Tall Dark And Rude

imagesI’m beginning to think I attract schmucks since there seems to be something about me they love.

There were at least a dozen other women in all shapes and sizes on the number 6 train headed downtown, but this particular schmuck had to stand next to me. Just my luck.

He couldn’t have been more than 30, nicely dressed in chinos and a blazer…cute, well groomed.

I was on my way to work for the Reader’s Digest…a little job I was happy about if you discount I’d be playing a woman with cancer. As an aside, I seem to be the cancer poster child called in for every kind under the sun. My thinness along with hair length is the winning combination for ads and periodicals. It’s enough to turn yourself into Greta Garbo…with no money.

I wasn’t sure where I was going since the photographer’s studio was somewhere in Queens. Having to change trains, I got up anxiously to be by the door, but had to get passed this guy in order to do so.

“Excuse me,” I say in my best Connecticut voice, but he doesn’t move.

“Excuse me…could I get by please?” He still doesn’t move. He was not listening to music nor was the car so noisy he didn’t hear me.

I tried a third time.

“I need to get by please.” He whipped around like a matador and said, “Where the fuck do you have to go? We haven’t stopped yet!” Now I was properly thrown by this sudden outburst regaining myself quickly.

“I’m politely asking you to let me by,” I say with a calm I certainly didn’t feel.

“And go where, an inch closer to the door?” Okay, even the Nutmeg State has her limits.

“Hey, what is it…do you need a little fiber in your diet there buddy? What the fuck is wrong with you? Just let me by.”

“Me? You’re the one who could use a little help there sweetheart.”

“Fuck you, you arrogant prick (too much?) How dare you speak to anyone let alone me that way this early in the morning. You’re lucky I don’t smack you.”

“Oh yeah, go ahead and try.” My anger shot up like mercury in a thermometer. I could have slugged him so easily but got control of myself…thank God.

I had no time to be arrested…I had to go have cancer remember, for The Reader’s Digest.

“You’re lucky I’m a lady.”

“You’re no lady, you’re a fucking, neurotic bitch.”

The doors opened and I smartly scooted out. A young Latino girl sidled up next to me and said, “It’s hees koma, notta yous.”

And we know that’s true, karmically speaking.


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When Things Really Aren’t What They Seem

There’s a beautiful African American girl often seen on the Avenue. She’s a willowy, 6 foot gal with loping legs and a runway model’s leanness dressed as if she popped right out of Vogue.

You can’t help admiring someone who emerges like a well-heeled swan on a daily basis.

I found myself standing behind her at the newsstand. She had an O Magazine, and I a Hershey Bar with nuts (figures). The man at the register was selling someone Lotto tickets so I had ample opportunity to see this woman up, close and personal.

I couldn’t help noticing her Adam’s apple aptly covered by an Hermes scarf when it billowed a bit from the breeze via the air-conditioning. My first thought was…her gland must be swollen…hey…I don’t immediately think of smoke and mirrors…she was stunning despite her enlarged, concealed apple.

And who knows, anatomically her apple just might be bigger than average…like with other parts of the body.

I still wasn’t with the program until the store owner, after she left, said with a sly grin, “He’s a beauty, isn’t he?”

“Excuse me?”

I must say excuse me at least twenty times a day. You would think someone leaving her 5th decade would have some savvy beneath her Prada belt by now, but truthfully, I’m shocked on an hourly basis.

“Are you saying what I think you’re saying?”



And now I can chant…you know what they say about someone with a big Adam’s apple don’t you?

He’s certainly better looking than any girl I know.

Let’s hear it for him…

I mean her.




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Staying Close

images The upside of insomnia is midnight clarity. Your mind, sharp as a tack, will produce a pack of memories to ponder beneath the stars.

I started thinking of my oldest friend, I’ll call Josh, who ten years or so ago remarried his ex wife. I’ve heard it said, that’s like breaking back into jail, but merely one perspective.

He was thrilled on the other hand.

But what raised my eyebrows was when she demanded separate bedrooms. I recall thinking…is this really what you yearn for when you’re about to get married, even if it’s to the same person?

The times in my life when I’ve been in love, I couldn’t get close enough. Separate rooms? Hell, I wanted to live in my lover’s pocket and play with his change (among other things).

In my opinion, her request was a huge red flag, but felt in no position to comment.

The actress, Lauren Bacall, died last week of a massive stroke. She was 89. I hauled out her first book…By Myself (1985), in remembrance.

What came to mind as I lay sleepless, was the part when Humphrey Bogart was so sick. He didn’t want her to sleep beside him…felt it was too much to ask considering his condition.

She wrote, and I’ll paraphrase: I didn’t feel that way. I wanted to be near him…feel him close, hold his hand.

That’s how it is when you love someone. It doesn’t matter of they’re at half throttle or not, you want to be there wrapped around them like ticker tape.

One of my biggest regrets not to mention heartaches, was not being at the bedside of the late Bill Hicks. He too didn’t want anyone there surrounded only by family, dying at his parent’s home in Little Rock, Arkansas. I certainly understood, but it didn’t diminish my desire to be close.

