This edit added on July 13th, 2020:
The reason I write this addendum to my story about Kenny Strong, my second-best friend in my life, is because I have had about enough of seeing the “BAD APPLES” beating up or murdering other individuals. People that did NOT deserve to be hospitalized or murdered as a result of this mutual SICKNESS called RACISM. You can say that you were/are a “product” of your “environment”, obviously people, some more than others, are not treated equally, that’s the reason for protesting, demonstrating, marching, and holding up your signs……PEACEFULLY.
There ARE MANY people that DO agree with your cause, for your right to protest, many people of ALL ethnic backgrounds do care, but, and here’s another BIG BUTT, I would just bet you that if you are pushed off that “fence”, and falling onto the wrong side into that trap of violence, your parents, and your Grandparents, more than likely are not and will not, be proud of you. How can anyone be proud that you took part in beating an 80-year-old man half to death just because he’s white, or killing an oriental man that was trying to defend his little donut shop that you ultimately burned to the ground……Or shooting an unarmed 24-year-old mother of a three year old child to death simply because she said “All lives matter”. Oh, and that one is not fake news, here’s a link to the story:
Bottom line is all of this racism, from ALL sides has to end. The majority of the folks desire a peaceful resolution to this nonsense. So, instead of blaming the “Other” side, how about we all work together to come to a peaceful conclusion? Before you label ME a racist, please read the following essay about my wonderful buddy Kenny Strong:
This is a short story about my good friend, Kenneth Strong, with a few life lessons thrown in. Although they could’ve been twins, Kenny wasn’t a Sammy Davis Jr., married to a white chick, hanging out with the Rat pack. Not disparaging Sammy, I was a big fan of him, Sinatra, and Dean Martin. I actually can say that Sammy’s daughter was a neighbor and friend, and that his grandson Sam, remains a close friend of my daughter’s to this day. The only similarities between the two of them, was the fact that Kenny was small like Sammy, five foot four or so, and they both could dance like champs. Oh yeah, the other difference? Even though he couldn’t carry a tune in a shoe if his life depended on it, Kenny still enjoyed going to Karaoke with me.
His weight and height was proportional up until when his emphysema progressed. Before he died, he had lost fifty pounds and was skin and bones, ninety-eight pounds (easy to carry up and down the stairs). In his healthy years, Kenny was a muscular dude who worked out and ran a mile every day. Kenny, was an ex-marine and veteran of the Korean War, loved his country and eventually became one of my closest friends. In spite of the fact that when I met him face to face for the first time, I thought he was the biggest asshole I had ever met in my whole life.
Kenny was the only person of color working in his department, so he was an anomaly of sorts. In fact, at that time, there were very few people of color that had risen the ranks and climbed the “Ladder” of success like Kenny had. He wasn’t sweeping the floor, or taking out the trash, he was responsible for administering the procurement of millions of dollars in high tech equipment and support for a globally recognized company. I was a sales dude at the time, and my company had not seen any business from Kenny’s company in many years. Our only competitor had 100% of the business.
After many phone calls to try to get in to see him, (they where in upstate NY), I made the trip from California to New York twice with appointments to finally see him. Both times he blew me off with lame excuses. First time, I was told that he had called in sick. Second time, he was there. When I spoke to him from the lobby, he blew me off again, asking me, “Can you come back next week?”. Kenny knew that I had flown cross country to see him. Lets just say that I was just a little pissed. Patient, but pissed. The third trip was successful, however disappointing.
Lets just say that for the average salesman, it wasn’t just disappointing, it was devastating. I stood in the entry of his cubicle for what seemed like several minutes. “Thank you so much for taking the time to see me this morning”, I stated nervously to no avail. No response from Kenny. It’s as if I wasn’t standing there, gazing at all the accolades and awards on the walls. Glancing at his “Employee of the Year” award, his Bachelors Degree, and all the other plaques, and then looking back at Kenny, I said to myself, “He can’t be hard of hearing, can he?” Lack of peripheral vision?
He was sitting there typing two-finger style, staring at his computer. So I took a few steps to the side chair alongside his desk, and started to sit down. When my butt was approximately five inches from the seat, still directing his gaze at his monitor, he said in a Drill Sergeant manner, ” I didn’t tell you to sit down yet”. Well, I immediately stood to attention and backed up two feet to the entryway into his cubicle. I swear I stood there for another two or three minutes before he swung his chair around and said, “You can sit down now”. Kenny took the next ten minutes telling me all the things wrong with my company. Needless to say, we did not take lunch together, and like I said earlier, I thought he was the biggest asshole I had ever met.
Now, what he said was true. Our prices were way too high, and our lead-times were way too long. I took these insights back to my company, and within six months, we had reduced both to the point where we started to get some of the business. After a year, and several more trips, my company was enjoying 100% of the business, and I was slowly becoming a part of Kenny’s small circle of friends. I share this with all the sales people out there as a lesson. Three things. Be honest. Be genuine. Be patient. Take your time and really get to know your customer. Don’t get discouraged. Be patient. If you are able to look at your customer with one eye, while reading the documents on their desk upside down with the other eye, you are not my kind of salesman.
