Showing posts from 2022

With our beans baked… (Part I)

“I had a thing for a stoner girl,” I tell Ernie. “That’s why I tried pot for the first time.” Short and blonde, she was my first college crush. One party, as the pipe was passed around, she kept telling my blushing face, “Stop staring at me!” Sorry, but an eyeful of Tatiana always did more for me than pot ever did. Smoking pot was always some kind of excuse. Ok, sure, it made me feel warm and fuzzy, but never enough to justify the migraine that came later.  And, yeah, sorry, I’ve always been something of a starer.  All that, I tell Ernie in the here and now, as he’s packing weed into his glass pipe. This is in Ernie’s west suburban condo, before we leave for the concert. He’s packing this pipe after rolling three massive… joints, reefers, spliffs? I dunno, don’t ask me. I’m not the expert. When I look at them, I think three wrapped-up Tootsie Rolls on steroids. See, my drug of choice, it’s sugar.  Oh, and, Ernie? Not his real name.  While he’s packing and rolling, I’m playing Tug-Of-Wa

…with our beans baked… (Part II)

It’s jam trafficked all the way into the city.  Pretty much, Ernie’s spent all of this month, all of last month, and half of the month before that gearing up for this concert. He’s been cranking Megadeth’s entire catalogue through his car’s speakers—even all their stuff he doesn’t dig.  He tried to get us dates, too. But the concert sold out before that possibility presented itself. Plan B? Lure a couple of metal-headed babes (already inside the Riv) with pot-baited hooks.  If I’m saying anything, it’s all stupid. (I don’t necessarily mean right-at-this- very -moment. I mean right-at-this-moment in Ernie’s car on the way to the Riv.) And after a while of non-stop Ernie, I realize, and then proclaim, “Pot shuts me up.”  Ernie is definitely not defensive driving into the city. Clearly, he’s missed his calling as a getaway driver. As he casually guns and weaves toward our destination, he volunteers to fill-in movie plot holes. Exempli gratia, with Back To The Future, he explains why Mart

…with our beans baked… (Part III)

Parked, Ernie tucks three over-stuffed joints down his sock, into his shoe. He didn’t tell me the joints were in a plastic baggie, so I had to cope with the ostensibly presumed inevitability of smoking a reefer laced both with sock stink (assuming his socks stank), and maybe a few stray feet hairs (assuming his feet were at least half as hairy as mine). Well, this was, at least for me, supposed to be a night of living dangerously. So bring on the sock stink, the feet hairs! There are way worse things you can press your lips to, right? It’s not like I’m gonna pull a drag off some wild baboon’s ass, am I?  Ernie slams back a beer. Outside, after locking the car doors, he chugs down another one. He leaves the can on the curb. My full bladder saves me from following his lead. Besides, I’m not a chugger. I’m a nurser. My stomach sends back anything it’s forced to accept in haste.  Through darkish, residential Uptown, I’m wincing and walking funny. It’s like God’s giving me a wedgy every

…with our beans baked… (Part IV)

Lemme backup a half two dozen steps…  They’ll stop you for a pat-down in the front entrance vestibule. When you look deeper inside the Riv, you’ll think some fool and his cousin started repainting all the walls at once—and gave up halfway through. Like maybe the fool painter and his cousin both suffered from serious attention deficits. But maybe that’s why they came so cheap. In sooth, I can’t really speak for the fool’s cousin. Lots of folks follow orders without question. Not just the fools. (Or so I’d like to believe.) But maybe all of this patchiness is just the middle of remodeling. One can only hope.  Either it’s all David-Fincher-esque or Terry-Gilliam-esque. I can’t decide. (I’m referring to the general decrepitude.) Whichever, I’m pulled between digging it and grieving it.  Chicago was, once upon a time, the palace theater capital of the country. Your great-grandparents might’ve shared their first smooch in the upper balcony of one of these once opulent venues. Many of the few

…with our beans baked… (Part V)

Down here, in the men’s room, amongst all the other pissing peckers, there’s a jolly fat guy standing before a urinal. He’s shirtless; his shirt’s slung over his shoulder. Why? I don’t ask. Every other guy parked in front of a urinal is taking aim with one hand, sipping plastic cupped beer with the other. Of all the public pissing situations I’ve found myself in, this one gets the medal for Most Jovial. Call it a Friday Night Frat House Kinda Vibe. And what’s this ephemeral fraternity’s mantra? “Yeah, Megadeth!” One shouts it, everyone around repeat-shouts it. You’ve never seen so many smiles in a men’s room full of heterosexuals.  I shake out my own warclub, pull up the maroon boxer briefs, button the blue button flies, buckle the brown belt, pass the doorless shit-stalls, and round the corner toward the sinks. There’s this tall, buzz-cut headed guy. He’s got a white plug in one ear, Secret Service style. It’s attached to a coiling wire running down the side of his neck and disappear

