Posts Tagged ‘Guys’


My full time best friend and part-time editor/muse ( Musitor? Edimuse?) made a writing suggestion to me today. It’s interesting having a woman as your best friend, because women remember select things we menfolk said that we weren’t necessarily paying attention to when we were saying them. “Yeah honey, Neo- Feminist Broadway musical “The Mighty Va-Jay” with an all deaf mute gay male cast…got a big write up in the Times? Well now, we’ll just have to get tickets for that.”

Fast forward to the AFC Playoff weekend…

“When did I say I wanted to see this? WHEN? I don’t care, the guys are coming over, I have spent 2 weeks pay on chips and beer, Armando is going to fire up his new grill right here in the living room…OK honey, stop crying, we’ll go….we’ll go…we’ll go, Oh I can wear my lucky Patriots hoody to the musical and were going out for Ethiopian buffet after with the ever-clucking hens from your office? That’s your compromise?. Well just kill me now God. I can die happy”

Women store up this information. Then they bring these things to our attention. They usually do this when they begin to lose an argument and need to switch to a higher caliber ammunition to get the job done. Let this stand as a warning for all men to ignore. They are always listening when we are running our yaps. They are storing up all that nonsense you’re happily spewing forth, and they WILL bring it up again, to be used against you at a most inconvenient time. You heard it here first boys.

“Know what I think you should write about?” The Gow asked me semi-rhetorically. I answered in the negative. “You should write about that time when you were making yourself upset about asking your dad to pick you up from the train station”. I vaguely remember this. Scratch that. I don’t remember it at all. However, the part of the sentence “making yourself upset” I can easily relate to, so maybe that’s why it seemed familiar. Sounds just like me.

I spend a lot of time making myself angry, anxious and upset. This is not so strange or uncommon I suppose. What is a little whackadoo where I am concerned is that I make myself angry, anxious or upset by imagining possibilities of things that have not happened. This is fascinating as I am quite easily one of the most anxious and angry people I know…and I know lots of angry and/or anxious people. Frankly, it is my opinion, that if you’re paying any attention whatsoever, you should be anxious and angry. Yet, despite being A&A, my silly little brain has to cultivate new and even fictitious things to keep me feeling “normal”. This is one of the curses of creative people. Our funny little brains are always on the go, knocking on doors, creating scenarios.

Now as I said, I don’t recall the exact reference that my musitor ;The Gow was speaking of. Apparently one time when I was going to visit the Pater, and I was making myself angry because I had to ask him to pick me up at a train or bus station, and I had expected my father to hem and haw over this, in turn I’d get angry and revisit every childhood trauma in the ensuing argument. I rehearsed in my head what I’d say, and every possible response. I got angrier and angrier at my goddamn selfish asshole of a father, who couldn’t be bothered to pry his ass from the couch and pick up his son who was coming to visit him. God forbid the bastard ever comes to see me. Oh NOOOOOO that would be too difficult. Visiting your son? How absurd, and another thing dad…let me just say for the record, I remember, oh I remember all too well that you were busy watching the Immaculate Reception documentary with your buddies, when I begged you to help me with my spelling homework. You blame ME for quitting school? Yeah, uh maybe think that one over Ward Cleaver…and another thing..

Get the idea?

By the way, according to my archivist, The Gow said my father told me he’d be happy to pick me up from the train station. Not a millisecond’s hesitation.

And there was much rejoicing. Yay.

And there was much rejoicing. Yay.

I think most people imagine and rehearse possible conversations, encounters and confrontations. Doesn’t everyone dream of telling their boss off and making them cry and beg you to stay with a huge raise and an apology?

What is scarier, where I am concerned regarding these inner dialogues that I rehearse all the live long day, is that they don’t always stay up in my head. Often they actually make it south down to my almighty cake hole and I start arguing with myself when I’m alone. Well, “muttering” is perhaps a more accurate description. I’m a big mutterer.. I finally figured out something about myself. I often tell people how important and valuable “my alone time” is to me. Now I know why. I have too many internal arguments that need my immediate attention. It’s important to keep on top of these things or I’ll run the risk of hurting the feelings of one of the little voices in my head. Can’t have that. I wrote about this once before…Well, sort of.

I like to think of myself as entertainingly and creatively insane, but not quite ready to be “taken away”. Although the psychiatric community may disagree with my vast and extensive community college expertise, but I think the difference between entertainingly crazy and need-to-be-taken away crazy, is that I don’t make up different little voices for my many and extensive inner disagreements. Know how I came to this theory? First of all I made it up, and second because Norman Bates did it in Psycho. I have also had the chance to observe that kind of behavior first hand, and it’s both scary and funny.

Years ago many of my friends and I moved out of the parental nests and jam packed ourselves into questionable roommate situations. One such situation involved my friend Colin, this girl I barely knew named Francine, a few dozen couch surfers and McKinley Moore. Professor Moore, as many people called him was more or less a street person and acid casualty from the 1960s. There were quite of few of these creatures bopping around my college town home. McKinley subsidized his income by buying liquor for high school and college kids who weren’t quite 21 years old yet. It may sound odd, but I assure you, there was money to be made doing this in a Massachusetts college town with strict liquor laws.

Regardless, McKinley was an odd duck. Like many street people, he had developed an aversion to bathing, which in turn caused an aversion to our getting within 10 feet of him in the hot, humid Summers. “Yeah McKinley, can you get me a six pack of Heineken and a pint of Jack Daniels. No the money’s over there waiting for you under that brick next to the VW Beetle…No no, don’t come any closer, I have uh poison ivy…Just get the liquor and slide it over to me with a broom stick.”

Bathing is a lonely business

Bathing is a lonely business

So, the eccentric and smelly McKinley lived with Colin, Francine and several others crowded into a two bedroom apartment. Francince’s room was actually a large walk in closet with a tapestry for a door and for privacy. McKinley’s room was next to hers. One evening, Francine tapped on Colin’s door when we were drinking beer and playing cards. She entered looking a little frightened. “McKinley is talking to himself” she said when we asked what was wrong. “Yeah? So?” we answered. This really wasn’t such an odd occurrence given McKinley’s overall behavior and his mannerisms. Francine got impatient and said “He’s having a conversation with himself and people who aren’t there…and he’s doing all these… different little voices for all of them.”

We exploded with laughter.

“It’s not funny you guys.” Francine whined. “I don’t have a door and I don’t want one of his imaginary friends coming in and killing or raping me in my sleep.”
“You’d rather be awake for the sex?” I offered. (An asshole and smart-ass even back then.)
Francine kicked me.
“When did he do this?” asked Colin laughing.
“Right NOW!”
“I gotta hear this.” said Adam who was there that night.

We all crept out of Colin’s room and toward the stairs quietly, or as quietly as tipsy men tend to think they are being and listened to McKinley’s convo. Sure enough, Francine had been telling the truth. McKinley had a funny and distinct voice. It reminded me slightly of the Cheech and Chong black blues-man character “Blind Melon Chitlin”

McKinley’s voice: ” I wonder if I should pop in and ask Francine if she has any….uh…grass.”
McKinley doing a weird high-pitched woman’s voice ” I don’t think she’s in her room.”
McKinley” Uhh are you quite certain?”

We listened to this bizarre conversation for a few more minutes, trying not to crack up. Francine changed rooms the next time someone moved out. Although I have always felt that McKinley was more or less harmless, I think I’d be a little disturbed hearing such conversations also.

So, luckily I am not making up other little voices for my inner dialogues. Not yet anyway.

