The Shoe Salesman Son

“I used to dress like you,” the dapper 17-year-old shoe salesman says at the Nordstrom located in The Westchester in White Plains, NY. Baby Boomer Grandpa replies, “Actually, that’s why I’m here.” I live in Scottsdale, Arizona now with my wife. I don’t mind the heat. Plus, everything is very causal in Arizona, so I never feel compelled to dress up anymore either, which includes my wife to. She didn’t even bother brushing her teeth the one time we had a whole year to get ready for our 1st Skype call with our granddaughter back east. I could literally see my wife’s Dunkin Donut’s breath fog up the screen during our chat. Me, I’m still sporting the same pair of ashy tennis slacks from 86 according to my 1st born. What’s the point in dressing up fancy anymore, unless we’re going out to dine out in Arizona for Italian and pretend the food is barely edible again, compared to our old haunt off the Grand Course in the Bronx, which served the best Veal stuffed with prosciutto in a white wine, mushroom sauce ever. Now, my wife insists she’ll let me die alone in the August Arizona sun if I don’t stop dressing like a baby boomer bum. It’s bad enough how my 1st born calls me a fake news hippie for never visiting the Grand Canyon after living in Arizona for 9 years, despite my Bob Dylan collection being more eclectic than most.”

The Nordstrom Shoe Salesman Son says, “I actually prefer Dylan’s later work on the Tempest, Soon After Midnight, Pay In Blood, Long and Wasted Years, Roll On John, forget about it, it deserved all 5 stars it got in Rolling Stone. Modern Times wasn’t chopped liver either, Working Man Blues chokes me up a little inside because it makes me think of my dear Dada every time. I never outgrew calling him Dada despite being 17 already. Baby Boomer Grandpa says, “My dad never bonded with me over Bob Dylan. He just called me an idiot for struggling with pre-calculus more than my brainer Jewish friends who attended Bronx Science.”

The Shoe Salesman Son says, “My Dada jammed all the Bob Dylan folklore down my throat ad- nauseum. Bob Dylan was a member of the Latin club in high school, he’s an amateur boxer who has a huge mural in his Malibu estate of Jerry Garcia to prove jam bands matter. The Grateful Dead did a killer version of Visions Of Johana in addition to refusing Bob Dylan’s offer to join the band. Allowing Dylan to tour with them as the opening act after recording an album called Dylan and The Dead wasn’t enough for Robert Zimmerman from Minnesota because baby boomer arrogance never dies, got it Dada.”

Baby Boomer Grandpa says, “I never got into the Grateful Dead personally, although seeing them perform with the Allman Brothers and The Band at Watkins Glen would’ve been worth the trip on bad acid for it.” Shoe Salesman Son says, “So tell me why your wife is a chronic pain in the ass again?” Refusing to dress up for her these days, makes me think, you’re trying to get back at her for hogging the blankets for the past 50 years or for playing slovenly favorites with your 2 kids, I’m assuming, you tell me. I just want to know why dressing up for your golden years, free of financial worry or any nagging subconscious desire to reconnect with your sons on a deeper, more meaningful level besides trying to convince your 1st born why Lebron is a greater player than Michael Jordan, despite King of the Persecution Complex never playing with a broken back like Larry Legend when he beat Magic’s Lakers, with mind melding behind the back passes and consistently clutch jump shots which were never looked like line drive chucks either.”

Baby Boomer Grandpa says, “It’s not as if my wife is spending hours getting lost at the local Sephora store to stock up on new makeup items either. But if I’m honest with myself, the real reason I’m not dressing up anymore these days is because I ‘m an old Jew who only got dressed up in the past for synagogue or work because I had to. Granted, wearing nice suits to work when I used to work as VP of sales for a packaging company in New Jersey, made me feel like hot shit, but that was the eighties before Steve Jobs started rocking the Grandma Jean, casual Friday look. I think the Beatles are vastly overrated to, especially compared to the Rolling Stones. Name one rocker by the Beatles, which would make your life feel complete if you got to hear the song in person in the sixties, assuming it never got loud enough for The Fab Four to hear their own voices singing.  Yeah, that’s what I thought, and Ferris Bueller singing Twist and Shout on a float in the Loop of downtown Chicago doesn’t count either.”

Shoe Salesman Son says, “My Dear Dada was always more of a John Lennon fan, Watching The Wheels and Working-Class Hero being his most liked songs by the Liverpool Lip, when he used to look after me during my younger stay at home pre-k years.”

