Since moving to South Jersey in 1984, the person that exemplifies laziness to me has to be, forty-six year old Mystic Islander, Lew. Lew rarely leaves his apartment, is dependent on pills, has a drinking problem, squanders the little money he has left on gambling and is a chronic complainer. Ironically, his grumblings aren't associated with his obvious shortcomings...his rantings concern his job. He even brags about how little he does at his workplace which to him, epitomizes how backward the company is...because they tolerate or aren't sharp enough to notice his lack of effort.
Lew likes to work about sixty percent of his assigned time. Therefore, he earns just enough to afford his habits. Lew has never been married, has no children, no mortgage and drives a fifteen-year old Chevy Chevette that was built in Ecuador. When I first met him (1993), he was driving (when it wasn't in the shop), the world's oldest Yugo GV with it's signature statement band-aid applique, (with the word "ouch" printed on it), covering his dented side panel.
When Lew would start whining about how he hated his job, I wanted to slap him with a fish and tell him; if work was really that bad, what's holding you there? Quit, you're not a moron, do something else. Even if you fail, you have no responsibilities. At that point, I would expect him to interrupt and cry, "They won't pay my benefits unless I keep up a thirty-two hour week. That's when I'd be ready to cut him off and say, "Yeah, it must be tough being forced to make fifteen thousand more a year and have less time to waste it."
Lew's lethargic lifestyle is contrasted by Winston, (also forty-six). He thought he had a terrible job too but Winston never complained, was an asset to the firm and was well liked. But when he had the opportunity to expand his horizons, he absorbed the pain of tying-up family loose ends, accepted temporary financial hardships and moved to San Pedro, near Los Angeles.
Winston surprised me by moving to paradise but shocked everyone we know by turning down his new opportunity when he got there. While its true that he's keeping his eyes open for something in his field, he has gone totally Hollywood and decided to take advantage of his two years of unemployment benefits, first.
Winston typified the east coast mentality when he told me that he liked the contradiction of being in Venice Beach and on Santa Monica Pier at Christmas time. He then hit all the major amusement parks, hiked Runyon Canyon, toured the Getty Villa as well as the Griffith Observatory.
His macabre taste in entertainment included the Helter Skelter tour of Manson murders and the Dearly Departed Tours of L. A., who offer trips to the O.J. Simpson crime scene. Next on his wish list are the crime scenes of the, "Black Dahlia," the murder of Robert Blake's wife and the case of the Menendez brothers. Winston even implied a willingness to drive to Colorado, to check-out the Jonbenet Ramsey tour.
Closer to home, Winston wants to see the swanky Magic Castle. It is so aristocratic that you need a referral to get a reservation. But due to a fire in 2011, it was closed for several months. Since re-opening last month, it has become nearly impossible to get in.
|THE MAGIC CASTLE IN HOLLYWOOD (1963-PRESENT), BILLS ITSELF AS THE WORLD'S MOST UNUSUAL PRIVATE NIGHT CLUB. IN THIS EXCLUSIVE SETTING, IT FEATURES LIVE STATE-OF-ART MAGIC ACTS.|
Last week, I told Winston that the last time I was in Los Angeles, I loved the La Brea Tar Pits. He poo-poo'ed this idea before I even had a chance to tell him that the La Brea is a unique museum of worldwide acclaim. At the turn of the last century, in what is now downtown L. A., a large, smelly asphalt pit blighted the landscape. The bones of unfortunate domestic animal stuck-out of the tar as a grim reminder of consequences of getting too close. A man passing through town asked a local to identify the bones. The man said cows. While it was true some contemporary animals were stuck there, it didn't take long until a team of paleontologists were summoned and recognized the tar pits as a significant geological find.
|DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES AS IT LOOKED IN 1910. THE OIL DERRICKS IN THE BACKGROUND WERE COMMERCIALLY MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE TAR PITS, (HIDDEN BY LEAVES AND OTHER DEBRIS IN THE FOREGROUND).|
Excavation at La Brea started in 1901. Into the 1940's, hundreds of thousands of Pleistocene period bone fossils, preserved from the usual bacterial degradation by the tar were extracted in pristine condition. Over the years, the focus has gone to smaller animals. Soon, museums and researchers around the world overwhelmingly used La Brea as their source for the delicate bones of intact flying dinosaurs. By the 1970's, attention switched to specimens like, insects, plants and even pollen. More than a hundred years later, these excavations continue.
Scientists have proven that 90% of La Brea's victims were carnivores or birds of prey/scavengers.The scenario they set is, a group of meat eaters chase down their meal. In desperation, the unfortunate soul runs into the "sanctuary" of the sticky goo...and the hunters follow and get trapped too. Further, the animals were smart enough that this was a rare occurrence. If only one major entrapment like that happened every ten years over 30,000 years, that would be sufficient to account for the bone volume found at La Brea.
I was disappointed when Winston said that La Brea wasn't on his A-List of day trips. He said he was too busy organizing excursions to Catalina Island, Olvera Street and some others I never heard of. While Winston is between these worthy destinations, I have to fight my imagination not to picture him alone, as a sloth-like couch potato, laying around his apartment, watching reruns on TV and getting fat.