Even though I’m the Greeter here at Wal-Mart, my position is classified under “Security.” I tip off the store detectives if I see somebody suspicious. A lot of times the professional thieves work in pairs, one pushing a baby carriage with a blanket draped over it. The other fills the carriage as fast as she can and then they skeedaddle. You get to know that there are all kinds of thieves and perverts, and after a while, you get so you can spot them a long way off.
My name tag says “Carl” but my birth name was “Carla.” I decided to declare myself a man three years ago, and I’m glad I did. It suits me. I was always short and wide, big chested became barrel-chested when I stopped wearing a bra and strapped with down with an elastic wrap. I even have a little mustache which I accentuate with eyebrow pencil. Always had it. Grew it in eighth grade and had to shave every few weeks until a few years ago when I decided to stop trying to be someone I’m not.
I love my job. I like getting out of the apartment and having somewhere to go. On my breaks I go to the aisle that holds all the inspirational plaques. I’ve memorized them all. “God Grant Me the Serenity…” “These Colors Don’t Run” “Invention is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration” Sometimes I tear up thinking about how great our country is and how lucky I am not to have been born in some shithole. I amuse myself by adding some more that aren’t there. “Gas, Grass or Ass, Nobody Rides for Free.” “I’d rather have a Free Bottle In Front of Me Than a Prefrontal Lobotomy.” I had to look that last one up to see what it meant.
I’m well aware that everything we sell is made in China. That’s why we have so many American flags on display. It’s called “overcompensation.” I might be a Wal-Mart Greeter but I’m not stupid. I know some of the Greeters are retarded. That’s OK! Doesn’t take a lot of brain power to smile and hand someone a shopping cart.
I tell you, the Walton family sure has been good to Fayetteville, Arkansas. They got a public library that would put most European cities’ to shame. Facilities for sporting events, public swimming pools…all world-class.
They’ve got Wal-Marts in different parts of the world. Mexico is full of them. You can send money from one Wal-Mart to another for almost nothing. Cheaper than Western Union.
Once you realize that we’re all in this together and everybody is just doing the best that they can, you can relax and join the human race. Nobody’s taken what’s yours, we’re all being taken care of even if we can’t realize it, and we’re all gonna die eventually so the time to start enjoying life is RIGHT NOW!
Sometimes I miss the motivational speakers of yesteryear. Paul Harvey and Zig Ziglar just had a way of making you glad to be alive right here, right now! Too bad they’ve both passed on. The rest of us still have our journey ahead of us.
I don’t tell many people about my gender change. Nobody needs to know. I don’t miss having sex with men, not that I ever had much of it. He always seemed to get more out of it than me, so it’s just as well. Heck, I’m a man now, and no woman is going to throw herself at me, which is fine. Pick your battles. Most of them you can just walk away from. As Zig Ziglar said “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” For me, every day is a new start.
Everything is either suction or
pressure. There is nothing else. Oh sure, they want you to believe
it’s more complicated than that, but that’s just mind games they’ve
created to trick you into surrendering your power and reason. I’d
ought to know, I used to be a college professor. Though I never wrote
my dissertation, I completed all the course work for a doctorate. But
those are bitter memories, and I want to move onward and upward,
toward the light of freedom in the present moment.
Suction draws us backwards, and
pressure propels us forward. Sometimes you need both, other times
only one. Hence the spiral, the form that describes all movement
that’s not zigging or zagging. The famous Fibonacci sequence is but
one form of spiral. The Golden Rectangle, the Pentagram of Opposite
Resonance, the Four Sequences of Adequate Compensation, the Center of
Nothing and Everything…these are the tools that should be taught in
our schools from day one! But how many know of them?
Sometimes I feel like I should take
drastic action, like one of those guys who barricades himself in a
government office and claims to have a bomb strapped to his waist. If
not me, who? If not now, when? If you’re not part of the solution,
you’re part of the problem.
If I think it through, I can see that
nothing more will come from such actions than me losing what little
freedom I have left. I’ll be institutionalized, a kindly nurse
handing me my pills every morning and watching carefully that I take
them. “Open up,” she coos after I swallow, and then examines my
mouth with a flashlight.
Some nights I lie awake and think I hear a humming sound coming from my window. Could it be a flying saucer hovering nearby? No, it’s simply the neighbor’s air conditioner. How I wish that it were a saucer, coming to take me home. Back to where I really belong, and have always belonged. This life of mine is a tragic mistake, a sick joke.