Baby Boomer Grandpa says, “I never bonded over rock and roll with my dad. I did get my 1st born into Dylan though. He even bought us tickets to see Levon Helm, part time singer and drummer from The Band, at one of his midnight rambles in Woodstock once. Positive my son snuck off into the woods to puff a one hitter to. It’s better than doing more blow and only hearing last call from the bathroom stall like my youngest. Shoe Salesman Son says, “Have you gone to any rock concerts together with your 1st born  since?” Baby Boomer Grandpa says, “None, I took him to an Arizona Diamond Backs game in Phoenix once. He talked up a storm as usual with a long-haired lawyer next to us, who came from money, I think. I recall the lawyer going out of his way to tell me what an impressive brain my son had. And I thought my acid usage in college resulted in more synapse incineration deterioration than others. Starting that Bob Dylan record review club with my 1st born Joshua, wasn’t the worst idea he came up with either. I should call him now, don’t you think?”

Shoe Salesman Son says, “Sure, unless you want to die a distant father with an aching gash that feels like a corkscrew in your heart. Bob Dylan lives, holla, thank you very much. My Dada is no longer a stay-at-home dad but a big-time comedian now, that’s his catchphrase he uses on his Do It All Dad Year Podcast and on stage during his residency in Vegas now to. Dada told me if college doesn’t interest me, I could always stay home longer but get a job in sales job that offered commission, so I’d understand the empowering, momentous surge derived from incentivized performance-based jobs, which make you feel on top the world in charge again.”

Baby Boomer Grandpa says, “Give me 2 pairs of those Echo shoes, one in navy and one white, size 8. Those hipster kicks should tone done my wife’s bitching for a bit. Thanks for pressing me to reconnect with my 1st born on a deeper, long lasting level this time around. He’s still trying to make it as a writer. Who knows, maybe, we can write a book together called, “Bonding Through Writing Dylan Record Reviews With Dad.” What, only Bob Dylan is allowed to be a wordy Jew?”

Michael Kornbluth

The Sun Butter King

North Dakota was only state in the country which enjoyed full employment and Do It All Dad wanted in. North Dakota was also the least visited state in the nation yet Do It All Dad was used to seeing his parents only twice a year and also accustomed to not seeing any of his former friends since his 3 fuss free children were born, failing the friendship litmus test every time. So, the isolating nature of North Dakota didn’t bother him one bit, especially knowing how much Do It All Dad hated to navigate around lost in time, tourist hicks in Times Square pre-Covid, on his way to work when he used take the subway there for his IT Recruiter job in Midtown East for a living.  But the majority of the jobs in North Dakota were within the farming and energy industry, which Do It All Dad had no experience with whatsoever. Granted, his mom grew up in Kentucky and had an Uncle Jim who owned a farm, who even wore overalls to his Grandpa’s funeral, because that’s how he rolled. And Do It All Dad would have a bit in his old act about how Kentucky gal Ashley Judd wasn’t an actual victim of rape. He’s say, “Ooh, she refused to watch Harvey Weinstein shower himself down at his 5-star suite in the Four Season. At the same time, Ashley Judd had plenty of experience judging fat pigs at the County Fair.” Still, Do It All Dad wasn’t expecting to be working headliner comedian at the non-existent comedy clubs in downtown Fargo, North Dakota. Microsoft had 100,000 employees based in North Dakota yet Do It All Dad was no fan of Bill Gates’s Dad being the head of Planned Parenthood either, whose founder was intent on carrying out Hitler’s eugenics solution, one fetus flicker, mostly of color at a time. North Dakota was also voted the least female friendly environment because it had less abortion clinics than Oxygen bars for the Persian Iranians to act urban sheik smug in, like tanner, humorless Whitney Cumming clones in those Hollywood Hills, who were too uptight for Do It All Dad’s tastes, whose blah brained personalities offered him nil.

