In the spring of 1966, during the second semester of my august presence inside HomeStateU, having been parentally excoriated for wasting their contribution of $1K and bringing home only a 1.5 GPA for the first semester and thus the announcement that I would have to provide my own educational funding, I signed up for a Student Union meeting with a slick-talking representative of the Southwestern Corporation who intimated I could acquire magnanimous sums of money if I agreed to harness my hopes to their program.
The Southwestern Company was based in Nashville, TN and sold Bibles, but this chap was from their dictionary division and offered up — but not for complete inspection — their encyclopedic edition of Webster’s New World Dictionary, complete with study aids. [Witholding the opportunty to hold and inspect the product promotes purchase, I soon learned.]
The deal was that I had to get myself to Nashville, where they would put me up room-and-board in a week-long training program, after which I would be assigned my very own territory somewhere out in the Midwest.
I’d never set foot beyond the Appalachian chain, save for a five-day out-and-back to Niagra Falls during after I was hospitalized with a fever of unknown origin, so “the Midwest” held promise. The Southwestern Corporation would even ease the travel component by hooking me up with someone else they’d recruited from HomeSTateU and promising that our assigned territories would be close by if not contiguous. The other chap had an old beat-up Ford, so we were good to go.
Just after I’d signed the papers of commitment, the female parental unit suggested that it could be easily arranged for me to spend the summer in Brussels with a family known to my father, he the British-born sales executive with Alcoa transferred to their European office and the father of a winsome blonde with whom I’d gone to school in grades 8 and 9, now having graduated from some upper crust female boarding school in England and posessing the keys and rights to the family Mercedes-Benz.
But the bit had been set in my mouth and the papers signed, so I said ‘no’ to Brussels and yes to Southwestern, and going door-to-door in some yet-to-be-determined location.
We slept in a large old downtown hotel that had been rented and turned into a dormitory and attended class in a building three doors away where we learned more about the product, more about organizing and managing the business end of sales, how to scout out a neighborhood, find a cheap place to live for a few weeks, et alia, and a lot about psychological sales tricks useful in getting beyond the first and second adamant refusals at the door, making the target comfortable in her own home (the target almost always being the mother of kids in grades 4-8 who would benefit from the surplus of study aids packed into the enclyclopedic dictionary), and how to get her into an affirming mood (maneuver her into a rocking chair if possible, on the theory that it is physiologically unsettling to turn your head side to side to say no while you are rocking in a motion that mimics the affirmative nod of the head).
With a clap of the hands we were off. The duo from Massachusetts had beeen assigned to Iowa. We loaded up the boxes of dictionaries we’d bought on consignment and our limited wardrobes (we were advised to wear clothing of a curious but clean and presentable nature, like starched polka-dotted dress shirts). Into the car and on the road, we navigated our way out of Nashville, past Clarksville, Tennessee where we spotted the last train, and down into the valley where we’d cross the Mighty. Needing gas, the two wet-behind-the-ears white boys from the East got off just before the bridge and went looking for a gas station in East St. Louis.
Our next stop was Cedar Rapids, The group sales meetings were to be held in Cedar Falls and my territory was originally Marshalltown. Have you ever been to Iowa? It’s flat. And hot. And so the walking door-to-door with an order pad and a copy of a four-inch thick dictionary… “Good morning, mam, I’d…” … because tedious and tortuous.
The largest employer in the town was a meat packing company and so the smell of pigs was omnipresent. Outside the town, there was corn. And more corn. I found a basement apartment and registered with the local Chamber of Commerce, and ate two Sandy Burgers a day. The first sales meeting was Sunday (attendance mandatory). ‘Howdja do, boy?’ ‘Sold one.’ ‘Sposed to have sold fourteen of ‘em by now.’
The second week showed no seriously-improved results. I’d been re-assigned to Waterloo. I stopped into a radio station where I inquired of a nice gentleman how one went about getting a career in radio and TV and, while he would not hire me even to sweep the floors, he did encourage me. At the end of the second week, when I’d sold an additional five (but nowhere near enough to make living expenses, let alone save for college), I quit, packed up my books and my clothes and put them on a Trailways bus to home, went out to the Interstate, and stuck out my thumb. Even the president of the company admitted that that selling books door-to-door is “incredibly hard, frustrating work”.
I considered briefly heading west to ‘Frisco and the summer of love but headed east instead; I skirted below Chicago in a 16-wheeler, spend the night in some fleabag motel with a 25-cents-per-ride vibrating mattress, and hopped a bunch of rides into, through and around Youngstown, Ohio where I had a late-night adventure warning off a sexual predator. I grabbed another semi heading across New York State into Albany. Albany was, comparatively speaking, a hop away from my home town where, it is true, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.
