Thursday, August 7, 2014

My Watergate Lesson

“PEOPLE, YOU ARE LIVING IN HISTORY... RIGHT NOW!”

John Delbertson’s* voice thundered through the classroom at Wichita Heights High. U.S. History was a requirement for high school juniors. Talk of subpoenaed tapes, non-denial denials and executive privilege was in the air and in the lessons learned in the spring of 1974. 

Like all good teachers, Delbertson had a little ham in him. He wore longish hair, a beard, no necktie and positioned himself on the banks of the faculty mainstream. He’d read the daily school announcement sheet as though he was Olivier on stage.

IT SAYS HERE...” looking over his glasses, holding the piece of paper at arm’s length, “... that effective IMMEDIATELY, meetings of the Chess Club will be moved from the floor of the Commons Area to the cafeteria.”

As an editorial aside, and as a valuable lesson in human motivation, our history teacher would interpret the story behind the story.

“If you play chess on the floor, you’ll get stepped on. When you get stepped on, you get angry. Anger leads to violence. Ergo... ipso facto... THERE’LL BE NO chess played on the floor of the Commons Area. The Man solves another problem! CHECKMATE!

The highlight of his daily shtick involved a dramatic unfolding of the stapler, making his way across the classroom to a floor-to-ceiling cork bulletin board and haphazardly pounding today’s sheet atop yesterday’s. By the springtime, the cumulative accumulation (is that repetitive... or at the very least, redundant?) was impressive.

As the school year progressed, a sense of inevitability hovered near the surface. What would fall first – the announcement sheets or the President of the United States? On the last day of school in May 1974, our U.S. History teacher encouraged us to pay attention as history unfolds over the summer. 

That fall as seniors, we matriculated to a mandated semester of American Government, taught by Adam Patrick.* By now Richard Nixon had fallen, and Delbertson had started a new school announcement paper buildup with a new junior class.
 
Patrick assigned us to split up, organize, caucus and vote. The girls huddled quickly, calling themselves the “Ms. Magnum” Party, as if to drive home their motivation (It was 1975, after all.)

I urged my chums not to take the bait and instead carve out our own political niche, reflective of the values and traditions we held deeply as strapping young red-blooded American males. Deep-sixing our first name suggestion, “Keg” Party, consensus emerged rapidly around the less authority-threatening, more family and voter-friendly “Birthday” Party.

In the elections, the Ms. Magnum Party kicked our strapping young red-blooded American male hindquarters. Their victories were assured when a handful of erstwhile Birthday Party loyalists jumped ship and voted for the girls.

Some of us had agendas beyond mere classroom politics, thank you very much.

On August 9, 1974, the day Nixon resigned, I went to work, bussing linguine-encrusted plates off tables at Angelo’s Italian restaurant. I was saving to buy a car.

As a high school kid focused on sensory and material pursuits, U.S. History and American Government were forced in front of me an hour a day for a year-and-a-half during Watergate.

In time, I would enjoy professional success as a political journalist and later as an aide to the Governor of my home state. As I ease my way down into the precipice of middle age, I find myself grateful to have experienced teachers, who, forty years ago, recognized the power of current events as teachable moments. 

One man resigned the Presidency of the United States and the nation survived. A pathway  was introduced to a teenager.

The system works. 
___________ 

* Not their real names. If they were to write a blog about me, I'd appreciate a courtesy 'heads-up' and I've neither the time nor the inclination to track 'em down (goes to motivation, your honor.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Second Reaction

We’ve just taken two from the White Sox in Chicago. We’re back to .500 for the fourth or fifth time this season. We’ve won 50 games and lost 50. That leaves 62 games in the season. If we win ‘em all, we’ll finish 112-50. If we lose ‘em all, that’ll put us at 50-112.  

“We” are the Kansas City Royals and this was supposed to be the year. If the current trend holds, it will not be the year after all, though we’ll likely remain mathematically alive through Labor Day-ish.

The numbers can add up. It’s mathematically conceivable. It is within the realm of possibility that the exact combination of Royals victories, Detroit and Cleveland losses could propel Kansas City into the playoffs for the first time since winning it all in 1985.

The chances are slim.

