bon voyage

A colleague at Benevolent Dictators, Inc. left for greener pastures. It was his last day so a few of us went out for drinks. As a rule, I never go out drinking with people I work with. They’re a nice enough bunch, but I spend far too much time with them already. Also, I’m never at ease drinking with office people. That’s so unfriendly of me, I know.

He was euphoric about leaving. Who wouldn’t be? Leaving a job is liberating. There’s the thrill of the new. There’s hope that the next assignment will be more interesting than the last. But the sequence of events usually plays out the same. When you arrive at your new job, you love everybody and everybody loves you. You aren’t held accountable for your mistakes for several weeks because you’re new and don’t know any better. You can make procedural errors and not be tagged as incompetent. Nobody makes your life a living hell.

Then some time passes. After several weeks, reality sets in. Some familiar sensations start to surface. You learn who can help you and who will drag you down. It’s all pretty predictable stuff.

* * *

I heard my first Christmas song this morning while having my morning coffee at the diner. It was a reggae version of Joy to the World. I’m not kidding. New York is such a great Christmas town. It gets all gussied up like a dime store whore. The locals are friendlier and the tourists are just so damn happy to be here. I’ll try to post some pics of the city throughout the holiday. Don’t let it annoy you. Lighten your heart.

where’s the chairman of the board when you need him?

Mrs. Wife came into the city last night and we saw the Roundabout Theater Company revival of Pal Joey that’s in previews. I was lucky enough to see the first two Roundabout productions of the season—A Man for All Seasons and Streamers—and they were both extraordinary, so I had high hopes for Pal Joey. This is a killer ad, isn’t it?

pal1

Pal Joey is a musical based on the John O’Hara novel with songs by Rogers and Hart. This famous still of Frank Sinatra…

frank

…is from the film adaptation of Pal Joey. With a pedigree like that, how can you go wrong?

Well, you start by having a lead with a weak singing voice. It’s a musical about a womanizing night club singer. You need someone who has a smooth voice and a sick amount of charisma. This guy ain’t no Sinatra, that’s for damn sure. Two stage veterans were in the cast; Stockard Channing, who gave a serviceable performance, and Martha Plimpton, who was fantastic. Did you know that Martha Plimpton has a beautiful singing voice? I didn’t.

The story takes place in 1930s Chicago and the dance numbers looked like routines that were rejected from Bob Fosse’s Chicago, which was a way better show. The songs were maudlin and the theater was too hot. The show is in previews and you never know, they could turn it around by opening night. I feel bad for Mrs. Wife. She gets into the city for this sort of thing so infrequently. I wish it had been a killer show for her sake. I wanted everything to be perfect for her but it wasn’t.

finance, american style

If I had known that Citibank and other major lending institutions were going to offer to restructure mortgages for people who were on the threshold of default, I would have bought a bigger house than I could afford that’s a lot closer to the city so I wouldn’t have this insufferable commute. As it is, I stayed within my budget and had to settle for a smaller home that’s a lot further out than I would have liked. Stupid me. I am also dumb enough to pay off my credit card every month, so I’ll probably miss out on the [probable] debt relief that will be offered to consumers who are drowning in credit card debt. There’s nothing worse than a lost opportunity. Don’t you agree?

Is that paragraph dripping with enough sarcasm for you? I was channel surfing the other night and stopped to watch the Suzy Orman financial advice show for a few minutes. The caller was a woman who had $16K to her name, but wanted to spend $30K on a wedding. Now, ain’t that America? What a bunch of big spoiled babies we are.

WE WANT.

contortionist

Look, I know everyone is sick to death of hearing about my cell phone jammer escapades. I’ve been told, so you don’t have to deny it. But just this one more and then I’ll shut up.

Last evening a gentleman sitting in front of me on the train home met with some erratic cell phone service (as so many do, who sit in my proximity). He cursed Verizon, his carrier. His seat was the type that could accommodate three people and he had the whole seat to himself. Every time his call was dropped, he would slide to a different part of the seat—first the bulkhead, then the aisle, then the middle—thinking the service was better just a foot or two away and place his call again.

As you can imagine, his service never improved. In a last desperate attempt to carry on his meaningless conversation, he laid down across the seat on his stomach and held his head over the edge of the seat, certain that the strongest signal was to be found near the floor of the train. It was so funny!

I’m know mean. Please forgive me.

a message to the broken hearted

If you’re reading this and you have a broken heart, I have some comforting words for you. Talk radio maniac Howard Stern was interviewing ex-New York Giants football player Lawrence Taylor. Stern wanted to know why Taylor would marry a third time, since his two previous marriages ended in divorce. The messy demise of both marriages had been well documented by the New York tabloids.

Stern: Is she super-hot? Is that it? And you didn’t want to lose her? So you married her?

Taylor: You know, sometimes you don’t want to lose someone but then, later on, you find out that you don’t give a shit if you lose them or not.

This is what’s known as taking the long view. If someone hurt you and you are blue, if that person is the first thing you think about in the morning and the last thing you think about before you drift off to sleep at night, you should take comfort in the fact that you could have, quite conceivably, dodged a bullet.

How I wished for you and now you’re here.
Now I wish that I could disappear
and go away.

Peter Allen