Found Tapes: Six Lost Conversations with Buddy Dooley


From time to time Buddy Dooley tapes our rambling conversations and transcribes them.

Then he sends them my way as e-mails and I attempt to correct his many, many errors before posting the texts.  Buddy and I have had a recent civil period that I’d like to maintain.  It is, however, Buddy’s call.

BD: When we left off you were talking about power.  How does power work in your estimation?

TS: Power is often a subtle phenomenon.  At other times it works quite openly.  It works in various ways, but it always has similar results; the subjugation of a particular individual or group of individuals whom elites have determined is threatening to a long-standing imposed order.  When talking about subjugation you are actually referencing control mechanisms that the stakeholders determine will best undermine rebellion, or the potential for rebellion, in all its manifestations.  Order is of utmost importance to the stakeholders.  Money is merely a symbol of power, then.  Money hasn’t any real purpose except to assist in the imposition of control.  War is the most fundamental example of the imposition of order.  Quite simply, the stakeholders will train their subjects to kill to maintain the control that has evolved from hierarchical systems over time.  We refer to such a display as defensive.  The point is to keep what’s yours.  But the powerful are often not satisfied with simply maintaining the control—say of resources—they are also interested in obtaining more, a surplus of whatever it is—minerals, which is land, navigable waterways, airspace, etc.  It is very easy for the defensive posture to mutate into an offensive quest.  The shift can be subtle and is often explained away with organized propaganda, intimidation, fear mongering and a regeneration of newer and even more subtle symbols.  If control is to be maintained it must be wrapped in this increasingly subtle and tentacled apparatus. Symbolic order is the highest manipulative form of regeneration.  Power is dynastic and clannish.  That’s sort of basic, isn’t it?  Power isn’t a very complicated process at all.  The key lies in training and organizing killers and enabling functionaries.

BD: Well, war seems to be an open example, as you say. What about the individual and levels of power?  Let’s talk about relationships…I guess that is what I’m talking about in a roundabout way.

TS: Power is weighed and measured in its most rudimentary personal formulations. I’ve been taking a long look lately at techniques of cognitive manipulation and abusive power—or relationships as you say.

BD: As among prison populations perhaps—or obviously?

TS: Yes, that, but not that alone.  Since you brought it up, rison is certainly the most obvious control mechanism when it comes to the individual.  And the work that is usually done there is an important aspect of a trend that is seeping into other areas, too.  The lessons of control have jumped the line, so to speak.  There is a whole area of the sketchy use of cognitive manipulation that is bleeding into ordinary society. This has been going on for a long time; its impetus is obviously growing and the influence of the technique is skyrocketing.  It is one thing to attempt to teach moral conation to a killer and quite another to use it while reflecting what I consider to be a very presumptive understanding of morality overall.  I was talking with a gentleman just the other day, a very nice man, whose work is in this field.

BD: The field of?

TS: Moral Conation Therapy. He works with many ex-offenders, parolees, etc. Actually what he tries to do is make people employable, which is reasonable.  This man is very concerned with moral judgments.  He didn’t really have much to say about markets and the constriction of the economy as such, situations that are making even non-offenders sweat out the job market.  But that’s another story.  He’s not an economist and neither am I.  It was interesting in talking to him how he used as his primary example of immorality the recklessness of Bill Clinton’s sex scandal.  He was simply aghast at Bill’s use of the Oval Office as a sex den, though I doubt Bill was the first to ever do that. I had just met this person, a very nice and earnest man; a man whom I believe is sincere and actually desirous of helping people find jobs.  He’s a strong mentor figure.  His next example was Tiger Woods.  Look, he said. Bill and Tiger are just terrible, terrible and so immoral in their actions.

BD: Whoa….I see what you’re getting at.

