Friday, June 26, 2009

A Salute To A Fallen Icon.... The Day The Music Died!

For years to come, I will remember the exact place I was when I heard the news. It will be forever etched in my memory much like our parents recall where they were when JFK was shot or John Lennon was gunned down in Central Park. Yes, for me, this will be the life-altering "event" for which I will eternally recall the exact place I stood when tragedy bestowed me and the rest of the world. A true moment in history filled with sadness, despair and angst that will live on for the ages.

I am speaking, of course, of the day that Whole Foods ran out of those delicious Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits before 5pm!

It was like any other ordinary day. A light rain, a cool breeze, a mediocre and COMPLETELY uneventful afternoon at the office. A memo, a phone call or two and a few random emails. Little did I know the suffering that would soon unfold on society and the world - all at the hands of a madman, the Prepared Foods Manager. "He was such a quiet Man" says a saddened customer as, in retrospect, they pondered what may have caused such a kind man to perpetrate such a heinous injustice. Some have speculated that an acute lactose intolerance and a raging nut allergy may have caused the seemingly professional man to snap. is reporting that an exotic strain of Mad Cow Disease comined with an addiction to laxatives may also be to blame. But we may never know.

It all began in 2007................

The Fruit and Yogurt Parfait and its Mediterranean counterpart, the Greek Yogurt Fruit Pot were long time companions - but living in separate refrigerated cases at America's Organic Headquarters, Whole Foods. Early in life, the Greek Yogurt was the favorite. Always snapped up in the produce aisle LONG before eager shoppers even stumbled upon the Fruit & Yogurt Parfait nestled way in the rear of the store - ill-placed between the Tandoori Chicken Bites and the Tofu Potstickers.

As the years went by, the Fruit and Yogurt Parfait was a bit of a transient, making its way from the prepared food section, to the Gelato case to a barrel full of ice in front of the pizza counter. It was not until the Dessert Station was born that the Fruit & Yogurt Parfait blossomed into the highly coveted lactose-filled treat adored by fans young and old. A tasty mix of granola, seasonal berries and exotic fruits, rich custard-like yogurt and ripe thinly-sliced strawberries for garnish..... It was a culinary masterpiece.

The true "Dairy Queen," this little nibble provided such happiness to so many. It was love in a cup. But its popularity came at a price [insert dramatic VH1 "Behind The Music" soundtrack here].

The Greek Yogurt Pot was lost. The once adored favorite of so many was quickly becoming yesterday's news. The proverbial Billy Ray Cyrus of all desserts. Greeky (I called it Greeky) was now an orphan in a big city, a ship without a rudder, never finding it's home - a defeated sense of purpose and rapidly diminishing feeling of self worth.

A true American tragedy.... yet in Greek.

It seemed to be smooth sailing for the Fruit & Yogurt Parfait - Super stardom had taken hold. Now dwarfing the success of that "other" Yogurt snack. The fanfare was endless, the popularity at its peak. It was just then, at the height of the euphoria and cult-like success that it all just fell apart.

I recall that fateful moment when I rounded the corner past the Handmade Gluten-free Pizza Shells and Honey Bees Wax Lip Balm display that the news rang out - Much like that time I put a stethoscope up to church bells at noon on Christmas Day - it sheered through my very soul like a hot dagger through a stick of butter. The case was bare. The yogurt was gone. A piece of me had died.

Customers were agasp and there was a common look of horror I haven't seen since the Jerry Springer Sex Tape was leaked to the media. Some cried. Others smiled and recounted the good times with the luscious parfait. Some consoled others and offered a hug to a stranger. Most just copped a feel. There were a few that just greedily ran to the produce aisle looking to snap up the once renowned, now outcast Greek Yogurt - a bit fair-weathered, I know but that's because they are cold, selfish, unfeeling yogurt whores. Dirty, dirty whores.... I nearly slipped during that mad sprint across the store on a wet leaf of organic lettuce from Paraguay - but let's not lose focus here.....

The sadness and utter heartbreak is something that will stay with me until my dying day. In fact, I am finding it hard to go on. But with each passing day, my pain will heal and society will return to a sense of normalcy. It is my hope that the world remember the Fruit & Yogurt Parfait with love and kindness and not be tempted to let its legacy fade by the seductive allure of a new 4000 calorie 40 gram of fat little heart attack with a dome lid.

