Friday, February 14, 2014

A Valentine's Story

      “And that’s how we’ll do it.  Moran’s boys aren’t going to know what hit ‘em.  Any questions?” Al Capone swept the room, his dead eyes not inviting questions from any of the 6 Capos that sat around the table in the back of the noisy italian restaurant.  Capone sat back in his chair and made a move to pick up his fork and dig into his linguini, the signal that the meeting was adjourned, when a young, newly made Capo spoke up.

“Al, um, all due respect,” Jimmy Stripes said, clearing his throat.  Stripes was  named for his predilection for pin stripe suits.  His father, Jimmy Sr, had come up with Capone and greased Stripes ascension within the organization.  “It’s just, well.  It’s just that my daughter’s birthday is that day.”

The room was silent as Capone stared down the length of the table at Jimmy, hand resting on his fork.  He remained silent for what felt like hours to the men seated around the table, the clinking of cutlery from the other restaurant patrons rising up to fill awkward silence.  Stripes squirmed in his seat.

“And?” Capone said.

“And, well, you see, we already made all the arrangements.  We even booked Happy the Clown.”
“You booked Happy the Clown,” Johnny the Mouth shouted, drawing stares from a couple nearby tables.  “How the fuck did you book Happy the Clown?  I’ve been trying to get that fucker for the last two years.”

Stripes raised a hand up, palm out. “I swear to God, I booked him over a year ago.  Before my kids last birthday.  And he still only got me in back then because of a last minute cancellation.  I swear, the holy mother was shining -”.

“Am I actually hearing this conversation,” Capone interjected, looking around the table incredulously.

The Mouth chuckled nervously.  “Al, you don’t know how big a deal it is to book this clown.  Happy the Clown is the hardest get in Chicago.”

“I don’t care if you got Fuckstick-The-Clown-That-Shits-Rainbows.  We scheduled the biggest god damn hit in Chicago history and we’re going to follow through with the god damn plan.”

“Al,” Big Mouth again pleaded. “It’s Happy the Clown.  His kid will shit a brick.  Can’t we be a little flexible?”

Capone threw his hands up in the air and started shouting. “Fine fine.  Let’s accommodate everyone.  Hey Flips, you got a puppet show you can’t miss?  Or what about you, Freddie?  Maybe your kid has a stickball game you want to see?”

“Sir - “ Stripes tried so interrupt, but Capone continued on.

“And when exactly do you want me to reschedule this for,” he said, his hands now waving wildly above his head.  The people seated at the surrounding tables made such a point of keeping their heads down their noses were nearly brushing their pasta.  “The 15th?  I’ve got an appointment for a haircut that day and, if you think it’s difficult to book your fucking clown, you should try getting in with Yvonne.  She don’t care who I am and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let anyone else near this hair.”

“Well, what about the 14th?” Big Mouth asked.

“That’s Valentines day!” Capone exploded.

“Well, yeah, but isn’t that sort of okay?

Freddie Marciano, who has remained silent up to this point, perked up.  “Hey yeah.  No need to buy my girl jewelry on account of having to be working.  Or my wife neither.”  A general murmur of assent spread across the table as each man considered the freedom of not having to find the perfect Valentines gift.

Capone sighed, slumping back in his chair.  “Fine,” he said, throwing his hand up in the air.  “Fine.  Saint Valentines day it is.  This better end up being worth it.  I recommend you be sure to take down all of Moran’s men, you hear?”

“You got it, boss,” Stripes said with a grin.  “Anything you want.  And thanks.”

“Hey,” Capone said, looking around the table. “You think we should tell Moran’s boys that they don’t need to bother buying gifts neither?”

The men at the table burst out in laughter.  Capone folder his hands across his chest and watched on as his men smacked each other on the back, a smile playing at the corner of his lips.

Life was good.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dad tips: Week 26

About now, your partner might not feel very attractive. Take her on a date - go to dinner and a movie! Tell her she's beautiful.

Remember back when you started dating. You remember, right? You'd bring your wife flowers, tell her how beautiful she was. Remember that time you brought her lillies and her eyes glinted in the moonlight just so, revealing the life within?


