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

Death Of A Bose Salesman

Once upon a time there was Sales Rep for Bose who suffered from Loud Man’s Disease.  He loved blasting The Who, Led Zeppelin   and AC/DC at work in the listening booth before he turned borderline deaf. Now, all Michael the Sales Rep from Bose hears is AC/DC’s song Hells Bells. Michael Yeller always believed louder is better until now because he was longer ablet to sing Search and Destroy by Iggy Pop and Stooges at the local Karaoke bar in White Plains, NY after work with his boss anymore.   

Growing up, Michael only wanted to play air guitar like the great metal shredders throughout the walls of his childhood room, which included pictures Mick Mars from Motley Crew, the Freddy Kruger of shredding, the steel guitar slaying, Gypsy Road howler Tom Kiefer from Cinderella and the Tasmanian Devil of pretty good metal pop CC Deville from Poison. Later, Michael tried to learn the guitar after his parents got him an acoustic one for Hannukah but he already started smoking weed by junior year in high school, so the hand dexterity and hours of practice necessary to assume any semblance of functional playing mastery over the guitar were out of his self-imposed reach.

After college, Michael tried to make a living as an IT Headhunter in LA but IT Directors half his age didn’t appreciate being hounded by a such a loudmouth New Yorker who had less voice control than Busta Rhymes at a midnight showing of Higher Learning. Also, everyone in LA is very cagy, accustomed to time alone in their cars and airy, open rooftop hotel bars and non-descript, low key bars on random, zero foot traffic streets, unaccustomed to Vince Vaughn clones from Swingers from New York like Michael who was actually told to hush while on a date to see Eric Clapton at the Hollywood Bowl once. Eventually, Michael moved back to NY and did digital ad sales for Citysearch and started to try open mike stand up comedy. When working for Citysearch he’d say on stage, “Citysearch is city guide used mostly by gay men to find who gives the best facial.” But Michael struggled to unleash his inner rock star on stage, because if his 1st joke bombed, he could never win the audience back, which stripped him of the confidence to riff and piggy back off the waves of laughter, opting to go into any new inspired direction of hilarity he choose.  

At the Christmas party for CitySearch Michael sang his best rendition of Wanted Dead or Alive yet, which he had perfected over the years. The high end 15-year Macallan scotch helped. Still, he got fired the next day for getting black out drunk and dry humping the coat check girl on the dance floor to Oh What A Feeling.

Knowing Michael couldn’t pay rent through playing air guitar renditions of Fallen Angel in Times Square, or make any money at stand-up comedy in NYC because he had to actually invite his friends to get performing time at the NY Comedy Club at all, he decided to find a job, where his loud man disease could be neutralized, where it wouldn’t become such a career hindering liability and got a job in suburbs at The Westchester Mall in White Plains, NY selling state of the art stereo equipment for Bose. Michael’s boss gave him some leeway and allowed him to tell some jokes, because he knew the stand-up comedy bug wasn’t out of his system all together. Michael would be selling noise cancelation headphones, “Yenta Silencers”, is what he’d call them specifically before sampling new bits on random customers such as, “Did you know Google fired 25 software engineers for sexual harassment? But software engineers are too busy banging out code to hit on girls at work. Plus, if you’re a software engineer at Google, your typical Pearl command script isn’t, “Massage my carpel tunnel ho.”  

But one day during a demo presentation for AC/DC Back In Black on surround sound in the primo listening sampling room at work, Michael lost his ability to hear fully, now only hearing the death knell Church bell clang to Hells Bells. Was God punishing Michael for his Loud Man’s Disease forever? How could Michael ever sing Karaoke again, losing all semblance of voice control now whatsoever?

Michael was a really a good sales rep for Bose, but reality is, the speakers sold themselves. Michael’s boss and favorite Karaoke partner let him keep his job at Bose but got him off the sales floor to work as a blogger for their digital marketing team instead, allowing him rant and rave about all the loudest and proudest, most bad ass metal rock records of all time, which are only accentuated on Bose’s premium blast speakers, naturally. Michael would fire off blog record recommendations for albums by The Who, Neil Young and Crazy Horse and Van Halen with divine powered authority. He’d pound the keyboard non-stop-all day long, which was sweet music to his boss’s ears, knowing his employee and friend Michael could channel his love of fast, loud, kick ass metal like a Bat Out Of Hell, which sent his heart soaring, flying high again. In the end, Michael couldn’t sell Bose speakers on the main sales floor anymore but he was still able to sell his love of loud, metal music through his blogs, and also had the kick ass, momentous clang of Hell’s Bells playing in his head for company. And Michael didn’t need Meatloaf to tell him, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.

The End

Michael Kornbluth

Kind Of Sad

Who told Samuel L Jackson it looks cool to dress up like Spike Lee’s grandmother? Who identifies, as a Jazz critic descendant of Sonny Rollins in Tyler Perry’s new film, The Uppity Cunt. Co-starring Jeffrey Wright, who plays a wannabe OG, sax savant brother dropout from Julliard, who plays himself in the latest David Simon joint, after telling his Jazz critic brother, to blow his crap review of his debut, self-produced album, Kind Of Sad, up his ass.

Michael Kornbluth

Joan Lives

My son asks, “Daddy, why do get so annoyed by Harry Potter movies again? I say, “It’s too many English accents for me to handle at once.” I can handle Ricky Gervais hosting the Golden Globes every other year, but that’s it. I’d watch a reboot of the Harry Potter franchise with renewed interest if Russell Brand played  Voldemort as a coked out dark prince of stoner metal, who snorted his nose off, because he needed a perpetual boost out of the dark gallows of crippling depression for birthing such a pure blooded unhuggable cunt like Kelly Osbourne. Who killed off Fashion Police prematurely, after teaming up with Trans Chucky forever.”

Michael Kornbluth