Me and Keith were roommates at Truck U. in the fall of 1969. We had graduated from Rowdy High three months prior to matriculating at Truck U. We lived at Paine Hall-he matriculated on the bottom bunk, and I had the top. We often reflected at night before z'ing ourselves to sleep. Here is one of our conversations.
I'm gonna tell you a little bit about this, so that you'll understand
What I'm talking about
Down there we have a plant that grows out in the woods and the fields,
Looks somethin' like a turnip green.
Everybody calls it Polk salad.
Polk salad. Used to know a girl that lived down there
and she'd go out in the evenings and pick a mess of it...
Carry it home and cook it for supper,
'cause that's about all they had to eat,
But they did all right....
"Keith, you ever eat any polk salad?"
"Vee, I ain't ever had any-don't even know what in the hell it is! What made you ask me that? You're not gettin' delusional on me again, are you?"
"Nah, I'm o.k. I'm just sittin' here in my top bunk reflecting. And polk salad popped in me head."
"Get some sleep. Me and Miss June would like some privacy, if you don't mind."
"I wondered why you took your hankerchief to bed. Too bad we aren't at the Central Adult Theatre. Watching 'The Lustful Turk.' Now that was cinema verite, eh?"
"Man, that county fair tonite was a blast! Ain't nothing like the one in the big city."
"Yeah, I never saw nothin' like it. All those young girls came struttin' out of nowhere in their birthday suits. Squattin' down in front of us and showing us everything they got."
"Too bad we didn't bring flashlights like those other guys. And they [ the girls ] didn't cotton to the zippos-kept blowin' 'em out."
"Yeah, a zippo could catch a bush on fire. You can't blame 'em."
"How do you think the elections will play out?"
"I think Ted Kennedy will win again even tho he left Mary Jo to die."
"Nah, not that one. The Iraqi elections?"
"What Iraqi elections. Sadam Hussein will never be ousted."
"Maybe it was a dream then. Yes, it was. I dreamed it was 2005 and Iraqi's were exercising their right to vote. And Iraq was becoming a republic, er, democracy. And the prez of the U.S. was Bush Jr."
"Bush? You gotta quit going to the fair and fantasizing about all those girls with the flashlights and zippos."
"Keith, you think there were any homos at Rowdy High?"
"Huh? Well, maybe one or two! You sure you're o.k.? I could call the medic again."
"Do you think homos choose to be that way or is it genetic? Or it just happens?"
"Never gave it much thought cos I'm a red-blooded heterosexual. Hey, me and Miss June-we want to be alone. Go to sleep."
"My mom found my Playboys a coppola years ago, discreetly-or so I thought-tucked away in my drawers at home. I remember it well: 'Well, my son smokes, drinks, and now he looks at Playboy Magazine.' Maybe she was relieved to know I wasn't a homo."
"Go to sleep."
"Remember that stag film we saw?"
"The one with the hippie guy with the large prick? Damn thing shriveled up to nothing when he blew his load."
"I was thinking about the one where those two chicks were gettin' it on."
"Yeah, that was hot."
"How come guys like to see hot chicks doing the wild thang? You think girls want to see two guys gettin' it on?"
"Keith, you think we'll ever get laid at Truck U.?"
"Nah. Me and Sue are waiting til we get married. But if the situation presents itself and Sue relents well....Hey, where you going?"
"Something popped up. Now where'd I put that Playboy and handkerchief? What'd you do with the vaseline?"
"Uh, here you go. I borrowed it. Let's go to Bubba's Friday night."
"Yeah! Sounds good. Drown our sorrows. G'nite."
"Yeah! WHAT IS IT NOW?"
"What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass.
Of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind."
"Vee, I'm calling the doctor."
"I'm okay, Keith. Continue your tryst with Miss June. G'nite, dude."
Down in Louisiana
Where the alligators grow so mean
There lived a girl that I swear to the world
Made the alligators look tame
Polk salad Annie
polk salad Annie
Everybody said it was a shame
Cause her mama was working on the chain-gang (a mean, vicious woman) ....