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EXILED ON MAIN STREET #6

All of us learn to write in the second grade. Most of us go on to greater things.

-- Bobby Knight

GOD SAVE THE QUEEN (I MEAN IT, MAN)

Labor Day weekend is when we're supposed to honor the American working person. Instead, all we heard about was someone who was neither an American nor a worker.

I was proud of the way my buddies up and down the line reacted to the news. Our response to this situation was the rational one: "She died? Man, that's too bad - she was kinda cute. Hey, it's not as sad as when Kirby Puckett retired. Yo, toss me another beer ... Griffey get any homers tonight?"

Women, on the other hand, were telling me details of the Charles and Diana wedding from fifteen years ago. Apparently, lots of girls were up at four a.m. to watch that one. I've been in six weddings in my life and they're all one big blur. All I remember is that the Catholic ones were long and the Lutheran ones were short.

I just don't get the fascination with royalty. Someone is born into or marries into a certain family (who does nothing but extravagantly sponge off of taxpayers anyway) and they're better than the rest of us? I don't think so. Why these moochers haven't been thrown out into the street long ago is a modern mystery. And "Princess of the People" has got to be one of the biggest oxymorons ever, although I'm sure Diana saw plenty of people through the window of her limo over the years.

I could just imagine if they tried to have royalty in my neighborhood: "Prince of Wales, huh? I'm happy for you. And I've got your crown jewels right here." or "You rule over me? Yeah, right. No I'm not going to bow to you, Prince Boy. No, I'm putting you on workfare. You start work tomorrow, Charlie."

A drunk driver speeding at 100 mph killed Diana and everyone shrugs and still blames some photographers. But if no one cared about the royalty, they wouldn't be used to sell magazines, and then maybe she'd still be alive. And hopefully working an honest job somewhere. Though an occupation of jet-setting with ultra-rich guys is a good gig if you can get it. As Dan "The Common Man" Cole pointed out on KFAN: "There's nothing wrong with setting your goals high." So I'm patting myself on the back. I've never given a damn about those royal inbred bluebloods so I guess in a way I was a good guy by trying to give the royalty the privacy they claim to value so badly. And now the media spotlight can go back onto athletes and the stars of stage and screen where it rightfully belongs.

(I realize I come off as callous here, but the concepts of nobility and royalty make my skin crawl. Always have, ever since I heard Jefferson's words about "all men are created equal." Learning about the carrier of the American flag in the first modern Olympics, who refused to bow it to some monarch during the opening ceremony and set precedent for future Olympics, helped shape my attitude. As did Jim "Thanks King" Thorpe and the Sex Pistols. When Windsor Castle had a fire back in '92 and I said "burn, royalty, burn," somebody at work called me a "communist" and I pointed out that I was exhibiting the same fuck-the-royals spirit this country was founded on.)

I'M NOT GONNA TITLE THIS 'EVERYDAY I WRITE THE BOOK'

Even when I'm not writing, I'm writing. What I mean is that even when I'm out and about or sitting in my little cubicle; I'm on the prowl, observing things and gathering energy for time to be spent with my notebook. To paraphrase Jeff Spicoli: "Writing's a way of life - it's no hobby."

A funny thing about being a writer is that everyone assumes you're writing a book. Tell them otherwise, they'll nod their acknowledgment, say "that sounds great," and then the next time you see them they will say "how's that book coming?" I don't think I have a book in me, at least not at this point in my life. But I think I am going to start telling those folks that I am writing a book, just for kicks. I started giving it some thought, and figured if I applied myself I could write the following self-help books:

* "Learn to Doubt Everything You've Ever Been Taught About or By the Government, Religion, and Society - I Did It and So Can You!"

* "How to Sleep Twelve Hours a Night and Still Have Enough Time for Naps"

* "It Balances! Temporary Accounting as Your Day Job"

* "How to Ignore Your Friends and Leave Them Begging for More"

* "No Recess: Strategies for Doing Absolutely Nothing in Business Meetings and Still Staying Awake"

Another thing I could do is write my autobiography. The memoir market is hot right now, so I'm sure I could sell a couple of million books, then make it into a mini-series (or just a real bad sitcom.) I've already started the major sections of this book:

* "I was born in August of 1965 during the heat of the Minnesota Twins' first successful American League pennant chase. One of my earliest memories is sitting behind the couch in our living room for privacy, and looking at picture books. My life has remained unchanged, except that the books now have words and I live alone, so no one takes cute toddler photos of me when I'm behind the couch reading ..."

* "I endured my teenage years being vaguely pissed off about nothing much. When I was fifteen, Ronald Reagan was elected president, so I had something more definite to be pissed off about. Around the same time, I had begun purchasing rock 'n' roll records. It would take me a few more years to get pissed off about the shitty sound quality of vinyl ..."

