Monday, May 4, 2015

Human Behavior

"Human behavior.  Think about it.  You know what I'm saying?" 

I wasn't certain if I followed his drift, so to speak, but it was an intriguing enough question.  I like the way non-academics talk about their most intellectual thoughts. . . you know?  They don't have much practice and virtually no formal training.  It is folk-talk full of questions and comparisons. 

At the bar while waiting for the Kentucky Derby to begin, an African American male (I heard this phrase on television--I think it was a policeman saying it) sat down next to me.  He may have been the only black man in the bar, and being a liberal, of course. . . he probably picked me out. . . we began to chat.  The bar isn't WASPY, exactly, but it is full of debutantes and dilettantes, lawyers and doctors and brokers and their concubines--you know, my kind of place.  You may be wondering how serious I am about that statement.  I'll just say that I always feel safe in a bar like that.  I think I can win most fights if they occur.  I don't feel the same about going to my new friend's bar, the African American male.  Oh, I'll go, but I am a different person there.  Not completely but probably noticeably. He was a husky fellow with big bones and broad shoulders, and he was sporting what might have been an expensive watch and some big, gold rings.  He was scented with cologne, something I've not smelled for quite a while.  He ordered a pint of beer and a shot of Patron.  He asked, "Do you have Patron?"  Well. . . anyway, we began to chat about this and that, and as he warmed up, he began to inform me about life, the way it should be dealt with and lived.  He was full of wisdom from his daddy.  After another Patron, he was telling me how I should have bet on the race. 

"'Cause you gotta live life, you know what I'm saying?  My father told me. . . ."

After the race was over, he had some trouble with the bill, something about the number of shots he'd ordered.  He'd had four and two beers, but I wasn't helping him out at all.  I imagine this is how they keep the black population out of the bar. . . you know what I'm saying?  He was drunk at this point and he held up his hands saying, "Ain't no drama. . . damn. . . ain't no drama here. . . ."  He looked at me.  I gave him a sympathetic smile and shook my head vaguely.  Somehow I felt slightly responsible.  I think I had egged him on a bit talking about spending money, betting on horses, living life. . . you know what I'm saying?  I was doubting that he was thinking of coming back soon. 

But I've been diligently pondering human behavior and its variations.  We keep making laws trying to regulate it.  Don't drink and drive, don't do drugs, carry a gun but don't shoot anybody unless you are standing your ground.  It's crazy, though.  There isn't a human behavior I can think of that hasn't been sanctified by a social group at some time in some place.  We punish priests for what the ancient Greeks referred to as apprenticeships.  Prostitutes used to be reputable.  Drugs were useful (link).  Girls became brides at twelve.  Brothers were required to have sex with their sisters, daughters with their fathers, sons with their mothers. 

How are you going to regulate that?  But we try.  Boy, oh, boy, we sure do try. 

Some people feel better, some people feel worse.  Baltimore.  Who is winning?  Syria? 

Sometimes on a sunny, beautiful Sunday afternoon walking among the privileged down the Boulevard, it seems to be working out fine.  Why wouldn't everyone want to live that way?  What's wrong with people? 

Here is the most dangerous thing I ran into yesterday.  It cost my friend five bucks.  We gave another five to the fellows playing music.  Oh what a day :)

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(for some reason, I can't upload the videos to YouTube. . . Selavy)

1 comment:

  1. "Prostitutes used to be reputable."
    Some even became saints. Have you read Anatole France's Thais?

    Here's a nice bit spoken by the skeptic, Timocles of Cos: Men suffer...because they are deprived of what they believe to be a benefit, or else possessing it, they fear to lose it; or because they suffer what they believe to be a wrong. Suppress all belief of this kind and all evils would disappear...I decided to no longer consider anything advantageous, to profess entire detachment from this world's goods and live in solitude and immobility.

    Got the last two down!