We were, quite simply, a ragtag group of bare-faced litmag kids, with copies of On The Road stuffed in back pockets, and Jack knew so much more. He never made us feel badly about our ignorance of the simple fact that he had lived it, loved it, admired and tasted it all; whatever we were fifty years too late to be, to beat.
Oh, but we wanted it anyway, and so spent nights underground on Selectrix typewriters, pretending to know what the fuck we were writing about. Producing terribly adequate prose.
Dr. Booch, Mistah Jack, Sir: you were our bad cliche and an amazingness, and you believed in all of us, however meager our talent.
This whole Columbia River Crossing debacle sure is getting on my nerves. Correction — the idiots holding up progress in the name of artistic expression are getting on my nerves.
Recently, bridge designer Miguel Rosales pompously proclaimed, “The chosen design for the bridge should reflect Portland’s unique tradition and core values.” What’s that? Core values? Is he perhaps suggesting Lady Justice winking at a crooked mayor?
Or maybe a giant basketball hoop? The headlines above the fold in The Oregonian are nearly always Blazer-related, and as much as I enjoy the occasional sporting event, I have to say obsessive interest in Greg Oden to the exclusion of all else is illustrative of the sort of “core values” Rosales will need to symbolically express.
These boobs might as well request that, as the poet Auden put it, “the river jumps over the mountain/And the salmon sing in the street.”
Setting aside the innate absurdity of such concerns, one wonders how it has escaped so many Portlanders’ attention that this bridge is an INTERSTATE bridge, not a Portland bridge. It’s the Columbia, you morons, not the Willamette.
Furthermore, in the midst of a terrible recession, it would stand to reason that the single most important factor with regard to its design would be the efficacy of its impact on interstate commerce. Following that are concerns regarding the employment of local workers and the feasibility of its overall cost.
The St. John’s Bridge was built during the Great Depression, employing tens of thousands during a time when the average Portlander was struggling mightily to survive financially.
The end result was a beautiful combination of gothic arches and streaming cables that has stood the test of time, promising to do so well into the future.
That’s how you plan a bridge — not by imagining it adorned with giant salmon (if you think I’m exaggerating, see the pedestrian bridge spanning I-205 as part of the Airport MAX extension).
Barry Johnson, in a recent Oregonian column, expounded inanely about the need for a bridge design that will express Portlanders’ “feeling about their river.” My feeling is I’d like to be able to cross the damn thing without getting bolloxed up in traffic around Jantzen Beach.
Mayor Adams — bent, but unbowed — proclaimed in his agenda for his first 100 days that we need an “aesthetically appealing bridge design” that reflects the city’s needs and interests.
When I read of Metro Council President David Bragdon’s insistence that we keep Adams around after his recent sex scandal because he’s “the city’s point person on the Columbia River Crossing bridge project,” I thought to myself, “Alright already. I give up. Let’s just make the thing a big, bent basketball hoop and call it a day.”
Never use two words when one will do. I'll never forget his cackle, demanding another martini, or his gruff kindness. Jack understood in a moment the precarious position that a lovely, lovesick barmaid felt, and tipping extravagantly for the performance. Helped me realize about people-watching as a competitive sport. He was my champion in a time when I felt I had none.
Like a commenter, the bar regular knows a different sort of innermost secrets. Especially a writer who understands what it's like to ache inside, the world-weary knowhow of love that's never meant to be. And so, instead of crying, we write, cheers, and celebrate.