I will miss you dearly my Fruit & Yogurt Parfait (which is manufactured in a facility that produces nuts, pine nuts and may contain soy, egg and pieces of shells)

You will always have a place in my heart....

Oh, and by the way... Michael and Farrah are dead.

The end.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Librarian, a Married Woman and the Reverend Al Sharpton.....

all go into a bar.... THIS IS NOT THAT KIND OF STORY...

I was trying to think of some tidbits from the train wreck that I call "life" and share them with my dear friends. In their absence, y'all will do.

As discovered in previous blogs, most of my stories begin with "I was REALLY wasted last night." This is one such story. It begins devoid of boozing but quickly morphs into a drunken disaster. Buckle up.

For such a quiet kid in the early 80's, it is truly amazing how much trouble one can cause under the guise of being the "good kid" (as opposed to Billy who was that "other kind of kid."). See, I was the kid with three jobs in the 7th grade. I delivered newspapers, worked in the pizzeria and then headed off to the movie theatre. I was a hard-working good kid. The altar boy (pipe down.....), the guitar player in the church folk group and the kid that would go shopping with Grandma just to keep her company on a Saturday afternoon. I was the one that would do a friend's book report or mow their lawn so they could run off and get laid. It was I that once volunteered to take care of an elderly guy when his kid's stopped coming around. I was practically a Saint.

All a ruse! I assure you. This quiet kid was stealthing through adolescence with a mean streak ready to flourish and a sinister sense of humor that would turn ugly for anyone in it's path...

Let's begin at the Harrison Library. A studious child, I was not. I was often ridiculed in class for NEVER having my homework and for once getting a 34% on a math final. Not exactly a scholar. But the library was my safe haven. It was here that the devilish and mischievous carnage would begin. Enter Witch Hazel. She was some librarian who was as tall as Big Bird. She had a mammoth Moley, Moley on her face that could be seen from space. While she was very scary to me as a child (In a Bea Arthur - Adam's Apple kinda way), I was still daring enough to test the waters with ol' Witchy. And so it began.

Frank Alfano was a friend of mine in the 7th grade. After moving around a lot and ending up in a different school almost every year, I landed at St. Greg's in Harrison. It was here that a little porker of a child would be befriended by Frank. Now, if there were anyone that would crack my little shell of goodness and turn me into something evil, it was Frank. We would spend hours in that library thinking of ways to torture the staff, destroy things and torment little old ladies until we were finally thrown out. Not permanently, of course. Just for the day. For whatever reason, those trusting hags granted us library-crime immunity practically every day hoping that the next afternoon would be the moment that we were reformed. Not gonna happen. Not in this story.

George Carlin was a funny guy. Super Genius and Cynic. Smart beyond smart. But we didn't know that in the 7th grade. We barely had a hair on our ass let alone the ability to recognize genius in the making. We only knew George to be the guy that dropped "F-Bombs" and we were determined to change the way people enjoyed their library visits.

The library had all kids of gadgets. Microfilm to look up old news articles, braille books for those blind fuckers and hi-tech cassette players (ooohhh!) and headphones so one could discretely enjoy a book-on-tape in the quiet of their surroundings. Not us. We would plug in those over-sized, giant cushioned headphones with that enormous plug into the player and listen intently as George started his rant. It would build and build, finally erupting into a tirade of profanity that was too good to keep under wraps. It was just then that Frank would violently rip the giant headset plug out of the recorder and, at full volume, the young and elderly alike would jump out of their skin as Carlin screamed "shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits." Seems these 7 dirty (and loud) words were enough to get us thrown out for the day. Not without first running quickly through the library (with Big Bird in pursuit) pushing books off shelves and ripping down hanging mobiles from the ceiling.

Tomorrow's another day.

The fun didn't stop with Witch Hazel. There was Warthog, The Faggy Guy and Wendy. Not sure why we never named Wendy. But Wendy is a whore's name anyway - so it's all good. Warthog died after a couple of months. Frank and I even went to her funeral. Well... not exactly. We were both altar boys and we used to get out of class to "work" the funerals. We would load up on candy from the little luncheonette across the street and spend a joyous (but sad for some) 60 minutes listening to the priest say "Warthog was such a fine woman, yada, yada, yada." Who cared, we had Tootsie Rolls. We would eat half and throw the other half across the altar at each other. The priest was on to us and he quickly stopped us from doing funerals together. Buzz-kill.

The faggy guy is tough to remember. Not sure why. Hope it is not a memory just being repressed and I find out some day he showed me his Dewey Decimal.....

