I woke up in a strange place

By Marc Heiden, since 1997.
See also: a novel about a monkey.

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December 4, 2002

The recent fall of snow has brought about a welcome detente in the fierce battle between the local College Socialists and the erstwhile residents of THE LAND OF THE DOUBLE BONE HARD NIGGAZ, a half-block territory that lies between my apartment and the train station. The dispute began over display rights on a choice lightpole inside THE LAND and has escalated into full-scale passive aggression. The College Socialists, who seem to have identified the side entrance of the Morse el station in Chicago as the key to worldwide economic overhaul, hold frequent demonstrations and newspaper sales there whenever weather conditions are more or less favorable. Then, when the evening rush dies down, they plaster the area with flyers for their upcoming meetings about Israel, George W. Bush and whatever else happens to be on their minds. Lately, the possibilty of war with Iraq has ratcheted their energy to new levels, leading them to widen the geographic reach of their flyers. That, unfortunately, is where the conflict comes in. As long-time readers know, THE LAND OF THE DOUBLE BONE HARD NIGGAZ is a half-block territory where apartment windows are always open for yelling back and forth, hoods of cars are outdoor couches, and at the corner laundromat, chillin' and the occasional threat come in first whereas laundry ain't even top ten. People know they are in the LAND because they see the lightpole that proudly bears its name. The lightpole serves as a valuable community meeting-place, where residents can share information on how tough they are and who has done them wrong. Needless to say, its loyalists did not take kindly to the first College Socialists flyer that appeared there, denouncing Bush as a war criminal. Someone wrote 'FUCK Y' on it, and someone else tore off the middle, untaped half of the flyer. Amateur observers might wonder if the DOUBLE BONE HARD NIGGAZ lean rightwards in their political ideology, but I knew the answer had more to do with the fact that the flyer obscured the bejeweled crown that someone had drawn on the lightpole. The College Socialists are a plucky bunch, though, and they kept up with the flyers. Retaliation spread beyond the half-block LAND, and soon, someone was making a point of tearing through every flyer in a two-block radius. It was swift and decisive. As soon as a flyer went up, it was torn through. The Socialists offered what could be perceived as an olive branch with flyers for a seminar entitled "Why Are There More Black Men In Prison Than In College", but that did nothing to ease the anger they unleashed. The College Socialists are not much for inclement weather, so they have not been around since the first snowfall last week. We who are caught in the middle can only hope that calmer heads prevail when spring arrives.

(email) I feel obligated to notify you of a recent Manute Bol reference on the visionary interior decorating program "While You Were Out" (The Learning Channel, 5pm EST, M-F). Upon the alteration of a divan, the host remarks, "Why is it so long? It looks like Manute Bol's cot!" Although I found it a little insulting that she would assume Manute sleeps on a cot - true he has been through a few rough years, but with the Celebrety Boxing appearance and all I would hope that he could afford a specially and finely tailored bed - I was nonetheless excited by the reference and glad to see that he is getting some much-deserved exposure.

People I know have mostly grown accustomed to my endless musings about the suitability of furniture for Manute Bol (or Wilt Chamberlain, if I was trying to establish a frame of reference about how tall Manute is). It's just such an intriguing question. Beds, in particular, are a major part of Manute's inexplicable mystique. Where does a 7'7" shot-blocking giant sleep? I am only 6'3", and I didn't have a bed that fit me until I was 23. Other, less selfless tall men such as Georghe Muresan and Andre the Giant could spend their professional earnings on custom sleepware, but Manute gives all of his money to war-relief in his native Sudan, making one wonder how the poor guy ever gets a decent night's sleep. I have wondered aloud about this many times, and have been told by ex-girlfriends to stop talking about Manute Bol in bed many times, but I remain without an answer. I used to be similarly stumped about how he ever got a decent shower, but I did eventually work that one out.

I woke up in a strange place is the work of Marc Heiden, born in 1978, author of two books (Chicago, Hiroshima) and some plays, and an occasional photographer.

Often discussed:

Antarctica, Beelzetron, Books, Chicago, College, Communism, Food, Internet, Japan, Manute Bol, Monkeys and Apes, North Korea, Oregon Trail, Outer Space, Panda Porn, Politics, RabbiTech, Shakespeare, Sports, Texas.


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Written by Marc Heiden, 1997-2011.