Callahead, the leader in restroom rentals as its ad says, is a company providing port-a-potties throughout the city for hundreds of construction workers knocking down the old, erecting the new.

Hardhats peeing in what look like, old-fashioned phone booths, have become a bit too common for little Connecticut me, but they do remind me of a story.

I was working as a clown, of all things, on a Macy’s commercial in an armory in the Bronx.  They were using three of their Thanksgiving parade floats, needing a space big enough to accommodate Santa, Ariel, the Little Mermaid, and Goofy, which is exactly how I felt.

There was no plumbing in the old armory so yes, we had port-a-potties.  In case you’re not familiar with the state-of-the-art outhouse that’s loaded on and off a truck with enough ammonia to collapse one’s nostrils, after a few hours, the smell could stop a train.

The term, hold it, takes on all new meaning since you’d rather burst a kidney than to have to go in one.

Well, sometimes a girl just can’t hold it forever, so there I was, in full costume, peeing like a racehorse, when the entire structure fell on its side.


I couldn’t do anything, but wait for someone to push it back up, which 5 guys did, yelling things like, youes ok in dere?

“Oh yes, just fine, but could you please…GET ME THE FUCK OUTTA HERE?

When I emerged, red-faced and a tad smelly after having been in there a little too long, I was the headline, no pun intended, of the shoot.

“Did ya hear a girl extra got stuck in the can?”

The saving grace was, they had to redo my clown make-up from scratch, which meant a much longer day, which meant, a much bigger paycheck.

It all came down to whether your porta-pottie was half full or half empty.

And just when you think things couldn’t get any stranger, Jennifer Lopez, who was one of the stars of the commercial having just launched a clothing line for Macy’s asked me, “Were you the one who they had to rescue from the bathroom?”

Bathroom, indeed…that’s a nice way of putting it there J-Lo, you and your full-trailer and buffet set outside on a huge cafe table with fresh linen no less.

I didn’t feel I owed Ms Lopez an answer.     

The blonde is extra….:)




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The Anonymous Bouquet

Who said romance is dead?

Oh, it was me.

Ever since my libido moved to Florida, there’s been none in my life…not even a healthy flirt since, you need its presence when you’re femme fataling it in any capacity.

It’s like a cheerleader with pom-poms screaming, go team go, as you vamp and tramp with some unsuspecting guy who’s just trying to read his paper.

That said…

I’ve accepted my sexual retirement with a great deal of magnanimity, now knowing how the oldest bunny at the Playboy Club must feel trading in her cleavage for the job of being in charge of the hutch.

Not that I had any cleavage to trade, but you get the gist.

I actually met a retired bunny once…Tiffany…call me Tiff…was her name, who was still very attractive, but did look like a wrinkled centerfold, no pun intended.

But I’m going off point, as they say.

When these beautiful flowers arrived and happened to be my favorites…pale pink tea roses, long, loose, unarranged, dancing in their pretty paper like showgirls waiting in the wings…

with no card…I knew it was someone who knows me, and well,

racking my brains, the few I have left, trying to figure out who it could be.

Hicks is out, for obvious reasons, and there is that Englishman who should be brought up on heartbreaking charges.

Wish the Senate would vote on that.

But as an actor, he’s too vain to do anything anonymously since he’d be in the lobby like a sleek seal, reciting Hamlet for the doormen.

So, here I sit with the Rockettes kicking up their stems on my coffee table, pondering their purchaser who forbid the florist to reveal his identity.

Better place a call to my libido and tell her to get her ass back here…just in case.

“Hello Lib, are ya there? Pick up!  Whaddya mean she’s by the pool.” 🙂




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Fossils That I’ve Known

Time is a strange thing, especially when you run into men you had dates with decades ago.

Peter, I’ll call him, was a suit my pal Tabitha fixed me up with way back when.  He’s so cool, I remember her saying.  What she forgot to mention was that he was also, so short, and could have used the Bronx Yellow Pages as a booster seat.  One remembers a fact, such as that, since you expected Cary Grant and instead got Curly, of The Three Stooges.

But the thing that really came back as I watched him crawl across 5th hunched in his senior-hood, was when he recommended the fish at this fancy bistro his expense account took us to, and when it came, said…you know how I like to eat this? Proceeding to pour tabasco sauce all over it.