TS: Yeah, imagine it.  People are dying, murdered in America’s ongoing wars and this guy is talking about the immorality of sex in the Oval Office, or on the putting green, or wherever Tiger gets it on.  If you’re going to express a moral tale about politicians you’d be better off going with something a little more pertinent to the job politicians are supposed to be doing.  It is a very conservative ideal to pick up on sex scandals when you have real evil at hand, highly organized, deadly evil in the highest and most revered institutions in the land.  I mean war is immoral.  Collateral damage is immoral.  The very notion of collateral damage as being acceptable is an awful immorality.  Much worse than a blow job!

BD: Sinful.  Just awful. The blowjob, I mean…

TS: Well now, let’s not play down how hurtful Bill and Tiger were in their shenanigans.  Their wives and other girlfriends were no doubt dismayed.  Anyway, this is the point.  My friend’s concerns are an aspect of the illogical that is often tied in with judgments of moral reasoning.  Logic and moral questions aren’t necessarily inclusive of each other.  To claim they are can become downright frightening if the evidence demonstrates they are not.  Sure, get the killer or bank robber to rethink his actions, or think ahead, or consider others, or accept himself, or to achieve self-awareness or whatever it takes to quit crime.  Protest sin if you like.  But be very, very careful in your moral judgments.

BD: Who is this guy?  A Christian I take it?

TS: Of course, but this is where misappropriations of power in individual relationships—to return to the point—may subtly go beyond the norm. Moral Conation Therapy was designed by a pair of psychologists working with prisoners in Memphis in the early or mid-80s. They’ve made studies that demonstrate successful cognitive regeneration at work in the field of prison science.  The notion is to cut recidivism among offenders.  It works, evidently.

BD: Then where exactly do you see the quandary?

TS: In that we are all susceptible to cognitive control and the potential of the stakeholders to make prisoners of even the mildest rebel.

BD: Do you think that is happening?

TS: I know it is.

BD: I’m not as certain about this as you are. We’ll pick it up next time with some examples if you have any, which I doubt. Also, I’d like to talk about poetics if we can.

TS: Whatever you say big shot.




Buddy Dooley and I have buried the hatchet—for now. He has been motivated to record and transcribe our recent conversations.  I’ll post them here as Dooley and I talk about things and as he feels duty-bound to send the transcripts my way.

BD: You have strong opinions, don’t you?

TS: I do. I’m not cowed by anyone. I’m supposed to have strong opinions.   like to think I have a sense of urgency about things.  It’s important to clarify things for the record.

BD: That explains your recent book of memoirs…

TS: It does. It’s out there now, in case anyone wonders, now or in the future.  What did he know?  What did he like?  What were his experiences?  These types of questions are haunting.  I expect they will be familial questions in the very least. Everyone should make a record, of course. Even you, Buddy. One writes a memoir to exorcise memories, to attempt to justify existence, and blah, blah… This is old hat.

BD: Do you worry that your opinions may not be substantive?

TS: Well, I know what I don’t know.  This is a helluva lot more than I do know.  Does that answer your question?

BD: I’ll accept it as a starter.

TS: You mean like an appetizer?

BD: Well, yes… You’re a political animal, aren’t you? You seem to…

TS: Where am I?  Alone on an island?  Of course, all of us are political animals.  Some of us simply are unaware of the fact.  Never trust a man without a political opinion.  He’s either undeveloped or lying.  In either case, he’s dangerous.

BD: Dangerous, how so?

TS: Well, we already know what damage liars can do.  Look around.  But I think Thomas Frank was talking about the danger of the uninformed man in his book What’s the Matter with Kansas?  I don’t know if he would agree with that assessment, but for my money that is what he was talking about—a body politic that is to a large degree perfectly happy to suffer hardship and yet maintain its bliss.

BD: Well, if they’re not feeling it…

TS: But so many are who are in denial about it.  Even in the face of the obvious, the erosion of their quality of life, say.  In the face of job loss.  In the face of destitution. They are feeling it.  They will say they are not, until the bank rolls them up.  Until the moving van shows up.