...with our beans baked... (PART VI)

So, my hands are washed. At least, they are, in a physical sense.  Pushing through the crush of metalheads, I pray that some brilliant way out of this clusterfuck will present itself. Up in the lobby, nobody is Ernie and nobody else is Officer Undercover Buzzcut.  Here I am, part of me soaking-in the Riv, soaking-in this swarm of humanity here to blow out their eardrums, and, most of me, praying for a call from Ernie. Though, if he’s only allowed one phone call, it shouldn’t be to me—especially if he’s going to jail. My phone’s in my hand on vibrator mode just in case. No way could I hear its ring over the din of geared-up metalheads.  The Riv’s main lobby and mezzanine foyer, both of them, their speluncar. Above the bit-too-snug basement-level restrooms (a curiosity, unless bladders and bowels were bigger or more durable a century ago, or folks were generally smaller), the Riv’s just one yawning cavernous chamber feeding into another. Everything about the walls and ceiling and stairca

...with our beans baked... (Part VII)

I keep calling Ernie and Ernie keeps calling me and we keep losing each other until I find several display bars of strength, downstairs, at the base of the steps that wind up from the Riv’s foyer.  Ernie tells me he got busted and now he’s waiting for what’s next. His deflated voice says, “Go enjoy the concert.” But I’m staying put by these lobby doors, waiting for what’s next. I tell him, call me when he knows.  Two minutes later, Verizon shudders in my palm. Ernie tells me, “Enjoy Megadeth.” Because, they let him go.  “Your punishment is,” Officer Buzzcut told him, “you don’t get to see Megadeth.”  Whatever Ernie’s gonna do with the rest of the night, he doesn’t know.  “Go,” Ernie repeats, “enjoy Megadeth.”  This much is clear: the right guy is on the wrong side—the outside—of the Riv.  More than I’m here for music, I’m here for architecture.  It’s Ernie who’s spent the last month psyching himself up for this concert.  His voice through my phone keeps telling me to go watch it, go en

...with our beans baked... (Part VIII)

Understatement: Ernie is bummed.  “Megadeth, Maaan…” or,  “We missed Megadeth…” or,  “I can’t believe we missed Megadeth, man…”  The rest of this night,  when his mouth’s not full of diner food,  beer,  or pot smoke,  this is how Ernie compares to a broken record.  And I broken record right back at him,  “At least you’re not in jail…” or,  “Dude, you’re not in jail…” or,  “You could be in jail right now, dude…”  Or, “You got more pot?”  Because this was my night to indulge. Going back to the western ‘burbs, yes, there’s more pot. Only, out there, there’s nothing to do; no one we know. Staying here, he’s still got stuff in the car, but not much. Staying here, it’s the city— everything’s goin’ on. The trouble’s finding it. Which is easier for some than for others.  Things, they don’t happen to me.  They happen around me.  I live life after-the-fact.  Whatever that means.  We end up at Diner Deluxe. We end up there twice tonight. My first Diner Deluxe dinner consists of an omelet, bisc

…with our beans baked. (Part IX)

Hours later we’re back at Diner Deluxe for more. Ernie says, before it was this place, it was another place. But that’s most of Chicago—nearly everything’s something that used to be something else. Take a boat ride down the river that winds through downtown, and the tour guides will draw your attention to all these architectural ghosts.  For Ernie’s second Diner Deluxe dinner, he orders an egg skillet with pancakes. That, he washes down with an Oreo cookie milkshake. Ernie says it’s good—no, actually, it’s a great shake. And this, Ernie says, is because it’s an end-of-shift-made shake. We’re our waiter’s last table. I don’t remember if he was male or female or both or neither. The first one, from earlier, was definitely female. Understand, between our first and second Diner Deluxe visits, Ernie and I got business-serious busy with the baking of our brains.  For my second Diner Deluxe dinner: mozzarella sticks. These are three times bigger than my best-ever erection. And when erect, bab

...Waiting for the Other Shoe ...

