Saturday, October 29, 2011

Blind Dates (The Seeing Kind)

The other day I was thinking about the times I went on what is called  "Blind Dates". For the uninitiated a "Blind Date" isn't about going on a social outing with an unseeing person, rather it is about going out with a person you've never met before because a friend of yours is going out with someone he or she knows that has someone that for one reason or another can't, at the moment, get a date of their own and has to be fixed up with a person of the opposite or same sex to experience a social evening. The hope of those who arrange such things are varied. The person who already has a date and is asked to fix up a date's friend wants to be in a position that makes his date vulnerable to their desires, be it sexual or sexually connected. The person who accepts this offer to go out with someone they have never met before also has varied reasons but is treading upon very dangerous grounds. There have been times when "Blind Dates" have been good and even developed into lasting relationships. However the chances of something not so good happening is far greater. Many times the one who accepts this invitation ends up asking themselves, "What the hell was I thinking? I swear to God I thought the evening would never end!".

I was sixteen when my friend Jimmie told me he asked a girl out from our class but she had a sister who was a couple of years younger that had to accompany her by the requests of their parents. I figured what the hell, I knew Jimmies date and if her sister was as nice as she was what could go wrong, so I said OK, even though I felt uncomfortable about the whole thing since this was my first real date. We went to the movies. Since we didn't have a driver's license we took a bus. After the movie we went to Jahn's an ice-cream shoppe and had Sundaes. We took them home and didn't even get a kiss goodnight which I can understand since after we left their house we didn't say a word to each other other than would you like to stop at Jahn's(?). The four of us barely uttered a word the whole night. Funny but in school there was no feeling of being up-tight but on this Friday night the four of us were tongue tied. I can only speak for me but I imagine we all felt a great relief when the evening finally came to an end. I swore I would never do this again.

The next year my best friend Wuzzy, first name Eddie but no one ever called him that, was madly in love with this girl we had met at Kissena Park. He was granted his first date only if he could provide her friend with a date. What could I do? I put aside my first inclination to tell Wuzzy to shove it and said OK. After all, he was my best friend, wasn't he? So we went to a movie in Jamaica called The Valencia, a great old movie house which was showing the hit horror movie, "The Thing", with James Arness in the starring role. It was crowded and we sat in the second or third row in the orchestra which had us real up close for all the scary scenes. Before I go any further I should tell you I was surprised when I picked my date up. This was the first time we met. This was the first time, and I believe the only time I ever went out with an Albino. She had, I don't know, ash blond hair, blue eyes, the whitest skin I ever saw and the lips that were pink and luscious. Today I think girls pay to have lips like that. I was tempted to ask questions like, "What do you do when you get sunburned?", but I managed to contain myself and not stare. The four of us seemed to be having a good time. Anyhow, back to the movie. The picture was getting scary and Wuzzy was making out. I kept thinking of her luscious lips while at the same time afraid to make a move for fear of bruising her. She kept moving closer so I put my arm around her which prompted her to turn her head to me and her lips were parted and luscious so I did what I felt I must do, kissed her and made out. I remember very little about the movie, "The Thing". However, Wuzzy didn't need my presence anymore for he and his girl to get comfortable so I never saw my Albino with the luscious lips again.

A few years later my friend Jimmie entered my life again. He once more needed someone to go out with his date's sister. We were going to see "The House of Wax" at the Meadows, a three D horror movie with Vincent Price and Charles Bronson, another scary movie. Jimmie did say this would be a big favor and I figured she was not so good looking or something, but what the hell, he was my friend, wasn't he? We picked up the girls and right away I noticed she had a slight disfigurement, a hare-lip. It wasn't really bad but it wasn't really good. Again, I had questions which I had to restrain from asking. Again I had to restrain myself from staring. I stared to perspire since I felt bad but in no way was I going to kiss this girl or ask her out again. I have very little recollection of the movie or how the date ended but I swore I would never do this thing again!