BD: You interrupted me for a second time.  I’d like to have a dialogue with you.

TS: I’m sorry, Buddy (long pause).  I mean dangerous in the sense that if they persist with myth at the expense of a keener understanding of systems, then their acquiescence threatens democracy.  I should say the ideal of democracy. You and I both know democracy is failing.

BD: Well, certainly representative government is.  You go on a lot about corporatism. I take it that is a pejorative term for you?  And I’m not certain how myth enters the equation here.

TS: Two questions, Buddy.  I’ll try to sort them out.  First, in the stead of democracy we have corporate entities wielding influence.  What is happening is a second tier of action and response to government is wrapped up in that influence.  For millions of Americans democracy has become a double-step maneuver, which might be a crude way of putting it.  The first step or response such people have is to go with the bread man, the corporation.  But if the corporation is doing things anathema to the good of the people, conflict erupts between those with a vested interest in their jobs and those who simply want to see improvements—in services, in goods, in the environment, etc. Corporations that make that maneuvering easier for people are of course more responsible, because people actually know what is happening.  They know when their jobs are dangerous to society.  Look at oil.  Look at the Gulf disaster.  Of course people knew the potential was there for disaster.  The problem was that people were powerless to stop it—the workers who might have blown the whistle, and the environmental types, the corporation’s enemies.  That is corporatism—a degradation of common sense in the name of profits…

BD: And the second part of the question?

TS: What was it?

BD: You mentioned myth.  The Kansas variety.

TS: Oh, yes. Well, the overriding myth of our time, or of a conservative time like we have now for example, is that “values” are constant.  People speak blankly about values.  Yet values are not as easily constructed as would-be moralists suggest. The myth then is that one set of values has…

BD: Value?

TS: Yes, in the absolute sense.  So that when the righteous begin to extol the “values” they believe are important it is because those values are moral.  But morality is more elastic than that.  Values are not finite and morals are with a few exceptions openly debatable.  Except to the closed minded.

BD: Well, using the example you just did, the Gulf, whose values should take precedence?

TS: That is a political question, but it is just one of many, which is why all claims that some people are apolitical are bogus.  They may not vote, which is another story. Even the non-voter has an opinion.  His is that the issue is not important enough to vote on or even think about.  Nihilists along with anarchists tend to not vote.

BD: It does seem at times that voting accomplishes little.




I strolled across town last week and talked to my friend Buddy Dooley. He recorded our discussion and sent this in an e-mail. I’ve tried to edit his spelling errors. There were so many I may have missed a few.

TS: Where were we before you started drinking Saturday night?

BD: My notes say we were talking about voting.

TS: Ah, yes.  That…

BD: I said voting changes little.

TS: Yes, you’re right.  The big picture doesn’t fluctuate at all.  Corporations steal the show and that is a result of the two-party system.  The question is how to take big money out of the process and allow a true pluralism to unfold.  Were that to happen, you would see the overall voting numbers go up.  If people believed that actual representation was the norm then they might sense that their concerns are being addressed.  This is not a mystery.  Nothing will change until people organize that part of the dynamic.  That would be an absolute grassroots exercise.  A lot of energy would be required to succeed.  A new draft constitution, or at the very least a nationwide referendum based on a truly national dialogue would be required.  As it stands, there is no dialogue of significance happening.  An edge of parliamentarian-style chaos might help persuade people that they have a real voice.  Where is the communist party in the U.S.?  Where are the socialists?  What you have now is two big boulders blocking the highway.  Third and fourth movements are marginalized by the big money in cahoots with Big Media.  Look at what they talk about.  Every time something of substance grabs people, the real power, the opinion makers, leap into action.  Where is the next missing child story?  Where is the next O.J.?  The important stuff is swept away by a tidal wave of sensational garbage.  Hey, not to be insensitive to those affected by tragedy.  It’s just that the larger, looming national tragedy should take precedence.  Power works overtime to distract the populace.  Here’s what we get. A cover picture of an Afghanistan woman with her nose cut off.  Where was the picture of the bride’s brains splattered by a U.S. bomb?  That one was missing.  What are elections getting you now?  A sense of loss, even despair among the disenfranchised?  It’s a rocky boat right now.

