Continuation of the shelved manuscript.
My brother Bobby had a real job. He raked rocks too, but he also dug holes and planted trees. He had a boss, got paid by check and everything. My big brothers already had motorcycles. Dean’s was a Harley, long beforethey were a status symbol. Bobby had a Honda 450 that he’d chopped, even though he wasn’t old enough to drive legally. Folks trying to make ends meet see laws more as suggestions under ideal circumstances.
Bobby having his own money for what he wanted was crucial, because some things he was set on buying our dad would never have been a party to. Bobby wanted jewelry… and not a fancy watch to make sure he made it to work and school on time.
No sir, Bobby was on the cutting edge of culture change. He wanted to do what the generation of men that we followed would have fought to the death to avoid.
It was the summer of 1975. The summer Bobby, my sister Sheral, a potato, some ice, rubbing alcohol, and one of my mom’s biggest sewing needles did the unthinkable; pierced Bobby’s ear.
I don’t think Bobby was allowed to wear his earring in school, but when he did wear it, he wore it like Robert Conrad did a battery in the battery commercials back then; on his shoulder and just daring someone to knock it off. Or in Bobby’s case, just daring someone to say something about it.
Back in those days, if you were a guy and wore an earring, you’d darn sure better be able to defend yourself.
My guess is that my dad probably didn’t have that in mind when he taught Bobby how to fight to survive in the late sixties before we moved from a riot-torn Southern California.
It wasn’t planned, but about a decade later I followed suit… sort of… I had no need of ice, a potato, rubbing alcohol, not even a sewing needle. I just used someone else’s earring. I thought it might look cool with the white jacket I was sporting.
It’s not official, but if you didn’t have a potato, ice, rubbing alcohol, or a good needle, whiskey was the next best thing. I’d tossed back enough cheap well whiskey to not even give those other necessities a thought.
Those are the type of events that you regret forever, but especially that very next day…
It’s not a stretch or surprise to anyone that our society has changed, men especially. It’s possible that one of the contributing factors of the evolution of men doing what previous generations considered feminine is due to the rise in our standard of living.
Today, even what society considers full blown poor people have air conditioning in Arizona. That was a luxury back in the seventies that we went without during a rough patch.
We may not have been able to afford air conditioning, but we somehow had enough money for oversized combs, hand held blow dryers, and tight pants with platform shoes.
“Men will become lovers of themselves…”