WILL B. LOVE

The events in these essays are real as are the names.

September 23, 1997
Copyright 1997 William Loughborough

This book is dedicated to:
Bill Gerrey, Jerry Kuns, 3 Mikes (Cole, May & Cozzolino) Tom Fowle, Jay 
& Kathy Williams, Kevin & Colin Malcolm, Larry Scadden, Monica Schaff, 
Steve Mendelsohn, Jeff Moyer, Mark Dubnick, Louis Maher, Chris Cooke, 
Tim Cranmer, Emerson Foulke, John Fales, Jolie Mason, Rick Joy, Debbie 
Cook, Harvey Lauer, Pat Beattie, Debee Norling, Kathy Auriemma, Josh 
Miele, Betty Bird, Kelly Ford, Sue Boaz, Randy Brooks, Winifred Downing, 
Anita Baldwin, Tom Karnes, and all the others who enabled me to see the 
tunnel at the beginning of the light.


This section is fun to write but sort of a drag to read because it 
traditionally consists of name dropping or lists of unfamiliar people. I 
list members of two categories - backers and inspirations.

I list backers because they believed in what the author was doing over 
the years and provided the backing (financial, moral or spiritual) that 
enabled him to stare idly at a word processor while his peers were 
commuting to work, filling out time sheets and otherwise accounting for 
their uselessness.

I identify inspirations because it makes me seem a bit more humble by 
not displaying pride of authorship while precariously balanced on the 
shoulders of giants, who did or thought of all these things before.

I will allude specifically to members of both categories in the essays 
themselves, particularly those who were my inspirations, I list here 
some whose help and guidance were of a more general kind.

My backers (in addition to my many family members) included David "Buck" 
Wheat, Bill Davison, PeeWee & Mary Russell, Orville and Catherine 
Jacobson, David Bell, Les Smith, Bill & Jane Buck, Donlon Arques, Chet 
Baker, Vernon Crank, Ray Price, John Dowie, Robert Hightower, Gary Ward, 
Bob Krauss, Ward Bond, and lots more I forget. I plead creeping senility 
and memory loss.

My inspirations include Ramon Santamaria, Kirby Hensley, Helen Keller, 
Jawaharlal Nehru, Harry Partch, A. Korzybski, Buckminster Fuller, B.F. 
Skinner, A.G. Bell, Nikola Tesla, W. H. Sheldon, Rachel Carson, and many 

My current career's success is due to Al Alden, Erich Sutter, and Jules 

Without the help of Arthur Jampolsky I would be in jail, dead or living 
in LA. Thank you Arthur!

Table of Contents

Dr. Jampolsky explains how to deliver a lecture, present a scientific 
paper, write an article, or communicate verbally: "first you tell 'em 
what you're going to tell 'em, then you tell 'em, then you tell 'em what 
you told 'em."

I will tell you what you know but may not agree with: the world is much 
more us and them than us against them; conflict is a form of 
cooperation; we are all members of one another.

To avoid arguments I should avoid discussing politics, religion, sex, 
and music; I add economics, race, and gender to that list. Naturally I 
will expose my feelings about all these.

There are three kinds of truth: things that are true whether or not 
spoken of, such as sunup; things true only if spoken, "foul ball"; 
things only true if unspoken, "check's in the mail", which if spoken are 
called lies.


I have been a lot of different people and that led to this book. As I 
write this I am 70 years old but inside I still feel about 14. These 
lives, events, and choices have interested me and I think will amuse 
you. My "WHO" should be made clear by the autobiographical notes that 
start each section.


The "WHAT's" are the conclusions I reached from being in so many 
different bags. Most of you have not had this many opportunities to take 
part in this many cultures. I got to hot-walk some outstanding race 
horses, fool with gamecocks who were determined to kill their fellows, 
be in ensembles with outstanding musicians and actors, do cutting edge 
scientific stuff, and stand behind a catcher who was receiving 90 mph 
fast balls which he hoped I would greet with "strike."

These lives have things in common that I hope to persuade you are 
universal truths about your own humanity and that of your fellow 
travelers on our "spaceship earth."


It starts when there were daily knocks on the door by men who were 
willing to work for a meal and extends to when people stand by the road 
with "work for food" signs. The punctuations of war and pendulum swings 
of fashion mark points along the way.


I have lived a geographically insular life, never having been to Europe. 
I was a sailor in the Philippines, a tourist in Mexico and Polynesia, 
and a musician and scientist in Canada.. Otherwise I haven't left the 


I have always headed straight for my heart's desire. I never took a job 
I didn't love. I never passed GO or collected $200. I write this as a 
laxative to relieve myself of a constipation of ideas. The purpose is to 
infect you with the disease of universal brotherhood.


I loosely arrange the essays into groups defined by physical 
characteristics (Sighted White Male Young Old Smart), career choices 
(Arbiter Oddsmaker Musician Director Horseman Cockfighter), or a 
combination of nature and nurture (Ethnic Rich Straight). I am a 
cultural anthropologist without portfolio and I will show you no 
stinking badges, references, or footnotes.

ARGUMENT...for whom is this written

My purpose in discussing others is to push through our preconceptions 
and bigotry to an appreciation of people with different labels. The 
divisions between men/women, whites/blacks, hip/square resist healing 
just like those between Protestant/Catholic Irish, Serb/Muslim 
Yugoslavs, or Arab/Jewish Semites. The symptoms range from rhetoric to 

Maybe if we examine enough misconceptions about "outsiders" we will find 
cures for our bad attitudes and prejudices. The theory is that knowledge 
of something reduces its mystery and terror. If you "get it" you will 
get over being a slave to an idea that tastes bitter. Psychoanalysis is 
based on this theory and it may not always work perfectly, but we are 
going to try it out.

Recently a man who was a member of a "white supremacist" group had his 
values changed when his son was born with a cleft palate and others in 
the group urged him to exterminate the boy. His transformation extended 
to the "Negro Issue" and even a sympathy for women's rights.

Because I changed through living with or paying attention to different 
cultures, I believe this may help you open your mind (and heart?). Some 
of these subcultures are majorities, some reviled, some pitied. They all 
experience exclusion from the mainstream. My trigger was experiences 
with blind friends. The title piece outlines the sorts of separation I 
hope to "heal." We may not understand how demeaning our pity can be.

Alan Myerson asked in relation to theatrical work "what's this about?": 
this is about the joys of privilege without the selfishness of 
exclusivity. Shared privileges are enhanced by the sharing.

As we change from hunters & gatherers or farmers & animal husbanders to 
become consumers & spectators - from being subjects of the king into 
being customers - we can see that beauty is not spoiled by the gaze of 
the mob. Except for Greek Letter Fraternities and Country Clubs, our 
cultures welcome new members, even if we don't actively recruit them.

Many groups suffer discrimination; I examine some I am in or close to 
whose problems arise from their exclusion. The problems blind people 
have because they cannot see are distinct from the difficulties sighted 
people impose. I don't know if this imposition is because of 
unfamiliarity and insensitivity or if we insist that we keep some people 
"in their place" to enhance our privilege.

We all bridle at our enslavement as children, but as we mature we lose 
our rage and renege on our vows to do something about it when we become 
the enslavers. As we age we endure society's "old folks" attitudes. In 
youth we create a new language and other secret places to avoid the 
stupidity of our elders; as "seniors" we put up with weirdness and bide 
our time until we exit.

Some of my cultures are by their nature exclusive - you can use just so 
many baseball umpires. I want my experiences in these things to give you 
the feeling of what it's like and how that relates to your own 
experiences. Maybe you will try some cultural expansion beyond your 
present horizons. Even if you only take part as a spectator, you become 
a participant.

I hope the reader shares my privilege. The writer gets to experience 
absolute exclusivity ! a sighted world

The first blind person I met was Col. Hawkins, a retired army officer 
and family acquaintance who had a full time attendant. My mother 
portrayed him as a helpless object of pity - an image of blind people 
that persists in our culture.

At that time there were many blind beggars, one of whom I often 
encountered in downtown San Antonio near the Texas Theater, with his 
guide dog and tin cup of pencils for sale. He read aloud from his huge 
Braille bible and was reputed to be wealthy from donated coins. A few 
wayward youths stole pencils.

Sixty years later I am close to blind people who are psychologist, 
engineer, geologist, lawyer, mathematician. I have acquired the 
attitudes that pervade this work. I learned that the sighted people who 
outlawed begging have taken over the tin cups, stolen the pencils, and 
told the blind folks that those gold coins they heard hitting the bottom 
of the cup were nickels and dimes.

As I learned that "out of sight, out of mind" and "seeing is believing" 
aren't the best "watchwords" in our language, I began to understand 
("see?") why it is not a fact that "clothes make the man." I can't deny 
that "first impressions last" but I have learned to institute a 
"semantic pause" before embracing such concepts, and hope I have become 
blindless instead of just sighted.

If you want to find out how it feels to be blind you could restrict or 
eliminate vision temporarily with blindfolds or special distorting 
eyeglasses. A few people even had their eyelids sutured closed! These 
things may let you lose eyesight but they won't let you know what it's 
like to be blind. It takes more than loss of vision to experience 
blindness. I won't propose having your eyes removed to join the blind 

People who became blind after living with eyesight (euphemistically 
called "adventitiously blind") typically "mourn" a few years before 
learning to use long cane, guide dog, or Braille. They often exhibit 
denial symptoms, even taking falls rather than learning mobility skills.

