|OUR THIRTY-FIFTH PRESIDENT, JOHN F. KENNEDY (1917-1963) WAS BELOVED BY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND GLOBALLY RESPECTED. A HALF CENTURY LATER, THE MEMORY OF HIS UNTIMELY DEATH STILL ILLICITS HIGH EMOTIONS, SADNESS AND GUILT.|
We all should know that the evidence of his murder points to BOTH a lone gunman and a multiple-shooter theory. Therefore NOBODY can be 100% certain whether Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone or if a complicated conspiracy resulted in this heinous crime. All I’m clear on is...I’m easily swayed and confused by the excellent case made by both sides.
I never bought-in to the Warren Commission's lone gunman conclusion, (years later, the US HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEE ON ASSASSINATIONS...further muddied the waters by asserting that the Warren Commission report was flawed...and that a conspiracy was probable). Additionally, "experts" wavering in the breeze and/or twisting the evidence while ignoring other vital information to support their position makes me want to barf. However, I'm still heavily influenced by recent findings by the scientific community.
I watch enough cop shows to have faith in forensics. So the science behind Oswald being the lone sniper is quite believable. But my heart can’t get me past the psychology of such a zero, single-handedly "taking-out" our adored leader. So, depending on which side I hear from last, I waffle between the contemporary fact-based, lone gun theory and the incredible, multi-tiered conspiracy that I had faith in for decades...which included Oswald as the fall-guy…or in his own words, a “patsy.”
This takes us to a deeper, hopefully more solvable puzzle…why does the mere mention of the John Kennedy assassination make me think of two of the least significant people in my life. So far my only explanation has been an off-shoot that I have devised from my buddy Joe Pythagoras’ theorem. I call my bastardization…GK²+PK²=JFK².
|JOE PYTHAGORAS (570 BC-495 BC) WAS A GREEK MATHEMATICIAN AND PHILOSPHER. THE BUST OF HIM (above) CAN BE FOUND IN THE CAPITOLINE MUSEUM IN ROME ITALY.|
Remember learning A²+B²=C² in middle school? I do. At first, I was so buried I said, “Say what?” The teacher told us that Pythagoras gave us this theorem nearly two thousand years ago. While the history lesson on math continued, I wondered, “Why does it work?” I was so dumbstruck that I might have been the first person to ever say, “WTF!”
I raised my hand and said, "It looks so simple but why does it work?" The weaselly teacher probably wasn't bright enough to explain so he looked at me with scorn and said, “It just does.” The other kids were convinced that he made sense. So in atypical fashion, I fell in line with popular opinion.
I still don’t know why it’s correct, so don’t ask me for an explanation. All I know is, when I had a chance meeting (at the Piercing Pagoda in the mall), with Pythagoras, (he prefers to be called Joe), I said, “Joe, say your theorem ain’t so.” But Pythagoras sighed, “It’s so.” When I got distracted by someone else, he scurried away before I could ask why it works.
So as long as I’m taking a leap of faith with it, I ask my readership to take a similar risk when I assert, GK²+PK²=JFK².
Now it's your turn to say: WTF! But GK and PK are real people. In GK's case, we hung-out in seventh and eighth grade, (1967-1968).
|IF YOU PICTURE ME WITH HAIR, MY BOYISH FACE HASN'T CHANGED SO I'M EASY TO SPOT. IF NOT, ONE OF MY ADMIRERS TURNED AWAY FROM THE CAMERA TO CHECK ME OUT. THEN NOT FAR FROM ME, YOU CAN SEE GK.|
A budding friendship developed but soon GK and I went our own ways. I have no idea whatever happened to him. So for the sake of this blog, I investigated my high school yearbook and concluded that he didn't attend Canarsie High School or he moved away. Out of curiosity, I also tried FACEBOOK and there’s a good chance he’s living in Garden City, on Long Island (New York). However, my curiosity isn't strong enough to contact him because other than the story I about to tell you, there really wasn't another defining moment that we shared.
Our golden moment happened during a weekly (Wednesday) assembly, at John Wilson Junior High School (JHS 211).
An assembly was a formal meeting that required all the kids had to wear a white dress shirt.
On this particular day, I was sitting next to GK. He stood-out in the student body’s endless sea of white shirts like a sore thumb because he was wearing a nearly black, midnight-blue shirt. After singing the National Anthem and being subjected to the usual hum-drum announcements, we were scolded on our apathy towards the continuous fund-raiser...selling Polly-Doodles. Polly-Doodles were a
If that wasn't bad enough...then we were bored to tears by the propaganda tactics of the school’s principal. On this day when the Grand High, Exalted Mystic Ruler got to the podium, he peered out into his legion of yawners. Two words into his sermon, he scanned the far left hand corner of the auditorum, where GK and I were. In the split second that his eyes moved away from us, he did a double-take. With a disgruntled huff, our fearless leader silently left the stage. With great purpose in his stride, he made a bee-line (as fast as the old-timer could) towards us.
