Monthly Archives: May 2007


I live in an area that is one of the top make-up sales locations in the world according to the Made-Up Make-Up Sales-Stats Ass-Ociation. The top three are, Clown College, Whore University, and the area from whence I speak, Most Don’t Go To College.

I’m not talking about subtle, pick a season, winter, spring, fall, summer make-up usage. If these people picked a season it would be Carnival! But, it’s not for any grotesquerie they spackle their faces, heavens no! It’s, as has been explained to me, because of the pride they have in their cities that bursts through in a cacophony of blue and, what looks like to my untrained eye, lizard.

I can see their point. The triumvirate of cities I am speaking of do have many things to crow about. One can be heard boasting of the largest collection of muscle cars still cruising, the largest bravado with fewest brain cells and, my personal favorite which is a testament to civic pride, a city where there are more cosmetology schools (3) than hospitals (0).

So, it’s not unusual to see a Pollack coming at ya. I’m not just talking women here. I’ve seen guys with make-up. Before you start sending emails calling me all sorts of ‘ist’s (like ageist, sexist, istist), I am not talking about actors, TV weathermen, or transvestites. That’s part of their job. I’m talking about average Joe’s. Like this guy I knew, Joe. He lived upstairs and it was quite a thing to have a conversation while taking barrels out on trash day. He’s talking about whatever it was he was babbling about while all I could think was,”Is he wearing mascara?”

I guess he noticed my interest because he said,
“Are you wondering about my make-up?”

“It cross dres. . .I mean. . .crossed my mind.”

He goes on to explain that, years ago, he realized his best feature was his eyes so he had an ex-girlfriend experiment until they found a style that made his eyes, to quote the man, ‘pop.’

Hey! That’s good enough reason for me. Whatever makes the weasel pop, I always say. I guess the fact that his eyes popped overshadowed the fact he had a serious case of Dunlop’s Disease.

What? You don’t know about Dunlop’s Disease? It’s where your belly’s so big it dun lops over your belt. And his was a serious case. Half way down his zipper that boy’s went.

But, as long as his eyes popped, he was a model of civic pride.

I’m at the counter helping a very nice man. Contrary to all beliefs, I don’t mind helping people. I mind helping stupid people. When some invents a Mental Detector I’m sure the world will be a much nicer place where things will get done quickly and smoothly. But, until that day. . .

“Is there anyone here to help me!?!?!” Screeches this woman while I am standing in front of her talking to the aforementioned gentleman.

“That would be me, ma’am, and I’ll be with you as soon as I’m done with this gentleman.” I screw in my fake smile (you know the one, you’ve seen it) while answering her. I notice the gentleman I’m talking to is shying away. I know it’s not the Earl Scheib job she’s done to her face, he’s a grizzled veteran of the area, it’s the fact he is so well schooled. He knows she’s the penultimate of the creature of the ilk.

She’s a woman whose actual face, hair, nails (I’m going to stop there but the list goes on) none of her many husbands (oh, don’t start ‘ist’ing me again! I know how the story ends) have seen. She’s a woman who, although the act should have ceased years ago, continues to work at drawing attention to her decolletage. The fact they’re below see level is nothing a few 2×4’s and a caulking gun can’t handle.

A move that is potentially inbred around here is the act of coquettishness. I’m not a big fan when someone is trying to get something from me. If they want to give something to me, well, I’ll make the proper adjustments. This woman, not getting on demand attention, slides next to the gentleman in an attempt to make eye contact with me.

“Is there anyone else who can help me? I am a very busy woman.”

If you scale back on the full body blast and daily eighteen hours of beauty sleep, I think, you’ll have more than half an hour a day to compete all your tasks. I look at her, smile unscrewed, saying,

“I’m it and, as you can obviously see, I am with this gentleman right now.”

While she has my eye contact her body naturally falls into it’s coquette dance. It’s as sincere as a cat rubbing against you because it wants to get fed. And much less appealing. But it does draw my eyes to her false eye lashes. When flapped I swear her head snapped back due to the force of those bat wings.

We exchange a few more pleasantries before she takes a step back. I am under no illusion that I’ve vanquished Ms. Varnished. I know she’s regrouping. As long as she doesn’t do any major adjustments I’m sure we’ll all get out alive.