There are cases of people who were born blind due to cataracts, learned 
to live "in the world of darkness" and after their "vision was restored" 
through surgery became so depressed during the process of learning to 
see that they went mad and longed for a return to blindness.

The disadvantages of being blind are not so profound as what "sighties" 
fear. One cliche, "if I went blind, I'd kill myself!" is a threat seldom 
pursued. Most people learn to be very effective after becoming blind 
late in life.

A friend walking to his job was asked by a religious zealot (who 
splashed strawberry scented water on my pal's forehead), "don't you want 
to see again, brother?" The immediate rejoinder, "not if it's gonna make 
me late for work!"


Strange as it may seem to most sighted people there are disadvantages to 
depending on eyesight for everything. Sleight-of-hand can defraud you in 
a lot of ways, not just amuse you in a performance setting.

For many, "seeing," "sight," "vision," etc. are thought of as active 
functions, e.g. to "look at" something, "eye contact," and such imply 
that vision is some kind of ray put out by the eyeball, although physics 
makes it clear that light activates retinas, not the other way around. 
In fact vision takes place at a higher level of the brain than the 
retina or optic nerve bundle. This is even truer of "in-," "fore-," 
"hindsight" and "seeing" as "understanding."

One of the most familiar mistakes the sighted make is to have faith in 
"seeing is believing." Although beauty may very well be in the eye of 
the beholder, "what you see" isn't "what you get" and how you say things 
really shouldn't be as important as what you say in most situations. As 
I read about Styles in Desktop Publishing I am struck by the importance 
placed on "visual" effects, and try as I might to ignore all that fancy 
stuff I know that putting a little DYNAMITE in the message works to 
catch the reader's attention. Because delusion is promoted through the 
long term brainwashing of "medium is message" technology we 
(unfortunately?) tend to communicate with illustrations, icons, color, 
type faces and other beguiling devices. Perhaps reading skills are 
suffering because the teaching of reading has been taken from McGuffey 
and given to Disney.

The allegory of The Emperor's Clothes shows we can control the 
"attention" function. We often don't "notice" something because our 
attention was elsewhere. Visual distraction is so commonplace that some 
of our most cherished activities, playing music and making love, are 
often done with closed eyes. We "space out" even with "eyes wide open" 
so as to be unaware of things happening "right in front of our eyes."

Stage magic is an example of how our eye gets tricked. Trompe l'oeille 
(French for "fool the eye") is the name of an art form wherein a 
painting tries to make the viewer think she is not looking at a picture 
but at what the picture is of.

Gaining control of one's focus can make the illusory less "real." In 
some senses there is no "magic" for the magician because he sees through 
an illusion to how things really are. Although at first this seems like 
the loss of something precious, the increased awareness of not being 
fooled can provide pleasure for the knowledgeable. The attitude of being 
"blindless" instead of "sighted" helped me to avoid always "going for 
the okeydoke."

Illusions are precursors of delusion and history is full of trickery by 
ideologues, demagogues and fashion engineers who control our minds 
through our eyes. We buy a new model automobile every year, but the 
driving feel doesn't change; last year's ally is our new enemy as war 
flips from Hell to Noble Cause with a few "sincere" speeches by leaders. 
These manipulations utilize enough nonvisual factors to fool the blind, 
but: if you drop your "blind faith" in "seeing is believing" you may 
fool the foolers.

So far this is all fairly obvious, though perhaps not too familiar, but 
so what? I guess it's being written for us sighties, so it must be that 
I found something useful to learn about us from bats. After I met a 
great many competent blind guys I became less awed by their abilities as 
hero super detectives, and more motivated to attack some factors in the 
environment that, if repaired, would enable them to become more at ease, 
while easing my own creeping senility. As I did this I found that many 
of us who make our living off "help the blind" projects have a vested 
interest in keeping blind people out of the decision-making as to what 
should be done with the funds that are raised in the name of blindness.

The first inkling that much of our drive for privilege focused on 
exclusivity drove me to share a concept: privileges are at least as 
rewarding when they are not exclusive as they are when you are in some 
kind of elite.

People who seek fame and fortune often suffer severe regrets when they 
get too much - their lives are no longer their own and this is often 
quite painful. Be careful what you wish for: you may get it!


So how is it around blind guys? First I was uncomfortable, wondering if 
it was unfeeling to make all the usual "mistakes," like "it's the blue 
one" or "right over there." Is it OK to say "see you later," should I 
feel embarrassed by these things? Blind people hear these many times a 
day all their lives and more often have to deal with dealing with it 
than with it. The next step was a sort of hero worship: isn't it amazing 
how they can feed themselves without sticking a fork in their lip. 
Finally it became clear that blind people are firstly people within a 
subcategory: blind.

Blind guys make a point of using "see you" to put sighties at ease, 
although after what they are so often put through by us, I wonder why 
they should care about our little discomforts.

For the blind, a major annoyance is being grabbed by the arm and pushed 
around instead of being offered an elbow and letting the guide's 
movements serve as silent clues. Most people don't need "here's a step" 
when they can feel you up- or down-ing.

There is a rule prohibiting long canes on some airlines, and a decree 
that blind people are incompetent to sit in exit row seats. Unless 
obesity, panic proclivity or slow reactions are also considered this is 
obvious discrimination.

Most of my blind friends have been blind almost from birth - those who 
ever had vision are in the same boat after a few years' "lights out" 
blindness. As in the Afro-American subculture there is sometimes a 
certain stratification within blindworld about "high partials," "low 
vision" and "legally blind." People who are aware of being discriminated 
against are still able to have prejudices.

Even the visual impairment brought on by age brings reduced competence, 
but total blindness brings a vulnerability that over a long period 
profoundly affects personality.. Blind people learn that survival 
depends on accepting dependence with as much dignity as is allowed 
without endangerment.

Blind people expect bad information about "left/right" but they dread 
being shoved into bad situations. They trust long canes or dog guides 
for mobility aid more than they do many people. A major problem is 
constant disorientation and its consequence: dependence on an often 
incompetent sighted population.. Once a blind person learns that many 
sighties don't know right from left it becomes less demeaning that one 
doesn't know North from South - but it is hard to forgive someone who 
sends you into traffic by describing the condition of a traffic signal 
that is 90 degrees from the safe path.

To be a good sighted guide, give just enough cues to enable your 
companion to move about with confidence. Your body language tells if you 
are going to step up or go through a narrow place. Instead of the 
unnecessaries, you should give information that your friend could not 
get because of visual impairment. Some people like to hear all the signs 
read. Many people are interested in stuff that seems strictly visual; 
when color and pattern say something of interest, a description is often 

Most of us are embarrassed when a fellow sightie tries to communicate 
around our blind companion with visual gestures. I am not above turning 
this around by translating: "he's signifying with his eyebrows that..." 
It may trouble the person who was trying to give you a fraternal 
communication but it's like telling a waiter who talks loud to a blind 
person "she hears OK it's her eyes that don't work." Often when you are 
asked "what does she want for dessert?" and you ask "what do you want 
for dessert" the waiter doesn't even get it. It may seem rude to say 
"why don't you just ask her?" but it may be instructive to the waiter as 
well as amusing to you and your friend.

There are some cliches that turn off people in some cultures: "Some of 
my best friends are...", "I really admire Joe Louis", and "you people 
are so good at..." It's not hard to be The Ugly American when you 
trample through somebody's garden. Find out something about protocol and 
manners before you go to a Bar Mitzvah.

One of the dilemmas I waffle on is whether to face bigotry with "women 
drivers are actually less likely to have wrecks" or "I'd rather you 
didn't say 'nigger' - my mother is African-American." On the one hand 
there's the "do as the Romans" aspect, on the other you would like to 
let people know about inappropriate behavior.

When I flame about social inequities some people argue that "honey 
attracts, vinegar repels"; but "squeaking wheel gets oil." I don't think 
there would be curb cuts if wheel chair users hadn't chained their 
vehicles to inaccessible transportation systems. You must rock the boat 
to send an S.O.S.

It's obviously vain for me to speak for blind folks but I think it's OK 
to address some of these issues in my role as an "honorary blink" as 
long as I point out that I really don't know what I'm talking about. I 
do discuss these things with my pals and try to make some kind of sense. 
The main thing I want to get across is that there is a lot being missed 
by our society because we tend to forget what deSaint-Exupery said in 
"The Little Prince" about "what the eye can perceive isn't worth 
seeing." a world of women

I was raised in a family of women - father died at 45, most uncles died 
young - two sisters, no brother - one male cousin, lots of aunts. My 
peer group were boys; in fact I can't remember any non-family childhood 
friends who weren't male.

Before my mother moved me into military boarding school at age 11 it was 
clear that in the school world female students were better at almost 
everything (except throwing a ball) than males of the same age. The boys 
were oblivious to an obvious fact: girls weren't inferior beings. Our 
delusions were examples of the need for blindnessness.

My mother was successfully self-employed, and not home much. My oldest 
sister and I were very close and she was my personal "head start" 
program. She had me reading the newspaper on my fourth birthday.