Thank God he didn’t douse the salad.

On the heels of his orthopedic shoes, I saw another fella I had a few rendezvouses with when first coming to the big city.  He was French and the owner of several chic restaurants models flocked to like pigeons flapping their wings.

He was tall, dark and handsome with breath that could sink a ship.  I did everything to try to correct this problem…slipping Certs into his pocket…asking for enough parsley to make a hula skirt, but he just didn’t pick up the signs, causing me to pick up and go.

I mean, how much is a shallow, only in it for an appetizer, girl…expected to take?

Funny the things we remember.


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A Wet Muchacho

It was teeming out, me being the only one in 80 degree heat in boots, looking as if I was about to go fish, my favorite card game as a kid by the way, along with my trusty umbrella that belongs over a picnic table.

As I swim up 5th, there’s a little Latino boy in front of me getting drenched, but still walking as if he’s strolling a beach, appearing unaffected by the downpour.

I sidle up.

“Hi.  I’m going your way…why don’t you walk with me.”

Yes, Joan of Arc was on the case…if only with an ark.

He looks at me, like a chubby Shetland pony, water rolling down his cheeks, by this time, truly wet, so you can almost see his thoughts gearing towards…lady, like what’s the point…however…

he smiles, showing me a space between his teeth one could drive a Chevy through, and asks if he can carry the umbrella for me.  I hand it to him, take his arm, he coming up to my shoulder, and we make our way together while he slowly drip-dries.

When I reach my destination, it pains me to leave him, but he’s all smiles leaving me with three or four gracias Señoras, as he proceeds to get wet all over again.

I realize, even soaked to the bone, this young lad knew life was much better here than wherever he originally came from.

When you think about it that way, what’s a little water after all?

God bless Amedica.




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John McCain…Eternal Hero

As I sat in a cafe reading in the New York Times that Arizona Senator, John McCain, is suffering from aggressive brain cancer, I began to cry.

A teenage boy seated near me asked what was wrong.

My first impulse was to just say, oh it’s nothing, but then thought I’d explain why a man I’ve never met could bring out such emotion in me.

“I’m crying for a hero,” I said, “a man who’s earned all our tears for his incredible bravery during the Vietnam War…

McCain was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for five and a half years. He was kept in solitary confinement for two of those years after being tortured, beaten and interrogated every two hours. He lost 50 pounds, was in a chest cast, his gray hair turning as white as snow. His wartime injuries left him permanently incapable of raising his arms above his head.

When the North Vietnamese first agreed to release him, Lieutenant John S. McCain wouldn’t go, refusing to leave his men, fearing for what would happen to them without him.

He finally went home on March 14, 1973.


I can’t say enough how that moves me.”

The kid listened like I was a storyteller merely passing the time with a good yarn, but then said, “I didn’t know any of that.  How come they don’t teach you that in school?”

“Good question,” I said, accepting the napkin he offered to dry my tears.

“Do you think he’s gonna make it?”

“I don’t know, but I sure hope so since, we need our heroes to remind us of who we are, not just as Americans, but as human beings.”     

He nodded, then got on his phone.


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Pollyanna Snaps

I’m sitting in Starbucks at 5 A.M., when a young African American fella comes in with a filled up shopping cart.  He doesn’t look homeless, but it’s clear he’s been trash picking all night…bottles, bags, a pair of scuffed shoes stacked neatly like tiny treasures.

He sits in the corner without buying anything, so I get up to ask if I may treat him to coffee.

He nods showing me he’s missing two of his front teeth.

I get him exactly what I have, a Veranda Venti, bringing it over. ” He says, “Do ya think I can have an ice-coffee instead?”

Now iced-coffee costs more, but I go to Brianna, the sweet barista, who kindly pours it over ice at no extra charge.

I sit for a spell, write a bit, before getting my refill to go, stopping at the milk and sugar bar.  As I’m lacing my cup with enough sugar to launch, suddenly, there he is again, holding a ham and cheese panini.

“Can I have this?”

Now I’m annoyed.  “No, I said, “coffee is the best I can do,” and it was since that left 78 cents on my Starbucks card.  He goes to put to back, sulking like a Labrador I wouldn’t let swim.

Brianna, who’s watching, shakes her head.  “See, ya can’t win.  They always want more. Happens all day.”

