Thursday, November 01, 2007

One-Way Ticket to Palookaville

November 1, 2007

My mind is occupied with too many things to blog these days, little personal things like buying a round-trip ticket with intentions of using only one half of it, filling the house with packing cartons and coaxing friends to buy the bulk of my furniture before I move. Then this afternoon there's the matter of having a toenail removed, perhaps permanently, and curiosity as to how debilitated I'll be, and for how long. The doctor's office people say I'll be able to drive home. Hope I'm able to get to the drugstore, too, for those prescription painkillers.


The movie On the Waterfront was filmed in Hoboken,
the old Hoboken that still had a dock, stevedores, Unions, bosses, and a visible presence of the mob. In the film, Marlon Brando, playing a boxer down on his luck, accused his brother who was also his manager of buying him "a one-way ticket to Palookaville." Hoboken itself has wrongly been accused of being the "Palookaville" of which the magnetic young actor spoke so disparagingly.

I have my one-way ticket now, to the new Hoboken, full of high-earning young investment bankers, many artists, writers, displaced Manhattanites and a few old New Jersey diehards, and I'm here to say, if it ever was Palookaville, it isn't any more. And it never was, by the way. Palooka was the old word for run-of-the-mill prizefighters, and Terry Malloy, the Brando character, was talking about his being denied the big time because his manager made him take a dive. Palookaville was never a place, but a state of mind.

Hoboken may be a state of mind, but it's not for losers or the world-weary. It's almost Manhattan now, maybe not quite, but a small, upscale town near enough for a round trip ticket to the big time.

3 comments:

Coach said...

Which cam first, I wonder, the Joe Palooka comic strip or the name "Palooka" for a club fighter?

Finding Fair Hope said...

I always thought "Palooka" was a slang word long before the comic strip. But I could be wrong...

mulletman said...

Well, now, I have an analogy of sorts for ole Joe. As a kid , I had opportunity to meet a Joe Palooka punching doll. You know the kind with sand in the bottom and formed of pre-60s plastic. He stood himself back erect every time you smacked him, no matter how hard or how fast....and he never took a dive, just stood there getting pommeled. My take on the Ho is that it WAS Palookaville, but is not now.
I hope your new adventure can be constantly standing up to your expected adventures in the way of that old toy, Joe. Maybe the move will be rejuvenating and as exciting as your original search for adventure in the Big Apple. "No-Hope", as I used to hear in reference to Fairhope, cannot really provide depth and diversity in adventures and possibilities that can be found in the "Ho", even in the age of communication.
I will miss your organic spirit and I will miss hearing your voice, which often says more than words. I will miss the chance to share a common project,as well. Your leaving takes another bite out of what is left of "No-Hope." I will miss you.
My mind's eye can see you in action in the Ho, a thing I had rather watch than experience. Enjoy.