Another Friday at Gleason'sBy David Lawrence
It's Friday, and I am showing up at Gleason's Gym at eight o'clock am for a full day of teaching. I am looking forward to meeting my oldest student, the Judge. For the first time in fifteen years, we arrive at the same time. Hail and hither. Not fare thee well. Heidi ho.
We are happy to see each other. We have been beating each other up forever. Fighting brings closeness. You ever notice fighters hugging each other after a pro fight? They are best friends. They respect each other.
I wonder if Obama ever had a fight? Ducking fights leads to cowardice. It leads to drones rather than boots on the ground. It rebounds in the timidity of the leader being communicated to the troops. Soldiers don't like Obama. They are brave. As for me, I'd love to dominate Obama in a three-round boxing bout. Shame on me. I'm 65.
The Judge and I go into my office. He surprises me when he asks if I saw the Democratic convention. He is a misguided liberal, and we've agreed not to discuss politics in order to avoid gradual disdain. He once told me that he was surprised that I was such a nice person when I was obviously conservative.
"The convention wasn't good or bad," I say. "It was the usual pabulum. I have to say that Biden, who is an idiot, gave a better speech than Obama. I think Obama picked Biden because he's so white that he compensates for Obama's half-blackness."
"It got pretty raucous with Jerusalem and no mention of God," the Judge says.
"Skip God. You're a real Jew who believes in Israel. You've spent money traveling there. How could you vote for a president who doesn't accept that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel?"
"That was the Democratic platform, not Obama, speaking," the Judge says.
"That's worse. If the Democrats are anti-Jewish, then what are you doing remaining a Democrat? And there's no way Obama wouldn't know his party's platform when he lives only for re-election. He genuflects to the White House. It's like bling to a rapper."
"No more politics," he says.
"You brought it up," I say. "All right, let's go out and box." I lead him out of my office to the ring. He's going to box first with a girl, Shelly. They like to fight each other. Believe it or not, there's a lot of cross-sex sparring these days.
When women first started to show up at the boxing gyms, about fifteen years ago, I used to spar with them. Some of them became pros. I'd spar with them, too. If they'd hit me hard, I'd knock them down. They liked it. They felt that I showed them respect by treating them as equals. They weren't, but what the heck?
The Judge holds back too much. He doesn't let Shelly feel like she was fighting. He chats instead of punches. His soft love is nice, but tough love would teach Shelly more. Liberals have that problem -- softness. I just wish that the Judge were a little more realistic than gentle. Give Shelly a whirl.
On the political tip, I wish that the Judge understood that he's throwing his own people down the river while he pats himself on the back for being a rush-to-surrender Democrat. He is so lost. He thinks he is standing up for the Jews while he facilitates their dropping to their knees. I try not to think about it because I wanted to keep liking him. A friend is more important than a philosophy. Who cares what he thinks?
Surrender is a failing of my liberal Jewish people. These Jews were born with their hands in the air. Even with so much intelligence, they turn their pockets inside-out for their enemies. They lie down with a president who turns his chin away from them. His poster is red. His motto is liberal fascism.
The Lawyer shows up for a lesson. He's another Jew. I specialize in self-hating Jews. I don't discuss politics with him. I know who he is, and I know he will think like the Judge. I want to befriend him for who he is rather than what he thinks. I'm not close enough with the Lawyer to argue, even though we are good friends. I'd rather keep the conversation light. I don't want to get into intimate, hurtful debate. I don't want to bleed from my moral center.
I have him spar with Carlos, the Jackal. He's no jackal. He's the friendliest guy in the gym. He spars about thirty rounds with various people every Wednesday morning. Three months ago he accidentally scratched the Lawyer's cornea, and the Lawyer couldn't show up for a while. Now he's back, and they do four good rounds. My Lawyer has improved. He is throwing long, loose, relaxed punches, which he then snaps back to defend his face. I'm proud of him. I'm proud of me.
I wish I didn't know that he is a union lawyer. Despite liberal bunk, unions have moved from self-protective groups to socialistic groups that blackmail corporations for ridiculous wages and pensions. They get more than the free market would afford them. They gyp the rest of society. If it wasn't for union-embracing Obama, I wouldn't think of this. He has invaded my consciousness with his class division.
