The Sales Raise Dinner

6 months after perpetual beat down, heart tissue shredded despair from cold
calling IT Directors twice my age at the tender age of 22 in LA with no
promising relief in sight, I was finally able to slam the phone down on the
receiver and yell with emphatic, triumphant vibrato, “DEAL”, as all my fellow
IT agent recruiter sisters and brothers in arms all put down their phones in
symbiotic unison and my bum rushed my section of our open office boiler room to
give me one kick ass high five after another. Prior, to bawling my eyes out
after winning Most Improved Basketball player at Sleepaway Camp, it was the
happiest, most joy spewing moment of my life. After spending many afternoons at
5:30 PM, crying in the bathroom stall, after being hung up on all day again for
6 months straight, getting my 1st deal under my belt was equivalent to Forrest Gump getting to bang Jenny in her dorm room after her fake news original Blowing in The Wind striptease act. Then again, Hair Metal wasn’t invented yet, so you can’t be too harsh on Jenny for trying to reinvent herself as a hotter, better stacked, Joan Baez cover act in the making either.

Once you did your 1st 3 deals at Remington International,
the big machers, meaning all the big-time billing managers would take you out
for a fancy sales raise dinner to give you a taste for living the high life
again. Steve Winwood lives post Traffic, holla, thank you very much.
Understand, the sales raise wasn’t substantial at all and made zero difference
after taxes for my biweekly take home paycheck. Granted, I could still afford
to pay the rent on my rent-controlled apartment in West Hollywood, see a movie
once a week in the Century City Mall and splurge on the Sunday NY Times
pre-fake news to get my brain back in working order after puffing the green
with my ex or doing E once my dealer in the valley got access to it frequently
post Y2K, but that was it. None of us dignified, scrappy, resourceful yet lowly
IT agency recruiters in my position made enough money to survive really,
because none of us made actual commission on a 20 grand placement there, a 25
grand rip there, but at the time my illustrious sales raise dinner at Morton’s
in Beverly, Hills that its, totally made up for it, Dice lives, holla, thank
you, very much. 

The festivities started with a Grey Goose and tonic or 2, before the
scallops wrapped in bacon appetizer arrived. Understand, despite growing up in
the upper middle class affluent confines of Westchester County, only 50 minutes
north of Peter Luger’s in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, I had zero exposure to fancy
schmancy steak house appetizers of this holy shit good magnitude. Every bite
was perfect. The bacon wrapped around this sumptuous, high-end scallop that was
never rubbery chewy bland for one second, was bursting with bubbly, over the
top crackling, in your face flavor. Outside of my mind melting from relishing
such a tubby bitch, fine dining steakhouse appetizer at the same Morton’s in
Beverly Hills, which used to be the go-to afterhours Vanity Fair party hot spot
after the Academy Awards, it was impossible to not derive a communal sense of
shared brotherhood with the older management crew in attendance, who all hailed
from back east like myself, living it up like senior agents for freaking CAA
for Christ’s sake. Pete Clochaney, the former wrestling stud from upstate in
Buffalo, the living legend Michael Burns, from Greenwich, CT, who toured with
Dead, bartended at Kelly’s Korner and made us watch Rudy for inspiration one
morning before our daily cold calling assault resumed and my direct boss Alex
Dubovoy, a garbage man’s son from Brooklyn, done good. I loved how much
vicarious pride they derived from me making it to that table with them. For
once, I felt I truly earned my keep. They all wore really nice Canali suits who
possessed a working knowledge of obscenely expensive brown liquor shots such as
Louis the 13th cognac. My head was spinning from being accepted
and encouraged to do even better under their sales leadership direction,
feeling like a waste of height no more and my succulent, divine blessed,
Porterhouse, sorry Kosher God hadn’t even arrived yet.

Outside of savoring every juicy, heaven-sent bite, my mind veered toward my dad
for a second, who was a rainmaker himself, helping build a 90-million-dollar
packaging business in Union New Jersey. Still, it drove me nuts at the time,
thinking how much my father dropped the ball, never exposing me to any
motivational shoot for conquest steak dinner like this, because prior, I was
only accustomed to eating the perpetually shitty, anemic, consistently mushy
kosher kind. My father grilling what flavor they once possessed didn’t
contribute to my complete lack of enjoyment factor from eating trying to act, I
was ever into them either.  

