Saturday, January 16, 2010


Debbie, Danny'’s early forties ex-girlfriend, had fine legs she showed off with fishnet stockings. Tina, early thirties, had red hair and a butterfly shoulder tattoo on her dark Mediterranean skin. Both had had recent affairs with a predator in his 60s who seemed to get around everywhere in the 12-step world, even here in ACOA, which was barely a 12-step program. Both felt the need afterward for AIDs tests, which was still something quite new.

The beaten down man with the tangled gray beard, who I had found so annoying with his spouting of comfortable clichés, kept turning up at meetings. He was said to be a popular figure in Alanon. He confessed in ACOA now that he really wanted to meet girls younger than himself, for he actually had not had a girlfriend in years – if ever, I thought – but now, he told a meeting, he would have to hold back again, because what was coming to the fore in these meetings was incest.

Anyone who went to these meeting knew it was turning up over and over – these meetings where nothing short of racial bigotry or necrophilia was ever suppressed.

Danny told me about a meeting I had missed where a girl related in a high, careful voice how when she was still at home her father would come back from work and take her straight upstairs for fucking, and after awhile when dinner was nearly ready her timid mother would call up to the father, “Are you finished yet?”

“I have to admit it was stimulating,” said Danny, who so clearly had enjoyed it. He had once been married to a very Wasp woman with whom he had two children who were now adults. He lived on unseasoned macrobiotic rice dishes, and practiced Buddhist meditation. But he was brilliant and witty. He talked of how he came from a family of uneducated Slovaks, Slovaks being, he said, the only ethnic group in Europe that by late in the 19th century still did not have a written language. And moreover, he said, “In my family the men when they come and go kiss each other on the lips.”

Danny talked a lot about time he had spent in Buffalo on business. He said people were different there. He said that if he got married again he would marry a simple girl from Buffalo.

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