Circa 1984

I watch an inordinate amount of television. As I am currently on injured reserve, I am watching even more than ever. Recently as sort of a television solitaire game, I have tried to pay closer attention to commercials as I find them to be fascinating in a psychological and sociological sense. For example, today I noticed that Walmart is using AC/DC’s hit “Back in Black” for their new layaway program. I felt violated. I don’t blame AC/DC as they may not even own the rights to the song anymore. I blame Walmart. They have no business using cool classic rock in their commercials. Lame companies must stick to lame music, otherwise it’s false advertising. Walmart shall be limited to using music by Celine Dion, Paul McCartney’s solo work, Phil Collins and any other artist that universally sucks.

Later, I saw a commercial for a credit card featuring a man on a date. His date looks at him (I’m guessing after he paid for dinner) and says bluntly. “Jim, you’re boring.” She then continues to say “Boring” over and over. Now, I have been on some nightmare dates before. I once had a date with a woman I met online who neglected to tell me she had a metal hook type thing in lieu of a left hand. In fairness I suppose that’s a tough factoid to bring to the surface during initial small talk. “I’m a Libra, I like cooking, walks on the beach, travel, missing a hand, love the band KISS…”

I also once had a date where I decided to cook. I spent the day straightening up my apartment, shopping, cooking and picking out just the right wine to accompany the meal. I’m a pretty fair cook and a gracious and kind host. We had a lovely dinner. When she was done eating, she praised my cooking skills, thanked me for a pleasant evening, put on her coat and informed me she was late for another date…with a woman. I tried to think if I should ask her out again as I washed the dishes.

So, I’ve had some horrifying dates. However, I have never had a woman look at me during or after dinner and say “Scott, you’re boring.” I’m not boring. I’m an ass sometimes, silly, irritating, but decidedly not boring. I think if I were Jim from the commercial. I’d have calmly refilled my glass of Cabernet and thrown it at her. Then I’d stand up and say “That exciting enough for ya, toots?” And if the meal wasn’t paid for yet, I’d instruct the waiter to bring her the check after wrapping up some Crème Brule for me to go.

The premise of the commercial is that “Jim” reinvents himself as infinitely less boring because of his Chase Visa card. I suppose to some people a high credit limit does make a person more interesting.

I’m not a fan of the status quo. I hate insurance, banks and credit card companies. It’s all I can do to keep from puking when I see insurance companies advertising how helpful they are and how much they care. It is depressing to think what insurance companies pay investigators, politicians and lawyers in order to avoid paying their customers what they are generally entitled to. I am a fan of honest advertising, which may be the biggest oxymoron since “compassionate conservatism”.

At a young age, I began my road to constant cynicism when I looked up at the photographic displays of McDonald’s food and then at what I had been served. Only the fries had the slightest glint of honesty. And while we are at it, where were the dancing, singing cheerful teenagers doing cartwheels to fetch my Apple (caution filling is hot) pie? I was disappointed to say the least.

The coup de grace of recent commercial bovine scatology comes from my cable and phone company; RCN which I usually follow with something clever like “Really Crappy Network” but for today’s piece I have re dubbed them” Ridiculous Commercial Nonsense”. The commercial features a nice young woman who was waiting for a service tech to come out and jump start her cable. I’m guessing that her appointment time was “between noon and whenever the fuck we decide to show up”. As it turns out, the problem was not with the woman’s cable, but with her TV…and wouldn’t you know, Mr. Helpful RCN Tech stayed at the nice lady’s house while she went out and bought a new television set and then hooked it up for her…Um Yeah.

I have since been tempted to call RCN and ask if they can send the nice smiling technician with the spotless, pressed uniform and white capped teeth (That must be some dental plan RCN.. No wonder he’s so cheerful and helpful) from the commercial to adjust my cable. After viewing their commercial, I projectile vomited on my cable box and as a result I have experienced difficulty getting the Home Shopping Network. Then, for a goof, when the tech they do send shows up, the one with the beard, missing teeth and FTW knuckle tattoo, I’ll just ask him if he minds sticking around while I go to the electronics store to see what’s on sale.

I know that commercials are generally 30 seconds, so I am guessing that’s why RCN didn’t include footage of Mr. Technician looking through the nice lady’s underwear drawer while she was TV shopping.

“Of course, my good man, everyone knows that Facebook IS the new standard for “Published Author”

I have started a regular “column” on Facebook. I call it a “column” because I am prone to many delusional moments. I want a regular column, so if that is how I label it… to my way of thinking, voila, instant column. My “column” in reality it is a status update that I have decided to call “Fun at Other People’s Expense” followed by a number. I started the numbers in the four hundred’s to create the illusion that I have written hundreds of these gems of witty yet hateful wisdom. It is also a bait and switch literary marketing tool. Maybe if I write something clever and funny, it will nudge a reader to dig deeper into my many ramblings. It’s an important phase in my plan to write and have published the Great American Bathroom Read.

One of the cool things about “Fun At Other People’s Expense” or FAOPE (Fay-Ope or Fay-Oh-Pee) is that I find I’m pretty good at it. Whenever I am at a loss with what to inflict upon my Facebook friends, because God forbid people aren’t paying attention to what I am saying or writing for more than 30 minutes, I’ll bang out a quick FAOPE. I suppose it’s not one of the world’s greatest talents. It ranks up there somewhere around “really exceptional toenail care”.

Yesterday, my best friend; The Gow came to visit me in my nicotine stained chamber of self pity. She came up for the weekend to visit and to help out with the domestic aspects of daily life that I am having temporary difficulties with after injuring myself. Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho was on TV, and for a goof I decided to explain the plot of the cinematic classic to The Gow.

Looks interesting. What’s it about?

“Oh, hey Gow, you’ll like this. It’s a film is called “Psycho”, it was made by this English director named Alfred Hitch-cock…it’s about a woman who steals some money from her boss and skips town to be with her boyfriend in another city. On the way she stops at an off-the-beaten-track motel and is murdered by the young man who owns the place. His name is Norman Bates and he is insane. That’s why it’s called “Psycho” He lives with his mother’s corpse, and…”

The Gow, who is accustomed to my shenanigans, stopped me short and deadpanned ” Shhh honey, you’ll ruin the ending for me.” She is well versed in my M.O. She knows that if she ignores me, I will redouble my efforts. She also knows that if she gets angry or annoyed, then I have accomplished my mission. The response was incredibly well played by The Gow as it silenced me…for about 30 seconds, which is the best anyone can hope for where I’m concerned.

It dawns on me that this tactic can go well beyond my silly “column”.  (No, I’m not going to stop calling it that) Getting rid of people with tact and grace is a useful skill. It is one many of us have yet to master. It seems to me that we often find ourselves wanting to be rid of people, but without hurting their feelings, being mean spirited or anything that may result in them hating (or hitting) us. We all can relate to the romantic interest that we are no longer romantically interested in. “I think we should just be friends” might be true, often it is, but anyone it has been directed towards leaves unsatisfied and frequently with little to no interest in actually remaining friends.

Have you ever stopped and thought about the many instances in life where you wish you could get someone to go away without bruising their pride or being rude?

Relatives, people we are dating but the spark is just missing, especially tenacious pick up artists. Jehovah’s Witnesses, sales people.

There are also people in life who simply…will…not…go…away. There is a regular at the pub where I work named Liam. Liam was born missing the subsection of the mind responsible for determining personal space or if anyone would like him to stop talking now. He’s not a mean person, or a bad guy, he’s just irritating…unbelievably so. He will ramble on and on (and on) 5 inches from your face, and he can not or will not be dissuaded by anything short of screaming “GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME LIAM!” followed by a 30 second, direct blast of chemical mace. His breath has a “just ate a dog shit burrito” quality to it, and he’s a close talker, which doesn’t help either.

Please. Stop. Talking. Now.

I think I may have inadvertently discovered a tactful way to get rid of people via my little tee-hee with The Gow. Just engage the mark in very direct conversation and keep pointing out the painfully obvious to them in the most pedantic manner possible. Continue to do so until you have turned the tables and that they will be trying to get you to go away.