Of course your company has to be competitive in all areas. I was fortunate that my company was willing to adapt to the marketplace. Over time, Kenny became a real friend. We did things that friends would do. Went fishing. Went to the casino, usually with a few other dudes from his office. My favorite thing was going to the racetrack in Saratoga once a year, to watch and bet on the ” Running of the Travers”. To our amazement, I actually won a Trifecta one year.
Kenneth and I went fishing many times. Once on the Hudson River, and several times at his favorite spot on the Erie Canal. Every time we went fishing, Kenny would give me fishing “lessons”. Like the big brother he was, every time he would try to give me instructions on how to fish, I would tell him, “I’m from Minnesota, I was fishing when you were still in diapers”. Not really true, since he was about fifteen years older than me.
Anyway, Kenny would retort with, ” I don’t care if you are from Zimbabwe, you ain’t gonna catch anything that way”, or, “You’re so full of shit, you should have worn a diaper”, then we would laugh. I would always tease him and ask him to put my worm on for me (I never used anything other than lures).
I always caught the first fish and the last fish before he gave up for the day. Most of the time, I caught the only fish, which really pissed him off. Fishing on the Hudson was fun, but challenging because that one time we did go, it was in an old leaky row boat, oars only, no outboard. We always had a great time fishing except for that one hot, and muggy August day (I did most of the rowing), and we caught nothing.
Kenny and I remained friends after he retired. When his health began to deteriorate more and more, his buddies and I would still take him to the casino. I can remember pushing Kenny, his oxygen bottle, and his cigarette through the casino in his wheelchair. No matter what you said to him about his health and smoking, he would acknowledge, ”Yeah, I know, I should quit, it’s too late for me anyway”. He never did quit, and it WAS too late, he died.
The last time I saw Kenny, he had been retired for about four years. He was so sick and weak at that time, when we went to the grocery store or his favorite neighborhood tavern, I had to carry him up and down the stairs of his condo, and throw his wheelchair in the trunk. That last time I saw him was six months before he passed away.
Kenny grew up in a farming community in North Carolina, so he knew what Racism and Segregation was. I grew up in a farming community in Minnesota. I didn’t know what the words meant as I was growing up. We would sometimes have spirited discussions about a variety of subjects, whilst drinking our scotch or having a meal.
The most spirited conversations were when we talked about racism and segregation/integration, i.e., life in general. We mostly agreed on things, and our friendship with each other stayed intact. One of our most memorable exchanges was this one night, already three drinks into a long night, and I was a little pissed at something Kenny had said. I looked at Kenny and yelled, “I don’t care about the color of your skin!”, and Kenny paused for a second and quietly said,” I don’t care about the color of YOUR skin either”.
We laughed at each other, and ordered another Black Label on the Rocks. Kenny was a great friend. I grieved when he died, along with all of his friends and family. Lesson number two. Folks, Racism, Bigotry, Prejudice and Indifference are taught and therefore learned, not in-bred.
Strain: “Mark Twain’s Belly Button Lint” harvested March 3, 2016
We sometimes think it is hopeless and against all odds, but hey, we are part of the 99% against the 1% that currently have absolute control. We can and shall overcome the odds, but only if we truly ORGANIZE. Otherwise, we are all just as a “Single Fly, Farting in the Wind” and “Useless as Wings on a Penis”. If you have questions, suggestions, comments, etcetera, again, and you would like to hear my thoughts on possible miracles/solutions, please feel free to contact me. You can contact me by farcecrap PM, send me an email or fill out the contact form below.
For those who have been keeping up with my progress with “The Dead Armadillo” story, here’s my latest:
Here, for your viewing pleasure, is a recent documentary titled, “The World is My Country” Produced and directed by my friend Arthur Kanegis, this documentary is about the courage and beliefs of Garry Davis, who after serving as part of a U. S. bomber crew during World War Two, recognized the insane futility of wars in general, and gave up his U. S. citizenship, becoming the first person to declare the “World” as his “Country”.
You will be touched and hopefully inspired as well, as it is a film of hope and vision. it is well worth your effort. Please share.
Peace & Abide, La paz y la morada, السلام والالتزام , שלום ושמירה, Paix et Demeure, Խաղաղությունը եւ մնալը, Мир и пребывание,, 平和と遵守, 和平與恪守, Aştî û Abad, صلح و عبید, Fred och Abide, Kapayapaan at Patuloy, Frieden und Bleiben, Mir i Ostanite, शांति और निवास, Hòa bình và ở lại, Мир и Абиде, שלום און בלייַבן, สันติภาพและการปฏิบัติ, Mir in bivanje,
Yadhum oore yaavarum kelir, “The World Is One Family”
Dr. T. C. Saxe, DD, RSISHE
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