Look Ma, I'm Blogging!
Look Ma, I’m Blogging!
My friend Barney from New Jersey was eager to tell me about his son’s recent stay in New Mexico. He said it was a year-long “sabbatical.” I was expecting at least some upbeat feedback, the Balloon Festival, our magnificent sunsets, world-famous Red or Green Chile.
“I knew New Mexico is a backwards state, but the way you trample on the underdog is just plain baffling.”
Excuse me? A New Jersey guy looking down on New Mexico? No one blocks our freeway exit ramps when political patronage payments run late. Just saying.
“Your cops are more dangerous than our mafia guys,” Barney barked. I was suspicious of his slurred tone. It was early in the day, but as Jimmy Buffett sings, it’s five o’clock somewhere.
I told Barney he might be referring to the police in Albuquerque who, first, are not representative of the entire state, and second, are dealing daily with clientele who are no boy scouts. Maybe even guys who are here on a “sabbatical.”
“Just a minute there, Hoss!” Barney yelped. Barney starts calling me “Hoss” just about 15 minutes after it is 5 o’clock somewhere.
“How can you justify them killing some poor, mentally unstable, homeless guy on top of a hill when all the fellow was trying to do was get some rest and stay away from humanity? They had him surrounded in the middle of nowhere. How was he a danger?”
Rocks, maybe? Okay, I had to admit the shooting of James Boyd was tragic and inexcusable. Actually, an Albuquerque Journal headline April 3 read: “Boyd shooting: Which officer fired fatal shot?” Apparently, the defense theory is if you can’t prove which is the poorer marksman, you can prosecute neither.
I told Barney the Department of Justice had investigated the police culture in New Mexico’s largest city and submitted a comprehensive list of recommendations. I haven’t read them, I said, but maybe one of them contains the phrase “dart guns.”
Barney was far too enraged to fall for a humorous diversion. “Forget guns,” he said, “how about the cop last year who kneed a University of New Mexico student so hard in the nuts the poor guy’s testicle had to be surgically removed!”
Whoa, Barney, this is a family blog. You may refrain, please, from locker room vulgarity. Granted, though, he had a point. Maybe dart guns and attachable knee pads fashioned from plush boxing gloves?
Look Ma, I’m blogging!
Blogging. This is much like getting into your car, having a vague idea of wanting to go somewhere, driving sometimes aimlessly, sometimes purposefully, in search of adventure.
Barney will be along for the ride. He will make occasional appearances, as he did in my long-running newspaper column. Is Barney, my obvious alter ego, a real person? Yes and no.
Here is how Barney came about. My brother, Ken, was the ninth of ten children, seven years older than the tenth, who happened to be me. He always carried a grudge of sorts. When Mom disappeared for awhile, Ken was told she would be bringing home a surprise. He was all geared up for a puppy. He never quite forgave me for not fetching.
By the time the tenth kid shows up, the family has pretty much run out of both interest and film.
An accident confined Ken to a wheel chair the last years of his young life and he had little more to do than make fun of his brother, the Carlsbad newspaper the kid ran, and the state in which he ran it.
Ken, who lived in Long Beach and smoked a little grass – medically speaking, of course – enjoyed frequent telephone calls deriding everything New Mexico and my “two-bit column in a four-bit state.” When Ken died, Barney was born.
I have no idea of why I located Barney in New Jersey, other than what is no doubt a misconceived and unfair perception of her being synonymous with guys named Luigi who wear dark suits and deliver vending machines to businesses that don’t want vending machines.
Friend Kerry Gladden, owner of The Agency – Ruidoso’s go-to marketing company – designed and gifted me with this web site. I thank her. She said “you need to get back to writing.” I think what she meant was, “you need to find something to keep you busy so I can get some work done.”
Here, then, begins a new chapter. A blog with no readers. Well, wait, one reader. Arlean Green has followed my writing for decades, offers solid feedback and encouragement. I have never personally met Arlean but appreciate her loyalty and friendship. The former New Mexican now lives close to her daughter in Arlington, in the Seattle area.
Welcome aboard, Arlean . Not sure about you, Barney.
With apologies to Joe Monahan…
This is the home of New Mexico nonsense.