Thank you, Lord, for giving me the balls and fortitude to not throw in the
towel during my 1st six months on the job as an IT agency
recruiter, a long, long, way from home, with no Vince Vaughn pep talks to rouse
my depressingly downer weepy spirits at the time either. Becoming an IT
Headhunter in LA and paying my own way in this world made me the man I am
today. College is so overrated, knowing I was the only putz to graduate from a
top communication school back east with a debilitating stutter.  

They say the true definition of failure is giving up on yourself, so by that
definition, my stint as an IT Headhunter at Remington International, my 1st real
deal professional working white collar job was a smashing success. All those
double Turkey Burgers with glops of mayor, fine shredded lettuce, draped in
mounds of American Cheese on Santa Monica Blvd. were sublime to, because I
earned them from not giving into the fear of failure or more perpetual shot
down rejection I endured my 1st six months on the job, which
provided the impetus behind the funny man with a plan I am today. Granted, my
dear lovely LA of yesteryear has morphed into a horror show tent city of biblical
proportions, yet all the mongoloid moron blather talk, online and off in a post
COVID crazed world gone wild can ever take that sales raise dinner away from
me.

Michael Kornbluth

 

The Sales Raise Dinner

6 months after perpetual beat down, heart tissue shredded despair from cold calling IT Directors twice my age at the tender age of 22 in LA with no promising relief in sight, I was finally able to slam the phone down on the receiver and yell with emphatic, triumphant vibrato, “Deal”, as all my fellow IT agent recruiter sisters and brothers in arms all put down their phones in symbiotic unison and my bum rushed my section of our open office boiler room to give me one kick ass high five after another. Prior, to bawling my eyes out after winning Most Improved Basketball player at Sleepaway Camp, it was the happiest, most joy spewing moment of my life. After spending many afternoons at 5:30 PM, crying in the bathroom stall, after being hung up on all day again for 6 months straight, getting my 1st deal under my belt was equivalent to Forrest Gump getting to bang Jenny in her dorm room after her fake news original Blowing In The Wind striptease act. Then again, Hair Metal wasn’t invented yet, so you can’t be too harsh on Jenny for trying to reinvent herself as a hotter, better stacked, Joan Baez cover act in the making either.

Once you did your 1st 3 deals at Remington International, the big machers, meaning all the big-time billing managers would take you out for a fancy sales raise dinner to give you a taste for living the high life again. Steve Winwood lives post Traffic, holla, thank you very much. Understand, the sales raise wasn’t substantial at all and made zero difference after taxes for my biweekly take home paycheck. Granted, I could still afford to pay the rent on my rent-controlled apartment in West Hollywood, see a movie once a week in the Century City Mall and splurge on the Sunday NY Times pre-fake news to get my brain back in working order after puffing the green that weekend but that was it. None of us dignified, scrappy, resourceful yet lowly IT agency recruiters in my position made enough money to survive really, because none of us made actual commission on a 20 grand placement there, a 25 grand rip there, but at the time my illustrious sales raise dinner at Morton’s in Beverly, Hills that its, totally made up for it, Dice lives, holla, thank you very much.

The festivities started with a Grey Goose and tonic or 2, before the scallops wrapped in bacon appetizer arrived. Understand, despite growing up in the upper middle class affluent confines of Westchester County, only 50 minutes north of Peter Luger’s in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, I had zero exposure to fancy schmancy steak house appetizers of this holy shit good magnitude. Every bite was perfect. The bacon wrapped around this sumptuous, high end scallop that was never rubbery chewy bland for one second, was bursting with bubbly, over the top crackling, in your face flavor. Outside of my mind melting from relishing such a tubby bitch, fine dining steakhouse appetizer at the same Morton’s in Beverly Hills, which used to be the go-to afterhours Vanity Fair party hot spot after the Academy Awards, it was impossible to not derive a communal sense of shared brotherhood with the older management crew in attendance, who all hailed from back east like myself, living it up like senior agents for freaking CAA for Christ’s sake. Pete Clochaney, the former wrestling stud from upstate in Buffalo, the living legend Michael Burns, from Greenwich, CT, who toured with Dead, bartended at Kelly’s Korner and made us watch Rudy for inspiration one morning before our daily cold calling assault resumed and my direct boss Alex Dubovoy a garbage man’s son from Brooklyn done good. I loved how much vicarious pride they derived from me making it to that table with them. For once, I felt I truly earned my keep. They all wore really nice Canali suits who possessed a working knowledge of obscenely expensive brown liquor shots such as Louis the 13th cognac. My head was spinning from being accepted and encouraged to do even better under their sales leadership direction, feeling like a waste of height no more and my succulent, divine blessed, Porterhouse, sorry Kosher God hadn’t even arrived yet.