BD: You were a grassroots organizer, correct?

TS: You read the book. It’s all in there.

BD: Share please, for the great unwashed.

TS: Do you have any beer? (pause as Buddy goes for beer)

BD: You have to have your beer, don’t you?

TS: Throat’s a little dry (cough).  Yes, that’s better.  Okay, yes I worked as an organizer for a couple of years a long time ago.  Welfare rights.  Prisoners’ rights. Tenants organizing, etc.  It was me and a few others against the power.  There’s that word again.  Power to the people, man?  It was the sixties all over again in Maine in 1974.  The movement never dies, it just changes tactics.  That’s part of what got Obama elected.  That coalesced fast, once he got sanctioned by big money.  Big money rolled the dice.  You don’t see peace breaking out.  I think Obama had to promise that wouldn’t happen.

BD: That’s very cynical.  What did you do for the masses back then?

TS: “The masses, which rhymes with asses.”  A sociology professor I knew in college always used that phrase, incessantly.  Bad habit.  To answer your question, honestly, not much.  As an advocate I helped people obtain services, often pleading and kicking, making a nuisance of myself around city hall.  A partner and I might drive fifty miles to a small town in the sticks, approach the mayor who was usually a local businessman, and make a case for our client.  A little food money.  A barrel of oil. Essentials that the family budget couldn’t cover.  I’d say to the mayor: “we need a barrel of oil and a case of potato chips…”

BD: You’re kidding right?

TS: I am.  Sorry.  I tried to form groups in these small towns.  Community groups with a charter, officers, the whole ball of wax.  In Waterville I found a landlord who lent our group an office space.  Very generous.  One of the Pillsbury kids came in one day and said, “Do you want some money to run this place?”  We were doing advocacy right there in Waterville, running people in and out of city hall who needed assistance. Word got around.  George Pillsbury walks into our office and writes out a check.  I can’t remember how much.  Paid the light bill, that’s for sure.

BD: I take it you’re talking about the dough boy, the food family?  That Pillsbury?

TS: Well, not Grandpa.  The kid.  He was a young kid.  It may have been George.  I can’t really remember all the details.  The kid inherited all this money and decided to give us some.  A rich, conservative family. The kid was sort of rebellious I guess.  Or maybe he thought we’d continue to buy his frozen biscuits if he ponied up.

BD: How’s that beer?

TS: It’s good, bro.

BD: That’s brewed around the corner, you know?

TS: Portland, Oregon…

BD: Beer capital…

TS: It’s sort of heavy. Maybe I’d prefer a lager next time…

BD: Next time?




Buddy Dooley dropped by my pad over the weekend.  A mercurial character, you never know what will happen with Buddy when his dander is raised.  He reminds me of one of those stuffed toys with a tiny motor in it that your sister had when you were growing up.  Wind it up, set it on the floor, and watch it run in circles like a cat chasing its own tail.

Dooley brought along a few micro brews, his rustic old tape player, and we talked.

BD: Testing…testing 1, 2, 3…

TS: You should invest in a new player.  Go digital, high tech.  What kind of beer did you bring?

BD: Never mind the beer.  If I decide you should have a beer you may have a beer.  If I decide you are not deserving of a beer you will not have a beer.

TS: You’re a tough character, Dooley.

BD: That is correct.  How are things in the imperium, Simons?  The holy world of publishing?  It’s good to see you are not dead or incapacitated in any noticeable way. We haven’t talked in weeks.  What’s new, pussycat?

TS: Jesus…

BD: Speaking of which.  What do you think of Gov. Rick Perry?  Makin’ a run?  He gonna win it?

