CROSSROADS TO SOMEWHERE: With No Other Choice, I Talk to Myself

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By W.T. WIMPY HIROTO

“A creature of habit to the nth degree, [my]daily routine can be charted as surely as the sun rises,” a noted writer recently said.

This observation piqued my sometimes inquiring mind.  How so very true, I thought, as I settled in my special chair, wiggled the posterior and switched on the computer. [For the sake of transparency, the author quoted above was yours truly.]

Some personal habits: I shave left-handed but brush teeth using the right. The first step into an elevator or on an escalator is always with left foot, as in kicking (at anything.) Yet it’s the right first when putting on socks or Tebow kneeling. As with teething, it’s always the right hand that wields a hairbrush, fork, knife, chop sticks. The left side takes over when throwing, facing a pitcher or pouring a pitcher of beer.

[To give you time to contemplate your own habits, let’s take a hundred-second break, after which you can give me your undivided attention. Okay, all together, inhale through your nose and exhale the other way, while counting to one hundred.]

I should point out CR2S is semi-ambidextrous, neither Don Drysdale nor Sandy Koufax. You’ve heard of old-time teachers who would whack left-handers to force use of the right? Well, my mother was nobody’s fool, even though she couldn’t speak English. While daughter Martha and eldest son Edwin  (later third son Donald) were born normal and righty, wise and dear O-kaa-san anticipated the drawback of being a southpaw: Pre-war classroom chairs were all the same, with the writing arms only on the right side.

So began early practice to “be correct.” Brilliant!  [The training, not me.] The net result was a natural portsider being made a righty.

Why no left-handed grammar school chairs? Great question. No answer.

How that transformation changed my life, if at all, is moot. I read someplace where it could screw up one’s mental balance, like a cranial tug-of-war. No examples.

Whenever I read an interesting newspaper article or hear a television talking head babble, the lack of a conversational companion hits me upside the head. A spouse is obviously more than a talking partner, to be sure, but that role always ranked high with me. Brighter than I, my wife could more than hold her own, be it sports, politics, world events, music, religion, you name it. But always careful to never to outshine a very sensitive husband.

Nowadays in lieu of a discerning wife, I catch myself often talking to the television set or redlining a newspaper article or magazine tidbit.  For example, the Los Angeles mayoral race. There’s no one to hear my rant that DWP’s endorsement will be Wendy Greuel’s albatross. Eric Garcetti is no Bradley but neither was Riordan. And then there was CR2S’s preseason assessment: Both Dodger and Angel teams were overrated. I’ve already taken care of Kobe Bryant.

In case you didn’t catch the item buried deep within the pages of The L.A. Times, do you know Asian Americans aren’t basking in the glory of financial security? The official poverty rate of AAs actually exceeds whites. According to adjusted 2011 figures, Asians had a poverty rate of 16.1% compared with the 10.4% rate of whites. Of course in education (and women’s golf), the numbers are way out of whack. Whether Berkeley, UCLA or Irvine campi, the Chinese numbers are overwhelming. And the makeup of high school Academic Olympics teams do need introduction, as well as pronunciation. Need I remind you that India is also Asian?

Deputy Chief Terry Hara’s ill-fated sojourn into the world of politics apparently didn’t hurt his LAPD career. He has been returned/elevated to head West Bureau, his former command, replacing Debra McCarthy, who was promoted to head internal affairs by Chief Charlie Beck. On the L.A. County front, deposed #2 Paul Tanaka lambasted Sheriff Lee Baca as a confused and ineffective leader, prone to nepotism. In a surprisingly candid L.A. Times interview, he was also projected as a “potential candidate” to run against his former boss next year. We’ll have to wait and see about that.

I don’t know if you remember, but I sure do: Didn’t Mayor Pancho Villa threaten Armageddon (again) if the electorate didn’t pass his sales tax demand? And then, despite its resounding defeat at the polls, he turns around and boasts about jillion-dollar budget windfalls being handed over to the incoming mayor. Gov. Jerry Brown sang the same song with the state’s fortunes, but his success has come from convincing the electorate to raise state taxes and then “unexpected” income soared.

Talking about government, I can remember when civil servants were looked down upon, chided for not venturing into the real worker’s world. Look who’s secure and smiling today.

Anyway, those of you fortunate to have a spouse, give thanks and an embrace. Not being the most gregarious or friendliest dude in ELA, it’s pretty obvious one needs a trusted partner to remain whole. It’s been twenty years since my wife was declared an Alzheimer’s victim, seven since her passing. Relative to nothing, except a reminder of how long it’s been on both counts.

I guess I could comment on the rapid demise of the Nisei and the aging Sansei generation. Or comment on Cinco de Boys Day. I think I’ll count from a hundred backwards, instead.

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

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