Outside of savoring every juicy, heaven-sent bite, my mind veered toward my dad for a second, who was a rainmaker himself, helping build a 90-million-dollar packaging business in Union, New Jersey. Still, it drove me nuts at the time, thinking how much my father dropped the ball, never exposing me to any motivational shoot for conquest steak dinner like this, because prior, I was only accustomed to eating the perpetually shitty, anemic, consistently mushy kosher kind. My father grilling what flavor they once possessed didn’t contribute to my complete lack of enjoyment factor from eating trying to act, I was ever into them either.  

Thank you, Lord, for giving me the balls and fortitude to not throw in the towel during my 1st six months on the job as an IT agency recruiter, a long, long, way from home, with no Vince Vaughn pep talks to rouse my depressingly downer weepy spirits at the time either. Becoming an IT Headhunter in LA and paying my own way in this world made me the man I am today. College is so overrated, knowing I was the only putz to graduate from a top communication school back east with a debilitating stutter.  

They say the true definition of failure is giving up on yourself, so by that definition, my stint as an IT Headhunter at Remington International, my 1st real deal professional working white collar job was a smashing success. All those double Turkey Burgers with glops of mayo, fine shredded lettuce, draped in mounds of American Cheese on Santa Monica Blvd. were sublime to, because I earned them from not giving into the fear of more perpetual shot down rejection, which ultimately gave me the toughness necessary to achieve my TV writing break with VH1 Classic, which didn’t happen overnight either. Granted, my dear, lovely LA of yesteryear has seen better days yet no amount of mongoloid moron blather talk online or off in a post COVID crazed universe gone wild can ever take that sales raise dinner away from me.

Michael Kornbluth

Funnier Than Laughing Gas

Finally getting my wisdom teeth taken out, which is a relief knowing I can’t blame their excavation on toothbrush neglect caused by premature passing out on the couch from excessive IPA intake, again and again. I’m exaggerating. I actually gave up drinking beer this summer because it was embarrassing spending so much time hung over, recycling, empty reminders of my lush, littered past, as entire Rocky Marathons on AMC passed me by, holla, thank you very much.

Kids are home from school now after I lose my facial virginity from getting gang banged pricked in my mouth with one Novocain shot after another and my beams of sparkly, good hued light, that being my 3 kids, best home team ever, don’t even recognize their depleted daddy mushed into the couch watching a Bee Gee’s doc at 3:30 on a Tuesday afternoon, who’s acting more low energy, barely staying alive than Jeb Bush after receiving unsolicited debate stump talking points from Karl Rove on Fox News.  Then, my wife who works as a nurse in the NICU gives me a drug cocktail consisting of Ibuprofen, Tylenol, and Amoxicillin, insisting I don’t need my prescribed pain killers, which she isn’t ecstatic about schlepping back to the Pleasantville pharmacy to pick up, because if this drug cocktail concoction is good enough for a mom who just had c section at her hospital, then, I’m in no position to run my bitchy, flappy, tore up mouth.  Then, I decide to do something about my sad sack, immobile state because I don’t need to see my kids look at me like I’m lounging out on my premature death bed again. So I semi pound a leftover Captain Lawrence Powder Dreams, a hazy, New England Style IPA which put me at immediate ease before I blast Motley Crew’s Too Fast For Love in my room as I resume editing a previous chapter post for upcoming, future bestselling Koshetarian Comedian in no time, like a man possessed to never allow fear mongering imposed by others, influence my self-reliant streak of self-imposed, willed in happiness, without the overreliance and constantly let down disgust stemming from more dashed expectations involving any hopeful expectation of those supposed to help when you need them the most,  to only come up, short, because they really don’t give a shit again, holla, thank you very much.

The laughing gas, mixed with oxygen was nice yet still prompted me to start heckling the Oral Surgeon when I said, “Doc, give me funnier, laughing gas,” because I wasn’t laughing, yet doc was long time, thank you very much. Then, I add, “Hey doc, the fake news laughing gas you’re giving me reminds me of the time I took my daughter to her 1st Grateful Dead parking scene, literally days after her 2nd Birthday up in Bethel Woods, sight of the original Woodstock. I take her for a stroll, feeling such an evolved, liberal cool Dad for a brief fleeting moment, who suddenly questions his alleged, all knowing, wise ways, once I start spotting some dinged up looking hippies sucking down nitrous balloons by the woods like their last working stuck in time, stilted brain cell could barely hang on until feeling nothing but vacant space like lower Manhattan these days, only for my daughter to point at the Nitrous balloons and, ask, “Birthday Daddy?”  And I say, “No Matilda, Burnout Day”, holla, thank you very much.”

