief that what they are doing is important, quotation marks, with bits of spittle coming out of my mouth as I shout at them.  Like a legitimately crazy person.  Like the crazy person they take comfort in thinking I am.

Makes me think of that Kinks song about a well-respected man, but instead I'll leave you with this:



... because it's so strong.  The song, if you're curious, is called Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlife by A-3.  Same group that did The Sopranos theme song.  So not chopped liver, even though you've never heard from them since.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You may have been speaking to God. That's why the cops showed up.

11:23 PM  

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