He Was Grouching
. . . A ten-cent check,
I had my coffee an'
I have only a nickel
In my hand.
Money makes money; no money makes no money.
Money talks; no money, no talking; talking produces no money.
He is worrying; he has no money.
He is crying; he lost money.
He is smiling; he made money.
Isn't she a beautiful girl? I wish I had money.
He is a nice-looking fellow. Has he any money?
He marries an old maid; the old maid has money.
She marries an old bald-head, fat-belly; the old bald-head, fat-belly has money.
He likes this girl. He likes the other girl. He likes the other girl better than this girl. The other girl has more money than this girl.
She likes this fellow. She likes the other fellow. She likes the other fellow better than this fellow. The other fellow has more money than this fellow.
It is the same girl. Today she has money. She is a Honey Darling. Tomorrow she has no money. She is a Daughter of a Bitch.
It is the same fellow. Today he has money. He is a Honey Darling. Tomorrow he has no money. He is a Son Of . . .
An old fellow kneeling in front of a young fellow. Fooling with his shoes. The old fellow wants to make a nickel of money. Rubbing. Brushing. Carefully! Respectfully! The old fellow expects a nickel tip-money.
The girls in the next door burlesque show with nothing on except their natural skins. Shaking breasts. Moving hips. Sparkling eyes. Front going up and down. Before a lip-parted and mouth-watering audience. Making money.
That fellow doesn't talk to me any more. I didn't let him have a nickel of money.
This fellow is so friendly to me. I once treated him to coffee. One nickel of money.
He smokes no more cigarettes. Cigarettes cost too much money.
He smokes a pipe now. Pipes cost less money.
Smoke cigarettes, somebody spends your money. Smoke a pipe, you alone spend your money.
The guy writes no more poetry. In poetry, there is no money.
The fellow writes sex stories. Sex is depression proof.
He hangs around Union Square. He has no money.
He disappears from Union Square. He has made a little money.
Bedbugs bite me. I have no money. Bedbugs don't bite Rockefeller. Rockefeller has money.
Rich men go to Heaven. Rich men have money. Poor men don't go to Heaven. Poor men have no money.
Three-dollar shoes; three-dollar feet. Ten-dollar shoes; ten-dollar feet. There are million-dollar feet. There are no million-dollar shoes. The shoemakers must be crazy. They don't know how to make money!
He has money: he lives on Park Avenue. He lives on Park Avenue: he sees no one who has no money. He sees no one who has no money: he thinks everywhere is Park Avenue and everyone, everywhere, has as much money as everyone who lives on Park Avenue.
He is radical; he has no money.
He is conservative; he has money.
He is wishy-washy; he has a wishy-washy amount of money.
He has more money; he is more conservative.
He has more more money; he is more more conservative.
He has more more and more money; he is more more and
He has no money. Yet he is conservative. He expects someday to have money. He expects someday to have lots of money.
He has money. He has lots of money. Yet he is radical. Radical talk costs him no money.
I don't like money. You don't like money. He doesn't like money.
You have money. He has money. I must have money.
It's under this system!
It's under this system!
Union Square! . . .
Once In A Communist Cafeteria
"A ten-cent check,
I had my coffee an'
I have only a nickel
In my hand."
It was Mr. Nut grouching.
Mr. Nut was grouching about his being stuck in a cafeteria on Fourteenth Street.
This situation made Mr. Nut think more or less differently from when, three months ago, he visited a Communist Cafeteria on Thirteenth Street.
Everybody there called him "Comrade." "Comrade" this. "Comrade" that. To people in the Communist Cafeteria, Mr. Nut wasn't "Mister" anymore. It did not please him; for how could they take for granted so much that he was their "comrade"--a Communist?
Sometimes they called Mr. Nut "Fellow-Worker". That made him madder still. How could they know that he was a worker? Did they not see that he had a black derby on! Yes, he was a worker. Now. For the time being! But how could they tell that he would not, someday, by saving some money, establish a business of his own?
In the Communist Cafeteria, there were so many literature agents, so many pamphlet-salesmen and so many contribution-seekers. One after the other.
If a panhandler came to you, all you needed was to show him your face-he would go away. No argument. But these agents, salesmen and contribution-seekers gave you more trouble than panhandlers. Why? Because, they said, they themselves would get nothing out of it. Every cent would go to the cause. Was it true? Yes. It was true. For all these sealed tin-boxes with coin-spaces at the tops and the contribution-lists were their spokesmen. Besides, they wouldn't ask you to buy or to contribute right away. They just sat at your table and made friends with you. And explained things to you. A few seconds or a minute later, the boxes, the pamphlet and the contribution-list appeared from some unseen source.
