Archive for the ‘JackTalk’ Category

About Jack

March 9, 2014

Here are some way cool facts about my Dad for your amusement and edification that I wrote back in February, 2009.

1. Dad calls my brother Adam, “Jack Junior.”

2. Dad thinks that animals understand sarcasm. One day, he was yelling at our dog Scottie, and then he pet him, saying, “He knows I’m just kidding.”

3. Recently, I was trying to sleep in my old upstairs room, but Dad was next door in his smoking room. In there, Dad likes to listen to music very loudly, conduct “business” on the phone very loudly, or talk to himself very loudly. On this particular morning, the music was off and the calls had stopped- and I heard him announce, “Ahhhh…my head hurts…my back aches…my feet stink.”

4. One wintry day, Dad got run over by a snow plow. It ran over his legs, and then backed up over his legs again. Dad got up and only had a few bruises. That’s when it began to dawn upon me that my father is either the luckiest or the unluckiest person in the world.

5. Dad got hit by a car in a parking lot and (of course) sustained no real injuries. He made sure to comfort the poor old lady who hit him.

6. Then there was the time that Dad got impaled on some uncapped rebar. Not a pretty sight. He nearly lost a testicle. I know, gross, but that’s what happened. (There were, of course, no permanent injuries- please see 4-5.) Now, Dad asked me not to tell anyone about the nature of his embarrassing injuries, and I kept my mouth shut. That is, until my dear old schoolhood friend Maryann called me out of the blue. She’d apparently called my parents to get my new number and had spoken to my Dad. Maryann asked Dad how he was, to which, of course, Dad responded, “I tore up my scrotum on some rebar.” At that point, I figured it was fair game.

7. Dad and I went to Norm’s Bar & Grill, and he was in top form. First, he amazed the waitress by showing her how there was a bee on his hat. How did it get there, he wondered? No one knew. Then he just had to run up to another waitress and tell her how she looked like a young Elizabeth Taylor (she didn’t). Then a man who was busing tables but was probably a manager or the owner walked by and asked how things were. Dad jumped at this opportunity. He gently grabbed the man’s arm, and leaned into him confidentially. “I’ve got one for you…So there’s this Asian guy…” I feared the worst. “And he goes to a bank and asks them to exchange his yen for dollars, just as he had done the week before. But this week, he gets fewer dollars for his yen. He asks the teller what this is all about (Dad does an amazing “generic Asian” accent at this point to the delight of all) and the teller shrugs and says, ‘Fluctuations.’ The Asian retorts angrily, ‘Fluck you Americans, too!'” And I had a sigh of relief. It could have been so much worse.

8. Dad doesn’t really know what the internet is. One time I told him that I emailed my ex in France. He was very concerned, and worried over whether J- would get the message, where the message was now, and how long it would take to get to him.

9. One time, something very unfair happened at school, I have no idea what. But Dad was on our side and he’d had enough. He declared vehemently, “I am going to go to that school and make a big stink!”

10. Dad ran into Maria, whom he hadn’t seen since she was little. He was amazed at how she’d grown up and gotten so lovely. He exclaimed, “Wow! You’re so beautiful- you could be one of MY daughters!”

11. Lots of things puzzle Dad, and he likes to ask me about them- a lot. Here are some ones that often plague him: “What’s the difference between anyone and anybody? What’s the difference between further and farther?”

12. Dad seems genuinely surprised when I finish a joke he’s only told me 30 times before.

13. Dad had this great idea for a sitcom, and he wanted me to help him write it. It was going to be called, “The Wallets” and it was about an ugly man who somehow had beautiful daughters. When he shows people pictures of his children from his wallet, people don’t believe that they are his. So he says, “Oh, these pictures- they came with the wallet!” Good one Dad. I gently explained to him that usually you need more than one joke for a whole sitcom…and that’s how I got fired from the show.

14. One time, Dad wrote a letter to the editor, which he had me proofread. But Dad doesn’t take criticism so well, so I got nixed from that project, too. Anyway, he wrote a letter that I’m pretty sure made it into the newspaper about how they really need to make the JFK road more pedestrian friendly. He noted the need for this especially in light of people’s “fat food” lifestyles.

