Archive for April, 2011


Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

News this morning carried yet another story of England’s wedding. (As we’d say in the days of payphones, “Here’s a quarter. Call someone who cares.”) They’re closing off streets today so the carriages can have a dry run before Friday. Are you kidding me? The roads will be cordoned off for the nuptials! Do they really think the horses will get lost? Just another reason to stay this side of the pond.

Hal and I, of course, are not adverse to rehearsal. Indeed, Margie may roll her eyes and the girls may snicker, but we spend many a moment preparing for, anticipating interactions with Helen. As my brother notes: “It’s always the unexpected.”

There’s the race in Columbus this May. At issue now is when do we go—Friday or Saturday? Where do we sleep—hotel or Harriet? If we go for one night, should our aunt be invited? She’d love it, of course, and H and I could push through it. Would Margie, though, leap from the car in Mansfield? (Or would she just drive separately?)

A motel might avoid the issue. Ah, but would Helen then have the bright idea of staying with Harriet? (If so, I suppose I’d drive down Friday and Margie’d go with H and stay in the car). If we did that, though, would Harriet not jump out her house window?

What to do…what to do? OK, we decided: Don Quixotes we’re not; Helen stays put. We’ll secure our seats in heaven next trip.

When then, DO we mention it? It must be done! Still, not only is there never a right time, but, clearly, whenever the shoes drops, no good will come of it. It’s not like the old days when we could slide in or out of town without major discussion. (Ed. Note: Aunt Helen recently told me that I don’t space my trips to New York adequately).

Ours is a global society. Somewhere, somehow, some way, she will learn of our trip. The rest of the world, you see, is sane; they have normal conversations. Harriet…Norm Diamond—they wouldn’t think twice of mentioning it in casual conversation; it would never occur to them there’d be fallout.

Either way, of course, I suffer. Either way, Hal wins. It’s not his fault; I get that. He’s just Ray Romano to my Robert…and Everybody, (translate: Helen), Loves Raymond.
He shops with her this weekend. If he tells her, then, trust me, at 1 PM Friday May 6 it will be like this:

“Don’t start your car yet. I’d like to talk.”
“Your brother told me you’re going to Columbus this month.”
“Was this decided before or after the Seders?”

(At this point I will pause, looking for Regis Philbin, dying to phone a friend).

What IS the right answer? If I tell the truth and say “Yes,” she’ll grill me about why it wasn’t discussed at dinner. She’ll ask if it was because Margie was there and Margie has something against her though she “…has no idea why….” And then she’ll ask why I didn’t bring it up at Second Seder…at which time I’ll pause at Sophie’s Choice.

I could, I suppose say I thought it was discussed at the First Seder, but Hal and I have a code: only in the direst of straits would we ever throw the other under the bus.

If I say “No, we just made plans,” she won’t bat an eyelash…at first. Then, just as I exhale, just as my car crosses Fenwick, she’ll utter the three words that, to this day, strike fear in the hearts of two sixty year-old men: “Just one more thing…”

“When did you make plans? Your brother didn’t mention it last week?”
“I don’t remember, Aunt Helen…really,” I’ll tell her, feigning sincerity, praying for impasse.

Sometimes, alas, our prayers aren’t answered:

“Does Harriet know?”

I’ll want to tell the truth, but I REALLY can’t recall. Did H call Harriet? Do we warn her? Has there been a pre-emptive strike? What if Hal called her? Where did he tell her we’re staying? What if he told her we weren’t sure about when we were coming? Would that leave the door open for Helen opting in?


The truth is that Hal and I play these mental gymnastics all too often. (Or do we?)

Rehearsal began this week out in Wlloughby. I’m in another play.

“What are you doing?” my brother asked last Friday.
“The Music Man,” I said.
His face fell.
“She LOVES that show!…What are we going to do?”

And we spent the next twenty minutes deliberating.