With your hand, you said, "I won't give." But your conscience said, "I must do my share." And you lost money.
On the wall there was a sign: "Don't shout so loud, your comrade can hear you!" Mr. Nut thought: "If the Communists don't shout, how can they make a revolution?"
Again, he saw on the wall many figures, painted on cardboard; figures with overalls on. Shirt-sleeves rolled up. Chests bare. Black hair could be seen. Caps incorrectly placed. Shoes out of shape. Yes, these figures looked like him when he was working. But he did not understand why the fellow who made those posters could not do the worker a favor by giving him a necktie, a coat, pressed trousers, a nice, soft, felt hat or a derby. It neednÕt have cost him more than a few strokes.
About six o'clock, the floor-manager, moving from one table to another, was propagandizing: "This is no private business. This is your restaurant." (Does that mean that Nut will not have to pay for all he ate?) "After you eat, don't hang around. Give your seats to others. We're not capitalists. We can't afford to lose money. Comrades!" (Again Comrade.) "Fellow-workers!" (Again Fellow-worker).
If the so-called "comrade'" floor-manager had had a butcher face, Mr. Nut would have had a chance to show his anger. But the so-called "comrade" was smiling. What could Mr. Nut do? The point was, however, that while Mr. Nut came here to get some Communistic atmosphere, although two hours had elapsed, he hadn't seen the whole thing yet. But Mr. Nut had to move.
As to one thing he felt he had been educated.
While he was conversing with a young fellow in the cafeteria, Nut interrogated him with: "How's business?" Upon hearing this, the color of the young fellowÕs face suddenly changed and his eyebrows rose. The dark spots of his eyes became steady and because of the steadiness it made the surrounding white parts appear smaller. Mr. Nut knew that the young fellow was angry. But Mr. Nut didn't know why.
The young fellow saw that that Mr. Nut was shooting back with a steady face, too, and he became more angry. Because of his doubled anger, the young fellow pointed to Mr. Nut saying: "You are a Mister! You are a Boss! You are a Capitalist!" and "You are a Business Man!"
Now Mr. Nut stood up and shouted with joy. For it was the first time in his life that there was a person who didn't call him "Nut" and gave him instead such respectable titles as "Boss," "Business Man" and even "Capitalist".
He held the pointing fingers of the outstretched hand of the young fellow warmly and tightly and said to him: "You know me better than my father and mother when they were alive, and you are my friend-my best friend. You know that I am not a Nut. I will have my day. In return, I, too, wish you success and that you will make lots of money."
The young fellow having heard all that Mr. Nut said to him, every word, didn't like it. But the young fellow understood that Mr. Nut was not sarcastic or sneering, nor had any bad feeling; for the young fellow saw his face blank, his eyes sincere, his forehead perspiring. And he felt his hand warm and heard his breath short.
Then the young fellow replied with the same sincerity and said: "Please call me 'Thief', 'Robber,' and all kinds of other names, but not 'Business Man' or 'Capitalist'. I am a League member; I am a young Communist!"
Mr. Nut didn't know what that was all about. But Mr. Nut did know that Communists do not like the daily compliment: "How is business!"
Then he heard a girl call out to that young fellow, ÒWe have to be at the meeting earlier. So the boys can not say we girls are inferior. Comrade Stubborn: Hurry up.Ó Nut now understood that that young fellow was not a fellow but a girl. A girl in a certain kind of uniform. He suddenly felt that this talking, finger-holding, eye-to-eye-looking and all this sorrow, joy, sentiment and emotion should not have been expressed.
With A Temperament Of This Sort
"A ten-cent check
I had my coffee an'
I have only a nickel
In my hand."
The reason Nut was called Nut was very interesting.
Once Mr. Nut shaved all the hair off his head. Some say he did it for the sake of a sun-bath. Since other parts of the body needed a sun-bath there was no reason why this part of the body shouldn't need one.
Some say Mr. Nut shaved all the hair off his head because he knew that he had no money now. But he did believe that some day he would have money like other bald-headed millionaires walking with pretty movie-stars along Park Avenue. But he would not have his head bald then. It would be too awkward. In order to avoid awkwardness in the future, he did the prevention-work early. The more you shaved your hair, the stronger it would become. It was the same with the hair as with the beard.
Some say he shaved all the hair off his head because his friend Mr. Wiseguy once cut off some while he was napping. He had all his hair shaved off as a form of protest-passive resistance.