Then there is Wendy. A frump of a woman who had the face of Ernest Borgnine and an even less attractive body. Even as horny young lads, we knew to keep that beast at arms length and not look directly at it. Wendy was just a bitch. She would get mad when we pushed each other down the stairs, angry when we would hurl the book cart at lightning speed up an aisle into a feeble old woman and she'd even get pissed when we would move entire sections of catalogued books to a different aisle. What a rag! And if she were not unreasonable enough, imagine the scene when we took those little check-out cards from the pocket of every book and swapped them with the wrong title. Imagine that call when Mrs. Henderson had a late charge on "The Joy of Sex" when she took out "War and Peace." Wendy was just no fun. But she did have a love of candy. She would always yell at Frank and I and take away whatever food we had smuggled in. She would slap her porky fingers down on the table and say "No eating in the Library, young men!" (Which is better than "No Eating Young Men in the Library.")... But I digress. She would quickly snap up the treats and throw them in the desk drawer. Now, judging by the look of Wendy's "thickness" there was no way these snacks were making their way to any landfill other than the one that was occupying that ill-fitting skirt. You knew that the minute Frank and I lit fire to a garbage can or small child, she would be on those Twinkies like white on rice. No offense to you Orientals.

Again, we were not thinkers. Not a valid thought between our two heads. Yet Frank and I conjured up a plan that involved a bag of Reese's Pieces and a potential case of Hepatitis A.

We were doing our normal thing - like messing with some old woman, Gladys, who used to come to the library every day wearing moon boots and a wife-beater shirt. She was hot. We were well underway with Operation Fart on Gladys when Wendy caught us mid-crank. We were asses up in Gladys' face letting one rip when Wendy (a whore's name) threw us out. She snapped up the open bag of Reese's Pieces and we ran like hell. Now that she had taken the bait, we were outside perched on the window sill, watching, waiting (and still farting and giggling). 5 minutes, 10 minutes... we were about to give up hope when she looked around, opened her drawer and discreetly stuck her quarter-roll sized fingers in the bag of E.T.'s favorite candy and nibbled away. Little did she know that EACH of those little extraterrestrial treats had first been in our noses and blown out like a snot rocket back into the bag. We were redeemed - but had to run. We were working the 7:30pm mass.

There was a young girl that worked in the library. We would try to torture her but she'd fire right back at us. I had a bit of a crush on her at the time - but she was smokin' hot and the only thing hot about me was the Bacon, Egg and Cheese I was secretly hiding in my pocket. For those keeping track, I was tipping the scales at 300+ by the 8th grade. We used to call her Flippy - her name was Filomena. The only thing they called me was Orca. That's not short for anything. Flippy would yell at us but I could tell she was having fun too. She later married a friend of mine. Enough with this walk down memory lane... Let's move on...

By my late-teens I had moved on from quiet (but easily swayed) young man to an absolute beast. I did this all under the silence of a grin and the occasional chuckle. Unbenounced to all around, if you encountered me on any given day, I would cast a half-smile all the while planning what I could do to make you cry. A bit passive-aggressive, I know - but you can call me a humanitarian for keeping shrinks in business. They need love too.

Once again, my brother was always the one to be in some kind of trouble. He hung out with an absolute "wack pack" and was once even arrested because they thought he was someone else. Me, not so much. The face of an angel (a really fat angel with super-wings for lift).... [Patti and Debbie, if I recall, you were part of that Wack Pack]...

Fast forward a bit to the early 90's. By now, I was full-fledged Satanic and could always been found smashed out of my mind doing something ridiculous. I had this apartment in Rye Brook. Sounds fancy but it was about 3 feet over the Port Chester border and I once had a guy literally knock on my window at 4am to buy drugs - thinking the former tenant still lived there. I sold him a dime and went back to bed.