I am reminded that the best major league ballplayers—the all stars, the elite—still take batting practice before every game. This raises a fair question: Who are we, then, to think we can get off the bench twice a month and compete?

This is a new world with new math. Ninety-six is greater than sixty-one plus sixty.


Sunday, April 24th, 2011

There’s a server at the coffeehouse standing 4’10. I call him “Life.”
“Why do you call him that?” they ask.
“Because Life’s too short.”

I grew up in an era where nice people didn’t stress political correctness, an epoch where insides were judged not by whether you took a sensitivity course but through behavior and warmth.

We’d play up at Rowland, the big Wrenford diamond—where the tree shaded first base. Two captains “chose up;” others hung out to be picked.

On any given day you’d find my brother “Little Herb”, or Chris Hovanyi. Few knew that Chris’s given name was Alex (junior, to be exact). Even Chris was a nickname! That having been said, due to the shape of his skull we later called him “Bulb,” (a tag he never liked).

And there was “Turd” Rosenberg of Beaconwood, and Jimmy from across his street. Masseria, like Bulb, was one of the few non-Jews around. We converted him, in a way, labeling him “Hymie Massarabbo.” Turd, like Fromin, was a year older; he hung out with the Mesnick boys, both “Hoof” and “Mooch.”

It was 1959: Murderer’s Row.

The good times, of course, continued to the sixties and beyond.

Alan became Wido, or Montana, (among others). We lay in our bunks at Drackett one night when Fenton, trying to get on Wieder’s nerves, dubbed him “Vestibule.” It didn’t take. For a time though, we called Al “A.” (Short splash that it was, this moniker formed a ripple in the stream of ultimate nomenclature. One other night, Stuart, still agitating, aggravating—still keeping us awake, announced to the dark room “If we call Alan ‘A’ we have to call Bruce ‘B.’ So enamored of that name was Al Bogart that the patriarch proclaimed “If we call Bruce ‘B,’ we have to call Harold ‘H.” And THAT, asPaul Harvey would have said, is the rest of the story.

Aside to “Tooth”: Does any of this surprise you?

It all began long before college. From our sixth grade club “The Excels,” to the adolescence of REN, through expulsion from AZA, we had names. There was Erv (Ermine), Raisinbrain or Fool, (Randy), and Glassman, (whom we called Codgie). Fred was not only “The Head,” but also Chico Santanna Guadlahari Gomez, Jr., (or Chico). Or…lest I forget Snyder who somewhere along the way became “Groovy”…or another comrade—one of us—who, although he denied it, rarely showered. What else to call him but “Desert Flower?”

No one, by the way, got upset. None was insulted. Not even Arthur. The Germans, be aware, had f’ing killed his older brother; Art’s family had fled the Holocaust. Still, to us he was “Kraut” or “The Nazi,” and he never complained.

The thing about nicknames is….they breathe identity. Four decades later the forefront of my mind is filled with those that might otherwise be marginalized. Consider the animal kingdom alone: I met “Squirrel” in the 50’s, “Monkey” in the 60’s, and “Owl” in Columbus. Not to mention “Phil The Skunk,” (named by Fenton), and “Phil The Fish,” (named by a card game).

The downside of nicknames, if any, surfaced in my family. I grew up in a house where our mom’s twin cousins were not only “The Bookends,” but, frankly, and perhaps because of this, no one ever sought to tell them apart. Indeed, to this day, (and this is sad), if I ask “Wheelchair Sheila” which of The Bookends— HER FIRST COUSINS— has died, she hesitates. Similarly, our father’s cousin Ruth had three daughters, with Nina the eldest. They lived out of town and our dad never bothered to learn names. In his lifelong homage to Christopher Columbus, our he never referred to them as anything other than “The Fleet.” (Put a gun to his head and the man couldn’t name the other two).