Just imagine how long you could stay and listen to such gems as:

“You know they call baseball the National Pastime. That’s because it’s a popular game here in America. You know the term ‘pastime’ comes from the words “pass” and “time”, because it’s an activity that passes the time. Pass-Time get it? Paaassss Tiimmee”. Politically speaking I have to say that, Mitt Romney is a Republican, where as President Obama is a Democrat…there are two major political parties in the United States…The Dem-o-crats and the Re-pub-li-cans…”

Continue this simplistic monologue with an occasional “Oh, you already knew that?” thrown in. For this to work properly, it is very important to keep the tone innocent and magnanimous.

If any of my readers try this technique, I’d love feedback on how it worked (or didn’t work) for you. Just leave a comment at the end of my “column”.

I’d like to apologize in advance if someone decides to hit you.

“Do you expect me to talk?”
“No Mr Bond, I expect you to die.”

There has been a James Bond movie marathon on TV the past few nights. I like Bond, but I think, as my late mother pointed out to me once, that James Bond movies are really a guy thing. The thing I really like about the Bond films (well, besides the sex, the cool gadgets,the cars, the Bond women, the violence and the theme songs) are the uber cheesy movie cliches. I wont get into the whole “who was the best Bond” conversation. I’m an odd duck. My favorite Beatles were Ringo and George and my favorite Bonds were Roger Moore and George Lazenby, Deal with it.

There are so many cliche statements in the Bond movies that I have simply been dying to say at some point in my life. Sadly, unless I win the lottery and become a professor/PhD, I wont have much chance to say these things. When I took my career aptitude tests in college, I missed International Super Villain and rated “Salesman” instead. Oh, I can say these great cliched lines…but they will be sadly lacking in conviction and validity. I would fail miserably at being an international criminal mastermind. I have no technical proficiency whatsoever. Toasters frustrate me. It would just be sad if I tried to record my demands to the UN Security Counsel, and the first 5 minutes would consist of footage of my looking into the camera, shaking it and saying “Is this thing on? Maybe I should send them a card with my demands, or a pick-me-up bouquet and a photo of me smiling a toothy grin pointing at the nuclear missile I just stole.

Here are a few of the cliches that I practice in my mirror, though I must admit it looked better when my white Persian cat Benny was alive and I could hold him. He was a good sport about indulging my little fantasies. It’s funny that Ernst Stavro Blofeld’s cat never started coughing up a hairball while he was explaining his master plan to Bond. “One moment Mr Bond…my kitty’s sick….Mr. Wint, do we have any paper towels?” There are just certain things that always seem to end up on the editing room floor in regards to the Bond films. Another one would be Bond suffering from occasional erectile dysfunction. “I swear this never happened before!” “It’s OK James, we can just cuddle.”

“I’ve been expecting you.” I never expect anyone. My M.O. is to forget people I’m actually supposed to be expecting, like pizza delivery boys. Bond villains don’t rush around last minute yelling at their henchmen and bombshell girlfriends. “Oh shit, It’s Bond! He’s early, dammit, Odd Job, empty the ashtray, Pussy Galore, are you really going to wear that? Oh come on, don’t cry now, it’s not bad, it’s just a little….. slutty. Straighten out the magazines and tell the Japanese chick I hired to make his martini and bring it in after I explain my plan in great detail…what’s her name? Miko? Mariko? Huh? Oh, forget it. Just tell her to bring the martini and to look…Japanese. Shit! He’s almost at the trap door. OK, change the big screen behind my desk from Weekend at Bernies to the SPECTRE emblem. No, NOT TV Land! Odd Job, there is a lint brush in my desk, clean your hat please. MOVE! I need to sit down. Do I look casual? Where’s my cat? Do I look like I’ve been expecting him? OK….shhhhhh here he comes.”

People always find me unshaven, in my boxer shorts and changing the kitty litter or watching The Golden Girls. Just try saying “I’ve been expecting you.” during such circumstances. Unconvincing.

“Seize him!” I don’t think a Bond villain has ever said this, but it’s certainly been said a few dozen times on TV and in movies. In order to yell this, one needs lackeys, minions or henchmen. I don’t have any henchmen. It was one of the things many of us had to cut down on when the economy tanked. This is one of the first things to go in a shaky economy. Dining out, entertaining, and henchmen. I’ve tried to get henchmen before, but it’s not easy on a waiter and students wages. I even put an ad on craigslist for henchmen, although I worded it carefully to sound like an internship. To date, it hasn’t panned out. In addition to finding henchmen and paying them, you need to provide them with uniforms. You can’t skimp here. I’ll be damned if my henchmen are going to be running around in old and altered Arby’s or Long John Silvers uniforms from the 70s and then hoping Bond doesn’t notice and goof on me.

“Take him away.” This usually followed “Seize Him!” My problem with this is the size of NYC living spaces. There isn’t anywhere for my non-existent henchmen to take my captives away to. Where are they going to go, my living room? My roommate would be less than thrilled. Bond villains don’t usually have roommate issues. “Um Goldfinger, do you have your share of the electric bill? Yeah well, the Con Ed people don’t care about your Fort Knox plan. Also,can you pick up some toilet paper? I bought the last pack. Oh, you have company. I’m sorry Bond? James Bond? Nice to meet you. Um, if you plan to torture him, can you please keep it down and clean up the blood? I have to work tomorrow. Anyone need to use the shower?”

I wonder if hiring a top notch, gay decorator could help with this. “OK, I’m thinking we move the laser cannon into the breakfast nook and cover it up with the throw I got at Barneys. Are you totally married to the idea of this emblem? I don’t know, it’s just so…1980s. I know you said you didn’t want any flowers, but really some iris’s would do wonders for your interrogation area in the living room. Trust me, they’re still butch.”

“You’ve fallen into my trap.” I’m not smart enough to set traps for people. I’ve babysat before and been outwitted by infants. Actually, I fell into their traps. “Drat…the disgusting diaper….foiled again!” Also, traps cost money. I’ve been to Home Depot and a good trap is going to run you a pretty penny these days. Skimping on a trap can be disastrous. Bargain rate throw rug trap doors don’t go with the Spartan minimalist motif of a hollowed out dormant volcano hideout. This one can also include….

“Everything is going according to my plan.” Nothing ever goes according to my plan. First of all, I lack the attention span for planning. I sit down and try to make plans, schemes and capers. I try, but after 10 or 15 minutes I will start flipping through channels or get distracted by something shiny or my cats antics. I dream of being a borderline anal retentive like my dear old mother, with lists of things I can cross off. I’ve tried the list thing, and it is satisfying to cross things off as you do them. Being an under achiever, I have to write down the most ridiculous everyday minutia so I can cross things off and look like I actually got something done. Wake up. Check. Pee. Check. Make coffee. Check. Drink coffee Check..This is when I slow down and start skipping things on my list until “Go to Bed”
Maybe if I could afford some henchmen, then they could make plans for me. It has become a true chicken-egg situation. Perhaps if I kidnapped some professor’s beautiful virginal daughter I could force him to make plans for me. I do live close to Columbia and NYU. Something to think about.

“…. Not to worry…I have prepared for this (contingency.)” This is a continuation of my lack of prowess in the planning department. In order to have contingency plans, one has to have original plans. I will say I am very fond of the word contingency and the term contingency plan, which may actually be redundant…like “True Fact”. Who knows? I also like the word redundant, so I wanted to slip that one in there. My version of a contingency plan when things go awry is to scream “Oh, crap!” followed by crying or temper tantrums of varying degrees. It must be satisfying to have contingency plans.

