Showing posts from January, 2020

Oy, Yina

Yina emails me four ish  years after our last dinner “date.” She wants me to grammar check her research paper. This is an excuse, right? It’s her way of rekindling the fire of passion that flamed out between us before it even made a spark. Only, this time, she doesn’t ask me to drop by her apartment. Instead, she wants to meet in the lobby of our building. Okay, fine. So she’s demure. That’s the thing about Yina.  The last time she invited me down to her place—a spur of the moment kind of thing—it was to watch Trump’s inauguration. This was a pretext, right? Or was it to rub it in? Either way, I showered, dressed, and elevatored down. A guy’s always thinking with one head, or the other, but never both.  She had prepared a plate of Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos. How sweet.  I sat near the middle of her sofa. She told me to move over. I did. Then she told me to move some more. I scooted all the way over to one end; she took the other end.  When Trump raised his right h

The Bugging Boy

It’s late April and the weather is nice enough for a stroll through the roseless rose garden. Next to nobody takes an interest in gazing at the flowerless shrubs, mounds of dirt, and three tiered fountain of water-spouting waterfowl—that won’t spout anything until June. Lucky me, I have my choice of benches—save for one. A little boy departs the pebbled path and weaves around the mounds of dirt, scrutinizing them. As he passes by, he says, “Let me know if you see any bugs.” “I will,” I tell him. “But it’s a bit early in the season for bugs.” Tomorrow’s forecast calls for snow, but I keep this factoid to myself.  The boy continues weaving. Now and then he bends over to fill the small wooden cage he’s carrying with leaves and twigs. Several minutes later he weaves back and says, “Want to see something in my room?”   When I was this kid’s age, I would walk up to other children I had never met, introduce myself, and straight up ask them if they wanted to be my friend. This

Malka’s First Crush

For Malka and Aiden, Great Godfrey Daniels was the  only  restaurant in Skokie.  Ma was very pleased with her flounder. “It tastes like cake,” she said.  I raised my eyebrows, nodded once and said, “Hm.” Although I’ve never eaten fish that tasted anything like cake, I took her word for it.  Nearly every five minutes Carolyn offered Ma a lemon wedge—that is, to squeeze over her “cake” flavored flounder. Ma repeatedly declined. Hearing isn’t exactly Carolyn’s forte. More and more, neither is remembering.  Aiden’s seemingly inexhaustible obsession with the word, if not the concept of, “butt-cheeks,” as a tongue-in-cheek insult, but also, presumably, as an anatomical curiosity, i.e. for an eight year old, is very nearly disturbing.  As a rule, kids won’t easily let go of any curiosity that adults find very nearly, or even outright, disturbing.  Malka—Aiden’s sister, older by three years—was sulky. Malka is frequently sulky following one of her ballets. There’s alwa

Popeye and the Seizurous Kid

Ma says I was a sick little kid.  Seizures caused my body to go limp.  If you didn’t know any better, I looked as if I’d fallen asleep.  “Oh, how cute,” some shopper once observed, as I suddenly flopped over the child seat of a grocery cart. Less cute were the times I’d start puking without warning. Along with that, my eyes would roll up and disappear into my head. While staring upside down at my brain, perhaps I tried expressing to it some variation of, “WTF?”  Doctors were at a loss.  I’d only say that my head hurt.  “Migraines,” the doctors speculated.  “When your boy grows up,” said one doctor, “ask him what was going on.”  Forty-odd years later, Ma asked.  I replied, “Do you remember when you were three years old?”  She didn’t.  But did I remembered the Popeye doll? I did. Ma bought the doll for me when I was in the hospital. I don’t remember being there.  When you pulled the string-bound loop, Popeye said, among other things, “I’m Popeye