Monday, November 7, 2011

And speaking of labeling . . .

And speaking of labeling (see yesterday's blog), Marash Girl has to admit that it happens every day.  We DO judge a book by its cover, or a person by the cut of his coat (if he's wearing one . . . that may be why Marash Boy never wears a coat no matter how cold the New England weather).  Very early on, Marash Boy made a pact with Marash Girl not to play the game, that they would do whatever it was in their power to avoid labeling and being labeled (except for what folks could do with their clothes, the cut of their hair, and their New England accent), and so they were persona non grata at parties where the first question anyone asked (when they were younger) was, "Where did you go to school?" or "What did you major in?" (even though that question ended in a preposition),  and later, "What do you do?" and even later, "Do you have children? How many?"  And so it became a game to avoid being labeled, to avoid being pigeon holed, to be creative enough during any conversation to avoid answering any such questions, and concentrate on the more important subjects: (you may fill in whatever you want here.)  But for all of our efforts, we have to admit.  Our names label us.  Our faces label us.  We are, after all, Marash Boy and Marash Girl.


  1. Dietrich Garbrecht, ein auslander geboren in Deutschland, oops, sorry, i just labeled him. He exists. well, to get on with it, hobbling, et al, this fellow, omg, sexist that i am, whom i encountered while playing chess at the Blue Parrot, crossed Boylston Street with me, to get from the theatre to a book store, there i go again, another label, darn, so i could buy him a book of poetry, a collection of poems written by a Minnesota poet, whose name i have forgotten. let me see if i can repeat that as a purist: ........ because i was trembling with anxiety, i omitted anything which might hint at a label, then omitted anything that might hint at a modifying of that label, then surrendered the whole enterprise, being unsure that i might adumbrate any thing that the reader might infer as a label, and then to be sure that i would not end my days in public censure, in the 'locks', as it were, i redacted the whole sentence. seeing how effective i was at giving away nothing in my communique, i caught the eye of one of the recruiting officers of the ubiquitous foreign intelligence agencies, and was offered a job before i could jot the last dot, tittle, well, you get the idea. it seems the instinct and capacity to redact is held in the highest esteem by those whose business is intelligence, and have a pulse to prove it.

  2. to get on about my soon to be very good friend, Dietrich, we began our life as poets on that evening we first met at the Blue Parrot. it was the afternoon the bars were all closed, until the voting booths were all closed, that Richard Nixon, the erstwhile pretender to the throne, was being elected to the lowest/highest office in the land, to the dizzying height of chief redacter in command of an army of , you guessed it, redacters. well we got redacted, all right, and so did the country, , but fear not, because Dick did not have an original bone in his body, as all that genius to redact began at least with the Lyndon, you know, Landslide Lyndon, who slid us into the Vietnam war on the backs of the Tonkin Gulf Incident, which, of course, never occurred ( a time machine of redactive politics). all this prepared the country for a new poetic genre, the 'redactive' poet. So redactive, poetic, have the news agencies, the government agencies become, that our schools, in the spirit of PC, and not wanting to give offense to anyone, have redacted any suggestion of the distinction between those who are educated and those who are not. I should have known all this was coming when i first met Dietrich at the Blue Parrot. He had reduced conversation with newcomers, and used the essence of German aristocratic humor, to do it. Clever Kraut that he was, he had printed all the answers that the redacted intelligence of american culture might want to learn about him. to wit, he had either sewed into his clothing answers to all the questions, which allowed him to flip a collar, or turn over his sleeve, or had slips of paper that he could lift from his breast pocket, or pant pocket, on which he had printed cryptic responses, all of which obviated the need for what was remaining of the oral tradition in the new world of ......

  3. marash girl,when you told me you were bird watching, i had to muster all the restraint within me to resist the temptation of warning you against being pigeon holed. Alas, i ran out of self-restraint.

  4. Marko Pasha says....

    "what do you do?" reminds me of some things.When I was a teenager I got tired of "grown ups" condescendingly asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up (As if they really cared...). The reply was provided for me by Mikhail Bulgakov in his novel "Heart of a Dog".
    I would answer (to my parents's embarassment and annoyance)that I wanted to become the "Commissar in Charge of the Elimination of Vagrant Quadrupeds".
    I have never in 57 years owned a telvision (at least not one that was working and plugged in. I did pick one up once at the end of the day at the Norton flea market. It sat around my parents' garage for years before we throw it out again.) In times past when I would mention that I didn't have a T.V. people would look at me with befuddled looks and ask "No T.V.! What do you dooo?" Gee, what could I say?:-) I read books like "Heart of a Dog".
    The Blue Parrot, Boyleston St. when it was still Boyleston St., and bookstores when there were 32 of them in Harvard Sq... memories of Old Harvard Square....!

  5. i can remember the label that was put on me on the first job i had in the world of commerce. i was working on staff of the ex vp of operations for the largest bank in chicago, in 1974. i had taken the job because it had been offered to me during a recession that was in full throttle, and i was 1000 miles from home and had no friends. i had not a clue what i was to be doing, and found out in the first week what a dreadful decision i had made. the staff position exploited all my weaknesses and buried all of my natural strengths. wearing the least expensive polyester suit, as that was all i could afford, while living in the least expensive apartment,one that fronted the railroad tracks in wheaton, ill., 30 miles west,a 45-60 minute one way commute, i petitioned for a transfer to the other side of banking, the administrative side, the side which created the revenues for the bank, away from the support side, which was operations. i asked to be transferred to the bond department, which, at that time, was one of the biggest in the country outside of NYC. the fellow who took charge of this request marched me to the bond room, allowed me to peek through the portals, not enter, just peek. he stared at me and said, 'just look at them, and then look at yourself. you can see you do not fit in there, you can see you are not one of them'. the occupiers of the bond room were all wearing suits many times the cost of mine, and were sporting silk ties which cost more than my polyester suit. he said,'you do not belong there.' he was right, i did not belong there, or anywhere else in that bank, employer of 10,000 people, 70% of whom were working in support, in operations. i quit after nine months, and found new employment with a boutique bond firm. the owner of the firm never spoke to me until the second week i was there,though i sat no more than 10 feet from him, on the trading desk, learning the business. one day in the second week, i could see he was struggling with my name, and finally asked me what kind of name it was. i said it was armenian. he looked at me, smiled, and said, 'well, then,you ought to be pretty good at this'.
    i was still wearing the same polyester suit that i had worn when the fellow at the bank announced that 'i was not one of them.' my new boss had ignored the label of my suit, and instead chose to label me according to the reputation of my forbears. i knew that label in his own mind would wear away if i could not affix the label on myself. i hated the idea of being a 'salesman', so decided on a better label for myself, and became something more. there are some labels worth sporting, as long as it does not seek to define the limits of one's reach into the universe.