15. At his most recent high school reunion, Dad won the limbo competition.

16. Dad tells some story about going to the doctor’s and having the doctor marvel at what great shape he’s in. Dad notes the secret to his success: “Clean living.”

17. I believe it was Cousin John who once said that if you look up “vulgar” in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of Uncle Jack.

18. Dad thinks kids like him. And sometimes, they actually do.

19. Dad’s working-man hands are so fat he can’t type on a keyboard or use a cell phone.

20. I recently found out that in high school, my friend Jennie would call, and Dad would say, “Call back later,” and hang up. And never give me the message.

21. Dad made a home-made sign out of cardboard to support Ralph Nader’s run for president a few years back. He attached it to a back window on his car. It featured a picture of a cowboyed out John Wayne saying, “Live Greater, Vote Nader.” Dad didn’t actually vote.

22. Dad thinks that Martha Stewart is hot.

23. Here’s the line Dad used on Mom when he first met her: “Can I have a bite of your sandwich?”

24. Long ago, before any of us were born, Dad and one of his sisters were on their way to Canada to look for land- probably for hippie commune building. The man at the border asked Dad, “Have you ever been to jail?” Dad decided to be funny and said, “yes,” (even though at that point in his life, it wasn’t actually true). The man had them turn right back around to Maine. And that’s why I’m not Canadian.

25. When Dad goes in the kitchen to make himself something to eat, he emerges with a startling display of meat, ketchup, pickles, and, of course, horseradish.

26. One time I was in Dad’s car and I saw he had a tin of Altoids, so I thought I’d have myself a mint. Only when I opened it, I discovered that it was full of garlic.

27. If you’re a small child, you may be lucky enough to have my Dad give you a rocket ride. You lie down on the floor, and Dad stands over you. Then he grabs your legs, and flips you up in the air and catches you. It works for a while, but once you get to be a certain size, your head slams against the floor. ROCKET RIDES!!!

28. Dad’s closest run-in with death may have been a staph infection. He was cleaning out a neighbor’s disgusting basement, and he got this bizarre staph infection in his thumb. He went to the doctor’s, who gave him some antibiotics that were not enough. The next day, Dad’s thumb was about 10 sizes bigger. He went to the ER, and spent a week in the hospital. They told him that if he had waited one more day, he would have had a 50/50 chance of living, and that if he had pulled through, it would have taken months for his nerves to heal, if they ever did.

29. The staph aftermath (or staphtermath): As Dad was on the mend, things got weird. All of the extra skin on his thumb peeled off in one disgusting piece. Dad was proud. He put it up on his bulletin board. Heather came over, and I was very embarrassed, so I put on some oven mitts and threw the staph flesh away.

30. Dad usually has really good taste in music- aka he likes what I like. There are some noticeable exceptions. In high school, it was Dokken. My friend Paul and I used to say something about “I’m rockin to Dokken.” If you’re really lucky, you might hear Dad in his room singing along to his latest favorite song. Unbreak My Heart by Toni Braxton.

Dad's the one in the hat.

Dad’s the one in the hat.

JackTalk: Bonnie and the Odorless Farts

March 9, 2014

Here is my first installment of JACKTALK.

The players:

Jack: my dad.

Our Hero: K.

Bonnie: Bonnie.

Raucous Laughter:

And so it begins…


Dad: Hello?

K: Hi Dad, It’s K.

D: How are you?

K: Good, how are you?

D: Excellent.

K: What’s been happening? I just thought I’d call and see how you were.

D: I’m eating supper, what are you doing?

K: Not eating supper.

D: What, are you on a fast? Oh yeah, that’s right, you gave up eating for a month, huh?

K: For a month?? Yep, that’s right.

D: Try 6 weeks before Easter, ha ha, or is it 8 weeks?

K: I dunno. What are you having for supper?

D: Ah, I’ve got pirogues, fish, carrots, and beans. And spinach.

K: Ooh. Is someone with you?

D:  Yes.

K – Oh-oh.

D: (off) With whom do I have the pleasure of speaking? Which K?  I’ve got like 8 of them!

K: Uh!

D: (raucous laughter).

K: Uh, real funny, Dad.

D: Wha ha ha.  How are you, Baby?

K: I’m good.

D: I want you to meet someone, are you still there?

K: Yes, I’m still here.

