The gold ring slid from my fourth finger with my mind gripped the melancholy. No, it wasn’t ’93 and the demise of a marriage. Hardly. It was, rather, Sunday afternoon—a final bow as Murray The Cop.

“Mind if I keep this?” I asked the stage manager. There was a poignancy to it all— would I ever wear one again? My first wedding band, (circa 1972) is housed in Chicago—the little one’s souvenir of a marriage gone south.

“What do I care?” she offered, oblivious to my moment. It went in my pocket.

Not that I look to remarry. Or live with someone. Strikes me first I should date, or maybe have a girlfriend. Still, what once was perceived as eventual, then viewed as possible, now appears to be just another activity others do, but not me. Like archery.

Whodda thunk it?

“You run from relationships,” said a lady that knows me well. “You’re afraid.” She was wrong. Are you kidding me? Afraid of what—being hurt? I think not. Not only was my first cut the deepest but the second and third grew scabs.

“You’re too particular,” says another. I think not. This kid would settle. In ’10 alone I ignored the ponytail-in-the-back-of-the-baseball cap look, waived the blonde rule, and still missed the flop.

Seventeen years after the second great Exodus…Where HAVE all the flowers gone?

I question this on but limited occasions—like right after a play (flat mood, open schedule), or sitting in Starbucks as good-looking women—all seemingly married— parade by, or, frankly, when I see ugly people holding hands. How is it THEY find mates, and I don’t?

That question (of course) is rhetorical. Still, year in/ year out I watch other nice guys without money fall in love, couple up. Me? I’m still playing home-and-away series, looking for Ms. Goodbar.

“You think too much,” says one child— hearing my self-assessment. Love her optimism. “Why even go out with her, Dad?” cries another. “There’s no future in it.” Hear his realism. Then, of course, there’s Jacobson: “Go out with her, Bogie!”—his advice of anyone anywhere anytime, “…And just take things as they come. You never know….” Experts all, but when were any of these mavens last out there?

Once it was simple…looking for a smile, a fragrance, an edge.

“You don’t want women with an ‘edge’, Dad!” Michael warns. “They’re all whack jobs.”

Governor Al Smith used to say: “Let’s look at the record.” I say Let’s do it! What’s on the back, then, of my baseball card?

             Married his first girlfriend right out of college.
             Bright promise—had the “over.” Went 22 and
             out. A decade later found himself engaged for
             six weeks; it didn’t take. (His kids bet the

So maybe it’s just not meant to be.

An aunt out east dreams and periodically urges reconnection with the ex. I love Aunt Lee…dearly…. but she’s seen too many movies. Aunt Helen, of course, not only lives here, but is fodder for her own movies. Fridays she’ll push me (again) to comb the Jewish News for “socials.” What, may I ask, does she know? Her last date was to a fundraiser for the League Of Nations.

And so it goes. There’s JDate, Match, and all that nonsense. Better I should put my money on a hard eight. There’s Cousin Norm and his pick of the week: Pasadena. And there’s me.

Maybe I SHOULD take up archery. Perhaps then I’ll find Cupid’s bow. In the meantime, though, I’ll ship Murray’s ring to Illinois—let Stacy have it…. a souvenir of yet another “Odd Couple.”

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