|ANGELINA'S SHOULD GIVE THEM SELF MORE CREDIT. THEY CALL IT A PIZZERIA/RESTAURANT BUT EVERYONE IN OUR PARTY OF TWENTY LOVED THE FOOD AND NOBODY ORDERED PIZZA.|
THREE YEARS AGO, WE DID THE SAME THING. BUT AFTERWARDS, I WAS DISAPPOINTED IN MYSELF FOR NOT EXTENDING THE INVITATION TO TWO OF MY FRIENDS WHO ALSO SHARED A CONNECTION WITH THAT GROUP.
THIS TIME I DIDN’T FAIL AND THE *TWIN BROTHERS ERIC (TICKLEMEERIC…TIC) AND ERNIE (THEIMPORTANCEOFBEINGEARNEST IMP) AND HIS WIFE ATTENDED.
* THE E AND E BROTHERS WERE THE STARS OF MY JANUARY 11, 2010 BLOG, “HUT TO PEEN AND SMOOTH SAILING.” THE STORY HAS TO DO WITH THEIR CHANCE MEETING WITH CAPTAIN JACK McCARTHY. TO FIND THAT ARTICLE, GO TO MY MGTP HOME PAGE. ON THE RIGHT HAND SIDE IS THE ARCHIVES. CLICK ON 2010 AND SCROLL DOWN TO JANUARY.
I HADN’T SEEN THE BROTHERS IN 28 AND 29 YEARS RESPECTIVELY AND TRUE TO FORM, OUR CONVERSATIONS WERE SEAMLESS.
DURING OUR REMINISCIENCE, I WAS REMINDED THAT ON A 1963 BUS TRIP TO BROOKLYN’S MANHATTAN BEACH WITH WINGATE DAY CAMP, THEY POINTED OUT THEIR GRANDPARENTS’ BAKERY, ON WEST END AVENUE.
THAT FACTOID LED ME TO RECALL ANOTHER INCIDENT INVOLVING DIFFERENT “FRIENDS,” LATER IN MY LIFE, ACROSS THE STREET AND DOWN THAT SAME BLOCK.
In 1976-1978, I played organized foot-hockey in the INTERBORO ICELESS HOCKEY LEAGUE (IIHL). My team, (the MP’s) was made up of friends, and friends of friends from Brooklyn College. My only real friend on the team was Captain Krunch (CK). Most of CK’s teammate buddies were jerks so I only slightly warmed up to a few, (see my January 7, 2013 blog, “THE IDIOT SAVANT GOALIE.)” However, CK’s influence with his BFF (AK, the MP’s captain) got me occasional work as a valet parker at a catering hall, (on West End Avenue, down the block from E and E’s family bakery).
Our immediate boss was twenty-three year old Jack. Jack had juice with the caterer and was in charge of maintaining and overseeing the parking crew. In reality, he was a do-nothing. He delegated his responsibilities to AK which included mid-week recruiting calls, to staff the next gig, (other than two of Jack’s cronies, the parkers were exclusively MP’s).
Another negative about Jack, was that during our idle time, he took a powder, (it was believed that in addition to staying warm in winter and cool in summer that Jack was lavished with food and drink in the kitchen). We couldn’t even gripe behind his back because one his asshole cronies was a cousin and the other, a brother of a close friend.
Jack remained invisible to us, except to greet the incoming cars before the affair and standing out there afterwards, to collect all the tip income (from us) in order to divvy it up later.
For those of us who didn’t have anything better to do on a Saturday night, making $40 off-the-books, for six hours, (mostly hanging out) was better than decent money. Then one night, Jack announced that he had earned his certification and had accepted a big accounting job near Albany. He also said that AK was now in charge.
Suddenly, this decent job got much better. AK never called Jack’s people which cleared me for more work. Interestingly, suddenly our tip income took a sharp upward spike, (obviously, Jack had been robbing us). Plus, like Jack, AK disappeared during our idle time. The difference was, he came right back with two kitchen utility guys carrying huge soup tureens full of pepper steak, dinner rolls, bottles of soda, ice, cups, plastic silverware and napkins. This perk became a regular practice, (always pepper steak…with much more pepper than steak…which in my case, led to a crippling barrage of farting that was usually well-timed for the guests’ return trip).
