Bill Hicks…23 Years Ago Today

I wasn’t going to write about Bill this round, feeling a little uncomfortable after someone I like a lot, questioned our relationship, and what I’ve chosen to reveal.

But then it didn’t feel right to let the day pass without my normal reflection.

When Bill died of pancreatic cancer, we weren’t together, so I had no idea he was mortally ill until a week before he passed.

You can imagine my shock.

He had left me suddenly, the same way he spun into my life…fast and furious, like a meteor crashing in your yard, never saying why.

I assumed it was another girl, and it was…her name was Cancer.

I can remember every inch of the day, my dear friend, Chris Mazzilli, called to tell me, Hicks was dying. “They’re about to make a public announcement,” he said, “and I wanted you to hear it from me.”

“What…excuse me…Bill …dying?”

I think it was the only time I ever felt my whole being leave my body.

That was Monday morning, spending the rest of the week in a vigil, waiting…like everyone else who loved him…just waiting to get that call that came early the following Sunday from his best friend, Kevin, in Austin.

Bill Hicks was no more.

It took years before I could openly speak of him without sobbing.  And it wasn’t until I started writing about him, that my grief took flight.

There’s no more debris to plow though veiled in a scrim of sadness.

His light, oh so bright, shines upon me every day of my life.

I feel him, he’s here, we just can’t see him the way he was.

But how often do I feel a blast of heat, down and dirty…here and gone, knowing it’s him tooling by, tipping his hat to me.

William Melvin Hicks died on this day, February 26, 1994.  images

He was 32.

SB

 

Posted in Family, Health, History, Uncategorized, Women and men, words | Tagged , , , | 26 Comments

Spring Is On The Phone

She called to say, she’s on her way, in Palm Beach at the moment, doing a little shopping…and can you blame her, after weathering all this bad weather?

A little Versace can do wonders for a girl, remember, so we mustn’t hold a side trip to Neiman Marcus against her.

Everyone is getting ready for her arrival…washing windows, changing closets. I’ve already traded my red winter nail polish for a fiery fuchsia.

See, I want to be ready to take off my socks at a moment’s notice.

If you listen, you can hear birds singing, feathering their nests while squirrels unpack nuts from cold storage.

I even saw a portly raccoon peek from her tree to see if she could catch sight of Spring in the distance.    images-1

We’re busy little bees alright, including the bees buzzing around in their black and yellow vests like prickly school guards. It never occurred to me before, but perhaps all that honey is behind those chronic mood swings. More fiber in their diet might be the answer.

The one thing I do know…Spring, that sleeveless vixen, can be easily distracted so we must prepare ourselves for a possible delay….don’t shed those layers just yet.

But all good things are worth waiting for, so we too will wait for Madam’s train to pull up at the station, even if it is, a little late.

All aboard?    images-1

SB

Posted in animals, Beauty, Fashion, humor, nature, New York City | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

Going Paperless

I’m neurotic, I’ll admit it, notoriously missing nothing, so when a kid walked into Starbucks with a stream of toilet paper peering from his pant leg, you know I had to tell him.

As he stood perusing the pastries appearing transfixed by the array of choices, he must have felt my gaze from across the room.  In his 20s with a bipolar glint in his eye, he slowly turned.

I nodded, before conversing with my chin, aimed at his cuff, the paper still flapping like a frenetic white flag.  He looked around to see if anyone else saw, before bolting out the door.

Ten minutes later he was back, paperless, as if nothing had happened.

He went back to the pastries while I wrote this essay, never once looking at one other.

SB

Posted in dessert, Fashion, food, humor, Starbucks, writing | Tagged , , , | 36 Comments

What A Guy

Gino, the Rottweiler, and Janie, his walker and I had a play date.

I had the pleasure of accompanying them to the park, and what a good time we had.

Gino and I played ball, walking to Bethesda Fountain to say hi to the angel that sits on top, while Jamie manned her phone, the one time I didn’t mind.

Gino is not only a magnificent athlete, he’s also quite the gentleman.

When a chihuahua called Pepino, got in his face yapping up a storm, he didn’t move a muscle.  He was calm and collected, ignoring the tiny shit’s rude outburst.  At one point, he did finally give him quite a look as if to say, don’t you know with one good swat of my paw, you’d be one sorry tortilla?

I was so impressed, not to mention charmed.

All I can say is…

what a guy.   And he’s single…:)   images-2

SB

Posted in animals, humor, Love, men, nature, New York City | Tagged , , , | 20 Comments

President’s Day 2017

Tomorrow we’re honoring two of our noblest of leaders by closing banks and hosting white sales.

George Washington (February 22, 1732), and Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809) I’m sure would be honored to know, in their memory, we all got a great deal on sheets.

When I was a kid, we celebrated them separately, but in our hurry up…who has time…cyber world, we’ve combined them like roommates who once lived alone.

