Just a Heartbeat Away

We’ll get the Demo VP pick this weekend. Do you remember the good ole’ days when it didn’t make a damn bit of difference who the Vice President was? Poppy Bush didn’t get a lot of respect. Dan Quayle was a punch line. Al Gore was a totem pole. That was all before Darth Cheney was hired to head the Vice Presidential search committee for Bush II and wound up nominating himself. What chutzpa! He co-opted the Presidency from a lazy, intellectually challenged puppet head and in doing so has made the Vice Presidency very relevant. We’d better pay close attention from now on, particularly to whoever gets the GOP VP nod. I have a lot of respect for John McCain, but he’s a geezer and doesn’t look like he’s long for this world.

Eat n’ Rub

Mrs. Wife and the Daughters were down at the shore with another member of the Mommy Mafia and her brood when I got home from work last night so dinner was not on the table, as is usually the case. Not a problem! I had an evening massage appointment scheduled and didn’t have time to stand in front of a hot stove so I leapt into quick-feed mode. Dinner consisted of:

1 peach
1 slice of bread with peanut butter
1 tall glass of cold milk
Some Wise potato chips
1 orange
1 “fun size” bag of M&Ms
A second (larger) serving of potato chips
1 Klondike ice cream bar

Sounds scrumptious, doesn’t it? I lived alone for the better part of two decades and can’t recall eating so erratically. I think my dinner-making skills were severely compromised somewhere along the matrimonial way.

* * *

I could never be a masseuse. To me, it’s an intimate act that requires you invade someone’s very personal space. Generally speaking, if I’m giving a massage, I want it to lead to something else. And I don’t mean sore hands. How do they do it? According to Jenna, the inflicter of pain (she uses her elbows!), it’s just a job. I had other questions that needed answers and she obliged.

I asked her if they charge extra for people who are morbidly obese (they don’t), how they deal with an exceptionally hairy man (lots of oil) and if a client has ever made a pass at her (all the time). She said she can see passes coming a mile away. Typically, men will pollinate by over-tipping and eventually move in for the kill. One particularly frisky client whipped off his towel, grabbed her hand and…well…yea. She ran out of the room and got the manager. Do you know what they did to him? They canceled his membership. Pardon me, but, isn’t that sexual assault? Did he get away with something? I asked what she does if a client starts to get a little too flirty. Her favorite road block is to steer the conversation into her exercise program, which includes lots of kick boxing and Tae Kwon Do. She’s got the shoulders and strength to prove it! Clever girl.

I Judge

I did some design work for a Vice President at Benevolent Dictators, Inc. I like her enough and she’s pleasant, but I never really took her seriously. She seems a bit mousy and even though she’s in sales, she doesn’t talk a good game (which is a necessary tool of the trade). I work in an open-architecture environment and I overhear her cold calls. She lacks confidence. I’ve never heard her take command of a conversation. She appears to be of average intelligence.

Yesterday, I stumbled across her bio. She has a B.A. in molecular engineering from MIT. You’d never know! When am I going to stop judging people without first checking under the hood? How many times do I need to be taught that lesson? What a dolt, I be.


I have great news! This fall on Broadway, not only are they mounting a production of David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow with Jeremy Piven and Raúl Esparza, but they’ve also just announced a revival of American Buffalo with John Leguizamo and Cedric the Entertainer. With apologies to Mr. Mamet: holy fuckety-fuck! Can you fucking handle that?

I use to have a first edition of Sexual Perversity in Chicago inscribed by Mamet thus: From that foul mouthed chronicler of contemporary America. I sold it for what is now a long-forgotten reason. I have regretted it ever since. I’ve sold many of my rare books for some terrible “need” that I can now no longer recall. But I remember the books, alright. I stopped making that mistake years ago.

The Worth of Your Father

6-Year Old Daughter paid a visit to the city last week. She is obsessed with all things Chinese (and this was before the Olympics!) so she and Mrs. Wife had lunch in Chinatown. She brought home a string of small illuminated paper lanterns which I had been promising all week to hang in her bedroom. Sunday morning came rolling around and I still hadn’t gotten around to it, so instead of sitting on my patio with the Sunday New York Times, a cup of coffee and two Hostess Ho-Ho’s (which is what I really wanted to do) I got out my shitty little tool kit and hung her lanterns.

I finished and took a step back to admire my handiwork. It looked pretty good! I started to imagine the look on her face when she crossed the threshold into her bedroom to see it for the first time. I knew how happy it was going to make her and I got a bit choked up. Then I got that familiar reminder that my father never did anything of this ilk for me or my siblings. That guy lived inside of his own head and to this day I’m not entirely convinced he was aware of my existence.

This is not an exercise in self-pity and I’m certainly not looking for any sympathy. We all hang on a cross for something. It’s merely a cautionary tale. If you’re reading this and have a kid or two, for Christ’s sake, pay them some attention. And don’t make them feel guilty about it, either.

Boy, you’re going to carry that weight
A long time.

Fun fact: When I got married, I gave up my last name and took Mrs. Wife’s. There was a span of 22 years that I didn’t see or hear from my father so I felt a bit detached from the name, to say the least. Also, the name was a terrible albatross while growing up. My last name use to be Polack which, as you know, is a derogatory term for someone who is Polish. My uncles Americanized it by changing the spelling to Pollack, making it sound more like the painter Jackson Pollack’s. My father, a proud idiot, decided that we would keep the original pronunciation. We went through elementary, junior high and high school with that moniker. Thanks, Pop.

We are only second generation Americans and I have a theory that when my grandparents immigrated from Poland and passed through Ellis Island, some wiseguy with a rubber stamp said, “Oh, you’re from Poland? You’re name is Polack.” We’ll never know the truth.