Daily Archives: July 23, 2014

Moments of Moral Clarity

Worthy thoughts from my friend Ed. J

Do What's Right

Sometimes those moments when the moral obligations are most obvious is when it hurts the most.

In my world there is a particular person who is rather close, to the point of under my feet, as it were. This person is spiritually dead and morally vacant. While possessing a high degree of social conditioning, there is no significant response to moral truth, much less divine revelation. In other words, the only language that works is outright threat, and darn little of that. It’s complicated by connections to other people in the context. Worst of all, it’s a legal adult.

God allows us to face this kind of testing. There is likely always one, and often more, such folks in your life at various ranges of closeness. If you can escape their presence, things can be almost tolerable. If there is no escape, you’ll have to grit your teeth and do…

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The men at Eva’s Boarding House, Houston, Texas, 1967

metropolitan 2

Hi readers.  There must have been 20 of us staying at Eva’s for $20 a week.  Two meals a day and a bed, usually 2-3 guys to a room.  All the rooms were sectioned off with imaginary boundaries so each renter had a footlocker and place to hang his clothes, shared a shower and john.

We were welders, mechanics, service station attendants, short order cooks, construction workers and day laborers.  Eva made sure we all had jobs, before she’d rent to anyone.  She ran a high quality place and didn’t want any riffraff staying there.  And most of us stayed.  During the year I lived there only a few moved on, only a rare new guy came in.

So we all got to know one another, became a mealtime community of sorts.  Mostly hung out nights at the bar next door called the Buckhorn.  We were almost all veterans, by hindsight I’d say we were headed to an alcoholic future if we kept on the way we were going.  But we were America.  Young guys between 20 and 30 years old, all white, all working hard and assuming that was how a person lives.

Naturally most of us thought about women a lot, tried to pick up women anytime they came into the Buckhorn.  Flirted with Eva when we got a chance.  Told one another stories about women we knew, women where we’d been, women we’d been in the sack with, women we couldn’t get into the sack.

A few of the guys at Eva’s were divorced, and I recall one from Victoria or Wharton who was still married and went off weekends to see his family.  The rest of us mostly hung out in bars or tried to womanize however we could.  Around that time I began dating my [now] ex-wife in Port Lavaca and spending the weekends down the coast.

We guys at Eva’s couldn’t care less about politics.  Lyndon Johnson was president, the Vietnam War was raging, and it was none of our business.  We wanted to drink a lot and we wanted women.

One day during the evening meal someone said a shop had opened further down Alabama Street where the sold dirty books and had machines you could put a quarter into.  He said they actually showed people screwing in those machines.  Movies showing people screwing for a quarter.

Most of us were skeptical.  That sort of thing would get a person in jail, we speculated.  So after supper we all headed down there, walking along Alabama Street, laughing and joking, poking one another in the ribs.  Into the first porn shop in Houston, Texas.

A lot of quarters went into those machines that night.  And on the way home, at
meals for days afterward it was the dominating subject of conversation.
Wondering how those people were getting by with showing that.  Wondering what kind of people the women were, whether they were hookers, strippers, or just regular women.

Most of the guys figured they were strippers and hookers. Figured the place was
run by off-duty cops so’s to allow it to stay open.  Shows how the world has
matured since 1967.

We guys at Eva’s had been around the block, been overseas, most of us.  Served in the military.  Hung around with hookers, drank, gambled and drove too fast.  While drunk sometimes.  We thought we knew a lot.  And we knew nothing.

I never saw any of those guys again after I got married in August that year for the next 25 years.  I’m betting they all went right on through life thinking they knew a lot, same as we’d thought back at Eva’s.  I certainly did.  A lot of what I knew I learned from those guys at Eva’s.  Or at least a piece of it.  And none of us knew anything for me to learn from.  We wee a bunch of ignorant normal people.

We thought the women in those porn videos were different from other women.  Different from the women we knew, except maybe hookers we knew.  There was no way we could have guesseed they were probably just regular women who decided they wanted to give that a try and weren’t ashamed, browbeaten, frightened by public opinion into not doing it.

Likely some were fair to middling good people.

But we guys down at Eva’s Boarding House hadn’t lived long enough to understand this world is a complicated place for human beings.  It’s bad about keeping the cards close to the cuff.

Old Jules