Do It All Dad had an old Headhunter boss in Manhattan Beach, CA who drilled into his cranium the do or die mantra, “innovate or die.” Innovate he must, because Do It All Dad had to invent a new job title besides Stay At Home Comedian. Do It All Dad just wanted to write more books from home and cook more yummy dance meals for his family but needed a paying job of some sort to finance finishing his next book in progress The Koshertarian Diet, so his wife wouldn’t bust his balls about it.  Do It All Dad was also working on a new short story book collection, Waste Of Height, which forced him to be tad less political and overtly sexual in his writing for a change. Still, as famous English novelist Virginia Woolfe once said, “A woman must have a room of her own and money to write fiction.” Now, Do It All Dad being a stay at home she male rocker mom of sorts, could identify with this stone cold sober truism, even more than being a shishy bitch who would get dressed up on Shabbat Friday nights to stay in with his 3 kids while his wife went back to work at the hospital in the NICU to check on the vital signs of blue faced babies, which made Do It All Dad feel like an insufferable narcissist at times, because all he checked for was for retweets, before he got banned from Twitter calling Governor Cuomo, the Blanch killing, cold blooded, Italian Reptilian inside.

Now, Do It All Dad couldn’t even justify his IPA intake after a Peloton ride anymore, because his family was barely affording the monthly payments on their mortgage and nothing had changed too much since he started chasing down open mikes throughout Southern California 15 years ago, after getting the laugh chaser bug, which no amount of widespread bombing or martial bliss disintegration or threat of complete financial ruin could cure. Also, Do It All Dad’s office, was in his bedroom, which a recent jilted audiobook reviewer, derided as “Tiny and cramped”, based on the lack of reverberating echo in his Chapter reading for “The Last Temptation of Adderall”, I assume.  Also, Do It All Dad had given up hope on securing a lit agent to take a chance on an eccentric Jewish comedian satirist, reinvented literary novelist, who used his books for extra long stand up comedy monologues, he couldn’t afford to do during open mikes throughout Manhattan, because he couldn’t justify the 40 dollar Metronorth train fare to wail with his arms on stage for the pleasure of trying to entertain the 2 millennial mousketeers in the audience with such a jade free, joyous, giving heart anymore. Now, Do It All Dad didn’t desperately seek strangers funny many approval as much on stage, since he launched his successful podcast and blog 3 years ago, which for him was the greatest open mike on earth. But it pained Do It All Dad to still not be in a position, to buy his son, Art Show USA the GI Joe, SS Flagg, Aircraft Carrier for his son’s 7th birthday, snowboard lessons, a vintage pair of Freezie Freakies on eBay with the Thundercat’s on it, anything but more copies of his impossible to find books on Amazon.  Reality is, Art Show USA provided book cover color consultation on all 4 of Do It All Dad’s books so far and he adored his Do It All Dad book’s so much, he took a screensaver picture for his remote learning school issued computer, holding all 4 of his his dear dada’s books, exuding a beamish prideful through association inside and out. 7 years on this earth after Art Show USA was born, almost a decade, and Do It All Dad needed to fight harder than ever to keep his elusive dreams of comedic literary superstardom alive. Do It All Dad’s son loved his Dad’s Do It All Dad Year Podcast to and didn’t want his dad to perform more sheets of comedy gold on it without having to worry about mom threatening to kick him out the house again because of his lack of money generating power.

So, Do It All Dad got an idea while making lunch for his son one day, The Sun Butter Challenge. What if Do It All Dad went into business with his gorgeous son who could smile on cue without breaking into hives in the process and daddy became his Agent, booking him as the new face for Sun Butter Gold foods, located in Sunflower country, Bismarck, North Dakota, which could lead to Do It All Dad snagging enough loot sack to buy his family the Porsche Comedy Gold Mobile, a new lake house summer home in Lake George, NY for his son’s GJ Joe SS Flagg and enough money to fiancé writing more books without ever having to bite his tongue while being offered a career consultation email from LinkedIn, considering the gaps of wrath of his corporate America resume ever again. Do It All Dad’s son, Art Show USA possessed the sunbeam smile, few other kids could match with such star powered gleaming light. So if Do It All Dad couldn’t get a job interview for a junior copywriter position at let’s say Sun Gold Foods in Bismarck, North Dakota, which boasts full employment to the point, where they could use some extra creative firepower, knowing it’s also the least visited state in the grand old USA, then Do It All Dad could create a job for himself as his son’s personal manager, calling himself on LinkedIn the Sun Gold Hunter, so he can finally capitalize in a big time cashing in way off all of his new business development, cold calling centric, IT headhunter background in both in LA and Manhattan, where he slaved weekends away when he wasn’t trying to write new scripts or jokes, researching new IT Directors or Chief Marketing Officers to cold call the following week, again and again.

