Saturday, February 7, 2015


Doing laundry is a task I love. Honestly. The soap. The quarters. To you, this HAS to be strange. But think about it.

I didn’t have clothes of my own for YEARS. And those I did possess, given to me by the state of California, I had to hand-wash in shower stalls filled with swinging penises nearby. Hahahahaha. I now officially LOVE to perform errands, and this is mostly because they remind me of what I didn’t have not that long ago.

Get it?

The facility I frequent is adjacent to a dialysis clinic, and nothing screams DRUG ADDICT or PROSTITUTE more than Hepatitis C. Little wonder, then, the location is swarmed by derelicts. They. Are. Fucking. Everywhere. Pinche moscas!

I know the walk. I know the look. For the most part, they’re not hostile. And the difference between them and your average sack of shit American citizen is negligible. But one does notice. Dead give-a-ways include: TOO TAN, irregular hair lengths, oddly matched outfits, stammering gait, and always a backpack! What is it about a backpack that makes someone look like they’re up to no good? Uncanny. Especially if you’re downtown or around that general vicinity, a dude with a backpack is, more often than not, a turd of some kind.

I’ve long said I am the leader of some sick cult. 

I am leader of the assholes.

They know who their daddy is, ME. Fuck a duck. People who’ve hung with me at various points begin with disbelief. They think I make most of this shit up (I do not). I warn them: if we’re in a movie theatre, someone is going to sit right next to us even though there are tons of other seats available; if we’re at a ballgame, the most obnoxious dick in the stadium WILL be seated dangerously close.

Never fails.

After a few of these happenings, those same people who once thought I was exaggerating tend to look at me as CURSED. 

So funny. True, but still funny.

Past girlfriends ALWAYS start out saying how I am too self-absorbed (perhaps), but then come around to my way of seeing this shit. After a couple of dates, THEY’LL start to nudge me and say something dumb like, THERE HE IS, when a crazy zombie walks over to us at a gas station or wherever. Even SHE now knows I am the leader of the idiots.

Maybe it’s because I look a lot like Jesus? Could it be my ruggedly macho handsomeness? It must, MUST be due to my bedroom eyes! Yes, that’s it. ALL OF THE ABOVE.

The homeless wanderers have some kind of divining rod to hone in on me quick.

I lean the leather seat in the Jeep back, reclined. I pump the stereo, Flogging Molly. The music drowns out the otherwise white-ish noise, … and this I need because I keep the windows open. The great aspect of any Flogging Molly song is how you can’t just sit there as they play. YOU MUST MOVE. The band reminds me of a redheaded babe I once knew, and, damn she could move. She was so full of life. She, obviously, was of Irish descent, and if you know anything about Irish girls … well, enough said.  She … had … these … magical … hips. She moved to Flogging Molly like no one ever has! Never mind. Anyway, as thoughts drifted to her lovely frame, I could hear deadening steps dragging upon the tarred parking lot floor. The thump and scratch seemed to match the Flogging Molly beat. Closer and closer, louder and louder, the sounds moved toward where I was.

Instinctively, I sighed, purposefully looking in the opposite direction of the sounds.    

I know what comes next.

Uhhhhhhhh, a gravely voice begins. Hey, brother, … if you could …

Sorry man, I interrupt. And that will usually end the plea. The dude heads off in a new direction. He’s had his audience with the king of the stupid (me), now be gone! I said GOOD DAY, SIR. Good day! Hahahaha. Not this fool. Nope. He wants a sincere piece of our hero.

And as luck would fucking have it, it is also time for me to go back inside the laundry place to take my wet clothes and place them in the drying machine.

Dude is directly outside my driver’s door.

I unlock the Jeep, grab for the exit device, and notice the bag of meat that IS this questionable carbon-based life form … is not going to move.

Down goes the window.

I have to be VERY, very careful. I take no shit. No, not even a little. You wanna poke the bear, fool? Have at it, but I bring the ruckus. BELIEVE THAT. But I still have to be careful for many reasons.

As the window reaches the requisite height, I look him DEAD in the ojos, and I command, Take two giant steps BACK! It occurs to him, for maybe the briefest of moments, to oblige. Maybe it was the tone I used. Couldn’t tell. But he moves, ever so.

As I grab my keys and make for exit, MOTHERFUCKER TOUCHES THE TOP OF MY DOOR.

No you don’t.

Say what you want. Do what you want. NEVER, EVER touch my shit. That you will not get away with.

