Chapter 11 The Spoiled Sheltered Bum

                                                                     Chapter 11

The Spoiled, Sheltered Bum

Growing up Joshua’s father was very fond of the expression, “You’re very generous with my money.” A very funny line indeed. Still, Joshua never asked his Dad for a fancy Bar Mitzvah party with strobe lights, a smoke machine, accompanied with a twice as smoking, inhalable, Italian looking, big haired MC with the boobs to match. Nor did Joshua ever grow up demanding his working parents, to pay his tuition at a private, posh,  liberal arts college off the sandy, pristine, deep blue, dreamy shores of Lake Michigan because he felt entitled to exploit his parents combined 400K annual income for all it was worth. That’s what younger brothers are for, who ask Mom and Dad for wedding money without getting married yet to finance his restaurant in Colorado to support his big shot, lifestyle, in order to keep his self-serving ego afloat.

Reality is though, growing up in the well off suburb of Edgemont, NY only 30 minutes north of Manhattan, while being shipped off to sleepaway camp in Kent, CT to bunk with even more well off, spoiled rich kids, from yenta breath country in Long Island, who owned multiple tennis rackets and had California Rolls and fancy tins of flavored popcorn, caramel always being the best, brought up by their parents during Visiting Day, didn’t help counteract the perception of Joshua’s blessed, young man existence so far in life, being pampered, spoiled from the start.  Alright, so Joshua was never shipped off to Military School like a young Donald J. Trump or ever confused with the spoiled rotten, kid Eric from the Toy who during his time back from military school, asks Ned Beatty to wrap the black man nighttime janitor played by Richard Pryor, insisting, “Daddy, told you to get me anything I wanted in your store.”  But it was impossible for Joshua to not feel lazy compared to his fellow bunkmates at Sleep Away Camp, who were all amazing 4 sports star athletes, that excelled in baseball, soccer, tennis and basketball without ever coming off across overtly putzy nor appearing to break much of a sweat in the process, always remaining, cool under pressure.  Chad, who could smack a tennis ball with his eyes closed, with extreme top spin to the point, where you’d throw out your vertebrae trying to land a racket on it as it roared over your head like a fucking Blue Angel during an Air Show in Stewart Airport for Christ sake.  Mitch, could dribble the soccer the ball with both feet just as good, Harlan could go yard from a first pitch fastball from both sides of the plate and Matt Plotkin who do the same while also putting on a pump fake clinic in the post, if he wasn’t burying more high arching jumpers from all corners of the court from way downtown during Color War or winning intercamp Championships like a future Danny Schayes in the making, with the sporty Jew fro top to match.  Still, Joshua was capable of showing heart, despite faking an ankle sprain injury one summer because his fat ass reared on bacon and egg cheeses, jars of  Oreo cookies, in addition to chicken cutlets sandwiches with Russian Dressing, and non-stop servings of frozen pizza bagels and slices with double cheese from Genaro’s couldn’t handle the grind of endless suicide drills without coughing up a lung.  One year during Color War, they reenacted the World Cup, Joshua playing for Team Cameroon, proving even back sometime in the late eighties, white privileged Jew boy camps were more inclusive than you think.  One the camp counselors Lloyd from Australia, whose body was no temple either, looking like a slightly taller, balding Elton John on holiday only his early twenties I’m assuming, even commended his scrappy, slide tackle heavy hustle. “Joshua, normally, I see watch you spend more time trying to swat away gnats in left field than trying to run line drives hit in your direction. Plus, I don’t know you who taught you table manners, but you eat cereal like a total, slurpy slob. Still, today, you’ve shown some actual hustle and no longer such as spoiled slob in my eyes.” Joshua replies. “Thanks Lloyd. I always wanted to impress Elton’s John’s zero talent body double, who can’t afford hair plugs just yet.”

