I am a recluse. One of the many things I like about Greenpoint is that people leave you alone. I have always been a weirdo. Big time (I document dog shit and make burqas for Hello Kitty dolls, after all). But unlike anywhere else I have ever lived, I can fly my freak flag with pride here without fear of retribution or ridicule. I cannot adequately convey how grateful I am for this privilege.
My interactions with the outside world have also become much more interesting as a result: in Greenpoint people just say “That’s Miss Heather, she’s like that”, everywhere else people say “What the fuck!?!” Or worse. For example, I am thoroughly confounded by the fact that when my (whiter-than-driven-snow) honky highness wears a t-shirt with Angela Davis on it, very little is said. But when I wear this…
I get an earful. And then some.
Of all the things I have made, this jacket is the “Holy of Holies”. I wear it with pride and guard it with a ferocity not unlike how a tiger protects her young. Lest any of you harbor any confusion whatsoever as to who this guy is, click here before you continue reading.
Am I a Maoist? Absolutely not. I like to think that my jacket is a Mao inhibitor that features a shiny happy pink man with a twinkle in his eye. Would this guy start a Cultural Revolution? Probably not— except perhaps if it involved fairies, bunny rabbits and a bubble machine a la Lawrence Welk.
Around here people are pretty used to seeing this jacket. Some are amused by it, a few get confused by it, most simply do not care. This is “Little Poland” after all. It’s not like I am walking around with a jacket with Stalin on it, after all.
Here are some of my favorite questions/comments regarding this article of clothing:
- Middle-eastern store owner: Isn’t he the guy who went crazy and killed a bunch of people? (He’s not that far off the mark— ed. note)
- 50-something year old Chinese food delivery man: (Chinese) MAO ZEDONG! (Chinese) MAO ZEDONG! (Repeat four more times).
- NYC Department of Transportation employee: Is that Reverend Sun Myung Moon (Uh, no— ed. note)
- Two 20-something year old Chinese dudes waiting for the E train at 23rd-Ely Avenue: (laugh their asses off).
- A few people: Is that Chang Kai-sheck (Wrong side, kiddos. If I was Taiwanese I’d probably beat the crap out of you— ed. note)
- Several people: Is that Pol Pot? (Close, but no cigar— ed. note)
- Even more people: Is that Kim Jong Il? (If only. Kim Jong is seriously Illin’ with that Elvis-esque pompadour. Too bad he is a nut job with nuclear technology— ed. note)
- 50-something year old goon smoking a cigarette outside the 53rd Street stop of the E (to his buddy): Looggit DAT! Dat chick has fuggin’ Ho Chi Minh on the back of her jacket!
No, I do not have Ho Chi Minh on my jacket.
The number of Vietnam-era men (and one can safely assume veterans of this ‘conflict’ are in the group I am talking about) who get Mao confused with Ho is absolutely mind-boggling. Here is a picture of Mao…
and here is a picture of Ho.
Not exactly dead-ringers, huh? I was not old enough to remember any of this shit when it happened; I was too busy toilet-training and shoving crayons up my nose. Perhaps hindsight helps in this respect, then again, maybe the reason the whole this ‘conflict’ got as fucked up as it did was because these dudes had no idea whatsoever who they were after? Anything Asiatic goes.
(Come to think of it, the previous scenario is not dissimilar to our fine country’s current cluster-fuck in the middle east, but I digress…)
Last Friday I had the mother of all Mao jacket incidents. In Greenpoint, of all places. I had just got off the train. I passed by a liquor store, and as I did an older man exited and started walking behind me.
Old Man: HO!
Me (to myself): What the fuck?
Old Man: HO!
Me (to myself): Fucking pervert!
Old Man: HOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Me (getting mighty pissed, I turned around): WHAT?!?
(The old man points at my jacket and asks in broken English if it is Ho Chi Minh.)
Me (please kill me now): No, it’s not Ho Chi Minh.
After a weekend’s worth of reflection I can safely say that the old man wasn’t doing anything wrong. Rather, my vanity got the better of me. Scrawny broads aren’t terribly popular here, much less those who are (clearly) over 30 and married. To skirt-chase me would be like hankering for some man’s leftover potato chips: crumbs. Greenpoint men want the full four-course meal.
If this post (my 101st!) is good for nothing else, consider it a public service announcement. All the previous dudes are dead now save two: Rev. Moon and Kim Jong Il.
- Reverend Moon fancies himself a savior and fancies money-laundering and tax evasion (among other things).
- Kim Jong Il has the atomic bomb. He tested it today.
Take your pick.