My earliest memory of widespread wrongheadedness in our culture had to 
do with my peers' attitude towards girls and women. Most boys (and the 
men I occasionally encountered) were blatant male chauvinist pigs. This 
has changed a little, but the effects continue to poison society. "Women 
drivers" always evoked male laughter; older men agreed that the downfall 
of society occurred around 1920 when women were enfranchised. The 
concept of women in positions of authority, with the curious exception 
of school teachers, was unthinkable and any suggestion of military 
service, except as nurses, never surfaced.

Abortions were illegal but countenanced so long as they were dangerous. 
The stigma on male homosexuality was largely based on the concept that 
these were men who were traitors to their gender. It was almost 
universally accepted that women could not be composers, chess masters, 
or chefs. Any evidence to the contrary was ignored or branded a lie.

I lived around females who were, if anything, more intelligent and 
admirable than the males I met. These experiences started me on my 
cultural anthropology path, which uncovered examples ending in my 
awareness of what it means to be blindless.

As in many areas I explore, the culture of women cannot be "joined" by 
an outsider, transsexuals aside. Acceptance of men in women's world is 
rare but we are welcome to share their awareness of the misanthropy 
rampant in mainstream culture.

I don't presume to speak for women, particularly since so many of them 
have done so eloquently. I speak to what constitutes the gender 
equivalent of what I call blindlessness. Despite all the vive la 
difference items which enable us to divide what is essentially 
indivisible, we can adjust attitudes so that even if we don't subscribe 
to tenets of womanhood, we bring respect. Whatever the swings of fashion 
(not in the sense of attire) bring to their culture that may be 
different from ours, they're entitled.

Membership in groups often requires initiation rituals as well as 
qualification. Some of these entrance requirements are disappearing 
through legislation, others through acknowledgement of absurdity. An 
example of the former is the acceptance of women into public service 
organizations like police and fire departments; the latter by the 
increase in female jockeys.

Just as you might be proud if a member of your club wins some award, so 
women might exult in a governorship and soon a presidency. Just as all 
groups have their secret handshakes and initiation rites, so do women. 
Just as many groups are vilified by those who exclude them, this group 
has suffered great injustice.

In this area the prospects for continuing change are bright to me 
because of my long observation of epochal changes. In the last sixty 
years' study of this matter, I have observed astounding turnarounds: 
when I entered MIT, a nominally coed school, there were two female 
students in a class of almost two thousand, the current entering classes 
are more than one-third women; the number of mayors, governors, and 
congresspersons (how's that for PC?) is still tokenistic, but the 
individuals who get to that level have mostly avoided the appearance of 
ruthless greed so common in politics; recruiting ads on TV dutifully 
show women in what are essentially combat roles. 

I have more daughters than sons so I want to make sure that all of you 
straighten out your act in relating to women. I'm sure there's still a 
"glass ceiling" but from where it was to where it is has proven 
exhilarating to one promoting blindlessness. 

WHITE a world of color 

Because my mother worked 60-80 hours a week I was "raised" (when not in 
boarding school) by maids. Many of these were black women and the most 
affecting was Arabelle Brown who had no children and lived in our house. 
She indulged my food cravings like the stereotypical doting mother. She 
would arrange the household budget to include T-bone steaks for my lunch 
and her apple dumplings (made only for me) are a most cherished memory. 

She also let me know, without seeming to try, that the outside world had 
enormous misconceptions about the capabilities of Black people. Peer 
pressure kept me from espousing this concept at school or play - being 
called a "nigger lover" carried ostracism as well as hurt. My inner 
conclusions seemed unassailable - still do. 

In those days the acceptable designation was "colored" and colored 
musicians were clearly superior to their white counterparts. It was an 
age when Benny Goodman was the "King of Swing" but his band was a pale 
imitation of the Lunceford band. Marian Anderson was denied access to 
the DAR auditorium. A colored person invited to the White House was 
regarded as yet another nail in the coffin of The American Way. I cried 
in joy when Althea Gibson won at Wimbledon, raged at the news of Medgar 
Evers' murder and became a baseball fan because Jackie Robinson "broke 
the color line." 

I finally got over being ashamed of being white but I still feel we are 
drowning in racist mire. The debate about this matter has been "all the 
rage" for all of my life and so much has been written that what I may 
add will probably not shed much new heat or light on the issue. 

I still believe in integration, whatever that is. When I read Mezz 
Mezzrow's "Really the Blues" it was one of the first times I knew that 
some white guys (tried to?) lived in the Black culture. When he went to 
prison he insisted he was "colored" so he could live in the correct 
environment. Even Elvis Presley is basically trying to sound black.

During the civil rights movement it was a widespread argument that "our 
nigrahs" were OK with their lot but these "outside agitators" were the 
real problem. The next generation acknowledges that as error but has the 
same set of denials concerning "welfare queens" or immigrants. Even 
Native Americans are descendants of immigrants and we are all on 

Jackie Robinson pointed out that "baseball did it," meaning that human 
rights laws weren't the big items that cause changes. Michael Jordan is 
one of the world's most recognized (and admired) people on the planet as 
is Muhammad Ali. The influence on music, sports, attitude, language, and 
human relationships brought to us by people who "came in chains" has 
been enormous. There are so many examples of African-American influence 
that it is still a puzzle how long it is taking to overcome the 
counterproductive action/reaction of prejudice and its machismo backlash.

I have no solutions that aren't reprises of Judeo-Christian ethical 
positions. How to move from the "Love thy neighbor" talk to the "Do unto 
others" walk eluded us for a couple of millennia - but it's better than 
it was. At least I hope and think so.

One powerful factor in this healing is public service. As the spectator 
class proliferates, it is evident that each generation produces more of 
us who find the Black experience seductive. Politicians are performers 
in the entertainment industry. Perhaps the kind of charisma that is so 
obvious in other endangerment figures will let us suffer the benefits of 
African-American leaders. When you become blindless, you really won't 
give a shit about skin color. If we can continue the many-to-many 
intercommunication that is flooding us, we may yet have a meritocracy. an adult world

During the first years of my life I was young - as were we all. I 
bridled at being treated with condescension and resolved that when I was 
in a position to do anything about it, I would be an activist in 
changing the slave-like condition of young people.

To my discredit I largely forgot this resolve when I came of age and 
although I think I was at least kind to my own children, I haven't been 
very militant in trying to effect significant changes in how we treat 
ourselves as the "present of the future."

From being in the youth culture of my time I found out about secret 
languages and the pleasures of mocking my elders. Older people seemed so 
dumb and scared of new things. I expected to be able to change things 
when I got in a position to do something about it. Things have changed 
some but I regret that I didn't do much to help.

When I arrived in San Francisco the put down phrase for young people was 
"juvie" which signified juvenile delinquent. There was a panel of 
"leaders" looking for solutions to the problem. OUR youth were 
completely out of hand and the community's wise elders would meet and 
come up with something that would end this curse. Aside from major ink 
(in 1951 news was more printed than aired), the major outcome was an 
ordinance banning switch blade knives! This attack on what had become 
the symbol of j.d. affected me in that I liked a pocket knife that could 
be easily opened with one hand and didn't break my fingernails. But for 
the safety and greater good of society I was prohibited from purchasing 
a properly designed pocket knife in the City and County of San 

Much attention is on curfews and court rulings about whether minors have 
rights that are stepped on by making it illegal for certain people, 
those under 17, to be loose in the city after a certain hour. The courts 
have ruled that there is no such right. In effect we have always held 
that young people BELONG to somebody. The only real contention among the 
empowered is whether the owners are the parents or the state. In matters 
of education (or more properly forced schooling) and certain medical 
procedures (inoculations and transfusions, in particular) the state 
takes precedence; in most other areas ownership is vested in parents.

We have all been through youth and if we can remember our participation 
in that culture without accepting that we were all wrong in our 
observations that we were a persecuted minority, we might better 
understand how people in other outcast cultures feel. People who raise 
and fight gamecocks are NOT bloodthirsty perverts; southern whites are 
NOT bigots; African-Americans are NOT shiftless.

There are sociopaths among us from just about every culture but if we 
adopt a stance of blindnessness we can learn that WE ARE ALL IN THIS 

I have ten children who suffer either some of my genetics or the 
influence forced on them by our relationship not of their own making. I 
hope they get to live in a world in which conflict is one particular of 
cooperation and above all, not deadly. a youthful world

I was prepared for being old because of reading about it a lot and 
knowing some old people. As I experienced all the traditional aging 
signs - teachers and policemen seemed younger, people said "sir" a lot - 
I noticed that inside I still felt young.

My faculties seem largely intact and the physical attributes changed so 
gradually that I even risked hitting fast balls in the batting cage at 
age 70. I have had some heart attacks that made my condition worse but 
after surgery it isn't too bad.

The conditions that go with becoming part of another disadvantaged group 
are mainly the same as with the young, disabled and women - people talk 
over you to your companion and usually talk slower and louder.

Although we all get (have?) to be young, only most of us are privileged 
to be old. Of course those who don't are dead or blank. I find it 
fascinating because I keep looking for the conventional effects of 
aging. Diminution of sensory acuities, lessened sexual compulsion, short 
term memory impairment, deteriorating physical functioning: significant 
as these may be, it is a lot like blindness - a more insidious problem 
is how one is mistreated, or at least misunderstood.

It's not as bad to hear a bit less well as it is to be patronized. I 
still wonder if it might not be more politically correct to say 
"matronized." It is easy for non-old people to lump together all persons 
over a certain age; more careful observers discover that the fact that 
somebody is more stooped doesn't necessarily mean they have also become 
more stupid. Just as there are no "instant trees" so one cannot have 
fifty years' experience by the age of 35.