A little while later a friend of mine at the place I worked told me that he was madly in love with a girl who wouldn't go out with him unless her girl friend would be there so he was asking me to go out with Stella. The Blind Dates I had were still imprinted in my memory banks and I stoutly refused until he pulled the friend card so what could I do (?), so I said OK, he was my friend wasn't he? This time we went to a nice little cabaret called The Holiday Inn on Northern Boulevard for some dancing and drinks The girls were to meet us there. As they walked in I saw a statuesque black haired good looking girl come into the place with a short dumpy, shall I say fat, girl along with her. My friend got up to greet them. I was hoping against hope but when he kissed the good looking girl I knew I had again won the prize. As Stella got closer it became apparent that she also had a bit of fuzz on her upper lip. We settled down into the booth and ordered drinks and danced some. The more I drank the better Stella looked because I noticed two enormous good points about her which I really couldn't overlook which I had a weakness for and which I blame this weakness on my mother breast feeding me. The night was over early and I did kiss Stella goodnight but when I woke the next day with the largest headache I ever had, I swore no more of this type of thing!

The last "Blind Date" I had came when my friend Tony told me He had this beautiful girl he wanted to date who had a sister who was also beautiful and their parents wouldn't let them out on dates by themselves. I had come full circle. We got to their house and met the parents who let us know they expected us to be gentlemen. Tony was correct both girls were beautiful. My girl's name was Triny, short for Trinidad. She was perfect in all respects, intelligent, witty, laughed at my jokes, easy to talk to. We were going to a nice night spot called The Riviera in Port Washington. There was only a slight glitch, remember this was about 1954 and times were a bit different. Her family was from Trinidad and they were Black. The question was how would she be greeted at the club, would there be any problems with any patrons? Remember in 1954 there was a lot of racism not so well hidden and we were in a lily white neighborhood. So I made up my mind, anybody says or does anything to hurt this beautiful young lady I'd beat the s**t out of them. We arrived at the club and was greeted with no incident. Some people stared as we danced and I explained to Triny that was because she was so beautiful. We ate, drank danced and had the time of our lives. Tony made out furiously with his girl but I restrained myself because I felt she had to be treated with respect.

Unfortunately, I never saw Triny again as I got involved with a girl named Georgette but soon after fell in love with Sarita, my hot little Puerto Ricana so I couldn't return to my beautiful Black Blind Date. Sarita did cause me to fix up my friend Tommy with one of her girl friends and that turned out to be a disaster. That's another story for another time.

Anyway, for those of you out there who may have an offer of a "Blind Date" I would suggest to you to try it and maybe you'll like it. While my "Blind Dates" were adventurous they have given me memories. The last one even helped me over what-ever prejudice I may have had due to my environment and remember so fondly a girl named Trinidad.        

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Success Is How You Define It!

They were sitting at a bar having an after work drink. Dan was telling Al, his closest friend that he was at wits end. He seemed to hit the ceiling in his quest for a better position at B&A. His work performance was excellent but for some reason that didn't matter anymore. "The real movers and shakers in the place all seemed to have a very active social life" Dan was saying. Al asked him what that meant, "After all Dan, if it means that you and your wife have to socialize a little more what's so hard about that?".

"The socialization that they are talking about doesn't include their wives. They go out together and screw around without their wives. Those who are invited go with them and they all end up as cheaters", Dan explained. "On top of all that it is expected that you join in the wine, women and song games or you are a wuss and no one wants a wuss on their team. The thinking is a stick in the mud type of guy won't take care of the big spenders that the Corporation has and needs. They spend big bucks and are expected to be taken care of'. That means you have to go out to big restaurants, strip clubs and employ big time prostitutes. You are also expected to take part in the festivities. When you don't do that sort of thing the big time customers shun you and you are considered a drag on the business."

Even though Al and Dan  were the closest of friends their friendship was only a few years old. They shared a lot of time together but that involved sports, going to Broadway shows with their wives and such but they never shared thoughts about things of this nature that they we discussing now. Al asked, "Have you ever thought about going along with the prevailing thought in order to get ahead?".

