I have this friend, her name is Trifecta Sanders and this in case you’re wondering is her genuine birth certificate got it at birth celebrated every birthday name, turns out her grandfather on Dad’s side was big on and with and for and about the ponies – you lookin’ for Harry, check the track – like that, and Trifecta’s Dad – and aren’t people strange? – decided to pay tribute to the old man who was in fact by all accounts a decent and fairly sweet guy and doted on his kids when he wasn’t doting on the nags, so Charlie, Harry’s number two son and Trifecta’s daddy, made the decision to name his only child – more specifically the result of physiological and psychological and emotional and for sure spiritual efforts to a much greater degree from his wife Sally, yup, the day of her birth, June 17, 1957, this sweet little baby girl shall be known going forward as far and wide as her fun little life is gonna take her as Trifecta.
And we all like nicknames and shortcuts and one-of-a-kinds and make-them-our-owns and best-friends-for-life and all that and so over her 21 years on the planet to date the one and only Trifecta Sanders has been called and called for and called on and referred to and hey you’d as Tri and Triffy and Fecta and Fec the girlygirl and Tiffany (?) and Trickster (!) and “T” and Misses T and the Racer and TT (Trifecta at the track) and the usual yo’s and hey you’s, what’s happening and what’s the haps and the way people speak to and at people and by now you may imagine that our friend young Trifecta has had to – say – steel herself against the rumor of ridicule and people flat out making fun of her name and being the butt of jokes and so it should be no surprise that at the tender age of 14 Trifecta enrolled in black-belt karate classes at the Do Gee center back behind the row of warehouses on the Santa Monica/Culver City line out at the 405 and you can do the math and realize – brothers and sisters – Ms. Trifecta long ago received belts of all kinds and shapes and colors and the dearth of color or the result of the total mix of color, that being black, and she has some seven plus years of self-defense and “Oh really, you really want to say that?” defensive and even offensive techniques and lifestyles and physiological comfort levels and doing the math and considering the way things tend to go is why bullies hightail it exit stage left and the so-so’s always find other things to do.
And a result is Trifecta doesn’t have a lot of real friends, but I’m one of them, a real friend, and we met some five years ago when she strolled up to the wide-open, propped-up window at Wonder Pizza and asked for a slice and a garbanzo salad and it was just me manning the place, slow-mid-week, post-summer day and we got to talking and that scene replayed any number of times over the next couple of months and one day I said I have a favorite coffee shop just off Pacific and she said cool, she did dig coffee and we went there and we talked a couple of hours and five years have come and gone and we’ve become close – and my wife LoLo is a big fan as well,
And now here it is late in April, 1979, and we are walking along the bike, roller-skate, run concrete path in from the walkway and she says to me she woke up and the shimmerings of a dream from who knows how many hours or minutes ago were quickly racing out of her mind but one thing she was seeing clearly was that some older woman, a big pile of white hair up in a bun, old-time clothes, like from the fifties of something she (Trifecta) thought, and she (old lady) had walked out into the middle of an otherwise empty parking lot, and Trifecta was sure the lot was in San Clemente though she didn’t recognize it, you know how sometimes you just know something and this, the fading remnants of the dream was one of those times, so this silver -haired older lady was alone in this San Clemente parking lot and she was holding up a sign which was more horizontal than vertical and written on it in black paint were these two questions: “Why is intelligence demeaned?” and “What’s with all this racism?” This is what Trifecta was telling me while we were talking and after we both said we were getting a little weary having been talking and walking more than an hour at that point I suggested we head over to Rosy’s Café which we did and we ordered coffees in Rosy’s thick white mugs with hand-painted redwood trees (so each mug was unique) and I asked Trifecta what she thought it meant, the dream, the old lady, and mostly the questions. To which Trifecta said beats me, that’s why I’m telling you this so maybe we can figure it out together and here is one time I (me) would love LoLo to be available but she’s at her shop, the shop’s only employee, so maybe we can have a part-two of this conversation later when she (LoLo) is out of work or some time we figure when all three of us are available,
But right now I say what comes to mind first is that those are two good questions, and of course they are relevant since, from my perspective as a sometimes shuffler of pizza slices and occasional overnight shift worker at one or another runaway house and of course being an all-in devoted writer since the age of eight I can hold my hand to the Gods and say ain’t it the truth – people, lots of people, and especially those people I tend to classify as truly stupid motherfuckers, yeah, they talk down smarts and make fun of smarts and – if I want to get all psychological and stuff – it seems like they are threatened by smarts which is sad and unfortunate and for sure stupid and it’s just possible, I’m kind of thinking out loud here and also considering a second redwood mug of coffee, that I bet lots of the people who don’t like smart people would also be the very same people who cause the relevance for the question of what’s with all this racism, which personally I hate racists and just the idea that people think they are better, as a race, than other people is bullshit and it’s my long-held personal belief, I tell Trifecta, that racism is the cause of every single problem in the world – other than bugs and mosquitos and viruses and stuff – and Trifecta looks at me and says what I’m saying is interesting and she does have to get somewhere but hopefully we can keep talking about this and maybe with LoLo, and I haven’t talked about why it was an old lady in San Clemente posing these questions, and I sip coffee and say I couldn’t say.
But maybe we can brainstorm ideas later in the week.