Although I still find formal schooling oppressive as well as boring, I 
have continued to learn in my dotage. I am monolingual and have never 
been good at memorizing, but I regularly undertake acquiring new 
disciplines. In their early days, I purposefully avoided involvement 
with computing machines but when they became non-elitist I embraced 
them. I learned the Braille alphabet, but not the ability to read it by 
touch. These practices are part of "Brain Aerobics" and I hope this 
book's exercises will help the reader perform the rituals that might 
help make many-to-many communication universal. a stupid world

I could read newspapers on my fourth birthday. I was one of the youngest 
freshmen in MIT's class of 1946 at age 16. I always found school boring 
and dropped out at the first opportunity and went into the Navy near the 
end of WWII after my first fling at the jazz life.

At first it was hard to realize that SMART qualified as a disability. I 
knew that my fellows treated me with a strange mixture of respect, 
disdain, and hostility. A similar thing happened when I was a bicycle 
messenger at an army quartermaster depot and zipped through a six hour 
featherbed assignment in 45 minutes - "don't do that, you'll spoil it 
for the rest of us." I heard that in the war plant where I thought we 
should all be doing our best to defeat Hitler but the union steward AND 
the shift manager told me to slow down.

Our prejudices aren't confined to those we deem inferior, we also 
express bigotry against those who outperform us. We are infected with a 
disease whose symptoms include a lust for exclusivity. Even being elite 
qualifies one for ostracism but if we remember that the chairman of the 
board also fucks up a lot, we might have a healthier chance to move 
towards whatever it is we're moving towards.

SMART is a peculiar thing because it depends on some fairly arbitrary 
norms. A visiting Martian might not think the ability to do crossword 
puzzles in ink was as significant as skill at arcade games. Mental tests 
are designed by people who belong to an elite group and have tried to 
get in a position that their tests are called "objective." 

In the uproar over "preferential hiring" the "angry white male" who 
scored higher on some "aptitude" test thinks that he somehow proved he 
was better qualified because the test was biased in his favor. IQ tests 
measure something, they just don't measure "intelligence" - whatever 
that is. a competitive world

I first officiated a sporting event while I was in the navy and the 
referee for a league touch football game didn't show up. It was 
interesting because it was automatic for me to "call 'em like I saw 

In San Antonio I had a baseball team that played all comers and again 
one day when no umpire showed up, I volunteered and found that I could 
be objective even though it might adversely affect my team's fortunes.

When I moved to San Francisco, I heard of a need for professional 
umpires to handle local high-level sandlot games and as I had no job I 
took it on with enough success that I was in demand and worked 7 or 8 
games a week.

Very few people are willing to endure the verbal (mostly) attacks 
associated with being judge, jury and executioner in an area where 
competition is so fierce. I was a baseball fan since the Jackie Robinson 
inclusion. With umpiring, I learned a great deal about being 
simultaneously disinterested and arbitrary.

Umpiring is a perfect example of the second kind of truth. Like a TV 
commercial in which an actress playing an underwear inspector says, "It 
can't say 'Haynes' until I say it can say 'Haynes'" so in baseball, 
you're not safe until the umpire says you're safe. Such truths irritate 
the participants, witness the violent squabbles rampant in many games, 
but it is also well understood that the game could not be played without 
having an independent truth maker. The same theory applies to the 
institution of government or business. Somebody has to decide which scene gets shown, which winds up on the cutting-room floor.

On their surface athletic contests seem to be conflict but it soon is 
evident that they are fully cooperative efforts. This is also true of 
business competition, fights, and even war. The advent of instant 
universal communication brings us together in a huge verbal network so 
that we can hope to eliminate borders and other barriers. Just as Jackie 
Robinson's use of baseball as a demonstration of the obsolescence of 
separate leagues for Negroes, so the jetliner and satellite 
communication are changing such customs as Customs Services.

Baseball played by high school and older amateur athletes is much like 
its professional model - a world unto itself. The participants' lives 
are heavy with the lore and exuberance of participation. The most 
telling thing I learned is that competition is a form of cooperation, 
not of conflict

Umpiring gives a unique feeling; one makes of oneself a sort of 
stimulus/response machine and merely calls the plays reflexively. It is 
a very detached thing; when the players argue it often seems quite 
absurd and always becomes a sort of "theater of confrontation."

Most of the time there is full cooperation between competitors and 
officials because it is accepted that without impartial arbitration the 
game becomes impossible. In our culture we focus on competition as 
conflict but conjunctive effort is a more appropriate model. At one time 
the rules of baseball forbade fraternization among competitors before 
contests, now we aren't surprised when a football player tells his rival 
"nice hit."

The techniques used by baseball umpires are little appreciated by fans 
or players. A famous catcher turned TV analyst holds forth about certain 
players "getting the calls" and the methods he used when playing to 
influence decisions. I often wonder if a year of calling balls and 
strikes would make him aware of certain psychological facts: there is no 
time to call pitches if one waits to see where the catcher's mitt 
receives the ball - the call is made prior to that, when the ball 
crosses or misses the plate.

When I was umpiring I was unaware of who's a rookie and who a star. You 
wouldn't last a month as a professional umpire if you had all the 
prejudices and influences cited by reporters.

One of the few instances of cannabian interference with performance was 
trying to umpire while high. I tried it once, and was too laid back to 
have an attitude of importance about what I was doing. Calls were 
delayed and I'm sure I seemed indifferent - which doesn't work well. 
Indecision when the job is deciding just doesn't qualify. a spectator world

When my mother died I used my inheritance (about twenty grand) to build 
my long dreamt of recording studio. My partner in this was Henry Jacobs 
whom I had known in Chicago. We issued some rather esoteric records, one 
of which, a reading of Haiku poems by Alan Watts and Henry's Japanese 
wife, Sumire, had some success because of a favorable review in the 
first Sunday New York Times printed after a long strike. We also issued 
some recordings of S. I. Hayakawa reading articles he had written. Our 
main financial success was recording commercials for Japan Airlines. Henry and John Korty got nominated for an Oscar for a satirical documentary designed to combat cigarette smoking called "Breaking the Habit."

Henry knew Gary Goodrow, a member of a new troupe that did 
improvisational theater which we recorded. That's how I met Alan 
Myerson. Alan had started The Committee, a satirical troupe with 
political focus based on similar undertakings in London and Chicago. It 
was like an in person Saturday Night Live. I offered to become Alan's 
apprentice in the theater direction field and before a year was out I 
became the general manager. A few years later I was also the company's 

My interest in theater was sociopolitical rather than show business; a 
main objective was getting our boys back from Vietnam, plus a lot of 
other goals frequently associated with people of the peace and love 
persuasion. We helped sponsor one of the first initiatives to 
decriminalize marijuana and also ran actor John Brent for mayor. If 
Ronald Reagan could be governor of California, surely San Francisco 
could use an acting mayor.

At the height of our commercial success we had two theaters in San 
Francisco, one in Los Angeles and sometimes a road company. We did a TV 
special as well as being guests on several major shows. I dropped out 
after about 7 years. The war had ended and theater per se didn't hold 
much interest. Alan and many of the actors enjoy (at least experience) 
success in the entertainment industry. I went back once more to science, 
this time into the World of Blindness exploitation.

Theater is as heavy as dance or music. While the popular feeling is that 
playacting is an imitation of real living, it is frequently the other 
way around. We act out; we refer to sexual performance; we engage in 

Stories and dramas are structures that we impose on experience. Events 
are not themselves systematically structured with beginnings, middles, 
and ends.

Language, religion, and theater are viruses that infect existence in 
miraculous ways. Actors and other victims of celebrity are revered in 
our culture, but reverence is one of the most insidious forms of 
bigotry. We put our celebrities on pedestals so that we may more easily 
annoy them. The most familiar notables often require bodyguards just to 
finish a meal in public.

There are actors who belong to or vilify other cultures, but they, like 
attorneys, can play the part of the other side. In a sense all our 
public interrelationships hinge on our ability to make believe that 
Spics, Kikes, and Guineas are actually acceptable, even if inside we 
bristle at the notion that they are allowed to possess the same 
artifacts that make us so special.

In a world where busboys (or worse yet, dishwashers) can own cars, it is 
becoming imperative that privilege and exclusivity become separate. That 
busboy may also have a doctorate in philosophy or comparative religion, 
just as that pimple faced kid may be your only hope of learning to use a 

Although the most predacious sharks of the entertainment industry are 
notorious for bad faith and utterly selfish actions, they are still able 
to do business with a wink and a nod - handshakes are left as 
preliminaries to a boxing match. The film is finished before the 
contracts are signed.

The role of the director in a theatrical undertaking is fascinating 
because on the surface it seems to belie the attitude that we are all 
partners in life. The director (coach, chief executive, parent) seems to 
be necessarily above, or at least apart from the others in an ensemble. 
There can only be one captain. The buck stops here. So long as the exit 
remains unlocked during business hours, this isn't "slavery". If the 
goal requires the use of some form of dictatorship it matters little to 
the participants. A director can improve the efficacy of the other 
performers but the troupe still has the ultimate veto power. Even 
prisoners can win concessions from their keepers.

