Spray cologne dispenser
March 21, 1981
They’ve taken down the spray cologne dispensers from the wall – a symbolic change from those days when Hank and I wandered into taverns like these, searching for happiness in the bottom of a beer bottle when women here wanted nothing to do with us.
This change jolts me as much as when I noticed the penny chewing gum dispensers gone from subway platforms, some significant change of culture of which I am not apart, due to some transit bureaucrat who has decided poor people do not have a right to exist in places like New York City.
I feel shoved aside by the parade of brief cases who treat the world and us as if they own it and own us.
And I can’t even buy a Chiclet from a penny machine as compensation.
Or get a quarters’ worth of cologne sprayed on my face in the men’s room while the same arrogant suit and tie crowns settles on bar stools my kind have kept warm for centuries.
This is not to say we were ever successful in making the spray dispensers work the way they were supposed to.
When Hank tried once, he got so much in his eyes and mouth, he spent the night rubbing tears out of his eyes and washing the taste out of his mouth with beer.
Still I feel now as I did back in the early 1970s when I saw my world changing, when hip protests against the war turned into greedy grabs for gas and meat as media told us about shortages.
The same assholes who demanded free tickets to every concert in 1970, plowed through people to get first in line by 1973. Now these same jerks have elected Ronald Reagan as president. – so overflowing with American pride, I wonder if they ever remember Vietnam or how hard they fought to keep from going there.
The ideas of the 1960s seem lost like the memory of an old tooth ach, intense at the time until experience has extracted the cause.
No longer fearing that they will become the ones that get killed, these jerks decided to get rich.
I call it the great sell out, where all those people Hank and I thought of as cool, decided to become practical.
None of us really saw the change until after it happened.
It isn’t like the day the German’s put up the Berlin Wall or when the Nazis marched into Paris.
Our world changes in increments.
No gum machines.
No spray cologne.
No peace or love