Nicknames, of course, can also tell stories. I re-singled in the 90’s and re-entered in the dating scene….Friends, for the most part, didn’t meet ladies in my life. They did, however, learn of Rolo, or The Envelope Lady, or the one Stuart, to this day, calls “Fatal Attraction.”

Outside Caribou, a pal on the way, I’m reminded of a story….

My friend divorced last year and was seeing a woman whose home was of major proportion. I never saw it but he wouldn’t shut up about it and how huge it was. Me? I could care less, but as a courtesy to him, named her “Big House.” They weren’t exclusive, though and when weeks later he developed another friend, we termed her “Little House.” This became, after a time, a bit cumbersome. As such, I’d just generically ask about the real estate. It seemed to work.

And the beat goes on.

My friend just texted. He’s running late. What to do? What to do?

I could call New York. Rooney’s visiting Moshe. But then, The Prince might be napping…and I’m tired—could use the caffeine. Nah, I’ll call them later; maybe we’ll skype. As for now I need coffee.

To Life!


Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

The merry-go-round has slowed to a halt. It’s Wednesday…and everyone’s gone.

Living five hundred miles west and three hundred miles east of children means missing things…from Max at his favorite deli to Stacy in her brand new office. Just the way it is. That being noted, it would be cheating history not to acknowedge equally important premieres: like my grandson’s first Baggage Claim area, for example. I WAS THERE!!! (Perhaps that’s getting ahead of the story).

H led Seder last night. It was the perfect ending to an at-times perfect weekend. Clearly on his game, skillfully—elegantly—he included everyone in a just mix of learning, legacy and laughter. As such, after nearly five days of non-stop activity, I slumped on Aldersgate, exhausted, content, and recalling the comment of the speaker at Woody’s funeral: it’s only in the evening that one can truly see how beautiful the day has been.

This weekend, this extended weekend, was indeed beautiful. The headliner was, of course, Max. Sprinkle in four kids, three trips to the airport, two dinners with the ex, 1 family brunch and Rolo’s carseat: it was all there. And, again, I would deny history not to say so.

Airport I came Friday. Racing west on the phone with Ermine we spoke both past and future. Laughing of the time I took a date to the cemetery, more importantly, we pointed to to this fall’s reunion. Like Wieder, Mark’s on board.

I arrived at Hopkins early and poached in wait. The call finally came:

“Last door, Dad.”

Zooming down the ramp, double-parking, entering, I saw mom and child. From a distance, though, came a voice:
“Nice outfit, Dad,” (MichaelSpeak for “I love you but you dress like an idiot.”
Background music at best, I sensed, both eyes being on the prince.

Airport II was Saturday. Stace and Jace bounded out happy to see me, but eager for the baby. I get it.

‘Twas was a hectic weekend, all tolled:

There were poignancies (like the fact that they once said it would take an act of God for the ex and I to dine together, and what was a grandchild if not just that?).

And there were contradictions: The kids dined as a foursome one night. Later describing the bad service, one said “It all changed when Josh walked in. It was like he was Tony Soprano.” Hours later, conversation shifted, we we spoke of an ex-friend owing me money.

“Do you think his wife knows?” asked the same child.
“She’s like Carmella Soprano,” remarked I.
“Enough with the TV characters, Dad.”

More than anything else, though, it was a weekend of love. From Caroline’s Cancer Walk Friday at Case, to the epic debate on Sunday’s dinner menu…to the family brunch on Sunday…

To Harriet traipsing in with Matt from Columbus…to playing in the park on swings…to watching Max P bathe…

It was a time, of course, to count my blessings…and a time to wonder:

As kids we’d go on rides at Euclid Beach. The Flying Turns, The Flying Butterfly, the carousels! Watching Max, I thought, was like the carousel.

I remember how we’d circle, round and round. Outside the gate, along the perimeter would be our parents. They’d be staring from afar—right at us—but did they see us? Could they pick us out?