Now if this was supposed to comfort me, it didn’t.  Rather than feeling good about my spontaneous generosity, I was now berating myself.  I heard my mother from the ethers say, “Oh Susannah, you could have fed that man…you have your Visa with you after all…how uncaring, how selfish, how cheap you are.”

So now I’m fuming feeling like Jack Benny who wouldn’t have bought God coffee, let alone an all-night shopper needing dental work.

So what’s a half asleep Thin Girl to do I ask you?

Excuse me while I change into my hair shirt.

If only Gucci made one in an extra small.








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For She’s A Jolly Good Thingirl

When my friend Joan asked if I was excited about my birthday I said, oh yes, so much so, I’m draping black crepe along the windows like when Lincoln died.

Excuse me while I start on the mirrors.

It’s not that I’m depressed over my birthday, I’m just a little stunned at how many I’ve had.  I feel like Yul Brynner in The King and I, thinking it’s merely one more curtain call.

I also notice, no one asks how old I am anymore.  You’d think that would be a relief, but it’s a hint that I’m up there with the Chyrsler Building, still glamorous, but from ten miles away.

I can’t say I mind being remembered.  I don’t, providing it’s done on the QT.

When gifts arrive through the mail like spies in quilted envelopes, I’m just tickled as I fib to the doorman and say, oh, it’s that book I ordered. It’s about time for Pete’s sake.

Yes, I say corny things like that as if it were an episode of Leave It To Beaver.

Why I feel the need to lie to Tom, Dick and Abdule, is a mystery, but the Mata Hari in me lives, even if she’s a tad arthritic.

My super, whose mouth I’d like to stuff with a gym sock said, “Too bad you got no man to celebrate wit.  Wanna go for pizza? I’ll take ya, so you ain’t alooo-ne.”

Yeah I know, wasn’t that sweet.  Well, feeling like little geriatric Nell who can’t get a date so her super offers her a slice out of pity, didn’t exactly boost my spirits.

“No thanks Frank,” I said, “and who said I’m spending it alone?”

I was, but he didn’t have to know that.  I even went so far as to put on a dress and let him see me leave.  I came back when I knew he was gone bribing Enrique the night man.

Money never loses its appeal.

We like that.

I’ll admit, it would be nice to have a beau, one I could stand, one who would enhance my life as oppose to stealing it.  At my golden age, you interview, Google, get FBI records and blood tests including, whether they have body odor or not.

Not on my Bean comforter if you smell like Times Square there Mister.  No sirree.

Being self-possessed comes with a criteria after all.

Well, before you know it, my 300th birthday will have passed.

I do kinda like the black crisscrossing the front windows though .

Just might add some pearls.  



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Everyone In The Pool

Walking through the park on my way home, I spot a cardinal seeming to lead the way making me think of Robert Preston in The Music Man.

I watch as he rests on the railing, then a bench before settling on the bough of a tree.  As I glide by, he rises like a feathered gentleman escorting me on my right, as if keeping me out of harm’s way.

Suddenly he stops, diving into a water fountain, his red head now damp, his beak dipped for a nice long drink.  I stand and watch as he unabashedly bathes spreading his wings wetting them thoroughly.  To say I’m charmed doesn’t do my smile justice, as I’m now joined by a young woman and an Asian couple, the man making a video for the folks back home.

I long to sneak in to provide more water knowing, he’ll more than likely fly away, when a little girl toddles over barefoot in a sunsuit and does just that, holding the button causing a spray to appear like a sudden spring shower.

Mr. Cardinal, undaunted, stays put happy as can be, as I say to the Asian man, “Do you think you could send your little film to me?”

He laughs, says something to his wife in what appears to be Japanese, and I realize, he speaks no English.



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God Bless America

I warn you, this is not one of my slaphappy posts.

I’m here, stunned into silence after going to the 9/11 Museum downtown.

A friend asked, what possessed me?

Well, I always wanted to go since, being a survivor of that hellish day, felt I owed it to the fallen.

I’ll begin by saying,  it wasn’t like a trip to see the Monets at the Met when you come out charmed and lighthearted.

After spending two hours, I sat outside where the towers once stood, and cried.

The museum itself is huge, with a timeline starting right before the first plane hit,  reminding you what a beautiful day it was before it began its devastating decline.