Some say he shaved all the hair off his head because so many girls liked him. So many girls liked him so much, his hair was souvenired off.
No matter what the reason may have been, when his hair was shaved off and his head became nut-like, he won the title "Nut."
Many millionaires are Nut-headed. Yet they are not Nut-named. As far as Mr. Nut was concerned, there were other stories involved.
Once he was standing at the corner of Fourteenth Street and Union Square. A bus was passing by. A girl in the rear seat waved her hand at him. She smiled too. When he began to wave his hand and smile, the bus began to move. He moved too. But the bus had four wheels. He had only two.
Every day after work, he came to the same spot, waiting. Yes, there were some girls in the bus. Yes, they were smiling. Yes, a few of them were waving their hands, too. But they had nothing to do with him. Yes, sometimes some of them were waving their hands and smiling at him too. But none of them was the girl he had seen. He wanted to ask the conductor, but he didn't know how. At last he described the situation to the conductor. The conductor told him to go to the Nut House.
In the cafeteria, nobody stopped you from looking at the girls. Some fellows had the ability of moving only their eyeballs. They could see what they wanted to see without being noticed. But the muscles of Mr. Nut's eyes were not well developed. He had to move his head. He had to move the trunk of his body. Others moved their heads and trunks too. But they had the ability to generalize. They had the whole picture in a glance and digested it later. So these fellows did not take much time. But Mr. Nut was too scientific. And after these scientific studies, or, you may say, these artistic appreciations, Mr. Nut had a critical opinion. And in addition to the critical opinion, he had his constructive suggestion. It is said that once he suggested to a young girl that the seams of her stockings were not properly placed along the back of her legs. The reward was: "Mind your own business, Nut!"
Once in a cafeteria, Mr. Wiseguy spoke about his Four F theory regarding the technique of handling a woman. Others, hearing his theory, laughed and laughed to show their approval and appreciation. But to Mr. Nut it was as hard as the theory of relativity.
He asked what the theory of the Four F's was about.
Mr. Wiseguy told him that the first F was "To Find."
Mr. Nut would have liked to know where; but Mr. Wiseguy proceeded with his second F: "To Fool." Mr. Nut was surprised that one person had to fool the other. The others exclaimed unanimously, "That is the way it ought to be."
Mr. Nut asked about the third F. Mr. Wiseguy turned his head around and suddenly stopped-because a few girls sat behind. Mr. Nut asked again. Mr. Wiseguy said the fourth F was "To Forget."
Nut said: "How can I forget, when you haven't told me the third F yet?" Mr. Wiseguy raised a fork and said in anger: "You understand? Nut!"
Once he moved from uptown along Forty-second Street to the downtown section. He didn't take a taxi, for it would have cost him one dollar. He took the subway. Bundle after bundle-it took him about fifteen trips to get the work done. Five cents to go down and five cents to come up. So one round-trip cost him ten cents and fifteen trips cost him a dollar-fifty. Still he was pleased. His theory was that a taxi was for a rich man and the subway was for a poor man.
Next day his friend gave him a bed. He knew that this time he could not stick to his previous theory. He called a taxi from uptown Bronx to downtown. That cost him three dollars. And he saw a sign on the window of a neighborhood second-hand furniture store showing the price of the same bed was only one dollar and fifty cents.
The first few nights Mr. Nut was pleased, however, that he slept on a “something-for-nothing” bed. But gradually he became Nut-conscious. How could you say that a dollar and a half extra wasn’t Nut money? And no wonder others called him Nut. He would also call himself a Nut. The more he thought of it, the more Nut-conscious he became. The more Nut-conscious he became, the harder it was for him to sleep. He turned around, from one side to the other. He could not sleep.
Next day he got up early. He looked at the bed. It was the same bed that he could get for a dollar and fifty cents at his neighborhood store. The more he looked at the bed the madder he became. And then, the question was not a matter of a dollar and fifty cents. It was, again, a question of principle. The question of his reputation. The bed wasn’t a bed anymore. It was a symbol.
It was symbolizing not one thing only. It was symbolizing many things. It was symbolizing all the humiliation given to him and wrong done to him by others, in his whole life. Finally he stamped on the bed with his feet. He stamped and stamped till it was out of shape. Then he tied it together and hoisted it to his shoulder. He opened his door, marched toward the East River and dumped it into the water. Then he felt relieved. For he thought now all his Nutness was gone together with that bed. He was a new man.
With a temperament of this sort, it can be imagined how restless Mr. Nut was now.