Jimmy Hoffa

Jimmy was somewhat less than a perfect man, both physically and in other, less visible, ways. His small back, as though left thoughtlessly untreated, was prone to bouts of swelling during England’s constant rain and his face was best described by his good friend Jonathan Swift as ‘nothing better than a composite‘.

Indeed, if he had been the product of some artist’s imaginings, most normal men would have turned away long before the thought of purchase. But perhaps it was because of his own implicit hideousness and, again perhaps, because he somehow held his mother responsible for his intrinsic ugliness, that he found it within himself to utter a terrible outburst at her deathbed, one that appeared to those few others in attendance to be the equal product of both hatred and pure glee.

It is reported that he shouted and hissed with great energy, but all the while retained a glint of mischievousness in his now pudgy, now slatted, selfish eyes. His declamation done, Jimmy left in a fevered hurry to embrace both his inheritance and the many years of life still remaining to him.

His disgraceful story properly begins on the banks of the Don river, which flows quietly, and where there has always been a certain insecurity about the fact that the Volga (which meets the Don before emptying into the Black Sea) is called “Mother Volga” and appears in any number of folk-songs and socialist-realist plays as a symbol of the Russian people’s soul. Such a sense of inferiority has its roots in the long history of this central European region, culminating at a time just after the October revolution with the Cossacks siding against the Bolsheviks and afterwards getting into a lot of trouble for it.

Anyway, in the seventeenth century, the people who lived in Rostov, just adjacent to the river, had the same kind of rather miserable, nobody-knows-the-troubles-I’ve-seen, type of outlook as, say, people in Chicago do today, and this is where one Jimmy Hoffavitch was born on a rather dull afternoon in the first week of April, 1688.

One must remember that this was the year that saw the end of the reformation and the beginnings of the English Tory party, which, if one were looking for omens, should quite easily suffice. 1688 was also the year John Bunyan died and, as such, could be said to be the time that man first began walking through the (modern) wilderness. This truth of course, as we shall see, did nothing whatsoever to discourage the awful Jimmy.

His mother, Stella Hoffavitch, was a prodigiously brazen woman, especially when one considers her girth, and she was well-known throughout the town as a caterwaul and someone best avoided unless one was well and truly liquored-up. This, indeed, was an opinion held by Jimmy’s father, and quite adequately acted upon by that unknown gentleman, until, that is, in the early hours of a mid-September morning in 1687, he stumbled into a sawdust strewn bar, quite blind with drink and willing to exchange a few rubles for sex.

Mathematicians will rightly thereby calculate that Stella suffered a shortened confinement of some seven months, and of course this fact, as it relates to the development of young Jimmy, should not be forgotten.

It has previously been speculated that it was the mother Hoffavitch’s great distaste for carrying a child towards anything near term, that caused her, in almost mortal disgust, to divest herself her of the slimy burden as early as she did. However, the truth is that amongst her many other and broad-beamed stomachs this lecherous woman hardly even noticed the swelling of young Jimmy and, as a consequence, dispatched him without much thought following a particularly large meal of boar head’s soup, blood sausage and beer. Such were the exact beginnings of the scoundrel Jimmy Hoffa.

Many years later and in the salons he so regularly debauched, Hoffa would pronounce endlessly upon the significance of birth and the almost equestrian nature of the aristocracy’s lineage. “‘Tis true,” he’d pontificate, while likely chewing on some opium-laced cigar, “that a man without heritage is much like the mule, some combined and shoddy beast, mainly bred for labor. It is then our duty, as gentlefolk, to despise this lower order and our right to impose upon them our foul desires. The working fool must dig and his bastards bring us pleasure.

This little speech was most often punctuated by the rough tweaking of any servant girl within reach, before then retching into the copper vomit-pail that he always kept close by. “We are as Gods and they our shoes, to walk in and kick with, to mold on the last and discard when no longer shining. Boy! Bid your sister bring herself to me and more ale also!

The question at issue here, and the only real significance to be drawn from such a tumultuously awful life, is how did Jimmy Hoffavitch of Rostov, the illegitimate child of a fat, if well-meaning, whore, become transformed into the Jimmy Hoffa, public arbiter of classical decency, union leader and supposed spiritual descendent of Horace, whose private life as a vicious megalomaniac only reveals his genius for the careful self-promotion of his enduring yet fabricated image?

It makes me so sick.