Del Close pointed out that the widely accepted notion that drama emerges 
from conflict overlooks a fundamental verity: conflict is but one form 
of cooperation. The many instances of former rivals recognizing this 
include the aging vets from opposing sides of a war cutting up old 
touches in their dotage and boxers before a fight explaining how they 
will mar each other's features.

Although I believe we're all in this together, putting on shows made us 
use women to play roles in scenes about women and African-Americans to 
play Blacks.

A couple of our pieces illustrate the relevance of this. A white lady 
played by Ruth Silveira is onstage and answers the knock to find a black 
man, Everett Cornell, looking at a piece of paper. He says "I must have 
the wrong place, I was looking for a Mrs. Johnson." She says she's the 
one who called for the repairman. He says something to the effect that 
Johnson is a "black" name.

I am reminded that although some early presidents were slave owners, the 
surnames Washington and Jefferson are quite frequently found with black 
people. Just as it was presumed a decade ago that black people in 
professional football couldn't be quarterbacks or coaches, it is now so 
clear that white people can't be defensive backs that in order for 
Brigham Young University to be competitive in college football, the 
Mormon church had to have a talk with God about their traditional 
allocation of black people to second class status.

Although on occasion Chris Ross, a white actor was very effective in a 
sort of surreal piece whose key line was "We Negroes love our 
watermelon!" at which the white waiter, Roger Bowen behaved as though 
stuck with a knife, most of the time it was probably impossible for the 
audience if, for example, in a scene based on the book "Black Like Me", 
Roger Bowen and Mel Stewart (for a while Kalim al-Rashid) traded 
roles.To experience other cultures you don't really have to be an actor 
pretending to be something you are not. In the instance of groups proud 
of their identity, you will probably be welcome as an observer since 
your willingness to learn has to feature respect. I went in as an 
apprentice in a field of which I was totally ignorant and became 
director of one of the most successful theaters in San Francisco, and 
more importantly I learned a lot about us/them.

Some of this sort of experience can be had by volunteering at a Senior 
Citizens' Center or playing with your grandchildren in their clubhouse - 
if you adopt a good attitude: you are there to learn as you help. Accept 
condescension but don't practice it. a dunghill world

After our goal to stop the Vietnam war was achieved I closed down The 
Committee and was eking out a meager living playing poker in card rooms 
around San Francisco. I was living in a skid row hotel and Chubby Crank 
took me in. I lived in a bean bag on his living room floor and our 
fortunes were enhanced by winning efforts in our popular high stakes 
poker sessions.

Chub was musical director for a successful singer, Ray Price. Ray had a 
ranch in East Texas where he raised race horses and gamecocks. I didn't 
know about the latter but Chubby assured me that they were part of a 
very fascinating world that was extensive though almost entirely a 
secret from the real world. For a season we lived on Ray's place and 
attended about a dozen derbies. The following year we had our own 
operation and fought roosters all over North America.

I was a novice at raising gamecocks but withthe aid of Stan Mack my 
poultry won a couple of fights. The teams I was associated with won some 
big events but I had to give it up and return to the world of science 
when my backers encountered some legal problems.

One thing I noticed during all this was that it was possible for success 
to make relationships worse instead of better. When we won a big derby 
in Arizona and were in the hotel room with thousands of dollars in cash 
on the bed, the partners began wrangling about who deserved the most 
credit, or more accurately the most cash. I didn't participate since 
none of it was mine, but the discussions put a strain on what should 
have been a triumph. I wondered if victorious athletic teams had this 
kind of problem.

Chicken fighting is about the only "blood sport" that is legal in this 
country since bare knuckles were outlawed in prize fighting. There are 
underground full contact "anything goes" fights but these are usually 
illegal and not sanctioned by my ethics. Gamecock fighting is another 
matter. It is legal in a few states, though often the associated betting 
is at best frowned upon.

The ethics of betting are interesting in that there are some arcane 
practices. Someone stands and shouts "I'll lay 100 to 80."  It is bad 
practice to ask which rooster he is selecting, if you lay the odds you 
pick the bird.  Also you might be favorably surprised when he picks the 
bird you don't want.  If you lose the bet, form dictates that you seek 
out the winner and pay him. Very seldom is this protocol violated.

Another convention is when you are in a position to win a big purse by 
winning one final match.  In this case you are expected to "hedge" by 
betting against your own chicken because if you lose you will at least 
get some consolation money, if you win the purse makes the loss of one 
bet insignificant.

There are three full-time journals filled with articles about the 
"derbies" and advertisements for fowl and the gear used in the sport. 
The people involved are seldom concerned with justifying their activity 
because they maintain secrecy and recognize that in this country the 
public just "isn't ready" to accept what they know to be true about 
their game.

In most of Latin America, the Philippines, and Asia cockfighting is a 
major national passion. One of the most surprising things to most people 
is that in France it is very widespread, yet almost no tourists are even 
aware that it's happening.

Unlike bull fighting, cockfighting is quite safe for the human 
participants. Occasionally people will get mad at each other over the 
handling of the combatants or because of a perceived welching on a bet, 
but mainly the passion is over the courage shown by the fowl. This 
characteristic is where the word "game" gets one of its meanings.

When we arrived at the pit the day before the derby the parking lot had 
pickups with shells; participants were moving their charges into a 
dirt-floor cockpit filling with caged roosters who strutted about, 
looking good. 

Gamecocks are quite colorful with long tails and "boastful" posture. 
They scratch the ground, flap wings, stretch and try to outcrow all 
their fellows. Their heads move about rapidly and if you get to hold one 
its body feels as hard as a football. They are ready to kill something.

Their genetic selection is based a little on their athletic ability and 
fighting skills, a lot on their courage. When we use the word "game" to 
describe a prize fighter who can absorb punishment we are paying tribute 
to the life/death focus of these descendants of the jungle fowl 
originally from Indonesia. The difference between this poultry and the 
"dunghill" creatures that wind up in a bag at a fast food establishment 
is that we, at least in lip service, can identify with gamecocks as 
having nobility.

Although they weigh around five pounds, they will back down from no 
living thing. They are no match for a dog but they often die rather than 
fly. When pitted against another rooster they will try to fight after 
they have legs and wings broken - by just pecking at their opponent. If 
they show any "dirt" by playing dead or running they will never be 

The morning of the derby a lottery matches them by weight and care is 
used to prevent common interests from competing when possible. As in 
horse racing there is a lot of talk about cheating but after a couple of 
seasons it seems more often to be paranoia than conspiracy.

Each contest is preceded by a weigh-in and a check of the weapons. Gaffs 
must be pointed but without sharp edges and their curve must meet a 
standard. The other weapons, called knives, are mostly used in Asia and 
Latin America. The consensus in the Southeastern U.S. is that the 
quality of gameness is best illustrated with gaffs because with knives 
chance plays a greater role in the outcome. Padded covers over the 
birds' natural spurs are sometimes used when sparring cocks in training 
to find suitable warriors. Outsiders sometimes propose making 
cockfighting a sporting event instead of a blood sport. The best 
handlers don't put a lot of stock in sparring ability and are completely 
uninterested in "boxing matches" with the outcome decided by judges. We 
like to think certain mental states are strictly human but it is very 
easy to come to believe that t hese birds have a specific intent to 
kill. It's not about territory or sex. It has nothing to do with food. 
They want to kill the other rooster.

When our match is called Stan takes our rooster to the center of the 
cockpit for a face off in which both pitters hold their charges in a 
postition where they bite and tug at each other's combs and wattles. 
Although these are trimmed, they must be left large enough to act as 
radiators for the heat they are soon to build. The referee calls for the 
fight to begin and the two gamecocks attack often flying several feet in 
the air for their first set-to.

The most effective strategy is to get atop the back of your opponent and 
drive a gaff into the heart. Head shots and other flailing with the legs 
look spectacular but don't often get the job done. Sometimes it's all 
over in one quick flurry but more often both combatants are wounded and 
the outcome is deferred for several encounters. When the contest isn't 
finished in a few minutes they go to a small outside arena called a drag 
pit. Sometimes they are both so hurt that the decision is reached 
because only one is still able to show any fight.

Although it is very bloody and savage, it is not cruel. And we don't eat 
them. a front-side world

The first time I heard anybody speak with a certain glow about horse 
racing was on a troop ship heading for the Philippine Islands in 1945. I 
could recognize a certain wonder in the attitude of one of my fellow 
passengers who made playing horses sound as good as sex.

When I got out of the navy and settled in Chicago to attend the 
Conservatory of Music on the GI Bill I had an opportunity to go to my 
first horse races. I didn't know the old horse players' axiom "don't 
make mind bets. You can afford to lose your money." I didn't have any 
money but my mind bets were so conservative that I managed to retain a 
modicum of sanity.

My experiences were with people who bet on races but never got to smell 
any horse shit. Much later I met Gary Ward who trained and loved horses; 
he introduced me to the backstretch, where the magic lies. We often went 
to Bay Meadows on the San Francisco peninsula. One day we saw a 
three-year-old gelding named Coyotero who blew away a rather mediocre 
field. It was love at first sight. We had to have that horse.

Ward was working as a dealer at a local card room and among all his 
fellow employees we couldn't come close to getting the money to buy the 
horse. A player in the club, steel company executive Bob Krauss heard of 
our dilemma and made a deal to get Coyotero and we were off to Hollywood 
Park to spring our secret monster on the unsuspecting people at one of 
the premiere tracks in the world.