The other bonus that AK installed was bringing a hockey net in his car trunk. This allowed us to have a shoot-a-round, to work off the meal and speed along the course of my (our?) gaseous emissions. To his credit, AK’s improvements made the job fun. We had a lot of laughs which brought a stronger sense of camaraderie between me and my MP teammates. Soon I felt bad that I had misjudged these guys who were clearly more than just hippie pot-heads or pre-law dullards.
Early one summer morning, the wedding upstairs was breaking up. When I started retrieving the cars, I was happy all my pick-ups were parked on the streets behind the hall, (I had once scraped the molding off somebody’s car, in the cramped quarters of the small underground parking garage). Luckily, it went unnoticed. That’s why I preferred the wide open spaces outside.
A half block to the right of the main entrance was a one way street. There was a tiny parking lot down that street but overwhelming, we parked the majority of the cars throughout the residential neighborhood.
West End Avenue was especially long. So at 1:30AM, in the interest of time and convenience, for cars parked along that first one way street, all of us, even the heavy-duty nerds drove the cars in reverse on the desolate street. Once on West End Avenue, it was simpler to continue in reverse to the hall’s entrance.
On this occasion, I easily backed out of the quiet street. Then after a full and complete stop with the great caution I always used on the much wider and busier West End Avenue, I crept slowly backwards. Suddenly, from far down the street, a souped-up Chevy Impala Super Sport convertible flew towards me, (in the correct, opposite lane). As soon as the muscle car passed me, it made a screeching, high-speed u-turn…and the driver was forced to slam on his breaks, inches from my bumper. As a means to encourage me to pull-up so he could pass, he obnoxiously honked his horn. It was a rare case of us both being in the wrong. But I didn’t like being bullied. So I stubbornly stuck out my left hand and waved him around me.
The prick in the convertible was stubborn too. He didn't like the idea of backing up before going around me. He stood up in his car and screamed, “Somebody needs their ass kicked!” After I ignored another round of honking, this six-foot-seven bearded behemoth got out. He slammed his door and used the purest forms of vulgarities while describing how he was going to dismember me before killing me. Under the hall’s portico, I saw seven of my “friends” twenty-five feet away. With tons of back-up so near, a rush of dormant bravery compelled me to get out and face this road-raging jerk-off.
What a mistake! I was staring into the chest of a lumberjack-like guy who looked like Grizzly Adams' evil twin. He was over three-hundred pounds and even though he was fat, I could see he was a strong, manual laborer. Then from deep within my subconscious, a confident roar of my own profanity ripped into him. Every time he tried to say something, I aggressively interrupted. I got on a roll and injected every expletive in my deep arsenal.
In a cresendo of hatefulness, I insulted his family and wished a pox on all his ancestors. I never felt so in control. Everything was happening so fast. I wish they had video apps and cell-phones back then so I could have savored my golden moment forever. Still, I couldn’t believe my eyes when he retreated to his car. I expected some level of stupidity, in his last ditch effort to get the last word but he just whimpered, “I don’t want no trouble, mister.” Considering that he was ten years older than me, as he sped away and I thought; wow, I won.
Deep down, I knew he had to be somewhat intimidated by my seven, similarly dressed and rapidly approaching calvary of friends. But when I turned to share my victory with them, they were still twenty-five feet away at the entrance. They had never moved. I guessed that they were disappointed that I didn't get my butt kicked. CK was bringing around another car so I realized that ALL of them were NOT my friends.
Later, CK reminded me about a scene from, “THE IDIOT SAVANT GOALIE,” in which I refused to join a mob of MP's and jump an enemy player. I said, “These geeks didn’t jump him either and neither did you.” He said, “But we said we would. You just caused dissension.” I shook my head in disbelief. Then when I realized how amazing it was that I stood-up to that goon, I didn't care that those weasels didn't like me.
I bet the ultimate pacifists, TICKLEMEERIC (TIC) AND THEIMPORTANCEOFBEINGEARNEST (IMP) would have defended me against Charles Manson, a psychopath axe murderer or Bluto from Popeye...unless they had another chance to hang out with Captain Jack.