Last weekend it was Max. Looked right at me, he did. Stared. Two feet away, gurgling, smiling, staring. I wonder: does he know me? At all? Will he pick up scent? Can he depict voices? Are we all the same? What is he really thinking as his fingers grip my thumb?

My parents always saw –even from afar. “Hold on to the pole,” they’d shry!

We bid adieu on Monday—the kid and I. And so it was.

Airport III came early…Tuesday. It was Bones out to Hopkins bright and early. The 3M went later, and even later went Rooney. She’s OUR baby, you know, and like my parents, sees me from afar.

“Put on your seatbelt,” she shries.


Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Tired but restless, unable to sleep, I wait. And wait. And wait for the weekend.

On Friday, right here in Cleveland, Ohio, home to the hottest team in baseball, sometime after 4PM, Max Parker Bogart makes his local debut. I’ve pointed to this day for some time now—many have—and Michael’s email detailing the flight info was a welcome valentine. So…I’m preoccupied, and have been.  This was destined to be a long week.

“Monday morning feels so bad,”

Four days to go, it was still too soon to leave for the airport. Mondays are flat to begin with, but at least Wieder was in town. We met Snyder at Champps for dinner and Bobby was so happy to see Alan he actually sat back to the door the entire time. Dinner with 3/4 of The Big Four, the highlight of my pre-grandson week included a phone call to Stuart. We change and we grow, but we love.

“Comin’ Tuesday I’ll feel better.”

Spoke twice with Meredith as Friday eased into long field goal range. Excitedly that night Michael blew through a chorus of chop-busting inquiries he typically escrows for face-to-face meetings. Relentlessly, (amid laughter), he prefaced each question alike: “Let me ask you a question, Dad…”

Fact: When the first words out of my son’s mouth are “Let me ask you a question…” it’s a set up, a platform. Bank on it: his thrill’s in the asking and not in the answer.

“…Who do you think is cooler dad, Brad Pitt or George Clooney…Matt Damon or John Hamm… Matt Damon or George Clooney…Who’s your favorite singer dad?….”

I enjoyed his nonsense Tuesday, and loved to hear him laugh. We were still three days out, but…it followed by moments a conference call with Harriet and Hal. The entire family, it seemed, was rallying this weekend around the flag of our male heir to the throne. The surname will continue, (albeit with a New York accent). Yes, Tuesday was a good day.

“Wednesday just won’t go—“

Yesterday, again, I was flat. Still a bit early to get them, but plans were in final descent. Tammy and Meredith, kindred spirits that they are, both told me no one uses the word “buggy” anymore. Who knew? Moreover, my brainstorm for what to do next Monday (I’m taking the day off) was rejected. Max, I’m advised, is too young for the zoo.
Oh well, at least I got to take Alan to Hopkins. (Like Stacy says: I’m good at airport runs).

“…Thursday goes too slow.”

Thursdays usually fly by. Afternoons spent at the hospital offer respite from travails. Without a cellphone I get four hours away from the clowns and acrobats that populate my day. Still, if I can’t sleep now, how slowly will my day drip by? I picture sitting at the information desk, body present but mind elsewhere…and watching the tick, tick, tick of a clock that won’t be moving.

If I’d been smarter, I’d have plans for the night—a game plan to run out the clock.
Nights Before are elastic. They mentally stretch, starting earlier than usual and lasting long past Letterman’s monologue. I didn’t think. Where’s the clock management?

Oh well, it’s a chip shot now. Friday, that is.

My meeting first thing: 7:30, Suburban Temple…a jumpstart to the day. And guess what? It’s a bye week: No Helen.

So the countdown begins, even in the wee hours of this Thursday morning. Like it did when I waited to drive, and when I waited for college, and when I waited for marriage…and even as we waited for kids…

Except now I’m waiting for Max…tick, tick, tick…and I’ve got Friday on my mind.