TS: I think he and Bachmann will start an affair on the campaign trail.  In a huge October surprise the media will reveal Michele and Rick share an affinity for bondage and kinky sex.  The story will break on TMZ.  Romney will slide in.  Obama will rout him in the G.E.

BD: Do you like Obama?

TS: No.  Next question.

BD: Is he worse than Dubya?

TS: Same horse.  Different color.

BD: Quite.

TS: I do think many racists in the US hate Obama for all the wrong reasons. They hate him because he’s half black.  He was born in Kenya, right?  They’re torn, though.  The hate is sometimes eclipsed by their love because he assassinated bin Laden.  And Americans, particularly the right, love assassination.  But the far right is nervous.  The black revolution is playing out in their feverish dreams.  It’s odd, but remember these people are revisionist crazies.  For many, everything progressive that has happened since Ozzie and Harriet were on TV has been just plain wrong.  Civil rights.  The war on poverty.  Feminism.  Sexual equality.  Gay marriage.  You name it.  Not to over generalize or anything.

BD: Who is a bigger threat to liberty—Bachmann or Perry?

TS: They’re both dangerous.  But let’s not talk about this.  This is depressing.  Thing is the world was never the way these people imagine it in the first place.  This really isn’t worth discussing in my opinion.

BD: Sexier?  Bachmann or Palin?

TS: Dooley… Are you going there?

BD: Don’t tell me you wouldn’t.

TS: Give me a beer you idiot.

(I was surprised here.  Buddy shared his beer without protest.)

TS: (smacking my lips) Aaaaaah.  Curve Ball Blonde Ale.  Good stuff.

BD: You’re quite a connoisseur, aren’t you?   Moving on to the press, TS…

TS: A good year, Buddy.  A real good year.  Had some good help, excellent advice, made deals with three highly accomplished writers who jumped on board.  The press has legitimacy now, driven by quality work that people who give a damn about books will notice.  I’m convinced of that.  Over time, this work will stick out.  We’ll be discovered.  The press, I mean.  The writers are already known.  I’m proud and pleased they came aboard.  It’s a nice fit.  The world will catch up one day.

BD: And they are…

TS: The Deemer brothers, Bill and Charles, and K.C. Bacon.  All three brought it, delivered the goods.  Better than I imagined it could be.

BD: How’s your novel going?

TS: Not quite as well, BD.  I gave it to a good reader, a solid critic.  He tore it apart. I’ll take his word for it.  Writing a novel is the hardest goddamn thing to do.  Even a passable one.  Mine needs a lot of work. Eventually, I’ll get going on it again, from scratch quite possibly.  A complete rewrite. That’s what it needs.  But I’m not overly worried about it.  If it comes, fine.  If not I won’t shoot myself like Hem or Hunter. That would be a waste and a grand delusion.  Those guys were great writers.  I don’t match up with their prose, and I don’t own a shotgun.

BD: Anything else cookin’?

TS: I’m planning a book with Charles Lucas, the ceramic artist, photographer and painter.  He is working hard, getting his images just right for an art book.  We’ll see.  I don’t have a deadline or anything.  Not at this time, though that may happen down the road.  I think Bacon has something up his sleeve as well.  Another art book, because K.C. is also an artist as well as a poet.  It’s important that we get his work out there, in print. It’s Round Bend, Buddy, a work-in-progress and the establishment of a legacy.  This is for friends, family, and the historians.  The work can’t stop.  If the public picks up on it, hooray!

BD: Well, you do indeed make it sound important.  I understand you are a football fan.

TS: I am. I’ll admit it.

BD: Are you going to get naked now and charge me out of the three-point stance like that drunk kid at Oregon State who charged the police?

TS: That kid transferred to one of the Montana schools.  State, I believe.

BD: Fit in there I guess. Have you ever drove a car at 118 MPH in a speed trap between Albany and Eugene and gotten away with it?

