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On The Beach

well this is no New York street
and there’s no bobby on the beat
and things ain’t just what they seem

-Van Morrison

There’s a lineup of old black dudes displaying their wares on long collapsible tables on the sidewalk beside the West Fourth Street subway exit in the Village. Old vinyl LPs and audio cassettes, tattered porno mags, and sticky VHS video tapes. It’s hard to imagine anyone partaking in these goods, save the stray Isaac Hayes or Con Funk Shun record, in broad daylight. One Fred Sanford crony looks oddly misplaced, but I’m unable to put my finger on it. Something about the near-mint condition #8 Steve Young 49ers Jersey he’s wearing as he hovers over an unclaimed copy of Teen Sprinklers makes my head spin.

Sometimes I just get dizzy like that, if I stand up too quickly or give the world any in-depth consideration. It may be linked to when I was a  little kid and would black out if I got frightened or started crying too hard and couldn’t catch my breath. It was an oddly pleasant experience, but frequently scared the hell out of the gathered adults. It happened once when I was five up at a Lake Tahoe beach. An older fat kid named Butch with thick frame glasses dumped a bucket of icy lake water on my head and I went down like Trevor Berbick reconsidering his decision to get in the ring with the twenty year-old Mike Tyson. I then observed from a warm, fuzzy and horizontal shore-side perspective as Butch’s dad boxed his ears something fierce. It’s amazing the things one can influence, or even control, from the inside looking out.

Of course it was only a momentary sensation on West Fourth, and had I gone full-cement the result would have likely been casual disregard and an eventual EMT escort. This ain’t no Tahoe beach, and I don’t warrant the concern #8 would gather, should a like fate fall upon him. He’s here every week, smoke in hand. An integral, revolving gear in this tested communal gathering. And I’m just passing by, an eternal outsider taking occasional notes on the parade.

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  1. G Prince wrote:

    Rick – great stuff; your penchant in fine display as ever. Contact me if you’re in the Bay area 6/27 – 7/6, because that will be ANOTHER thing we have in common…


    Monday, June 22, 2009 at 12:24 pm | Permalink
  2. admin wrote:

    Hey George – somehow this comment slipped through and I just got it today. What’s your email? I tried to send you a note but it got bounced back ..

    Saturday, June 27, 2009 at 10:29 am | Permalink
  3. G Prince wrote:

    Odd … the comment box includes my email, but maybe that doesn’t get to you?

    gpr1nce at sbcglobal dot net is the location. your email bounced too! (I can’t remember the name but it was something at earthlink dot net, which I thought sounded a little too quaint)


    Thursday, July 16, 2009 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

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