And remember that one time you caught the glint of the Bears game in the corner of her eye while she told you about her day over a bucket of KFC? Yeah, that was last week. Feeling good about yourself? Because let's face it, your wife feels like a whale. And yelling "AAAAOOOOGA" while you lowers herself into a bath tub, well, frankly that doesn't help.

I'm not going to sugar coat this: you're an asshole. Tell your wife she's beautiful. What the hell's wrong with you?


Friday, August 14, 2009

In which I judge others for their poor judgement

Real Simple

It's funny, right? You think you don't have your shit together and that you can't quite get anything right. Your busy at work and can't quite find time to make dinner. The apartment won't quite stay clean and you haven't showered in 17 days.

But then you realize it could be worse. You could live the life of a certain Manhattan couple.

This morning my husband announced he'd had a dream about me. A sexual fantasy?

No, clearly not a sex dream. That would be...well, that would be normal. And frankly, if the rest of the article was, in fact, about a sex dream involving you, a basset hound, three cans of Redi Whip, and and a Jame Joyce novel I'd be a lot less skeeved out. No, his dream was far creepier.

In dreamland, he had walked into our kitchen and caught me washing the dishes with the sponge relegated, by our system, to wiping up grunge.


This cleaning device is, in his mind, one molecule short of the Ebola virus, despite the fact that both of us sterilize it daily on the microwave's highest setting.


wait, what? You microwave your sponges on high? Like, this is a thing you do? And what does "highest setting" mean, exactly. You mean "not defrost". What sort of hierarchical power structure does your microwave offer that mine does not? And is this more or less effective than penicillin. Because if I can microwave my kids whenever they get sick, that'd be excellent. Health care is so damn expensive.

So, I guess this guy is pretty obsessively clean, huh?

I am married to a man who is freakishly obsessed with cleanliness and yet chronically disorganized. After reading The New York Times, he will leave it not only out of order but also with sections crumpled and opened to whatever page last caught his fancy -- never, for the record, page one.

Why does he crumple the paper? Does his clench the paper in his furious little fists whenever he reads the Frank Rich op-ed? Or, perhaps more likely, do his fists clench in orgasmic delight at the site of a Pottery Barn ad?

Probably the latter, eh? But wait, does he do anything else?

The man rarely shuts the door of a closet, even after he has forgotten to hang his coat in it.

So...he opens the cloest door but forgets to put his coat in it? Wait.


To be clear, he walks up to the closet, opens the door, and, without using the closet in any manner, walks away. Does he leave his coat on? And what about his shoes? Why am I starting to suspect he showers fully clothed?

I choose not to discuss his boxer shorts.

I chose to pretend I didn't see a reference to this man's underpants.

And yet when my cleaning isn't up to his meticulous standards -- he notices a dog hair on the rug I've just vacuumed -- he reacts to my efforts with outrage and has even been known to wrest a vacuum cleaner from my hands to complete the task the "right" way.

I should hope to hell he does. Did you not see the dog hair. I mean, I know I don't consider a carpet clean until it's clean. But maybe that's just me and my crazy ideas.




I felt at home once I moved to Manhattan, where the rare woman who wants a hand-sewn dirndl finds a Fräulein to whip it up. But I hadn't counted on marrying a guy whose feminine side, as expressed through mops and Murphy Oil Soap, would be more highly evolved than my own.

Maybe you shouldn't shop for a husband in Chelsea.

But wait, back up. When you want a dirndl...wait, what? Is that spelled right? Is that what the little Jewish kids play with at Hunnukah? Is that why you want a German woman to whip one up? Is this some sort of WWII reparation? I frankly couldn't be more confused.

To sum up:

Chicago 1, Manhattan 0

Monday, August 10, 2009

Dad Tips: Week 25

Another nugget of wisdom:

Offer to do the shopping. This may be an unsettling prospect for some men, but cell phones have made men better shoppers. Even if you don't shop solo, go with your partner to lift and carry her purchases.

Finally! Someone came out and said it! Women, you see...women love to shop. But MEN! Ho boy, do men not like to shop. It's true! It's funny because it's true!