“According to my calculations” Hahahaha Have you been reading a single thing I’ve written? Movie villains have super sleek power point presentations. Professionally made scale models. Things like that. Me? I can barely manage stick figures.

“I should have killed you when I had the chance.” That half-assed, overly elaborate death trap seemed like a good idea at the time, and just shooting you seemed, oh I don’t know…boring. I have to admit Bond was a good sport about this. It’s tough to refrain from saying “Yeah, kinda sucks to be you huh?” (In an English accent of course.) I know that Roger Moore and Sean Connery could cock one eyebrow for emphasis. I’m frankly amazed the varying Bond villains never lost their cool and shrieked “And knock off that eyebrow crap!!!” I know I have always been jealous of the one eyebrow trick. It seemed a shoe in for meeting women.

Bond’s double entendre laden banter with the esteemed Miss Moneypenny is possibly the best known case of cinematic sexual harassment. Just once I’d have loved for her to knee him in the groin and deadpan “Do bite me Double Oh Seven, you interminable pubescent tease. M is ready for you.” Miss Moneypenny deserved better than MI 5’s biggest Himbo.

During the editing process of this piece I realized that my comedic license has fallen short in terms of Bond continuity and accuracy. I have no doubt I will be taken to task by my dear friend Ruprecht, who is Bond Villain in his own right in the musical journalism set.

5am at The Tune

Posted: June 7, 2012 by S. Trevor Swenson in Life, Me & Mine
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Three days off babies…That’s right THREE…count em, one…two and one more…three! Saturday, Sunday and that’s not all…Monday too.

I slept on my first day off, woke up had a great meal from a Greek place delivered, and then crawled back into bed for my sloth marathon. I woke up late (or early) and watched a movie about a serial killer with Judd Nelson and Tom Arnold. Interesting as Tom Arnold makes a pretty fair villain…maybe it’s that hateable face of his.

At 5 I wanted yum yums, so I put on some clothes and plodded down to the Neptune Diner. It was Sunday morning and the sun was coming up. Bottles and other casualties from the prior Saturday night littered the streets. I walked up and over the elevated subway station and used it to cross the busy boulevard. On the steps there was a half full nip bottle of Dewar’s scotch. It seemed odd to me that anyone could be so drunk as to not finish such a miniscule amount of Scotch. Not to worry, some homeless fellow with a penchant for spirits would happen along and consider himself lucky with such a find. There was a young man trying to pee discreetly in a corner just by the stairwell. His girlfriend was at the bottom of the stairs giggling at him, as he was about as discreet as Michael Jordan at a Klan meeting (wearing his Chicago Bulls gear of course and not the traditional robes…I’m sure there are a few tall Klansmen)

Half the sign of the Neptune Diner was burned out so that it read “TUNE DINER” I liked that for some reason. Seemed like something out of a film.

The diner was packed, save for the counter which was almost empty. I took a seat a couple stools down from an interesting looking guy who was reading a book. Most of the patrons of the diner were people who had struck out at the various bars, lounges and nightclubs in the area. The table behind me was full of Ed Hardy clad Jersey Shore clones who were taking out their frustrations on the hapless waiter by changing their order every 5 seconds and chiming in while he tried to take orders from their friends. As a writer, I feel the right to eavesdrop…especially on stupid and or entertaining people.

“Let me get da cheeseburger.”
“Oh yeah, I want dat too.”
“So, two cheeseburgers?” asked the waiter
“Whut’re you gittin?”
“A cheeseburger.”
“A fuckin CHEESE-burger.”
“Yo, you got chicken fingers?”
“Yes.” replied the waiter with more patience than I have ever possessed in my entire life.
“Lemme git some.”
“So, you want a cheeseburger with the chicken fingers?”
“You got buffalo wings?” He had found a picture of them on the menu and was pointing to it, but his reading was at a pre-school level so he had to check. I hate when customers do this. They see something on the menu or could look, but they just have to ask. It takes every fiber of my being not to respond to them with dripping sarcasm.

Clueless customer: “What kinda beer you got?”
Me, in my dreams: “Let’s see (gently taking the menu from them) hmmm…oh, here it is…Page One…”Beer List”
Clueless customer: “Do you have Corona?”
Me, in my dreams: “I’ll need to check, may I see your menu again…lets see….Amstel, Bud, Bud Light, Coors Light.. ahhh here it is under the C’s Corona. You know, we should probably give people a list of everything we have…kinda like a menu.”

Anyhoo…back to the Jersey Shore.

“Hey, uh I don’t wanna cheeseburger no more, I want brekfist.”
“Do you still want the chicken fingers?”
“Do you got buffalo wings?”
“Can I get a coke?”
“Let me get a Sprite.”
“No, gimme da cheeseburger…sorry boss.”
“Dat come in a can or a bottle? I don’t like no canned shit.”
“Can I have your fries?”
“You got buffalo wings?”
“Do dey come wit fries?”

You get the picture.

My seat at the counter had a view of the kitchen door. Waiters and bussers were hustling to and fro. In the kitchen I saw the waiter that the Gow hates. We came in for yums once months ago and he waited on us. He pestered us with useless and more importantly unwarranted trivia. I liked that he was trying to be friendly, but I understood why the Gow wasn’t crazy about him. The issue The Gow took with this man was that he passed “friendly” and went deep and long into being a pest. He was still rambling on and on about this and that as we tried to eat our meals. So out of politeness we felt the need to gesture, smile and nod our heads with our mouths full. “Dum Buvemteem empurr…you dun fay” (Translation: The Byzantine Empire? You don’t say.) I suppose it was a bit much, and he looks like James “The Ragin Cajun” Carvell.

“Ya know, originallly baklava was made with pistachios… “

My waiter was a friendly Mexican fellow in his ill fitting diner uniform (black pants, white shirt, black vest and tie) For some reason no one’s uniform fits properly at the Tune. Maybe it’s the staff’s way of stinking it to the man. I ordered my standard coronary special with a side of stroke, and a large orange juice…because the glass of orange juice does away with all the bodily harm the heart attack breakfast causes.

I flipped through the latest issue of Men’s Health magazine which I like to read while drinking alcohol, smoking and eating potato chips, or in this case a greasy breakfast. My food came out in no time at all. My corned beef hash resembled an alien autopsy (I know cause I watch SyFy), but I ate it anyway….at least it tasted like corned beef hash. My eggs were not over easy…they were over hard…is that the right term? They were over done and the yolk was cooked too much. My English muffin was late. I didn’t want to be a pesky customer especially since these poor guys were dealing with Vinny, Tony, Joe-Joe, Cheech and The Situation at the next table. However, there is a method in which I consume my heart attack breakfasts, and the tardy English muffin and over-cooked eggs were messing with this.

First, I look at the breakfast and do roll call to make sure everything is there…Eggs? Check. Sausage? Check. French Fries? Check. Corned Beef Hash? Check. English Muffin…currently absent. Then, I poke the yolk of the eggs and dip my MIA english muffin in them. Then I consume, in order, english muffin dipped in eggs, corned beef hash mixed with yolk, remaining eggs and then I alternate between sausage and my fries, which I use to mop up the last bit of yolk. Yolk ratio is very important which was why my over done eggs were so disappointing.This breakfast was throwing my routine off. I wasn’t going to complain about the eggs, despite my disappointment. Being a waiter, it takes nothing less than finding a gangrenous toenail in my quiche to send something back. Luckily, when my waiter arrived with my english muffin he asked how everything was and I sheepishly told him my eggs were a little over done. He went to get me some new eggs which I appreciated. He also asked if I wanted jelly for my english muffin.

“Yeah” I said “KY” (I’m such a wit)
“Um, we have apple, grape and strawberry.” He answered
“No thanks.”