* "I spent my twenties in some building doing accounting for some company. At least that is what people tell me, I seem to have blocked the whole experience out. My ex-roomie Kasey Yahnke described my situation as "just a pain in the ass," and I'll take his word for it as the only time he's ever steered me wrong was by trying to convince me to buy some parachute pants back in '84. My twenties was when I discovered the Uptown Bar, zines, independent movies, First Avenue, coffee, bagels, Soul Asylum, Chinese food, The Little Uptown Girl, The Simpsons, and a bunch of other icons to guide me. Things must have not been quite right - I remember listening to Dylan's "Ballad of a Thin Man" (with the taunting line of "there's something happening here and you don't know what it is") and felt it was directed at me. I guess I finally figured out that Noam Chomsky was correct in stating that "corporations are first and foremost fascist institutions," so I quit my job (at least that's what I've been told) and now I listen to "Ballad of a Thin Man" with joyful glee ..."

But I guess if anybody asks me what my book is about, I'll just say it's a mystery and leave it at that.

MISTER BANKER

The way I see it, if Carl Pohlad gets any handouts from the public for a new baseball stadium, the Twins should have to change their name. They will be renamed the Minnesota Carl Pohlads. That way when they're playing their .404 ball outdoors instead of indoors, we can gather around the water or beer cooler and bitch about how the lousy Carl Pohlads suck. It'll serve Mr. Cheap right, as you know damn well he isn't going to spend any more money on payroll then he is now.

FOSSIL

Conversation upon entering the Turf Club September 5, 1997 approx. 11:00 p.m.:

Bouncer: Three dollars, out of ten? (looks up at me while handing back seven dollars) How old are you?

Me: Thirty-two.

Bouncer: Gotta check, it's my job.

Me (eagerly): I can show you my ID, if you want.

Bouncer: No that's alright. I believe you.

I miss getting carded, it sounds stupid I know. The way my throat got extra itchy for a beer as I waited to get the bouncer's okay to enter the bar. The way I would flash a big grin when I got a hard-nosed bouncer who would look suspiciously back and forth between my driver's license and me.

Those who whine about being carded are annoying. Bars (at least the ones that are dives) are sacred places, and if a holy person cards you, he/she is doing his/her job and doing a little thing called risk management. You wouldn't want the joint to lose its liquor license, would you? Take being carded as a compliment.

What is it that has robbed me of my youthful looks? Do I look more worldly? (no) Is it my greaser haircut instead of the college-boy swoosh look? (maybe) Less full of adolescent angst? (probably)

I never get carded anymore, except at First Avenue, where they card everybody. What happened to my youth? Just five years ago I was getting into high school hockey games at the student rate (I always felt kinda guilty about ripping off the athletic departments for that dollar I saved on admission, so I would go buy a hot dog with it, assuming that concessions money also went to the athletic programs.) So the quest to get carded continues.

DEAR BUD GRANT,

All of you sportsmen whining about the possibility that the Indians will deplete the fish population in Mille Lacs Lake should think hard about who depleted the North American bison population.

POETRY BY PAULA 'SHE'S GOT EVERYTHING SHE NEEDS, SHE'S AN ARTIST, SHE DON'T LOOK BACK' BELMONT

let's go crazy

give the anarchist a cigarette
and check the laundry downstairs.
on the steps
drink cold coffee.
lie, while smiling,
when asked 'bout your weekend.

AN EVENING IN THE LIFE

On Thursdays after four, we temps can go over to the agency and pick up our paychecks from the previous week. I did so today and they had official Big Temp Agency coffee mugs filled with Hershey's Kisses that it looked like they were giving away. Nobody said "hey Bill, have a coffee mug", and I didn't ask, so I didn't get one. Not that it would have gotten much use anyway, my mug depth chart is currently 1) plain ol' green mug; 2) UND mug; 3) Martin Guitar Co. mug (the only Martin I'll ever own); 4) a mug from one of the Big Six accounting firms, whose football teams are on the same level the WAC's; and 5) the "I Heart My Attitude Problem" Mug, which I brought to my Real Job once as a goof and on the first day I had it in the office I got lectured because of my attitude.

So I thought I'd write tonight, but I went and worked out, and then came home and ended up calling my buddy Hammer, who had left a message for me. He was the last one working at his office and didn't have keys to lock the door behind him and was trying to get a hold of his boss at home. This was the first time I'd heard of anyone being unlocked in an office. I offered to bring some beer over and keep him company, but he said that might look bad. So I ate supper and the next thing I knew it was nine o'clock. Then I realized I better get my ass down to First Avenue to get a refund on my Morphine ticket, who canceled their November show. Don't wanna head down there this weekend with the parking and all, as their box office isn't open until eight in the evening.

