Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Curriculum Very Vita / "Dumb Irish Luck"

This outline of my life so far lived is a pleasure to inscribe. 

My father Harry’s abandonment of me at three (1930) left me psychically edgy. My mother May had to go to work, teaching at a middle school in Hamtramck, the Polish “suburb” of Detroit. My brother Harry, Jr. born in 1920, as soon after our parents’ marriage in 1919 in Pinconning, Michigan was as soon as it was possible, Catholicly. Harry Senior, had made Captain in Black Jack Pershing’s American Expeditionary American Force. He was also gassed and spent a long spell in Paris where the plentiful whores houses would make it very difficult for her to please him sexually. 

Notice I was born seven years later (February 8, 1927). My brother was in the same hospital with infantile paralysis. The Nurses dubbed him “Mike” (a Pat and Mike joke that stuck) Harry became a furniture salesman in Battle Creek, where I was born. I tease Germans who have never heard of that minor burb that my mother had found me in an empty Rice Krispies carton. Holy Moses, there was no river to cast by. Harry senior passed through Jackson dealer dealer (somewhat bigger than BC) to Detroit where he fled with his secretary Ruth, to eventually become a wealthy real estate dealer in Vegas.

I still remember with painful recollection my next contact with him when he died. I was a 34 year old assistant professor in the new Annenberg School of Communication I designed as the only Mass Media specialist around. (I taught History of Media.) But I had been, faute de mieux, the only qualified man to be a “gofer”. Go for this. Go for that. I had maneuvered so that Gilbert Seldes would be the first Dean because he had been my first mentor after Marshall McLuhan. His pioneer book, “The Seven Lively Arts” (1924), was the first in the subject, antedating Marshall’s “Mechanical Bride” (1951) by a generation. So becoming the Dean’s “gofer” was a Big Deal. He was too old and tired to travel much. (He died in 1970.)

So, for example, NBC wanted to know what we up to, so I flew to LA where the entertainment programs were centered. The day I came the press person meeting me at LA International said that Polly Adler’s brother was opening a new restaurant today and if I was interested I was welcome. Having majored in FREEBIES at the Jesuit University of Detroit. My companion at Lunch was Pollay Adler! (As the leading Madam in Tinsel Town: her biography is entitled “A House Is Not a Home” she had upped her opportunities by finishing an Associate in the Arts degree at LA Community College. Apparently her major was professor evaluation since throughout lunch she lobbed questions that tested whether I was a Good Guy or a Horse’s Ass. Luckily I fought off the animal as she embraced me in the omnivorous LA style whereby the Contaflex around my neck bumped her full on in the Boobs. She screamed, softly, “Patrick, You look like a Goddam Tourist!” Boyscoutishly, I quietly replied,”Polly I AM a Goddam Tourist whereat the honoree brother let a whoop of delight that could have been heard in Philly on a really cold night.

After my interview on the emerging Annenberg I asked them to drive me to LA International I had decided to overnight in Vegas—after No Show 30 years. I asked the Vegas taxi driver if he knew where Harry Hazard’s Real Estate was. “Hell, everyone knows where Hap works!”, and promptly drove me there. I asked the doorman if Harry Hazard was in today, and he pointed to a nearby door. I knocked like I was taught in the Boy Scouts. And a affably smiling emerged. “Are you Harry Hazard from Battle Creek?” The smile disappeared, and he looked like he was pissing his pants! You see, my older brother Mike had become a drunkard gambler and often gray-mailed Harry the Bigamist to dissolve his debts. Harry got me in his Buick as fast as he could and drove me to Hoover Dam, the greatest tourist attraction. 

He relaxed as my questions revealed I was just a professor with curiosity.I asked him if he wanted to meet them at the Montreal World’s Fair. He declined, gratuitously promising he’d put them all three through college. I skipped the overnight, asking him to drop me off at McCarran Airport , named after the Democrat Senator he helped getting elected. Some years later I was romancing a graduate student at UCLA when word of his death broke my date. 

At Vegas his bigamist “wife” Ruth explained that Harry had a secret political secretary who had organized a Democratic Womans Day tomorrow. “Would you like to come?” I couldn’t attend the funeral for fear of her bigamy’s being revealed! First there was Veep Hubert Humphrey: “ Aw, Hap was a great guy. We’ll miss ‘em.” 

Then Nevada Senator Bible: “It’ll be hard as hell replacing that guy.” (Heh, Tell me!)Finally as the mayor shook my hand softly and funereally, I thought: "Should I ask what a SOB he had really been to us,” but the Dominican nuns of Holy Rosary Academy, Bay City, Michigan prevailed. I flew back to Philly wondering what I would do with the $150,000 he left us, not to forget the further $100,000 left us, to debigamize herself. 

Mary soon demanded a divorce in Juarez because Adultery was the only justification in Pennsylvania. Huh? God knows I wandered as her father’s sexual abuse and incarceration in Jackson State Prison for Detroit politics disqualified her in bed for me. Detroit politics She ran off to New Jersey with the psychology professor Zuckerman next door. Oh, hell I called her ZUCKER FUCKER in my empty head, and celebrated the country’s Bicentennial by having my balls clipped. Des Gustibus Non Est Demostrandem!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Reading this first "chapter" I am keen on having a look at the finished autobiography. An edgy retrospect on a turbulent life. Nice meeting you on the train to Jena West, Patrick :)

De-bauhaused regards from Randolf...