Do It All Dad was old school and had no problem cold calling men and woman in powers of authority who controlled staffing budgets in a NY Minute. Plus, Do It All Dad took perverse pleasure working around HR humpbacks, which as a whole were major business to business cock blockers, who ruined the love connection potential between a hurting hiring manager and staffing solution specialist Headhunter to the rescue like Do IT All Dad fashioned himself to be in this instance.  Do It All Dad also learned from his headhunting days, how passion is always picked up over the phone, so he’d have no problem conveying the head of Sun Butter Gold products in Bismarck, North Dakota, what a gross disservice to mankind, they’d be doing for refraining from making his American made beautiful boy, Art Show USA, the permanent franchise face of Sun Gold Food products, which would double annual sales from 4 million to 8 million in the first week alone, guaranteed.

Now, Do It All Dad is pitching his son as the new face for Sun Butter with the Chief Marketing Officer through Zoom. Cheryl, the Chief Marketing Officer looks confused. Do It All Dad says, “You look confused Cheryl. I want my son to star in The Sun Butter Challenge campaign across America, similar to what they did with the Pepsi Challenge back in the day, when kids had stronger immunities to bullying, Kurt Cobain excluded. He longed to retreat into his pre-fame bubble without having to rummage through his Grandma’s closet for another ugly, lime sweater to wear at the MTV Music Awards, I get it.” Cheryl, the CMO for Sun Butter Gold products says, “So, where’s Art Show USA? How do you expect me to hire you 2 as a packaged deal to do the creative and performing in these Sun Butter Challenges campaigns, without me seeing, the sun butter smile to light up a thousand suns? The same smile which will double our sales in a year, according to your fuzzy Math estimates, knowing you still have to count with your fingers for simple arthmitic, which I read in one of your blog posts, in case you think we just ignored the totality of your digital fingerprint on the Internet all together, because your son is the star smile attraction, we’re really after.”

Do It All Dad says, “Art Show, come in Dada’s office for a minute. “Art Show says, “You mean you’re bedroom Dada? Do It All Dad says, “Thanks for reminding me and for destroying what little sales leverage I have left without you flashing your smile through Zoom for the Sun King Maker to see.” Art Show hops on his dear Dada’s lap, and smiles. “Cheryl, the Chief Marketing Officer says, “Wow, you’re Dada isn’t another full of shit New Yorker after all. Are you ready to be a star kiddo?” Art Show USA says, “Just give my Dada 10 percent of everything I make for a finder’s fee and give him final cut approval on all commercials and print campaigns starring my Sun Butter Smile and you got yourself a deal.” Can I go back to building my Harry Potter, Astronomy Tower now? Dada starts singing with jubilant heart, “Sun Butter King’s stock is rising, rising.” Next Do It All Dad adds, ” King Arthur, my kid eclipses his star power limited to Disney fable books, nobody reads anymore, oh, I can’t take no more.” Cheryl, the Chief Marketing Officer, says, “Would you mind if we put Sunflowers in your son’s hair, the LBGT community will lick it up, lick it up, oh, oh, oh! What, you think you’re the only Kiss fan who resents how Nirvana’s Nevermind was the death blow shot heard around the world that killed off carefree Hair Metal Pop rock forever.”

The End

Michael Kornbluth

Trading Birthdays

Nobody wants to be born on January  3. At that point, everybody is either partied out or enacting New Year’s resolutions already. Honestly, by day 3 of partying in a row, whether you’re just drinking, or doing drugs, combining the 2, or you’re just dancing the days away at a 5-week rave Germany, based on pure adrenaline and highly charged sexualized vibes alone, you’re still dragging like Hunter Biden on any given Monday afterwards. If God gave you the universe, you morphed into Art Show USA, who was born on New Year’s Day, inspiring his dear Dada to call him Number 1 Capricorn. His dear Dada didn’t nickname him Number 1 Capricorn to make him an insufferable, know it all twat bore, but to praise the almighty, the most-high, Hashem, for perfecting human civilization with his beautiful boy, who he blessed with out of this world good looks, hilarious acting chops and a beautiful builder artist mind, ripe with unlimited imaginative topping possibility. I’m also positive Art Show USA would make a great looking brother like Rick Fox if he used the black face filter through Instagram to.  Every day, Art Show USA’s best friend Shawn Wayans-Stein resented his existence half the time, because he was born on January 3rd and had less birthday rocker gathering memories than the Elephant Man had bottles thrown at his head for trying to crash games of Spin The Bottle after his black-tie makeover one 2 many times.

