Really Stoked, Ready for Tomorrow's Very Weird JFK Ritual

Categories: Schutze

hippies.jpg
Library of Congress
Now the amazing thing is, we actually looked better then.
Getting pretty stoked, have to admit it, pretty revved up for the 50th Kennedy Assassination Celebration downtown tomorrow. Lots more calls coming in from the curious. Friend called from New Jersey asking if there will be a parade. Had to tell him no, sadly. They were afraid they wouldn't be able to keep the floats tasteful.

Just could not stay away yesterday. Went down there. Dealey Plaza was all flashing blue lights, cops and heavy equipment scraping the X's out of the pavement on Elm Street that marked where he got it. I watched the big dozers chipping away at the street with clanging steel teeth and thought, "Enter Lady MacBeth, with a taper."

Digging and scraping, digging and scraping. Who would have thought it would be that hard to get a couple painted X's off the pavement?

"Out, damned spot! out, I say! One; two: why, then, 'tis time to do 't. ... Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?"

Saw here on Unfair Park how Patrick Williams and all the young people are bored with it already. Screw the young people! What would you have us do, give up our greatest ghost, one of our few legitimate claims on tragic dimension? Take away our assassinations, all my generation would have left to show for itself would be weed and The Monkees. Well, Vietnam, but that was a draw.

See also: Fatigue to the 50th Power: JFK Day Will All Be Over Soon, Right? RIGHT?

Dropped in on the little gift shop across the street from the Sixth Floor Museum. It's in the space that for decades was occupied by the old privately owned assassination museum -- kind of a hillbilly Tussauds. Swear I saw trick dog poo there once.

When Hillbilly Tussauds folded and the space came open, The Sixth Floor grabbed it, even though they already owned a nice gift shop right across the street in the School Book Depository Building. Always looked like a pretty clear exercise of Manifest Destiny to me. Anyway, there you have it, an assassination-themed cappuccino and gift shop that seems to have no name, let alone a mission or purpose. I call it the Hey-Hey LBJ Café.

I dropped into the Hey-Hey for a quick cuppa joe, and, as usual, it was 89 percent empty in spite of the biggest crowd of tourists outside on the sidewalk that I think I have ever seen down there. The Hey-Hey is a super-odd place. Took my brother visiting from San Francisco there once. Something about Jackie-O cut-out dolls, costume jewelry, lemon cake and 8-mm assassination films on the wall: just doesn't really hang together.

But where in the world were all those tourists outside going? I wiped my mouth on my sleeve, brushed crumbs out of my gray hippie beard and went outside to see. Oh my gosh! It was a homecoming! Everybody out there was a mouth-wiping, crumb-bearded aging hippy! I joined the lemming multitude, swept along cheek by jowl in a great shuffling migration of my clones. Across the street we shuffled and down, on down to the grassy knoll!

Ahead I saw a Biblical throng gathered beneath the beautifully restored and repainted art deco pergola where my old friend, conspiracy theory author Robert Groden, puts on his show. Seated at a table signing copies of his lavish new assassination coffee table book, Groden was resplendent and magisterial. So nice of that committee or whatever it was to repaint the place for Robert.

I'm telling you, members of my generation were approaching Groden in absolute reverence, knee-walking pilgrims speaking in hushed tones, then suddenly silent to catch any fragment of a phrase from Groden's own lips, all of which were passed back through the crowd in meaningful whispers.

I picked up on something I hadn't quite articulated before -- the assassination eye-roll. You know Groden has a guy who does the speeches for him. You didn't know that? Yeah. Hurts his feet. So the other guy stands and does the spiel while Groden signs books and tapes and handles the cash.

The speaker will say something about the Warren Commission -- blah-blah-blah -- and then he'll say something like, "But apparently the Warren Commission didn't get the memo on that." Then he does the eye-roll. And then everyone in the throng does the identical eye-roll, and they all say in unison, "Oh, sure."

Listen, I'm telling you, I think this is how the Roman Catholic mass must have started. It's that powerful! The hushed whispers and reverential eye-rolls in perfect chorus transport us to some other place and time. "It is not down on any map," the novelist Herman Melville wrote. "True places never are." But the eye-roll nods the way toward a place that is truly central and important for my entire generation.

I stood at the back of the crowd and had a whispered conversation with some dudes my age from Indiana. "What was that song?" I asked.

"I have always been a wand'rer, over land and sea, yet a moonbeam on the water casts a spell o'er me. A vision fair I see; again I seem to be [Chorus] -- Back home again in Indiana."

Yeah. Always loved that. Grew up hearing those Hoosiers singing it around campfires on the beaches of Lake Michigan. Hoosiers are great people. Best white basketball players ever.

So tomorrow will be the ultimate weirdness, when Dallas will try to make Groden and me and the Hoosiers and the aging multitude all disappear like those X's on the street. Gotta be a good show. Patrick Williams: Go to a bar for the day, willya? Leave us to our sad and shuffling ways.

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12 comments
BeJebus
BeJebus

jesus christ this was awful. 

Obummer
Obummer

Yo Dallas did not kill JFK. A Communist named Lee Harvey Oswald, and maybe an assistant, killed JFK.

ShortPlaidSkirt
ShortPlaidSkirt

Obviously, the Mayor being from Boston has something to do with how it's gone down. Maybe he's a relative of the Kennedy's.  

I thought we were related to the Kennedy's because when I was 4, mother parked us in front of the TV to watch the events unfold including the shooting of Oswald and the funeral, over and over and over again.  At least that's how it felt, at 4, while she cried at the kitchen table, which made us cry. Other  than to give us food every once in a while, we were on our own during that time but we couldn't watch Slam Bang Theater because "that would be disrespectful", she said.

Her behavior during those few days was much more horrifying for me, than the assassination and his perfect ghost has been an never ending intrusion. May it finally rest in peace because, personally, I'm numb to it. Don't care.  Wish I could.  Have a great time reminiscing and hope you all finally get it out of your systems.


verbal_kent
verbal_kent

This event is weird and I couldn't exactly put my finger on why.  You just nailed it for me. "50th Kennedy Assassination Celebration" What the hell are we celebrating? Why wasn't this thing called a memorial?

MargaretHuntHill
MargaretHuntHill

I admit that I have multiple items purchased from the Conspiracy Museum including a T-shirt that has a picture of Dealey Plaza from the south with all the important locations, both Warren Commission-approved and otherwise, labeled and "Assassination" in huge block print above the picture.  I absolutely can't bring myself to wear it, but somehow it seems like an artifact that must be preserved.

lilly_watson
lilly_watson

According to my conversation with the owner on their last day open and a few stories I read on it at the time, the assassination museum actually paid rent on time and was a problem-free tenant for many years until one day they were told they were no longer allowed their lease due to rezoning of the space for new purposes. Absolute no surprise that it now sells branded and sterilized JFK merchandise.

Oxtail
Oxtail

I think you are looking at it with the wrong Shakespearean attitude. Just think of tomorrow as the "Ides of March" and remember that all the world's a stage, ....on Dealey Plaza.

leftocenter
leftocenter

Ah...this is why they took away your long gun...your car keys will be next.

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