I continue with the gentleman who is imploring me with his eyes to quickly end our business. I dive back into solving his problem while keeping a peripheral eye on the woman. I notice her pants are so tight things best left unseen aren’t.

While deducing how far this woman will go I see the obvious outline of a belly ring. The fact she’s also a sufferer of Dunlop’s Disease does not daunt her attempt to stay edgy. The fact the edge of the ring was shearing through her shirt was just icing.

I was happy she had pants on but not all that happy when they were just as tight as everything else. They left nothing to the imagination which includes everything in your own sick little mind plus her veins. Both varicose and collapsed.

When I didn’t complete my business with the gentleman within the eight seconds she’d remained silent, she approached the desk and tapped her red, French manicured talons on the counter. I ignore this annoying attention grabber and, finally, complete my business with this now exhaling gentleman. Before he is out of the door the woman begins to tell me what I am going to do for her.

Oh, and here I was thinking she’d make it less painful when she got attention.

She tells me, if she deigns this place adequate enough to patronize, I will do all these tasks for her that, trust me, I don’t even do at my house. With each of her demands, I explain the legal and moral ramifications of her requests. Undeterred, of course, she traduces each of my statements and sally forths.

It is her opinion that I am being difficult so she turns to the phrase I’ve heard so many times as to be a cliche of the area.

“Do you know who I am?”

Why am I never asked if I care? But, I’m not so I play the ball I’m given.

“Who you are is of less importance as to what you are requesting. And, everything you’ve requested, cannot be accomplished here.” Of course, she didn’t hear a thing because she’s already started giving me her history. And, at her age, this could take a while.

And it does.

She starts with the importance of her ex’s, deceased, and current husband then segues into her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren. Surprisingly, those historical facts passed by quickly. It only took a second to figure out why. They weren’t directly about her.

We begin to cover her life in reverse chronological order. And, if 1/10th of what she said had a shred of reality adhered to it, my best guess is she’s Zsa Zsa Gabor. Through the telling of her story, all in an attempt to impress me that she was quite the cats meow during the Mesozoic era, she continues her gyrations. I’ll say one thing, it did give me a product idea. I wonder what the market would be for jello slinkies?

I get the feeling we’re nearing the end of her story. I figure that because we’re covering the time she won the big spermatozoa swim meet. At the end, I can tell she figures I’ll be putty in her hands just like the sixty or seventy thousand other doughboys she’s rendered love struck.

“Ma’am, I’m sorry,” I begin. I explain what services we will render and which we will not. Her expression begins to slip (maybe it was her make-up. By now I was paying much less attention) and she begins to lash into me for my many obvious flaws.

“Many men would consider it a privilege to do me any of these petty services just to be near me. I’m considered quite a catch!”

She fixes me with her gaze. It’s looks a little cataractal to me but, among the many things I am not, I am not a ophthalmologist. But, with the old beauty pageant try hanging in the air, I smile and say,

“Yeah, I’m sure you were quite something when that diamond on your finger was a lump of coal.”

A Baseball Epic

With the upcoming series between the universally beloved Boston Red Sox and the universally reviled New York Yankees we figured it would be the perfect time to unveil our newest cinematic endeavor destined to become one of the top three or four movie poster parodies on this blog: 

It’s Personal

A friend of mine stopped in. Many people know him through his writing for a local paper but I know him as something else. A major pain in my ass which, through some type of insane mix of clashing personalities and character flaws, is how I react to all my friends.

He stopped in to tell me he’d just turned 84.

“Wow,” I said. “You qualify for the platinum AARP card now. Do you get frequent bathroom miles with that?”

We went on to reminisce about the times we’ve had. Most of them adversarial, but in a good way. How else would you think two people, so different in temperament and generational aplomb, would act? I’m a baby boomer whereas his generation laid the bomb. We couldn’t look at things more differently if we spoke different languages, which, many times, I’ve noticed him rather indecipherable.

He went on to complain, as if this happened just yesterday, about when, on his own volition, he’d give me a ride to work. His major complaint? I wouldn’t exit the house until a specific time. I called it orderly. He called it part of my genetic flaw. A Teutonic timetable, if you will.