I spent a year with Gary and Coyotero putting in days on the backstretch 
as a hot walker and nights in the apartment as a computer programmer, at 
first applying statistics to picking horses for Bob and later creating a 
system for managing the world's entire steel supply.

Coyotero won some races but our biggest score came when Gary got a horse 
to train named Major Bill (which is what everybody called my father!) 
who was really a secret weapon. This time when we had a table full of 
cash there was no hint of the hostility I had observed at the winning of 
a gamecock derby in Phoenix. We later sold Coyotero and I went back into 
the World of Science.

The backstretch is a self-contained universe in which almost all 
conversation is about horses. The real caretakers are the grooms, each 
of whom rubs as many as four horses. A licensed trainer has a stable of 
from 1 to 20 horses and tolerates his owners on the backside only on 
race days - occasionally at other times if they aren't too intrusive. 
The exercise riders and jockeys (usually referred to as "pinheads") take 
out several horses a day for a morning exercise period after which the 
horse is walked either by a hot walker or at the lesser tracks on a 
machine that is like a carousel. They are washed down, rubbed and 
returned to a small stall (a "box" in England) where they spend over 20 
hours a day.

When horses are too ill or injured for the track's resident 
veterinarians to certify them fit to race they are "turned out" to horse 
farms where they eat and frolic outdoors until recovered sufficiently to 
return to the track.

Some of the handlers think that training involves beatings and many of 
the trainers are sort of butchers to the carriage trade. The racing life 
of a thoroughbred averages about 3 years during which it will run about 
fifty races. Only a few of the thousands foaled each year show enough 
promise to get to the track and of those, very few ever win a race. The 
stakes are high, the percentages miniscule, yet every person back there 
holds the constant dream that this one is the longed-for champion.

In this culture there is complete indifference to certain status 
symbols. The most financially successful trainer of all time was not 
beloved on the backstretch while I was there. He had an undefeated filly 
who died when he ignored her fever and kept her in training. When he 
appeared on TV his mourning was over the "hours we put in on her." The 
backside conversation was "Two things are for sure, it'll never rain in 
July at Santa Anita and D. Wayne Lucas will never have a live four-year 
old." The reply: "That's not true, it might rain in July."

That trainer was full of his own importance, a frequent accompanist to 
people who violate third form of truth statements with lies. Marguerite, 
who took the name Maya Angelou when she married Tosh Angelos, has become 
so convinced of her superiority that, like Wayne, unlike Charlie 
Whittingham, qualifies for an old put down: "She thinks her shit don't 
stink but her farts give her away." a risky world

My mother taught me the rules of poker when I was about 7 years old. I 
loved the game. Playing cards was one of the few activities I enjoyed 
with her. She ran the kitchen at a summer camp for rich boys in the 
Texas Hill Country; part of her compensation was free "tuition" for me.

For chips in the daily games of draw poker we used spent .22 caliber 
shell casings gleaned from the rifle range. My late father had been a 
world class marksman and I was a good shot and very aggressive about 
collecting "chips."

In the sixties I discovered California card rooms, which were the only 
legal form of gambling in the state - made so by a court ruling that 
decreed draw poker to be a game of skill rather than chance. This was 
proven by the fact that good players win rather consistently without 
cheating. I found out how to win with some regularity by studying books, 
talking to successful players, and participating in public games in 
California and Nevada. Chubby Crank had private games which frequently 
became such high stakes affairs that I could actually make a living 
playing. I was fairly good at it but got bored because the main 
requirement was almost unbelievable patience: waiting for good hands in 
the company of dull people in smoke-filled rooms while essentially 
chained to a table.

The most common misunderstanding most people have about gambling is that 
there is pre facto knowledge of an outcome, a hunch or correct 
intuition. The technical names for this delusion are "coulda, shoulda, 
woulda" and "if only I'da."

People who succeed at playing poker or betting on horse races often 
pretend to believe in luck and sometimes feign superstition; this is 
usually contrived to lure losers into continuing self-defeating 
behavior, such as drawing to inside straights or selecting horses by 
program number rather than speed and stamina.

To a winning player the clients are "live ones", "producers", or 
"attractions", never "suckers": valued clients best handled by agreeing 
with their delusions concerning the law of averages and the nature of 

At the chicken fights, horse races, and poker tables there is one 
element that seems universal: there is an association between betting 
and "manhood." When the cockfighter says "ain't a chicken in the world 
can kill this rooster" he is considered less than a man if he won't back 
his feelings with money. Poker players try to "run over" women players 
with bluffs that are transparent to good players. Many horsemen let 
pride of ownership cloud their evaluation of their horses' capabilities.

This machismo can be expensive but it is characteristic of many of the 
groups I have encountered. You can get a lot of good bets by locating 
the delusion that because it's "my team" I will ignore the odds to 
demonstrate my support with money! a square world

From the '40s through the '60s I was heavily involved in the jazz world 
so my remarks about it are not those of an outsider permitted to observe 
this life - I lived it. I was a musician, composer and broadcaster. I 
never expected to be outside that world, as I in fact am.

I first became involved because my high school library had a 
subscription to Down Beat magazine and its competitor, Metronome. These 
journals celebrate a little understood world peopled by musicians, fans 
and critics who were privy to musical experiences that would never be 
shared by people under the spell of other forms of sonic art. Now they 
teach it in school.

Hipness is an element I discovered through my love affair with Jazz 
Music but it is a component of all groups. Old people are hip to certain 
experiences that cannot be had until the right time; gamecock fanciers 
are hip to what real courage consists of; backstretch people have 
intimate knowledge of class; we are all hip to something. They never 
quite get it. If you haven't walked in my shoes... It's a Black Thing, 
you wouldn't understand. Maybe not but I believe I understand your 
feeling of understanding.

To be hip and tolerant is similar to experiencing the joys of privilege 
without the sociopathy of exclusivity. Having shared the joy of being 
moved by the music of Santeria, I get an extra boot from seeing your 
wonder in the discovery that certain drumming affects you as deeply as 
it did me, and when I avoid the jealousy that accompanies 
possessiveness, I feel better. Sure, the Grand Canyon is diminished by 
the presence of a hundred thousand tourists but that's life. I can 
choose not to trample the fragile ecosystem of the Galpagos and though I 
might dream of standing at the South Pole, I have learned to accept 
others' vivid descriptions of the feeling without contributing to the 
pollution there.

One thing I have noticed is that the shoulder standing phenomenon is 
very apparent in music and athletics: "unbreakable" records fall and the 
Ives Piano Concerto that was almost unplayable becomes the entrance exam 
to Juilliard - and Super Sax plays transcribed Charlie Parker solos more 
cleanly than the originals. There was a traditional clarinet solo on 
"High Society" that was supposed to be difficult, later Lee Collins 
said, "shit, now they can play it on trombone." a down world

The drug culture is one I didn't just visit. I was a heavy user of 
cannabis products for 50 years and from the experience, I know that the 
attitudes, laws and proscriptions concerning what people ingest, inhale 
or inject produce the most misguided social reactions of any of the 
subjects under discussion.

I was introduced to marijuana in 1946 in Chicago. The first couple of 
experiences were unremarkable: I had to learn to get high. On my third 
try I was alone, listening to a familiar bit of music - which was no 
longer familiar; in fact it was as if I heard it correctly for the first 

As a child I had been indoctrinated with the "weed from hell" delusion 
and was only persuaded to try smoking "tea" because the people who 
offered it to me were quite obviously living proof that the anti- 
marijuana propaganda was false. Perhaps the residual fears helped 
account for the lack of affect.

I have seen the marijuana pendulum swing from "Weed with Roots in Hell" 
propaganda to "vegetable of Inspiration" and back more than once. My 
attitude has moved from fear to advocacy to a sort of indifference but 
my experiences in the culture are among the most moving of my several 

I once had a full-blown opium habit when a friend gave me a substantial 
quantity of that "queen of drugs" and the withdrawal was a bit painful 
but not as important as it often is to people who have trouble kicking 
habits. I used cocaine as a stimulant to enable me to play marathon 
sessions of poker, sometimes going four or more days without sleep. I 
never thought of it as "recreational." I stopped using any of these 
things about six years ago and have felt neither ill effects nor any 
desire to reestablish the practice.

There must be a place in the mind that knows the how to get high. There 
are instances in double blind tests (the name comes from the procedure 
in which neither experimenter nor subject knows whether he has been 
given the drug under test, or a placebo) during which some of the 
subjects report hallucinations from the sugar pill and some report no 
effect from taking an ordinarily effective dose of LSD.

This placebo effect might account for the problems we have with each 
others' different reactions to apparently identical events. An assassin 
who was spoken to by God and a book burner are convinced they serve 
truth. We who imprison, execute, or defy their intent are equally 
convinced that their behavior is sociopathic and our repression of them 
is for the greater good. a superstitious world

I got into medical research because it seemed to be an activity I would 
feel useful for having done. It is a job that when you give it as an 
answer to "What do you do for a living?" gets a "That's wonderful!" It 
has had its moments; but it raises ethics questions with even fewer 
answers than the work produces.

As a culture the world of science probably gets more signs of respect 
than the others in my experience. Partly because it is an occupation 
concerned with posing questions, it has always made me question its 
pursuit as vocation.

