Knocked-Down,but Not Out: My Fight Against Injustice

Knocked-Down, but Not Out: My Fight Against Injustice

My fight, or my radicalization, began before I was even one year old. I have no way of knowing for sure if what an aunt of mine told me years ago regarding my first years is true or not but when I reflect on my personality/character, it adds up. She told me that the guy who gave me his last name, used to beat me horribly when I was just a baby. She also said that whenever he, or any man, entered a room that I was in; I’d hide behind some piece of furniture out of fear. I say this makes sense because I have always been suspicious or, on guard, when it comes to others, especially men. But this hasn’t prevented me from going out and hitch-hiking thousands of miles, going into bars in the roughest parts of town by myself, etc. No, it’s just made me very cautious and always aware of my surroundings.

This ugly beginning to my life and the subsequent string of my mom’s “boyfriends” and husbands who were for the most part, mean and selfish, was a mixed-blessing. They also made me very angry and though I have turned a lot of that anger inwards in destructive behaviors, I’ve also focused some of that anger outwards on the elements in our society & in all societies in general, that oppress the vast majority of mankind in order to enrich themselves. Moreover, the rage I feel inside has given me the confidence of knowing that I can take care of myself. I know this because I have stood my ground against cowards & bullies who have outnumbered me by as much as fifteen to one. I’ve had tire-irons, baseball bats, etc. upside my head and I’m still here to write about it.

My guess is that because of the physical & psychological terror I experienced as a child & a young boy growing up, I have always hated bullies, cowards, & those who oppress others. And as a result of my experience/awakening in the U.S. Army, and my brother’s death due to a heroin overdose when I was just 22 years old, I began to search for truth.

A year after Tim’s death, I went to Europe for the first time. I had to stay for the entire summer because it was a charter flight & I landed with $400 in my pocket. Needless to say, it was a learning experience. I went hungry for three days at one point. I slept sometimes in parks, in train stations, in short, wherever I could. I worked under the table doing “black work.” And I met a friend of a friend of a friend by the name of Ruedi, a Swiss citizen. I spent a week with Ruedi & his friend on the Costa Brava.

The time I spent with Ruedi turned out to be another major turning point in my life. I say this because although Ruedi was a very humble & gracious guy, I soon learned that he knew far more about American history, philosophy, literature, politics, etc. than I did. My reaction was to pick his brain for authors I should read. And thus began my true education. I met and fell in love with such authors as Hemmingway, Dostoyevsky, Hesse, Nietzsche, etc. These authors spoke to me because they wrote with an honesty & truthfulness I had never encountered before. And they awoke my passion for learning & a curiosity I probably hadn’t known since I was a child.
Of course, when you start reading authors who truly inspire you, you become hooked and whenever they mention an author who inspired them, you immediately seek out books by those authors. It becomes like a snowball rolling down a mountain which just grows and grows. The authors I mentioned and many others I discovered along my path, I had never heard of before and they certainly weren’t mentioned in the community colleges I had been attending on & off throughout my twenties. I slowly and dimly began to perceive a hidden truth, so-to-speak, a wealth of knowledge that was all around us in libraries but which was only rarely stumbled upon by the average American. Gradually I began to see the connections between America’s involvement in the Vietnam war, the shitty public education system I had gone through, the poverty in America especially among minorities, our political system, the way employers often treated me like I was a subhuman wage slave, etc.

Once the connections started revealing themselves to me, I became like a drug addict who couldn’t stop himself and my appetite became insatiable. I begged, borrowed, bought, & stole thousands of books. I audio-taped & video-taped thousands of hours of radio & television programs on all issues social, political, religious, philosophical, historical, etc. I began what was to become a habit of making copious notes in the blank pages of my books for future reference. And I gradually grew more & more distant from family and friends because they couldn’t understand and/or didn’t care about these revelatory things I wanted to share with them. I was only too aware of their mocking of me, their dismissal of me as a nut case, etc. I suffered deeply due to these put-downs and at times would become very arrogant in wild outbursts against a roomful of my so-called “family & friends.”

Summing-up, I have slowly learned to pick my battles and now, I only open-up on rare occasions when I feel it’s worth the effort e.g. the person I’m speaking to seems to have a genuine interest or to have a fairly open-mind. I now pour far more of my intellectual energies into my writing and since I turned 50 years old, I have mostly been able to ignore that inner daemon or critic which held me back for so many years because I believed that I wasn’t qualified or worthy of calling myself a writer. I wish I could say that my life has become easier with age or with the bits & pieces of wisdom I have acquired over the years but, that would be a lie. Yet my resolve has grown stronger due to the positive feedback I get every now and then from those close to me as well as a stranger here and there.

And perhaps the greatest encouragement has come from a guy whom I’ve never actually met & shook hands with but who I consider a friend & my greatest intellectual inspiration i.e. Professor Noam Chomsky. I have corresponded with him for several years and he has always been most gracious in responding to my e-mails & letters. So somehow, I manage to plod along and with the help of good beer, great music, & thought provoking books, magazine articles, radio programs, etc., I continue to fumble in the darkness and attempt to show the light I have found with any & all who might care. Yeah, I’ve been knocked-down many times e.g. lost my brother, my grama, my mom, girls/women I’ve been in love with, been treated like a dog by employers, been fired from shit jobs by morons who couldn’t hold a candle to me intellectually, been homeless, had to swallow my pride hundreds of times and ask family & friends for help, been physically beaten-down, etc. but I am still standing and like that cowardly gang I fought in Paramount all those years ago who were so tight around me that they were accidentally hitting one another with the tire-irons they were using on me, when they jumped in their cars & took off because they heard the police sirens coming, I picked myself up off the street for the last of who knows how many times & I screamed “Come back you mother fuckers, I’m not done with you yet!”

—Rob DeLoss, Tualatin, OR, March 24, 2011

P.S. By the way, I put five of those cowards in the hospital and I didn’t go to the hospital but my eyes were about swollen shut, my nose was tweaked to the side, & I had countless bumps and bruises all over my head & body. And the corporate bullies who are terrorizing the world are what keep my blood boiling and why I will never stop fighting.

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