While I waited, two big girls dressed to the nines were coming from the ladies room. They too had been clubbing but like the Jersey Shore clones hadn’t hooked up either. They looked like nice girls though…pretty dresses and benevolent faces. I smiled at them and they smiled back. The Jersey Shore Bonehead Brigade started to make comments about them. “Check out Tons- o-Fun over dere huh huh huh”. Men get so bitter after buying drinks for disinterested women all night. Frankly, as a waiter I get bitter about women accepting drinks from men they are disinterested in…but that’s the topic for another rant. The ironic thing was these girls would have nothing to do with the missing links who were now discussing whether or not buffalo wings were imported from Buffalo NY.

“I’m tellin ya, it’s like New York Cheesecake…you can’t call em Buffalo wings unless they come from Buffalo.”
“Naw, it’s cause they served ’em at Buffalo Bills games.”

My new eggs arrived lickety split and now I could eat my breakfast how I like to. While eating, I listened to the waiters discuss their customers. There was a bored looking security guard at the door of the Tune. My guess is that the place has seen it’s share of Friday and Saturday night drunken brawls with the post nightclub crowd. I got to thinking about how hard these waiters and waitresses must work and how much money they make. Diners in NYC are not cheap. Still, I wondered how many people stiffed them or under tipped. Again, because I’m a waiter; in addition to seldom if never sending anything back, I always over tip. Yet my 25 plus percent tip was only $5. This guy would have to wait on 30 people who were over tipping like me just to make $150, and that’s before tipping out the busboys and probably the bored security guard. Owners like when the waiters and bartenders tip out the other staff members. It saves them having to actually give a raise. This doesn’t include the demanding customers who under tip or stiff the poor waiter altogether. Also the demanding or cerebrally challenged customers like my friends in the table behind me keep a waiter or waitress from other tables and their tip can suffer that way too. They don’t get a break to sit down until things are quiet which can more often than not be several hours, and the cherry on the top is that they have to pay for their ill-fitting uniforms. They have my respect and my sympathy. The best I can do to counter act this is to be friendly, polite, say “thank you”, know what the hell I want within 45 minutes and tip well.

I missed eating with The Gow at our diner. She always lets me finish off her fries and I get to tease her about the waiter she hates.”Hey, there’s your buddy, want me to call him over? Maybe he can tell us about the history of the western omelet or something equally interesting.” She’s a good sport about it. We do crossword puzzles. I look through the Sunday papers and draw mustaches and underarm hair on the Macy’s underwear models and look through the circulars at things I want or need. Then she orders the baklava to go and leaves most of it in my fridge, and like her fries…I get to finish that too.

I finished up my meal, paid the check, tipped and thanked my waiter and off I went to Dunkin’ Donuts where they got my coffee order right…perfectly right…well it was a full moon after all.

Full moon, NY, wee hours, perfect coffee. Even for a curmudgeon, life has its wonderful moments.

While riding home from school today and cursing out the gypsy cab drivers who seem to delight in almost hitting me on my bike, or the geniuses who feel the need to double park as far from the side of the road as possible, I saw another one of them. It finally dawned on me today after living in NYC for 20 plus years that there is one in every neighborhood. What I am writing of are little old Latino men riding strange and decked out bicycles while playing loud music from a radio mounted somewhere on their tricked out mode of transportation and attention grasping. The guy today had a very new looking maroon Schwinn Sting Ray from the 1970s adorned with pin wheels and Puerto Rican flags. I envied his sparkling, candy apple red banana seat. If I had one of those I could ask pretty girls at school if they’d like a ride home, and look like “The Man” casually pedaling away with some cute mama on the back of the Gray Ghost. Other kids would stop and ask…”Man, how does he do it?”  Or they’d just give me the thumbs up sign to which I’d casually and coolly nod.

How do you NOT notice?

What fascinates me is that literally every New York City neighborhood I have ever lived in or visited has one of these odd little men gallivanting about. They seem to pedal south for the winter, as I never see them in inclement weather. They are generally all the same age, which to my best guess is in their mid 50s. They often wear strange little outfits to go along with their eclectic bikes. These outfits are often based on flags or the colors of their national flag whether it is Dominican, Puerto Rican, Cuban or what have you. Perhaps the weird little men have a strong competitive nature and are trying not to let their countrymen down. The music they play is always upbeat and lively Latin music at a high volume…sometimes the volume is so high that it pops and crackles through their decorated boom boxes.

After having lived in major cities for most of my life I have come to learn a few things about Latino culture, but I don’t know much about the Bicycle Papi’s; which is what I have dubbed them. Are they the Latin equivalent of the Fiddlers on the Roof of the Jews? Pequeno y raro hombre sobre una bicicleta  Translation: ‘Weird little man on a bicycle’. It’s odd that I never noticed them before as a phenomena, because they all kind of scream “look at me!!!”. Maybe there is some weird annual Bicycle Papi competition every year that I am unaware of. Perhaps when they are riding around waving, it is their way of showcasing and being political.

Some of them ride around smiling brightly and benevolently waving to no one in particular, like a person elected to office. Others have lecherous and malevolent sneers and make unwanted commentary to women they find attractive. They never ride very fast, or with any directional purpose, and I can’t even begin to image where they get those odd and old bicycles that are always in pristine condition.

It also makes me wonder where they live. What does their domicile look like? I am picturing an immaculate and sparsely furnished room. Do they spend evenings accessorizing their bikes and polishing them up?  This would make sense as I said before their bicycles are always shiny and spotless. Is there some kind of apprenticeship program for the Bicycle Papis? They don’t seem to be gainfully employed as I have seen them at all hours pedaling along. Perhaps they aren’t so strange after all. Maybe the rest of us are off our rockers sweating out jobs and lives that are so stressful, while they decided long ago to spend their time riding along at a leisurely pace, waving at no one and everyone and listening to their manic-happy Latin music.

Their wardrobe and the condition of their bikes show that they seem to take something seriously. I suppose what they do is more constructive than say being the neighborhood or town drunk. I have also seen many Latino men here in NYC take tremendous, almost obsessive pride in things like their cars or their yards. Most of these men are very poor, and some don’t even work, but their car is of showroom quality at all times.

I am now tempted to try and capture one of them and ask them what gives. Maybe they are elusive when pursued and posses some rare wisdom or some other kind of prize that only gets bestowed if they are caught like a leprechaun. I have always been a fan of the concept of catching people with a big butterfly net. That would be a truly excellent New York moment to see a middle aged dork like me chasing a pre elderly Hispanic man on a goofy bicycle with a butterfly net. Maybe they have some weird built in defense like skunks or porcupines. I have written before about how I wish that people from the Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene would drive around in a converted ice cream truck and catch the semi harmless NYC crazies in a net while wearing bright and clean starched white uniforms and black bow ties. I have never captured or caught anything or anyone before, but my grandfather would delight in setting up anti-personnel traps for me and my cousin in his yard when we’d play guns or army. After we stumbled over his trip wires or got caught in one of his snares, he would say “You’re both dead. I went to commando school during the war y’know?  Now pick up that rope and your teeth and come inside. Yer grandma says dinner is ready”.