"I just couldn't do that sort of thing. I am so against it I have thought about resigning but this type of behavior is rampant in the business I'm in."

"You have to pardon me but I know it isn't your religious morals that are holding you back. Just what is it that keeps you from joining the crowd and becoming successful while you are having a good time?", Al asked.

"You don't have to be religious to be moral.", Dan countered. "Besides more than morals and the question of whether the practice of debauchery is good or bad business isn't the ruling factor in my decision to avoid this whole thing." Al asked, "Then what is it that's holding you back?". Dan responded:

"Strange as it may seem, I am in love with my wife and I have no desire to cheat on her as I would hope she has no desire to cheat on me. I have no intention on becoming a monk but I do have the intention on living a life with the woman I love until death parts us and in that lifetime there will be no lies or playing around. I want to be able to have children and look them in the eye and let them know that their father loved their mother and them. That it was that love that drove him to make decisions that hopefully led to a good family and a life with no regrets.".

Al, looked at his watch and noted that his train would be leaving the station in ten minutes. He drained his drink and said, "Dan, it appears to me that you really have no problems. You're a guy who is in love with his wife. That is a good thing. You are making a fairly good salary. Maybe you'll never be a Senior Vice President but so what? What you have is more solid than that. You can build a lifetime on what you have What you seek in business can tumble down like a house of cards. Hold on to your love and forget about what they call, "success" since "success" is what you define your as your goals and whether or not you've obtained them.Look buddy, I've got to catch a train. Talk to you later.".

Dan looked at Al rushing off to catch his train. He finished his drink slowly and left the bar. He thought about their conversation on the ride to his station. He got off in Hicksville, got into his car and drove home. As he walked into his home he chuckled as he yelled out, as they do in situation comedies, "Hey Honey I'm home.". His wife was home from her job already and met in the foyer where he grabbed her in his arms and gave her the greatest kiss she ever got from him. He said "Let's eat later. She answered, "Why, what are we going to do now?" To which he replied, as he led her to their bedroom, "Just come with me and let me surprise you.".

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What Matters Most?

One could say his life resembled the day which was going through a nor'easter, dark, dank and very wet. A day better spent indoors out of the elements. The winds were high and blustery shaking many of the leaves from the trees. The trees themselves seemed to be fighting the wind. The wind battling to make them bare while the trees wanted to hold on to their Autumnal glory. The time was approaching very quickly when the trees would no longer have the strength to hold on and all the leaves would fall to the ground leaving them bare. Then they would fall into their winter slumber which would include the earth being blanketed by snow. Above the blanket of snow would be cold and frosty while below the snow would be a protective warmth allowing slumber until the Summer's sun would call the earth to wake up and bloom again.

She had left him after a bitter battle which he never wanted. It seemed as if she provoked the situation. They were just talking and going over their life together when she asked him, "If you had to do it all over again, would you?". He laughed and tried to change the subject but she persisted and demanded that he respond seriously to her question. She told him she wouldn't be angry or hurt if he said something not to her liking but she just wanted to know how he felt about their life together. She knew that he would have lived a completely different life if they hadn't hooked up. He certainly didn't want responsibility and didn't have any trouble getting female companionship. He liked to party, a lot! He wanted to pursue a career in music but knew that it wouldn't really sustain a true relationship. She knew he had buckled down, went to school, got a real job and lived a life which he liked to refer to contemptuously as "respectful". He kept trying to get her off the subject but she started to get angry and he finally said, "YES, I would have done it differently. I would have had fun and lived a life I loved!". This led to an exchange of very bitter words and she stormed out of the house in tears saying they were going to split up never to see each other again.