I slide out, and then I slam the door hard to hopefully make a point. The best part of a bark is the pain it helps avoid. The best part of a Mossberg shotgun is that you’ll never have to use it if you’re close enough; the mere SOUND of it being loaded is an international cry to look the fuck out. A door slam, in this instance, would serve a similar purpose.

I held my keys low.

Remove your hand, I say distractedly, searching my pockets for quarters. He doesn’t do what I want fast enough, so I up the ante. If you EVER want the use of that arm, you’ll …  and just like that, he stops his impromptu lean against my vehicle.

Honestly? Was I really going to risk it all on THIS piece of garbage? Probably not. But I’ve come from a world where that kind of thing cannot fly. It’s harder than you think to shake such enculturation. Not impossible, but difficult when situations like these arise from time to time.

I make my way inside, and this knucklehead FOLLOWS me, complaining about how he only wanted some change, and whining about how I should help people who are less fortunate, etc. Fuck this dude. Fuck him in the ass region! Yes, I said it. Fuck him. He doesn’t know the first thing about my financial situation. He doesn’t know how HARD I have to work in order to afford the mere washing of my clothes. Some months I cannot bring myself the luxury of an excursion to do laundry. Fuck him.

I ignore him, and patrons serve as a social barrier. He seems to give up. Clothes drying, I return to the Jeep.

Guess who?

Alright fucker, I announce, clearly not in the mood to hear ANOTHER DAMN WORD. Take your grimy ass somewhere else. Out of my face, dude. Hear me? You better hear me now, son. HEAR ME. Sometimes deep, loud octaves followed by repetition and a cold stare can get the message across. Sometimes not. Whenever I had belligerent students, I’d face them down similarly. They’d learn I am not to be trifled with. I am patient, yes, but I won’t be your toy. All the wannabe, stupid-ass gangsters would back down immediately after I’d be directly confrontational. Never provocative on purpose, it’s important to speak to lower animals using a vernacular they comprehend. Gutter words, like FUCK, carry a punch and convey just the right panache. I think so, yes.

A moment of serene clarity comes over him. He makes the right decision for once in his life. He turns and walks away. Good boy. When I ask you to leave, LEAVE. When I ask you to go away, GO AWAY. It’s just best for everyone that you learn to follow simple, clear instructions. Who knows if they’ll be repeated. Get out while you can. Yep.

I respect someone’s decision to not work. I respect pan-handling. It’s not for me, no. I want to work for my dough. Pride, I guess. But some of you LOVE to give your money away. It makes you feel better. Some of you do it because the Sky God commands, and you’ll earn heavenly brownie points for the gesture. Whatever your reasoning, it’s cool. So long as it’s voluntary, I am in support.

But the tacit bullying, the not-so-subtle guilt-tripping, the harangues, … I’ve had a solid ass full. NO MORE. I ignore it almost all the time. When someone INSISTS on confrontation, I still try to avoid the scene. My time is valuable, and I don’t type that as a throw-away line. MY TIME AND WHO I GIVE IT TO IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD. Nay, the universe. No one has the right to force me to give them attention. Chicks in my life have been FAMOUS for taking and abusing my time, trading on the feelings I once had. See what I mean? This dude and I hadn’t even been naked together, and yet here he was, demanding something from me! I had to pay attention to him. I had to DEAL with him.


You’re not worthy of my time if you INSIST I give it. You must earn it. All of it. You must earn every second with me. I deal with whom I please, when I please. Understand? I make that decision. Just me. This dude, nor anyone, is not entitled to me in ANY way: financial, personal, etc. Someone, somewhere convinced my harasser he is owed. Someone, somewhere lied to him. Maybe it was societal? Cultural? I honestly don’t know. But now he is an adult, and he’s running out of excuses. Rephrase: he is officially OUT of excuses. All I wanted was to smell the detergent’s perfumes against my rags. Simple pleasure. All I wanted was to flood my personal bubble with Flogging Molly and the sweet memories of dear, dear Pilar’s made-to-be-a-mama hips. Is that too much to ask? I guess it is.

And I mean it.
Craig Edward Kelso is the author of Anarcho-Capitalism (2014), a primer on the philosophy of peaceful, stateless cooperation. His curriculum vitae include a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from San Diego State University, and a Post-Baccalaureate secondary education credential in both Social Science and English Language Arts. Kelso taught for nearly a decade in the American public school system, and was voted by colleagues Teacher of the Year, twice in his short tenure, earning numerous accolades from chambers of commerce, mayors, state assembly persons, governors, congresspersons, senators, and even Wal-Mart. Currently he struggles to earn an opportunity to be employed, working as a laborer, dishwasher. He is deliriously happily married to Myra Kelso, living in Southern California with their adorable children.

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