If you’re lucky enough to be with the one you love, cuddle up a little closer, as the song suggests…don’t wait.

Climb in that pocket.

Entwine those arms and legs…like ticker tape.


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Case Of The Missing Panties

images-1I’m very disturbed due to the whereabouts of a beige, lacy thong last seen in my bathroom sink. I came home from work, pooped, but like a good Catholic girl (though lapsed), rinsed them out in Ivory and put them somewhere to dry.

At least, I thought that’s what happened.

I’d like to say they were left in someone’s bed as a memento, but unless I fooled around with the bus driver and can’t remember, it’s not the case.

My friend Ed tells me it’s geezerhood, and to just accept it when you find your wallet in the fridge and shoes in the tub. It’s just part of getting older.

Okay, but what do you call an outright disappearance? Or whom do you call…911 for assistance? Hello, could you please send an ambulance for what’s left of my fucking mind?

They’ve been at large for 72 hours. Isn’t that long enough to be considered legally missing? I’ve looked everywhere…they’re gone.

They didn’t just walk out by themselves, and unless I truly have early dementia, no one has been here to steal nor borrow their silky fit.

Did I throw them out in my exhausted haze? I even made sure I wasn’t still wearing them, like when you’re looking for your glasses and they’re sitting on top of your head.

They were Calvins and fit like a thong should…snug but roomy, soft yet sturdy enough to see you through the day. Think of sensible shoes, but made by Manolo.

Maybe it’s at the police station eating an ice-cream cone.

If you happen to see it, perhaps on a milk carton, it’s an extra small with a tiny pink rose on the front.

I’m offering a reward…the bra that goes with it.





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Whistler’s Daughter

As I tooled down Madison on my way to the bank, a pretty woman of a certain age swung out of J Crew getting in step beside me. I noticed her for two reasons…one, she looked so chic, and the other…because she was whistling like a tea kettle.

“You sound happy,” I said, smiling at her.

“I so am,” she answered in what sounded like an Island accent.

“You don’t hear people whistling very often, at least I don’t,” I said, admiring her pale pink sleeveless button-down with the collar flipped up…the cocoa shade of her skin doing it justice.

“Where I come from, we all whistle.”

“And where would that be?”


“I hear it’s quite beautiful there.”

“It is…like an ocean’s dream.” That remark made me wonder if she wrote.

“My father taught me to whistle when I was very tiny…he said it was relearning an instrument God had already given me.”

“That’s quite lovely,” I said, picturing a brown skinned man with a little girl beaming at his side. “The only time people whistle around here is for taxis…doormen mostly.”

“And that is very rude,” she said, shaking her head.” All you need to do is stand still and one will stop.”

“I’m afraid your average doorman isn’t as attractive as you, so he needs to work a little harder.”

“Then he should just raise his arm…like this.”

Hers elegantly shot up causing two cabs to stop at once.

“See,” she said, whistling her happy tune, getting into the one nearest to where we stood.




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Running For Your Life

images-1 At my worst moment my legs are in flight. Tears could be streaming down my face, but I still faithfully head to the park each morning.

I’m not sure of much, but what I do know…nature is the best healer regardless of what ails you.

You can almost feel her embrace as you enter her realm. Could be a breeze blowing caressing your shoulders, or crocuses waving, coaxing you in.

If you look up birds peek amid the branches of sturdy old trees telling you, you’re sturdy too…don’t kid yourself.

Dogs align your path on a mission to have fun while squirrels run by reminding you to not take life so seriously. And when the young raccoon misses his curfew scampering to his mother who was probably up all night worrying, same as you, you think…if he was okay, there’s a pretty good chance, I will be too.

Grass that was just so barren is now Irish green. Cardinals and bluejays coat the sky, their colors blending with your tears all but dry.

You’re lungs, suddenly clear breathing in the fresh air.

Did someone just speak to me…as you turn to find no one there. It was nature whispering, all will be well, as you collect yourself to run, grateful for limbs that still carry you.



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Robin Williams: A Light Gone Out

images How stunned and sad I am this sweet, funny man will be no longer. I never knew him, but did have an encounter many years ago more as a bystander than anything.

It was circa 1985. I was with an older woman I’ll call Marianne I met through a friend who produced quiz shows.

Marianne worked in his office, but was also very active at Ronald MacDonald House, a famous facility then and now, catering to kids with cancer.

What I remember best about Marianne, besides her gravelly voice, was her hair she wore in a flip with so much Aqua Net sprayed on it, it was as though she had a basket on her head. She even carried a can in her pocketbook.

We were dawdling over coffee somewhere on First Avenue by where she lived, when who walks in but Robin Williams that, thanks to Mork and Mindy, was pretty much a household word.

I recall how he scoped the room, smiling, acknowledging everyone before his eyes rested on the two of us.

Marianne, having no qualms screaming across the busy diner, called him over.

After introducing us both she said, “Mr. Williams, would you have any interest in coming to see the kids at Ronald McDonald House? I know they’d love to see you. And it would mean so much.”

He came that afternoon.