At eleven o'clock, the Movie Producer shows up. He's in his twenties and is working on a movie. I'm jealous of movie guys. They make all the money while poets starve and complain. I've published five books of poetry, and I don't make a dime. I cozy up to the lyrical soul while movie people try to build a mechanical model of the heart.
What the hey -- the Movie Producer is a great guy, and he's improving, even though he has been with me only two months. He was recommended to me by the Talent Agent, who has been with me about a year. He's a good athlete and played high school football.
"I'm tired and hung over," the Movie Producer says. "I went to a wedding with the Talent Agent on Friday."
"No fight today?" I ask.
"Let's just do bags and mitts."
It's twelve o'clock, and I grab some sushi from the deli. I bring it back to my desk. After a few minutes, I notice a cockroach walking on a piece of my California roll. I'm shocked; this has never happened before. I wonder if I should be a girl and throw the whole carton out. No. I pick up the piece, replete with cockroach, and throw it in the garbage.
I'm not very prissy or fussy. I am a man. I want to be like Robert Bly in Iron John and return the man in me back to my manliness. I do not like the way society has moved since the sixties into an effeminate posture. Women have taken all our gusto, but they haven't earned it. They complain about getting ten cents less on their salaries but don't mind our paying all the bills and leaving them humongous, undeserved portions of the alimony. Add insult to injury: they live longer than us and get the entire estate.
Priest shows up. He is one year younger than me, 64, and he is preparing to fight in the Master's Tournament. We have a lot in common. I was the oldest person, 44, to turn first-time pro. He is my surrogate, my senior son. He works for nuns in the Catholic Church in public relations. We are politically an item.
"Did you see Obama at the DNC, telling his usual lies?" Priest asks.
"I can't take much more of him. And all the stupid Jews kiss his basketball sneakers. I'd convert to Catholicism if I believed in God. At least you guys stood up against him on contraception and you don't throw Hollywood charity dinners for him."
The Fisherman comes in. He is twenty-three and studying to be a journalist. He is a great kid. His parents live in Seattle and fish for salmon. He is dating a Palestinian girl and studying Arabic to write in the Middle East. Well, I could get negative here, but the Palestinian is at least a girl. And being a reporter takes some balls in the Middle East, particularly since it has fallen apart under Obama's diplomacy.
When Obama came to office, all the players -- Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Tunisia, Libya, Israel -- were in place, and we knew what to expect. Now there's chaos, and the Muslim Brotherhood, who Obama swore would never be a factor, has taken over the presidency of once-European Egypt.
"Fisherman," I say. "Today you're going to fight this old bird, the Priest." They shake hands.
"We fought before," the Priest says.
"That's right," the Fisherman says.
I didn't remember. My brains are a little addled from years of boxing. It doesn't matter when I'm writing. That's the only time I can think straight. As long as I'm writing, I know where and when and who I am.
I put the Priest and the Fisherman in the ring.
"Not too hard," I say to the Fisherman.
They both have a go-ahead style. They are brawlers. It's great. I feel like I'm watching Vito Antuofermo and Mustapha Hamsho. When I fought an amateur fight in Gleason's arena, Vito Antuofermo told me that I was a great fighter and that if I could do it at my age, he might make a comeback. When they did a scan of his brain, they found nothing. A couple of years later I sparred with Mustapha Hamsho also.
Between rounds, I notice that the Priest's nose is bleeding. I go to get a napkin. I wipe his nose.
"You take a good punch," I say. "Bleeding is good. It show's you're red-blooded."
Then I say to the Fisherman, "A little lighter. We don't want the old bird to bleed to death."
They both laugh. The good fun of a modest injury. That's boxing. That's why I gave up riding motorcycles. I didn't want to die. I'm into scratches and bruises.
They do three more rounds together. I need to bring out a lot of tissues. They're having the time of their lives. That's the beauty of boxing. There's no bitterness in it. We hit each other to test each other. It's not like politics, where all opponents feel morally superior to each other, where liberals feel that they are good people who are not extremists and that the conservatives are radical bigots. The self-satisfaction and the mock superiority of liberals are sickening. Where is their humility? Where is their feeling that mankind is caught in a giant rowboat, and we are all struggling to stay on top of the water as long as we can stay alive?
I could say that conservatives are as arrogant and cocky as liberals just to pretend that I'm evenhanded. But that would be a lie. Liberalism has a bit in its mouth and lifts its head above the hurdles without caring about the puddles it squashes. It's like Obama, chin in the air, stepping on the Congress with his executive orders.
