It was with great sadness to learn of the death of an old River staple, Alex "Tinker" Lazlo. I feel compelled to not let Tinker's passing go overlooked or let his importance in our community's history be overshadowed by his scarcity in his fading years.
Tinker was a River icon, a man whose memory and words evoke a smile and a sense of being a part of something. He was the first person I met when I moved here over 30 years ago. He had his fix-it shop where the Gasco now stands, and I came to him with a broken chainsaw.
I grew up with guys like Tinker. He was from South Philly, I was from industrial northern New Jersey—downwind from each other, he used to say. When I met Tinker in my first week as a River resident in the spring of 1981, I knew I was home.
I knew Tinker through his lean years, during his golden ones after he married Jane and had his sons and beyond. I remember when he started his video store. This was back in the day where recorded VHS tapes were around $100. I had acquired a collection while writing for an underground free press in L.A. the year before I moved here. I loaned him the most bizarre ones I had to get his "Offbeat" section started. These movies were rated X—not for anything unsavory, mind you, but for their shocking content: Andy Warhol's Frankenstein in 3-D, John Waters' Multiple Maniacs and Mondo Trasho, replete with puke eaters and a giant homicidal lobster, to name a few.
When the town flooded shortly afterward, I stopped by to check on Tinker's store. Basically, all was lost. While helping him clean up, we found my movies floating in mud and debris. He stood next to me, bumped my shoulder with his, smiled and said, "Just between you and me, some things are just too disgusting to exist." In the midst of a disaster, Tinker's humor, as always, prevailed, and we laughed like crazy in agreement.
Years later, at his beloved Jane's memorial service, he was adamant about interring her eyeglasses with her, as reading to her students and her sons was her favorite thing to do. In the eyeglass case, I noticed a piece of paper. When I asked Tinker what was written on it, he told me there were two pieces, one of which he told me was "Hopefully, the sweetest love letter she's ever read. "
We can measure our true worth by the friends we acquire along the way, and define ourselves by those moments we've shared with them. Thank you, Tinker, and goodbye, my old friend. For some of us, you made all the difference in the world.
The issue of violence against women is critical. While the statistic for violence against women varies within each city, county, state and country, the United Nations states that, globally, one in three women on the planet will be raped, beaten or sexually abused in her lifetime. Do the math—that's 1 billion mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, nieces. This is an atrocity.
VDay.org is inviting 1 billion women and those who love them to walk out, dance, rise up and demand an end to this violence on Feb. 14. One Billion Rising will move the earth, activating women and men across every country. V-Day wants the world to see our collective strength, our numbers, our solidarity across borders.
One Billion Rising is a global strike; an invitation to dance; a call to men and women to refuse to participate in the status quo until rape and rape culture ends; an act of solidarity, demonstrating to women the commonality of their struggles and their power in numbers; a refusal to accept violence against women and girls as a given; a new time and a new way of being.
While numerous One Billion Rising events are scheduled in the Bay Area, two, in particular, are scheduled for the North Bay: Dominican Rising (at Dominican University) and North Bay Rising (in Petaluma). To participate at the event nearest you, go to www.onebillionrising.org.
Join us, along with over 182 other countries, in rising and saying "No more!" to the violence.
I just wanted to send a gigantic thanks to Brian Thomas Gallagher for his terrific review of Oliver Burkeman's new "anti-positive thinking" book. I've been waiting forever for this!
Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.