I…  myself,  hand deliver,  to you,  where you,  “work,”  red roses.  I do so every day of the  “work” week.  Friday nights, I… present to you, a new, sparkling diamond ring, or, if not that, a pair of new sparkling diamond earrings. Or, if not that, a new sparkling diamond bracelet. Always Friday nights: a new sparkling diamond something .  Saturday nights, I… present to you, a new, radiant golden necklace, or, if not that, a new, radiant golden watch, or, if not that, a new, radiant golden brooch. Always Saturday nights, a new radiant golden something .  In my Hummer limousine, colored Day-Glo fuchsia, with the open-air hot tub, and always, with your preferred chauffeur, Jacobs Jacobsonzweigsberg (preferred because he has only one arm, is blind in one eye, lazy with the other; but more so because he’s an unabashed cracker of dirty jokes, a connoisseur of rare tuning fork timepieces, and an inveterate BASE jumper); yes, I escort you, any night you want, to the restaurants highest ra

Blowing Balls, Dipping Balls, and Busting One's Own Balls

Those of us seated at the far end of the table spend most of Jacques’s birthday dinner discussing what makes for real art, why I’m too old to drop acid, who the Bong Boy * is, and when at least three of us are going to try hallucinogenic mushrooms. We reach no solid conclusions, we set no firm plans.  And it looks like I’ve made a mistake with the Super Blowing Ball Series II UFO. As Jacques unwraps the gift, Mr. Wench proclaims, “Uncle Fun strikes again, huh?” I thought Jacques would dig it. It’s a rare, or seemingly rare, or at least somewhat unique, sci-fi-esque toy. I figured he’s had his fill of Star Wars stuff. But he seems a bit uncertain as to what to make of the gift. Ah, well.  Ry makes a cameo. He’d made himself scarce after he broke off a wedding engagement, twice , with one of our number. I hadn’t known that he worked at this particular tapas bar. (Whose idea was it to come here, anyway?) For obvious reasons, he would not wait on us. He said doing so might result in an u

S T R E A M # 1 3

The conditioner of air – a small, albeit noisy window unit – makes him sleepy. That is, it does, whilst in operation. This is a good thing. That is, it is, until he has to wake up. The conditioner of air, whilst in operation, always makes him wake up groggy. But at night, if he’s restless, all he has to do is blast it, and he’ll fall asleep. Every time, this’ll work, like a dream, this’ll work, no matter how stressed out he is; no matter how much he can’t prevent himself from dwelling. He spends most of his waking hours dwelling, which is to say, in a way, that he spends most of his waking hours dreaming. And perhaps this is why he never seems to dream when he sleeps. At least, he can never, or almost never, recall the dreams he’s dreamt overnight. He’s just jotted the following observation down on his notepad: “I have tremendous difficulty living in the present tense.” He Recalls Yoda’s wise words to Luke in The Empire Strikes Back : “All his life he looked away… to the future, to the

(3:45 AM) Inkling Deficiencies Notwithstanding...

[ PART I ] The object of this exercise—this one you’re currently running your eyes across—the object is this: relevance. Rather, “relevance” is the preferred object. “Pertinence to the matter at hand,” as the American Heritage Dictionary will tell you. The “matter at hand” being: my life.  And yet, it is entirely possible that, generally speaking, I’ve nary an inkling. Inkling deficiencies notwithstanding, I take some pleasure in wielding the words “nary” and “inkling” and “wielding,” and “notwithstanding,” even if misapplied. And, nae, there’s nary a thing you can do about it. You can’t un read it. Can you? At most, you can hope to forget it. This raises a question: Do people with regret-filled lives at long last find peace and happiness once dementia takes them?  Cut me some slick, Mick, Rick, Dick, Nick, Vic, I’ve been up nearly twenty-four hours.  So he called his “pal” yesterday. (Note the illeism.) This is the same “pal” he hadn’t heard from since [INSERT DAY MONTH YEAR HERE]

(4:13 AM) Inkling Deficiencies Notwithstanding...

[ PART II ]  We regret to inform you that the stimulative effects of the 10:00 PM Venti Mocha Frappuccino, two glazed doughnuts, and half a butterscotch pecan scone are, at this time, wearing off.  Time to brew a fresh pot…  Mister Coffee’s brewed Breakfast Blend will, with any luck, motivate the digestive tract to shit out much of last night’s consumed fat. Maybe that’s not how it works, but a fatso can dream.  Try going to the gym today, after staying up for so long, and you’ll likely give yourself a stroke. Not the worst thing that could happen, no, so long as said stroke wipes-out the memory of ever having met a few too-deeply-imprinted individuals…  The game plan, now, it’s to remain conscious long enough to fix Pop breakfast.  John Ottman’s score for X2 just ended. Mozart’s trio 5 in E Major, Op. 542 just began. It’ll be followed by Mozart’s trio 7 in G major, KV 564; followed by his trio 4 in B flat KV 502.  But is any of this relevant?  15 June 2005  

(4:45 AM) Inkling Deficiencies Notwithstanding...