Now it’s 5PM and I notice how my wife has no preparation for our Ravioli dinner, which I wasn’t planning on assuming ownership of after getting my wisdom teeth taken out, knowing my mom was in town to “help out” despite her crashing later that night at a hard 7:30 like the fucking Amish kid from Witness, who normally goes to sleep early because either A) He has to wake early to milk a farm full of cows for B) Is burnout on reading the Bible by candlelight again into midnight hour, when his love comes beaming around because it loses its dramatic oomph when you’ve already read it 5000 times before your 8th birthday.  

Still, feeling good about my post, New England IPA buzz on an empty stomach, knowing I’ve removed all fear from my kids prior, by being the high energy dad they love as I keep heckling Alexa to play Slip Of The Lip and Dance, Dance, Dance, by the kings of slithering Sunset Strip metal sleaze Ratt. Although along the way, my surging levels of happiness were flat lined to death when I had to endure annoying lines from my wife such as, “You can’t drink after taking Tylenol, it will wreck your liver.” I say, “If 3 days in Mardi Gras sophomore year in college, in addition to my lushastic, hound dog driven twenties in LA or my poor man’s William Faulkner, bourbon swirling impersonation in my 30’s back in Brooklyn and Queens, didn’t kill off my liver, nothing will babe, holla, thank you very much.”

So, after realizing that the 2 alleged most important adult woman in my life, that being my mother and wife of 10 years, fail to take care of dinner preparation for my 3 kids after getting my wisdom teeth taken out, I assume ownership of the situation and command the room, the way only a seasoned, all star Koshetarian Comedian can. Granted, when you’re not making Ravioli by freaking hand, or even from a pasta making machine, it’s not a drawn out, colossal time suck either. Still, when you take pride in being a yummy dance producer maestro, who’s accustomed to hearing from any of his 3 kids, “More, more”, “This is delicious Daddy” or “You haven’t made a batch this solid in months Daddy ”, you put in the extra effort to make an A Plus marinara sauce from scratch which steals the show, assuming you use your kids like open mikes in the kitchen prior enough to recognize your last 2 batches of bomb Ravioli made from scratch by some old world Italian Grandma, most likely in the same room since the Godfather was released in the boogie down Bronx, were a tad 2 al dente around the edges, to be called a complete resounding success.  

Mario Batali gave me the idea of always using red onions and carrots as a standard solid base every time you make any marinara from scratch, which I did here, having a Chopomatic at my disposal, after breaking the past 2 from being too rough with it, helped me resent my mom’s and wife’s complete lack of interest in any making life fuss free for a change a tad less in the end.  At the same time, I knew mama wouldn’t make this favorite meal for my 3 biggest fans in the universe “with love”, so it was my pleasure to fulfill the glaring Do It All Mom void in the room. After I use the reliable, semi-sturdy Chopomatic to cut some red onion, I grate some shaved carrots before bathing them in a generous pouring of olive oil, flush with peeled off bits of garlic, and chili pepper flakes, for added spicy variety, which adds more titillating lift to our days, before throwing in the chucky yet crushed, San Marzano can of tomato sauce from nearby grocery chain legend, Stew Leonard’s, a reason to live in CT alone or Northern Westchester, really.

I was also hell bent on eye fucking the shit out of the 2 boxes of Ravioli to ensure all those pillowy squares of perfection floated to the top like they were sitting top of the fucking Red Sea, before they were devoured with plenty of mmm, mmm, yumtastic, inhalatory glee, for back-to-back, licked clean servings later. Bonding through noshing with our kids from incorporating them into the creation of better than boobie dishes while using them as open mikes for real time feedback, can make our kids great again, my 3 fuss free kids, 99% of the time, are living proof of it. Thank you sweet Lord, very much.

Michael Kornbluth

Beyond Hermosa Skies

My old school summer wind Summer Lam rivaled the beauty of any soul piercing sunset draped over those pinkish, orange, scattered skies of Hermosa Beach. Still, my go-to-in-house date night dish, angel hair in a white clam sauce, because I could never afford to dine out for dates, adorned with slivers of neon Greek gold sweet peppers on top, offered plenty of twinkly, ultra-aroused interest to.  Those Greek gold sweet peppers known as Pepperoncini’s, are sold at all Italian Delis, and can be enjoyed at your local Greek restaurant with some olive oil bathed cubes of feta by your little Greek landlord, on top of a tringle, torn off piece of warm pita bread, assuming he’s in a more festive, less dour dumpy mood than usual.  

