Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Man Who Looks Like My Grandfather


It's 2017.  Do you know where your Grandfather is?


There is a man I’ve seen in my neighborhood who looks just like my grandfather.

Same round face. Same lack of hair on top of his reddish scalp. Same thick gray mustache except without the twisty sides. And even similar black glasses.

One thing is not similar.

Ripped jeans. As best I remember, my grandfather never wore ripped jeans. Not even on the weekends.

The man who looks like my grandfather is about my age.

Even still sometimes I feel like running up to him and saying “Big Pop,  are we having breakfast at Hymie’s this Sunday?  I don't do it though, in part because I might discover that I may have to pay for his white fish at breakfast.

I might discover he's younger than I am.

In fact, I have never gone up or spoken to the man who looks like my grandfather. Seeing my grandfather in the guise of a Baby Boomer is a rite of passage on which I'd rather pass.

But some day, I might change my mind.

“Excuse me, sir! Excuse me, Big Pop! 

“Are you talking to me?”

“Yes, I’m talking to you, Big Pop! How did you come back to life?

“I don’t remember being dead.”

“Oh you were, stone cold 1987."

“I was 34 in 1987...”

Shit! He is younger than I am. 

“I think I get it. I look like your grandfather?”

"And you look good for being dead, Big Pop, or alternatively being 122 years old." 

“Do I really look that much like your grandfather?”

“Yes, but is that a tattoo?  Show some restraint, you’re a 1970’s Jewish grandfather!”

“But I'm not," he laughs. "If you'll excuse me, I’m headed now for a "Friends of the Earth" environmental meeting in the bookstore here.”

Gee, my grandfather only cared about the environment when he was trying to decide whether it was a nice day to go to the racetrack.

“See you, dude!” he says.

Dude! So cute coming out of "Big Pop's" mouth.

The guy who looks like my grandfather vanishes into the bookstore.

My grandfather never vanished into a bookstore unless someone was holding a copy of "1001 Jokes by Phyllis Diller" there for him.

Well, I guess it could be worse. Someone my age could be looking at me and thinking I look like his grandfather.

Wait a minute! 

How do I know someone isn't

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Beware the LOJM!


 (maybe)

I’ve never been one to believe in tall tales, myths, or urban legends.

I don’t believe the tooth fairy could ever turn a profit on used enamel, doubt the existence of Bigfoot and Nessie, and scoff at aliens crash-landing at Roswell because beings that advanced would know there’s no other place to crash-land than Vegas.

BEWARE THE LOJM!

Today is my birthday. On this day I am 40 years old, just as I have been for many years and always will be! But today somehow the rest of the world will look upon me and see something obscene, loathsome, and truly terrifying!

The world will see a man who is’s 67.

BEWARE THE LOJM! (pronounced “LOW-JIM”)

Known more formally as the “Little Old Jewish Man,” the LOJM is a foul and malignant creature known to torment and bedevil Jewish men of a certain age.

And I am its victim! 

I can no longer have my picture taken in peace. The instant a camera is produced, the LOJM dashes in front of me with blinding speed. It’s like the DC Superhero the Flash, if the Flash were endowed with the additional superpower of speaking fluent deli!

The LOJM next positions itself between me and the camera, musters its most hideous visage, and then vanishes as soon as the picture is snapped! Moving at hyper–speed, the monster arrives and departs undetected, leaving only the surrogate image of its gruesome face as evidence of its foul and deceitful visitation.  

Then I see the picture!  No winning boyish grin, smooth and supple cheeks, or lush brown hair swooping low across my forehead.

IT IS THE LOJM!

But the creature’s evil work is not yet done. The LOJM mesmerizes those around me so they actually believe its foul face is my own!

Even I sometimes cannot detect the deception.  

CURSE YOU, LOJM!

Most wicked and perverse of all is what the beast LOJM has done to my relations with the fair sex - “the babes,” as we 40 year olds call them. He has cast a spell of avuncularity upon me!
Thanks to this spell, no women under the age of 60 can visualize an encounter with me to consist of anything spicier than sharing the New York Times Crossword Puzzle. Avuncularity may have its place, but only when it’s Hanukkah and your uncle is Steven Spielberg.

Today the LOJM invades my very birthday celebration.

Halt, you fakockt fiend!  Be gone, you evil alte cocker!  

Can’t a guy turn 40 (again) in peace? 

BEWARE THE LOJM!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And you don't have to be Jewish to be stalked by the LOJM. It's coming for us all!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

How to be an Unsuccessful Humor Writer

Yes, this is how the process actually looks!


The Internet has afforded a tremendous amount of opportunity to a great many people that never existed in the past, and in no area of human endeavor is this truer than that of the literary arts. Today there are more ways than ever before to successfully become a failed writer.  