AND so he was left on this cold, dark, dank and very wet day alone looking out the window at the starkness of the day feeling like his life was over. No matter what was said in the heat of the battle he loved her more than life itself and he never would have done it any differently because life without her wasn't worth living. She was gone over three hours without a word. The day remained dark and his life as well. At least it stopped raining. The clouds were breaking up a bit and the sun was starting to peak through shedding its life giving light onto the earth. He heard the door opening and she stood in the doorway with the Sun shining behind her. Her eyes were red from crying. He rose and they just stared at each other for a moment. He put his finger to her lips as he spoke, "Baby, I wouldn't change a thing. You are my life, without you I am nothing.". She removed his finger from her lips and said "I love you.". Then the sun broke out in the heavens and they embraced with their mouths hungrily meeting. The front door was closed as they headed for the bedroom.     

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Let Me Vent Part II

I just don't get it. I know quite a few guys who depend on their Social Security along with a small pension who really like Eric Cantor and his ilk. Yet they complain that with the rise in the cost of Medicare Part B to a premium of $96 and change and a deductible of $162 things are getting tougher and tougher from a financial viewpoint. Yet Eric doesn't want to bring taxes on the most wealthy back up 3 percentage points while at the same time he wants to cut more from Federal spending and guess what (?) the cuts are going to come from places like Medicare, Medicaid and any other place he can find that the poorest among us live. No cuts for the military industrial complex or the oil companies either. What the hell do they like about this guy? I think they are masochists and like to vote against themselves because they enjoy pain.

The members of Congress, Senators and Representatives alike keep talking about "THE AMERICAN PEOPLE", what they want and what they think. How the hell can a guy who represents only his State or District have the audacity to speak for all of us? All he knows is what the American people in his area say because they elected him but there is more to the American People than what a guy like John Boehner or Eric Cantor represent. By the way the Democrats are guilty of this also. This I am sure of "THE AMERICAN PEOPLE" would like to eat three square meals a day, have a house they won't lose to foreclosure and a Congress full of people who truly care about them who will try to make things better without first putting their priorities ahead of "THE AMERICAN PEOPLE"!

I think it is about time to realize it takes more than getting any college degree to insure getting a job. For too long the colleges have been grinding out meaningless degrees that have no place in today's society. There are many jobs that are going unfilled in the scientific areas, technical areas and in the arts. Yet our colleges allow the students to float through with a Sociology degree even though demand for social workers are falling and low paying. The colleges do this so they can satisfy Momma & Daddy that their children are getting an education, albeit a useless one because they learn nothing of value. The graduates have no intention of using what they learned in the real world they just wanted a degree even if it took 6 or 7 years for a four year one. The length of time is also because the colleges allow the students to take truncated terms of 13 credits instead of 18 per term while allowing them to promiscuously change majors causing them to need courses they haven't taken. The colleges really don't care that the student is building up a massive burden of college loans they may never really be able to pay. However, these loans can't be discharged even through bankruptcy. Our colleges are like a mob who extorts money and doesn't really care about those who will call it my Alma Mater.

I know Herman Cain was a good business man who made his mark in this world. BUT how can anyone believe this guy could be the President of this good old USA? I don't know if he came from humble beginnings but if he did he certainly forgot what it was like because everything he says seems to want to step on the neck of the poor while giving breaks to the rich under the guise that this is what creates jobs. He is among the few (I hope) who believe the poor should pay more taxes because they don't pay enough. He seemed to indicate that without health insurance a person should die. Money does come into play when one is sick Do you think Steve Jobs could've made four more years after his diagnoses of pancreatic cancer if he didn't have the money to afford the medial treatments available to him? Even with heath insurance you and I have couldn't get what he got in medical attention. But Herman Cain seems to think it is tough luck for those who have not. He also didn't want to comment on the brouhaha the Mormon thing about Romney not being a Christian caused. So why should this be something we should concern ourselves with anyway? Every leader should have said that it doesn't matter if you are an atheist or believer all that matters is if you can be a good President with good policies. Mr. Cain along with the other panel members of the Republican debate never spoke up when the audience booed the gay solider. Doesn't all this say something about Herman Cain, about all of them?

