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The Unfinished Column

by Calendar Hacksaw

By virtue of necessity, I've been spending a great deal of time of late at California amusement parks, and so it was of little surprise last month that I found myself wandering for hours on end through Six Flags Marine World in Vallejo.

Yes, this is the same Six Flags which operates our own Magic Mountain, but on a significantly smaller scale with fewer thrill rides and a much better assortment of food. In fact, for $6.49 I enjoyed a tri-tip sandwich that was as good as I've had anywhere. But, alas, The Oasis, which sells beer and wine, was closed for the season.

I scoured the park's landscaped grounds, taking delight in the giraffes, cougars, a tiger, snakes, sharks, porpoises and walruses. But mostly I just sat and studied the people.

I was pleased to note that the popular adolescent look for young men in Southern California—overweight with shaved heads and plentiful tattoos—had not taken hold in the Bay Area. Most looked healthy and clean-cut, though more than a few had adopted the baggy, sagging pants style, popularized by trashy urban gangs. I find amusing the lengths to which young people will go in trying to fit in or identify with stale and lame outcast cultures.

Okay, I'll admit that I fall victim to this as well. I leave the Dockers and Rockports behind when I venture into the Piutes, opting instead for a diet of Ropers and Wranglers, with a Resistol topper. It's important to fit in and not feel conspicuous.

I know I'm not the only one who leads a double life. Our ranchettes are overflowing with retired escapees from the big cities, doctors, lawyers and such, who want nothing more than to live out their remaining days as pseudo cowhands, driving their shiny new pick-ups down to the mail box and back six days each week. I do not fault them for this; it's the first sensible decision they've made in their lives.

But our sartorial leanings are not intended to provoke shock, fear or outrage. Instead, we want nothing more than to be accepted and make others feel comfortable in our presence.

One idiot in particular sticks in my mind as an obvious candidate for a Darwin Award. Shortly after midnight I was standing on the balcony outside my motel room, enjoying the various activities going on in the parking lot and adjacent gas stations. One must understand, this is not a four-star lodging in a four-star neighborhood. On the contrary, this chain of freeway motels ranks just one step above sleeping in an abandoned car with a punched ignition. And located near the civic center, the registered guests and parking lot provide the viewer with a very monochrome view of society at its worst. This is a place where most crime victims are criminals themselves, keeping the booty moving along and ensuring that the guest list changes each night.

So, from out from the inner bowels of my motel wanders a Brother who truly wants to be seen. He parades aimlessly through the parking lots, obviously proud of his sartoral choice for the early morning hours, consisting of a bright red ski cap, a bright red sweatsuit and a pair of bright red running shoes. With such a color combination, he has "Blood" written all over him, and is obviously bait for any Crips that might be in the neighborhood. It's like his "family" has dressed him up and sent him out on a scouting mission to see if it's safe. An anchovy in the boiling seas of bonito. This makes about as much sense as donning a cow costume, smearing one's self with estrogen and then taking a leisurely stroll through a herd of randy bulls in Caliente Creek. The results are just as predictable.

But this was his lucky night. For as long as I observed him prancing around, no non-descript 80s vintage Pontiacs came along to blow him away.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get dressed and drive down to the mailbox.

Calendar Hacksaw droops his drawers at calendarhacksaw@highdesert.com, and

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