It’d be easy for me to default to cynicism. A snarky Royals blogger says if the Mariners offer the Royals “a bucket of baseballs” in a trade for Billy Butler, we should jump at the deal. My first reaction is, “Yes!” With extreme prejudice.

My first reaction is these guys get paid millions to play a game, so earn it already. Which, in its own incendiary way, only sharpens the cynicism.

As the precipice of middle age draws nearer, I’ve come to appreciate that my first reaction is very often flat wrong.

My second reaction is to think of Billy Butler, the human being.

In the second reaction, I imagine his offensive struggles this year are taking an emotional toll. The man has one job. Hit the baseball. Everyone on his team and in the stadium expect him to do that one thing. How badly must he feel when he doesn’t?

I think of Butler’s father, who accompanied his son with other players’ dads on a Father’s Day road trip to Chicago and Detroit.

During a TV interview, you came away with just exactly how much the man loves his son. Pride, sympathy, wanting to do nothing more than crawl inside his son’s psyche and take the pain and hurt away.

But he can’t.

In the second reaction, reality emerges.

Billy Butler is my guy. Mike Moustakas, Nori Aoki and Brett Hayes are my guys. Just like Bobby “The Hammer” Hamelin was my guy in 1995 when he struggled after winning Rookie of the Year in ’94.

Just like Mark Davis was my guy when he couldn’t find the plate in 1990 after his ‘89 Cy Young Award season.

Just like all the underachievers, all the guys who have donned the Royal blue and white since 1969, striving to fulfill their potential.

Every Kansas City Royal desperately seeking the Mendoza Line.

In the second reaction, I am thankful to have a big league ballclub in the area and I am loyal to the guys on my team, regardless.

Guys with fathers, mothers, wives and children who love them. Guys who have good years. Guys who have miserable years.
 

The second reaction allows room for a little grace.

Friday, July 4, 2014

In a Hurry

Accompanying music.

Her blue eyes widened as she slid tight next to me in the lecture hall, excited and nearly breathless.

“Mike, have your heard the new Gerry Rafferty song, ‘Baker Street?’” 

A farm girl from Arlington, South Dakota, Paula wore boots, a blonde pageboy and her feelings on the sleeve of a rabbit fur jacket.

“Yeah, it’s his first solo shot since splitting Stealers Wheel, right?”

Our clique numbered four. Paula, Mark from Sparta, Wisconsin, Gregg from Minneapolis and me. The geographic outlier from Kansas.

The three boys were in love with the one girl, in that nature-takes-its-course way when 20-year olds with common interests are thrown together in close proximity. A year-long, intensive broadcasting technical school. Lectures in the morning. Hands-on studio work in the afternoon. Tests every other Friday morning. We’d finish around noon and repair to the bar a couple blocks west on Lake Street in Minneapolis.

Closed it down a time or two.

Paula was the most naturally gifted of us. Female deejays were somewhat of a novelty in 1978 and Paula didn’t lead with breaking ground. She just wanted an opportunity to talk on the radio.

Mark was the ladies’ man and the ladies knew it, which says something about his conquests. Gregg was a tall, skinny drink of water with an innate grasp of the underlying electronics which actually allowed for the broadcasting.

“Without me, you guys are just pissing in the wind.”  

We had stars in our eyes. Lake Calhoun’s nice, but where’s the ocean?

The curriculum was geared toward job placement, so we honed our sparkling personalities, direct eye contact, firm handshakes and audition tapes.  

I sought Paula’s advice on the songs to use on mine. No hesitation. “Love Will Find a Way” by Pablo Cruise, “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor and of course, Baker Street.

One by one, we charged into the real world. I went first, landing a sweet foot-in-the-door gig loading up all night movie reels at KAKE-TV back home (there’s a blog, please remind me.)

Mark went somewhere in Indiana, I think. Gregg followed me to KAKE. Paula did a perfunctory six months in Ottumwa, Iowa then on to WNFL in Green Bay.

We’d call each other late at night. Edward G. Robinson, Barbara Stanwyck and me in Wichita. Kenny Rogers, Crystal Gayle and Paula in Ottumwa, commiserating about the entry level.

“If God were to perform an enema on the Earth, Ottumwa, Iowa would be the point of entry,” she lamented.

