Tag Archives: Deano

More Future Me: Bass-ackwards Letter to the Past

I was discussing  the Future Me post with Hydrox and his littermate, Naiad, a few days ago and they suggested some other letters to the guy I was would probably be in order.  Those two were there through those years wondering with me where the next bag of Purina cat food would be coming from after I gave us a Y2K [ https://sofarfromheaven.com/category/y2k/].

To be delivered January 1, 2002.

“Hi Guy,

“This is me, Hydrox and Niaid, talking to you from 2011.
You are in for a lot of strange experiences over the next few years, and some profoundly difficult times.  You’re going to do a lot of things you’ve never dreamed of doing, just to get by month-to-month.  You deliberately chose to give yourself a Y2K, whether anyone else had one or not.  Trust me, it’s the best decision you ever made.
 I can tell you now:
“Don’t waste your time trying to get teaching jobs, any job where you can take advantage of your education and job history.  Save yourself a lot of energy and discouragement.  [Hydrox suggests I mention it also won’t buy any cat food.]
“That part of you is gone.  They don’t want any white male in his late 50s, no matter what he might have done in the past.  You are going to have to become really good at some unconventional approaches to survival to just squeeze by without going to live under a bridge somewhere. [Naiad says to tell Niaid to stay the hell away from that pool of water running out of the pipe behind the motel next door and quit worrying about Mehitabel bullying.  She’s about to get hers.]

“All that Y2K credit history and the mistooken belief the IRS would collapse is catching up with you.

“You’ve always succeeded in everything you did.  Now you’re basing your decisions on that history, but you’re failing to comprehend that everything’s changed.  Don’t waste your life in all those months of self-doubt and guilt, judging yourself against a set of standards and assumptions you learned from Grand-dad and you’ve always tried to live by.   Those are dead.

“You are still you.  You’re still strong, and you still have a million things to be grateful for.  What those human resources departments believe is meaningless, doesn’t say a thing about whom and what you are because they reject you.

[Hydrox says to tell Hydrox he can save himself a lot of grief by staying out of that bucket of waste grease behind the Chinese restaurant in front of the apartment.  And if he gets it on him, tell him to just belly up to the bar and get it shampooed off in the bathtub.  Licking it will provide a lingering case of the Egyptian Ducksquirts.]

“You’ve always relied on yourself and you now have to start doing it again in ways you never thought possible.  You are about to have to become a person living in the shadows, off the government paperwork, inside the underground economy.  The sooner you understand there’s no place for you in the ordinary job market the better off you’ll be.

“Old Deano,  [A Strange Way of Thinking] over in Belen’s going to try to talk you into learning blackjack.  You’ll want to shrug and resist.  My advice to you, is ponder it.  Don’t resist so hard, but don’t believe anything he, nor anyone else tells you about the nuts and bolts of playing it until you study it all and think it through.  What’s said by the experts is largely BS.

[Hydrox and Naiad both want you to urgently inform their counterparts NOT to stay indoors when you go off working 11pm to 7am at that damned motel every night and to keep a sharp eye out for those damned cat-killing dogs.]

“Don’t let anything surprise you except by hindsight, as it surprises me, all these years later in 2011.

“These are just short-term morsels.  Deano’s been dead so long I barely remember him.

“You, my friend, are entering a brave new world.  Savor every minute of it.  Maybe I’ll send you an email occasionally to hint you along.

“Hang in there amigo.  You can do it.”

[Hydrox and Niaid in two-part harmony to Mehitabel:  “YOU ain’t here, BITCH!]

Yourself, 10,000 blackjack hands in the future, and after it’s a dim memory.

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A Strange Way of Thinking

I’ve encountered this other places, but the first time was several years ago from the man in the picture.

Dean Kindsvater.  Deano.  A man who never saw $50,000 free and clear in his sixty-four years of life.  He played the lottery, but he’d scoff when the prizes weren’t in the high millions.  He’d buy tickets for the big jackpots and wouldn’t even check them if nobody won.  “Hell,” he’d say, “those small prizes aren’t even worth the trouble!”

Here’s a guy, never finished high school, left home in his low-teen years, bounced around as a dish washer and short-order cook for years.  Finally got into the HeeChee jewelry manufacturing business in the early `70s.  Bought an old railroad hotel in Belen, NM, ran a team of illegal aliens out of the top floor until someone discovered Heechee  could be made cheaper in Southeast Asia.

Deano rode through, living in one room of the bottom floor of that hotel the remainder of his life.  Windows all boarded up, top floor a vacant ruin of pigeon droppings and the debris of the life of the man.  He opened a junk shop and sold odds and ends and made up the difference moving a little jade on the side.  Lived downstairs with a propane bottle for heat, extension cords running all over the place from the one outlet, keeping the TV going, the microwave oven for coffee, refrigerator for TV dinners. Cold water sink to wash his utensils.

Three mongrel dogs living there with him.

The only book Dean ever read in his entire life convinced him he could make a living playing Blackjack, which he couldn’t.  Visiting him in that hotel the first time, knocking on that door, hearing him coming from the interior coughing, reminded me of a Frankenstein movie, him as Igor.

I was with him once when someone asked him what religion he was.  “Christian.”…. “No… I mean what denomination?  Catholic?  Baptist?”

Deano thought about it before he answered.  “Catholic.”  But the conversation afterward suggested Deano didn’t know the difference between a Catholic and a Baptist.  He’d never stopped to think about it.  To him those churches he never went into were all alike, all the same bunch of folks.  Never entered his mind that it might be something worth thinking about.  Never been in a church in 64 years of life, never paused to wonder anything at all about anything at all, so far as I could tell.  A unique man.

But Deano thought the prizes too small to bother with if the jackpot was just $10 million.  Never even bothered to check if he’d won  the $100K someone had a ticket for in NM, but had never claimed.  He had, in common with a lot of other people, that scorn for the smaller prizes that could have changed his life.  He’d probably be shyly flattered, knowing his picture was up here for strangers to see.  Flattered and a little suspicious.  “How’s this going to make anyone any money?” he’d ask the universe.

RIP Deano.

Hope the prizes are bigger wherever the heck you are these days.

Old Jules