So here he was, for the millionth time, accusing me of letting him sit there on purpose. Despite my protestations, he would not believe that I wasn’t sitting there, maybe watching the Today show, knowing full well he was sitting there stewing until the clock stuck the appointed half hour.

He also wouldn’t believe when I told him, although his fetid mind may have planted this nugget in his skull, I didn’t stand by the window watching him look towards the door, then at his watch, back to the door before staring straight ahead in some aggrieved bouillabaisse he was stewing. The truth is, I didn’t. Often. I was too busy leading my roommates in a rousing game of “How red can Don get?”

Pretty red some days.

Back then he was a writer of some self importance. As with most writers, he was deluded about the reality of people caring about what he wrote. He knew they did because they told him personally. I told him they were being polite or patronizing. Who wants to listen to a windbag palaver when it’s so much easier to praise him so he’ll revel in the glory that is his own mind.

We’d have rousing discussions, centered upon my view that I only cared about getting paid circling his of having the hearts and minds of his readers. My argument laid squarely with my desire not to have bill collectors reposes my heart and mind.

Of course, just like the million other things we’d disagree upon, I was right. Seriously, if you knew Don you’d end up calling him pigheaded too. But I give him his due, although he may be wrong about so many things, he’s a pretty good writer. It’s just that, for my taste, Don’s writing lacks a verisimilitude that just doesn’t sit well with me.

Now, all these years later, he actually is a writer of some renown. I still don’t know how it happened. Have I been wrong all these years about Don? Is it true that his readers care? Nah. I think it’s that he’s been around so long people are waiting for that column when he flips out. I call it the Andy Rooney Effect.

Although I don’t admit it when he asks me (which is every time I see him) I read his column. It’s filled with a softness I’d be hard pressed to achieve; a generosity of spirit I couldn’t catch with a butterfly net; a warmth I couldn’t feel on tar beach in the middle of August.

But I wouldn’t tell him that.

Why ruin a perfectly good friendship? I say something nice to him then he’ll only feel some type of strange obligation to make something up nice about me. And what would happen to his bluster and boasting if he knew I respected him as a man and cherished him as a friend? He’d get all mushy and slippery like a manatee (this description was not chosen haphazardly). He’d cease to puff up like a sea frog while regaling me with his table tennis prowess.

And then what would we have?

Just a normal, run-of-the-mill friendship.

And only he and I understand that.

Most who see us speak assume we’re mortal enemies. I ran into him at a diner, him at his table full of friends and fans; I at a table with my girlfriend. For a few minutes we traded barbs back and forth. It was obvious his friends didn’t like that I was picking on him.

Before he left, Don came over to our table. My girlfriend told him she thought my behavior was a disgrace. Don just smiled that ‘what can ya do?’ smile he’s unleashed on many occasions around me. Before he left, as always seems to happen, a little moment came out. It bounces back and forth as to who gets it in, but it always seems to happen.

“Hey Don,” I said. “I’ve been pretty busy lately. How’d the Red Sox do?”

This happened in 2004. The first World Series victory in his lifetime. A victory so important to this man who, as long as I’ve known him, refers to the team as ‘my Red Sox.’ He smiled the smile I’d seen before. And that’s all needed to be said.

The day he dropped by I watched his girlfriend while we engaged in our time honored badinage somewhat bewildered. During a rare break in the action, she asked me how, after all these years of snipes and jibes, we’ve stayed friends.

I smiled because, to be honest, there is no answer. We’ve argued, laughed, and shared sadness. Maybe that’s it. Maybe it’s because we can ‘have a go’ at each other without worrying about feelings.

Maybe it’s something that can’t be described.

I approached Don while looking at his girlfriend. She deserved an answer. I just wondered if I had one. I stood in front of Don who looked at me with a look I’ve seen many times before. Dread because it’s unfathomable to him what will come out of my mouth. And pride because he knows, whatever it is, I couldn’t have said it without him.

“Well,” I lean over, grab Don’s ample belly with a smile and say, “It’s all because of his rich, Jewy goodness.”