The other point I’d like to make is, it’s really a day for all presidents, not just the rock stars.  And yes, I suppose Donald Trump would have to be included in the party, republican or otherwise.

I think of Teddy, saddled on Little Texas, climbing up San Juan Hill, the presidency just over the horizon.

Thomas Jefferson seated behind his desk, basking in his Declaration of Independence.

James Madison fleeing the White House with Dolly saving Washington’s portrait, moments before the British burned it down.

FDR hosting a naked Churchill, walking those hallowed halls, scaring the hell out of  Eleanor.

JFK escorting Jackie into one of their illustrious state dinners to hear Pablo Casals play.

But alas, Abe and George, the Mick and Elvis of the White House, are our annual guests of honor considered the noblest of all.

Two things stay with me.

One, is how manners caused George to deathly depart after catching cold riding home in a rainstorm.  Guests were expected, and upon arriving late, so not to delay dinner any longer, he didn’t change his wet clothes, dying at the age of 67, on December 14, 1799.

Tis well, were his last words to those assembled at his bedside.

Abe, on that fateful Good Friday in April, 1865, took a carriage ride with Mrs. Lincoln that afternoon. According to a witness he had said, “Mother, we need to try to be happier. When our work is done here, perhaps we could travel…see more of the world.”

Still in mourning for their young son Willie who had recently passed, their pact to proceed in earnest was indeed a poignant one.

I like thinking George and Abe were at peace, riding their mares to those Elysian Fields they both wholeheartedly believed in.

So I will toast them today and quote Teddy by saying…

Bully…to both of you, wherever you happen to be. images-1

images

SB

 

Posted in Family, Health, History, Politics, war | Tagged , , , | 20 Comments

He Died With His Boots On

 

images The intersection of 86th and Lexington, at the end of my block, has become like the Gaza Strip.  Between traffic, jackhammers and the casual demolition of buildings to make room for one more unwanted high-rise rivaling Tokyo, is daunting to just walk through.

Homeless people perch on all four corners like carnival barkers fighting with one another for space.  Food trucks double-park selling tacos, lamb and caramelized popcorn.

A fat, middle-aged black woman with an eyepatch hands out free copies of Time Out, that even for free, no one wants.

We’re designed to adjust to whatever is placed in front of us, a blessing in our day to day existence, but if flipped over, our acrylic side might be absorbing just a tad too much for morality’s sake.

A man who sits in front of Best Buy with army boots without toes on the coldest of days, like this one, is lying on his side in the middle of the sidewalk, his cup of coins spilled beside him.

People rushing to the train step over him like a human pothole clutching their phones with more value.

Is he drunk at 7 a.m., merely asleep, or frozen solid from being out in the elements too long?

There’s a collective…who cares, gotta get to work, need a cuppa coffee, gotta Tweet what happened last night whoosh, as morning Manhattanites fly by.

I watch as a patrol car finally pulls up dragging the guy to the curb.

I find out later from Gus the parking lot attendant, the man did die from exposure, already replaced by a new tenant who uses his hat for his coins, rather than a cup.

I quickly look to see what shape his shoes are in.

They’re beat up penny loafers, that alas, have toes.

SB

Posted in New York City | Tagged , , , | 23 Comments

Valentine’s Day 2017

images-2I always made fun of Valentine’sy Day, but don’t anymore.

It’s just a Hallmark holiday, I’d say, love has nothing to do with it.

Since then, I see, love has everything to do with it, even if it comes long-stemmed in an overpriced box, since it’s so needed in what seems to have become, such a loveless world.

I made cards for all my neighbors I’ll leave by their doors with little boxes of candy hearts  saying things like, Be MineYours Truly and Be True. conversation-heart-cookies-cakes-valentine-day

The doormen are getting lollipops that say LOVE on them, tied with bright red ribbon.

There’s an older woman on the 12th Floor, that rarely comes out, who will find a pink rose on her doorstep.

And Teddy, the shaggy dog in the next building, has a heart cookie coming, made of beef.

Someone, who will remain nameless, said how silly and stupid my frilly gestures are, as he so snidely put it.

You see, that’s my point, the one I didn’t get right away.

Love is kind…Love is inspiring…

it’s fuel for our hearts in any way it comes.

And there’s nothing silly, stupid or frilly about it.

So as far as my pal goes, who thinks I’m such a blazing asshole…call me crazy, but I send love your way, all the same, cause you’re such a little cranky monkey.  images-1

SB

Posted in Love, New York City | Tagged , , , | 31 Comments

Schmucks In Our Midst

Schmuck, from the Yiddish word smok meaning penis, according to Webster, is a foolish and contemptible person, a nice way of saying someone’s an asshole, or a dick, if you will.

Sadly we encounter them when we least expect to.