Four years later, when we’d all moved up a rung or two, the four of us reunited in Arlington for Paula’s wedding to a play-by-play guy she’d met on the way up. 

That’ll happen.

Paula went on to large market deejay success in Detroit and Washington. Last I heard of Gregg, he was a tech at KSTP-TV in the Cities. No clue what became of Mark and I came home to Kansas.

I wish I had photographs. Apparently, while living all our years in a single minute, we didn’t think to bring the Kodak Instamatic with, to the lecture hall, the studio, the bars, the lakes.

“Bring it with...”

One year in the Twin Cities a lifetime ago and I still talk like a Scandihoovian-American.

Real good, then.

I think of my friends from 1978 on occasion. Especially when I hear the music. The melody haunts my reverie and I am once again with them.

In my favorite year.  
 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Life Without Father

The transport ship pulls away from the Anchorage dock where his father stands. 9-year old Champ Matson runs down the deck to the ship’s stern, waving goodbye. 

He will never see his father again.  

A couple months before Pearl Harbor, J. Ellsworth Matson II, a land surveyor, is first on the ground at what would become Elmendorf Field near Anchorage. Spooked by early Japanese war momentum, the women and children are being evacuated to the mainland. 

At the dawn of the Great Depression, through determination and mettle, “Ell” Matson teaches himself a trade.  The Works Progress Administration creates jobs building essential public works. A government policy solution to human misery. 

An itinerate existence, they follow the work. Grand Coulee in Washington, Shasta in northern California, Elmendorf in Alaska. But it’s also an adventure and suits Ell Matson’s personality perfectly.  

Champ, Vic & Ell. Spokane, Washington, spring 1938.
Ell has been drinking since he was a teenager. All Prohibition did for guys like Ell was fuel the fire. A devout pre-Vatican II Catholic, Victoria Bonita Maday is eager to break away. With alcohol intake trend lines skewing north, their lives together spiral south. After a roller coaster decade with Ell, Vic has finally grown weary of the false promises, the lying and the bullshit.

At 29, the ship from Anchorage is her escape valve.
 
Back on the mainland, Vic goes weeks without a drink. Then the dreaded, inevitable first one and Katie bar the door. A revolving door of men. Champ picks up the dead soldiers, cleans up the puke and runs the overnight paramour out of the house with a shotgun because in his drunken stupor the paramour is beating up his mother and in hers, she doesn’t even know it.
 
Conscious or not, Champ begins plotting his escape at an early age. Vic’s last husband is from Plainville, Kansas. As a sophomore in high school in 1948, Champ arrives on the High Plains grudgingly.
 
It’s flat out here. And windy.
 
Two days after graduating from Plainville High and one day after becoming legally emancipated from Victoria at age 18, my father drives two hours east to Salina and joins the Navy. Pop will later say the Navy seed was planted at age nine on the evacuation ship from Anchorage to Seattle.
 
Half his young lifetime later, Champ is at last free to reinvent himself.
 
“What’s your name, son?” The recruiter had a live one. J. Ellsworth Matson the third. What’s the “J” stand for? Beats me. Let’s go with James.
 
Champ Matson walks in to the recruiting station, dragging all the baggage of his troubled upbringing. Out walks Seaman Recruit James E. Matson, United States Navy, with a clean, fresh white duffle bag on his shoulder. 
 
Being the child of alcoholics brings its own duffle bag. Jim (née Champ) Matson takes himself very seriously, is ultra-responsible and has trouble expressing his feelings. For years, I think he had trouble actually feeling, though as he ages, I see some of those walls coming down. As a kid, I tried to steer clear of him.
 
The pain and neglect of his youth deprived him of his personal power back then and that doesn’t mean it comes automatically as an adult. Despite a vast intellect and natural curiosity, Pop knows precious little about the spiritual aspect of addiction recovery. He’s never had to.
 
Until the last couple of years, Pop never talked about his father unless prompted. So I prompted him. Then one day, doing some cursory research online, I find a guy named J. Ellsworth Matson II, born in 1906 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin who had died in 1981 in Fresno, California.
 
Seriously?
 
I debate with myself a few days whether to tell Pop what I’ve learned – that since the last time he saw his father, the man lived another 40 years and never reached out.  