 [ PART III ]  Time flies when you revise a single stupid sentence twenty-seven times. I’m kidding. I don’t keep track of how many times I revise a single sentence, whether stupid or smart. Talk about true madness! If I ever get to that point, swear you’ll have me committed. Pinky swear. But if you happen upon a clean and tastefully padded room, with a clear view of a nudists beach, I might be up for that.  People I know woke up forty-five minutes ago for work. Some of these people, I’d like to know better, but doubt I ever will, seeing that I avoid them now. Which brings us back to fear.  And by now, the coffee’s likely cooled off. Which means I won’t have to pour in too much “French” vanilla creamer. For what little it’s worth (which is very likely less than a tenth of a penny) I simply cannot stand the taste of “French” fat- free creamer. No, I’ve got to use the “French” fat- full creamer…  Damn, just poured in too much damn creamer…  That the sun’s rising, what has that to do

(5:07 AM) Inkling Deficiencies Notwithstanding...

[ PART IV ]  I’ll go look out the window for the paper. If it’s there, at the mouth of the driveway—‘cause if it’s there, that’s always where you’ll find it—I’ll go grab it.  I’ll slip the plastic sleeve off and lay the paper on the sofa. If I don’t put it on the sofa, or on the coffee table in front of the sofa, Pop’ll never find it. But then where else would I put it? He spends most of his waking hours sitting or lying on the sofa.  Pop’ll spend several hours looking at the paper. He never mentions a thing about what he’s read. Perhaps it’s his impression that I don’t follow the news. Untrue. What’s true is that I’ve never cared for the feel of newsprint. But what is the point of reading the newspaper? Is it to pass judgement on the state of things? Most newsworthy things occur elsewhere. Those who make the news rarely have time to read it. A weather forecast is useful, but more so from any other medium. A newspaper is but a morbid and unfulfilling sort of entertainment. Admittedly,

(5:34 AM) Inkling Deficiencies Notwithstanding...

[ PART V ]  The coffee’s finished,  and I wanna take a dump.  So that’s going to happen…   …and so it did.  Do you sniff what you wipe?  Howard Stern once proclaimed,  “on the air,”  that he did ,  which is why  I don’t  listen  to him  anymore.  All those stupid  ideas  he seeded my brain with…  Good.  Sky’s looking less cloudy already.  Damn.  There it goes,  graying up again…  Perhaps the quest for relevance is an exercise  in futility.  Does it matter?  Matter only matters to matter.  And what’s the matter with that?  15 June 2005 

S T R E A M # 1 2

Trees don’t want the grass to eat peas when it rains. As to exactly why, the most recent findings are inconclusive. There are many theories. And there are times when the smudges on my glasses (my eyeglasses and my wine glasses) don’t trouble me at all. At such times, I wonder if I am not going batshit crazy. And then, I think, to myself, I think, sometimes aloud, I think, if one can think aloud, I think, what does it mean to go batshit crazy? How, exactly, is “batshit” maddening? My guess is that somebody, long ago, ate some batshit, and somebody else was witness to this; and whoever it was who had eaten the batshit, apparently lost his (or her) marbles. But then one, such as yourself, might wonder: Was the eater of the batshit not crazy before he ate it? What would move a clinically sane somebody to eat batshit? A dare? Blackmail? I suppose a batshit muncher could be starving, but that might be indicative of other issues. You can be mad and starving, and then, you can just be pl

9*4 N. Mozart Street…

…in Chicago? Is an empty lot. * Ma takes a photo of it anyway. Then she takes several. She aims her camera at the overgrown grass, zooms in on the empty beer bottles, focuses on the heap of bald tires, too. She snaps at all the fenced in trash. Maybe she’ll paint a picture of it.  There’s also a faded sign facing the sidewalk. It says: “NO DUMPING.” That’s the picture I take. Eighty-odd years ago, the bungalow that stood here housed Pop, his five siblings, and his parents. This is near Humboldt Park, where yuppie gentrification has yet to push out the natives. Pop wanted to go. Return. See what’s left. But of the old neighborhood, he only recognizes Humboldt Park’s park.  We get there, and he walks right past the lot—ignores it entirely—and points to the three story building at 9*6 N. Mozart. It’s clearly less that eighty or even fifty years old. He turns around and hustles over to the much older bungalow at 9*2 Mozart. Pop scratches his head and paces back and forth between the 9*2