I was catching a train at rush hour, something I try very hard not to do, but having to be in Brooklyn at 9 a.m., unless I wanted to drop 50 bucks on a cab, had little choice.

Soldiers with M15s and tiers of frenetic commuters, would dissuade you as well, since terror if reigns, will occur between the hours of 7 and 9, according to those trusty, terrifying tabloids we shouldn’t read. A girl has enough to deal with without having to gear up for an attack even before she’s had her breakfast. . . That said.
I was trying to get on a very packed car, when, without meaning to, stepped in front of a guy who wasn’t too happy.  Fortyish, Waspy looking with John Lennon glasses and a Barbour jacket, just like mine, was furious I had the boldness to push my way forward.

It’s not something I normally do, but anxiety makes you act out of the box, and I just had to get the whole nightmare over with.

After we were both squished in like sardines I apologized, saying I had hearing loss and it made me act irrationally.

He screamed further saying, “I don’t give a damn about your fucking hearing loss.”

Now for me, this is a verbal stabbing. My shame not being able to hear and conduct myself normally is a huge issue for me. I felt tears roll down my cheeks unable to say anything to defend myself.

However, a young, Latino kid all of 20 did it for me.

“Hey man,” he said, “she just apologized to you. Like that’s really big.”

The WASP shook his head, An iPod soldered in his ears, and said, “I DON’T CARE.”

“YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE BRO,” said my Lancelot with an earring in each ear and ghetto drawers proudly drooping to his thighs.

“And I hear that!” chimed in a sassy lassie standing behind him.

I loved the chivalry and lack of fear both these kids showed. This guy was out of line, but because of my shame around something I have no control over, froze where I stood.

His lineage front and center, clearly a member of the elite, my opponent had no compassion for the plight of another, a real cryin shame, in my opinion.

It took a boy of color with a pretty sidekick to put a schmuck in his place, and trust me when I say,  it was mighty impressive.

SB

Posted in Faith, Fashion, kids, men, New York City, Uncategorized, words | Tagged , , , | 28 Comments

Mary Tyler Moore and My Dad


Oaklawn Cemetery is a modest, little graveyard in Fairfield Connecticut, where my father, along with his mother, Mary, is buried.

He’s surrounded by other World War II Veterans, so my grandmother rests a bit east from where he lies.

It pleases me to know she’s there, looking after him the way she always did, almost hearing her affectionately call out…

“Frankie, time for supper…wash up.”

When I read that Mary Tyler Moore was laid to rest at Oaklawn, I couldn’t help but to smile, since my dad loved her so as Laura Petrie, Rob Pertrie’s wife on the old Dick Van Dyke show.

I think Mary reminded him of my mother, in her little, black capri pants and turtlenecks, when she was young and eager to just be a wife and mom.019-the-dick-van-dyke-show-theredlist

Now, all these years later, they’ll be friends and neighbors, and who knows…maybe something more.

My father, who could fix almost anything, can go repair her fridge or air-conditioner.  She can regale him with stories about Sally, Buddy, Alan and Mel.

He had such little joy in his short life, I bask in the imagery of a funny, friendly, flirty afterlife.

And now, when Gramma calls him to eat, she’ll say…

“Frankie, time for supper, and make sure you bring Mary.”  🙂   getpart-2 images

SB

Posted in Connecticut, Faith, Family, food, Home, humor, Love, media, Women and men, words | Tagged , , , , | 18 Comments

Boast On Toast

images There’s a downside to everything, even a coupon, as I sit in the very ritzy Russian  Petrossian Restaurant, about to inhale some complimentary caviar, an acquired taste much like Tab, or Cool Whip despite what it costs.

When I say this place is pricy I’m not whistling Lara’s Theme, a joke…get it…instead of Dixie, the theme from Dr. Zhivago?

Woody Allen said, if you have to explain a joke, it’s more a eulogy…but allow me to continue.

I order their cheapest vodka that’s not so cheap, to sip while I nibble the Cartier of fish on little pads of toast.  Did I mention I’m all dressed up?  Smoke and mirrors baby, never letting on how low the coffers really are.

There’s a man wooing a woman a few feet away bathed in enough mink to stunt its population.  He is, to my distaste, too zipped up in his 3-piece suit listing his credits in life like he’s applying for a job, while his date mechanically eats and drinks.

The waiters, in their old style livery – slim black pants beneath full, white starched aprons, mill about like overbearing penguins.

As I sit thinking of moving seats, I hear the woman say, “How nice you did all this dinner theatre, but I’m more interested in a man who stays put.”

The guy, seeming stunned by this statement says, “But it was in my profile, I’m a working actor.”

“Aren’t you the banker from Long Island?”

All I know is, I hope when their bill comes, John Barrymore and the Mink…

Go Dutch.

SB

Posted in alcohol, animals, Fashion, food, humor, money, New York City, sexual relationships, Women and men | Tagged , , , , , | 40 Comments