No letters. No personal visits. No Howyadoin’ Champs. No Christmas cards. No birthday gifts. No wires. No phone calls.
 
Pop deserved to know. Not sure how I expected him to react, but what I got back didn’t surprise me. No sadness, no anger. Nothing.
 
You see, Champ Matson had long since cut Ell loose and James E. Matson never had a father.
 
Period.

What would possess a young man to turn his back and walk away from his 9-year old child? What forces are at work that lead to these heart-wrenching, life-changing, irreversible choices?
 
I think I know. Self-driven thinking. And not the good kind. Not the rugged American individualism, entrepreneurial spirit kind. It’s the bad kind. The selfish kind. The middle finger in your face kind. The apathetic kind.
 
Stubbornness, pride and fear. Over all.
 
I have long since forgiven Pop. He did the best he could with what he had. And what he had was crap. It’s also not difficult to forgive Victoria. All my personal memories of her are warm and positive.
 
Which brings us full circle to J. Ellsworth Matson II. With God’s help and my right thinking, I hope one day to find it in my heart to forgive Ell.
 
But not today.
 
Not yet.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Blissful Ignorance

Like many coming of age American males, life was pretty much sports, cars and girls. S0 the Memorial Day weekend Indianapolis 500 covered two-thirds of my worldview.

Back then, the television broadcast of the Indy 500 was tape delayed. The actual race occurred in the afternoon and ABC would air it in the evening. Catching the tape delayed broadcast on the family black-and-white Zenith became a planned and subsequent memory-searing event. Mario Andretti in 1969, Al Unser, Sr. with back-to-back wins in ‘70 and ’71. Rick Mears jumping around his pit, literally on fire in ‘81.

Jim McKay, Jackie Stewart’s Scottish brogue and Chris Economaki in the pits.

In the Paleo-Internet Era, the trick was to stay away from the television, radio, phone calls and personal encounters with friends who had knowledge I did not want – the winner of the race.

Was it asking too much to simply enjoy the race broadcast as if it were live, without knowing the outcome? Funny, because I only feel that way about sporting events, not other forms of entertainment. I’ll re-read books and watch movies to the point where I’m quoting the dialogue (actual conversations, even) before it happens. 

Travolta wooing Karen Lynn Gorney on the streets of Brooklyn in Saturday Night Fever:

“... come on Stephanie, I can walk you...” 

Memorial Day 1983, I’m a young upwardly mobile professional mobile-ing (mobiling?) about Hays, Kansas in my 1981 red-over-black 2-door, 5-speed Toyota Corolla, sometime in the roughly 3-hour window after the Indy 500 has ended before the tape delayed broadcast begins.

For a reason that escapes me today, I felt compelled to turn on the radio.

Perhaps I wanted a weather forecast, though I doubt it, since then and now, I tend to just stick my head out the window. If it comes back in wet, I know it’s raining. Foolproof. Maybe I just had to hear The Human League crooning (Keep Feeling) Fascination one more time. 

Just looking for a new direction... in an old familiar way. 

Regardless, no sooner than I switched on the radio, two words emanate from the Realistic AM/FM/Cassette Stereo System (Radio Shacks caps.)

“Tom Sneva...”

Aaargh.

Watched the tape-delayed race broadcast that night, but it was anti-climactic.

The thrill was gone.

The advent of digital video recording means if I don’t want to know the outcome, I gotta be even more disciplined about avoiding information. With the Internet at my fingertips, I am forced to take conscious action to remain ignorant.

I gotta work harder to stay dumb than I do to get smart.

These days, Jackie and I often record Royals games of an evening and watch ‘em an hour or so after the actual first pitch, fast forwarding through commercials for which advertisers have paid good money, with the specific, underlying intention that I will actually watch them.

Woops. Guess we need another marketing meeting.

Two current options I’m working though involve chucking the smartphone in a desert or ocean, though living in Kansas make those ideas somewhat problematic. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Dissipating Dreams of Raquel Welch

I would crouch down, position the bugle about six inches from the tent, knowing full well there was a sleeping Boy Scout on the other side the canvas.

He’d be blissfully dreaming of Raquel Welch doing his best to remain trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. 

With all the wind I could suck into my 13-year old lungs, I’d affix my embouchure to my Official Silver Boy Scout Bugle and cut loose. 