Joshua had rekindled a friendship with his bud Perry, who he met while working as a Production Assistant on World’s Wildest Police Videos, back in Manhattan, after bumping into him a bookshop on Crosby Street in SOHO, after he got let get go as well paid editor for the LA Times, during the recession post 911. Perry being more than familiar with Joshua’s severe lack of job stability, was still impressed by his more impassioned worth ethic involving his own writing passion projects he wasn’t getting paid for yet like his American Dad spec script, Death of An Astronaut, about the only astronaut who never made to the moon after Obama pulled the plug on NASA, inspiring Perry to proclaim. “I’ve never met anybody more self-motivated than you are.”  If I wasn’t getting paid to work, I would smoke weed all day really.” Perry was being modest but complimentary and good friend all the same time.  Joshua had no choice but to be self-motivated. Lenny Bruce had a showbiz Jewish mom who booked him club gigs. Don Rickles had a doting mother who supported his showbiz ambitions every step of the way. Joshua had banker mother, who didn’t think enough of his creative abilities to make it as writer or comedian despite his ability to make her laugh constantly without even trying. Perhaps, his mom assigned too much value to her son’s learning-disabled status in elementary school, which prematurely branded him as a knock kneed, mental slow poke, with penmanship on par with a heroin addict dozing in and out.  Joshua was always very sensitive about his less than stellar handwriting, at times wishing he attended a Catholic private school growing up, so the Nuns could’ve have smacked his handwriting into tip top shape. Just to avoid the brutal exchanges on the subway, heading back to Brooklyn once, where some little Hassid kid next to him, glances at his chicken scratch scrawl in Joshua’s notebook as he tries to develop more jokes about how if he took PHD’s at camp, he would’ve have struck at a more accelerated speed, before he hears. “What language is that Hebrew.” Joshua fires back with. “Yeah, it’s Hebrew Schmendel, I write deli reviews for the Kosher Planet.”  At the same time, when his mom told her son a restaurant in Park Slope one day, she couldn’t respect his decision to purse a career in comedy, she thought, “He can’t write his name legibility, after having 30 years of fucking practice but he thinks he’s talented and funny enough to be a big deal comedy writer, now that’s hilarious.”

Now, Joshua was a stay at home dad and father of 3 for almost a whole decade, still working on his writing craft, writing pilots, spec scripts, books, blogs, endless jokes, recording hundreds of podcasts, commercial video scripts, and thousands upon thousands of jokes with still no financial relief in sight. But Joshua’s father was more old school. He didn’t care for the term stay at home dad. He preferred the expression sheltered bum. But until Joshua became a financial provider for his family, bringing home more than Morning Star veggie bacon to make bomb BLT’s on good old fashioned country white, with a dollop of homemade sage infused mayo on top of diced olive oil bathed cherry tomatoes with ample salt and pepper spreadage on top, he couldn’t entirely disagree with the prognosis.

 

 

 

Chapt. 8 The Jewish Godmother Recruiter

 

                                                               Chapter 8

                                                  The Jewish Godmother Recruiter 

 