Something’s got to give, right? Maybe
not. Maybe nothing changes for the better. Maybe the future is just
more of the same, only gradually worse. If that’s the case, I don’t
want to hang around. Maybe I should buy one of those AR-15 rifles
they sell at Wal-Mart and go down in a blaze of glory. Come and get
me coppers! Top of the world, Ma!
The thing I like about Wal-Mart is that nobody’s any better than anybody else. It’s a level playing field. We’re all just Wal-Mart shoppers. The people that work there are nobody special. You’ll find a sixty year-old man who used to own the hardware store in town that was put out of business after Wal-Mart came and undercut with lower prices on the only items that were making him any money. After his store failed, which had been in business for three generations, he went to work for Wal-Mart, making minimum wage, and being supervised by a nineteen-year-old management trainee who didn’t know anything about hardware, or how to fix things. It’s the perfect metaphor for America. And here I am, who paid graduate school tuition and almost broke even by teaching undergraduate introductory courses to nineteen-year-olds who had the attention span of gnats, sitting at the snack bar, wondering why I’m still sucking air.
Wal-Mart is all of us. It’s the greeter who hands us our cart and wears a blue name badge that reads “Hi, I’m Carl!” Carl would rather be here than sitting in front of the TV at home, watching reruns of Gilligan’s Island. Besides, he’s already seen every episode twice.
I’m too intelligent to watch TV. It doesn’t hold my attention. TV shows are made for people at the mental age of twelve. If you have the mental age of a seven or eight-year-old, then you might find TV show challenging and somewhat profound. If you can actually read and write, you’re out of luck. As TV star Carol Burnett once said in reply to those who criticize the low level of TV, “Television is for shut-ins, for people in nursing homes and hospitals. If you’re not in that group, then why aren’t you out doing something productive with your health and intelligence?”
She did all right for herself. I’d like
to think I still have time to break through whatever has been holding
me back. I was not put here by mistake. There is a plan for me,
though it’s unfolding so slowly I haven’t been able to notice, much
less learn much about it.
Is it cold in here or is it just me?
I’m covered in goose bumps. One moment I’m freezing, the next I’m
sweating buckets. I’m worried that it’s a electromagnetic ray they’re
beaming from satellites. It’s the way they brought down the World
Trade Center in 9/11. Dustification. Doctor Judy Wood. Read about it.
The people who jumped out the windows were in agony from the ray.
We’ve had this technology since the 1990’s. I don’t know why they
would be targeting me, but then there are a lot of things a guy like
me isn’t privy to. I don’t travel in the right circles.
people are what’s wrong with this country. If something could be done
about you, there might be hope. Every time somebody gives you a
break, or cuts your some slack, it’s an insult to the rest of us.
We’re God-fearing, hard-working folks, and you all are parasites
looking for a host to feed on.
you remember a time when America made sense? When Walter Cronkite
told you the news and night and you could believe he wasn’t just
making shit up? When the office of the President commanded respect?
When a boy could get a rifle for Christmas and it wouldn’t cause
liberal tongues to wag?
remember that America. I was once that boy. Now, I’m heavily
medicated, on permanent disability, and although my religion tells me
to love the Negro and the Jew, the Muslim and the Communist, there’s
almost nobody I believe or respect any more. Paul Harvey is dead. So
is Earl Nightingale. They made the Boy Scouts admit queers and give
them a merit badge for butt fucking. That’s the America I live in
always worked, always had a job. When I was ten I was a paper boy.
When I was fourteen, a bus boy. Sixteen a dishwasher. Eighteen, I
worked construction. Today what do I have to show for it? Nothing
more than that immigrant who showed up last week expected three
square meals and a roof over his head. He’s getting what he expected,
and more. Me, I got the shaft.
rent in a one-bedroom, cookie-cutter apartment near a Mega Wal-Mart
that costs almost half my monthly disability check. There’s nothing
to look at but the parking lot, which is full of RV’s half the time
because they let those people park for free, guessing that they’ll
buy something on their way to the bathroom. Scum of the earth lurk
around there. If I had a wife or daughter, I wouldn’t let them wander
over there any time of day.
though nobody wants to admit it, America is full of bad people. Some
of them are even Americans. Some of them are white. Some of them
have guns. All of them have lawyers, and if push comes to shove,
you’ll go to jail and they’ll get house arrest or probation. Their
kids will go to good schools and rub shoulders with important people,
while your kids hang around with future prison inmates. These people
have each other’s backs, so there’s no easy way to bring them down.
