The following was written after returning from my first trip to the Dallas-Ft. Worth area in October 1993. I thought I'd post it this week, since I'm returning to Dallas this weekend on business. When I return next week, I will hopefully post Dallas 2001: Still Hangin' Around The Depository or something like that.
Sometimes I think that, because I toss a little irony in my suitcase with that extra pair of socks, that I'm a little bit more than a tourist when I travel.
But basically, I'm a tourist. So it was only natural that, just hours after arriving in Dallas-Ft.Worth, I was having a stimulating discussion with Clark, the hotel gift shop clerk, as he rang up my 10 Kennedy assassination site postcards.
"This is the best-selling postcard we have," Clark remarked matter-of-factly as he handed me the small bag containing my treatures. He then said that, for a long time, the people of Dallas felt shame that it was the site of the most famous murder of the 20th Century. As time went by though, a kiss was still a kiss, and the Dallas city elders realized that, like it or not, folks who visited town were inevitably drawn to the Grassy Knoll, from which they could gaze at the sixth floor Texas School Book Depository window and dream up their own conspiracy theories; or from which they could stand on that concrete abutment and pretend they were Abraham Zapruder, shooting that bit of home movie that would sear itself into the wounded psyche of a nation.
So, naturally, the Dallas elders turned the infamous sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository into a museum, which I unfortunately did not get to visit. However, I did take a late evening stroll around the Depository and the Grassy Knoll. I stood by Zapruder's abutment; I saw the overpass; I listened as Dallas natives tourguided their out-of-town friends around the site and regaled them with homegrown legends about the tragedy. I saw the delirious drunk guy with no shirt amble over to me and the other late-night tourists. Not wanting to hear his conspiracy theories, I walked quickly away, taking in the whole scenario (which isn't as big as you would imagine it) and realizing, that no matter how many myths and counter-myths get flung around; or how many documents the U.S. Government makes available; or how many movies Oliver Stone makes; or how many stories the Weekly World News publishes about JFK being alive and well in some secret location, where he recently had a tearful reunion with Jackie; none of this is ever, ever going to explain what really happened that November day in Texas 30 years ago. Who knows, maybe that's for the best.
One thing I do know is that the JFK Assassination Site postcard is going to be a big seller in Dallas for years and years to come.
(Please feel free to email to others who may be interested or to print a hard copy for them but remember: The Dichotomy of the Dog is copyright 2001 by Rich Wilhelm. If you plan on making a bazillion dollars from this piece of writing, please let me know so I can sue you or something.)