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Thursday, October 21, 2010



Everyone loves a wedding. A wedding on Long Island is an acquired taste, and it takes a long time to acquire it. It took us about an hour and a half to get to Westhampton, and another hour and a half to get to East Hampton, 20 miles away where the church was. I imagined the wedding party stuck in the same traffic, having a road rage incident and spending the night in jail. How does a funeral get through? Besides the deceased, another two or three of his friends could die of old age in that traffic. I tried putting on my lights just in case people would let me by, but they just assumed I had been on Route 27 the entire night and forgot to turn them off.

There are people who attend church religiously- attending any other way would be silly. I am not a pious person. I used to go to Sunday School when I was a little kid, which was only a thinly-veiled excuse to rid all children from the service, so that it would be quiet enough to hear my mother’s stomach growl, echoing around the cavernous room, the statue of Jesus rolling his eyes. Then at the completion of Sunday School, when I was about thirteen, I was told that I must get confirmed. I envisioned getting an inked stamp on my arm or something, but instead you had to take a test, which included reciting, in order, the books of the bible. I knew I didn’t stand a chance of passing- Genesis, Nemesis, Tetanus, Leviticus, Schlemiticus, Meticulous, Deuteronomy, Dermatology, Phlebotomy, Chronicles, Barnacles, Monacles, etc., etc., etc., so on and so forth, I think I covered most of the major ones. In the end I borrowed a cheat-sheet from my sister and kept an eye on the weather report in case lightning might strike me dead on the spot.

Anyway the ceremony was lovely, some readings, a hymn or two, the priest telling you when to stand and when to sit, like the scoreboard at a Giants game. Thank god we didn’t have to suffer through the Corinthians again- “Love is this, Love is that, Love never leaves its underwear around, Love understands how to load the Dishwasher correctly, Love never leaves the Toilet Seat up…. Incidentally, why is it the man’s job to put to put the toilet seat down, and not the woman’s job to put the toilet seat back UP?

This passage is actually Paul’s letter to the Corinthians (which is where they get that rich leather from). Paul who? Doesn’t say. Who actually opened the letter? I have no idea, it was simply addressed “Corinthians,” no zip code or anything. Nowadays Paul would just shoot off an email, and CC all of the Apostles, let them forward it to whoever they thought should get it. If my dad was a Corinthian he NEVER would have opened it; any time the phone would ring at our house our dad would yell out: “It’s not the guy from the church, is it? Tell him I’m not here.” They were always calling for fund drives.

The priest was working the crowd: if you didn’t say “And Also With You” loud enough, he made you do it again. He did most of the talking, and every once in a while the celebrants (that’s us) would chime in and say something like “Hosanna in the highest.” The celebrants all seemed to know what that means except me. Everyone was invited up to take communion, and the priest charged me for the crackers and wine- is this normal?

As usual the bride and groom mumbled through the vows. I couldn’t make out much of what they were saying, but I thought I heard the words, “veal piccata,” and “Operation Repo.” We all said some prayers and promised to keep an eye on them and make sure they don’t do any of the dumb things we’ve been doing.

As the happy couple sprang from the narthex, instead of throwing rice at them, which is bad for birds unless you cook it first, or birdseed, which runs the risk of a Hitchcock-like scene where birds flock the church and start pecking at peoples’ hair, we blew bubbles instead, at the approximate rate of one every 5 minutes or so.

At the reception things perk up after a few drinks. I won’t even go into dancing here- that really needs its own blog. Suffice it to say that I spend much of my time on the dance floor trying to get away from those over-enthusiastic acrobats who are determined to whack into my one good knee.

After dinner it’s time for the usual wedding reception traditions, like cutting the wedding cake. There is a song for this: “The bride cuts the cake, the bride cuts the cake, hi-ho the dairy-O, the bride cuts the cake.” American lyricists left with a gaping hole in their train of thought will always fill it with, “hi-ho the dairy-O.” In the modern world of texting, “hi ho” means something totally different than it used to. Sometimes the bride and groom force-feed the cake to each other. If you’re going to complain for most of the marriage about how your husband is constantly stuffing his face, why would you teach him how to do it the very first day? And when are they going to wake up and serve chocolate lava cake?

They avoided the whole garter situation, which is creepy. In what other culture do a man and woman embark on their new life together by having a stranger feel up the bride’s leg and dress her with articles of underwear? And even so he only puts one garter on, so the other stocking is flapping in the breeze. You might as well put half her bra on while you’re at it. That way the cups are half full, if you’re an optimist.