Soiling The World

The notion of pissing into a sink never—swear to God—ever occurred to me; not until one night, when said notion was proposed by nearly all of my college housemates. They refused to believe I’d never done it. And then, after assuring them that I hadn’t, they peer-pressured me into immediately departing the living room for the nearest bathroom for the explicit purpose of pissing into the sink. Didn’t matter that I didn’t have to go.  This reminds me of the few too-many times the other red-headed housemate, very proud of his accomplishment(s), would barge into my room and shout, “Come take a look at this shit I just took!” Once, says Ma, I led her to a thicket of bushes bordering a preschool playground, pointed to a small clearing, and said, proudly, “Look what I made!” My “work” consisted of several stinky brown logs. Anyway, excepting that one time, I’ve never again pissed into any sink. * Frankly, I don’t get it. Give me an inch more of height, and, maybe, I would.  26 May 2005  * [08

S T R E A M # 1 1

FireVaney’s gonna write. He’s gonna write and write and write. And write. He’s gonna write until all the money runs out. He’s gonna write until he goes blind. He’s gonna write until his fingers give out. Write, until he has to take Pop somewhere. Or feed him. Or administer medication. FireVaney, he’s gonna write until they pull the plug. Write, until he blacks out. Write, until the carpal tunnel says, “Enough.” To be clear, he’s not TOTALLY bonkers. No, he’s still gonna shower. He’s still gonna eat his Wheaties. He’s still gonna run his daily mile (and then some). He’s still gonna catch a summer blockbuster or two. Or three. And he’s still got a list of authors to read before the year is through. So, there’s all that. So, no, he won’t be writing every second of every day. He’s still gotta vacuum and mop the floor and do the laundry and water the lawn. So, sure, you betcha, he’s gonna meet his obligations. And he ain’t gonna neglect his few good friends, neither. But the rest of it? All

Mister Gallimaufry

With apologies to Mister Cash—who will, no doubt, spin in his grave—I intend to belt out “Folsom Prison Blues” for the singing portion of my audition tomorrow night.  As for the monologue, I shall perform a few paragraphs from Mister DeLillo’s White Noise . It is a very good thing that the author will not be in attendance. (Not that he is expected.) You see, I am preparing to deliver the piece as Mister Skilling might. You know Mister Skilling. No, not the one who is currently incarcerated over the Enron scandal. The Skilling to which I refer is the legendary meteorologist of “ Chicago’s Very Own ” TV news.  There is indeed a reason, albeit semi-logical, for the choice of wielding my world-famous and fiercely disputed (as being world-famous) Skilling impression by way of DeLillo’s written words. (I can’t speak for his spoken words. For starters, I’ve never heard him speak.) Nay, there are, in fact, several semi-logical reasons. (Several at minimum.) But then, there are several semi-lo

That Sinking Feeling

Here’s the sink that once drained so well.  Like the toilet beside and the tile below, this sink, you might call it celery green. Its faucet’s silvery domed knobs are polished to mirror your fun house reflection. Two tubes of hydrocortisone (for the master’s ever-itchy ass) are tucked behind the cold water knob. (That’s the one closest to the toilet). One of the tubes is nearly squeezed flat.  When the house was built, way back in the era of the curly telephone cord, back before Beatlemania, back when color TV was a luxury, they probably called this first floor “half bath” the “powder room.” It’s a smidge bigger than a porta-potty. Beyond it, and throughout this humble abode ( humble by today’s standards), the color greed prevails. (Tee-hee.) The wallpaper and the carpet upstairs and downstairs and over the stairs are all the color of money. But then, before he retired, the master was an accountant by trade.  At present, black-gray bubbles fill the celery green sink’s basin. This is n