Reveille.

By the time I finished the first strain, my victim was anything but courteous and kind. Raquel had slipped from his grasp.

One Scout mentally awake and prepared to do his duty for God and his country, I’d commence marching around camp, bugling, making friends. 

Friendly and helpful, that’s me, boy. 

There’s a fermata above that last note in Reveille and by God, it’s there for a reason. I’d stretch that final dotted quarter note into a loud, elongated whole note. It may have started as a High C, but I slid that puppy into a B-flat and finished with a Louis Armstrong-esque mournful flourish.

In addition to Reveille to awaken his chums, the Troop Bugler had a handful of other bugle calls in his repertoire, each designed to foment a specific type of groupthink and gestalt. Assembly, which meant quit screwing around and form up, men. To the Colors, every time we’d post Old Glory, count noses and report to our Senior Patrol Leader.

“Eagle Patrol. Four present and accounted for, sir.” 

Taps at the end of the day. The rule for Boy Scouts was Taps meant lights out and clam up. The rule was not always strictly adhered to and the Troop Bugler took his enforcement duties seriously. 

“HEY YOU RACCOON PATROLLERS! I BLEW TAPS. PUT A SOCK IN IT ALREADY..!

If a Boy Scout could holler cheerfully, I did.

I was proud of that bugle and even prouder of the Troop Bugler uniform badge that came with. Early evidence of what would become a near-lifelong walk along the fine line between self-seeking and self-promotion. 

We were Troop 420, sponsored by the suburban Wichita Pleasant Valley Lions Club, which gathered Monday evenings in the Pleasant Valley Junior High cafeteria to serve the community. Once a year, a handful of us would obediently present the colors for the Lions Club to allow The Man to beam proudly upon what his civic-minded benevolence had wrought.

Rockwell-esque, wholesome, apple-cheeked Boy Scouts helping little old ladies across the street to attend services at the Pleasant Valley (United Methodist, Baptist, Church of Christ, insert mainstream Protestant denomination here) Church.

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday. 

Looking back, I'm left with the impression the Boy Scouts were basically prep school for the Army. I was blowing Reveille at the Quivira Scout Ranch in Chautauqua County, Kansas at the exact same time our big brothers were mucking through rice paddies to prevent dominoes from falling in Southeast Asia. 

The downside with being Troop Bugler was you hadda be the first kid outa the sack. Wake up, stumble around, get dressed, find the damn bugle. Put the mouthpiece in your pocket to warm it up. 

First one up to roust the troops. Last one down to put ‘em to bed. 

On my honor. I did my best. To do my duty.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Relationship Building

The backup alarm pierced the pre-sunrise suburban Wichita silence.

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP
 
I’d crane to glance in the cab’s side-view mirror to get a sense of what my next hour would bring. Two truck drivers would alternate delivery to Mr. D’s IGA in the Sweetbriar Shopping Center.
 
One was a nice guy. One was a gold-plated pain in the ass. 

The trucks emanated from the Fleming Foods Distribution Warehouse in north Wichita and served IGA supermarkets throughout the Great Plains. 

As the newly-minted Frozen Food Manager at Mr. D’s, the promotion from “courtesy boy” meant more money, more responsibility and the duty that came with the territory as low man on the next rung up the flow chart.

Unloading the 6 a.m. truck. 

One man in the truck pushing the boxes down the skate-wheel conveyor. One man in the store pulling them off. 

Pushing. Pulling. 

Giving. Receiving. 

Deep into the high life, there were times I’d roll in to work with little or no sleep. Don a tan apron, slam a cup of coffee and a handful of Excedrin, pull on some work gloves, get the blood flowing with the physical exercise that came with the job and in no time, be good as new. 

At 19, one tends to bounce back quickly. 

The drivers would unload cases of First Pick Mandarin Oranges (small and liable to fall off the conveyor) and ginormous boxes of Toddler Size Quilted Pampers that would tend to teeter to either side if I was not there to keep up and guide them down. 

Nice Guy would work with me, match my pace. Let me decide the unloading order, depending on my daily receiving space logistics. We developed a rhythm. Pain In The Ass would launch the boxes down willy-nilly, oblivious to me and anything beyond his immediate confines.