D: Ok, say hello to Bonnie.

K: Barney?

D: Baaahnnie.

K: Baaahnie. Hi

Bonnie: Hello.

K: Are you Bonnie?

B: I’m Bonnie.

K: Hi, Bonnie.

B: Hi, how- nice to talk to ya.

K: Nice to talk to you, too.

(B and K laugh foolishly.)

Dad: (off) She’s a lawyer.

B: So you’re his little girl, huh?

K: I am. Not that little, though. Not anymore.

B: Not anymore? Ha ha ha. He’s got two beautiful pictures of you guys up here.

K: Very nice.

D: They don’t look like guys to me.

B: We need some new ones.

D: No we don’t. (B and D raucous laughter).

K: Nah, we’ll just look old. Keep the ones where we look young.

B: Ha ha. You will always be his baby.

K: That’s true.

D: She’s my favorite. All my daughters named K— you’ll always be my favorite.

K: Thanks, Dad.

B: Thanks, Dad. (D raucous laughter off). I’ll let you talk back to him, Honey.

K: Ok.

B: Pleasure to meet you.

K: Pleasure to meet you, too.

B: Bye.

K: Bye.

D: Hey, K?

K: Yep?

D: In all candor…

K: Yes.

D: While I have your ear. Did you ever pay me back the 20 bucks I borrowed?

K: phhhhh…..thhhhh…what??

D: (Raucous laughter). You’re the legal beagle.

K: ….is that–

D: –Did you ever pay me back the 20 bucks I borrowed?

K: Is that an enigma?

D: You’re supposed to say yes I didn’t. har har… Plus interest! ha ha! How are you?

K: Eh, fine.

D: How’s everything going, how d’you like the new gig?

K: What’s the new gig?

D: Well, you went to do – ah – last we met you were going to work for the state or something? Or are you still with the other guys- with the firm?

K: No, everything fell through. I’m still unemployed, unfortunately.

D: Oh, come on!

K: Yah…

D: How can anybody that made MENSA with a – what did you have for a grade point average?

K: 4.1.

D: Yeah, 10.5 on the Richter Scale. And you’re unemployable? Give me a break. What are you, a slacker?

K: Kind of.

D: (Raucous laughter) No you’re not. You know the one thing they can’t take from you, K? Is your intelligence and your, you know what I mean, ah ah, are you desperate at all?

K: No, I’m fine.

D: Financially, you’re getting by all right?

K: Yeah. No- I called, I called to borrow money, Dad. Pay up!

D: (extraordinarily raucous laughter). Hey, K, I want you to be, ah, apprised, or appraised, or whatev- no, I can’t appraise you, cause there’s no – you’re priceless. So there’s no price to put on you. Bonnie is a – what are we, roommates?

B (off): Noooo….

D: Well, no, you live in the south building. Which makes us fellow neighbors.

K: Very nice.

D: And she’s- she has…a few…limitations, but she’s a honey. I took her go-cart racing yesterday.

K: Who won?

D: She did, of course! I couldn’t keep up with that wheelchair, for gad’s sake. She’s an amputee, K.

K: Ok.

D: And I try to help her with her PT and get her prosthesis on, make her do a few laps, get her up vertical. She’s a breath of fresh- and she’s a FANTASTIC artist.

K: Really?

D: Yeah, Bonnie and Johnny Artworks in my apartment. She pops it out like you can’t believe.

K: Oh, that’s great.

D: So anyway, yeah, no, it’s better than counting bricks!

K: But you’re so good at it!

D: (Raucous laughter) I lost my place, I had to start ovah! Ok, let me ask you this, and I just reviewed your beautiful picture when you and your sister- S –  made the front page of the Sentinel.

K: Mm-hmm.

D: Never tell a secret in the garden. Why, K? Because…

K: I don’t know.

D: The corn has ears, and stalks.

K: Pfff, good one, Dad. Any more joke fodder?

D:  The potatoes have eyes, the rutabeggya to lettuce alone.

K: Oh, that’s—

D: —And the trees will ask you to leave.

K: The trees will what?

D: Ask you to leaaa–vvee.

K: Oh. Heh heh.

D: Ouch.

K: Yeah.

D: That’s a stretch. Ha ha. I miss you like the queen bee misses pollen, Honey.