I got the idea of using angel hair from a weathered, grandma age, Italian executive assistant who worked for my company’s owner Terry Thor, an IT staffing legend, who founded the IT staffing firm, The Thor Group, headquartered in Manhattan Beach next to defense contractor behemoths such as Raytheon, who I placed an IT security analyst with, after insisting my friend JT give me the org chart to exploit for all its billable, employment extending worth. Actually, became buds with Shakes, the IT security analyst I placed at Raytheon, who I let crash on my couch before the interview he flew in from back east for, who possessed dreams of penning dialogue for Tinseltown to.  Come to think of it, there was an IT network security engineer, who I went bar hopping with in nearby El Segundo one night, resulting in me coming in contact with the always majestic, effortlessly beautiful, always pitch perfect, laugh-tastic Summer Lam.  If I didn’t get fired from Thor for failing to do more placements with Raytheon and for being caught on the job looking for new jobs such as selling helicopters for a living, I could’ve befriended another IT candidate who knew a TV Writer agent at CAA. No agent ảt CAA in Beverly Hills or one based in his rental Woodland Hills studio stucco apartment, would’ve singed me based on my ok Friends spec alone, despite me reimagining the Nike swoosh as Gene Simmons tongue, which impressed Summer enough for her to pitch, “Let’s move to Santa Barbara so I can day trade and you give up IT recruiting and write novels instead.” Boy, did I fuck that one up.  

Before meeting Summer, I became a master at making my angel hair clam delight for my various date nights at home, using my secret killer addition ingredient of Pepperoncini’s, available in pre-cut slivers at my local Italian Deli in Hermosa for 2 bucks a pop, who also sold bits of prosciutto ends for 2 bucks a top. “What a country”, I’d croon during those Hermosa loving nights, with unmatched, heaven on earth blasting glee.

I’d also relish taking my 5-minute pre-date trips along the always misty, majestic pacific off the pier to a local fish shack in nearby Redondo Beach for the clams, which I could actually afford for 10 bucks a pound compared to having to sell a highly punctured liver already from the even closer shishy bitch supermarket chain Bristol Farms located in Manhattan Beach instead. I can still picture the smoothed over lines on those clam shells, begging to be steamed open, so I could pour the sweaty, underbelly residue of the succulent sweet clams into the angel hair soon after, responsible for imbibing it’s one a kind, fishy delight flavor.

But now 3 kids later, I’m a Stay-At-Home Koshterian Comedian, so how can I replicate some summer loving love, having a blast with my wife and 3 kids on a damp, February night instead? Easy, I substituted my killer Pepperoncini’s add on ingredient with my tweaked, heavily workshopped twice roasted, mini me cubes of peeled Italian eggplant instead, which I sauté in bomb cold press Italian olive oil first, sprinkled with bits of fresh rosemary and peeled off pieces of garlic before shoving into the oven at 350 for 20 more minutes to add a deepened, roasted, smokier, more elastic, slivery slurpy, eggplant puss flavor, minus the funky fish overtones of course but you get the gist.

Next, you add more specs of leftover rosemary to your buttered, olive oil base to fry up bits of shallots and peeled over slivers of shaved garlic before bam, plop some pre-made Emeril’s vodka sauce on top for only 4 bucks a pop at your local Stop and Shop and you’re made in the shade.  Before eventually dropping the angel hair nestles of perfection into the pinkish, bubbly, fresh scented rosemary specked sauce along with the svelte shards of twice cooked eggplant to extrapolate the most banging, inhalable, pristine sweet flavor imaginable, capable of unearthing multiple lip moistening ums, again and again.

You know you’ve succeeded in recreating some summer loving angel hair love, when your wife goes back for second slurping’s on her own, without any repeated push in that direction either. You also know your date night in your twenties at your old school Hermosa Beach pad is going too domesticated good, when your cute blond date from down south says in the most innocuous way possible, “This is really good. Can I take some home with me? I shrugged off her innocent inquiry, kept the leftovers for myself and sent her home soon after. She didn’t taste that good. She was no Summer Lam alright. Nor could she ever replicate memories of lounging on the beach with my dear Summer Lam, getting carried away to heaven and back, beyond those Hermosa skies.

Michael Kornbluth