Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Slings of Outrageous Fortune

The Lawless Years: Urchins on their home turf, armed to the teeth and dressed to kill, First Street, Raymond, Washington, 1949.

From left to right, Billy (Squint-eyed Kid) Zambaras, 6 years old, flaunting his intimidating, fearsome mien in the face of the blinding, winter light; Christos (Ladybird Killer) Zambaras, 11, notorious for disarming birds by flipping them the peace sign with his right hand just before slinging the fatal shot at them with his left; Angie (Turkey-Diddle-I-Them) Buttrick, 13, lanky lobber whose favorite targets were the rear ends of drunk loggers, truckers and longshoremen staggering out of his grandma’s saloon.

As mentioned by Hoyle in his groundbreaking study, The Evolution of Slingshots in the United States and Their Role in Intimidating Stoolpigeons while Keeping a Poker Face, these three
infamous Greek-American punks were the forerunners of inner city gangs that later terrorized urban America, as they were the first to successfully employ the now-classic dictum adopted by so many zealous professionals from all walks of life: “Never Get Caught Playing According to the Rules,” or its better-known, more overwhelming, poetical manifestation favored by so many of our back-watching, self-righteous politicians, to wit “Ex-Lax Slanderer":

Sling shit
Sling shat

Sling ass
Whole shot.

NB: These tatterdemalions were also among the first to introduce hodgepodge raiment, which became so popular in the latter half of the previous century--notice the chaotic, albeit exquisite juxtaposition of haberdashery covering Squint-eyed Kid's frame--not to mention the patent rubber galoshes perfect for sloshing through muddy puddles just before heading back home to headquarters.

: Unfortunately, the only gang member still living is The Squint-eyed Kid, who
had the good fortune at the tender age of 27 to escape from Life in the Clutches of America. He is now happily married living the Life of Riley in his beloved Hellas and still thinking seriously of writing his poetic Magnum Opus, "I Was a Gunsel Who Killed Mockingbirds for the Thrill of It."


  1. declutched and
    trilling words for
    the love


    Great photo, Vassili! Loved the kneepatch.

    Great photo,

  2. Now I miss my old bib overalls. Thanks a lot!

    But seriously... this is a wonderful photo. I do think you write that memoir. The Squint-eyed Kid would be a great title!

  3. Annie and Joe,

    Thank you so much. Such touching sentiments sent Hellas way may manage to sway The Squint-eyed Kid after all, so hold your horses for the momentous memoir--don't go away!

    (Now that I have a title, the rest should be a cinch!)

  4. I never did go for slingshots, not being a boy and all, but my brothers did.

    This is terrific stuff here, Vassili. I love the picture and the story attached, and a 'happy ever after' one as well.

  5. Elisabeth,

    Thanks--even though you never did go in for slingshots, I think you hit the target with your "happy ever after"--my sentiments exactly!

  6. Besides this being another Zambaras masterpiece, I’m gratefully reminded of my father’s uncle’s slingshot prowess, which included the teen-aged ability to set transformers alight high on their power pole perches. Well, the rocks were bigger back then. And the world, as your picture proves, was still in black and white. And now I must depart before sanity threatens once again.

  7. William,

    This one's for all of us but especially for you--thanks for the nudge!

  8. What a wonderful story to follow this black and white but so "colorful" and vivid picture dad.

    I am so glad that I get to find out things about my father through his writing! You made me cry..!

    Love you

  9. Most touching, my most loving daughter--thanks for making it all seem worthwhile!

  10. Great reading! My heart is part, of Cedar Tavern.

  11. Anonymous,

    Ah, First Street.....those were the days my anonymous friend. Thanks for dropping by!

  12. What ever happened to your brother? He was sooo handsome. Lady Killer was it!!

  13. Dear Candy,

    Sadly, even lady-killers like my brother pass away; in his case, too early.

    Christos (Chris) Zambaras

    Chris passed away March 11, 2000 at home. He was born March 19,
    1938 in Rematia, Greece and moved to Raymond, WA in 1948. He
    graduated from Raymond High School in 1958, where he was the star
    basketball player. He retired from Kraft General Foods in 1995. He
    was a member of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and Order of
    Ahepa. Golf and fishing were his passions. Chris was preceded in death
    by his parents and brother Kosta. He is survived by his loving wife of
    26 years, Kalitsa, son Tasso, daughters Tanja and Sabrina, brother
    Vassili (Elene) of Greece, and 4 grandchildren. Trisagion will be held at
    Piper-Morley-Mellinger Funeral Home, March 17, 2000 at 7:30 p.m.
    Funeral services will be held at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church,
    March 18, 2000 at Noon. In lieu of flowers, Chris wished donations to
    be made to Kids 'N' Cancer Camp Agapa NW, 2100 Boyer Ave. E.,
    Seattle, WA 98112. Arrangements by Piper-Morley-Mellinger Funeral
    Directors, 472-3353. Pub Date: 3/15/2000

    Tacoma News Tribune

  14. Vassilis, you were light-years ahead of your time. Hodgepodge raiment has come back into fashion lately, thanks to impoverishment, the grand couturier of the dispossessed.

    But has not necessity always been the mother of disorderliness, that essential virtue?

    (By the by, I believe I see here definite evidence of a hidden relation with that squint-eyed kid at the miners' contest...)

  15. Tom,

    You slipped this comment by me while the sun was blinding my eyes--now that it's cloudy, I can finally read it.

    And there does seem to be an affinity with you-know-who--only a hawk-eye like you could have caught that.

    Much obliged,

    The Squint-eyed Kid

  16. Turkey diddle I them is still kicking around here in Raymond....I'm lucky to have him as a friend....

  17. I'll drink to that and to the memory of Angie's grandmother.

  18. And to the news that Angie is still kicking around over there in Raymond!

  19. :-) I love it! I see Angie occasionally in the community.

  20. Thank you! Certainly hope Angie's improved his raiment now that he's returned to Raymond. :)


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