“…Somebody asked me today, “Phil, if you could be

 anywhere in the world, where would you like to be?”

 And I said to him, “Prob’ly right here…”.


                                                Bill Murray ( ”Groundhog Day”)


Keith relapsed this week, surprising few. He never got that “attitude of gratitude.”
Too bad.

We were leaving a meeting last month:

“You know Bruce,” he sighed, “It’s been a half year Is this all there is?”
“Just seems like every day’s the same. Work, home, meeting,” (Had he forgotten so soon? In April there’d been rehab…his marriage hung then by a thread and the thread was on fire).

I hear this kind of crap a lot and have a standard answer: “Rent ‘Groundhog Day!’” I tell them.
(They don’t get it).
I remind ‘em what Ben Selzer used to tell me—that they have the world “by the calooms.”

We all do. Me for sure. Yes, today I marvel in the ordinary.

Not that I don’t get flat — I do. I push through it though, knowing not only that it passes, but sensing full well that even the bad times are good. My Dad used to say “Learn how to sit still, little boy.” He knew then what I know now: there’s something special about quiet.

Sometimes life just needs to bake.

I’m flat now, by the way. Why shouldn’t I be…in the afterglow of such a great run? This train chugged through twenty-five “Odd Couple” rehearsals in five weeks, ran nine performances over three weekends; this locomotive roared through High Holidays with an engine that accelerated right into the road trip of birth and bris….and now, abruptly, I’m idling.

Saw it coming—expected it—in some ways even relished the silence—the ennui.

When I was a first-grader acting out in Miss Gustely’s class she’d sit me in the corner. On a shellacked caramel wooden chair, back to the class, I’d crave return to the tumult. It was punishment.

Not so today. Not exactly. Today it’s therapy: involuntary therapy. Today when my regimen slows to “time out” I fidget less, inactivity no longer being the end of mankind as we know it.

Business as usual this week: Calls to return, rain…Shabbos dinner, bad cold. Same old same old.

The other night I stayed home. I lay there…like a wounded duck…alone.
For a moment it got to me: that boredom. I was lamenting my singleness and thinking too much: Match.Com? Boring blonde shiksahs and nothing in common. Free on-line poker? Boring idiots with play money calling everything.

Phoned a friend. She’d said call if I didn’t feel well. Voice mail. No mood to write, nothing to read…and, indeed, (WSOP done) nothing to watch…Return to JDate? Not blondes but brunettes, I thought. Still, Bob says I’m too particular and Michael says “Be particular.” Whatever!

Pedal to the metal.

Margie called—that very night—about Thanksgiving. More of the same…wonderfully, more of the same. (Can I forget ’96? It was dinner at Fridays that Thursday…alone. Maybe I should have told Keith about that!)

I got up the next day and went to work. It would be an uneventful yet great day…(accent on “great”). Ermine in town, with Bobby for breakfast (first shift)…then the Boys ‘n The Back…lunch meeting at noon… Hillcrest Hospital… Mentor Court… then Recovery Room by night…A full day. A turnaround day. An ORDINARY day.

There was more.

Went home that evening, exhausted. Nose running, achy, drained, I eased back for SVU, Skype, and sleep. The phone rang— New York. Do I miss Max they wondered. When would I be back?

Simple questions with simple answers and yes, the same questions and same answers from conversations before…Same old, same old. And I love it.

I take nothing for granted in this world—not even tomorrow. The simplest of joys is priceless; the most predicable is treasured. This was true that ugly mid-‘90’s night at Friday’s when for $7.99 I had turkey, stuffing, and a holiday alone; it was true through the hustle of recent weeks, and it’s true today…I do, as my father-in-law would say, have the world by the calooms. And, as he’d often add, “Everything’s all right in America.”

May I never forget it.

2 Responses to “GROUNDHOG DAY”

  1. Jackie says:

    Thank you.

  2. m says:

    There is something so comforting about the “same old, same old”. Everyday is thanksgiving.

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