Friday, July 28, 2006

Hank Fall Down, Go Boom!


Shortly after Hank started using a cane, he got mugged. On his way home from a blues performance (he played at a bar in Philadelphia that gave him free food in return) with two friends, they got threatened by a group of teenagers with knives. One of Hank's friends managed to run away, the other got his arm cut and gave up his wallet. Hank would abide neither of these options. Being a large tall blind man, he wasn't much on running even during the most dire of circumstances and he didn't have any money to buy a new guitar so there was no way that his was going without a fight. "Give up the guitair, Big Whitey," one of the teenagers said, to which Hank replied, "You're robbing the blind, asshole! Do you realize that?" The guys continued to follow for a block before they ran off with the one wallet and nothing from Hank.

Hank wrote everyone a long detailed group e-mail about the incident which he enjoyed greatly in the retelling. He was one of the few people I knew that could write brilliant group e-mails. I believe this is because he was the same Hank to everyone, a rare quality that I can't say I possess. That's not to say that he couldn't write a hell of a terrific personal e-mail, but the one I remember best is the last one titled "Hank Fall Down, Go Boom!" It detailed his fall and soon to be surgery and assured everyone that if he was late in answering messages or sending packages that he wasn't mad at anyone, or more forgetful than usual, just out of commission for a while. Maybe, he wrote, I'll get some good songs or poems out of the deal. What is there to say? I'm trying.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"When was the last time you were so drunk in the holy spirit that people mocked you? They said, He's full of new wine. I have to confess that time for me might be never." Junebug


Junebug is my drinking movie suggestion for the day. I think it's an excellent movie, funny, sad, and brilliantly acted. It's one of the few movies made these days that one can even endure sober.

Benedictions and Maledictions

For John Ricci and his excellent question of chivalry versus sexism:

I think it's very hard these days to determine proper modes of behavior because so much is dependent on context and unlike times and cultures more governed by specific rules, we find ourselves constantly dealing with different norms . Hence the difference between chivalry and sexism is completely determined by audience. My feeling is if one is acting out of kindness, that can never be a bad thing. As for opening doors, why not? Manners provide a way of giving society some structure. I open doors for people all the time -- I feel it's a way of showing respect. And of course, there's the old Dick Cavett joke -- If you're wife leaves you for another woman, do you have to hold the door open for both of them? I'll most certainly revisit this topic! Thanks for the thoughtful question!

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Today's triple-header "Quote of the Day": #1: As a devout Jew, Jesus knew that the greatest commandment is to love God with all one's heart and soul and to love one's neighbor as oneself, as an expression of the love of God. For us, too, the decision at each crossroad is the decision to risk love, or to avoid the risk. If we take the risk, a path opens before us.--Mary Evelyn Jegen;#2:"They cannot conquer forever!" said Frodo. And then suddenly the brief glimpse was gone. The Sun dipped and vanished, and as if at the shuttering of a lamp, black night fell.--J.R.R. Tolkien;#3: Is there a window in here?--anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Today's 2nd "Quote of the Day": Despite her diminutive physique, humble air and controlled poise, the only room Scarlett Johansson could enter unnoticed would be the coma ward at St. Vincent's.--Naomi Baria. P.S. This quote could also apply to Michelle.

Anonymous said...

Today's 3rd "Quote of the Day": I was STAAAAAALKed.--MB(note the Texas accent)

Anonymous said...

It's amazing to me that with all his talent and degrees Hank could only get and adjunct's position. I think there's a lot of prejudice out there against blind people, as Raymond Carver's "Cathedral" shows. The world is in need of more love to overcome prejudice.

Anonymous said...

Was Hank a loser?

Anonymous said...

Are you hiding something behind you in the photo? Are you covering up for somebody?

Anonymous said...

The queries in the previous post are basically rhetorical in nature, with no definite need of a definitive reply.

John Ricci said...

Dear Michelle,

Thank you so much for giving your views on chivalry and kindness. Lovely post and photo, as always. I am glad to see all of those poems on your website, and a beautiful gallery of photos in the "Screen Test" section. Truly, bravo!

R's Musings said...

Love how Hank saw his own blindness as just another quirky character trait to be expounded on through his colorful stories! Wish I could've met him! Cheers to Hank, and you, Michelle! -- R

Anonymous said...

Today's 4th "Quote of the Day": Don't think of being dead as a handicap.--Woody Allen

paul said...

Foxy Lady that Hank was a pisser, my kind of cat. Rock on, O Mighy Isis R2! C2!

Cheri said...

I wish I could have met Hank, his personality would have been something to behold.

Sheila said...

hank sounds like quite the man! Love this post. i would have swung at the little bastards with my cane ;o)