CROSSROADS TO SOMEWHERE: Aarrghh — The Shame of It All!

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By W.T. WIMPY HIROTO
(First published in
The Rafu Shimpo on Nov. 23, 2011.)

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Call out the gendarmes! Where’s a town crier when you need one? There must be an air raid siren that still works in East LA. How about a West Coast Paul Revere-san? (Sarah Palin: Can you see Japan from your kitchen window?) Naw, Facebook won’t do. Twitter maybe, but I’ve never written anything in less than 140 words since kindergarten, and I doubt if too many of my CR2S readers are really #with it, #dig it and #hep rather than hip.

So why the cry for immediate attention, you ask. Well, after years of fighting and fretting, it is apparent my battle to forestall growing old is about as effective as France’s Maginot Line,  Dr. Conrad Murray’s defense lawyers,  Washington’s Super Committee. I mean, there’s really nothing criminal about advancing age, it’s just there are other mutations lined up first. Did Hemingway have to be right when he said “there are no happy endings”?

Okay, let’s cut right to the chase (whatever does that mean?) The obvious struck me in the face like a cold pelting November rain. First off, I don’t deny being somewhat obsessed lately with the reality of calendar pages rapidly turning and someday, you know, not being around. But when these observations and projections take on a real time and place, well folks, there’s no denying it’s wake-up time.

The other night I was at Taix’s on Sunset, first restaurant visit in seemingly eons; a screwdriver at the bar, first taste of booze in aeons. A roast beef dinner followed, complete with soup, salad, roll, celery/carrot sticks, veggie and mashed potatoes. Just like Mikey, I ate the whole thing! I can’t remember eating so much in my life. And I’m at my lowest weight, 126 lbs., the same as age 17!

But the joy of the evening soon came to a jolting halt. During a lull in the conversation I looked down at my feet – I do so on occasion when in need of inspiration to say something sparkling. Lord have mercy, I’m wearing brown socks. Nothing wrong except I’m wearing blue slacks with black shoes. Is this not the defining indication of an over-the-hill male? Only thing worse would have been unmatched socks. I will never be the same …

As if that discovery wasn’t shattering enuf’, last Saturday I attended a funeral service. What with the existing physical pain patterns being what they are, I always try to settle in a rear, back pew, aisle side. This allows me to unobtrusively rise and stand every now and again to alleviate the discomfort. Well, on this one occasion when the congregants are standing in recitation (“My love I give unto you …”),  I peer down at my shoes as if in prayer but actually remembering the earlier color combination faux pas. Shocking Revelation #2 occurs as I look down: No, instead of mismatched socks/shoes, this time it’s the pants fly open, unzipped. Ohmegosh, what is next on The Aged Agenda? Running over my next DMV driving evaluator?

CR2S is constantly being reminded to allow today to replace yesterday; that tomorrow has potential pleasure and promise. Okay, I’m convinced, really I am. But shoot …

Whether contradiction or confirmation, I want to make reference to yet another service held Monday at Centenary Methodist Church, in celebration of the life of Tamotsu Nomura. I know for sure “Babe” won’t mind my using his gathering to reflect upon the shrinking number of mutual friends and peers. Despite the titular title of “Greatest Nisei Athlete,” he personified the Nisei spirit in so many other ways. The wide and diversified congregation reflected this awareness, too numerous to cite by name.  Despite the somberness of the day, joy prevailed as old friends warmly embraced and tried not to get names mixed up! Babe would’ve loved it.

His lengthy tenure at Pacific Cal Fish is remembered as fondly as his athletic prowess. He was the face of PCF as much as owner Frank Tsuchiya. (Which reminds me of other loyal #2s: Ken Shinagawa at San Lorenzo Nursery, Yoichi Nakase at American Commercial Inc., Sak Ishihara of Penthouse Clothes.) And on a personal level, Nomura introduced CR2S to the pleasure of tako (octopus). What I can’t remember is Babe ever giving me a winner at Santa Anita. Which made us even. (Kimi was the handicapper.)

An impeccable source informs CR2S that the highly publicized awarding of Congressional Gold Medals to members of 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service had an unexpected caveat: a $50 surcharge. Apparently some vets sent checks in without question before someone stopped the embarrassment by picking up the tab for the medals. The ghost of Bill Mauldin: “Tell me it ain’t true, Willie.”

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W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached by email. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

 

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