>R.I.P. Bear Stearns

>A good twelve years ago, I worked at Bear Stearns. At Bear Stearn’s I was a ‘print lane manager.’ Which meant: I printed documents for lackeys. Thus I was a lackey of lackeys, although I often had hours of peace and would write and trade jokes with my equally over-qualified fellow lackeys. I also made about twenty-five bucks an hour, no mean wage in 1996 but dot com was coming on strong.

On the window of my office where the first-year associates came to collect documents for the Masters of the Universe, I would post quotes such as ‘Adversity makes men; prosperity makes monsters.’ (Victor Hugo). Or, ‘Everything belongs to me because I’m poor.’ (Kerouac).

This confused the associates to no end. They were kids, just out of college. One out of ten probably made the cut there. Some of them still had values, god bless them.

‘I work really hard,’ one of them said after reading my ‘quote of the day’ pissing on the rich.

‘I’m sure you do,’ I said. ‘But do the rich people you’re trying to suck money out of work hard? Maybe, the ones who haven’t inherited gazillions. And do they work harder than peasants in Bangladesh or drones in a poultry-processing plant in Louisiana? I don’t think so.’

Would it surprise anyone if I admit that I did not keep that job for long?

>Slouching Toward Bethlehem

>A gaunt character walks into my cafe wearing what seems to be a bird’s nest on his otherwise bald head. But no, it’s just his hair, disguised as a crown of thorns. He’s wearing a baggy white ‘Obama ’08’ t-shirt and baggy white pants, tucked into riding boots. If that’s a typical Obama supporter, than it’s gonna be McCain in a landslide.

>Go West, Old Man

>So I’m driving cross-country for the first time since – well, let’s just say that Reagan was president and I wasn’t of drinking age.

The first two times I went for a woman – to be with her, and then to be without her. This time is for a fellowship at UC Irvine, which is not quite as bad as getting a job.

I took the northern route the first time, Highway 80. Nebraska, I recall, is really long and flat. The second time, on Greyhound no less, I went through the Southwest and then up through the Midwest. It was high summer and I drove with a tattooed redneck who fed his three year-old brandy to make it sleep.

This time I’m thinking maybe via Nashville and the Southwest again. I’ve never seen the Grand Canyon.

Wondering if anyone has thoughts on sights along the way.