Answering Machine Follies b/w Who are you? Who? Who? Who? Who?

b/w [abbreviation]  1. (music) “backed with.” Commonly used with 45 and 78 RPM records, referring to the flip side (also called the “B-side”) of a record.

Here’s a brief journal entry plus a B-side. As always, I make no apologies for my boorish behavior.

bins


November 5, 1992

I love when I come home and the little red light on the answering machine is going *blink* *blink* *blink.* It validates me.

The first message was from Joann, the blind date from two weeks ago. I never expected to hear from her. While on our date, she never made eye contact with me. She’d look over my head, past my left shoulder, past my right, but never directly at me. It was disconcerting. She has a pair of tickets to Mamet’s new play, Oleanna and wants to know if I’ll go. The tix are for over Thanksgiving and I’ll be in Cleveland. I’ve already seen it but the guy who plays the accused professor is so good that I’d gladly go again. [Note: That was William H. Macy.] I left a message on her machine that I’d be out of town. I was kind of glad I didn’t actually have to talk to her.

What does this mean? Does she want to be friends or what? I asked Oswaldo and he started laughing at me. Then he said he has someone he wants to introduce me to. So does Uncle Frank. Everyone is looking out for me but I’m perfectly content being by myself. I’m not the least bit lonely.

The next message was from Margaret. She left a message at work, too, but I didn’t return it because she aggravates me. Last night, she said there must be something wrong with me because I’m [redacted] years old and not married yet. We ended up yelling at each other. I can’t understand why she keeps calling. I don’t do anything to encourage her. All she does insult me. But she sure is pretty. [Note: In an uncharacteristic fit of towering self-respect, I finally saw past her beauty and told her to fuck off.]

She spends almost every night visiting her mom in the hospital. Also, she’s seeing someone who doesn’t make her happy. He lives too close and demands all of her free time. He’s jealous and insecure. She called him a black hole. She said he’s attractive and energetic and doesn’t understand why he just doesn’t go find someone else. That’s almost verbatim what Karen says about her boyfriend! Except the part about the black hole. Karen isn’t smart enough to know what a black hole is.

The next message was from Bonnie. She’s moving offices and asked if I could help with the heavy lifting. I called her back immediately and said I’d be there whenever she needed me. She said she’d pay me but I told her it wasn’t necessary. I asked if it’d be okay if I ravaged her on top of her new desk. She laughed and said, “I suppose so.”

The last message was from Howard. His sister was in a horrific auto accident. She broke several bones including her pelvis and pubic bone. He said it was her fault. She drove into oncoming traffic or something like that. They had to use the jaws of life to peel her out. Apparently, it’s been really hard on their mom. Her husband was coming home from work and drove past the accident. When he got close enough, he recognized the car. Or, what was left of it. I’ll bet she was glad to see him.


What’s your policy on posting photos of yourself? Some bloggers, in an effort to build brand recognition, use a portrait on their landing page and populate their posts with pics of themselves making wacky, exaggerated facial grimaces. Other bloggers have never—not once—posted a photo, allowing their words speak for themselves.

I occupy a middle ground. If I post a photo of The Daughters, it’s usually from the back. This is an open forum and I feel some discretion is in order. The exception is on my birthday, which is today. I allow one full-frontal shot every July 8th. Any dime store psychologist will tell you that this is yet another sad cry for attention. But isn’t that the very definition of blogging? An ongoing cry for attention?

Me + Daughter #2.

“Dad, I like doing this…” (Traces her finger inside her ear.) “It’s like a maze.”

mk2

I can’t believe I’m as old as I am (don’t ask) and have kids this young. Well, not THIS young. This is from a few years ago. Still. The guys I grew up with have kids out of college. I traveled a different path to the waterfall. And it’s a damn good thing I did. If I’d had children in my 20’s it would’ve crashed and burned. I just wasn’t ready. I was perfectly content being by myself. I wasn’t the least bit lonely.

126 thoughts on “Answering Machine Follies b/w Who are you? Who? Who? Who? Who?

  1. I think many would agree with me when I say a fine looking dude like yourself can post photos with impunity. Also, happy birthday. You don’t look a day over [REDACTED].