If you can get a cop drunk and get him to talk, he’ll tell you all
when I can’t sleep I go to Wal-Mart because it’s open 24/7. The
aisles are mostly empty, but there are a few people walking up and
down, mostly meth users, tweakers, talking to themselves. You can
tell who they are because their eyes bug out. Then there are the
workers, usually Nigerians or Mexicans, restocking merchandise. They
do that kind of stuff at night. There’s usually only one cashier on
duty. Any time of year you can go to Wal-Mart if there’s no place
else open. Last time I was there I met a guy named Ken. He’s older
than me, but I sort of enjoy talking with him, at least until his
negativity gets to me.
is one of those guys who never fits in, no matter where he lives.
He’s still burned up about stuff that happened fifty years ago. The
girl that went off with another guy in 1970. When I think about the
prison he lives in, I vow not to get stuck in that spot. Even if I
don’t know how I’m going to move on from this place I feel stuck in
now, I know I’m going to do everything in my power to do so.
used to think someone was holding me back from being all that I could
be. At first I thought it was rich white people, then Jews, then
black people on welfare, but at last I realize that no one has been
stopping me from reaching my personal best. Once I figured that out
it got easier and it also got harder. I need to get rid of the
parasites in my life. Gotta call them out and name them. Stop
pretending they don’t exist and they’re not sucking the life and
energy out of everybody around.
you’d think a relatively good-looking guy like me from a good-enough
family could have gotten somewhere by now.
don’t know me and chances are you don’t want to. Why would you want
to open yourself up to that much sadness, that much delusion? The
fact that I’m convinced I am the Last Messiah, the one that has come
to usher in the Final Days and bring mankind home to the Promised
Land only tends to alienate me from others. People think I’m
bragging. I’m not blowing my own horn, rather I’m calling you home!
been a frustrating journey so far. I received my calling when I was
thirty-three, and now I’m fifty-eight. For twenty five years I’ve
been banging my head against a wall. By now I have a permanent
headache that no pill could possibly assuage. People tell me I’m
deluded. I reply, “yes, but I’m much more than that! Delusion is
only one of my gifts. I can also imitate many songbirds by whistling,
and do a credible version of the voices of many cartoon characters,
mostly in the Hannah-Barbera family. The Mel Blanc voices of the
Warner Brothers cartoons are beyond me. As a mimic, I’m strictly
yes, I am currently homeless, living in a pile of cardboard on the
perimeter of a little-used suburban park. None of this is anything to
be ashamed about. My time is coming. My glory is yet to be revealed.
I must admit, it’s hard to wait. I am often quite sad, but try my
best to cultivate gratitude for the gifts I’ve already been given.
not me, who? If not now, when? It would be pure arrogance for me to
conclude that a cosmic error has been made. Things take time.
But I have no time to waste.
I’m on an important mission, a mission from God. I depend on Him to
assure my success, to handle all the details, to defeat my enemies.
Who are my enemies, you ask? Let’s start with the police. Vicious
thugs, all of them. Racist sadists.
The simple fact that my skin
is brown opens me to their cruelty. I am a target, which is why I
keep moving, because it’s harder to hit a moving target than a
stationary one. I will move to a different park tomorrow, and up into
the bushes of Griffith park itself next week. Birds have nests, the
foxes have dens, but I have no where to lay my head.
Or, I could say that I can
lay my head wherever I like, because I demand no minimum of comfort
to do so. This is real freedom. To not depend on anything in order to
do what you want is real freedom and power. I don’t need to feel
loved to feel good about myself. I don’t need things to come without
effort in order to enjoy doing them. The ease, comfort or swiftness
of a journey does not dictate its value.
I travel when and where I
like, and don’t expect anyone else to give me permission to do so or
pay my way. I’m not on an expense account. If I decide to relocate to
Alaska, I can be there in a few weeks, maybe even sooner.
Fortunately, I feel no compelling need to do so, but knowing I have
the ability to relocate makes staying where I am feel like a choice,
rather than a sentence.