TS: Ninety-nine, until the wheels went wobbly and I figured I’d better back off. Didn’t see a cop.  One didn’t evidently see me, either.  Another time, I raced from San Jose to Eugene with some friends.  We picked cars up at an auction in San Jose and drove hard through the night back to Eugene for a dealer. Nearly died in the Siskiyou Mountains.  Had a little drift, fishtailed somewhat.  A Dodge Charger that was gutless.  By the time I moved to New England in 1974 I had that stuff out of my system.

BD: Is Chipper Kelly on the up and up?

TS: Is college football corrupt?

BD: Hmm… You’re a bit much at times, TS.  Do you admire Phil Knight?

TS: Buddy, I can feel you egging me on.  Are you looking for a fight?

BD: Before you get all prissy, tell me something…

TS: Sure, Dooley.

BD: Do you expect me to give you another beer?



# 5

My childhood friend and more recently my annoying beer drinking pal Buddy Dooley dropped by my pad in Southwest Portland over the weekend.

In the crook of one arm he carried a brown paper bag containing a six-pack of his favorite micro-brew, a pack of cigarettes, a sandwich baggie with the remnants of his pot stash, a pipe decorated in the style of an R. Crumb knock-off, a book of matches, and a book of Schopenhauer’s aphorisms.

“I’m ready, are you?” Buddy said, switching on his old-fashioned cassette player.

TS: Did you bring an opener?

BD: You’re telling me you don’t have an opener?

TS: I don’t. I don’t buy your fancy-pants beer.  Ever heard of twist-offs?  Ever heard of pop-tops?

(Buddy pulled a Leatherman pocket knife out of his pants and opened two bottles with the convenient bottle opener provided among the knife’s other survival tools.)

TS: Thanks, Dooley.

BD: You’re welcome, Simons.

TS: What’s on your mind today, Buddy?  You seem to be in your usual irascible mood.

BD: I’m here for you aren’t I?  Let’s talk about this thing, whatever it is, that you’re doing Wednesday night.

TS: The reading…

BD: That’s what you call it?

TS: Of course, jackass…

BD: Let me get this straight.  You’re going to get up in front of a group of people at the Blackbird Wine Shop and Cheese Pooh-Pah and read something you wrote?

TS: Cheese pooh-pah?  What the hell is that?

BD: Do you think this is a wise move?

TS: Um…yes.

BD: Why?

TS: I’m doing it for the vast, suffering, silent, heretofore ignorant morass of humanity that doesn’t know I exist.

BD: Whoa…whoa with that, big fella. What makes you certain anybody fucking cares who you are?

TS: I’d like to sell one goddamn measly book, Buddy. Is that too much to want out of life?

(Buddy loads his pipe)

TS: Buddy!!!

BD: What!!!

TS: You can’t smoke here.  The neighbors will call the DEA!

BD: Give me a break.

TS: I’ll get tossed out!  I’ll be homeless again!

BD: What do you care? You’re a poet after all…If Li Po could do it so can you.

TS: Well, put a towel under the door then.

(Buddy obeys and puts a towel at the door’s base.)

BD: I don’t get it… You want some of this?

TS: Nah…

BD: (inhaling deeply) Good shit… (exhaling, coughing)  So this crowd you’re playing to Wednesday in this pooh-pah. Who are they?

TS: Christ, Buddy. I don’t know.  Wine drinkers.  People who enjoy listening to readings I guess.  And stop calling it pooh-pah.  Whatever that is.

BD: But why would they bother listening to you? I mean, who are you? It seems to me that you are pretty much a nobody, right?

TS: No, no, no.  I wouldn’t agree with that… Besides, Deemer will be there, too.  He’s a somebody, isn’t he?

BD: Well, who are they?  A crowd of people who like wine?  That’s it? (long pause) Say you actually could write something worthwhile, something people might like, the question is why should you care if they listen?

TS: Writers want to be heard and read.

BD: They’ll kill you…

TS: Why?  Why do you say that?