My first job in science was at the University of California Medical 
Center in San Francisco where I got a full dose of emergency room and 
operating room theatrics as well as cutting edge (pun intended) research 
on animals as well as human volunteers, many of whom where other 
experimenters. I underwent some of the same procedures after I had some 
heart attacks but when I was working at the Research Institute I thought 
I'd choose to die before I'd let them do that to me.

Carter Collins brought me into the field and after a couple years at 
UCSF we got our own grant through the most important backer of my 
career, Arthur Jampolsky. It was during the years at Smith-Kettlewell 
Eye Research Institute that I had all the experiences that followed my 
Hip/High era.

Science is our attempt to codify the first kind of truth - what is true 
whether declared so or not. Scientists are not like umpires, decreeing 
what is and what is not. Instead they presume that there is in fact a 
first kind of truth. Although a purpose is to explain what has been 
observed, the main use we make of it is to predict. The ability to use a 
"truth" to correctly identify what comes next is the criterion for 
scientific truth.

Descriptions of science are mostly just stories. Often what is said 
about a field has little relation to the experience. The philosophical 
definitions are idealizations of historical figures in which clay feet 
and warts vanish under a patina of idealism, much like previous 
presidents escape the barbs they endured in their own time. Real world 
"science" as opposed to the "search for truth" model is as linked to 
fashion as any endeavor. Who gets the backing is often based on being 
qualified in completely inappropriate ways by having certain letters 
after one's name, etc. The funding of projects is decided by people not 
particularly qualified, and not at all objective. Waste is frequently 
the order of the day. Pride of authorship is very prevalent; the 
jealousies and rages usually associated with prima donnas abound in the 

A typical scenario is that one gets a grant for work already mostly 
finished. One's students or lab assistants complete the project as the 
principal investigator proceeds to seek other grants. When the time 
period nears its end there is a flurry of purchases so as not to appear 
to have asked for too much money. Most of the grants go to established 
institutions, although much innovative research is done by people 
outside these places.

Science is taught in the way history is - a linear sequence involving 
famous personalities. Frequently the true pioneers are discovered long 
after their ridicule and death. The myth of the disappearance of 
individual innovation and the emergence of teams of scientists who will 
henceforth handle discovery institutionalizes science; but just as jazz 
is the product of outcasts bitten by the muse, so science emerges from 
special minds, often working alone outside the halls of academia.

With the emergence of many-to-many communication, we have the 
opportunity for networks of scientists without the burden of a 
bureaucracy hung up on degrees and certification. "Publish of Perish" 
will take on new meaning and "Peer Review" will be an open event, not 
the province of people whose privilege is based on exclusivity, instead 
on the merit of their ideas.

In duels, hostilities, and war there are rules that make clear what is 
impermissible. This is frequently considered a "mystery" in some 
supernatural sense. In the view of many scientists there is no 
supernatural any more than there is a "subnatural" and whatever IS is 
natural - and there is nothing that is not. a gay world

My first experience with the gay subculture came about because I love 
steam baths. The bathhouses of San Francisco in the 1960s were major 
gathering places for male homosexuals. I came to know their world but 
never really joined it.

My first awareness of gay men as something besides snickeringly referred 
to "queers" came when my mother went into the florist business. Floral 
design was an occupation associated with the "pink underworld."

My peers had hostile attitudes towards these men and towards 
homosexuality, although I know that most of us had experienced sex with 
each other in some form before we even reached high school. Statistics 
in these matters are so skewed by society's prejudice that even today I 
feel that there are very few males who have not experienced some form of 
homosexual contact.

My relationship with Lesbians is even closer as some of my daughters 
live the life. I never had any trouble with that since I can't 
understand why anyone would prefer males as sexual partners.

As I write this the popular media and some genetic research is in heated 
debate with self-styled moralists over whether homosexuals are born that 
way or make a choice, often steered by proselytizing gay or bisexual 

In the first place homosexuality is largely a verbal figment and the gay 
lifestyle is probably a separate issue from sexual preference. The 
shadings of these behaviors is far too complex to be capsulized in a 
word so cross-dressers, transsexuals, and homophobes are but signified 
(and in some cases stigmatized) humans.

I have little to say about being gay, but some observations about the 
absurdity of the straight world's reactions to people who live another 
way. I don't know if most or all of the people who prefer sexual 
partners of their own gender got "that way" from choice or because they 
were recruited into the behavior by their friendly priest, but I don't 
think it matters much. If it's a choice it's a tough one to have made; 
if it's genetic then the verdict on whether it's blessing or curse is 
cultural and the tendency to accept "bashing" in much of our culture is 
at best regrettable. When I was a child it was regarded as appropriate 
behavior to giggle over the idea of heating a penny and admiring the 
effect of a burnt hand on a "retard." Attacking Jehovah's Witnesses was 
actively encouraged by some "Christians" and if gay men hadn't been 
deeply closeted they'd probably have suffered even more really violent 

The list of people who are gay and have contributed mightily to the 
development of what we have come to think of as admirable is very 
extensive and as the closets crumble, more misconceptions about the 
"condition" are shown to be absurd.

A Walker Percy character says something like "pity is the first step to 
the gas chamber" and I think that another first step is the bigots' 
conviction that "faggots" are fair game for anything from ridicule to a 
little bash here and there.

If you "can't stand faggots" I would urge you to get to know a few who 
share your nonsexual interests; you will be surprised and, I hope, get 
over your prejudice. a world of poverty

I first became aware of economics in a high school course and was 
fascinated by its pretense at being a science. One interesting economic 
study I read was a paper about the basis for pricing petroleum. The 
conclusion was that the cost of the product had almost no bearing on the 
price. Price is determined by what the market will bear. This is 
probably true of just about everything that gets sold.

None of us is really important, only self-important. Most horses are 
worth a few hundred dollars as dog food, but the shares in Seattle Slew 
put his value at a hundred million dollars. They used to tell me the 
chemicals that make us up could be bought for a few bucks, but other 
prices are used in deciding how much it is OK to spend to save a life.

Bean counting dictates many social decisions. I am convinced that the 
notion of cost/benefit analyses is akin to the idea that tea leaves or 
chicken entrails can reveal the future.

My favorite economic principles came from an international banker and 
Buckminster Fuller. The former explained the function of money: you have 
a thousand dollars and put it in a bank; now you have a thousand and the 
bank has a thousand; the bank lends a thousand to a manufacturer; now 
you have a thousand, the bank has a thousand, and the manufacturer has a 
thousand; the manufacturer pays his workers and suppliers most of the 
thousand; now you have... That thousand soon becomes several and that's 
a good picture of how this great invention, money, works.

Bucky Fuller sought the true source of our wealth and since we are all 
variations of starlight our most significant natural resource is 
sunlight. Our creative activity consists entirely of making order of the 
chaotic bombardment by photons that is our sole continuance.

Our ancestors were occupied with carrying water from the stream to the 
village. None of us any longer carries water up the hill except the 
bottled water delivery person. The invention of the pump made water 
carriers obsolete.

We all live off pump royalties. That is why we are able to sit around 
reading these words, or in my case writing them on a $2500 laptop 
computer that I got for $99 because fashions have changed. We are so 
inundated with idle time that we contrive exclusivities to seek 
privilege when we are surrounded by a surplus of plenty.

There is a compulsive concern about "work" and "jobs" among people who 
neither till nor toil. We utilize less than one trillionth of the energy 
reaching us from the sun and bicker about somebody else not pulling his 
share, which now seems to mean having a "job" such as calling people on 
the telephone urging them to change the letterhead on the invoice they 
get for their use of the communication system.

The processing of sunlight is like the rituals of the Potlatch tribe who 
regularly burned blankets and canoes because they were too rich. Many of 
the fruits harvested in our ritual shopping wind up in yard sales, on 
the "as-is" table in the basement of the Good Will Store, or being 
gleaned from the flow of garbage destined for the land fills that will 
become archaeology digs for our great-grandchildrens' 

The shopping cart ladies on the street have tools and artifacts that 
would have been prized by kings of a few centuries past, yet we speak of 
abject poverty in the case of people who can't afford a new television 
set. We are in fact almost all idle rich. a white bread world.

My first memory of there being "others" in a cultural sense was in my 
relationship with Arabelle Brown. One night I drove her to church and 
sat outside in the car listening to the music from within.

A few of our maids were Mexicans and I spent some time on a large ranch 
in Mexico when I was 4 and 5 years old. I spoke much better Spanish then 
than I have since. The ranch hands convinced me that the prevailing view 
of Mexicans as lazy incompetents is as peculiar as the notion that girls 
are dumb.

In 1960 I had the opportunity to record the first visit by the Armenian 
church prelate to the Western Hemisphere. Vasken I, the Catolicos of the 
religion that is an older version of Christianity than Roman 
Catholicism, was singing mass at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. He 
was a tenor and one of his aides sang baritone and in that great hall it 
was an astounding musical experience for me and an unforgettable 
religious event for the hundreds of Armenian-Americans who filled the 

When I say "some of my best friends are Jews" I expect you to understand 
that I don't mean that in its usual sense as an apology for bigotry. I 
find Jews to be far more thoughtful and aware on the whole than the 
Goyim I grew up around.

Since then I have experienced that captivation among Cockfighters, 
Gamblers, Performers - all the groups I have written about. One of the 
things they have in common is me. That is probably of no importance to 
them but the effect on me has been the stuff of my life.