It is about time the Yankees recognize the fact that their major stars like A-Rod, Tiexeria, Jeter are getting old, real old. The bodies are breaking down and the reflexes are slower. The contracts are horrendous but they hierarchy have to make some important decisions about replacing them rather than just hoping they will show flashes of glories past. Back in the 1990s Gene Michael and Bucky Showater were brought in to run the Yanks while the Boss sat his suspension out. They laid the foundation for the great teams of the '90s into the early 2000s. The Steinbrenner boys better bring in some good sound baseball men to run the show again. I think Brian Cashman needs help especially to keep the Boys who own the team away from making horrendous decisions like the A-Rod and Rafel Soriono ones.


Friday, October 7, 2011

For The Good Times

He couldn't believe it was over. They had been married for twenty years, had two wonderful children and seemingly lived a good life together. Sure there were times they argued, didn't everyone? But they never went to bed angry. Finances were never really good until some of the projects he started took root. Suddenly, they didn't have to live pay check to paycheck. They weren't rich but it sure felt like it. They could  go out to eat, take in a few shows and have an occasional vacation. No they weren't rich but at times in comparison to what they had it sure felt like it. They laughed, made love and lived what he felt was the good life. Then one day, out of the blue, she goes into the room where he was watching a ball game on television and tells him, Max, I don't really know how to tell you this so I am just going to say it, I don't love you anymore and I'm not sure I ever did.". His first reaction was to laugh because he thought she was kidding, but then he noticed she wasn't laughing. She was dead serious. He was dumbfounded and couldn't utter a sound as she turned and left the room. That was just the beginning.

Over the next year and a half he tried everything to get things back together again but the more he tried the more distant she became until she left their bedroom and slept in the basement. She kept changing her reasons why after twenty some odd years she wanted them to lead separate lives. There didn't seem to be any other guy but she kept going out over the weekends with her girl friends hitting local bars. She was becoming a cougar and he believed if there was really no one else she must be cracking up, menopause madness or a complete mental breakdown. She became indifferent to her children. When she wanted to stay out late she didn't care if he was home or not she was going out late. Perhaps she knew he wouldn't leave his kids to fend for themselves but it looked like she just didn't care. The only thing she seemed to care about was herself and the hell with everyone else. There was no compromise to be had. Divorce was the only option and it seemed if she could wreck him financially she would without even batting an eyelash. She would fight for custody because it meant more money for child support. She was relentless. The divorce proceedings seemed to put the last knife into whatever they had left from their years of marriage and loving almost turning into hate. Finally they came to an agreement and the divorce was finalized.

The last night she was to stay in their house was terrible. It was like standing watch at someone's death bed and hearing the death rattle becoming noisier and noisier. They barely looked at each other knowing this was the last time they could even think of themselves as husband and wife. She went downstairs to finish packing her clothes and called a cab. He retained custody of the kids as they chose to stay with him over her as they were old enough to realize this situation was brought about by her without any consideration as to how it would all affect them. They were in their rooms silently crying for they too felt the heaviness of death around them, the death of a family. He had on Music Choice, the Country and Western station, playing Ray Price's
"For The Good Times". She came up from the basement just as it was starting to play.

Don't look so sad
I know it's over
But life goes on
And this old world
Will keep on turning
Let's just be glad
We had some time to spend together
There's no need to watch the bridges
That we're burning

Lay your head,
Upon my pillow
Hold your warm and tender body
Close to mine
Hear the whisper of the raindrops
Blowing soft, against the window
And make believe you love me,
One more time,
For the good times

I'll get along
You'll find another
And I'll be here
If you should find,
You ever need me
Don't say a word 
About tomorrow, or forever
There'll be time enough for sadness
When you leave me

Lay your head
Upon my pillow
Hold your warm and tender body
Close to mine
Hear the whisper of the raindrops
Blowing soft against the window
And make believe you love me
One more time
For the good times

As the lyrics softly flooded the room they took a minute to look at each other and remember the good times for there were good times. Then a horn blew, the taxi was outside. She picked up her suitcase, looked around for the last time and caught a glimpse of her children peeking out from their bedroom doors. Her husband's eyes were pleading. The horn from the taxi blew again and without a word she turned and left. The tears in everyone's eyes were for the good times.