Monthly Archives: February 2010

Rootbeer Floats

I thought it was a fine idea.  A petting zoo of kids.  That’s right….not for, of.  This would be a  venture that I would silently back.  I’m done running my own business.  I would support this idea of dropping your kids off at THEIR petting zoo because I need a fucking break from my kids and other kids sometimes. 

Just drop the little ankle biters off when you’ve had enough and you need some extra drink money.  Yeah, you get $$$ when you pick them up because other folks will pay major bucks to swing by and pet your kids.  I suppose this is where Mr. Perversion hijacked my concept.  Petting is a term of endearment you jackasses.  I’m getting these strange looks from the people I confide in.  Why do I continue to share my most prized revelations with them.  They’re looking at me like I’m the pervert.

I have the most adorable looking kids.  My little monsters are so god damned cute looking,  people just want to pet them.  I understand it is a partial statement, coming from me, the father but it also happens to be factual…….strangers walking by have told me many times.  They are animals though and as damn cute as they may look they sometimes need to be caged or penned….whatever you want to term it.

So, it’s a great idea right ?  I would pay money to pet my kids if they weren’t my kids or I might even pay money to pet your kids if they caught my attention.  Kids can be so freaking cute sometimes.  Mr. Perversion is not allowed in the petting zoo okay.  This is strictly reserved for the adoration in a non-perverted way of handsome children.  And yes, there is a screening process… fugly kids allowed…..they wouldn’t make you any money anyway as you would soon find out.  I’ll think of something else to do with them later…..maybe they could pick up trash along a busy highway.

So, I’m getting these looks from these parents that I’ve shared this brilliant idea with and they just don’t get it.  I’ve been entertaining their kids for the past 2 days and I’m a little burnt out.  The intensity level of the fun I’ve introduced them to has tipped the scales of good and clean…..I’ve resorted to holding them upside down by the ankles and dunking their cute little toeheads in the icy galvanized beverage tub.  And that was funny until one of the Moms pointed out that it wasn’t.  At this point the little monsters are all crying because they have never had so much fun in their lives.  It’s time for the petting zoo so I can go fucking ski or drink or both.  And the only one who gets it is my 4 year old…..the part about drink money….because she goes through gallons of apple juice a day.  I love that kid.

Get with the program parents.  Either we drop the chirrens off at the petting zoo and make some cash at the end of the day or Uncle makes Rootbeer Floats all day long and we play hard, laugh, cry and learn how swear with dignity.



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Set Back Saturday

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Linguini with Clams

Why is it that life’s most precious gifts are most cherished after the moment has long passed ?  Those beautiful occasions forever embossed on your brain, reinforced with photographs and  accompanying letters.  The fleeting winks you must absorb and live with ferocious fanaticism lest they never come again.  And by the same token the tragedies you have witnessed and the mistakes you have made seem to tear at your insides for eternity, challenging your self-esteem, value to society and determination to start each day anew.  Snap shots of time that can’t be re-lived yet they play over in your mind like some relentless curse or reoccurring dream that won’t shake. It is all a part of the live and learn process I guess….but sometimes while we are living we are struck with a brief case of amnesia about what we have already learned and the moment  passes leaving us with desire, regret, sorrow and a yearning to go back.

My father had fought prostate cancer for some 7 years or so.  Hormone treatments and frequent trips to Slone Kettering Cancer Center in NYC seemed to be keeping things at bay.  He had an incredible passion for life….always, even before the cancer.  This made it difficult to get inside his head about what his own sense of finality was.  Pop always lived each day like it was his last.  And conversations of death didn’t happen, at least between us.  By 2005 his condition was changing or one could say in retrospect, getting progressively worse.  My Dad and Stepmom had just sunk some retirement  money into a two bedroom condo in Bradenton, FL.  They both were golfing as much as the weather would permit both up North and in Florida,  though it was not uncommon to hear a story about Dad on the golf course in December, 35 degrees out and a thin cover of snow on the ground…..he played those rounds solo.  He was talking about buying a bass boat and I was excited about that. 

That whole winter season down south was miserable for both of them.  The majority of time spent making 3 hour round trip treks to Tampa to another cancer treatment center….he was determined to stay in the warm weather even though returning North and resuming visits to Sloan may have been the wiser choice.  The first year in their new digs was not enjoyable and best be forgotten.