K: Thanks, Dad.

D: Oh, God bless you. What do you need, Bon?

B: (off) Tell her the joke about the chicken.

D:  (to B) She’s probably heard it a hundred times. Oh, why did the chicken cross the road?

K: Why?

D: To go see his friend. Gregory. Peck.

K : Ohhh, ow. Ow.

D: Ow, ha ha ha. (raucous laughter).

K: Hey Dad.

D: Yes, Babe?

K: What’s Beethoven doing in his grave?

D: Ahhhhhhhh……………Enlighten me.

K: Decomposing.

B: (Raucous laughter off).

D: Ouch. You got me on that one kid, ha ha. I owe ya one! I love you! God bless you, K! You’re the highlight of my day. I mean that.

K: Thanks, Dad.

D: I mean, you know what I had to do this week?

K: What?

D: Oh, somebody put in a complaint. In the residence. And you know, the two mirrors I have in my apartment are in my medicine cabinet. Over my bathroom sink. And I got carried away. So I put them in backwards. So every time I look in the mirror I don’t see anything…..When they were face out – with the reflection – that son of a bitch scares the hell out of me!

K: Ha ha.

D: (raucous laugh)- the left one was- the right one was –  ha ha , only you could understand that, Kid. I love you, K. God bless you. You just put the cream on the….cake.  Gosh.  Everything is good? How’s your mother?

K: She’s good.

D: (long, sinister pause). Well, the jury’s still out on that one. How’s your sister and your- grand- your niece?

K: They’re….wonderful.

D:  (spontaneously irritated) Well, C promised me she was going to send me a letter…. I don’t like this one way street. I can’t call you, I don’t even know your address, I can’t write you a letter, send you a postcard. C was going to write me. Ah, it hurts, ok? And I cry on my pillow every night. Just bear that in mind. Ok, Honey?

K: D-did you get my postcard?

D: No.

K: You didn’t? Aw! I sent you a postcard.

D:  From where, Jamaica?

K: No, Puerto Rico.

D: Oh, Puerto Rico. Yes I did. Thank you very much.

K: You’re welcome.

D: But there’s no return address—-

K: —–You want to write to the Atlantic Beach Hotel in Puerto Rico? Ha!

D: Pweeerto Reeco. Heh heh heh heh. Speak English, Kid. I didn’t send you to college to speak…trash language.

B: (mumbles something).

D: (to B): Oh, trust me, you ain’t telling K anything. Anyway, I miss you, Baby. Thank you so much, oh, you brighten up my life.

K: All right. Well I love you, Dad. And I’m glad that you have a friend in Bonnie, she sounds like a really nice lady.

D: Well she ain’t much to look at… (B laughing off)

K: …but she sure can play the piano?

D:  No. Actually, I don’t know. Do you have any musical talent, Bonnie? She can play the radio. Ho ho! She’s getting real good at it. (slurringly) No, she- she- she has the gift when it comes to- taking- la crayyyyyon to le pappeeey- whatever pepper is. She’d blow you away and I know you have the- ah-  for the artist- and Bonnie, she’s amazing. When it comes to…I come up with these— oh, I got one for you, K.  I’ve come up with–I wish I had a way to flash this over to you….but I’ve come up with a new invention. Would you like to hear what it is?

K: Of course.

D: Odorless farts. (Pause). I’m gonna send you a drawing. Give me your address and I’ll send you some…U.S. mail. Are you still in that place I moved—

K: —So- I want to hear more about these odorless farts.

D: Well, it’s—- it’s a concept. I’m workin’ on a patent as we speak. I wanted to mail you a rough draft so you can tell me whether it’s a yay or a nay.

K: Yah, well, I hope you don’t blow it! HEHEHEHEH!

D:  (Raucous laughter). Wait’ll you see this picture, Kiddo. Ha ha ha! What’s your address, YOU LITTLE PUNK?

K: All right, Dad, I love you, um, I’ll talk to you soon, ok?

D:  (insta-anger again) You, you know what? No, listen to me, please. If I can’t even mail you a postcard— This is terrible. Do you realize how bad you’re tearing my heart out? This one way street? Byeeeeeeee byeeeeeeeeeee! (hangs up angrily)

K: All right, bye Dad.

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