I put the Priest and the Fisherman on the speed bag and the double-ended bag. Then I have them lift weights for twenty minutes. A lot of coaches don't have their fighters lift weights. Well, I'd rather be stiff than weak. Moderation is all.
Private School Girl comes in. She is sixteen. A nice kid who is feminine but wants to box. She's about five foot eight and one hundred and ten pounds. Quite athletic. I don't discuss politics with her. It wouldn't be appropriate; she's too young. And probably, at her age, she has all her parents' views. She's not Jewish, so there's no guarantee that she's liberal. Jews obviously have so much hatred for the Nazis that they veer to the left. They should read Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism. Honest Jews should Google Obama and his relationship to anti-Semitism. If the Jews keep voting for Obama, I don't know how much longer I can call myself a Jew.
Russian Student come in. He no longer trains with me, but we're friends, so I let him use my office. He's sparred with Private School Girl before, so I ask him to do it again.
They do four rounds. Private School Girl's doing great. I have her throwing a tentative jab so that she can rhythmically snap her right in after it. It's a one-two with no pause after the one. She's improving, and I'm delighted.
I do some speed bag and weights with Private School Girl. We go back to the office and make another appointment.
Russian Student says he thinks Obama was good at the DNC. I tell him that as a Jew, he shouldn't like Obama. He is a pro-Muslim anti-Jew. His dad was Muslim. His stepdad was Muslim. And after that, he spent twenty years in an anti-white, anti-Semitic church -- Trinity United Church of Christ, under Reverend Wright.
I tell Russian Student, "You're Russian. You come from a collectivistic stupid country that hates Jews. You're like the German Jews who thought concentration camps were summer camps."
"You're reading too much Tea Party propaganda."
"You're reading too much Nation and the New York Times," I say. How can a former communist not see the seeds of socialism in Obama? How can he not feel that same old anti-Semitism?
The U.N. Negotiator comes in for his lesson. He's English and represents various peacekeeping missions in places like Africa. I tease him and tell him that his job is hopeless, that he shouldn't try to be such a goody-goody. Because he's English, he's polite, and we never fight. He has a degree from Oxford. I guess he's pretty smart. That's a lot better than Harvard, where they grade-you-up to keep their reputation and give degrees to guys like Obama, who hide their grades from the public. Obama -- the least deserved Nobel Prize in history. If I had one, I'd be forced to give it back. Speaking of giving back disappointments, I really should give back my Judaism.
Russian Student is still around, so I ask him to spar a few rounds with U.N. Negotiator. I'm worried that Russian Student might be angry at me and take it out on U.N. Negotiator. But he doesn't. We are all gentlemen, even if Obama has injected us with class warfare and made us all at the tip of hating each other. I think Obama is a kind of mental disease -- like being bipolar. Our moods dictate our intellects, and our intellects dominate us with sophomoric ideologies.
Of course, I was bipolar already. Only mine is personal, not some stupid governmental mind warp. The population should inoculate itself against Obama.
U.N.'s pretty new and not too good at defense yet. Russian Student pops him whenever he wants. I tell U.N. to move laterally, and he manages to escape some of the punches. "Move your head," I yell. Not bad. Every time he gets popped, he laughs. The English are stoic. They are great warriors. They have no bitterness. It's all about having a good time and being a man. A man is a much-denigrated commodity in the United States.
I am one of the last of the men. If I didn't feel I had to encourage the Jews to stand up for themselves, I'd lie down in the mulch of resignation; I would leave Judaism. But then where would I go? The Muslims kill their own kind for apostasy. They honor-kill their families. They suicide-bomb their sons. I wouldn't become a Muslim, that's for sure. A Catholic? Yes, if only they didn't have that God part of the equation.
I'm not religious. I am moral. I derived my ethics from Judeo-Christianity and I left the religion behind. Obama was born a Muslim like I was born a Jew. Even if he has abandoned his religion, it is hard to abandon your principles. He is some deformed part of where he comes from, just as I am a type of Jew. In 1993 I did a rap EP called "The Renegade Jew." It's still on YouTube. I am still exploring my Jewishness. I proudly say that I am not a weakling who will be sucked into voting for his enemy -- Obama.
It's another Friday at Gleason's. It's five o'clock. Time to go home and kiss my wife.
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