I get to the club and immediately forget how to speak. The doorman checks my ID. I show it and say that I just want to go to the box office. You getting tickets, he asks. No, yeah, getting a refund and yeah maybe getting tickets I say all confused suddenly. More info then he wants, Bill, you idiot. He smiles and points me to the box office. I know where it is anyway, but smile and say thanks for your help. Hey a correct sentence! I'm on a roll but then the gal at the cash register looks at me and I start saying I want to conduct a transaction at the box office, but where the hell did that come from? I never ever use the word transaction. She looks at me puzzled, then says not a ticket for tonight's show? I nod, and make a mental note to get a teeshirt that says ENGLISH IS MY SECOND LANGUAGE.

A bouncer guides me on my way around the corner to the box office. What service, damn the people here are friendly. Then the gal selling tickets says hi. La de da, she's wearing leather pants, a white tee-shirt and orange hair. Only two people could pull off wearing this outfit. 1) Iggy Pop twenty-some years ago, and 2) her. She is pretty pretty pretty with sparkling eyes.

Semisonic on sale, I ask. She says not yet. How about Wilco? Yes. Okay. I pull out my Morphine ticket and ask did they cancel? Yes. Can I get a refund and then a Wilco ticket? Yes. She goes to the cash register and gets me fifteen bucks. Then she goes to get a Wilco ticket. She holds one up and begins to bring it over to me. What show is that for? She can't hear me quite right (sound system's fault, not mine for once) and says do you want an all-ages ticket? No the drunk show, I say. She looks at me. Drunk show! I say a little louder. She smiles and brings me the ticket. Got it, she says, showing me the ticket. Not that all people who drink are drunks, I say thinking of me, I just love that phrase. She laughs like Stacey Hamilton in Perry's Pizza. Wow, and that wasn't even my 'A' material.

The Wilco ticket is ten bucks, so now I'm five dollars ahead. Not really, I know, but it feels like found money and will almost buy me lunch tomorrow.

A CONVERSATION WITH A GOPHER HOCKEY FAN

Me: You know, North Dakota has won four national titles since Minnesota won their last one.

Gopher Fan: Yeah, but all of our players are from Minnesota.

Me: You Gopher fans complained about how unfair it was that you had to play Michigan in the West Regionals in front of their fans. But how fair was it that North Dakota, the #1 seed in the WCHA playoffs, had to play the title game against Minnesota in front of 15,000 Gopher fans at the St. Paul Civic Center?

Gopher Fan: Yeah, but all of our players are from Minnesota.

Me: Is "Pride on Ice" the type of beer that Doug Woog served his players after games?

Gopher Fan: Yeah, but our all of players are from Minnesota.

Me: What do you think of Mankato State joining the WCHA?

Gopher Fan: Yeah, but all of our players are from Minnesota.

Me: Boy, Doug Woog sure gives "hat trick" a new meaning, huh?

Gopher Fan: Yeah, but all of our players are from Minnesota.

Me: If all of your players being from Minnesota is such a noble idea, why don't your basketball and football teams do the same thing?

Gopher Fan: (silence)

Me: You want another beer?

Gopher Fan: Yeah, but all of our players are from Minnesota.

FORTUNE COOKIE UPDATE

The fortune I got a few months ago from a fortune cookie said "you will attract cultured and artistic people to your home," which was actually true. Each person that's been to my place this summer is an artist or plays a musical instrument of some sort. It was weird seeing the words "you" (meaning me) and "attract" in the same sentence, though.

Last year in my zine I bitched because the fortune in my fortune cookie said "a product is merely the physical representation of an idea." Last week I got one that was even worse: "Be proactive, not reactive." Huh? Looks like corpspeak is beginning to dominate the fortune cookie industry. What's next? "Seek to win-win"? "Strive to be a team player"? "Discourage unions in the workplace by encouraging workers to be part of the corporate team"? Maybe I'm asking too much by wanting a fortune cookie to actually deliver a fortune instead material for Successories.

Be proactive. Get things done. Go for it. Just do it. Go for the gusto. Kick ass. Get psyched. Get keyed. Fuck it - I'm going to take a nap and I'm sure everything will work out eventually.



Everything written by me, except where noted.

Paula wishes to acknowledge Bob Dylan for the line "give the anarchist a cigarette."

Thanks to Randy (aka The Problem Solver) Tuomala for his help with Olympic Games research.

Accessorize: Print subscriptions of Exiled available - six issues for $5.00.
Monetary contributions to this effort are ALWAYS welcome.

Correspondence:

Bill Tuomala
3554 Emerson Ave. S. #9
Minneapolis, MN 55408
wyman23@wavefront.com

send grammar and spelling corrections to someone who cares

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| EOM 1 | EOM 2 | EOM 3 | EOM 4 | EOM 5 | EOM 6 | EOM 7 | EOM 8 | EOM 9 | EOM 10 |
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EOM 11 | EOM 12 | EOM 13 | EOM 14 | EOM 15 | EOM 16 | EOM 17 |


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