‘Well, the weather outside is frightful’ as the song goes. “Frightful” is a gross understatement of today’s wretched wintry conditions.  It is snowing, mixed with freezing rain and there are 4 inches of semi-frozen slush on the as yet unshovelled sidewalks of my neighborhood. I was brave and got dressed for a mission to resupply Fort Cockroach.  After a mere 20 minutes in the cold and slush I am happy to report mission accomplished and I am now sitting in my comfy blue bathrobe and watching god-awful Blake Edwards movie in the snug of my bedroom (or pigsty as my mother referred to it during my youth).  Like most mothers she had a vast arsenal of negative commentary on the state of my living quarters.  I vowed during our many heated exchanges during my childhood that I would live as I wanted when I grew up.  I showed her.  I now sit far too close to the TV, watching programs that will surely “rot my brain.”  I routinely spoil my appetite with junk food, and up until the infamous ‘big toe laceration and emergency room’ hyjinx of 1998, I used to run around with scissors.
The snow reminds me of my childhood in New England.  Earlier this week I had another interesting reminder of my mischievous and carefree youth. A youngster threw an egg at me.
I was riding my bicycle back from school and as I slowed down in response to a stop sign, an object whizzed by me and landed on the ground with a sound I knew all too well from my teen years.  I looked around to see what I had just missed being pelted with and then to the direction that it came from.  Sure enough, up on a roof I saw a boys head looking over a rooftop ledge to see if his projectile had reached its intended target, which in this case was a grouchy middle aged man on a bicycle.  I was instantly furious. I was fuming.  In a nanosecond my grandfather’s legendarily curmudgeonesque thought process filled my brain.  “Goddamn kids, what if I got hit by that egg, ran into a car and ended up in the hospital?  Are they going to pay my goddamn hospital bills or rent while I recover from my injuries?”  I hopped off my bike and angrily stomped over to the building where the egg had been launched.  There were men doing construction on the building and I demanded to know if the building’s superintendent was present. They weren’t terribly helpful or fluent in English, so I resorted to the burglars trick of pressing every intercom button and waiting for someone to inevitably buzz me in.  I stormed up the stairs to the roof of the building which was, of course, vacant when I arrived.  As I trudged up the stairs I imagined myself dangling the junior terrorists off the side of the roof by their ankles followed by marching them downstairs to their domicile where I would inform their parents of their chosen form of after school activities and offer corporal punishment advice.
Unsatisfied, I clomped back downstairs, told the construction foreman to inform the buildings super of the sniper situation taking place on his roof, and hopped back on my bike to continue on my journey home.  I gave one more angry yet impotent glance back up at the roof hoping to catch the little shits glancing down at me, but this was not to be.
As I pedaled back home, my angry old man’s thought process slowly transformed into a sweet nostalgia of my own youth as an egg throwing, paper bag of front porch dog crap placing arsonist and snowball marksman. I never thought about the potential accidents that could have been caused by the hundreds of projectiles I had thrown at people, cars, trucks and bicycles on a weekly if not daily basis. Back then I was too busy planning my escape routes and aiming for an open window.
By the time I arrived home I was smiling. It’s good to see the youth of today involving themselves in the same rituals of manhood that I participated in. I almost wanted to pedal back and take the wayward, egg tossing scamps out for pizza and dazzle them with stories of my youth. “See, you guys have it all wrong. Buy your eggs in August, that way they really smell by the time Halloween rolls around, and your technique is WAY off junior, you have to lead a moving target…let me show you…see that elderly lady with the walker across the street? Well, she’s perfect…slow moving, unable to give chase and hilarious to egg….”   I would regale them with the tall tales of mischief passed down from generation to generation of naughty boys. Being a fan of ancient history I have no doubts whatsoever that ancient Roman fathers told their sons about the time they toilet papered the senate, or threw eggs at the praetorian guard and ran off laughing as spears were hurled at them.
Sure, I could have very easily been hurt or been involved in a serious accident.  Except I wasn’t.  I wasn’t even hit by the egg that was thrown.  Occasionally we read about kids taking things too far resulting in unfortunate accidents.  A couple of years ago some teens stole a frozen turkey from a supermarket and tossed it out the window of a moving car causing a serious accident.  I felt bad for the injured parties of course, but I also found myself reflecting upon the possible fallout from what my friends and I had done as kids.
Western Mass, where I lived from 4th grade until late high school, was in the foothills and valleys of the Appalachian mountains.  There was plenty of snow in the winter and my friends and I knew the local forests inside and out. I have always romanticized it as a Vietnam like atmosphere in regards to the local police and our snowball or egg attack victims. Once we made it to the woods, there was little to no chance of being caught. When we did get caught it was because of boys being boys, and boys being stupid we’d return to the exact same place 20 minutes later to throw more projectiles at passing cars and pedestrians. So, the police or victimized motorists would catch us there. I don’t think my mom ever found out about the snowballs, eggs or other Halloween shenanigans which is just as well as she caught me doing literally every other thing I tried to get away with. It took me, a person with a reasonably high IQ far too long to figure out that A: My mother generally caught me at everything, and B: I was an only child, when something was broken, amiss or tampered with my mother didn’t round up the usual suspects for a full investigation. She knew I did it. Somehow this very basic logic eluded me for ages and I would stand accused and shrug my shoulders and mumble “I dunno” at my mother when I was questioned. She was like many women and the police in that she knew I did it, but she wanted the confession. I constantly held to the hope that maybe she would come up with an elaborate set of circumstances explaining everything and that all I’d have to do is agree with her theory.
Mom:  “So, I had $40 in my purse this afternoon and no one has come or gone all day. Now I have $20 and you are sitting in your room reading new comic books and dining on candy?”
Me (age 12): “It would appear so.”
Mom: “Did you take it?”
Me (looking down): “Nope”
Mom: ” I want you to be honest with me and tell me if you took it. I will be more angry if you lie to me”

(Technically I had lied to her
already. My none too bright 12 year old boy’s brain was having a serious problem with logic and understanding that I had been nailed dead to rights. She was, to her credit, also very understanding when I fessed up, so really there was no reason for me to keep lying. It’s like one of those old cartoons where the good pussycat dressed like an angel appears on one side of the cats head and a bad pussycat dressed like the devil appears on the other giving conflicting advice. It would seem, in addition to the angel and devil that I had a third little Scott…a severely retarded yet highly persuasive one telling me to stick to my epically failing lie.)
This line of questioning would go on until my mother, exhausted, would finally rain some serious guilt on me…”I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.” This, as most of us know, is a rough parental trip. My mother took it a step further and would decide that she was indeed mad and would hit and then ground me after a moments reconsideration.
Back to my own youth as a guerrilla snowballer and egg sniper. The night before Halloween was called “Cabbage Night” in my home town.  It’s called “Hell Night” and many other things in other parts of the country. Cabbage Night was a long anticipated holiday of sorts for little punks like me. Every August, the week before school started, one of my many partners in crime; Jeff and I would clean out his fridge and stock up on several dozen eggs for Oct 30th. We’d stash the eggs somewhere safe where they could ripen. As for the fridge, we’d take left overs and old food and deposit it into a 5 gallon pickle bucket that Jeff’s mother had brought home from her job as a lunch lady. We’d fill the bucket with various food stuffs, soft tomatoes, milk, then we’d add the secret ingredients…nightcrawlers, our own urine. We’d cover our secret sauce in the bucket with an airtight lid and let it ferment for 2 months until the big night when we’d pour it over the car or front porch of an unpopular school mate, a mean old man or best of all, a teacher or principal’s home. The smell was indescribable. It was quite possibly toxic.  Once, upon uncapping, a third associate of ours; “Booger Emerson” got violently ill from proximity and exposure to our concoction and he threw up for four blocks while running away and giggling.
Sure, I was angry with those boys for their attempted egging, and I plan to swing by that apartment building in the hopes of catching them.  However, after wringing their little necks and scaring them sufficiently, I will probably grab a dozen grade A extra larges and show them how it’s done. The only trouble is, if I get caught, my mom is going to be super pissed.


Posted: August 12, 2011 by S. Trevor Swenson in Entertainment, Me & Mine
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Yay! Scarface is on!