  2. Happy Birthday Dude! Cool and, as usual fascinating entries from your diary.And excellent picture of you and d#2. Very fine looking specimens. Ha!

    Oh. by the way, wrt to your daughter’s comment on her ear… that is is wild and woolly story. Her ear (as all are) is shaped based on a recurring set of numbers in nature – Fibonacci numbers. It is the same pattern as the center of a sunflower, the galaxies, a conch shell, the florets on a pineapple, broccoli, ad infinitum. This is an absolutely fascinating topic Mark. And it is simple enough for a young mind to grasp, draw and play with. You can start with an overview on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nt2OlMAJj6o You can follow further (there are some long tutorials but this video is only 6 minutes) by searching youtube . I don’t know how much you allow religion into their lives, but you might want to preview these videos before she watches as many of them use Fibonacci as an example of intelligent design.

    Believer or not, Fibonacci numbers is a fascinating topic and it will blow your mind when you see some of the patterns we see daily that fit the repeating patterns of Fibonacci (he was an Italian mathematician). It is so cool , as your daughter says.

    Happy Birthday! 😀

    • Thanks, Paul! Although I don’t know the specifics, I’ve heard of Fibonacci. Believe it or not, Blue Man Group worked it into their show early on. Before I click on the link you provide, I think I’ll dig out my bong and stuff it with herbs. It sounds like that kind of lesson.

      • Bwahaha! It could be used that way (I can just see Cheech and Chong getting their teeth into as they set the nuns’ car on fire). It is also a great way for your daughter to learn something that she will like, that will benefit her AND impress her teachers. It is way cool stuff…Ha!

      • Ha! I don’t believe in giving kids any kind of drugs – unless it is a necessary prescription – their bodies and minds grow so fast and change so much in the first 20 years, it’s like trowing a match into a can of gas and then wondering why it explodes.

      • Yeah, me, either. That was a joke. Can you imagine your first exposure to weed is from your mom or dad? Call me a traditionalist but I think that’s criminal. And I’m sure it happens!

  3. I wasn’t the least bit lonely… did that Caulfield kid say something like that too? Doesn’t seem like you’re lonely now either. Yup, blogging is a cry for attention, no matter what anyone (including myself) says. I really don’t believe me when I say things sometimes.

    Loved the diary entry, as always, and the brutal honesty of your past reflections. And the girls, flawed and unknowable as they are. Also loved the title of this post and that bit of trivia up there… and happy birthday of course! Wishing you a great day.

    I’ve never posted a photo of myself, so I guess I fall into the reluctant camp. Just never felt the need. Let the words paint the picture I guess… Christ, what a maimed up photo that must be by now…

    • That’s always been my superpower. I’m never lonely. It’s a blessing. You can put me in a room with a ball of string and I’m fine. Do you know how many people are driven to madness by loneliness? Driven into drink or horrible relationships? I have many Major Issues, but that’s not one of them.

      Thanks, Trent. Yeah…now that I think about it, you’re one of those grounded and centered writers who don’t need photos. You do it with sentences. Photos are a crutch. I never, and I mean EVER, post without at least one.

      • Do you ever crave being alone? There’s a line in The Thin Red Line, one of my favorite movies ever (probably is my favorite movie ever – that thing is a bloody existential experience rather than a movie), where one of the characters asks another if he ever gets lonely, and the other guys responds: “only when I’m around people.” That’s stuck with me.

        On the photos, I meant photos of myself. I certainly use some photos in posts but never of myself. I don’t really know why. I generally think that photos help break up long tall walls of text effectively, I’ve just never had occasion to stick one in of me.

      • No offense to my wife and kids but I really do miss being alone. Most people try to avoid it but I never had a problem with it. I’m not trying to sound Noble and above it all. Believe me, I hang on my cross for plenty of other things. It’s just that loneliness was never one of them.

        If you don’t include photos with your post it ends up looking like an issue of Pravda or those two stone slabs that Moses came down off the mountain with.

  4. “I’m not the least bit lonely” is a delightful phrase. As for pictures, I like them. I’m always curious what writers look like and figure if you’re good looking, why hide that, you know? I think people connect better with a face, though your writing is personable and you’ve been at this for awhile with an annual photo and doing fine. Still, maybe a quarterly photo?

    • Thanks for your utterly delightful comment. I should send you $5.

