Everyone Else Pays Cash

“Trust In God; Everyone Else Pays Cash”

Every Friday I post a copy of the column that is just then appearing in papers all over. I do this in case anyone here would like to see how the blog-writing lens and the newspaper-writing lens come together in a columnist’s life. This week I’m a day late in doing it though on account of how I was very busy yesterday tending a 14-month-old who was himself very busy staggering around sucking on his little sucky thing while making wispy marks on index cards with his big brother’s pointy new crayons.

The column describes what it’s like to be a really trusting and open person and how far that whole way of living can work for you before it starts working against you. The Somerville Journal has titled it  “Dummy Up Or Just Let It Go And Be Friendly?” and if you go here you can read about the most open and trusting family in all of America – and about how, lucky for them, the person they were so open WITH was the most open and trusting individual in the country and yes I am that person.

I just trust people. I can’t help it. When I was 19 a slimy old rich guy asked me to come to a conference with him and for $500 be his ‘assistant’ for the weekend. I actually believed that’s what I would be – and I almost went, innocent lamb that I was.

Way later in my late 30s, I walked through a night-time alley in Times Square, back in the days when the place was filled with pimps and prostitutes and skinnied-out AIDS sufferers and I had my 11-year-old child with me God help us. Annie and I were also attended by Roberto, a South Bronx boy and ABC scholar of 17 who was like a son in our family in those days. Rob feared no one and seemed to trust everyone. Together with Chris, his best pal and fellow ABC scholar, we had all just looked on as Annie had her portrait done by a street artist. Now, along toward midnight, Chris had gone along and Rob was leading Annie and me on his shortcut, the canvas in my hands. Sure enough, as we walked deeper into the alley here were two men and a woman, lounging on the hood of a busted-looking car.

Roberto smiled at them so I did too. “Look!” I said. “Annie has had her portrait painted!” And they slid off the hood of the car and sauntered over to examine it.  “A beautiful portrait for a beautiful girl!” they said kindly. Then Rob led us back to our hotel and went home to his mama on Beekman Ave.

So Trust and Openness won the day, that day anyway. It’s a day I’ve thought about many times since.

I haven’t seen Rob in a good long while now but I think of him often. He has children himself these days and I wonder if he and their mother are raising them too to begin with people in an open friendly way and just kind of take things from there…..Anyway here we are in that long-ago time, when my hair was blacker than black and Rob, with his big smile and his wrestling trophies, was one day out of high school, and college-bound, with everything before him.