To say I was moved, by what I saw, puts it mildly.  Mangled fire engines, a burnt out ambulance…twisted remnants of the towers themselves that look like Richard Serra sculptures.  Slabs of concrete, coiled wire…and personal effects like an engagement ring and credit cards, shoes and a wristwatch still dated, 9/11.

Footage of funerals, firefighters and policemen from all over who came to pay their respects while Taps plays in the distance.

Two things really affected me.  One was an audio of the passengers on United Airlines Flight 93, that went down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania of those who called their loved ones to insure a last good-bye.  They warn you before it begins…that the information might be upsetting.

Might be?

Yet, along with six others sat and listened, grateful, probably for the first time ever, I couldn’t hear very well, rather reading what was said.

A flight attendant calling her husband to say, I love you sweetie…tell the kids I love them.  Tell my family.  Don’t worry, I’m comfortable, at least for now.

Todd Beamer, who orchestrated the take-over…the Let’s Roll man, called his wife, and if it weren’t for him and the heroes he recruited, that plane would have hit either the White House or the Capitol.  The hijackers, not realizing they could be heard on tape, spoke in Arabic, holding out as long as they could knowing if these men got inside the cockpit, their plans would be felled, so they crashed in Pennsylvania, killing all on board.

The last thing one said was…Allah is the greatest.

Throws you, doesn’t it, how they give Allah such a bad name because, guaranteed he’s up there screaming…NO NO..THIS HATRED IS NOT WHAT I INTENDED.

 The second remembrance that had me on my knees was…

In Memoriam…the room with photos of all, listed alphabetically, who perished that day, simply placed on four walls.  I stood, reading each name, looking tenderly, at each face.  What shocked me were children that must of been traveling by plane.  We forget, there was an array of people going home…families…never suspecting they’d never get there.

As I made my way around the room, slowly but determined to honor each soul, a lady was quietly weeping.

“I approached her and said, “Did you lose somebody ma’am?  Is that why you’re so upset?”

“Everybody. We lost everybody?”

I didn’t pry or ask what she meant. Was she one of the few people from Cantor Fitzgerald, who out of a 1000 workers, mostly those not working that day, survived?  Was it a collective…we lost everybody…the way I felt as I read each name?

I put my arms around her and said, it was good we came…it’s important to remember the 2,983 people who died that day, including the 6 from the attack in 1993.

She nodded, holding my hand, then quietly wept some more.    



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 The G train is a subway line running through Queens into Brooklyn I rarely take.

As I wait on the platform longer than I should, when it does come surrounded by dust and fog, it makes me think of the Polar Express since, I can’t help being surprised to see it.

Its riders are diverse, more so than on any other line, questioning where they come from in their many getups and guises.

The robust woman squeezed in a red-white and blue striped tube dress, looking like a barber’s pole, doin a dance…her breasts spilling out as if they were laughing, and just can’t stop.

A man, shaking a Dunkin Donuts cup, in loafers without tongues, is shimmying down the aisle singing, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes…off key.

Next to me sits a young girl with pink hair that matches her shoes and handbag.  Does she spray her hair daily to go with whatever’s on her feet?

But the winning duo is the tattooed man with his Shirley Temple two year-old strapped to his chest in what looks like a rawhide papoose, her corkscrew curls bouncing buoyantly, pogo stick style.

He wears shorts and a tight cutoff T, brandishing artwork on every muscle. Even his clavicle is painted, along with his elbows and eyelids, ankles and knees.

A hefty, black workman getting on, his tools dangling from his belt, sits across from them, a seat away from me, instantly smiling at the little girl.

You can’t help it, she’s so happy, as her father gently gives her sips of water from a Cinderella cup, never taking his eyes off of her, ignoring all of us so collectivly, communally charmed.

A girl gets on and sits next to them buried in her phone, but once sees their mutual affection, even she stops texting and Tweeting, to absorb the love.

Barber pole and pink hair have now joined the vigil, as the G cruises along.

When it stops at Metropolitan Avenue, Dad and Shirley proceed to get off, but right before, he looks up and gives us all the biggest grin.

It was as if the sun, just got on the train.


Posted in Family, Fashion, grace, humanity, kids, Love, men, New York City, parents, travel | Tagged , , , | 21 Comments