      I like pics, too, as evidenced by the fact that I include one in EVERY POST. Not a portrait or pic of my kids necessarily, but something that enhances the post content. Plus, NYC is such a great subject. Interesting images jump out in front of me as I walk down the Avenue. I can’t help it, really.

  5. Your Side A is a proof for Side B.
    You know I get a kick out of your diaries, probably in part because I get to life might might-have-been life vicariously. By November 92 I was a father and had just moved from Montreal to this backwater I write from today. But you know? I was ready, even if it wasn’t planned. Domestic life suited me fine. There’s very little planning in this life, so if we’re content in the present, we’re doing the right thing.
    As for pics, I don’t go overboard, but I think photos help ID the writer, helps establish a voice. For example, you should look far more brooding than you actually are, which suggests to me you’re not fooling anyone, sonny boy. (Sunny boy?)
    Happy birthday. You don’t look a day over X.

    • I was so incredibly immature and slow to develop. New York was a perfect city for me because outside of NY, you have to grow up on schedule but here, you can delay the inevitable. The song says if you can make it here, you’ll make it anywhere. But the fact is some of us make it here because we are incapable of making it anywhere else.

      I wonder what happened to all the girls in my journals? Do you ever wonder that? I do. That’s why I’m not on Facebook. I’m better off not knowing.

      Thanks for your birthday wishes. That’s, after all, what I’m fishing for here. I know I’m not fooling anyone.

      • Facebook and old girlfriends is a no-win. They’re either still gorgeous or a disaster. Trust me, I’ve looked. Not proud of it. My first girlfriend, who became a lesbian, is doing all right, though.

      • Facebook = the devil’s playground. It’s all temptation and lies.

        I don’t think one “becomes” a lesbian. I think you’re born with it. You probably helped her realize the truth, though. Well done.

      • True, true, born this way, etc. Sometimes it’s more obvious than others. My brother “dated” in high school. By the time he came out to us, my response was, “Yeah? What’s your point?”

      • My Mom decided to become a lesbian later in life – you didn’t date her earlier and convert her, did you Ross? Bwahahaha!

  6. You can have all the attention you richly deserve, Mark. i too love the picture — you look very much like I thought you did, only I never pictured you shorter than your own daughter 😉

    As to pictures of me, no. When I began blogging, it was intended to be very much political stuff, and my husband made me promise not to post pictures because he worries that somebody will shoot me. He has a point. But what he doesn’t realize is that if I have to look at current pictures of myself, I might be the one with the gun … I did post one old one once on a post about me and my two sisters. But don’t tell John.

    I love your journal entries. Both sides.

    • Actually, I *am* shorter if you’re measuring by ambition and sunny attitude. You can’t crush that kid’s spirit. I’m just grumpy.

      My wife insists I keep her out of my blog and I have to respect that. That’s why there aren’t any photos of her. I don’t include pics of me or the kids often, but I always try to find an image that ties into the post. Sometimes, the post is ABOUT the image. So I’m not opposed to the idea. I just don’t want to over-expose the kiddies.

  7. Sweet photo! Your last paragraph about not being the least bit lonely? Exactly how I felt in my 20s too. I lived alone for many years and was perfectly content. I couldn’t imagine having having the responsibility of kids back then. I was too busy enjoying being selfish.

  8. I woke up in a Soho doorway
    A policeman knew my name
    He said “You can go sleep at home tonight
    If you can get up and walk away”

    I staggered back to the underground
    And the breeze blew back my hair
    I remember throwin’ punches around
    And preachin’ from my chair

    Now there’s a song lyric I relate to -except the copper never knew my name and the drinking started in Soho but ended in Muswell Hill I think

  9. Happy Birthday!
    I know some bloggers who’ve blogged for years and don’t court comments… so maybe they’re not crying for attention, but expressing themselves instead?
    Are you saying that I don’t look like Clara Bow???? Marketing bloggers like flashing they’re faces don’t they?
    Sx

    • Maybe they’re so good at expressing themselves that they don’t feel the need to include distracting photos. I’m all smoke and mirrors over here.

      No, you don’t look like Clara Bow. You look like Marilyn Monroe.

