Riding in the car, mesozoic version


The street was lined with bricks, and the car, being from the Mesozoic era, made special noises driving over them. Riding in the car with my father, I sat in the front passenger seat, no seatbelt. I opened and shut the metal rectangle attached to the door handle – the ashtray that my parents never used because it was too small. It was not the usual way home so the car didn’t often make the sound. But sometimes it did because the street or streets were nearish enough. Bumpy bumpy, the car went, but it was musical too. I set my ears up like a dog to a whistle.

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Enter: My Father’s Clown Shoes

image of a mustard jar with a man's face on it

They say walk a mile on top of your father’s clown shoes, so you can avoid the tears of a clown, when there’s no one around.

The place was Shakey’s Pizza in Westmont, on or near Ogden Avenue, I think.  The time, thirty-two years ago.  When Joe was the size of a toenail.  When he was still biting strangers on the ankle.  We, kids and Dad, went out for pizza while Mom stayed behind to be bask in the silencio.  Amy ‘claims’ she did not come on this trip.

Just minutes before leaving for Shakey’s, I was watching a television show that involved two bad comedians: one guy who told jokes while wearing a bag on his head, and one guy who stuck nickels up his nose.  Because I liked the way that sounded, the 2 n’s, nickels and nose, I made sure to remember it so that I could use it at a moment’s notice around other like-minded individuals.

We walk through the door and into the smell of dough.  When you first enter, you can’t miss the plastic partition that separates the pizza makers and ovens from the population at large.  I blink with disappointment at the two guys snapping towels at each other, not living up to their entertainment potential.  Their entertainment mandate.  Only once did I ever see a guy throw a pizza up in the air and spin it with his hands, thus forever ruining me in the disappointment that  Continue reading “Enter: My Father’s Clown Shoes”

All the whispers combined: a dog with cancer

A farewell to my dog with cancer

image of a dog in the woods

You were so ugly when we first met.  Your nose all pushed in; your dirty dishwater blonde hair tufted out like a duck.  Bisquit was convinced I was wrong and that you’d turn out beautiful.  “Look at those eyes,” she said, meaning your eyes.  I could not deny this.  You reminded me of a beloved grandmother.  Your eyes and her eyes were the same.  Well, your one blue eye was the same as her two blue eyes.  Your other eye, half blue, half brown was way too David Bowie, even the docile David Bowie singing Little Drummer Boy with what’s his name.

Bisquit called you away from your demanding sister at that first meeting. All of the others were saying in their own ways, “Pick me”.  Loud ways, ways involving lots of movement.  You were the only one standing there, solitary even while surrounded by those who could not remain still.  You trained those eyes on us, following us as we passed you to check out your other sister, the white one, who was already so pretty, but so distrustful that she had to be kept apart from everyone else.

You are attending to your wrist right now, which has grown a small inflated innertube on it.

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Girlfriend, who’s that with you?

THE perfect stranger’s brother sent me an email.

“He doesn’t speak much English. Do you speak French?”

“I can follow along somewhat. I know how to talk food. But no,” I wrote back.

He replied, “He’s the same way with English. It’ll be fine.”

The other perfect stranger I was to drive was a soon-to-be medical student at McGill but, meanwhile, during summertime, would be coming with me to Boston to learn genetics while working for free at some professor’s lab.

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Monday Night Rules (of Engagement)

Rules of Engagement: what happens when a couple moves in together and one of them is terribly bossy

Do not put your shoes on anything other than the floor. Doing so shows a sign of pure disrespect. Plus it brings all kinds of bad luck. I don’t know what kind, just a lot of it. This means no shoes on the chairs, beds, car seats, loveseats, backs of toilets, tops of gas burning grills.  Got it?

When you cut the garlic, you need to make sure that you throw out the garlic papers and inner green roots while saying, “Pour les pauvres.”  Stop confusing pepper with the poor.

Pauvres is not poivres, ok?  We don’t know why we say this, but an aunt told us to do this when we were children, to think of the poor when disposing of garlic remains, and she’s very good with money. We don’t want to be poor.  Maybe the garlic papers sprout in the garbage and garbage is another way of, oh never mind.

Never eat pork. This is not so much Jewish as it is common sense. Pigs are, well, pigs!  I would never indulge in eating such a filthy animal.  Make sure when you make lentils?  That you take out the ham bone half an hour before serving.  For good luck.  Ham is decidedly and definitely not pork.  Trust me.

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