Joshua’s, Beshert, daughter agent wasn’t done selling The Jewy Manhattan Book Club on why her do it all dad would prove to be an MVP addition to their book club in no time. “Look, I understand, all you are you high powered, big city woman, who formed a book club, you don’t have to hear the opinions of know it all blah breaths who still read op-eds in the NY Times, expecting any type of deepness enlargement in the process. Does my Dad suffer from loud man’s disease? Yes, what interesting New Yorker worth spending any quality of time with, isn’t? Does my dad have a temper? I wouldn’t compare to Tony Soprano, considering the fact he grew up the rough section of Scarsdale, NY, Edgemont to be exact. Actually, his parents raised him in Forrest Queens before buying a colonial in the Edgemont, NY school district because now, he’d have a room to cry himself to sleep upstairs, which always makes the moans of despair easier to bear. My dad looks like Hugh Grant on stilts, minus the horse teeth, have I mentioned that yet? He actually gets confused for being English plenty because he dresses, dapper, business casual British, rocking Ted Baker button downs, both short and long sleeves better than duh face Orlando Bloom ever could. Plus, my dad thinks Yiddish but delivers, not just hilarious, but hysterical trains of thought in nothing in perfect annunciated English, minus the nasal, dronage prominent in Paul Reiser and yenta breaths like Jerry Seinfeld or even weird, weak Howard these days for that matter. The summer before I started Kindergarten in North Salem, NY, where we live now, daddy enrolled me in comedy camp at home because summer camp wasn’t an option because Daddy was still so broke, his Hebrew name was under Judicial Review. We made a bunch of commercials together for his creative tech staffing firm, Standup Staffer, Been Talent Hooking Since Y2K and all them are hilarious from start to finish. He made a great director and my all-star performance in F The PC Police, Say Goodbye To Palo Alto and Blond Power were all big hits. I only required 2 takes max, for each, one in case you’re wondering. You’ll love this bit. What’s a mentor Daddy? Someone who points out your flaws to work on to help you become the best version of you.  Does that mean mommy is your mentor? Because she’s always pointing out your flaws? Like, how you’re so selfish, loud and annoying. I got it kid. I don’t need a mini clone of mommy in my life right, thanks.  The Rev Bob Levy, even completed the comedy work we did together, who used to be a head writer for the Howard Stern show, before Howard fired him because he didn’t like the Rev plugging his stand up comedy shows on the air despite him paying him a paltry salary to make Howard come off as punchier, edgier and less blah brained, fake news deep in real life. You throw Hillary softball questions on your show because his ghoulish, tranny conjuring wife, would dump him to the curb, if he stopped getting invited to Jimmy Kimmel’s house for more 2 bite Chicken Parm dinners. The exact compliment from the Rev Bob Levy, always the funniest and most vicious roaster on the Howard Stern Show, outside of Nick Dipaolo, who also sucked my Dad’s Louie spec script, was, “You got it kid. Funny, relaxed.” And Nick Dipaolo, you know smarter, smoother, just as hilarious Dice, who only drops f bombs for occasional emphasis like my Do It All Dad, doesn’t go out his way to stroke funny man Hebrew descendants of Abraham either.”