  10. Happy birthday!

    I took down most of the photos of me after dealing with trolling comments about my weight and appearance. I think the only photo left has my hair in my face so you can’t really see me. Strangely enough, I don’t get that on instagram where my pictures are “open”, Kidlet knows I post his pics and doesn’t really care though I have cut back on that as well. Hell, I’ve cut back on blogging in general, so maybe that is it.

    • Are you KIDDING me?! Please say that’s one of your clever witticisms. Please don’t tell me people were actually being mean to you. Things like that make me wish I could stuff the internet back into Pandora’s Box. I’d totally do it if I could! Cell phones, too.

      • Not kidding. I haven’t written about body image, and such, for a bit now but when I was at the height of it…yep. I had my comment settings tuned in for certain words so they would be put into the pending file instead of published right away. Very few actually made it where others could see them, but depending on the day and my mood it was either “eff them” or “eff me”.

        It’s all a risk, so I try not to do it as much now; it really does depend on how the day is going for me how I would react if it happened again.

  11. [Redacted] years old? Seriously? You know, if you’d put a number in there I would have forgotten what it was before I hit the next paragraph. You could have lied and I wouldn’t have noticed! Instead, I was distracted right up to the picture with wondering how old you are, and then I saw the pic and I thought, “Well, shit, he’s still got his hair – why redact anything?”

    I started out not wanting to show my face for the same reason I use a pen name – I sort of prefer to remain anonymous, without bothering to be all that careful about it. I mean, if Big Brother cared, he could find me fast enough. It’s become a game. Sometimes I need a picture with me in it, but I continue to hide my face. I’d rather let people see selected bits of what’s on the inside… 🙂

    • I am so hung up on my age. You have no idea. It’s because I’ve got these young kids and my career isn’t where I thought it might be at this point. And the hair! Don’t get me started on the hair. It’s prematurely gray. Well…at this piont it probably can’t be considered premature any longer. I guess I should just be glad it’s still there.

      Your anonymity is a precious thing. Once you give it up, it’s gone. It’s not like you can undo putting your personal particulars on the web. Creepy Big Brother birthday moment this morning: I logged onto Google and there was a message that said “Happy Birthday Mark!” and the Google letters were all in the shape of birthday cakes. Yikes.

      • Argh! Yes, that kind of thing is creepy! And I understand the sense of “I thought I’d be further along by now” – I’m somewhere in my mid-50s and am sometimes so DEEPLY depressed over all that I haven’t accomplished! And all the happy self-talk in the world doesn’t get me past the fact that I’m not yet published, financially not in great shape, still fat, yadda yadda yadda. But I have to confess, it’s kinda hard to feel sorry for you! You’re in great shape, from the look of you; your kids are darling (and if you can keep up with them you’re in EXCELLENT shape!) … and YOU HAVE ALL YOUR HAIR!

        Happy birthday anyway… 🙂

      • That’s the trick. By all appearances, I seem to be in great shape and everything is sunny-side up in Exile on Pain Street land. I am selective about what I put out here. Nobody wants to read about my bellyaching, so I spare you. You should read these diaries I pull excerpts from. Nothing but bitching and moaning and complaining and focusing on the negative. My blog would be the same flavor if I didn’t practice some serious censoring. But you’re right about my hair. I’ve got THAT going for me. Gray or not, it’s there to stay.

  12. Happy Birthday! She is beautiful!

    I love your last paragraph about not being lonely in your 20s and wish I had that much courage back then,….but I did choose another path and my kidlets are significantly older! But, hopefully I find a different kind of peace now!

    • Thanks! She’s a lethal combination of beautiful + sinister. I pity the fool, etc.

      Not being lonely is the greatest gift you can have. I’ve seen people get involved with all sorts of nonsense, both human and chemical, just to avoid loneliness. Don’t get me wrong…I hung on my cross for plenty. I didn’t escape suffering. But I wasn’t lonely. Still ain’t!

      • That’s awesome – lethal and beautiful! Keep her on the straight and narrow and she will have a very bright future as well! 🙂

      • I’m doing the best I can but I’m flying without an owner’s manual. Good thing I didn’t try this when I was 21. I’d have been completely overwhelmed. (As opposed to partially overwhelmed, which is what I feel.)