And I should know.

I am an unsuccessful humor writer. A few years ago I began writing a humor blog called "Perry Block - Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute.” Back in those days I was a callow inexperienced unsuccessful humor writer. Fast forward to the present and all that has changed dramatically! Today I stand before you as a veteran experienced unsuccessful humor writer. 

You can be one too. Here's how:

Why become a humor writer? 

Everybody secretly wants to become a writer. You don't have to get up early, you can rock a turtleneck any time you want, and in some circles you may be considered an intellectual even if you think health care reform is a branch of Judaism for hypochondriacs. And being a humor writer is the easiest kind of writer to be because you just make up everything. No research, no fact-checking – it’s just like being a Republican. 

How did you begin humor blogging? 

Several years ago I realized that I had many unexpressed thoughts, ideas, hopes, dreams, desires, and aspirations. They are none of your damn business!  So I thought I'd write some schlock comedy instead.  

How long have you been humor blogging? 

I got up about 10:30, so maybe an hour. Hey, want to get some lunch?

Where do you get your ideas?

Mostly from China. I also import a smattering of ideas from a funny fat guy in Bolivia.  
Are there any tricks to humor writing?

There sure are! I wish I knew some.

Isn't it important to have a quirky mind or vivid imagination?

Absolutely not! That might make you a successful humor writer. Don’t forget what our goal is here.

Is the muse with you whenever you write?

If I’m willing to spring for an Uber.

How unsuccessful are you?

I am so unsuccessful that I regularly get rejected by “McSweeney’s” and “The New Yorker.” That’s being rejected by the best!

Do you have a writing schedule or regimen? 

Yes, I do.  

What is it, jerk?  

Oh yeah, sorry! I awaken at 6:00 A.M., brush my teeth if it's Thursday, then head down to the kitchen to resuscitate yesterday's coffee. I check my e-mail, put on Norah O’Donnell and Charlie Rose and fantasize a tempestuous relationship between them, then go back to bed. When I get up again, I write a bunch of stuff if I'm not too nauseous.

Do you ever struggle with Writers' Block?

Gee, I can’t think of a thing to write about that. Yeah, coming up dry here. Sorry.

Can you guarantee I too will be an unsuccessful humor writer? 

Definitely! To be a success in the humor writing business you have to have talent, drive, desire, and determination. If you had any of these qualities, you'd be doing something constructive instead. 

Thus, your successful unsuccess is assured!

I look forward to not reading you in “The New Yorker.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Friday, September 8, 2017

If the Lone Ranger had a Jewish Faithful Friend, or Hi-Ho Hyman Silvers!




Like every child of the fifties, I returned to those thrilling days of yesterday whenever I heard:

“A fiery horse at the speed of light, a cloud of dust, and a hearty Hi-ho Silver! The Lone Ranger!”

But things have not gone so well for the Lone Ranger since then.

A few years ago, the Ranger's long-time Faithful Friend Tonto walked out on him - claiming he wanted to do a "single" - and began dating Cher. The Masked Man hastily started interviewing for a new Faithful Friend.

Then the bombshell that rocked the nation:  

 The Ranger was refusing to interview anyone who wasn’t wearing feathers! 

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) swiftly intervened and the Masked Man agreed to embrace diversity and reach out to white guys.  

And now, we children of the fifties may once again return to those thrilling days of yesteryear whenever we hear:

"A fiery horse at the speed of light, a cloud of dust, and a hearty Hi-ho Hyman Silvers! The Lone Ranger!"  

 The Ranger hired 57-year-old Hyman Silvers, an accountant from Queens NY, as the new Faithful Friend. Mr. Silvers had done well in the personal interview, making the Ranger laugh when he answered the question "Where do you see yourself in five years?" with “Buried deep within the arms of a young shikseh, Mr. Ranger."

 At first there were problems along the trail.

“This is where we go to the bath room, CHHemosabe?” asked Hyman. “A cactus?”

“Just don’t lean into it," said the Lone Ranger. “And that’s kemosabe, not CHHemosabe!”

 “Hyman,” said the Lone Ranger, “help me make camp.”

 "I can't really help you make camp, Lone, but I'll be glad to help you make reservations."

 Ambushed by the Butch Cavendish Gang, the Ranger had to make a run for it, calling out “Faithful Friend, cover me!” 

 “Here’s 15 bucks, Lone,” said Hyman. “Does that cover you?”

 Gradually Hyman Silvers developed into a worthy Faithful Friend, trusted and appreciated by the Lone Ranger himself.

“Hyman has introduced me to some delicious grub called herring,” beamed the Ranger, “and he knows so many great jokes about guys in the garment district named Ginsberg!”