Everybody turned and followed his anger-driven path, (you know me, I had such a guilty conscious because there were a thousand reasons why he could have been coming at me).
I was shivering in my Hush-Puppies as the principal aimed his vengeful gaze on me. When our boss-of-bosses arrived, an electric impulse of fear slashed through my nervous system as he pointed an accusatory finger past me, at GK. In a ruffled tone he exclaimed, “Don’t you know you’re supposed to wear a white shirt on assembly day?” GK was not a major wise-ass but on this occasion he cracked, “This IS a white shirt…” Our head master blew a gasket when he roared, “WHAT?” GK calmly said, “It’s a ‘dark’ white shirt…” A throbbing purple vein in the principal's ample brow looked like it was about to burst. Then he screamed, “GET OUT,” in a voice reserved for one of school’s many juvenile delinquents and the Charles Manson Fan Club (they were actually older teenagers and other losers in their early twenties called, "HITTERS." They had been excommunicated from the New York City School System long ago...so the principal's ire was used to shoo them off the property).
|(FALL 1960) ADJACENT TO MY JUNIOR HIGH, WAS A PRISTINE PLAYGROUND AND BALL FIELDS. BY THE TIME I ENTERED THE SCHOOL, (1967), "HITTERS", (THUG-LIKE, DRUGGIES) HAD VANDALIZED EVERY INCH OF THIS PARK AND BURNED DOWN THE ADMINISTRATION BUILDING.|
My lack of commitment to our friendship was proven when I smirked in relief that it wasn't me as GK austerely shuffled past me to the aisle. The principal instinctually grabbed his ear. He tugged him for a second before realizing his folly could be construed as an assault. Instead he prodded my defeated friend in the small of his back until they disappeared through the exit.
What does that have to do with the JFK assassination? Well, nothing but it’s the first part of the GK²+PK²=JFK² equation I was telling you about.
Phil Kennedy (PK) was an even more insignificant character in my life. Over twenty years ago, PK was a tolerable coworker of mine. We never approached a friendship yet every time I think of GK, I think of PK. The only reason is…PK was a dead ringer for GK, (I once pointed out the uncanny resemblance to my friend ZIMBO who was also acquainted with GK from childhood...but he thought I was crazy. I fought for my opinion and suggested the concept of a time elapsed picture in his mind...of a twelve-year old as a thirty-something but Zimbo still thought I was nuts).
Nevertheless, I thought and still think they were twin-like so any image in my mind of either GK or PK will lead me to the other and then to JFK…hence…GK²+PK²=JFK².
If that wasn’t enough of a coincidence, in 1990 when I worked with PK, a group of other employees and I, (not including Phil Kennedy) were talking about the JFK assassination. One fifty-year old guy said he was working at a gas station when he heard the bad news. Another man about forty said he found out from his mom. I said, “I was eight. Older kids told me outside my school but I didn’t believe them.” Junie, (an immature nineteen year-old) was absorbed with playing with her split-ends. She wasn’t listening to our conversation so she was caught off guard when somebody asked her, “Where were you when Kennedy got shot?” As if shot herself she gasped, “Phil Kennedy got shot?” And a legend was born.
I doubt we’ll ever know exactly what happened to President John Kennedy. But I have one question for the lone gunman people that I never heard addressed. Kennedy was killed on Elm Street in Dallas’ Dealey Plaza. His motorcade approached the Texas School Book Depository along Houston Street. If Oswald was indeed the only shooter, why from his perch on the sixth floor, did he not shoot when the target came to nearly a complete stop in front of him as it turned off Houston onto Elm? If anything, by waiting till it passed the grassy knoll, it reduced his chance for more shots if he missed. Plus, by waiting, it was a farther shot with no guarantee that the motorcade would speed up.
|AN AERIAL VIEW OF DEALEY PLAZA. HOLY CONSPIRACY THEORIES BATMAN, THERE ISN'T A SINGLE PHOTO ON THE INTERNET SHOWING A VANTAGE POINT FROM THE 6th FLOOR OF THE TEXAS SCHOOL BOOK DEPOSITORY, LOOKING UP HOUSTON STREET AND INCLUDING ELM TO THE RIGHT?|
It must say something about my willingness to disagree with the masses but between the the supposed kill-zone up Elm Street and a nebbish being responsible for taking down one of our greatest presidents, it's hard to think that a colossal conspiracy wasn't responsible.
Equally, I can’t get by the strangeness of thinking about such insignificants as GK and PK whenever I think of the assassination. Of course when I bumped into Junie, (2009 in Las Vegas, she was exactly double her age but still immature), she not only had no memory about saying, "Phil Kennedy got shot?" ...but she didn't remember me either. I guess I should have asked her if she knew who JFK was...