Thanksgiving came around and I packed up my family for the trek to visit Dad at his house, the town where I grew up, in the Hudson Valley.  I had recently written him a letter pouring out some emotions.  Stuff that he probably didn’t want to think about……you know death and dying shit….how much I admired him and valued him as a role model well maybe he wasn’t the best role model but he had heart and charisma…..mushy, mushy, ,mushy stuff.  He and I never got mushy with each other.  It was only but 10 years or so that we started giving hugs when getting together or parting ways.  He used to hug me all the time when I was a kid….why did that stop for so long….I wish it hadn’t.  Well, I never got his take on the letter I wrote him.  No phone call, no letter back….nothin’.  So, I was curious as to whether he received it or not.  I went snooping around up at his dresser but found nothing.  I didn’t bring it up.

He was excited about having us up for Thanksgiving.  He was an incredible cook with unabashed style and creativity.  He cooked what he wanted to eat and it was most of the time excellent.  His knees were bad from all the years of high intensity sports…basketball, tennis, badminton etc… plus he was a big guy at 220 lbs. and bad knees run in the family.  In general his faculties were in disrepair from the past months of treatment and I knew he would need help pulling off this dinner.  He was intense, barking out orders, making a huge mess in his kitchen but mostly in great spirits…probably drinking a few beers too.  My stepmother was always the one to take the brunt of his incessant demands…..even long before his illness.  She oh so lovingly obliged most all of his needs, occasionally replying with wit and mild sarcasm but always a genuine smile encouraging  challenging him to fend for himself because he was a big boy now.  Man….sometimes I’d be in the house, unbeknownst  to him and I’d here him bellow from upstairs, SUE !…..she’d be outside or something.  I would here crashing around up there and then he’d be down in the kitchen with a towel wrapped around himself, all red in the face and scowling, shocked by my presence.  I’d say smirkingly, “whatdaya looking for Pop”…….he wouldn’t tell but it was his freaking  jockstrap, cause it was Thursday night… night.  I thought that shit was the most hilarious reoccurring comedy that took place it that house….and I’d razz him about it every time.

So, the dinner went off okay, I helped out a bit but he caused a mini scene, embarrassing moment some slight uncomfortableness.  He was demanding about the order of courses served and other silly shit like garnishing, temperature and spoon size for the soup.  He was taking it out on my stepmom and it was pissing me off.  It was a tough call because of his condition and all but I gently put him in his place and told him to quit it.  Dinner was delicious and we had plenty of laughs too.

We were leaving that evening so I started the process of loading up the chariot with family of five weekend getaway luggage half the fucking house plus gifts from grandparents.  We were having trouble with the car battery or alternator or something and I had just purchased this piece of shit battery charger that wasn’t working.  I was all pent up with the emotions of the day, my panties were in a bunch and I started acting like my father.  I am his son afterall.  I was causing my own mini scene about not getting the car started.  I’m out in the driveway and finally got the damn thing started and threw it into reverse almost running poor Dad over in his own driveway…wouldn’t have known it but for the rap of his fist on the side panel.  He came limping around the passenger side of the car so I rolled down the window and blurted “what are you an idiot, you want to get run over?”  He softly replied, with his own little battery charger in hand “thought you might want to try this one”.  My heart sunk and I  gulped out “thanks, I got it”.  We left that evening after exchanging hugs.

By Monday Dad’s condition had drastically changed for the much worse.  It was as if he expended every last bit of energy on that Thanksgiving dinner.  Sue got him back down to Sloan for a three week stay…he was in rough shape.  By the Friday before Christmas he was back up at Vassar Brothers Hospital with Docs somewhat baffled but working hard to keep a fever down.  He had an infection that worked it’s way to his heart.  So I made the trek again back to the homeland by myself this time. 

I guess I caught him on a good day that Friday at Vassar Brothers because he was upright and hungry.  He wanted Italian food from some local joint that he raved about in Poughkeepsie.  I asked him what he felt like, that I’d be happy to go run for it.  He said “I want a menu”…….did I hear that right as I glanced over at my stepmother.  Normally I would have said “what are you freaking crazy”…It’s a red sauce Italian joint…just like ordering Chinese food….same menu every place you go.  But I stifled it and said “sure Dad…I’ll go get one”.  It was only 10 minutes down the road anyway and just the reminder of the comedian, crazy ass that my Dad was made it all the more worth it….all I could do was laugh and cry a little too. 