Oh, and I’m a woman. Did I
forget to mention that? People don’t expect women to take charge of
their own destiny. Most men get ahead by conforming to social norms
and those who fail to are in prison. Most women are waiting for a man
to tell them what to do or take care of them, and a great percentage
of them end up in therapy. People have a hard time wrapping their
minds around a female messiah. Even today, the notion of following a
woman’s guidance is abhorrent to many men and women.
My tendency is to find a man
to blame, and that’s every bit as unhealthy as waiting for one to
give me permission or rescue me. In fact, it may even be sicker,
because fault-finding can easily be disguised as being proactive when
it’s really just codependency. I’ll never forget what a sweet old
lady told me at my first Al Anon meeting. “Honey, keep the focus on
Today, Donald Trump is the
great distraction. How can we spare any time or thought for ourselves
when he’s barging around like a bull in a china shop, wrecking
everything? Maybe when this is over, there will be a zombie crisis,
or a massive die off in some unfortunate place emitting streams of
refugees that have to be resisted and condemned to a slow death. It
could get worse. In fact, it probably will.
I’m lucky I only have to take
care of myself. Thirty and forty years ago I had young children at
home. Life was much more arduous. Now my biggest problem is boredom.
When I’m bored I dabble in addictive behaviors. You can never get
enough of what you don’t need. I have to remind myself of that five
times a day.
Certain people harbor
resentments for many years and find their lives twisted and deformed
by them. It takes a great deal of effort for them to see their part.
Far easier to see how Fate has dealt them a bad hand and blame bad
luck. If only I had been recognized for my genius, I wouldn’t be this
bitter old loser today.
I wouldn’t be living in this
nondescript Midwestern suburb of a city that never mattered much to
anyone. My windows would not open onto a view of a Wal-Mart parking
lot. One of those new Wal-Marts, the enormous ones, that contain a
grocery store larger than most sand-alone supermarkets.
Even here, I have managed to
make a few friends.
I have a friend who might
easily be described as “embittered.” He’s a former college
professor who was denied tenure and forced to leave after almost a
decade of teaching. By the time he thought about starting a new
career, it was too late. At least that’s the conclusion he drew. Too
late for him. Today he lives in a furnished room and eats his meals
in church basements. Although not exactly homeless, he acts like a
homeless person, and is quick to point out the sins of those who have
done better than he.
Don’t get him started on
higher education or politics. Instead, try to get him to talk about
the arts, or travel, or the beauty of different women in different
places. I would have thought he would have relocated to a third-world
country and enjoyed a simple life on social security, but he’s so
angry about the fact that he was forced to pay into Medicare for his
entire working life and then wouldn’t be able to access that coverage
if he lived abroad, that he won’t budge. He would rather nurse a
grudge than risk an adventure.
We meet for coffee in the
park, having bought take out coffee from a fast-food restaurant that
gives a senior discount. I’d rather not find myself cooped up in a
coffee shop with him for I know what he thinks of younger people, men
with man buns hunched over their laptops, tattooed women on their
cellphones. He scowls so hard it’s almost audible, even when he’s not
One pleasant autumn afternoon
we were sitting on a park bench. Children were playing nearby, and I
found the sound of their voices soothing. Ken, that’s his name, said
their laughter and shouts made his skin crawl.
“Aren’t those kids supposed
to be in school?” he asked.
“They’re too young. That’s
“If it’s not whinos playing
chess and peeing in the bushes, it’s these damn toddlers crying for
“I mostly hear laughter.”
“You’re filtering out the
essential ugliness around you. That’s smart. Adaptation. Some of us
aren’t so good at adapting.”
“Ken, you’re not the grump
you pretend to be. You’re just tired and discouraged, and that’s
understandable. You’ve got to find some way to rejoin the human race
in order to snap out of this funk.”
“I was trying to remember
the last time I was full of hope. I think it was a spring morning in
1970. I was interested in this girl and she seemed interested in me.
School would be ending soon and I had the whole summer to look
“So then what happened?”
“She went back where she
came from and married her boyfriend. I got a summer job washing
dishes at Howard Johnson’s. Got drunk every night and was sick every
“Things didn’t work out the
way you had hoped.”