And then they ship you off to Dad in Boston, sleeping in his studio apartment behind the Mass. General, where I was given a job filing down the sharp zinc points off the I-beams at a foundry in Everett and I could spend evenings hanging out at the drugstore on Cambridge Street where I could occasionally hear a few bars of Ray Manzarek. I saved up enough money to pay the bill for the next two semesters, not foreseeing that I’d spend most of the fourth semester in the infirmary with mononucleosis, or wrap up the year doing a round-the-clock radio marathon to raise money for the Jimmy Fund. Come on, baby, light my fire.
In the end, my clothing never arrived but a box of the dictionaries did, and so all my nieces and nephews got one, and I gave many of them away to other adolescent kids. I kept mine. I still have it.
SOURCE: JASUN HORSLEY, DISINFO
“For that group, the book of books was Davidson’s History of Education. William James called its author a ‘knight-errant of the intellectual life,’ an ‘exuberant polymath.’ . . . Its purpose was to dignify a newly self-conscious profession called Education. Its argument, a heady distillation of conclusions from Social Darwinism, claimed that modern education was a cosmic force leading mankind to full realization of itself.”
— John Taylor Gatto, Underground History of American Education
Not knowing is the hardest part. There is something in the human brain—mine at any rate—that can’t let go of an unsolved mystery, especially when it pertains directly to the organism’s survival. Of course, it’s not (as far as I know) a matter of survival for me to solve this mystery now; but it may have once been exactly that, or perhaps the reverse. It may have been a question of personal survival not to see, identify, or talk about this mystery. Even this of course is speculative. All I know for sure is that I am driven to sift through all this information (to the point that the muscles in my shoulders are becoming painfully tight), arrange it into some sort of coherent order, and present it to others, to the world, in the hope that it will make a case for something. The trouble is, I am not sure for what.
In The Evening Standard report from 27th May, 1994, regarding the Islington care home child abuse, Stewart Payne and Eileen Fairweather wrote that, “For years a group of gay social work academics were able to abuse young boys with terrifying ease shielded—unwittingly—by colleagues who didn’t dare challenge their views on child-sexuality for fear of appearing anti-liberal.” They described Scotland Yard’s Obscene Publications Squad as “investigating a network of gay intellectuals who are believed to have run child sex rings for decades through schools and children’s homes.”
When I was growing up, I was not exactly surrounded by gay intellectuals, but they were certainly around, and I was suffused in the sort of liberalism that would have been afraid to challenge pro-pedophilia views—at least if they were coming from respected peers within the cultural community. Maybe this would have even extended to the point of shielding abuse. Certainly, it is not at all hard for me to believe; but again, it does not prove that any abuse happened, much less that members of my family were involved.
One of the things I concluded about my brother Sebastian Horsley’s carefully crafted public persona as a dandy, drug user, and sexual libertine, was that it was an elaborately disguised cry for help—that he had been engineered through trauma to become the clothes-Horsley that he was, and that his every insistence on being his own man was an unconscious cry from the soul of the very opposite truth, that he had been colonized internally by a malign force. This piece is neither disguised nor unconscious as a cry for help; and yet it’s perhaps equally irrational, since I neither expect help to come nor believe that I need it from anywhere or anyone outside of me. That time has long passed. Even so, some of the individuals who could have intervened on my behalf as a child are still alive, and they are implicated, some directly, in this investigation. But the main participants—those who were either most responsible or who could most effectively have intervened, or both—my grandfather, my father, my brother, are all dead. They are, or were, also the principal carriers of the Fabian legacy which I have inherited, being the firstborns of the firstborn; and since they are gone, I am now the only surviving son of the firstborn son of Alec Horsley. The buck stops here.
Making It’s Way Around the Internet E-mail Chains
A girl asks her boyfriend to come over Friday night to meet, and have a dinner with her parents.
Since this is such a big event, the girl announces to her boyfriend that after dinner, she would like to go out and make love for the first time.
The boy is ecstatic, but he has never had sex before, so he takes a trip to the pharmacist to get some condoms.. He tells the pharmacist it’s his first time and the pharmacist helps the boy for about an hour. He tells the boy everything there is to know about condoms and sex.
At the register, the pharmacist asks the boy how many condoms he’d like to buy, a 3-pack, 10-pack, or family pack. The boy insists on the family pack because he thinks he will be rather busy, it being his first time and all.
That night, the boy shows up at the girl’s parents house and meets his girlfriend at the door.
“Oh, I’m so excited for you to meet my parents, come on in!”
The boy goes inside and is taken to the dinner table where the girl’s parents are seated.
The boy quickly offers to say grace and bows his head. A minute passes, and the boy is still deep in prayer, with his head down.
10 minutes pass, and still no movement from the boy.
Finally, after 20 minutes with his head down, the girlfriend leans over and whispers to the boyfriend, ‘I had no idea you were this religious.…’
The boy turns, and whispers back,
‘I had no idea your father was a pharmacist.’