One day, Art Show USA was having lunch with Shawn at school and he says, “Why don’t we trade birthdays Shawn.”  I was born on New Year’s Day, as you know, which everyone treats like their own personal birthday celebration, so everyone is in a perpetual state of good cheer, until they strike out at midnight in their desperate dash to suck face with the nearest available girl to love. So, you don’t feel like a loser benchwarmer scrub in Junior High again. When you’re born on New Year’s Day, everyone is out of the house to celebrate their unique brand of specialness with their planned lifetime’s partners in love, whether it’s not done of out of begrudging spite or not. The point is even if you’re  stuck home alone on New Year’s Eve, have zero friends to party with, parents who don’t reserve much bonding time with you ever, unless they feel stranded and a pronounced pang of empty loneliness when they retire to Arizona in their more advanced, retired, CNN consuming years amid so called Pandemic scares, where fewer people died this year than last, you can still make out with your blown up balloons with pretty drawn on faces, and not feel completely deflated for making out with a poor man’s blow up doll because deep down, you know you’re not the only one making an extra effort to reward yourself with some extra good loving on New Year’s Eve or not.” You’re my best friend and I love celebrating your birthday on January 3 with just you, like the one year we went Duck Pinning and had the entire place to ourselves, or the time we had an entire Laser Tag room to ourselves, or the time we snuck into weird, weak Howard Stern’s floor seats to see the Knicks, because he was still debloating at home from eating one too many Turkey Burger salads at Jimmy Kimmel’s house for New Years. Still, it feels cooler to be in Manhattan on your birthday, than in an abandoned duck pin bowling alley in Danbury, CT, that looks more dated than the low rent, white out paint job on the walls. Shawn says, “I appreciate the gesture Art Show. I’ve thought about what it would feel like to have myself celebrated on New Year’s Eve instead of on January 3, which gives sloppy thirds a bad name. And you’re a good friend for offering to trade birthdays for the year. Now, I know why you spent all the time watching those graphic design tutorials on YouTube to make me a fake ID, reflecting my New Year’s day birthday, just so I can hear a bouncer at some swanky club in the city, look at my ID and say, “Oh snap, happy birthday New Year’s boy. Don’t forget to pace yourself. I’d postpone New Year’s resolutions till January 2, because you’re not sleeping tonight.”

Art Show says, “I did to make you a fake ID for your birthday. I know you don’t drink alcohol like me, but I wanted to give you the feeling of being a number 1 Capricorn for a change.” Shawn says, “Again, I appreciate the gesture Art Show, but I actually prefer the celebrities born on January 3. Eli Manning was born on January 3rd and he’s much bigger pimp than Tom Brady. He’s NFL royalty before we became a woke plagued universe gone wild. Plus, Eli beat Brady in the Super Bowl and prevented his perfect season from happening due to him asserting his big-time clutch gene. So, Brady is married to Gisele, big deal. She’s like 80 in model years. Robert Loggia from Scarface was born on my birthday, who plays Tony’s Jewish mobster boss for a bit who drops the hilarious line, “Never underestimate the other guy’s greed.” Art Show says, “I hear you Shawn. JD Salinger was born on New Year’s Day like me, and he became a reclusive freak who spent 4 decades in the New Hampshire wilderness, writing books for himself like a tweaked Holden Caulfield, on an endless trust fund funded retreat, with all his time-release Adderall delivered to his doorstep by his various pharmacist groupie fanatics at large. So how much did he relish the company of others on New Year’s Eve? Which I never really thought about until now.  J. Edgar Hoover was a glamorized peeping tom, also born on my birthday, New Year’s Day. It’s not as if Mini Me born on New Year’s Day who died prematurely in his forties could boast a sustainable, long lasting career with legs after Austin Powers 3. “

Shawn says, “But we can’t let your killer fake ID go to waste Art Show. I read about a Beastie Boys cover rap trio group performing at some dive bar on the Lower East side on New Year’s Eve, this year. Why don’t we go there together and get our bodies moving to some Intergalactic Planetary? Will have to fight for room to dance because of the ban on smart phone devices to make old-school hip hop city life great again.” Art Show says, “Didn’t you say the name of this gastro pub on the lower East Side was called Hip Hops? Shawn says, “You got it Art Show. With a friend like you in my corner, I’ll always have a bigger hop to my step than the rest.”

Michael Kornbluth