The Beat: True Stories From the Streets
Page 17 by Harry Martin
Artwork by Jaynee Levy-Polis
This article is for the
men and women who gave their lives on all the battlefields in all the
wars we have fought, both declared and undeclared. I salute you.
As a former Army Sergeant who served from 1964 through 1970, both on
active duty and in the Army Reserves, I pledge my honor to you.
We read everyday of our young men and women who are killed by terrorists
in all four corners of the globe. My heart goes out to their grieving
families. Veteranís Day is tomorrow as I write this, and like
Memorial Day, we honor our comrades in arms. They fight our enemies.
Life was not so complicated years ago. We didnít have cell phones. Beepers didnít exist. Suddenly, we have come to depend on these little critters. I didnít want to have them, let alone use them, but even I have come to see how handy they are. We can always beep Brian, and that way, we donít lose him anymore. When Jaynee is late, she calls me on the cell phone.
When I open my newspaper, there are full-page advertisements with the same gimmicks. Who has the time or interest to carefully read all the advertisements and explanations? If you do, you can get the cheapest, best plan. Just the other day, I received a notice of a class-action suit brochure against our cell-phone company. The brochure listed our rights and obligations to the company. For crying out loud!! All I want to do is make a stinking call! I am not interested in lawsuits or focusing my life on the Phone Company!
In our lives today, we get too much information and we donít have the time to read through all of it. Every piece of paper has fine print. I have to have a magnifying glass to be able to read it! We get too much and no time. So itís 10 this, and 10 that and I will never know which 10 is best, or how to use it. Years ago, when we had one phone company, at least you knew who to call, and what the rates were. Copyright 1999 by Harry Martin Polis
This week, Jaynee writes about some of our least favorite people.
As I have grown older and wiser, I gave myself permission to never patronize shops and services where the salespeople seemed dishonest, or phoney. I never forgot, Harry and I buying our first new car in 1968, and how the oily salesman was so obviously manipulating us, yet we were so young and inexperienced, we still bought the car from him. Today, we would walk out. I cannot remember a situation where Harry and I were slimed by one of those owners of forked tongues. However, not falling for oily ploys does not protect us from running up against those yucky excuses for human beings. Recently, I did have to speak to one who tried to sell me not only merchandise, but also a service I had already done myself. I have been painting and drawing every day, and having a great time doing it. Although I have repeatedly damaged my computer because I cannot resist downloading everything in sight and I try to adjust everything else, I still am getting my artwork back on the web, exhibiting it, and just generally having a grand time. Because of that, I need to frame my drawings. I contacted a framer here in Philly so that I could give a local framer my business. The rates they quoted matched the distributor in North Carolina, so I agreed to come and talk with the owner. He showed me lots of lovely frames and quoted good prices. He asked me to bring my work in and choose the frames I wanted.
|I dragged my work
into Center City, which is a job, because it has to be wrapped and protected.
I could not believe it! He gave me the old bum's rush! Instead of
showing me frames, he told me I had matted everything all wrong and it
had to be done over. He said the frames could cost much more than
the artwork itself. I call his approach Bait and Switch. Promise
the buyer something cheap, and when he asks for it, substitute expensive
goods and services. His approach though, was sinister. He attacks
the buyerís skills, attempting to promote his own expertise. Yuck.
Yuck. Yuck. Needless to say, I bought nothing but delighted in using
his scotch tape to fasten my carrier.
The poor sad kook was also an obnoxious character. Usually, I feel pity for people with a tenuous grip on reality. The kook to whom I am referring owns an art business, and that was how I happened to have the opportunity to get a full blast of his strange take on life and the art scene in Philadelphia. I took offense. If my wisdom quotient were higher now, I would have understood and verbally patted the poor man on his head and walked away. Instead, I am troubled. I will forget. There is a horrible saying, ďThere is more than one way to skin a cat.Ē As long as I keep working toward my goal, I will find ways around the slimeballs and kooks of the world. God laid down the road. All I need is faith and the energy to keep walking.
Copyright by Harry Martin Polis and Jaynee Levy-Polis