If I had never experienced a Roman Catholic mass or sung the National 
Anthem before a ball game I would be hollow. I like to think that the 
idea that there is a meta-experience here is what impassioned me to 
write all this down.

We ask "what are we here for?", presuming some purpose to living; our 
multiple ethnicities have similarities that provide an answer. Even if 
our goal is to move the planet in such a way as to cause it to move the 
solar system and in turn the galaxy and the universe, it starts with 
recognizing the sameness we get from mutual laughters, animosities, and 

Although I never particularly identified with my WASP roots, I have 
moved from embarrassment, shame, and pity to respect for the culture. As 
Bill Shea was wont to say, "it's great for what it is." He was talking 
about forms of music that I really hated but I guess it applies to a lot 
of things. My belief in The Jazz Truth can coexist with others' "there's 
only two kinds of music - country and western (or rock and roll, or 
rhythm and blues, etc.)."

How can we reconcile our love for life with the idea of "ethnic 
cleansing" or the Turk/Armenian, Nazi/Jew, Us/Them problem when it 
becomes murderous? Although I won't call it "The Final Solution," I hope 
that Aretha Franklin's R-E-S-P-E-C-T or perhaps UNESCO, or the Internet 
will bridge these troubled gulfs. If Crips, Bloods, Skinheads can dance 
to the same drummer from time to time we may yet be cool.

Umpires are booed, ridiculed, and heavily dissed. In terms of the game, 
they also have life and death power over the other participants. They 
know how it feels to be an outsider but they can also "pass" during most 
of their lives in the "real world" because they go largely unrecognized 
when not working.

The reverse of "passing" is the closet. When I was about 10 I began to 
follow the fortunes of a Texas League team, the San Antonio Missions, a 
farm team of the the major leagues' perennial cellar dwellers, the St. 
Louis Browns. Following their fortunes meant listening to radio 
broadcasts of the games. The announcer was a colorful gentleman using 
the name of Bolivar Dougag. His name was Sam Goldfarb and in that part 
of the country in that part of the century his real name would have made 
the announcer's job unobtainable.

I got to know him and occasionally hung out in the broadcast booth at 
games and had dinner with him and his wife. I didn't know that Jews were 
supposed to be on my shit list. Umpires couldn't fraternize with team 
members so they often socialized with announcers and sports writers. My 
first acquaintance with an umpire was to caddy for Sam and umpire Coe 
one day and I got to hear grown men use all the curses and obscenities 
that were hidden from use around women.

This sort of exposure to Jew, umpire, and foul language was formative in 
about the same sense I later learned about music and dope: the power of 
these forbidden fruits and the humanity of these people were being 
denied by most of society and that is everybody's loss. Jews, 
cockfighters, umpires, women: they all qualify and to behave otherwise 
robs us even more than them.

Passing is sometimes done for the sake of safety but it is not always 
possible or convenient. Recently it has become a sign of cowardice, 
earning the contempt of fellow outcasts.

"I'm Black and I'm Proud" says a song typical of this attitude. There is 
a movement in the gay community to force people out of the closet, even 
against their wishes; liberated women profess pity for those still 
confined barefoot to the kitchen; kids don't trust anyone over thirty 
and horsemen echo the carny anthem, "fuck everything but the circus."

"Uncle Tom" has his counterparts in many of these cultures. Chicken 
fighters on the whole prefer to stay secretive about their passion but 
"grey panthers" are becoming politically militant although the effort to 
look ever young is the foundation of huge industries. People in wheel 
chairs chain their vehicles to cable cars and picket Jerry Lewis, who 
seems astonished that they think of his "help" as insulting.

As "backlash" is used as an excuse for not making waves it also serves 
to stiffen resolve among people who feel oppressed. The remedies for 
making changes in "second-classism" are often political or legal. The 
backlashers resort to demagoguery, pretending that discrimination 
doesn't really exist; previous generations blamed "outside agitators" 
riling up "our nigrahs."

What might be the best thing to learn from these put-downs is that we 
are all perpetrators as well as victims: Black Muslims who are doubly 
outcast vilify Jews; born again "Christians" organize to deny 
homosexuals relief from discrimination; women who were once children 
pose protectionism for youths who don't know what's best for themselves; 
Catholics try to impose their vision of morality on society; the list is 

Blind peoples' solutions teach that our preconceptions of reality and 
importance contain flaws just as the presence of testicles can mislead 
us into converting differences into superiorities. The teachings of 
Mohammed, Jesus, Buddha, and Hensley have threads that indicate common 
ground for us all. Perhaps we are creatures in service to our selfish 
genes, but maybe those genes have an enlightened self interest that 
insists on "live and let live" as well as "do unto others..."

The fastest growing segment of the world's population is the leisure 
class. TVs and cars are emblematic of people living off pump royalties. 
In the flower generation's heyday it was hard to take seriously the 
Mustang Maoists' preachings about the redistribution of wealth but a 
visit to the Goodwill store tells a lot about the disposability of 
fashion. To many young people, goods displayed on the racks of salvage 
shops are more "in" than those in the boutiques on Rodeo Drive.

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and William Blake's "...Believe a 
Lie when you see with, not thro, the Eye" sum it up pretty well. We 
presume a reality independent of our senses - the tree falling in the 
unpopulated forest most likely makes about the same sound even if 
unheard by any ear. an amoral world.

My exposure to ethics predates my consciousness. When my mother said, 
"you've got to consider the other fella" it didn't seem foreign to me.

Many times I feel that ethics is a delusion; business ethics and legal 
ethics are oxymorons. "What's mine is mine."; "The government can't tell 
me what to do on my own land." How can the dream of absolute liberty and 
the reality of absolute interdependence be resolved while our genes 

Many of the answers to the "eternal questions" are Biblical or Talmudic 
or perhaps Koranish. I read the King James "translation" when I was 
about 11 and went to various sessions of Protestant Sundays for a while. 
In navy boot camp, one had to attend some service on Sunday so I went to 
a different one each week.

Like most of you I have been proselytized by Jehovah's Witnesses and 
Mormons at my front door and I know devout Roman, Anglican and Armenian 
Catholics, Jews, and Seventh Day Adventists in addition to Pentecostals, 
Baptists, Presbyterians, and Methodists. I believe almost all organized 
religions talk the talk and almost none of them walk the walk.

Lately my favorite moral code is the hacker ethic. The term "hacker" is 
associated with the practice of computer vandalism/piracy. I prefer the 
meaning of its originators: one who makes computers work. The ethic led 
to the invention of shareware, a form of software distribution that 
allows one to try a computer program and then pay for it only if it is 
kept and used. Hackers also tend to think that software should be free 
and that "intellectual property" is almost theft.

Ethics are a mainstay of all my groups.  You don't smoke marijuana 
without offering it around; if others are waiting to sit in with the 
band you don't take an unseemly number of solo choruses; if a player 
demeans the contest by defying the umpire's authority you eject him from 
the game.  A bunch of violations occur but yours distance you from your 

Some ethical positions are part of our organized religions.  Governments 
are often guided by these same dicta.  We suppose that in our form of 
government the decision as to what constitutes a religion is left in the 
hands of the members of those organizations.  In fact they don't even 
have to be organized!

Kirby Hensley understands the distinction between religion and 
government. As governments begin to fall to pieces, being replaced by 
business, it has become clear that ethics are fundamental to survival. 
We must work towards making "business ethics" something other than an 

Hensley founded the Universal Life Church and ordained more ministers 
than any previous religious organization. There are millions of us who 
are officials in Universal Life. In fact by reading this sentence you 
are hereby ordained a minister of the Universal Life Church. You may 
officiate at weddings, baptisms, funerals, or whatever you feel 
appropriate. I can't unfrock you but if you no longer want to be a 
minister that's entirely in your hands.

Just as you can take whatever title suits your fancy, be it imam, 
priest, guru, or rabbi, so I have become pope - not THE pope, just pope. 
There may be other popes than me and the one in Rome, but I am likely 
the most ecumenical of all. In my flock are Christians, Jews, Muslims, 
Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Shintos, and anybody who qualifies as having 
respect for Life - that's what Universal means.

Who are excluded are those who are for Universal Death. Like the supreme 
court justice who can't define pornography but knows it when he sees it, 
I can only rule on which behaviors qualify and which are inappropriate 
as I encounter them.

Just as the first uninteresting number one examines becomes interesting 
because of its discovery, so something found not to be, becomes. If you 
would rather experience death before dishonor, you will never be 
dishonored. We all have different guidelines as to what constitutes 
dishonor but the implication of that notion is that life matters.

I have been dancing among groups that I urge you to move from abhorring 
through tolerating to respecting; so, is it that any group has my 
blessing? Do I think we should behave more kindly towards the Nazis, 
KKK, or underground terrorists? Is there a way to tell objectively which 
ones qualify? I leave that as an exercise for the reader.

Urban gangsters have ethics that seem pretty warped: you can be 
blamelessly killed for wearing the wrong colors in the right place. Even 
those who kill lightly seem aware that murder is distinctive behavior. 
If we are our genes' vehicle for survival then our conscience is a 
recognition that we're all in this together.

As promised at the beginning of this opus: I told you what I was going 
to tell you; I told you; now I'm telling you what I told you.

Religion proclaims it.

Science proves it.

Experience verifies it.

We are all members of one another.