In the span of about :30 minutes this morning I received two badly needed reality checks. They were timely reminders of how fragile life is. I needed them light of the aforementioned problems I‘ve been having at A Company Called Malice, Inc.
On the way into the city I passed a terrible auto accident on the New Jersey Turnpike. It looked like a spin-out/head on collision. There were no emergency services on scene yet, so it was just people sitting on the pavement next to mangled cars with dazed looks on their faces. Awful. They were on their way to work or out of town or whatever and in a split second their lives were changed. Perhaps forever.
A short time later I was walking through Times Square and at 42nd and Broadway I passed a homeless man (or damn close to it) who had neurofibromatosis, which is the disease that John Merrick—The Elephant Man—had. His ear was three times as large as it should have been and was down on his cheek. His lower mouth and jaw were a mass of swollen, twisted flesh. He walked with his head down. It makes you wonder if there’s a God at all.
I’m typing this in Bryant Park. The sun is rising in the blue autumn sky and the streams of light are gleaming off the spire of Chrysler Building. Last night, I arrived home unexpectedly early and read to both daughters at bedtime. They, and Mrs. Wife, seemed genuinely happy to see me. Today, I don’t think work is going to get me down as much as it usually does.
I’m grateful to have found work after being laid off but I have begun a casual job search for something else. A Company Called Malice, Inc. came to my rescue in my time of need, but since then it has been slowly grinding me down. Mrs. Wife, correct me if I’m mistaken, but since I started in mid-April I have not had one dinner at home during the week. Not ONE!
There’s a degree of maliciousness to it. The workload doesn’t always require such “dedication” but at the level I was hired on, I am not permitted to work a 40 hour week. The unwritten law at A Company Called Malice is: Company first, family a distant second and friends? Don’t even think about it. It’s anti-family. It’s anti-humanity.
That’s all well and good if you aspire to be a Managing Director but I don’t give a shit about that stuff and never will. I miss my girls. Just showing up at home on the weekends is a recipe for a failed marriage and resentful children. I thought I lived in a more enlightened age but apparently I was mistaken.
Then Mrs. Wife stumbled across this fantasy:
Rare Book Seller
Bauman Rare Books
We seek, for our Las Vegas gallery, an articulate, well-read, energetic individual for a long-term, full-time Bookseller position. Etc., etc., etc.
Okay. Calm down. So. Let me get this straight. It’s a job at one of the premier rare book dealers in the United States selling rare books out of their newly-opened location in the Palazzo in Las Vegas? Be still, my beating heart.
Long-time readers and family members will know that this is a marriage of my two primary passions in life: rare books and craps. I would be happy to hang out in Bauman Rare Books and help people research and purchase rare books for FREE and you’re telling me they want to pay someone to do it? The salary isn’t anywhere near what I make at A Company Called Malice, Inc., but I can make up the difference at the crap tables during my off hours. Can’t you see how perfect this is?
I saw the luscious (and, for bonus points, British) Sienna Miller in After Miss Julie—an adaptation of Strindburg’s Miss Julie. There were six of us and because it’s still in previews and hasn’t been reviewed yet, we were forced to form our own opinions. Usually, when a gaggle of New Yorkers get together to see a play, they like to do so after the reviews are already in so they know what to think beforehand. We are that shallow.
It was a split decision. Three of us liked it, and the other three didn’t necessarily dislike it, but they didn’t know what to make of it. Well, I thought it was fantastic and the fact that she slinked out in a form-fitting dress and played a wealthy, albeit troubled, seductress didn’t hurt the cause. Just look at that ad! That says it all. I was kind of hoping she would walk down off the stage, into the audience, sit in my lap and nuzzle my neck but, needless to say, sadly, that didn’t happen. It’s a three-hander and all three actors were suburb.
It doesn’t open until October 22nd. To my actor/lurkers: Can you imagine five weeks of previews!? It’s ridiculous.
[Special note to Nursemyra: I read your mention regarding Cate Blanchette in Tennessee’s Streetcar. That production is on its way here to New York (Brooklyn, actually) after Oz. Is it worth time and money? Also, you were right about the Robert Frank exhibit at the Met! It just opened! How is it you live on the other side of the planet, yet heard about this exhibit long before I did? I need to pay closer attention.]
I’ve begun brainwashing 3-Year Old Daughter in the same manner that I did 7-Year Old when she was about that age. It’s important to embed your ideas into their tiny, little heads early. If you wait too long, they’re off on their own without any curiosity whatsoever about books or The Beatles or art or the New York Giants or The Little Rascals. It’s like trying to bake a soufflé and not slam the oven door.
A key ingredient for a proper brainwashing is lots of alone time. Enough so they develop Stockholm Syndrome. It begins, innocently enough, in New Jersey. The first step is weekend trips to the local diner. You’ve GOT to get a diner into a kid’s life. Think of how poor your life would have been if you hadn’t had a diner to hang out in. Bars are for later on. Diners are the stuff of youth.
This is our first trip to the diner alone. She was a perfect little lady. As a treat, I put a little puddle of syrup on her plate for her to dip her french fries into. Her favorite activity is passing the salt and pepper shakers back and forth. It’s the only thing she is able to do so she does it over and over and over again.
A short drive later we explore the botanical gardens. There‘s a pond stocked with koi and we feed them bits of bread. She leans over far enough so that she can practically drop the bread into their gaping mouths. She almost falls in.
[Fun side note: The house, rolling hills and green acres that comprise the botanical gardens were once the villa of feared mafioso and New York crime family boss Vito Genovese. The land was confiscated by the State of New Jersey and converted to public park land. Inside the house, there’s a fun display chronicling the events leading to the property seizure.]
When she’s a bit older we’ll go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and I’ll expose her to some traditional European art. And after she’s acclimated herself to that, I’ll give her the old one-two with some Jasper Johns target and Savarin paintings at MoMA. She won’t know what hit her until it’s too late.
Me to 7-Year Old Daughter: “You’ve got to stop biting your nails!”
7-Year Old Daughter: “Okay! Seriously, if I do it again, I’ll stick a rose with thorns down my throat.”
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3-Year Old Daughter: “Daddy what time is it?”
3-Year Old Daughter: “Why?”
I hate ‘why.’ I can’t wait until she grows out of the ‘why’ phase. It’s maddening.
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Random shots with my cheap-o cell phone camera. Both clickable.
This is my attempt at conceptual art. It’s called Pant Leg, Favorite Pair of Shoes, Subway Platform Edge.
I know. You don’t have to say it.
This is the interior of St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 5th Avenue next door to Saks Fifth Avenue with my cell camera set to “cloudy.” The temple of Catholicism next to the temple of consumerism. Are they really so far apart?