Ester, the gorgeous, exotic, long black haired, black leather panted fitted, bootylicious recruitment owner of Silicon Alley Staffers, dares to break up Matilda’s killer flow. “So, Matilda, do you need a job? You’d be animal on the phone and even more impressive in face to face meetings with CTO’s in Manhattan, who couldn’t resist your irresistible mix of punchy, Punk Brewster panache and zero bullshit directness, via Tatum O’Neal in the Bad News Bears. Granted, we’d have to work on the taking breaths between your long-winded pitches, to assess whether the other side is still listening or hasn’t been overwhelmed by sheer force of personality overload yet. Matilda replies. “I appreciate the offer Ester but the only talent I represent is my daddy. I have zero interest in selling the billable brain of power of coders for a living, even though I like to code, during computer lab at school because I’m also wired like that. Once, my grandfather on my mom’s side, big referral for my dad when worked for Robert Half in Manhattan, was an ABAP developer who needed subtitles in order be understood. My father would’ve had an easier time penning a Bollywood Musical than making a placement fee on this guy.”  Also, Big Tech firms like Google make it impossible to be a patriotic, loving American these days who support Israel’s right to defend itself against radical Islam’s non stop kidnapping of Jewish Children in UN funded tunnels and nonstop rocket attacks in their backyard, whenever the whim washes over their demented, twisted souls again.  Also, enough with Israeli aggression, if you shoot 700 rockets into Israel’s backyard, don’t expect an edible gift basket in return, with a thank you note written in Farsi.  Alte, the comedy club owner interjects.  “Have you considered doing stand up comedy for a living kid? Your timing is impeccable, and your material is A grade all the way.” Matilda replies. Thanks for the offer, but my killer comedic timing is direct result of spending so much time with stay at home dad for the past 9 years and counting. Plus, he’s always sampling material on strangers at the post office, deli, bookshop, anywhere outside of the house away from Mama really. Dada always says the world is your stage like Shakespeare says, so there’s no reason to limit your gem joke dissemination to Park Slope lesbo coffee shops or at some townie Irish bar among a bunch of burn out, hicks in Northern Westchester either. Did you know the mayor of New York City is married to a woman who used to be hard core Park Slope lesbo? Yet we’re supposed to believe garlic breath converted her? Golda, the woke, libertarian radio host interjects. “Matilda, your voice projects so well. Would you be interested in being my intern this summer? I hate the mayor of NY more than Jim Acosta wannabes at CNN. Does CNN just shove a mike in front of anyone with good hair? Who doesn’t look too Tommy Lee alt-rightish?  Matilda replies. “I plan on getting a sports scholarship and dunking out in school by the 6th grade, so I’ll have to pass because all that time on my bum will take away from basketball camp and my rigorous box jump schedule my dad plans on doing me with this summer, to help conquer his white man’s disease once and for all.”  Freida, the star Soul Cycle Instructor of SOHO Equinox, interjects. “Matilda, you’re core physique is fantastic and I don’t think you’re capable of running out of breath. Would you consider teaching a Soul Cycle Class for our older baby boomer clientele, so they’re not easily intimated by much younger instructors, with already filled out hard bodies? But before you answer I wanted to thank for emailing me your proposal to meet with you on the behalf of your father. In all honesty, prior, we never considered adding another member to our Jewy Manhattan Reading Club, but we don’t get cold emails from 9-year-old requesting a face to face meeting with our club, ever either.” Matilda replies. “Teaching Soul Cycling sounds fun but not if I’m just teaching baby boomers on how to feel better about being out of state, virtual grandparents, who refuse to identify with even the part time occupation of Grandmother, because it infringes upon their spacious lifestyle away from Uni Brow Maddow on MSNBC.  My dad always blames Facebook for making Baby Boomers, the laziest grandparent generation of all time. Lifting a finger is liking a picture.   My dad also just another piece published on the Good Men Project, The Last Self-Loving Jewish New Yorker, securing his good guy non-divisive status but not really. The piece is a letter to God about my dad apologizing for breaking his spiritually elevated, Kosher diet as of late, because mommy, a gentile, pushed the issue and he didn’t want it to become one, ruining their date to see Cheap Trick at the Capital Theatre on Valentines’ Day.  Can I borrow someone’s phone? I’ll read the piece to you right now.  4 phones come flying at Matilda and she manages to catch every single one. Matilda says. Just one is fine, here we go. And don’t worry about my Dad, he got a great spot. He’s with my two younger brothers now at the Lego store by 30 Rock.  He wrote a 30 Rock script that made him a Recommended Writer on TV Writer ages ago, back when he used to live in Brooklyn with mommy, then girlfriend, when Lena Dunham had much skinnier arms and wasn’t so full of herself.

Not To Marry Gentiles (Deuteronomy 7:3-11)

3 unplanned kids later with my gentile wife, it’s a little late for that God, sorry. I never mastered the art of the pump fake. I did marry the mother of my 3 kids under a Chuppah, built by my hippie bud Marshall from Ithaca College. You know Cornell’s mentally challenged, next door neighbor. I even had Jewish naming ceremonies for three of my kids, my last one being for my lucky number 3, Samuel Teddy, Yitzhak Kornbluth. Because I love the story of a hundred-year-old Sarah getting knocked up well past her eggs’ expiration date, like Sarah Silverman 10 years ago. And unlike other, so-called brilliant comedians like Sarah Silverman, I at least outgrew, my truly tasteless jokes phase at sleepaway camp in Kent, CT. Despite me needing the comedic relief, knowing I was the 2nd worst athlete after the Sheik’s son from Great Neck and to had endure the insufferable elitism of the blah breath kid from Dalton on the Upper East Side, who thought reading a book on Jim Morrison at 15 was the height of deep probing thought. Compared to portly, freckle faced Stork, who read op-eds by Peggy Noonan on how Regan wouldn’t be anybody without her writing his aw-shucks, smile inducing witticisms because he was just an over the hill pretty face, yokel from Northern Cal, who looked good on a horse. If stand up great Bill Hicks wasn’t impressed with Regan’s speaking prowess, then Regan must have been a zero-talent dope, with or without Peggy Noonan pushing for him to name our space missile defense system Star Wars over Space Force instead.

