If You Could Read My Mind-Gordon LightfootWhat a freaky, deaky day. I am not all that sure how to describe it so I'll just ramble on through it. If you live in L.A. you know that right now we are in the midst of a heatwave. It is after 10 and it has to be more than 80 outside.
Shaking the Tree- Peter Gabriel
All I Want Is You- U2
With Or Without You- U2
Go Your Own Way- Fleetwood Mac
When We Dance- Sting
Crazy Train(Live) with Randy Rhoads- Ozzie Osbourne
Diamonds on the Soles- Paul Simon & Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Don't Stop Believin'-Journey
When I wrote about being 25 I thought of a similar time to this one, weather wise. Back then the A/C in my apartment barely worked so I spent more than a couple of nights sleeping outdoors on a raft in our pool. There was something very peaceful about sleeping on the water. Every now and then I think about those days and wonder if I shouldn't live on a boat.
Anyway, found ourselves at a park to celebrate a nephew's birthday. It was an experience. There is a lot that I could share about it. I could mention that my nephew has a set of grandparents who need to get their collective asses kicked up, down and around the block. And then again for good measure.
The stories I could tell about these knuckleheads have taken upon legendary status for their place in incompetence, stupidity and unbelievable chutzpah. In fact it has taken great effort not to share them with you. If you think that your in laws are bad write me and I'll show you some who have worked over time to screw up their children and the relationships of all they come into contact with.
Ok, that is not entirely fair, but they don't know a thing about fair so why do I extend the courtesy. On the off chance that one day my nephew reads this let me say this; Uncle Jack tried very hard to help but due to my inability to use magic or the Jedi Mind Trick I couldn't do more. Sorry pal.
Back to things that interest me. The kids did me proud. They ran around in spite of the heat. Just like their old man used to do. However the old metal equipment has been removed so they cannot say that the slide felt like a frying pan. That is kind of nice. It gives me something like those crazy snow stories my father would tell. You know, the ones where he claims he walked through snow storms to reach school. Only it was 3 miles, uphill both directions and he carried my uncle and was never late.
Headed from the party to the always exciting Israel festival. It is different from the Walk we used to do. Anyone remember that, back in the day when we marched all over LA and ended up at Rancho Park.
Anyhoo, the festival was pretty nice. There was a ton of booths, some great food and precisely 1,287,986 Israelis. I got a good chuckle watching this American guy yell at a group of people about standing in line.
Of course this being the festival the freaking missionaries showed up and I gave them the usual treatment.
Missionary: Would you like a flyer?
Jack: I don't speak English?
Missionary: Atah Medeber Ivrit? (Do you speak Hebrew?)
Missionary: You understood both languages?
Jack: Nah, that was an optical pollution. You know, that fire in cleveland is burning here.
Missionary: I know someone from cleveland.
Jack: Was his name Grover?
Missionary: Do you mind if I walk with you?
Jack: Doesn't seem like it matters, now does it.
Missionary: I wonder if you'd let me speak with you about something.
Jack: My wife once asked me that very same question.
Missionary: And what happened?
Jack: She ended up in Texas and I ended up here.
Missionary: You're the first person who has taken time to speak with me today.
Jack: Well, you're walking with me. Frankly if you were any closer it'd be considered sexual harassment.
Missionary: That is kind of funny. May I borrow it?
Jack: Only if you return it.
Missionary: You see, I can help you become a complete Jew.
Jack: I am not aware that I am missing anything. Got all of my teeth and two sets of encyclopedias.
Missionary: You are a smart guy, so you probably realize that they didn't teach you everything in school.
Jack: Actually I am not that nice. I pride myself on being exceptionally offensive to people who peddle bullshit to me. It is juvenile, but it helps keep me young.
Missionary: I am used to it. People act strongly when they hear the truth.
Jack: Ok, let's stop for a moment and talk.
Missionary: I am so glad, thank you for your time.
Jack: Let's see if you still feel that way in five minutes. Matter of fact, this is probably a mistake. Maybe I should go.
Missionary: It is ok.
Jack: The only reason it is ok is because I am keeping you from trying to engage in religious terror against someone else. It is truly sad that you have been captured by a cult and have been brainwashed.
Missionary: I can assure you that I am not brainwashed.
Jack: Good news for you, I am certified as a deprogrammer and let me tell you that every time we pull someone from a cult they always tell us that we're the ones with the problem.
Missionary: If you felt secure you wouldn't be so hostile.
Jack: No, if you felt secure you'd come right out and say who you were, what you were doing and you'd hand out pamphlets that were honest. But you don't because you can't. The reality is that deep down you know that you're a charlatan peddling lies. Put down the pamphlets and let go. You don't have to live on the Dark Side.
Missionary: I am not sure that this is getting us anywhere.
Jack: Probably not, but we'll never know because I just lost ten minutes of my life that I can never get back.
And with that I regained control of my senses and resumed walking. When I left several hours later I saw him engaged in a conversation with four excited Chabadniks. Ok, I can't really say that he was doing much talking, but he was trying. It was kind of fun to watch. I kept waiting for two of the guys to hold him down while the the other two forced him to wrap tefillin.
Which raises another comment. I like the Chabad guys, but you have to chill out on the tefillin. Just relax a moment. You guys found me ten at least ten times and each time all you asked was if I had wrapped tefillin today. I was half tempted to tell you that I did wrap tefillin, only it was during my breakfast in which I consumed a bacon cheeseburger, milkshake and a shrimp cocktail. Would have said it, but it was so ridiculous that I couldn't figure out how to do it with a straight face.
Eventually I found myself back home where I engaged in more masochism. I deigned to clean the garage. I didn't have time to do as much as I wanted, but I did manage to get a bit done. The biggest problem wasn't even my incredible fatigue, it was my incredible nostalgia and sick need for sentimentality.
As I tore through boxes I stumbled onto all sorts of stuff. The first had a bunch of baby toys. Don't ask me why I still have them, ok I can answer that. I can't quite part with them. I look at them and I see this little boy, this tiny little thing with my hands and feet. This little guy who used to live with me. This baby who became a toddler and is now a full fledged boy.
Some of his old toys just take me back. And don't get me started on the Thomas The Tank Engine stuff. He has long since stopped playing with them, but I am never giving those away. Thomas, Gordon and Percy will be with me until my grandchildren have need of them. In fact I just may see that my will says that it is only good as long as he is in possession of those trains and track. Sir Topham Hatt rocks!
Inside another box was more evidence of the babies that used to live here as well as grandparents who are no longer with us. Can't quite give those things up either.
So after a few hours of muss and fuss I managed to pull myself out of the garage and get back to the important task of blogging. Don't know if any of this is important to anyone, but perhaps in 2109 someone will look back and be amused by what their great, great, great, great, great grandpa Jack did one May.