The word "pomposity" just reminded me of Pompeii. I have always gleed over studying about Pompeii. First of all I was attracted to it as a jumpy little curious kid because of an etching in a big world history atlas in my grandmother's bookshelf. The etching showed Mount Vesuvius blowing skyhigh and below its growling, boiling, upchucked volcanic belly matter that is rolling madly down its slopes toward the sea are all of these Roman men, women, and children running toward the artist (the camera in 79 AD) with a ferocious death-defying haste. The realization-of-impending-doom looks the artist had drawn on their faces was frightening to a knowledge-thirsty kid. I marveled over that etching. And then on the next page I thrillingly learned how Vesuvius's lava dust had boogied over all those Romans and had preserved 'em on the spot, freezing them in time, preserving their buildings, too, some of the preserved ones in hiding positions, some of them still asleep in their beds, the population of the whole of the great Roman spa city of Pompeii, where the Caesars went to play, all frozen in time by the ashes of Vesuvius! Then I noticed in the history of Pompeii the clincher that gave it double importance in my life. Pompeii was "destroyed" on my birthday in 79 AD.
One way to immortality, I used to think. Then I saw this guy Harry R. Truman on teevee one night on the Johnny Carson Show in the 1970s (the sweet '70s) [This may not be true--there truly was a guy on the Johnny Carson Show one time who had never flown in an airplane and had never seen a teevee, but it may not have been Harry R. Truman--but this tale is true--at the time of the tale, I truly believed the man I had seen on the Carson Show was the same man I later saw on the slopes of Mount Saint Helens]. This old coot was on the Carson Show because for the first time in his life, he was in his 70s, he had left his home on Mount Saint Helens in Washington to take his first plane trip. His claim to fame, his reason for being on the Johnny Carson Show, was that he had never seen television and had lived on the side of Mount Saint Helens since he'd migrated there from West Virginia in the early 1930s, living in a lodge up on MSH, a life of isolation and loving it. [As an aside: Hey, I miss old Ed McMahon--what a life that second-banana (Clarabelle the Clown on the Howdy Doody Show) had--millions of bucks; divorced his original wife and got to spending his millions up on trips to Las Vegas where he'd shack up for days with hot models and young poon--what a life! Old Ed, a Gyrene, made it to 88; that's pretty good for a high-liver (and bad liver) like Ed! A great American Untalented Becoming Successful story. [As an aside within an aside: As I type this, I'm listening to OP, Sam Jones, Bobby Durham, and Herbie Ellis doin' the "Naptown Blues" [Indianapolis is Naptown]--and the hammering has already begun on the nextdoor construction site--solid hammering for the next 12 hours--lucky me--like having a woodpecker living in one of your ears. I remember a friend of mine telling me a tale of a bothersome woodpecker who chose the side of a house to peck away at with persistent obsessiveness, enough to drive the home owner to the brink of insanity until someway they got rid of the dastardly hammering culprit.]]
I was watching the rumblings of Mount Saint Helens on teevee the morning after the area seismographs were predicting MSH's definite blowing and they were warning everybody on the mountain or in the valleys around the mountain to get out fast. The teevee stations were giving it five-minute spots throughout the day and son of a bitch, on one of the spots, there he was, Harry R. Truman, being interviewed by a local daring teevee reporter who had trudged up to Harry's lodge. The interviewer was asking Harry if he were packing up and getting the hell out of there and Harry started bragging about how long he'd lived on Mount Saint Helens, 50 years, and how he knew the mountain and he'd been threw trimmers before and wasn't afraid and no he wasn't leaving the mountain--the mountain was his life. The teevee dude warned him and Harry finally said, if Mount Saint Helens goes then so go I. Harry stayed on his beloved mountain and his beloved mountain gobbled him and his worldly possessions up and spat 'em out unrecognizable into the gushing flow of lava and whole forests that were being blown clean off the mountain's broad sides...and that was the end of Harry R. Truman. When asked if he were named for Harry S. Truman, he replied, "Who's Harry S. Truman?"
There is also some great film out there shot by a husband and wife volcanologist team [Katia and Maurice Krafft]. This pair risked life and limb to take these awesome films of volcanoes fixing to blow, film of them actually running from approaching lava. I later saw that this pair died when they fell in a volcano they were filming.
From their Wikipedia:
Katia Krafft (Mulhouse, 17 April 1942 – 3 June 1991) and her husband, Maurice Krafft (Guebwiller, 25 March 1946 – 3 June 1991) were French volcanologists who died in a pyroclastic flow on Mount Unzen, in Japan, on June 3, 1991. Their obituary appeared in the Bulletin of Volcanology, (vol. 54, pp 613–614).
One of the excitements of my EZ Pass life--and I do live a charmed life--and I'm talking like Harry R. Truman of Mount Saint Helens now, as if nothing catastrophic could ever happen to me.
There he is, Harry R. Truman, outside his Mount Saint Helens lodge
I may be WRONG about Harry R. Truman, shown above, appearing on the Johnny Carson Show--I can't find evidence of it on the Internet (the source of truth)--I am usually not wrong about this sort of thing since I've always felt I was on parallel lines with certain people, people like Harry R. Truman and Katia and Maurice Krafft--and even the people of Pompeii since they all died on my birthday--and of course only in my imagination does my birthday have anything to do with the burying of Pompeii.
Like just a few days ago, I was toddling in me merry way down to my fav Irish pub when I spied a totally wickedly gorgeous older babe! Hair down to her ass. Oh god I love that! Like old Al Pacino in that "Smell of a Woman" movie, I could already smell this babe before she slid past me. Then it hit me. I think that was who I think it was. I think it was. I think in terms of the parallel line I live on and I know who that woman was. I'm fucking sure of it and when I'm fucking sure of something, I'm fucking sure of it. And later, while getting blitzed on Irish coffees after a fine fare of coconut chicken (the chef is from Singapore) with saffron rice and a special sauce they make up just for me, the hostess verified my suspicions, though not really, and in that statement I leave it a mystery. God, I'm glad I exist in words and not reality. Otherwise, I might have awakened married this morning!
I'm on my way today to a rehearsal for an event Saturday night at the dance studio of a couple, she's from Spain, a gorgeous woman, a flamenco/jazz/tap dancer of top-shelf quality, and he's from, I heard, Milwaukee, and is a top Spanish guitarist--I met them on a recording date I did, holy shit, five years ago now. So they're giving a dance party and lecture Saturday night and they want me to do a solo performance--I'm an expert on Tex-Mex dancing. So I'm going over to rehearse with them today--I'm leery of this--I'm not into it yet. We'll see. I love musicians, though; you talk about being on parallel lines...I look right and left of me and I see musicians galloping along with me--side-by-side.
for The Daily Growler
I used to say New York City is the smallest city I've ever lived in.