And this guy, a grown man, a wife-and-kids type, he’s munching a cookie he hasn’t paid for; he’s munching it at the back of the store. Where he’s munching it, that’s right in front of the dairy section. While he’s at it, the munching, maybe he’s scheming to steal a swig of milk.  And this guy, let’s be clear, he’s no bum; he’s a suited businessman just stepped off the Metra. Where I’m at is parked in my Daewoo in the lot. And my eyes are on him through this windshield and through that White Hen Pantry’s floor-to-ceiling glass window. My eyes are on him munching that unpaid-for cookie, as my mouth munches a cookie of my own.  The difference?  It’s a paid-for cookie I’m munching.  Then, the guy—cookie crumbs freshly clinging to his suit, his shirt, his tie—he spots me. And there we are, squinting each other, slowly munching our respective cookies into oblivion.  3 March 2005  

The Oasis

Yesterday morning, your new scale’s digital display read 133.  Yesterday evening—after the brats, the burgers, the chips, all that beer, the brownies, the cookies, and the cupcakes at the BBQ; then after the Krispy Kreme doughnuts and the Bresler's chocolate malt at the O'Hare Oasis—after all that, the scale’s display read 138.  Whilst standing at one of the oasis’s two walls of glass—tall and wide enough to frame a Boeing 747, nose to tail * —you slurp your shake and watch the various city and suburban bursts and showers of fireworks. And, sappy you, what you couldn’t get out of your head was: Which display was she standing beneath? And you wished she wondered which one you stood beneath. But you’re fairly certain she wasn’t thinking of you at all. You’re fairly certain you couldn’t be further from her mind. †   The O'Hare Oasis stretches over the Tri-State Tollway. ‡ Think of it as an enclosed pedestrian bridge with a food court. § Giant panes of glass fit together to

S T R E A M # 1 0

For the record: I do not own a dog, nor a cat; nor do I grow tomatoes. My neighbors do not grow tomatoes, either. The neighbor to the east owns a very small dog, but I only see it when it is being walked. I do not have a special interest in tomatoes – although I do enjoy ketchup on my burgers and fries and such. And I do enjoy tomato sauce on my pizza and such. I just wanted to be clear here. At least for once. At least, for a handful of sentences. I really need to purchase a new desk lamp because the one I’ve had for years is falling apart. But I like it because it has a little rotating thingy that hold pens and paperclips and such. I haven’t been able to find a lamp like this anywhere. The problem with this lamp is that the metallic inner shell that surrounds the top half of the bulb has detached from its plastic outer shell. If that makes any sense. I don’t have the time to try to make much if any sense here. This isn’t about making sense. It is about making bananas for my strawberr

Pop Itch

Pop wakes up with an itchy neck. He calls Betty about it. It makes sense. She was a nurse for two years, albeit some fifty years ago. She says to him, “Try Ben-Gay.”  When he tells me what Betty told him, and he asks whether or not we have any Ben-Gay (and we do), I explain that Ben-Gay is for sore muscles and minor arthritis pain. The tube doesn’t say anything about treating itches. But since I’m not a nurse, what I say doesn’t matter. I’m just the chauffeur, housekeeper, bookkeeper, cook, errand boy, and human pill dispenser.  Pop smears Ben-Gay all over his neck. He says it works. It also stinks up the whole house.  I ask him (too late), “Why not use the hydrocortisone, instead?” Pop uses it to treat his itchy rump. Hydrocortisone exists, in part, to treat itches. It says so right there on the tube.  But Pop's pleased with his smear of Ben-Gay.  I say, “But the hydrocortisone doesn’t stink as bad as Ben-Gay.”  And Pop says, “I like the stink.”  18 August 2005

Spoiled Brat

Ladies and Gentlemen…  but mostly ladies…  BEHOLD!  This… this…  terrestrial …  body  standing  here,  right here,  upon this stage,  upon the Bard’s own boards  (figuratively speaking),  before you ,  in the flesh ,  albeit fully clad:  me.  Why?  Because:  I am  a one-hundred percent,  genuine   Spoiled  Brat.  I am,  in fact,  SO spoiled,  that I fully expect ALL of you to  laugh  uproariously  upon the conclusion of  each  and every one of  my sentences.  [VERY BRIEF PAUSE.]  Beginning now.  With that one.  Or, fine, with this one.  [BRIEF PAUSE.]  I SAID,  you must laugh  UPROARIOUSLY  upon the conclusion…  [BRIEF PAUSE.]  Oh. I see. I get it.  You believe that you’re all  spoiled brats  as well,  eh?  Hm?  Fine.  Shall we  compare   trust funds?  Hmm?  Pshaw!  No one here has a trust fund.  I am the only one.  AH, HA-HA-HA-HAH!  That’s right.  Most of you…  work.  I’d wager a small fortune that many of you hate your work. Detest it, even. Yes, on just about every day of the