“Back then I didn’t waste a
lot of time hoping for anything. I guess I sort of expected things
would come together for me, but I didn’t have much in the way of
plans. I couldn’t help any of my dreams to come true, because I
didn’t have a clue about what to do most of the time. Most of the
time I was in a fog.”
“Now it’s all of the time.”
He sucked hard on his cigarette. Ken is the last person I know who
still smokes. When it comes to tobacco, he’s not toying around.
“Wonder whatever happened to that girl. Her name was Sandy. Sandy
something. Education major. Maybe she married well and never had to
Eventually, I was able to
steer our conversation around to something more upbeat, but I
realized that this was probably indicative of the way things were
going for him and for our friendship. Eventually, I would reach a
point where I would conclude that it was no longer worth it to expose
myself to so much negativity.
Back when I was still
employed, I had workplace associates who were a mixed lot. Some
bright, some dull beyond belief. What set them apart from people like
Ken and the other people I say hello to on the street is that these
people had somewhere to go every day. They had a reasonable
expectation that life was not steady decline. Now that I’m retired,
or self-employed, or whatever I want to call it, the people I
routinely encounter have nothing to do and nowhere to do it. They are
simply hanging out.
The circumstances in which I
find myself are created by me. If I want more friends with which I
will possibly have more in common, then I have to take action to make
them. If I don’t, I’ll have a convenient excuse which I can use to
deny my responsibility in my own happiness, but I’m no longer that
easily fooled. My problems don’t come from outside myself. They never
did, but I wasn’t hip to that fact until recently.
I just wish I had something
of offer that other people were willing to pay for. Something to
sell. A talent, a craft, some sort of knowledge that would set me
I have found a place in the heart of this decayed city that is quiet, full of promise, wide-open and all mine. Well, I don’t actually own the property deed, but I live here free of charge. Even though I’m surrounded by ruined buildings and debris-strewn vacant lots, they simply serve as a fence to maintain my privacy.
last inhabitants of the remaining buildings were heroin addicts,
junkies looking for some place to shoot up. Their plastic syringes
and rusted needles remain. Stained mattresses that have been soaked
in bodily fluids and now sprout fresh blooms of black and green mold
which are punctured by shards of glass. Vandals have broken all the
windows. There is nothing of value in those places to be salvaged.
have built my own home, a shack made from lumber I have dragged from
the periphery. Because my little half-acre fronts onto no road, I am
never troubled by visitors. Sometimes a dog will venture onto my
homestead, but once he sees there is no one here, he turns back to
civilization. My shack is very small and I spend as little time in
there as possible. I don’t keep food, so there’s no reason for any
creature to break in.
turns out I don’t need to wash my clothes, because the world is
overflowing with used clothing that is given away for free at certain
sites. Charities are overwhelmed with the vast amount of cheap
clothing tossed away by Americans every week. Rather than label and
sort it, they either give it away locally or pack it into huge bales
of compressed and highly wrinkled clothing which they put on cargo
ships and take overseas. There it is sold for low prices to the poor.
is quiet here most of the day and all of the night. Sometimes I like
to imagine that I am at Ground Zero after an atomic blast. Large
portions of Detroit and most of East St. Louis resemble this. There
are hundreds of square blocks in Chicago, Cleveland and St. Louis
that come close. Instead of a nuclear weapon, they were brought down
by racism. The problem is very real, but nobody wants to admit to be
racist themselves, and when asked to attribute such urban decay to
simple racial discrimination, most would rather obfuscate, stating
that it’s a complex problem with multiple sources and therefore
This city, and I’m not really sure of which city it is, for it’s just another urban/suburban fungus that once showed promise it could not keep. The main feature of my neighborhood is a giant Wal-Mart, one of those new ones that seems like a tumor growing out of an enormous parking lot. A few bland apartment complexes lurk nearby, but other than these developments, there is nothing to call a place. No place at all.
it’s racism, pure and simple that reduced large parts of our cities
to rubble. However, when you have no neighbors, it’s hard to imagine
racism playing such a big part. I feel more like Robinson Crusoe than
James Baldwin. When I’m not sitting in a coffee shop pecking away at
my laptop, or cruising church basements look for a free lunch, I’m
weeding my garden, which is too big to tend. All this free land got
me going crazy with my hoe. My rows are thirty meters long! Carrots,
beets and lettuce. I’ve got plans for green beans, but have to come
up with a trellis. Don’t want to attract too much attention in case
anyone is looking behind the ruined houses and through the vacant
are actually quite lovely and flower at some point in their growth
cycle. Maybe I’ll find something ugly to place in front of them, so
that no one will become charmed by their beauty. First they’ll come
around to look at my beans, next thing I know they’ll be robbing me
of the little I have. I don’t have much, but I’d rather not have them
take it. My drawing supplies. My sketchbook. It’s hard enough to keep
it dry in my haphazard shack with the sometimes leaky roof.
