Once Upon A Time
Once upon a time, a seventeen-year-old kid worked for a grocery store in SoCal, circa 1969, back in the days when you called a spic a spic. Well, hey, a kyke was kyke, a wop was a wop, a jap, a zip, a chink, a nigger, a mick, a kraut, and a frog were all what they were, but oddly enough, women were not bitches, ho’s, or cunts.
This impressionable seventeen-year-old, let’s call him Markie, was raised in a household where color of skin was irrelevant, and where a person was judged from the inside, out. Markie was taught respect for women, both in words and through actions, and took it personally when he saw a violation of this principle.
Augie had a beautiful wife, also Hispanic, who kept an immaculate house and deferred to him at all times, and they had a couple of kids. I mention this just to clarify that Augie’s womanizing had nothing to do with a lack of a home-life; he was just a jerk.
The only woman Augie left alone, was Martha, but she was pushing 65.
First there was Belva, around thirty-five with big hair, an hour-glass figure, two kids, a soft Oklahoma accent and a hot-blooded, Italian husband. Many’s the time Belva confided in me, as I ran the push broom meticulously around her check stand, furious at the vulgar suggestions Augie habitually shared with her.
In 1969 there were no guidelines for protecting women-and men-in the workplace. There were no restrictions on what a man could be called-publicly-or on what he could say to women. There were certainly restrictions on where a woman could be grabbed, but if a woman wanted to keep her job, she kept her mouth shut, and sucked it up.
But Belva had her husband and she made it clear that Augie could go ahead and fire her, but he would certainly live-just barely-to regret it, when Belva’s husband was finished. Did I mention Belva’s husband was hot-blooded?
Augie left Belva alone.
Not so Linda. Linda was 23, had freckles, was pretty until she smiled, and then she was beautiful. She was single, going to school full-time and did not have a steady boyfriend. Linda was fair game for a man who fancied himself a stud.
Augie went after Linda with a vengeance, having been rebuffed by his first choice. He hounded her, he groped her, he threatened her with her job and he infuriated her. The angrier she got, the angrier Markie got. You see, I am reasonably certain that Markie was in love with Linda.
Linda got fed up, found another job, and Markie got drafted. Sunrize Market was left behind when Markie moved up to San Jose after he got spit out by the Big Green Machine, and he never saw Linda again.
He never saw Augie, either, because a few years after Markie moved north, Augie was gunned down in a bedroom, by the husband of a woman, who was not Augie’s wife. Evidently, Augie messed with the wrong hombre.
That is certainly one way to solve an issue of this sort.
Now, with reported instances of abuse against people of color, groping on the middle school level, high school demonstrations of hate, and suicide hotlines doubling in business, it would seem we are stepping back a half-dozen decades to the “good old days.”
Back when you called a spic a spic, and you grabbed little pussy whenever you got a chance because, well, you could.
Stepping back? Hell, shoved is more like it.