 I love this silly film. I don’t love it in the dumb assed “gangsta” way. I think it is one of the top American comedies of all time. I have owned almost ten copies of the film on DVD or video over the years. At least 5 or 6 copies were thrown away or hidden by my ex-girlfriend Gail. I can’t really blame the poor girl. I have always fancied myself as having one of the all-time great Tony Montana impressions ever. After viewing the film I would spend the next week to ten days strutting around our apartment with that belligerent frown and working the impression into every conversation Gail and I would have. 

“Eh, Gail…It’s jor mother on de fon. Jew tell ‘er I said to say goo’bye to de bad guy.”

Then, after she ignored me, I’d try to speak to her mother while Gail held me at bay with her arm.

“Hey mamma, whatchoo doing?”

One of my many faults is to take anything I find to be funny or entertaining too far. Poor Gail. She was a reasonably good sport about the whole thing.

Having very poor impulse control, I still slip into doing Senor Montana at odd and inappropriate times. Job interviews, presentations at school, jury duty and the like. Unfortunately the more inappropriate the occasion, the more fun it is to become Tony. It’s probably for the best that I don’t drive. I have too many anger issues and I would certainly be pulled over on a regular basis. Of course my skewed and questionable judgment would compel me into thinking “Maybe Officer Friendly would enjoy some Tony Montana”

“May I see your license and registration please?”

“Eh, Le’ me tell jew soneting mane, H’okay-e?”

“Sir, have you been drinking tonight?”

“Why don’ choo try sticking jor head up jor ass….see if it fiss.”

“Step out of the car please Sir.”

Then, because of the difficulties in appropriate restraint that have gotten me into trouble my entire life, we would have a Rodney King revisited type of situation.

If I weren’t such an incredible slob, I would totally invest in a white, 70’s style disco suit with some gold chains. Who knows, it might be a good look for me. I just don’t recall Tony having gravy stains on his white suit.

It's just a click away. Should I? (

On YouTube there is an Asian fellow from England who has a great clip on how to do a Christopher Walken impression. I would like to do a similar clip or maybe an instructional booklet on how to do a proper Tony Montana impression. Other people are gifted painters, surgeons, accountants, chefs…Me? God has gifted me with being able to sound like an over the top, cult film drug dealer. Here are a few tips on doing a successful Tony Montana:

Facial Expression: A sneering, exaggerated frown, with a hint of smelling something unpleasant. Practice in a mirror.


H’okay-e = OK (“Dass H’okay-e, another quaalude, chee gon love me in de morning”)

Dass = That’s

Dee = The

Cockaroshez = Cockroaches (“Fok Casper Gomez and fok de foking Diaz brothers, I bury doze cockaroshez”)

Mane = Man

Kiz = Kids “Jew lie kiz? Jew know I lie kiz”

Chee = She

Jew/Choo = You

Jors/Chores = Yours

Prollem = Problem

Tole = Told “I tole jew, don’ ever fok wit me, but jew wounna lissing, well, look at chew now”


“Dass H’Okay-e”

“Another quaalude chee gon love me in de mornin”

“Pussycat, jew know wha chew prollem ees? Jew got nothing to do wit chore tine…Be a nurse”

“Chee nah for jew”

“Gotta get organize”

…..and the best of all “Jew nee people lie me, so jew can poin jor fingers ang say ‘Das de bad guy’, so say goo’nie to de bad guy”

Hint: Avoid using “Say ‘ello to my little fren.” It’s too cliché, and there are much better lines in the film.

The other key to having a funny Tony Montana is to use it with random and inappropriate abandon. Don’t do it at parties, at bars or on a date. It will be tempting, but all it does is give license to people who suck at Tony Montana to keep saying “Say Hello to my little friend” over and over until you laugh out of courtesy, or stab them. Save your Tony for unique and clever occasions.

At the proctologist: “All I have in dis worl is my word an my ballss and I don break ‘em for nobody”

During a Tax Audit: “Eh, whatchoo got? I’m washing dollars”

or for the ladies “My womb is so polluted, I can’t even have a baby”

You get the idea. Have fun.

I got an email today about a special screening of Scarface later this month. Perhaps I should go and ruin or enhance the cinematic experience with my impression and commentary. I can’t see anyone going who hasn’t already memorized the film.

Check it out at

SCARFACE Gets A One Night Re-Release On August 31


Posted: August 3, 2011 by S. Trevor Swenson in Life, Me & Mine, Observations
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Tonight I am watching the famous 1975 boxing match between Muhammed Ali and Chuck, “The Bayonne Bleeder” Wepner.  The fight is famous in that, then unknown writer and actor Sylvester Stallone watched the fight and was inspired to write the book and screenplay to Rocky, which he also starred in.  Chuck Wepner was a journeyman fighter and who knows how he managed to get a fight with the heavyweight champ. Maybe Muhammed Ali needed a new car and told his management “Find me someone to beat up”.  Phone calls were made and Chuck just happened to be home. 

Grand Poobah / Grand Palooka

Grand Poobah / Grand Palooka

For some reason, and in keeping with his “palooka” title I pictured Chuck Wepner having a voice similar to that of one of Fred Flintstone’s cronies. “Da-e-y, I’ll take da fight”  Today Chuck Wepner does occasional commentary for various boxing show and bios, so his one big night didwork out for him to some degree after all. As in the film Rocky, Wepner toughed out the fight, even knocking down Ali in the 9th round. He made it all the way to the 15th round before it was stopped, and fights don’t even go that long anymore. It was a clear moral victory for the palooka, and who can’t appreciate that kind of event, since most of us are closer to palooka Wepners than sleek, sexy Muhammed Ali’s.


It is also interesting that it was 1975 and the audience was decked out in bad hair cuts, afros and a sea of fugly polyester and plaid leisure suits with collars so wide that if someone were light enough they could jump off of a building wearing one and glide safely to the ground.  Good God the 70s were an ugly generation. I honestly can’t think of an uglier era.  My favorite part of the fight is that some genius decided to let Redd Foxx and James Brown act as commentators.  Redd Foxx had a hit TV show at the time and was actually pretty well versed in boxing, so I can kind of understand his being there.  James Brown speaks his own, original version of something that vaguely resembles the English language.  I am loving his commentary between rounds and I wish he had been asked to comment on more fights.  “What did you think of that last exciting round James?”  “Well, zab  du du da Wepner, zabba niht niht left hook, zubbo zub Ali”… “Um  I think you said it all there James.”   “Wow, what an exciting round. James?”   Zibba du du nah nah noonnie nah Ali, zibba zab zab going to the body, zib nah”  ” Interesting point James,  I never thought of it in that way”
The concept of the palooka (isn’t that a great word?) has been on my mind a great deal lately.  Various dictionaries don’t give very flattering definitions of the word, so I suppose I must define it myself, or rather re-define as I have been feeling rather “Palooka-ish” myself these days. To me, the palooka is the everyman. They are marginally talented in their own ways.  They’ll never be great, but there is something essentially human about them … a toughness that is both physical and emotional. A palooka is the father who works two crap jobs to give his kids everything.  A palooka knows life sucks and that happiness comes in small and infrequent doses, but they soldier on anyway…even managing a smile or a laugh once in awhile.

Statue of Joe Palooka in Oolitic, Indiana

Statue of Joe Palooka in Oolitic, Indiana

Palooka’s are tough. I don’t know how tough I am. I suppose it’s not really for me to say.  I have had moments of toughness I suppose, areasin which I am reasonably tough…but I can be a whiny little dork too.  I have also been feeling more blue collar recently. I like Palookas. I enjoy their company (especially while drinking)
Palooka, Lummox and Malarkey are terms that need to come back in style.  I say wear your Palooka badge loud and proud. Not everyone can be special…that’s the whole point of special.  The world would be a horrible place if everyone was beautiful or talented. Being a Palooka is often a step up for many. The palooka gets it done. It might not be pretty, and will certainly lack finesse, but it gets done. Palookas have an important place in society. Sure, I don’t want a palooka performing surgery on me… but I’ll knock back a couple of cold ones with or have them help me paint my house any day.