keep the little money I have on me at all times. I no longer have a
phone, computer or camera. Everyone else has those things and they’re
constantly using them, so the world is not suffering for my lack of
selfies or social media posts. It took me a while to wean myself off
that illusion of connection, and now that I’m free of it, I’m not
tempted to go back.
I lonely living alone in a vacant lot? Not in the least. If I want
companionship, all I have to do is walk a few blocks. Even in
inner-city America we have coffee shops. Of course, if you’re black
they may ask you to leave after a few minutes, because even up North,
it’s still America.
white. People don’t lock they’re car doors when I approach stopped
traffic. I noticed that when a black man my age and size did the
same, you could hear the car door locks pop shut like popcorn. Pop
pop pop! I’m told I sometimes could pass for a hobo. Something about
my clothes, hair, the way I seem to have just crawled out from bed. I
could also pass as a college professor from a liberal arts school
where they let you create your own major field of study. Lesbian
remember what it was like to try to pretend to be someone I’m not.
For years I sought to fit in to places that didn’t want me and where
I would have been miserable if they’d made the mistake of hiring me.
Thank God those days are behind me.
If everything came easy, life would be pretty boring. Fortunately, there’s always plenty that doesn’t simply fall in our laps. In fact, if you’re pushing yourself even a tiny bit, you’ll soon come to a wall. You’ll have to stop and regroup. You’ll have to read that paragraph again and maybe even once more, just to understand it.
Leonardo daVinci carried his Mona Lisa painting around with him and worked on it when he found the time. It’s not a big painting, and he wasn’t a great artist, but he put in the time and it paid off. He’s still famous to this day, and his painting is the star attraction at the museum in which it’s displayed. He wasn’t in a hurry to finish it. If I weren’t always in such a hurry, I’d probably end up doing more quality work, but I’m always trying to win some sort of imaginary race with myself.
Now that I’m aware of my slapdash tendencies, I can decide to control them. I can decide to slow down and become careful. “Scrupulous” has never been my strong suit, but maybe now I can veer in that direction. I just bought a new software program to process audio recordings for I plan to narrate books, as there is a booming demand for audio version of text. I set about asking advice from people who were already doing this job and at least mildly succeeding.
Like everything nowadays, it’s a home-based activity. As an actor, you don’t get to walk into a recording studio anymore and have a professional audio engineer take care of you. You are the engineer. You buy the microphone. You build the booth to house it from echo and extraneous noise. You master the final recording and send it off to the client.
This is democracy in the marketplace, but like most innovations the transition has not been smooth. There are no more editors and proofreaders that come with electronic publishing. You could hire them, but the expense would be yours, not the publishers. Many of the books I audition for are written more poorly than many high school essays I’ve had the pleasure to grade. So far, there is no gate and no gatekeeper. It’s up to the marketplace to decide.
You can’t really expect me to be in full control of all my faculties now that I have two billiard balls implanted in my head. They’re in the mid-brain, just behind the eyes. About the size of a billiard ball, but hollow and therefore lighter, they change the path for electrical nerve transmission and stop the seizures I had grown accustomed to dreading. I have not had a seizure since the surgery.
The downside is that it’s very difficult for me to read for more than a few minutes. On the other hand, I seem to play the piano better than ever before. Pieces that I learned fifty years ago have come back with little effort, and my repertoire is so extensive now that I could play non-stop for hours. I can even improvise a bit.
Thanks to audio books, I can keep up on my “reading” but lately I find that hearing someone read prose just sounds like a poorly produced radio play to me. Why not go whole hog and put on a show with actors, music and sound effects?
Or better yet, why not just start a YouTube channel where I free associate off the top of my head? Surely my abilities in this area could grow and a regular audience for my shows developed. My random and spontaneous utterances are probably the equal of most. If I fail to entertain or inspire, then I could become the object of derision, again a form of public service.