Jay Meehan: Wallflowers
Park Record columnist
I figure there’s only one way for Idiot Wind to pull this off. If he wants my cooperation in paying for his monumental wall down on the U.S. border with Mexico, he’s going to have to make me a Mexican. And I don’t mean an honorary Mexican. I’m holding out for the “Yo soy un hombre sincero” La Bamba model.
He did guarantee that Mexico would be paying for his wall, didn’t he? Well, as I see it, that lets me and the gringo horse I road in on off the hook. Unless, of course, he cares to call upon the three witches who open Act IV of Macbeth (and who now serve as his cabinet advisors in the arts and sciences) to morph me into a full-on old-school vato-loco zoot-suit Mestizo.
It shouldn’t be all that difficult for ol’ Agent Orange to officially pull off such a genetic/cultural switcheroo. All he would need to do would be to not put away his smoke-and-mirrors paraphernalia following one of his daily treatments and have one of his technical advisors show the witches how to correctly operate the “on” button.
Maybe I could even talk my way into a gig with the installation crew working east and west out of the quaint village of Tecate down on the border in the panhandle hill country of Baja California.
As a former trail maintenance supervisor for that region, possibly I could lend my geographical expertise to the endeavor. You can well imagine how secure the wall would be in that stretch of, molecule-wise, closely packed partitions if I were to become part of the process.
I’d have to adapt, of course, not to being a Mexican, I’ve always felt miscast as a gringo, but to working the east/west axis rather than the north/south where I first learned the ground game in that particular stretch of bush country. Somehow, that doesn’t ring true. It wasn’t bush country back then. It was Nixon country – sort of training wheels for our current political crop.
In those days, the physical impediments to free-range roosting were a couple of rickety barbed-wire (make that “bobwaar”) fences with a not-too-difficult-to-locate but technologically retarded trip-wire running through the wannabe no-man’s land.
Admittedly, negotiating the slalom course through the high-desert flora could get somewhat tricky if one were toting what went for a backpack in them days but, I must admit, you always felt more like Che Guevara than Al Capone. Having your senses so acutely aware throughout a starlit night could be quite a rush, actually.
Even if one happened to “trip” the wire hooked to the siren back at the shack, the resultant commotion never seemed much louder than, say, shift change at General Motors. And anyway, playing cat-and-mouse with the Border Patrol pickups careening about the dirt roads crisscrossing the U.S. side caused time to pass more quickly.
I’d be interested to see what kind of gate system they install in the wall to replace the Home Depot style chain-link fence rigmarole then-currently in operation. It never seemed any more rigid of a setup than the security fences at the Hollywood Bowl that were recently referenced in this space.
For those who, back in the day, couldn’t seem to properly follow the North Star, and who had, through ignorant wanderlust alone, circled back around to where they were now overlooking the gate-in-question, this time from the north, a remedial course in celestial navigation usually did the trick.
Back then, Nixon’s boys usually knocked-off about 10 p.m., punched out and went home to the family. This would prove to be a wrench-in-the-works if, through insufficient planning, you had left your Austin Healey Sprite with an MGA 1500cc engine transplant and a hole in the hood for the carburetor to stick through on the wrong side of the fence.
That’s when utilizing fence-scaling skills gained at the Hollywood Bowl on the front end of a Count Basie-Tony Bennett show proved priceless. You could never pull off such shenanigans at a Grateful Dead-Jefferson Airplane performance. Security forces, as you could well imagine, were usually beefed-up when the “freaks” came calling.
So, there you have it, you in the Ivanka-brand Depends. I’ll follow your lemming pack over the cliff once I wake up with the natural ability to tap my foot to the “clave” rhythmic patterns of rumba, conga, son, mambo, salsa, sango, timba, and Afro-Cuban jazz. Anything less and I’ll know I’m still a gringo!
Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and has been an observer, participant, and chronicler of the Park City and Wasatch County social and political scenes for more than 40 years.
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