I’ll get to the point now God. I broke my Kosher diet streak of 4 months at a gastro pub in Portchester, NY 1 hour before seeing the legendary pop rock band Cheap Trick with my wife for Valentine’s Day and I feel awful about it, sick to my stomach really. I don’t care how scrumptious my wife’s Shrimp and Grits were or the Duck Roll wrapped and fried in paper thin won ton paper, stuffed with the most non-sour pungent, highly delectable shreds of Sauerkraut nestled inside each bite from Gentile heaven.

It all started with my gentile wife, originally hailing from Brisbane Australia, urging me to try one bite of her Shrimp and Grits, knowing full well, I’ve been a proud beneficiary of my spiritually elevated, Kosher diet regulated meals as of late. We wanted to get married in Australia on Mother’s Beach, yet my mom shot down that dream. On the phone she says to me, “Son, Australia is a long flight from New York and your father doesn’t love you that much.:”

But back to my Gentile wife pushing me to take a bite out of her Shrimp and Grits. I wouldn’t say it felt like she was trying to hard sell me on still giving the Passion a shot after all these years, knowing my younger Jewish brother broke his Mel Gibson movie strike and rushed to see Apocalypto opening weekend. Now, I wouldn’t say my wife’s repeated attempts to make me try her succulent forbidden, Gulf Shrimp felt like total overkill. But her big, bulging eyes became more enraged, the more I resisted a bite out of her deveined, broth rich, fleshy, chunky cooked morsel of southern love accentuated Shrimp.

I know you’re the one and only true God, who I worship with all my fighting, loving, funny man heart. Still, the Capital Theatre has been a tremendous source of joy for me, starting with seeing the final Grateful Dead show via simulcast from Soldier Filed there with an old school bud from High School, making me feel like I was at the actual concert in Chicago along with every other over the hill baby boomer, who loves to name drop celebrities they bump into at Dead Shows like the famed Bill Walton, to feel cooler by association. Truth is, Cheap Trick rocks out way harder than the Grateful Dead, they’re twice as melodic on most songs, explaining why they’re called the American Beatles for a reason. Plus, being a big Dead Head set list guy, I searched online for some recent Cheap Trick set lists, giving me the distinct impression they were going to replicate almost the entire set of Cheap Trick at Budokan, which is a legendary live album, that will transform the most hardened Gen X adult today into a true believer of the kick ass restorative powers behind hearing live, rambunctious, soul man blasting rock and roll.

So, while my wife just urged me to try one bite of her shrimp. Implying, it’s Valentine’s Day and we’re out on a date, while my mother was in town to babysit our 3 kids, which is a biannual production, so I should feel morally obligated to relish my Gentile blessed, Jesus approved Shrimp and Grits, more than growing closer to God through sticking with my Kosher diet, knowing I don’t have to do any of the slaughtering or blooding draining of cows myself. Still, all I heard in my stoned, semi paranoid head at the time was, come on, come on, try the Shrimp and Grits already, you uppity, fake news believing Jew. Then, I started to justify why taking a bite wouldn’t be the end of the world, stating, some married couples in Miami Beach go to swinging clubs on Valentine’s Day, so our thing can be my wife force feeding me shrimp and andouille sausage but having me act like I love it. For all the talk of us chosen people being the pushy ones Lord, I don’t feel gentiles get enough credit for being just as guilty of this charge if not worse. And I’ll take the Crusades for 500 Alex.