Plus he came up with idea of my ditching this idiotic mask! I don’t have a secret identity and this mask does nothing but get people shooting at me thinking I’m an outlaw!”

 “That mask is totally farcacta, Lone!” added Hyman Silvers.

“That’s right, Faithful Friend,” agreed the Lone Ranger. 

“Now get the hell out of here and make camp, you schlemiel!"  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Letting Go of Jerry Lewis




I was sorry to hear about the passing of Jerry Lewis. In the 50’s and early 60's, we little kids waited for the next Jerry Lewis movie like nerds today wait for the next Star Wars movie

I feel like a bit of my childhood died with Jerry Lewis. And I’m not ready to let my childhood – or Jerry – go!
  
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Good Mohrrning, Bwandon!"

“Dad, why are you talking so funny?”

“Tawking funny? I’m not tawking funny!  WooOOAAAHH!"

“Are you trying to talk like Jerry Lewis?”

“You’re eating fweezer waffles, Bwandon? The fweezer waffles are good because the goodness is in the waffles, and there’s no badness with the goodness…”

“You are trying to talk like Jerry Lewis.”

“I miss Jerry. I have to keep him alive.”

“But wasn’t he kind of an obnoxious jerk?”

“Yes, but he was my obnoxious jerk! Oh, LayDEEEESSS!!!”

“I don’t even like his movies that much.”

“Brandon, the Nutty Professor is a classic! Actually Miss Purdy… Mr. Buddy Love … I’ll pay attentshun! I’ll pay attentshun!”

"This is terrible! How am I going to get you out of this?”

“Bwandon, let’s do the Jerry Lewis Memory Test!”

“Oh no, you’ve been boring me with that since I was four.”

“One hen. One hen, two ducks. One hen, two ducks, three squawking geese … c'mon, do it with me!”

“Dad, cut it out! We’ve got a lot of problems in the world, with our terrible president, North Korean nuclear threat, and hurricanes bashing Florida.”

“You’re right, Brandon.  It’s time to get serious …”’

“Good, Dad, good.”

“About my kids! When you walk through a storm, keep your head up high …”

 “Hell, I don’t know which of the two Jerrys is worse!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you, Jerry Lewis, the King of Comedy, for all the laughs all my life. 


Saturday, September 2, 2017

She’s No Dan Fan













Note: Ironically I wrote this piece yesterday before I heard of the passing of Walter Becker. Let it serve as a tribute to Mr. Becker, Donald Fagan, and Steely Dan's great contribution to our music.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Wouldn't you know it, Michelle?”

“What’s that, Perry?”

“Just as we get to the concert, it’s starting to rain.”

"What a shame! Let’s turn around and go right back home!"

"Now, Michelle, you agreed to come.”


"Sure, after you 
plied me with gin.”

"Michelle, Steely Dan is the quintessential Boomer band. Second only to the Beatles." 

"Need I remind you, Perry, I'm post-Boomer?"

"Oh, there’s not a lot of difference between us.”

“You’re right, there’s only one difference – years!”

“It's clearing up. Let’s head on in.”

“Did you remember the tickets?”

“Of course.”

“I knew I should have hidden them!”

“Wow, look at this place! I haven’t seen so many gray ponytails since my last George Washington Look-alike Contest!”

“I don’t see anyone here my age.”

“Oh, don’t be silly, Michelle, I see plenty of folks your age.”

“Where?”

“Working the concessions.”

“Wonder if I can get some gin there.”

“Look, there’s Donald Fagan and Walter Becker!”

“They’re both kinda ugly, aren’t they?”

“I’m sorry, Michelle. Next time we'll go see David Muir of ABC News in concert.”

“What’s this first song about?”

Everyone’s Gone to the Movies is … umm …rumored to be about child abuse.”

 “Lovely.”

“Now they’re going into Hey, Nineteen. That's almost our song.’”

“It's not about a guy who calls out bingo numbers for a living?”  

“Maybe this was a bad idea for you to come.”

“Wait, Perry! I’ve heard this one before.”

“It’s called Deacon Blues.”

“It has kind of a moody haunting quality.”


“They got a name for the winners in the world

 I want a name when I lose.

“They call Alabama the Crimson Tide,

Call me Deacon Blues.”

“Say, Perry?”

“Yes, Michelle?”

“You want a name when you lose?” 

“I guess.”

“I’d have thought you’d already had half a dozen by now.”

“Aw, Michelle!”

“I’m kidding! Know what?

“What?”

“I do like Steely Dan.” 

“You do?

 “And I like you too. In fact, you’re probably my favorite Baby Boomer!”

“Why, thank you.”

“But about those names when you lose?”

“Yes, Michelle?”

“You’ll be needing one later tonight.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~