At one point, a friend of mine, an E.M.T (turned cop, turned convict, turned reformed convict) [this is too long to explain - that's a blog for another day] moved in with me. We would have a drunken blowout party every night of the week. There were typically 10 people packed into a studio apartment that was literally a sink, two couches and a bathroom. We used to go out for drinks at a restaurant and then really whoop it up later at the TH2. This particular night, we opted for drinks and dinner at the Crab Shanty. It was me, my roommate Matt (EMT, COP, CONVICT, REFORMER), Terri (aka Uncle Jessie) and Trish (Evil, Evil Trish)... We started off with daiquiris and quickly moved on to Cuervo. Before we knew it, we were done with dinner, had moved on to the bar and were planning how all of us would squeeze in Matt's tiny, rusted car to go out bar hopping. This was further complicated by the addition of our waitress, Linda, who was shanghaied and was now coming with us. Linda was older than us. A Cougar, before Ashton and Demi made it cool. She had to be like 35+ (how old!) and we were maybe 24 or so. I do not remember any of this, but according to legend, I learned that Linda was married - so my challenge, of course, was to figure out ways to get her to cross that line. I figured Matt would be prime for that challenge. Little did I know, It would be me at 2am on HER FRONT LAWN sucking face and other seedy little indiscretions, all under the window where her husband was sleeping. This would have been more discreet if the rusted, car-full of goons were not cheering me on... Never saw her again - on the street - in the restaurant - anywhere. I wonder if her husband's name was Drew Peterson...

There are soooo many crazy stories of similar (but more scandalous) nature I have been injected into - that will keep me blogging (and in therapy) for years to come....

I have always been an attention seeker. Despite the fact I seem to keep to myself, fly under the radar personally, seem somewhat reserved.... okay - none of these things are true. I am an attention WHORE (just call me Wendy). If I am not talking about ME, someone else had better be. That's my motto. Go ahead, Google it! If there was a gathering, I had to be there - doing something wild - and having everyone talking for days (and in some cases years).

Halloween, DOUBLE BONUS! What better time to do something ridiculous AND be disguised as someone else making it even less risky to have people pissed at me. Now, Halloween was always a fun time. Even as a kid, I would always do something a bit "off colored" and spark a controversy or two. Dressing up as a penis wearing a condom was just kid's play. Imagine the scene in the 6th grade when I decided a "hooker" was a reasonable costume to wear to the 6th grade dance. My mother (back in day before she were certifiable and old) was quite the party-gal. Often found hanging out with her friends and going "clubbing," I had no problem finding something slutty to wear in her closet. The laughs began so the Halloween's continued.

Later on, I took a more dignified approach to my costuming. The ideas typically came to me about 2 or 3 days out, but make no mistake, they were no less masterful due to a lack of planning, that's for sure.

Making a P.C. choice for costumes was never my forte. Better yet, defying the politically correct was a mission that I held dear to my heart. If I could make just one person sneer, shriek, scowl or slap, my job was done. When I got all 4 in one year, I had arrived.

Ted Danson was once lambasted for jokingly showing up at an awards show in blackface. He was, after all, dating Whoopi Goldberg at the time. Me, on the other hand, found that the scandalous provided a great opportunity for a costume. Enter, Al Sharpton.

Being 350+ pounds (at birth), my costume choices were somewhat limited. I could be Pugsley or Uncle Fester... Perhaps Ralph Kramden or Uncle Buck. But make no mistake, finding a "fatty" that was highly recognizable was quite the challenge. After all, all us fatties look alike, right? (haters)...

But there was one lard ass that could not be mistaken. One with a velour sweatsuit, Don King hair and a series of giant gold bling around the neck could only mean one person. The Rev!

I locked myself in the bathroom for what seemed like hours... (get your minds out of the gutter, I was dressing - not having a love fest with a tube of Jergens...)...

Billy, Beulah, Terri and others all waited eagerly in the living room inhaling the CLOUD of toxins that my mother was exhaling while I brushed out a big Elvis wig until it looked like something Macy Gray could wear.

I emerge from the bathroom painted completely black with theatrical makeup - right down to my arms and fingers. I was practically one of those Africanistans!

There was a ROAR from the room (or a gasp of Emphysema from Mom, not too sure)... that could be heard down the block. Field of Dreams guy once said... "If you build it, they will come, Ray." I don't know who the fuck Ray is, but build it, I did! A colossal replica of the Mighty Reverend complete with bling and fuzzy bunny slippers (a must with all costumes)...

Off to Karaoke we went. Singing LOVE SHACK with a pack of Slutty Nuns (Freeta and Fray Fray). Then, my boldest move yet. Off to the biggest inner-city nightclub in the heart of New Rochelle on Hip Hop night. Classic! I was nearly gunned down in a drive-by. Fun times, all.

Later costumes include The Pope, Mimi from the Drew Carey Show equipped with eyeliner and pig earrings which I popped through my ear by hand just for the night... Dr. Evil - with a 16" tall Mini-Me doll hanging off my shoulder and my finest work up to that point.... a freaking wheelchair.