      • lol! We all fly without owner’s manuals…and hope for the best. Parenting is a risky thing at best right? I love it though.
        And, I think partially overwhelmed is a great place to be – keeps us on our feet and we all have something to learn from our children.

      • LOL! How old are they? I think it’s a LOOOOONG time before that!! It just gets more and more interesting….and you have girls!! Strap in for the long haul! 🙂

      • They’re 9 and 13. What do you mean by more “interesting?” Is that like the old Chinese curse about wishing you “interesting” days? Never mind. Don’t tell me. I want to be surprised.

      • “May you live in interesting times” is an English expression purported to be a translation of a traditional Chinese curse. Despite being so common in English as to be known as “the Chinese curse”, the saying is apocryphal, and no actual Chinese source has ever been produced.[1] The nearest related Chinese expression is “宁为太平犬,莫做乱世人” (nìng wéi tàipíng quǎn, mò zuò luànshì rén) which can be translated as “Better to be a dog in a peaceful time, than to be a man in a chaotic period.”[2]

  13. Now as one who pays close attention to the important things i’ve noticed in these entries that you are always trying to get Bonnie in the sack (or atop a desk) which leads me to believe that Bonnie was one helluva a good time, i mean that with the utmost respect… as for the bloggers looking to build “brand recognition”, well i think i’ve made it quite clear what i think about that, i’ve posted 1 photo of me in my wasted youth in the 9? plus years of the lounge which puts me clearly in the latter camp… and that pretty little girl did get her daddy’s eyes… i’m sure her attorney will be contacting you soon with a cease and desist order or at least her monetary demands.

    • Well, Bonnie was always willing and eager to please. That counted for plenty in my book. Plus, she was super-intelligent and taught me a lot about the city and arts and stuff. She wasn’t the best looking, but she had an aura and a brilliance that pretty, young waifs can only dream of.

      I wish I were more Zen about this idiot b but I like having an audience. I like the comments. They’re lively! This is the only quasi-artistic endeavor I’ve ever participated in. I got sick of being the audience.

      • I was going to say the same thing — it’s always Bonnie you speak highest of. She sounds great.

        I have qualms about putting pictures of my daughters on, and usually remove them after a while., If people are sad enough to download them in the meantime then I pity them.

        And happy birthday! I hope you got treated to something nice — even if it might not involve a new desk 🙂

  14. Would your daughters recognise the author of the journal as their beloved father? I think you did them a big favour by waiting! A dark part of my soul wants you to have fucked Margaret before telling her to fuck off. You don’t have to spill the beans.

  15. Great photo and journal excerpts, Mark. Happy birthday and keep the tap running, it goes down well. Your excerpts and the answering machine reminded me of one of my own I have to tell one day — and like you, it’s a success story of telling someone totally hot to F-off because they’re playing games. I danced around the photo thing on my blog because I like the feeling of anonymity even though I’ve cast that off recently. I get why people go undercover but for me, to take it where I want to, feels better without a mask. Thanks for the links to those two bloggers, too – I signed up for one of them. Hope your day is filled with light and laughter.

    • Are you old enough to remember answering machines? Man, what a thrill. Leaving messages was nerve-wracking. I never want to end up sounding like a babbling idiot but the pressure of being recorded was overwhelming and I always did. I guess the nearest I’ve got today is the orange ping when a new comment arrives on my blog. Message received, indeed.

      I don’t know about the day, but my night will be filled with a 16 oz strip steak cooked medium, because the four of us—wife + 2 daughters—are all going to a local steakhouse for my birthday dinner. Thanks for your good wishes.

      • Your evening sounds great, done well. Yes on the machines . Born in 70.

  16. By the time this shows up in my feed….the comments stretch down the page and it’s probably no longer your birthday.
    But I send an extra wish ‘cos it has to cross the dateline. Pictures are always good to see on the blog. You usually come up with an interesting NYC angle.And the occasional “selfie”(apparently, this is now a proper noun!) is fine. Except on my blog!
    Here’s to many more birthdays, my friend. 🙂

    • On the contrary, my friend! There’s still nine hours of birthday left. You’re right on time. I have one insufferable commute and one dinner until it’s all wrapped-up for another year.