                                                (with help from The Easybeats)


Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Last Sunday, in the hills of West Virginia, surrounded by strange faces, my mind flashed back fifty years. How couldn’t it? In that instant, in that one shining moment, I relived a lesson of long ago.

As a ten year-old in South Euclid’s Little League, I’d ride the White Sox bench, getting the obligatory one bat per game. We were at Negrelli, the big diamond—the one with the green, wooden fences…where if you followed the path through bushes, you could dreidle from behind first base through shrubs and come out at the Lawsons on Green Road.

Second inning, (maybe third)…I was up. (In a season that would see us win the World Series, defeating Lyndhurst’s champion in August), Mr. Wendel was no idiot. Regularly he’d start Ricky VInce, George Karabinus and me. We had to bat— had to play two innings in the field. That last thing the man wanted was to be stuck with us if the game went extra innings).

We had a powerhouse that year: John Capretta, Terry Chambers, Mike Tanker, Tom Lucia; we were loaded. I was insecure, even when we were so good I couldn’t hurt us…even that night, early in the season. The team was still undefeated then, and me? I was still hitless.

It was a shot I hit: a line drive earmarked for center field, just left of second. In the days of wooden bats this had the snap of an aluminum rope. And at the crack of my bat, head down I ran to first. I couldn’t have hit the ball better! Finally!

The shortstop, though, caught the ball. Reached up, they tell me, and snagged it. Some piece of sh$! with a name I can’t recall (but once thought I’d never forget), “robbed me.”

I remember the guys with generic encouragement: “You’ll get’m next time,” “Tough shot,” and all that crap. And I remember the hurt. Most of all, though, I remember my father. Standing behind the bench, arms stoically folded, he kept his distance. He wanted to approach, I’m sure, but waited.

Then, after the game…walking through the lot:

“The hits will fall,” he told me. “Just keep doing what you’re doing.”
“But Dad! (I must have been thinking), “I’m 0 for May!”
“The hits will fall—I promise.”

It was a mantra that, give or take a few words, still rings true.

I picture my first years in recovery. These were ugly times Lonely times. Not a pot to piss in, estranged from Hal…Michael and Jamie were at school and there was a blockade on Woodway. Sober, on the inside I knew I was doing things right. On the outside, though, it was scary. Playing life at a better level, I was, for whatever reason, hitless.

“Just keep doing what you’re doing,” said my sponsor. He wasn’t Al Bogart, but I got it…and over time things fell into place.

And so it was that just a week ago, exhausted by three hours of tournament poker, I wound up at the final table. I’d played well all day—played my heart out, in fact. Felt good. Proud, even exhilarated by events, I texted the one person on earth who would truly share my joy: Walt.

We had a fifteen minute break before play’d begin. When I’m going well, even these respites aren’t left to chance. There’s a rote regimen—a discipline of activity I go through (just in case). One clockwise walk around the table, a trip to the john, and then, returning, I stand. I always stand—never sit—during the breaks.

I was seated though…waiting for the “Shuffle up and deal,” when my phone flashed. Quickly, while I could, I replayed the message. It was Marc: a pep talk. “Remember your table image,” he told me. “Take advantage of it.”

Buoyed, renewed with confidence, my mind raced through other things he’s taught me: Play to win, not just to cash. Play strong near the bubble. And more.

I was ready.

Four hands later my earth shook. Sitting first (after the blinds) to act, I’d been dealt two kings. Even without Walt’s input, my play was clear:
“All in.”
The players folded around to the small blind, who called…and for a moment, I was thrilled.
“Aces,” he beamed, opening his cards.
“Kings,” I showed, waiting for condolences.

And then it happened. The dealer flopped a king and I won the pot, knocking the other guy out of the tourney.

“Nice hand,” came the mumble. He was talking to himself, no doubt. About how he’d played four hours just to get his aces cracked and go home empty. And he had that look: the look you get when your line drive is snared by the shortstop.