But for these next 15 weeks, men, you must overcome your fear. Head out to the Super Market (it's the building across the street from the hardware store. With the food.) and hold you head high as you wade through the sea of women and children. You're still a man. I mean, it's not like your wife is at home using tools! Ha!


She isn't,, right? She wouldn't. But what if...You don't suppose she sent you out here to chose between the 14 different brands of Eggo's so she could spend alone time with your socket wrench? And you. You just went along with it. Trudging down the aisle with a shopping cart like some kind of homeless person while she's at home under the sink replacing a leaky elbow joint. For Christ sake, SHE MADE YOU BUY HER DEODORANT!

But then you take a deep breath and remember, it's only 15 more weeks. Soon enough she'll pop out that baby and not need your help anymore .

Just as long as she doesn't expect you to cook, too.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Dad Tips: Week 22

It's fun to read baby books. You get to learn all about placental placement, vaginal discharge, nipple discomfort...and there's stuff for the ladies, too!


But the best part is the dad tips. Every weekend there's a new lesson on how not to be an asshole. Based on the tips...there's lots of assholes out there. From the week 22 chapter in Your Pregnancy Week by Week:

When you ride together in the car with your partner [ed. note: not business partner. Wife], ask if you can help in any way. You may offer to assist her getting in and out of the car...Ask if she needs help adjusting her seat belt or the car seat.

...because she's going to be HUGE.

Yep, sorry husband. The days of abandoning your wife in the car as you run into the house to catch the last five minutes of the Bears game OH MY GOD THE BEARS ARE 3RD AND 4 WITH 1 MINUTES 50 TO GO IN THE FOURTH are gone. Even if you promise yourself you'll go grab her during the first commercial break, you know you'll forget. And she'll remain there, wasting away in the car, trapped in the leather bucket seats that - let's be honest - haven't gotten a guy laid since 1986. Her desperate honking will slow as the night goes on, but you can't hear it. You've lost yourself in a Jon and Kat Plus Eight marathon. Yeah, you tell you're wife you only watch the show for her, but we all know that's a lie. Hell, if it wasn't for Jon and Kate and Property Virgins, you and your wife wouldn't have spoken since the day you left the city and bought you McMansion in Bolingbrook. One episode turns to two which turns to 4 and, just like every tuesday, you're asleep in the chair.

And tomorrow, when you patiently wait at the breakfast table for your eggs, it'll start to dawn on you that you haven't seen your wife in a while. Your eyes go round with panic.

You couldn't have.

You did.

So yeah. Open the door for your wife. You'll thank yourself later.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Dad Tip #1

I've been so inspired by all the helpful fathering books out there, I thought I'd pass along the knowledge I've gleaned from them - free of charge.

Be sure to tell your wife if you're worried that she'll love the baby more than you. She'll understand your concern and appreciate your honesty. And if she doesn't, she's probably just hormonal.

Fear the Cheese Baby

Everything was going pretty well with the whole pregnancy thing. We ("we") had emerged from the nausea-full first trimester, skipping merrily into the glory that is the second trimester, looking forward to three months free of sick and full of energy.

It was all going to be great.

Or so we thought. You see, around week 19, our baby has apparently started to coat (him)(her)self in a greasy white substance that, apparently, is not unlike goat cheese. I love goat cheese.

I used to love goat cheese.

And so that's almost fine. I mean, I can just pretend that the cheese isn't happening and focus on things like the development of toes and fingers. But then I discovered that sometimes the cheese, it doesn't go away. Sometimes the doctor can pull a baby from it's uterine home and pass it to the parents, cheese and all. Just a little wet burrito covered in a cocktail of amniotic fluid, baby pee, and goat cheese. I don't think I can handle that.

Actually, it kind of makes me think that a water birth might be the way to go. Think about it:
  • Self cleaning: straight from the womb to a tub. Niiiiice.
  • Only the strong survive: if the baby can swim, cool. If not...well, nobody ever said Darwinism was easy.
  • No better way to make friends than to be the kid with a pool.
Whether it's a water birth or just a towel birth, something needs to be done. Nobody wants a cheese baby.