Gerry the Hell’s Angel

I’ve previously written that a pain-in-the-ass is not worthy of respect only because they happen to live with a handicap. My one-time roommate Gerry proved himself a textbook example of my well-founded conviction.

Gerry bragged that he had once auditioned to fill the vacant position in the Doors left by Jim Morrison’s alleged death. Amazingly the three surviving members held the audition in the mid-eighties. Gerry claimed to have performed very well but “the bastards” rejected him “because [he’s] handicapped.”

MS had permanently relegated Gerry’s four foot body to a wheelchair. It’s important to note that when I met Gerry he had entered his mid-forties after a childhood spent living in institutions and foster homes. People that display visible disabilities, disfigurements, or infirmities—though they possess normal cognitive functions and reasonable emotional stability—are routinely, and often unconsciously, marginalized and even vilified by ignorant emotional retards. Conversely, care-givers repeatedly treat their patients with exaggerated and sometimes undeserved kindness while indulging, in fact encouraging ridiculous whims.

I’d venture a guess that this scenario especially applies to people born defective during the fifties. Gerry clearly had brains, usually spoke articulately and demonstrated a clever wit. That acknowledged, I don’t feel the least bit guilty characterizing Gerry as a world-class jerk.

Gerry claimed to be an accomplished drummer. The evening of our first meeting he cranked his portable radio while explaining that he needed to practice. Then he flourished a worn drumstick and began to enthusiastically beat any available surface along with songs that’d been released while I was still in grade school. He seemed blissfully oblivious to sounding like a spastic metronome.

After enduring a few nights of Gerry’s fondness for shitty music accompanied by seemingly indiscriminate whacking, I politely suggested that he set up musical camp in the basement cafeteria that the administration had designated the smoking area—go figure. Residents watching prime time TV in the first floor common room while they waited to die heard a blasting radio and the staggered rhythm of a drumstick incessantly striking a Formica tabletop. Ear-splitting classic rock blaring from a tinny-sounding speaker and then pissing on memories of big bands and wholesome teen idols infuriated nicotine-addicted geezers. Of course the staff took notice and several geezers complained to the administrator.

The administrator finally had a chat with Gerry. That night, and the night after, he didn’t subject the residents gathered in the common room to his nocturnal subterranean hootenanny. But the third night, after the administrator had gone for the evening Gerry defiantly resumed his basement ritual.

One subsequent morning I woke up to Gerry angrily accusing me of sticking chewing gum to his hair while he slept. He vehemently growled that I was a “lousy cocksuckin’ gimp” and insisted that I’d conspired with the administrator to “hold [him] back.” He further alleged that I’d planted several spies throughout the warehouse as part of some diabolical plot. Then he warned me not to fuck with him because he belonged to the Hell’s Angels.

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