John Boston | COVID: Desmond Dekker & a Beet Fight on Aisle 5

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Save for my morning health elixir of warm water, juice from an entire lemon and apple cider vinegar followed by stumbling around the kitchen making faces like Joe Cocker, I’ve had little to entertain myself this past year. 

In small glimpses, I watch in delight as the world starts to crawl out from this year-long oppression of Chinese Flu. The disease. Not the underground nightclub dance craze. Many are the silver linings. On the bright side? During the pandemic? Apparently, no one died of regular flu. Or motorcycle accidents. Or diareeki. Or, from beheadings by drooling, wide-eyed chanting cult members that some, perhaps unfairly, call Democrats in the far-flung wilds of Palmdale. 

This was way before my time, but I believe “In The Far-Flung Wilds of Palmdale” was an old 19th-century John Philip Sousa tune. Here. Climb into your Royal Canadian Mounted Police uniform. Finding your best castrato voice, sing it with me, con gusto: 

“In the far-flung wilds, of Palmdale 

“Twas where I first met my true love… 

“In the place where there should’ve been boobies, 

“Were just two baseball gloves…” 

Trombone solo. Makes you feel like vaulting out of the chair and marching proudly over all the wonderful blessings America provides. 

During the quarantine, human contact came in the form of the rare Zoom meeting. Via computer screen, I’d chat with friends and relatives. But, the last 12 months, the only actual human contact I’d get is the drive-thru line at Taco Bell where I order my standard one-half taco and seven enchiritos. A smallish lady answers over the intercom: 

“We haven’t had enchiritos since 1984. Curiously, the title of George Orwell’s dystopian novel and the current state of America under the Democratic Party and their D-bag cult followers,” she patiently tells me. “Besides. This is the worst form of Cultural Appropriation. ‘Enchirito’ isn’t even a word.” 

She winks, smiles and makes me seven yummy enchiritos, coincidentally, the title of the Puerto Rican film knock-off of “7 Samurai,” on the caveat I tell no one. 

As I mentioned, I do Zoom. Wednesdays is my standard meeting with the City o’ SClarita’s City Council and we’ve set aside an hour to prance around our offices to Desmond Dekker & The Aces’ 1990 hit reggae song, “The Israelites.” Great dance song. I’m fine and I’m getting good cardio, but I worry about our five council members — Mayor Bill Miranda (husband to the actress, Carmen Miranda, who wrote the famous self-incrimination 5th Amendment Miranda Warning), Laurene “Wild, Wild” Weste, Marsha “Squeaky” McLean, Jason Gibbs (formerly of the Bee Gees, who added an “s” onto his name after his sixth marriage) and Councilchild Cameron “Diaz” Smyth. Is having five dancing councilfolk together on the same screen in violation of the Mann Act? 

No. Wait. The Mann Act is the 1910 federal law discouraging taking women across state lines for immoral purposes, which, in many states, is also known as “marriage.” Like who wants to drive all the way to Arizona? Maybe I’m thinking of the Brown Act, which has something to do with throwing back undersized trout and secret government meetings. 

Anywho. 

So many things to consider in these climes of Chinese Flu. Again. I present you with Cultural Appropriation. Can a Jamaican reggae band (Desmond Dekker & The Aces) sing lyrics (“The Israelites”) about Jewish people? Cultural Appropriation is a big thing now. Many college campuses are protesting things like Halloween where non-Finnish people dress up like Vikings. Being Polish, I know I hate it when kids walk around with axes in their skulls and claim to be Polish. Terribly hurtful. Leaves emotional scars wider than Interstate 5 by Disneyland. I’ve had more than enough time to ponder about people appropriating MY culture. Should I be offended because certain ethnic groups today insist on wearing pants?  

Dear Mr. Boston: 

As part Samoan, I take umbrage to your insensitive observation. This is the way it works. I get to wear pants. YOU don’t get to wear grass skirts. Ditto with juggling flaming torches. 

Best wishes for your continued success, 

Duane “The Rock” Johnson 

Fort Tejon 

P.S. Do you guys in Santa Clarita have an ID and password for the Wednesday Zoom City Council dance meeting? I LOVE Desmond Dekker & The Aces!  

Duane. Who the heck doesn’t. 

I am so sick and tired of wearing surgical masks and the abuse they bring. I’ve been chased out of many stores this past year. Not because I’m NOT wearing a mask. It’s because I wear contact lenses. I exhale from the mask and the hot air flies directly into my eyes. That causes my eyes to water and turn sickly red. I start wheezing and coughing up a lung because I’m re-inhaling lint. People assume I’m a COVID-spreader. Some elderly and masked lady on Aisle 5 starts hitting me with an arrangement of beets while screaming “Leper! Leper!” and a boxboy appears out of nowhere to hysterically accuse me of worshipping cats. I take the beets from the old woman’s grip and throw them six aisles over, thump her in the sternum and ask if she has any photos of her great grandchildren. This defuses the situation. I calm the boxboy by sharing that while I don’t worship cats, I do like them and had two for breakfast. Then I tell the old lady to show the boxboy her wretchedly generic baby photos. 

It’s tough, shopping, during a pandemic. 

Being cooped up has taken its toll on me. I’m not making this up. You know what I did this week? I took a giant basket to my laundry service for the usual fluff & fold. Small problem? The clothes were clean. I left the big plastic bag of dirty clothes on the floor by the front door. So. Now? I have double clean clothes and 15,000 pounds of dirty ones. 

I’m losing it. 

John Boston is a local writer. Duane Johnson is not. 

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