It was just days before Halloween and I could not think of a costume. Trying to keep things topical, I scoured the news to find out what the "in" story was. The only thing I could muster up was the recent death of Jerry Garcia. My friend Beth (Hi Bethy!!) that I worked with at the time, shook her head and said "Pat, that's not right...." My response was... "C'mon, Beth, its not like I am going as Christopher Reeve or something...." BINGO! The light bulb had gone off. I deployed the entire maintenance team at work to convert my grandfather's wheelchair into the best damn cripple-scooter that was known to man. Complete with an I.V. dripping green serum into my veins (Called the Krypto-drip), to the Nintendo Joystick I used as the directional controls, to the Painter's respirator I had strapped to my neck, to the Curl in my slicked back hair. I was Clark Kent! Even with a cape flying off the back of the wheel chair as Psycho D-Cups (B cups at the time) wheeled me through the doors of the bar, the Superman soundtrack blasting on my Discman speakers.... It was PERFECT! A masterpiece. Little did I know that the entire place would come to a screeching halt when I wheeled in. The music stopped, talking ceased and jaws dropped. It felt like an eternity until life returned to the room. People shook their heads. I heard "ASSHOLE" being screamed from the back of the room. The bartender stood in complete disbelief. The Superman music was the ONLY thing that could be heard. I felt like a CHAMPION! My job was done.

As the moments passed and Elaine fed me my drinks through a straw (aka feeding tube)... the noise returned to the room and one-by-one people approached to tell me what a sick bastard I was. Being a paraplegic, I just sat there - not responding other than to sip my luscious martini which was now being poured into my mouth by Lola Big Cups.

As hours passed and the comments started to shift from sick bastard, to "that's just wrong" to "you are crazy" to "your a lunatic" to "it's kinda funny" to "that's the best fucking costume I have ever seen." Funny how beer goggles have no limits. Then the voting began. First Place by round of applause. The same people who nearly stoned me in the village square, were now chanting and buying me drinks. Thank god for horrible life-changing horse accidents! I was so lucky... This costume was later revived after Chris Reeve died. Why mess with the charm of it. I just slapped a giant grim-reaper (complete with sickle) on the back of the chair and PRESTO ! Just add vodka and shake... Won again!

I skipped a few years of Halloweens post 9/11. I though for sure dressing as Bin Laden or Saddam Hussein would quickly get me killed, especially if I hit downtown NYC like planned.

The grand return was in 2004 and this was my last... (for now).. Going back to my altar boy roots (see how this is starting to tie together?).. I donned my finest black suit, strapped on a collar and sprayed my hair grey. I was the perfect Monsignor. Well, not exactly perfect. I was missing something.... days went by... weeks.... what can I do to make this worthy.... Then it hit me. It was missing the Boyscout! How could I forget that! Not able to find a good Wooden Midget Store, I bought a child-sized mannequin and a cub scout uniform. It was kinda blah. It needed some merit badges, a collar and bandanna and a troop number badge on the front. Why buy those cheap iron-on patches when I can sew them completely by hand! And sew, I did. Picture the look on the clerks face at the uniform store when I bought all of this shit and she said... sir, those merit badges are for boy scouts and the uniform is for cub scouts. I think you are buying the wrong stuff. I insisted I had it right and when she asked why I was making such a purchase, I said without flinching "I really need it to make my pedophile costume authentic and those colors really match the priests eyes..." I have NEVER seen someone look so horrified. Until that night of course, when I hit the White Plains bar scene... bouncing from club to club rounding up the top prize where ever I could. I was up a few hundred bucks. Traffic stopped on Mamaroneck Avenue. People stared and pointed... The church music playing on my ipod speakers caught people's attention as did the trick-or-treat bowl strategically placed near the little cubscout's zipper. Bernie and Trish (good Trish) were my escorts (and bodyguards) for the evening.

Now, walking around with a cubscout was not exactly suggestive enough. So using a barrage of bungee cords, I actually strapped the young tyke right to the front of my pants - face first of course. Now I was done!

My only regret (other than eternal damnation) is not making my way over to Archbishop Stepinac High School for a quick trick or treat....

So, Let Us Pray........the next time I see you on the street, and I nod my head and cast the notorious half-smile, half-grin.... remember that I am really not that genuine and I am actually trying to spot your biggest vulnerability and use it for the inappropriate.

Go In Peace, My Children.....