Laughing at myself is healthy and cleansing. It can also be a full-time job.

Saturday Bob and I crossed the river to visit our aged pal Arthur. Recuperating at Lutheran Medical, he was salivating for companionship—and the opportunity to complain face-to-face. Who were we to deprive him of his life’s passion?

Bob drove his souped-up MItz; I rode shotgun. My job: recite three pages he’d secured from MapQuest. Easier said than done. Not only were the directions misleading, but me…well, I was sure I knew more. Secretly, I was improvising.

We missed a cutoff, though, and Bob noticed. Confidently I reassured him with further instructions, noting that “This feels right.” Wrong again.

So there we were: Snyder tooling around the innerbelt at 40MPH—his left eye on overhead signs, right eye on the map…all as we did Figure Eights on exit ramps!

“It feels right,” I repeated, savoring the challenge of finding the right route before sunset. I was only semi-obnoxious, somewhat giddy. It never occurred to me Bob was getting frustrated. Suddenly, a few loops later, like Jackie Gleason/ Ralph Kramden, my friend erupted:

“B, give me the dam papers already, would ya?”
“OK, fine.” (I was all in).

First light past the Lorain Avenue Bridge he needed me again:

“Left or right? I think right.”
“No, Bob, trust me—it’s left.”

We dreidled through side streets avoiding illegal turns, headed south down West 25th, and…the numbers were again going the wrong way. Only one of us found this amusing.

Kraut looked good, though; his spirits were up. And we had fun. Stumbling upon the one attractive nurse in the building, Bob asked her to take our picture. (We looked like Jan & Dean on a reunion tour, with Moses in the middle). I forwarded it on.

Response came quickly—
“What are you wearing over your shirt?” read Meredith’s text.
“Pale pink T.” (Miami Vice/Retro, or so I thought).
Wrong again, Fabio! (as the ensuing cellular colloquy affirmed):

“Tshirt over buttondown is Nish Nish…
“I thought it was a good look.”
“It’s NOT a good look!”
(OK, I get it).

Six hours later the games continued. Although somewhat inaudible, Michael’s voice mail was clear compliment:

“Dad, it’s a fantastic outfit…You should wear it more often…”

Unfortunately, as I replayed it, and replayed it….well, he was laughing. Throughout. Indeed, his tongue was so far into his cheek he may have poked his sister in Chicago. By bedtime the truth was clear: I not only need a GPS, but a subscription to GQ as well. So be it.

It didn’t however, end there. The Bob stuff was fun; the clothing issue—harmless. Neither, however, compared to the frustration in what should have been my strong suit: reading a book.

You see…it struck me a few weeks back that rather than wait for the movie to come out, I should just read Wieder’s latest tome. And so it was that Friday’s mail brought a softbound copy of “Teacher And Comrade: Richard Dudley And The Fight For Democracy In South Africa.”
(Not my normal fare, but the author is OUR Alan Wieder)!

I remember the excitement in college when I bought my first condoms at 16th & High. Huddling at Starbucks with that same Lewis & Clark sense of adventure, I opened Wied’s book. One small problem, though. I’d never read a book by a professor before…and I brought neither a laptop nor a dictionary…nor (for that matter) Cliff’sNotes.

Highlighting words, .thinking perhaps to call MovieFone…(maybe it was at an art theater?).., I sensed the disconnect. Wasn’t I, in the day, an English major…who ghost-wrote papers? And didn’t Mrs. Pelander tell me I had a “remarkable vocabulary?”

I emailed Alan (who offered to help). By telephone Aunt Helen defined words like “pedagogy.” And I persevered. And I learned…like I had all day.

About my ego… and Cleveland streets…and wardrobe malfunctions….and (ultimately), about myself.

3 Responses to “IF I ONLY HAD A BRAIN”

  1. Marc says:

    Who was Moses and why did I always want to sit by you in tests if you never read anything?

  2. alan wieder says:

    this can get very funny. marc, why you sat by b is so obvious and at that time of life could also be said about me. you didnt read anything. as to you bruce bogart. i wont even speak of you and driving/navigating or clothe, but maybe you should refer to one of your other posts and think about travel that is defined outside of nyc, chicago (great places i might say), and florida. that said, no one has ever called my stuff academic so i should say thanks.

  3. JS says:

    I havent written in a while but this posting has made me think, why no more postings about Helen? She is not only a saint but someone who always knows whats best and who is right. Js is Js.

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