I get the menu back to him and he ponders it for a few minutes then exclaims “Linguini with Clams…lets get some Linguini with Clams”.  Okay, done.  I felt like Linguini with Clams too.  So I called the place, ordered our stuff and then called my brother to tell him to swing by the restaurant and pick up our order on his way over. 

There we were, the four of us, enjoying our last meal together in that depressing hospital room with Dad in his Johnny.  I hate those god damned things…..Johnies.  No one should have to eat one of their last memorable meals in one, nor with someone in one, nor have visitors while wearing one….they’re stupid !  That was it.  Although there was still a glimmer of hope that Dad would pull out of this mess because he had more zest for life than anyone I know and because he was a strong  Ox I knew the end was near.  That was the most memorable Linguini with Clams I will ever eat.  Not because of the clams at all but because of that beautiful yet so sad occasion forever engraved on my brain of us all together mostly getting along and Pop exercising his true form with his crazy, yet honest demands.

He passed away a few weeks later on January 12th 2006.  Not peacefully, not gracefully, not free of pain and discomfort and not quickly.  It was a crappy way to go but he fought to the very bitter end.  If you have a momentary lapse of compassion or memory and forget what you already have learned then you are only human.  Pick yourself back up and try to do better the next time.  I called my Dad an idiot and I’ll never forget that, yet I know it didn’t get him down because not much did get him down and it probably made him tickle inside because it reminded him of the way we got along when I was a teenager which wasn’t so bad at all anyways.  And more importantly because I know I didn’t mean it and I’m sure he knew that I loved him unconditionally.  There are no do overs, no replays, only todays and tomorrows ……… savor your Linguini with Clams moments and never deny yourself the innate right to love, cry, laugh, apologize and express your emotions openly, with fervor.  I love you Dad !   R.I.P.  11/07/1939 – 1/12/2006


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Are You Passionate ?

Are you “influenced or dominated by intense emotion or strong feeling” thank you Random House.  Do you wear it on your sleeve everyday ?   Those lifeless drones out there who show up to their uneventful jobs, who wake up everyday to their mundane lives….you know who you are.  That was  me, yup…..been to that place before, still visit it occasionally.  I’m sure you all have at some point…..even sporadically dispersed throughout your otherwise passionate lives.  Writers block, the daily grind, same shit different day, How you doin ? “Not bad”  WTF….how much better is “not bad” from absolutely fucking miserable….on the brink of disaster or go away you bug me.  Well, passion is in there somewhere.  Yes, in everyone…i know it.  Don’t ask how, i just do.  It is squelched, disguised, hiding, smothered…you get the point.  Is it a question of validity….is your passion worthy, respectable, healthy, self-destructive, harmful, profitable ?  It is your passion….piss off those opinions.  How about those lucky bastards, intuitive geniuses, selfish Mo FO’s, sell outs, politicians, celebrity chefs  oops don’t dis them ahemmm, celebrity chefs and remarkable people who have found a way to parlay their passion into a viable career and a balanced life.  And what is this silly new literary tool that allows you to cross out what you’re really thinking but still let it peep thru.  I’m passionate about using it more often.  Speak up if you’re out there you freaks who have it all figured out.  Is it even possible…something has to give.  What if you have multiple passions…..where is the space for other important crap you gotta take care of or that someone else is expecting you to take care of.  I got it……I’ll be passionate about being the person you want me to be.  It will feed itself just like every good passion should.  Here’s another thing…raging, roaring fires of passion don’t die if they are not fed.  They smolder, simmer, ferment…it is your eternal flame man…like a dormant volcano.  Unleash your passion, set it free……go find it again….you will recognize it when you see it.  Your passion will not die but you surely will if you do not answer it.  Oh, one last thing…don’t hurt anybody or cause irreparable damage to any person or thing that is deemed valuable to any person .  You can piss people off if you want but be prepared to live with the consequences….you know this.  Go on…Go….. get to it.  I’m gonna go get passionate with my Hennepin Belgian Style Saison.

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