John Luft was both the most fortunate and the most unfortunate kid in our neighborhood. I shall now recount a few high and low lights from the tragic life of John, attempting to clarify the weird paradox that was his place in the world.
John owned a vast assortment of toys, gadgets, and motorized vehicles. Comprising this collection was a mini bike, a go cart, a bow and arrow, a BB gun, a pellet gun, and a snow mobile. He may also have had a car and a pickup truck waiting for him, once he hit the tender age of 16, I dunno. His parents regularly lavished such gifts upon him, and it was the rare kid that was John’s BFF for the week. To be his friend, was to suddenly have access to his mechanized armada and to make every other kid jealous of your position at the feet of such a mighty potentate. On top of all of this, John’s old man had a massive Indian motorcycle, that he would occasionally fire up to the delight of the neighborhood peasantry. Although it was never actually proven in a court of law, it was widely held that one of the Hennessy boys had set fire to the motorcycle one dark night, while the old man was sleeping.
John’s tragedies were legion, not the least of which was that he lived across the field from the dreaded Hennessy gang. These demonic little bastages were the terrors of our neighborhood. The gang consisted of three brothers: Ted, Kelley, and TJ in descending order of age. John was the unfortunate recipient of an arrow in the eye from TJ Hennessy, resulting in a glass eye. He once popped the eye out and waved it around like a prize marble, scaring the living crap out of us all. It may be that the missing eye was the cause of the numerous crashes and catastrophes that seemed to follow John through his life. See the previous blog article entitled Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On for a blow by blow break down of just such a crash. On top of that, John was a scrawny fellah, and suffered regular beat downs from his classmates. John had a way of lording his worldly possessions over the rest of humanity.
I do not remember John ever playing baseball, football, bocce ball, basketball, or any other ball with the local posse. I do remember many a game of baseball being broken up to chase the little prick down the street on his mini bike as he drove by giving us all the finger. It may be that most of Johnny boy’s misfortunes were self inflicted.