Victoria’s Secret

Posted: February 2, 2010 by S. Trevor Swenson in Life
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Today I went to Victoria’s Secret to buy a gift card for a friend (OK…OK  a friend with benefits OK?). Inside, the store was packed full of women. Pretty women, unattractive women, young women, old women, really old women (The latter whom I didn’t want to imagine in Victoria’s Secret anything) It was a highly uncomfortable estrogen fest and was, to say the least very distressing for me.  I’m generally not the kind of guy that gets all uptight about having to go out and buy tampons or something for a girlfriend. This particular discomfort was bio-chemical. The place was packed with women as a I said and the female pheromones mixed with the putrid mélange of Vickys’ Secret perfumes, creams etc. etc. was making me feel very uneasy, vulnerable and even outnumbered. I was undoubtedly on their turf. I was an intruder in the Forbidden City.  I have seen the viciousness of groups of women first hand.  I have even tried to warn my fellow man about the dangers of approaching a ‘girl’s night out’ at the bar where I work.  These Queen Bees getting their drink on have no mercy. They want to discuss men, not to be involved in discussions with men.  They make up evil and mean spirited nicknames for any poor slob foolish enough to approach and disturb their witch’s coven with Cosmos. Listen to me and listen well young man.  If you ever see a girl’s night out, leave them alone. Do not approach. Do not send them drinks. This works for James Bond and John Stamos, it will not work for you.  Stay away, no trespassing, enter at your own risk.  The atmosphere at Vicky’s Secret was not as volatile as a girl’s night out in a bar.  There was no liquor involved and the groups were smaller.  Still, I had to be cautious.

As I was only buying a gift card I got right into the check-out line. There was never even a thought about buying actual clothes or lingerie for my special friend.  Like most men I don’t understand the numerical sizes that women use when buying clothes.  Women over a size 6 generally don’t like discussing these sizes with men or they lie, I mean take creative license.  Also most men can be counted on to find something that they would find sexy but that most women would find beneath contemplation.  The Victoria’s Secret gift card was already a gift that is for us as well as the recipient.  So, one gives the gift card, takes the hug and prays that the girl isn’t in a practical and conservative mood when she redeems it. “Oh what great baggy beige bloomers hon, Is that all you got?

While standing in line, waiting to buy the damn card and make a break for it, I was suddenly knocked aside.   A man had plowed into me while hurrying on his way out of the store. “Excuse YOU!!” I yelled after him. If we had been in a bar or on the street and he had done that, we most likely would have gotten into an argument, stare down or perhaps even a fistfight over his crashing into me without excusing himself. In this instance however, I wasn’t about to get into a physical confrontation in a crowded Victoria’s Secret.  It’s not easy looking like a tough guy wrestling around in a pile of fuchsia wonder bras and matching thongs.  I also understood his discomfort in this atmosphere.  Hell; I wanted out too, but I was on a mission, a mission I had chosen to undertake.  If I wanted to see my friend with benefits in something tantalizing, I’d have to hold on just a little bit longer.

I waited in line for what seemed to me like way too long of a time. In my case this is generally any time period exceeding 30 seconds. I have noticed that women can almost always be counted on to take longer to pay for things than men do. Being a bartender for over 10 years I am still amazed to watch women pay for their own drinks vs. having drinks bought for them by men. Women never seem to have their money or even their wallet out. They wait to be told the price and then they go digging through the bottomless pit they call a purse. When guys go out drinking it’s usually a case of “Let me get the first round”. Women pay for everything individually. Furthermore, each woman in the party has to be told the price.  While the first girl is digging through her purse, the second girl is staring blankly when she should be getting her money out. Get it together ladies.  Time is money and by my conservative calculations I figure women as a group owe me $500 in time wasted just from change purses alone. I suspect they are waiting for the French Calvin Klein underwear model; Raoul to swoop in with his platinum-ruby super-duper American Express card and say in broken English . . .”Please  allow me to buy the beautiful lady the . . . how you say . . . Cosmopolitan”

I didn’t dare vocalize my grievances. I was on their turf and outnumbered, as I said. Finally I was next in line. I asked for a gift card, wondering if I looked cheap to the cashier by buying a $50 card, paid for it in less than 30 seconds . . . .( I had my money out). Then I was handed this precious little pink bag designed by Richard Simmons to carry it in. It’s a gift card for God’s sake. Can’t I just put it in my wallet and pull it out on Christmas day, hand it over and say, ever so gently, ”Uh  here, this is for you.”  This little bag was so emasculating I’d bet male figure skaters would be embarrassed to be seen carrying one of these things. It was pink and shiny and the handles sparkled and were too small to fit my hands. I was forced to carry it daintily with two fingers and my pinky sticking out.   Maybe I should skip down Steinway Street with my little pink bag singing ‘I Feel Pretty”.  In retrospect I think now the little gift bag was a joke played on me by the girls at Victoria’s Secret.  The moment I set foot out of the store I bet they all ran to the front window to watch and cackle with laughter at my dilemma.

It occurred to me that perhaps Vicky’s Secret should have a store exclusively for men to buy stuff for their girlfriends and wives, where they could feel more comfortable. A place where men can listen to heavy metal, because “It’s not gay if AC-DC or Slayer are playing in the background”. We could have sports and action movies on the monitors rather than the waify models walking up and down a catwalk. I don’t think men even like saying “Victoria’s Secret”.  The male version will be called simply “Vic’s.” As in “Yo, honey, I gotta drop a deuce, looking for something to read, you seen my Vic’s catalogue?” Vic’s would be staffed by regular, middle aged guys with receding hairlines and beer guts . . .. swarthy Italian or Greek guys in wife beaters and jeans dragging their knuckles and breathing through their mouths.  If we needed help with anything, like size or style then Vito, Nicky or Stavros could ask us questions we’d relate to. “So, uh your wife . . . she got big tits or what”?  After of course asking the customer if they “saw the game last night.” Another man friendly sizing concept could be the “Wall-O-Breasts.”  Imagine a wall at Vic’s with hundreds of memory foam titties in every conceivable size, shape and weight, where confused men could walk up, fondle, squeeze and estimate the weight of their significant other’s special pair. Of course men have difficulty touching breasts and being able to do much of anything else, much less remember that they were there to determine a size for a purchase.  It’s just something men really feel the need to concentrate on.  So, each breast on the Wall-O-Breasts would have a sound byte that would exclaim its size with each squeeze in different female tones and accents.  “I’m a 34 C”. After three or four hours a man would be able to make an informed decision.  The Wall-O-Breasts is most likely a concept that would require a little tweaking, (no pun intended) as there would almost certainly be cretins out there who pack a lunch and spend an afternoon abusing the convenience of the Wall-O-Breasts without the intention of a purchase.  It never ceases to amaze me how a few jerks have to ruin a good thing for everyone.

The names of the various lingerie would need to change as well.  No man likes asking for a “nightie” or a “babydoll”.  We are much more adept with pointing at something and saying ”Yeah gimme the black and purple boobie thing over there, next to the anal floss.”  There should be an Irish pub next door to Vics where we can go and show our purchases to the guys while drinking beer, eating buffalo wings and grunting approval.  All of our purchases would be in see through plastic, underneath the nondescript butcher paper, because men wont see anything wrong with getting buffalo sauce or bleu cheese on the matching bra and panty set.  “She won’t notice.” we’d say as we wiped the stain in deeper with our greasy fingers.

I think this concept has some serious potential. I shall have to write up a proposal for the powers that be at Victoria’s Secret, and pray that they have a few men on the board of directors who share my pragmatic marketing strategy.