Having experienced depression on and off most of my life, I know how close one can come to that last rung on the ladder, if you’re not careful.

Sadly, for whatever his reasons were, Robin Williams couldn’t reel himself in. His dragons were just too big to slay.

The upside however, is the body of work he leaves behind, and a heart that always opened whenever it was knocked upon.

Robin Williams  July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014








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When The Candy Store Is Open

This was an expression my mother used when my father’s zipper was down. As a kid I never knew how racy a remark it really was.

My dad’s face would turn bright red traveling right to his ears, like a heat flush.

My mother would laugh, but I guess a man’s pride is connected to what’s behind that zipper.

Ones manhood is very sacred after all.

This came to mind because of a very well-dressed man I saw buying fruit in Dean & Deluca with his fly wide open. Imagine Walter Cronkite at half mast.

Of course you can’t help staring since that whiteness of what’s beneath is like a magnet. I thought, shouldn’t someone tell him…another man perhaps? So I whisper to the kid weighing pears, “Hey…look…that man over there could use a little help.”

“He’ll come over when he’s ready to weigh,” he said, “he’s a regular.”

“No, I didn’t mean his fruit…his fly’s open. I thought you’d go tell him.”

“Listen lady, they don’t pay me enough…you tell-em.”

“Yeah, but I don’t want to embarrass him,” I said, clearly thinking of my father who would sulk all afternoon.

The woman behind me who was growing impatient said, “For godssake…hey…you over there, with all the melons…zip up.”

I was aghast.

“I can’t believe you just did that.”

“I can’t believe you didn’t weigh those bananas yet. I have a meeting.”

I looked over at the guy now properly fastened who slyly smiled and said, “Next time you tell me..would have been a lot nicer.”

I heard my mother laugh through the Muzak and the cheese man barking, “Come on over…have a taste of today’s special Cherve…best goat cheese Manhattan has to offer.”

I guess when you put things in perspective, so what if the candy store’s open. It doesn’t mean you have to shop there, now does it?



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The Basset In The Band

I could write about my exploits with Carmela the basset hound on a daily basis, since we have so many. For those of you who may not know, Carmela is a dog I lovingly walk on the weekends.

I talk to her nonstop when we’re together convinced she understands.

The actress, Cyd Charisse, in an interview said, when you danced with Fred Astaire he’d whisper in your ear...now you’re dancin, now you’re dancin.images-1 So when Carm picks up the pace I tell her…now you’re walkin, now you’re walkin. She’ll look up at me as if to say, I dawdle purposely you know, but I can fast-walk with the best of them Susannah.

Her waddle has become legendary in the neighborhood occasionally even stopping traffic. Had a cabbie hang out his window and say…she’s really cookin, isn’t she? (I couldn’t make this stuff up).

I also sing a silly song to her I made up to the Hoffman Soda jingle:

The prettiest girl, I ever saw…was 5 feet long with great big paws….images the prettiest girl I ever saw…was 5 feet long with great big paws.

As we’re tooling towards the 72nd Street boat pond we pass an all male quartet on break. I had stopped to give Carm a drink still singing her little song when, suddenly, I hear the deep sound of a bass fiddle playing the Hoffman jingle along with the rest of the band who good-naturedly joined in. So Susannah who does not sing…I mean not even in the shower…sang her silly ditty to the accompaniment of what sounded like a Dixie Land orchestra.

People even clapped…of course it could have been for Carmela who was rolling over in delight woofing accordingly, or maybe because I stopped singing.

A man eating Kentucky Fried Chicken said to the bassist, “She might be a great addition to the band.”

“You mean me?”

“No, the dog.”

Now Carmela thinks she’s Dinah Shore.

WOOF!    363478b9bd03518c79ae9b1a4b77d6d8


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A Literary Muse

Being rich is not about how much money you have or how many homes you own; it’s the freedom to buy any book you want without looking at the price and wondering if you can afford it.

John Waters.

I love this quote.

I know people with multiple homes and cars who travel like Columbus still bleating misery oozing from their well-tended pores. They have books strewed all over their duplexes and triplexes they’ve never opened, bought merely as decor.

I have an acquaintance who gets the New York Times Book Review every Sunday just to see what’s on the Best Seller list so she can hurry out to buy them for her coffee table that, by the way, doesn’t read either.

She has diamonds for day and bigger ones for night. A maid sleeps in, just so she can help madam undress before retiring as if she were Marie Antoinette (and we know what happened to her).

The woman has everything under the sun except the pure experience of lolling between the pages of a great biography or historical novel.

I can’t imagine how I’d be never reading Pride & Prejudice or being given a copy of the latest Doris Kearns Goodwin when I couldn’t afford it myself. I remember how happy it made me to feel, its weight on my lap knowing it belonged solely to me and I didn’t have to return it in three weeks time to the library.

I actually leave it out where I can see it ( The Bully Pulpit), Teddy and Taft gracing the cover.

To buy books with sheer abandonment is on my Christmas list. Not a trip to the Riviera with nothing to read but the directions on my prescription drug vials.


Roger that.





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