Me? I wasn’t talking. I was thinking… about a summer long ago…and how my father promised me the hits would fall.


Thursday, April 7th, 2011

It was the morning after Hal’s birthday and huddled at Caribou the refrain was familiar.

“Being single’s getting old.”
The remark evoked immediate laughter from Weiskopf. “I thought.” he noted, “That after the Columbus nonsense you were taking a break?”
“Time’s up.” I defended. “That was two months ago… and besides,” I continued, “I’ve been thinking…”
“That’s dangerous!” said Ed, ready to laugh.
“Gonna let them make the first move. If someone’s interested fine, if not—no harm, no foul. It’ll be easier, don’t you think?”
“Yeah,” he said, “But we’ll have nothing to talk about.”

Game plan set late February, I not only rejoined JDate, (for another “last” time”), but gingerly spread word I’d be fixed up. The results, my buddy snickered weeks later, were the same.

The month’s start, to be sure, was awkward. There was the accountant that struck first, and met me for coffee. “Aren’t you enticed?” she’d asked me on line… and the truly attractive Russian émigré (also, oddly, an accountant). No magic with the former and ‘though the latter brought chemistry, the fact is that in an hour over dinner at Brio I didn’t understand a single thing she said.

And so it was that days after the bilingual dinner, while checking in for a manicure, old friend Betty pulled me aside.
“She wants to go out with you,” she told me, pointing to someone that once did my nails—someone absolutely stunning.
(It was a no-brainer, I figured. Not only did I ask her out that morning, but I couldn’t wait to share the news with wise ass Ed.
“I have only one prediction,” said my friend.
“You know how you get bored easily?”
“Yeah—your point?”
“I don’t know whether you’ll have a good time or not but either way I predict six weeks from now you’ll be getting your nails done somewhere else.”

The date was fun, actually. She was even better looking at night. That being noted, for reasons I can’t quite put my finger on, it was a case of CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR. Unsolicited, she’d told me what a great time she’d had, that she couldn’t wait to “tell Betty…” and that I should call her. Days later, though, when I did phone, she said she’d call back.

She never did.
(Maybe she’d been drunk at dinner).

Ed said to call her—perhaps I’d heard wrong. “Maybe she’s waiting for your call.” I passed. (Rochelle told me long ago that if a woman wants to see you she knows well how to get the message across. I take Rolo at face value; she never lied to me). With no emotional investment, I folded the hand.

We were just past mid-month, and it was same old same old. 61, and for whatever reason, just not ready for prime time. Time to concentrate, (I sensed), on the kids, the grandkids, Seders coming up, the new office, the program, whatever. I was all in.

A few days passed.

“I want you to meet someone,” said my barber. “She’s about your age, comes here, and knows who you are. She said I should give you her number.”

“OK!” I jumped, rejuvenated.

We went to dinner last week—the new referral and me. Nice Jewish girl, age appropriate, educated. Didn’t seem to smile, but perhaps, (I thought in those first minutes), perhaps even normal.

“Do you know my ex-husband?” she asked two traffic lights into the evening.
“Of course,” I responded. (Both he and I have lived our whole lives here, I thought. How couldn’t we know each other. And who cares?)

“I just want you to know,” she continued, “I don’t date people that know him.”

“I just want YOU to know,” I didn’t say, but wanted to, “That now I really am all in.”


Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

It had been forty-five years since expulsion from AZA. Enough was enough. As such, when in March Stuart noted he’d be north for an April wedding, our conclave was scheduled. What followed was no less than predicable.

The meeting was set for yesterday, 11AM, Corky’s. Fred was notified, as were Treinish and Raisin. Bob asked me to reserve the back booth –evidently his fingers had forgotten how to dial—but, sensing low attendance, he emailed Friday to cancel the booth. (Since I’d yet to act on the first request, his second came easy).