So knowing my mom was in town to babysit our 3 bundles of sunshine and my wife had gotten us the tickets to see Cheap Trick in the 1st place, I relented and tried her super scrumptious Shrimp and Grits because I feared it becoming an issue. Ruining our time together to see Cheap Trick at the famed Capital Theatre, where Janis Joplin performed her last show, which I wanted to avoid at all costs. This issue being my wife branding me as the obstinate, all knowing, morally exalted, big headed Jew. So I divorced myself from my ego, thinking, one bite of shrimp away from the house wasn’t indicative of me turning my back on you Lord because of my commitment to resume my Kosher diet the following morning, with dreams of duck rolls becoming a glorious remnant reminder, of the thrill offered by being a bad boy non-conformist, living to rock out to Cheap Trick without a worry in the world, living for the killer opener of Hello There and Come, Come On while not sweating the loss of my chosen, funny man father status just yet.

Still, when we got the Capital Theatre on the main floor, to see Cheap Trick blow the roof off the building, I lost my airy, spiritually elevated lift as of late. Granted, the fries, duck roll and vanilla bean porter, followed by an Anchor Steam on tap for old times sake before they assumed the stage didn’t help. But we had a great time together at the show Lord and I grew closer to my wife as a result, despite her nudge, playing a slight role in me veering me away from your Moses transmitted commandments. And deep down I know your main concern for us chosen people marrying Gentiles, is them driving ourselves away from you Lord, because of the odds of raising our children Jewish, falls dramatically in half, especially when our wives refuse to convert to Judaism, because they don’t believe your Jewish putz embedded DNA is the end all to the be all either.

But again, my gentile Australian wife was cool with the Jewish naming ceremonies for all three of four kids, which not every Gentile would. So, I’m not going to freak out over this gentile terror alert moment just yet. Still, my beautiful, super funny, ultra-chill wife from the land down under, also made me potato latkes from scratch for Hanukah with parmesan, which does wonders in addition to making me a Kosher Matzoh ball soup, using a real-life Kosher chicken for the stock, despite her being a veggie loving, practicing pescatarian 99 percent of the year. Thereby, proving my Gentile wife is capable of seeing through loving Kosher eyes. Even Kid Rock will give my wife an Amen on that one. More importantly, the night where I said goodnight to my Kosher diet and hello to intermarriage peer pressure at 43 years old, was more of a direct result of me not respecting your law for the night, versus fearing my wife’s semi- pushy wrath, which I didn’t want to ruin Cheap Trick, 42 years after they caused a tsunami of teenage shriekish joy at Budokan back in the day, which I wanted to experience on my own live in person, without rocking the Hello Kitty purse in the process.

Abandoning my Kosher diet for a night for Cheap Trick was a shame. It still taught me how much I need your love Lord, which requires me to make you the center of my universe, instead of the reverse. I should’ve shown your dietary laws as much love as my love of not wanting my wife to ruin Cheap Trick for me on Valentine’s Day. Surrender Shrimp and Grits, I must because I want you to love me back twice as much for making you feel like the center of my universe instead of Cheap Trick, as much as they rocked out with such divine powered authority.

The Jewy Manhattan Book Club is left enraptured in head spinning awe and incredibly moved in the process after hearing such a fresh, assertive, original, funny Jewish, disruptive, literary voice, that got them off from start to finish and Joshua’s 9-year-old Bashert agent feels incredible sense of calm and intense prideful satisfaction in knowing her reading of her dad’s piece helped seal the deal.

Matilda adds. “But the real reason my dad wants to join The Jewy Manhattan Club is to find a potential Jewish Godmother for my and 2 adorable, hilarious younger brothers and if anyone can appreciate my dad being the last funny man self-loving Jewish New Yorker in this age hysterical, resistor, kiss ass resistance, it’s you fab 4.”

Ester speaks on The Jewy Manhattan Book Club’s behalf.  “We’d be honored to have your dad join The Jewy Manhattan Book Club. But I actually like boozy, highly alcoholic, overpriced cabs from Napa. I’m pretty petite so they go straight to my head, but they also take forever to breath, so I like the anticipatory self-discipline it gives me. We just cracked open a delectable Polly Fume from France. Would you like to take a sip?”

Matilda says. “But it’s not spring break yet.” The entire room cracks up. Alte the comedy club owner replies. That’s hilarious Matilda, Ivanka Trump’s daughter would’ve just said something boring in Mandarin.”