HORSE’S MOUTH: I’m Three-legged Now

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By GEORGE YOSHINAGA

Hey, don’t laugh. Yeah, that’s me walking around with a cane. and I know a number of my Nisei friends also staggering about on canes. In fact, I know two who use walkers. That’s a device with wheels.

Hey, let’s face it. Almost all Nisei are in their mid-80s to early 90s, so having to use canes to get around isn’t a surprise.

Most of the Nisei generation are now living longer than most of our Issei parents. My Issei father passed away at age 68 and my mother about the same age.

One thing. Using a cane doesn’t interfere with my driving. I can still drive my car as well as I used to in my 60s and 70s. Of course, my wife doesn’t agree with me on my driving skills. Usually she’ll say, “You’re driving too fast.” (For my age??) Maybe I used my cane on the gas pedal.

Even those born in relocation camps are now in their 70s, and those who were 6 or 7 years of age in the camps are now considered to be experts on camp life.

To name one in this category, Norm Mineta. He was 10 while living in Heart Mountain, but most of today’s generation consider him to be an expert on how people lived in camp.

Hey, nobody ever asked me for my opinion on camp life. I was in Heart Mountain and worked on the camp newspaper, but nobody ever asked me for my views on those days.

Oh well, I guess the old saying goes, “That’s life.”

Yeah, maybe a youngster who went on to become a political leader can be considered more of an expert than a broken-down newspaper columnist.

I guess we 19- and 20-year olds in camp are “too old” to express their opinion.

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They say one picture is worth a thousand words.

Well, maybe by tossing in a photo I clipped out, I can reduce the number of words I pound out today.

It’s from a set of photos headlined “The Year Was 1955.” They show how the value of money changed in nearly 70 years.

Hey, workers at McDonald’s are demanding $15 per hour, but back in 1955, hamburgers were selling for 15 cents. You read that right, 15 cents. And gasoline for 20 cents a gallon.

Let’s see, I paid $3.85 a gallon this morning at my Shell station.

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Speaking of numbers, I was asked by a reader friend how many words I pound out each week to fill two pages in The Rafu.

Well, using typing paper as a guide, I write seven pages for each column, so in a week, I pound out 14 to 15 pages. That comes to 60 pages a month or 820 pages a year.

Since I’ve been writing for The Rafu for 23 years, add up the pages and it comes to 18,860 pages.

Now if I wrote a book instead of a column, using that many pages, I guess I would turn out about four novels. Since I saved a lot of my columns, maybe I can convert them into one novel.

Move over, Naomi Hirahara. (She’s the popular novelist who used to be the English-section editor at Rafu and asked me to continue my writing for this newspaper after I retired from Kashu Mainichi).

If I’m not mistaken, Naomi has turned out half a dozen novels since she retired from journalism.

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No, my next column won’t be from Las Vegas.

I had to cancel my trip scheduled to start on Sunday because I couldn’t get room reservations.

Oh well, I guess it will be a couple of weeks delayed, which means this is the longest I’ve been away from Vegas. It’s a total of nearly four months.

 

Maybe, I’ll spend a few hours at one of the Indian reservations, which certainly can’t take the place of a Vegas casino.

I usually go the closest Indian reservation, the one in Temecula, about 80 miles from Gardena. However, as I said, Indian reservation casinos don’t come close to Vegas, so I usually spend about four hours, unlike the four days in Vegas.

Most of my Nisei friends agree with me when chatting about comparing Indian casinos to Vegas.

Hey, when I write my column from The California Hotel in Vegas, I can keep pounding away on my computer keyboard, but I don’t think I can write a page at an Indian casino.

Going to a casino isn’t only about gaming. You gotta have fun, and you certainly can’t get fun at an Indian casino when compared to Las Vegas.

Enuff said.

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Time to toss in a letter from a reader. As expected, the writer doesn’t want his name published. He wrote:

“I’ve noticed the newspaper tends to include other articles, e.g. films about other Asian movie stars. I’m sure Chinese or Koreans won’t put any Japanese-related articles, so why are the Rafu editors doing this? There should be plenty of articles about Japanese Americans or things in Japan. Rafu staff isn’t trying to be or pretend to be a generic ‘Asian’ newspaper, is it?

“Oh, not everyone here is interested in Vegas. I like what’s going on when you mention about your porch-sitting encounters, Little Tokyo, Gardena and restaurants.

“What about where you take in L.A. if a guest arrived from Japan other than the standard Mickey Mouse tinsel-town?

“I think we’re asking to spend too much of government money on JA monuments. Instead we should ask for dollars to better our immediate needs, JAs who really need financial help, and this is in spite of my parents being held in camp.”

Thanks for your anonymous letter. I think you should have sent it to the editors of The Rafu, not me. At any rate, I’m sure they would have a better response than me.

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A response to a letter I published recently.

The reader (who asked not to be named) wrote: “I just read the letter by Joe Kiyotaki in your column. I am the one who wrote to you about the terrible condition of the Evergreen Cemetery last year.

“I feel bad that I didn’t accomplish much then. But I should like to talk to Mr. Kiyotaki, if possible.

“Would you let me have his email address or give him my mail address so we can talk? Maybe we can come up with something together. Thank you.”

I will contact Joe to see if he would want to continue the discussion with you.

Thank you for your letter.

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Since I was preparing for my Vegas trip this Sunday, I may be a little short with today’s column, but if I can readjust my schedule based on my trip cancellation, I will continue to hammer away until I feel I’ve filled my usual space.

So, let me check around the mess I have on my desk and see if I am successful in my search.

Maybe I can toss in something about baseball.

As most of you regular followers of my chatter know, I had given up on the Dodgers when they were in last place in their division, over nine games behind.

Well, now that they are in first place and seem destined to win the title, I guess you can say I’m a Dodgers fan again.

Hey, they only need to win 12 games and they will be National League West champions.

Hard to believe.

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Laugh time.

A motorcycle officer stops a driver for shooting through a red light. The driver is a real weirdo, gets out of his car and comes striding towards the officer, demanding to know why he is being harassed.

So the officer calmly tells him of the red-light violation. The motorist instantly goes on a tirade, questioning the officer’s ancestry, sexual orientation, etc. in rather explicit, offensive terms.

The tirade goes on without the officer saying anything. When the officer finishes writing the ticket, he puts “AH” in the lower corner of the ticket. He then hands it to the violator for his signature.

The guy signs the ticket angrily and when presented with his copy he points to the “AH” and demands to know what it stands for. The officer says, “That’s so when we go to court, I’ll remember that you’re an asshole.”

Two months later, they’re in court. The violator has a bad driving record with a high number of points and is in danger of losing his license, so he has hired a lawyer to represent him.

On the stand, the officer testifies to seeing the man run a red light. Under cross-examination, the defense attorney asks, “Officer, is this a reasonable facsimile of the ticket that you issued to my client?”

Officer: “Yes, sir, that is the defendant’s copy, his signature and mine, same number at the top.”

Lawyer: “Officer, is there any particular marking on this ticket you don’t normally make?”

Officer: “Yes, sir, in the lower corner of the ticket there is an ‘AH.’”

Lawyer: “What does ‘AH’ stand for, officer?”

Officer: “Aggressive and hostile, sir.”

Lawyer: “Aggressive and hostile?”

Officer: “Yes, sir.”

Lawyer: “Officer, are you sure it doesn’t stand for ‘asshole’?”

Officer: “Well, sir, you know your client better than I do.”

How often can one get an attorney to convict his own client?

George Yoshinaga writes from Gardena and may be reached via email at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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