Arriving early, I sat down facing out. Stu came next and, thin as ever, glided inside—to the middle of the booth. How was it, I wondered, that his stomach never once touched the table? Smiling, gloating, he brandished an envelope.

“Here it is, B: the Lodge Directory.”
(Thumbing through it, I heard him speak again).
“B, why do you think I’m listed in Florida and not here?”
(I hadn’t a clue).
“Out-of-state dues!” he noted. “Much cheaper.”

By then Bobby’d begun his one man parade through the restaurant. Moving to the south of the table, I acceded the power seat to Snydo not so much of duty but from a sense that it takes so little to make him happy. Sitting in the point he is, if but momentarily, bubbling over, once again behind the wheel of his ’66 Mustang convertible. (How could I deny him?)

It was time to begin:


The meeting was called to order at 11:15 by Aleph Godol Bob S. There were 3 members in attendance. Stuart reported that Fred might stop by later; Bruce said that Arthur was working ‘til noon but that Treinish opted out. Bobby announced that Randy was too busy taking his wife and his pet to doctors. After a general discussion the consensus was that Kraut was excused but that Alan has no interest in his Rowland buddies. (I disagreed for the record, but my heart wasn’t in it).

There was no reading of the minutes of the last meeting. Thank God no one asked. Last I saw of the file it was in an oversized cardboard box stored in Lomaz’s Bolingbrook garage. (Have seen neither the file nor Lomaz’s friendship since).

Committee Reports: None.
Old Business: Bob reported that Randy was still recovering from his tragic loss. It was noted that we’ve all reached out to him and that his timetable is his timetable. Our thoughts, clearly, remain with the Rais.

New Business: Discussion was had about a 2011 reunion. The group is considering Stuart’s Florida compound as a cost-efficient new venue offering collegial atmosphere. Bob expressed concern that everyone has a bed while Stuart assured that he would gladly open his home but under no circumstances would he relinquish his bedroom. Bruce assuaged the issue, reminding all that at the behest of his then-wife and kids, he once slept in a bathtub in Buckhorn, Pennsylvania.

The thought was that Mark might come from Columbus (and see his kids along the way), and Arthur that would complain, but show. (I agreed with the former, but reminded the guys that Art prioritizes fishing excursions these days and was even hesitating on his fall Vegas trip). Stu and Bob felt that Alan would come from Portland; I thought not. My life in the minority was underscored as I offered to call Myers. You could hear the silence.

Good And Welfare: The waitress had a tattoo on her wrist. Bob said he recently considered getting one, but passed. Stuart surprised us, remarking that they could be “sexy.” Immediately we replayed the old commercial: “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile!” Stuart? Stuart Fenton? Bruce related a distaste for “tats,” even though Wieder had some. (Silently it occurred to him that giving Alan a pass on tattoos was but history repeating itself. Had Bruce’s dad, who adored Alan, not overlooked Wieder’s shoulder-length hair?)

“B,” Fenton asked, “What do you suppose Al Bogart would say if his waitress had a tattoo?”
Snyder laughed as Stuart continued:
“He’d say ‘Let’s find another place to eat.’”

There was a general discussion about Marvin. The contents will not be reflected in these minutes as we’ve all been taught that if there’s nothing nice to say, say nothing.

Shortly before the meeting closed, Brother Fred arrived. Always a welcome sight, he was tanned, trim, and (as usual), looked ten years younger than the rest of us. His face showed little evidence of time travelled since he first he was dubbed “Chico Santa Anna Guadlahari Gomez, Jr.’, or “Macro Cephallic,” or the other adolescent nicknames. He remains in constant contact with Randy and, more significantly, with those of our friends of yesteryear that gladly leave us in their pasts. Freddy shared pictures Dnnis, Ricky’s A & H and Joel, all taken at Herman’s kid’s wedding.  Most importantly, Fred showed a picture of his mother.  It was the perfect way to close the meeting.

Respectfully submitted,
Bruce Bogart, Aleph Mazkir