Or he’d see me down there humpin’ boxes, desperate to keep up and quicken his pace. Just because he could.

The worst were these 50-pound boxes of frozen “bull meat” that the butchers would grind up to make... wait for it... ground beef. All the other boxes, even the refrigerated ones, had some ‘give‘ in them and a guy learned to stack, tie and otherwise organize.

These 50-pounders were frozen solid in whatever shape they entered the freezer and so not conducive to stacking or rolling on the skate-wheel belt. Ideally, they’d need to be babied down one at a time.

Pain In The Ass would rocket those sumbitches down one right after another, forcing me to wrestle them off the belt before they’d slam into the unprotected Del Monte French Cut Green Beans at belts’ end or wobble off, careening rump-long into a tied-in 5-foot stack of Smuckers 18 oz. Sweet Strawberry Preserves. 

GLITCH.

When we’d finish, Nice Guy would often hop down outa the truck and help me stack and stow whatever stopgap workarounds I’d devised in order to keep up. We’d share a quick cup of coffee, shake hands and move on with the remains of our days.

Pain In The Ass would grunt, slam down the truck door and split. I’d wave goodbye with my middle finger.

Back then, these guys woulda been about my age now. 

I remember their faces, both of them. Nice Guys name was Bill. I don't remember Pain In The Asss name. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Guy Thing

A cup of dark roast with my son’s best man in a coffee shop on Douglas Avenue in downtown Wichita.

When I look out the window and squint, I can see a generation into the past.
 
I see myself and my best friend, for whom I was best man. Both named Mike, we’re all feathered hair and platform heels, standing next to my '71 MGB ragtop that just lost its drive shaft. 

We met amid the T-squares and triangles in Drafting class as sophomores at Wichita Heights High.

We’ve drifted apart for no better reason than we let it happen.

In Drafting class, we designed houses. Mine, a Brady Bunch-esque split-level rancher with two fireplaces, wet bar and a laundry chute. His, this ahead-of-its-time, post-modern monstrosity with curved walls and a batcave-inspired hidden garage.

He played French horn and dreamed of electric guitar rock star glory. I was a wannabe drummer toiling on treble clef baritone. Mike got me a job bussing tables at Angelo’s Italian restaurant. I got him one bagging groceries at Mr. D’s IGA.

Mike turned me on to Steely Dan, fast cars and other assorted vices. I returned the favor with the Alan Parsons Project and Olympia beer.
 
We had an unspoken reciprocal car tricking-out arrangement. Most things with best friends are unspoken. At least when youre guys. Especially young guys.

The back seats and trunk firewall of his ’65 Barracuda fastback folded down, leaving room for a guy and his girl to, uh... 
 
The very same day we upholstered the ‘Cuda with blue shag carpeting, I spilled a chocolate milkshake on the passenger side.

“Woops,” I laughed.
 
“Woops my ass.”

He helped me replace the u-joint in my MGB. A couple weeks later while dragging Douglas, the drive shaft just dropped.  

Clunk.

Milkshake payback? Nah. Our car repair prowess just plateaued with shag installation. Shoulda known better. Our industrial art was Drafting, not Auto Mechanics.
 
Mike forgave me for the spilled milkshake and for stealing his girlfriend and actually helped me clean up both messes.

He had a helluva back story. When he was a little kid, his father just up and disappeared, never to be heard from again. He owned a coin shop in downtown Wichita where he trafficked in rare coins, mystery and intrigue. Mike and I had our own theory about his old man.
  
20th century young men coming of age. Bob Seger labeled us young and restless and bored.

No wonder we were best friends. We had the same worldview and confidence in our abilities. Tomorrow didn’t matter. One summer, we hitchhiked around Colorado. Another time, on a whim, we borrowed some motorcycles and rode to Kansas City.

Neither of our first marriages took. He ended up in Colorado. I stayed in Kansas.

Mike and I drifted apart at about the same point in life where my son and his best man are now. Today, one of them is in Colorado, one in Kansas. 

What goes around, comes around.  

I was Mike’s best man. We helped shape each other. The only thing preventing a reconnection is false pride. A guy thing.

In the coffee shop on Douglas, I encouraged my son’s best man not to let him drift away. Then I conveyed the same message to my son.  

The sins of the father need not be visited.