By Stacey Warde
No matter how good things are, there’s always someone or something that will attempt to ruin them for you.
Sure, you may have a great thing going, but rest assured that sooner or later you’ll meet an obstacle, usually in the form of a person, an antagonist, unhappy until they can make your life as wretched as their own.
Why this is, I’ll never understand. Some people just can’t stand to let another person find happiness. Some do it because they’re malicious and mean; others do it because they don’t know any better, or because they’re so wrapped up in their own world that they don’t have the time or capacity to think about anyone else but themselves.
And even though they may not intend to make their actions personal, they can still manage to get you where it hurts most, where you’re likely to find your greatest enjoyment and release from life’s tensions. In either case, if you love something and someone tries to take it away, you fight back.
Contributor Talmadge Jarrattee brings us one example in this month’s cover feature of how three women, mindless of all but their own entitlements, can turn one man’s simple pleasure into a confrontational blowout.
But our hero isn’t going to be put out; he’s going to hold on to that one small pleasure he’d looked forward to all day: to work out at the gym while watching Tiger Woods on TV beat the pants off some white folk at their own game.
You can get a good feeling for the type of confrontation we mean by taking a closer look at the fine cover illustration by Martin Shields, who captures a scene we have all witnessed at one time or another, the privileged and the smarmy facing off against a brother unafraid of speaking his mind. Go Tiger! Turn to page 12 for a taste of victory.
And Duane Hagabee’s “In defense of the SLO life,” his counter-punch to our own ongoing disdain for SLO County elitists, stirred up others like ourselves who seek only to find a shred of dignity in the hardscrabble lives we’ve chosen.
Who is this guy any way? they seem to be asking. Who does he think he is? We expanded our Letters section to let you, the reader, see that we’re not alone and that when push comes to shove, like our bro’ at the gym, we will fight back.
Keep sending us your letters, folks. We want the world to know that we stand together in our fight against elitists who, as one letter writer said, objectify us as “oddities and curiosities.” See page 3 for our expanded Letters section.
You can bet we haven’t heard the last from Duane Hagabee, nor from any of the other comfortably ensconced and privileged realtors of his ilk. There’re plenty of them and Duane speaks for a lot of people in this county when he says the SLO life is the best you can find, and that’s why we’ve asked him to respond in our next edition to the letters and angry readers who aren’t amused by his take on things. Keep an eye out for the November edition. Duane, what’ve you got to say for yourself this time?
Even Flint, Mich., killjoy Michael Moore can’t spin the world the way he wants without a fight from someone in the know. Like Dr. Steve Sainsbury, who takes the filmmaker to task for painting healthcare in the U.S. as a tired old dog that needs a jumpstart.
Dr. Sainsbury recently spent some time in Cuba, that bastion of socialized medicine, where a patient can wait weeks or months or years before getting the care that’s needed, and discovered that it’s not as pretty as Mr. Moore would have us believe. Things aren’t as bad in the U.S. as you say they are, Mr. Moore, and you’re going to get an argument from fine physicians like Dr. Sainsbury when you make claims that are simply untrue or skewered with misleading information.
See page 5 for Dr. Sainsbury’s rebuttal to Mr. Moore and his recent film, “Sicko.”
Again, you can do everything right, clean your slate, build up your portfolio and set yourself on the holy path to enlightenment, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the world will recognize or appreciate your hard work. It doesn’t mean that you’ll be rewarded.
In fact, as life often goes, the rewards go to the undeserved, those who never lift a finger to make themselves better, who milk the system and watch out only for their own best interests. This is nowhere more apparent than in the fickle parole system we’ve put in place in our overcrowded prisons.
Got a parole date? Just try to leave an impression with the parole board that you’ve learned your lesson and that you’re ready for another chance to start a new life. Think it really makes a difference? Turn to this month’s Life in the Cage on page 6 to see whose good behavior gets noticed.
This edition is packed with similar brushes with the hellish fire of an inferno that always burns below the surface of life: Steve Bird returns with a harrowing descent into the flames of chaos and separation in his “Burning end of days” on page 20; Antonio C. de Baca’s hero Carlos reunites with his homies in “Getting out” part III on page 18; Dell Franklin falls from grace in his short tenure as a laborer in his Personal Worst “Carpenter on the roof” beginning on page 14; and, finally, Ben Leroux rages against the storm in “Blue Norther” on page 9. Go Tiger! Victory is ours! §
Stacey Warde is editor of The Rogue Voice. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.