      I like to think of my photos as a back-up in case the prose isn’t working. Maybe the photography will. They’re more like a crutch, really. They’re usually germain to the post. And I really do refrain from selfies. That’s not my thing.

  17. Happy birthday!!

    As to pictures… I think we have to do what makes sense, what works, for “the brand” we are trying to create. I use a picture of myself *cough cough from a few years ago cough cough* as my gravatar, but don’t use a lot of pictures in my blogs, and never use pictures of my family… But, i don’t see anything wrong with it for those who do. There is no right or wrong way to do this blogging thing.
    Well, okay… spambots are the wrong way.

    • Thank you, sir! That’s very kind of you.

      While I don’t use pictures of my family or myself too often, I DO use photos all the time. Every post, in fact! They enhance it. They’re worth 1,000 words. Every picture tells a story. Pick your own metaphor.

      Hey, do you know what a Facebook bot is? It’s not good, right?

      • A book of faces bot? Nope…. never heard of it. But, yeah, can’t imagine it would be very good.

        I was getting more consistent about using pictures with my posts before I switched jobs and lost access to WP at work (hence my sneaky presence here simply as “Matticus” rather than my normal “djmatticus” self – somehow this works, because I’m not logged into my account – I think it has to do with how my server is blocking anything that is specifically tied to wordpress – that was a really long tangent.) So, I definitely get that pictures can enhance a post (and attract attention the words wouldn’t receive on their own), I just don’t have the time to hunt for the right ones at home when I’m copy/pasting whatever I wrote to myself in an email into draft and scheduling it… Then again, I’m not doing much blogging these days at all…

        Which is sad…

        I miss the attention. 😉

      • Never mind the photo discussion. If you switched jobs and lost access to WP, then you need to get your old job back! Dude, that should’ve been part of your benefits and compensation discussion. WP access is key. It might not be too late. Tell them you’ll give up dental coverage if you can have WP back.

  18. Happy birthday almost two days after your natal date proper. I think Younger You who wrote that diary entry was in no way ready for the responsibilities of marriage and father-hood like Older You. Today you seem like a devoted husband and doting dad at [redacted] years old so that tells me that you timed things right. As for posting pictures of myself on my site, obviously that’s my mug in my gravatar, but I don’t go too crazy with self images unless it makes sense in the post. If you were not all gray, I’d think you were still 30-something, instead of [redacted]. I’m not too crazy about aging, either, but I still pretty much feel like I did half a lifetime ago. What’s key about aging is to not let yourself go to seed. You look like you’re aging very well.

    • You’re not two days late. You’re 363 days early.

      I think of all the people who were sucked into marriages and parenthood too early and thank my lucky stars it didn’t happen to me. It’s certainly not easy having young children at my [redacted] age, but for me, personally, this is the lesser of the two evils. Those guy back in Cleveland I mention in the post all laugh at me because I’ve got such a long road in front of me, while they’re now liberated. Let ’em laugh. I had my time.

      There’s a review of The Weir in the Times this morning. They liked it as much as I did but they should’ve added that you need to be patient and allow the story to unfold in it’s own good time. I snagged a TDF ticket to see Fish in the Dark with Jason Alexander. I had no interest in seeing it with Larry David. I can’t stand him. I bought tix to take my family to Aladdin in August. A big pile of money for a show I couldn’t care less about. I could have seen six off-Broadway show for what these cost. Now, THAT’S family love.

      • As you know, I’m very pro same-sex marriage, but I think I might have dodged a divorce bullet had it been legal back in the day when I was seeing people pining to tie the knot. I feel very relieved at the thought of not rushing into something stupid that would have been a costly, legal headache to undo. One of my exes, who just got divorced about a year ago, got engaged on the heels of the ruling. She once told me that she could see herself “marrying again and again.” I said, “Now that’s something to aspire to: being the lesbian Liz Taylor.”

        Did you already see The Lion King which is why you’re now seeing Aladdin? My boss and I saw Fish in the Dark with LD. Warning: it’s a tepid play. The Boss thought it was very good. I didn’t. I found it flaccid. If you want to see something that’s truly hilarious, see the film, Spy. Melissa McCarthy’s comic timing is superb. That film was the hardest I’ve laughed at a movie in years. I was not expecting it to be so good. Thanks for recommending The Weir. I have not seen anything on stage that’s impressed me that much in recent weeks. Last night, I ordered tickets for Milton and I for the fall season at the Public. Their 2014-2015 season was incredible. That’s one he and I will be talking about for the rest of our lives. We’re boring that way.