Incidentally, Many wedding traditions have stood the test of time, as long it’s graded on a curve. For instance, the custom of wearing a bridal veil dates back to a time when marriages were arranged. If the betrothed had a face that looked like the surface of the moon, hiding it for as long as possible was only common sense. Misplacing the groom’s glasses would also be a good idea. Showering the newlyweds with rice also has historical basis. Since for the ancient Egyptians and Assyrians rice was a symbol of fruitfulness, throwing it at the new couple was a wish for their future children. Conversely, throwing fruit was a sign of ricefulness. Carrying the bride across the threshold stems back to a time when brides were actually stolen from their families. The best man was enlisted to help in the theft, and possibly a forklift if the blushing bride was also a paunchy princess.

Friday, October 8, 2010



I feel I can tell you this since you are 12 of my closest friends (although one of you is the website operator and is paid to be one of my closest friends).

I had a little moment as I exited the train recently. There were some idiots standing in front of the opening door who were not de-training (this is a technical term that means “getting off the train”). They were just standing there clogging up the door, and the people in front of me who were actually trying to get off were not moving with what I perceived to be the appropriate urgency. I thought the guy in front of me was lolli-gagging (this is a technical term that means “choking on a lollipop), and I kind of pushed past him.

He took offense to that, and thought I was the idiot, which proves that HE was the idiot. He compared me to an animal, and not one very high on the food chain. This only made me hungrier. In retrospect, he handled it pretty well I guess, berating me in a very sarcastic manner- I actually had to admire it but I was still on the offensive for my offensive conduct.

There was no excuse for my behavior, although I said at the time that my dog ate it. I consider carrying a note with me that says, “Please excuse Rick, as he has a temperature,” which is technically correct.

Sometimes I am short with people, and I really can’t figure out why, although 9 times out of 10 it makes conversation less painful on my back. Other times I am cross with people, if not lengthwise. I can’t figure out why I am in such a hurry- my mother had the patience of a saint. I was always trying her patience, but I must not have liked it too much. It must come from my father’s side, the one I was a thorn in. My father seemed vaguely like Ralph Cramden, putting up with things for a short while and then bitch-slapping you into alacrity. I even rush to places where I have to sit and wait once I get there.

There are never enough hours in a day, even during leap years. So I walk very fast, eat very fast and work very fast. Even when I am fasting for religious reasons, I do it fast, and I’m done in an hour or so. I constantly multi-task. You would be surprised at the things I can do simultaneously: I do back exercises while I use the water pik. I floss as I read my book before bed. You would be amused and appalled at what I do while I brush my teeth.

I feel I must educate people on the proper decorum in everyday situations. If someone would only ask me to write a book I could transform the world into an orderly set of cogs and pulleys. For instance, if you are riding on the same subway car as me, don’t stand in front of the goddamn door until it’s your stop! I will blow past you with only the sorriest excuse for a “sorry.” And if you must use one of those ridiculous oversized golf umbrellas the size of a circus tent, it’s your responsibility to keep it from poking my eye out. Incidentally, why do some umbrellas have what looks like a little milk bottle on the top? I can’t tolerate those either, because of the lactose.

And if I come to your store and somebody calls on the phone, put them on hold until you have taken care of me! I went to all this trouble to come to your stupid store in PERSON, and then you just ignore me like that? Shame on you. Even though I was only here to find the right size so I could go buy it online for cheaper.

I would hate to become one of those people in a political ad, where the piano starts to play in a minor key, and the photographs of him depict a confused and contemptible individual, a slumlord who benefited by government bailouts and failed to provide ANY jobs. I would hate to be compared to someone who went to Washington and wanted to give people HEALTHCARE, something which we DID NOT WANT! We are SICK and TIRED of that kind of thing, although it might be symptoms of the flu- I won’t know until the new healthcare laws fully kick in.

I want to be thought of as the kind of person who is accompanied by music played in a major key, preferably something in G that I might sing along to, with lyrics like “This Land is Your Land.” Sometimes I sing this song to the neighbor when it’s time to rake the leaves.

Incidentally, The umbrella has been around for thousands of years- at least mine has. Essentially unchanged through the years, it’s one of those inventions that time seems to have forgotten, at least every time it rains. The word comes from the Latin root “umbra,” which means, “shade.” As early as 1611, English traveler Thomas Coryat wrote about “umbrellaces,” leather “canopies” with wooden hoops “for shelter against the scorching heat of the sun.” In 1852, another Englishman named Samuel Fox invented the modern version, using corset stays for the steel supports. That is why English women were much drier, but less shapely. It is bad luck to open an umbrella in the house, since that usually means that your roof is leaking.