BD: You’ll die on the podium.  A shriveling flower casting rays of obdurate and senseless sunlight into the void.  The non-meaning which you excel at will be lost in the wine-haze of the evening.  A dull silence awaits you. Some might call it doom.

TS: Not a pretty picture as you say it.

BD: But good luck.

TS: So you’re anti-readings?

BD: Not all of them.  Just yours and anything by Jay McInerney.  Sure you don’t want some of this?

TS: What the hell.  Why not?

(coughing, coughing, loud, long coughing)

BD: Are you okay, Simons?

TS: I’m fine…I think. (weakly, gasping for air) You gonna come to the Blackbird Wednesday night, Buddy?

BD: I’ll consider it. We’ll see what’s on TV that night first.




I met Dooley deep in the darkest corner of a windowless dive bar in Old Town one afternoon. He was nursing a Crown Royal and a beer back. He initially ducked under his table when I walked in.  I coaxed him out with the offer of another round.  As usual we taped our ensuing conversation.

TS: Where were you today? For that matter, where were you last weekend? Why do you tell me you’re going to show up and host (my now defunct radio show) Round Bend Hour and then flake off?

BD: That’s none of your concern… (long pause) Would it satisfy you to hear I’ve been sick?  With the flu, or something like it?

TS: You’re a little sick in the head, that’s all.  What do you have?  Ennui?  Malaise? Angst?

BD: I consider those unavoidable conditions of modernity.  You know, you come off looking like an ass when you pressure me.  Particularly when you say those rotten things about me on air.

TS: I’m tired of having to alibi for you.

BD: Fine! (hoisting his glass) Cheers…

TS: Where do we go from here, Buddy?

BD: I have a suggestion for you, pal. Get a gun, load it, point it toward your temple, squeeze the trigger.

TS: Tsk…Tsk…

BD: Get off my back.

TS: But you wanted to be on the radio.  You said, “Yes, yes, yes…”

(long silence)

BD: The radio seduces, stirs longings, and conjures magnificent love, clairvoyance, hope.

TS: But you spurn love and hope.  And you’re no clairvoyant, which is for sure.

BD: I don’t like you, TS.

TS: You don’t like yourself.  Learn to love yourself, Buddy.  Learn to be one with…

BD: Don’t say it…

TS: The universe.

BD: So you’re attacking (at my blog) Boehner now?  Does that make you feel manly? Does that make up for some obvious inadequacies in your life?  What’s the deal with that?  I like Boehner.  Seems like a reasonable man.  Very patriotic.  Very pro-family. Pro-marriage.  Pro-money.

TS: He’s a corporate shill.

BD: They all are, TS.  He’s just better at it than the others.  He won the war in the trenches.

TS: I don’t want to talk about Boehner.

BD: You want to talk football, don’t you?

TS: Can they (the Oregon Ducks) do it?

BD: No.

TS: Why not?

BD: Too much pressure. It’s mounting.  You feel it.  They feel it.  The coaches feel it. Something will go wrong.  Look at (backup quarterback) Costa.  Hurt his leg.  That’s not a good sign.

TS: Yeah, ouch…

BD: You agree with me?  My, you are a pessimist…

TS: What do you really believe, Buddy?

BD: I don’t care.

TS: What?

BD: You heard me.  I don’t care.

TS: I don’t believe that.

BD: I don’t care about your Ducks.  I don’t care about your radio show.  I don’t care how you feel about Boehner.

TS: Why do I talk to you? Why did I just buy you a drink?

BD: Because you are an idiot, TS.

(long silence)

TS: Are you going to watch my cameo (acting debut in Deemer’s movie) Wednesday night at the Blackbird Wine Shop?

BD: Ha…ha…ha…

TS: Fuck off, Buddy.

BD: Ha…ha…ha…



Terry Simons is the founder of Round Bend Press Books in Portland, Oregon.  This story is excerpted from his memoir of growing up in Oregon, A Marvelous Paranoia.