      • Low self esteem + hopeless romantic = serial bride. It’s sad. It’s not taking the institution seriously. What she’s describing is dating. I’m actually getting kind of worked-up just thinking about it.

        You guessed it. We saw Lion King which, if you haven’t seen it, you should. It’s visually spectacular. The music is utterly forgettable. I couldn’t recall one song :30 minutes after it ended. Thanks for the warning on Fish in the Dark. It sure didn’t sell like a tepid play! My friend warned me, too, but I still want to see it with Alexander.

        What a week for Broadway! First, Patti LuPone walks into the audience and pulls a cell phone out of someone’s hand, then some Long Island moron walks on stage at Hand to God and tries to plug his cell phone into a STAGE OUTLET. I might have to blog about that stuff although I doubt anyone would really care a whole lot.

        I got a subscription to the Signature this year. One subscription a year is all I can swing. And barely that.

  19. Oh man, I remember answering machines! My brother and I used to fight over who got to record the message. I’m part of the generation that does not and probably will never have a home phone, and checking voicemail is way less fun – I almost never do it. If you have something to tell me, send a text. (I know, I know, my generation sucks and we’re ruining the world.)

  20. so i’m not the only one who missed the actual date which is cool by me, but i digress (as usual, right?) anyway, cheers to you, sweet pea! since it is friday and i am not going anywhere i think i shall make myself a cocktail in your honor and perhaps, just get drunk. or not, but anyway, here’s to a good year for your lovely self! xoxoxoxo

    (you know, of course, that i am now feeling about how incredibly old i am! ok, thinking about the number that i shall claim on december 31st, is making me think about being old. i worked out with my trainer earlier and i sure the fuck don’t FEEL old!)

    (jesus, but i do go on whenever i comment here. it’s you, you know that, don’t you?)

    • Thank you for your good wishes! I hope you did have fancy cocktail in my honor last night. I Think you and I should form a support group for the aged. Oh…wait…they’ve already got one. It’s called the AARP. 😩

  21. Oh, Happy Belated Birthday, Mark. You handsome devil!! Thanks for posting your photo of you and your adorable daughter. I love these posts from the past. It makes me want to dig up an old journal, but as my past is very much connected to my present, I doubt that I could post it! Love this format of listening to your messages one by one. You saw William H. Macy from the beginning! Wow, what a great experience. You know I don’t post many photos of myself. There are a couple, but that’s it. Maybe I’ll post one of my birthday, too. Like you, I had kids later in life. I think, as with everything else, there are pros and cons to that. I wish I’d known how much energy it really takes! Great post. I hope you had a great birthday!!

    • Devil? Yes. Handsome.? That’s not for me to say. But thank you for your birthday wishes.

      Ideally, we would all have kids when we had the energy, but also with the wisdom that comes with age. I’m trying to keep myself as healthy as possible to keep up with them. But they do benefit from my decades of almost constant mistakes and missteps. Perhaps I can keep them from making the same blunders. So far, so good. But I hear it gets more interesting as they get older.

  22. Happy Belated Birthday. I was one those who got sucked into an early marriage and parenthood. It ruined all three lives forever.
    I would like to read a blog about those Broadway gaffs. Some people are so rude with the cell phone. Down here at the cinema, a retiree shot a person using a cell phone. What’s the negative on Larry David, curious.
    Nice pic.

    • Thanks, Tom! Another year older. Ho hum. It get old.

      When I think of the unprotected sex I had when I wa younger, I’m amazed I never dealt with an unplanned pregnancy. Or worse. I was spared.

      I’ll write something up about these idiots in the audience. I must!

      I’m not sure what it is about Larry David but I didn’t want to spend that kind of money to see him act on stage. I think Jason Alexander is an excellent comedic actor and am looking forward to it, even though the show is supposed to be mearly OK.

  23. Finally made it over, and damn … I missed your birthday. A belated birthday wish for you. I must admit that I’ve never had three messages like those … not even written … not even ever, let alone the same day. BTW – ending to the story challenge goes live soon.

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