Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Bride of Frank N. Stein

The story you are about to read is true. The names have been changed to protect the oblivious.

I had what can only be described as a close encounter with the yenta kind the other day. It was so bizarre and so scary that I expected to have nightmares where I would frantically mush together matzah ball dough to replicate a mountain in Boca Raton that I had never been to; and that I would have an uncontrollable urge to travel to, in order to meet the alien yenta ship.

I was on line at my local Murray Hill pizza place waiting to order my usual margherita slices ( I convinced myself it’s less greasy that a regular slice, but who am I kidding, it’s still pizza for lunch.) This woman behind me as I'm paying for my food interrupts me and says “Is that the wallet you use?" I look at my wallet (which is a standard black wallet but a few years old), look back at her and cautiously reply “yes.” She then begins to explain to me how a shabby wallet is representative of a guy who doesn’t have his shit together and how too many guys make the mistakes of not caring about the little things that women notice.

At this point I realize that this woman is every man’s nightmare. She might possibly be cute, but her mannerisms and her in-your-face, jap-next-door personality make her seem like a 60 year old in the body of a 30 year old. I found her kind of curious at first and responded back to her brash interruption of my lunch by admitting that maybe I should get a new wallet, thinking that would end our interaction. So I sat down ready to read my Post and enjoy my slices at my usual table by the window and she moved from the counter area to stand directly in front of me,ensuring that I was her captive audience.

She continued her self-indulgent diatribe and started blabbering on a mile a minute. She began to lecture me on men and appearances and at this point (my pizza is getting cold) I begin to get more upset than amused and I ask her if she's single. She tells me she has a lot of male friends and she seems to be the person that guys date before they meet the woman they marry. I made the face that Ferris Bueller made when his sister (Jeannie/Shauna) stuck up for him in front of Principal Rooney, trying to hold back his feelings. Hoping that would imply “well, that should say something to you now, doesn't it” without having to tell her directly that she inadvertently turns men off.)

I asked her if she was Jewish (knowing she would say yes). She goes on to tell me that she is from NJ, but when I tell her the town I’m from, she went on to say how her town is “real Jersey” in that it is filled with more trashy people and that she grew up with Italian girls that you see at the Shore who have sparkly nail polish (which she then pointed out on her own nails.)

The whole time she's talking I'm looking at her and I felt like Grammy Hall in the film Annie Hall. I literally pictured her with big, curly hair, an ankle length skirt and an even larger nose than Barbara Streisand, singing songs from “Yentl”( I combined multiple images of Streisand into an uber yenta jap in my head that made me tolerate her clueless yammering.) She reminded me of the way Barbara Streisand talked in the film "What’s Up Doc," except when you watched that movie you definitely wanted to have sex with Barbara Streisand. I have never encountered a relatively attractive single woman in my life that I couldn’t imagine sleeping with. The more she talked the more my penis was crying out “I’m melting, I’m melting” as it protected itself by shrinking as much as it could.

Now I had grown up with jappy girls in camp, but this was a whole new level. This girl thought she was the millionaire matchmaker and felt the need to point out to a random stranger everything abut herself that she thought made her unique and guys clueless(ironic, considering she was socially clueless.)

She starts rambling on about how she doesn't listen to music and is stuck in the 80s, so I see an opening for a quick jab and say “Your jean jacket looks like you might have worn it in the 80s but it’s a style that has come back.” She replied "really, I don’t think so. I just bought this the other day at the Gap."

My attempt at insulting her style to combat her original dig at my hobo-like wallet went over her head like the strong smell of garlic in the air. She continued her self-induced rant on herself, by telling me that most people in this city are morons and that she is an “educated Jew." Again, when I told her that her own statement of being an educated Jew is actually an oxymoron and that all Jewish parents stress education(doesn't mean we don't have dumb asses like any other group, it just means they most likely attended college. Although ASU really shouldn't count,) she doesn't listen. After making the mistake of telling her I'm a writer, she gets even more excited and starts telling me she's a writer too. She has a blog and wants to blog about her organizational business (which depressed me at the thought that more people will probably end up reading her blog for advice on how to live, than might read my stories.)

Finally, after splattering verbal diarrhea all over my lap for ten minutes, she hands me her card which indeed states that she's a life organizer. All I can think is how could someone who doesn't get basic social norms or realize the boundaries in human interaction,organize other people's lives? I guess if Charlie Sheen can star in his own family sit-com, while enjoying coke-fueled nights with porn stars, anything’s possible. On that subject, you know you're a public menace if you are scaring porn stars. He is real closing to killing a hooker and I know there has to be laws against that, right.

After she left the restaurant, I looked at the card she gave me and it said her name was Traci with an "i" Tackowitz. To my non-Jewish, non-New York readers, this is about as stereotypical Long Island jappy a name as Sherri Schwartz. It makes my obviously Jewish name look as Waspy as Trevor Stone.

I looked up to realize that everyone in the pizza place was staring at me. This laid back, slightly older man with a graying, well groomed beard breaks the silence by saying " Now there's someone who is deep in serious therapy. She must be on something. I have never heard anyone talk that fast (obviously, he wasn't Jewish)" I agreed with him about her being in therapy. We developed a brief bond that can occasionally occur when people share an “only in New York” moment. He asked what kind of writing I do. I told him essays and copywriting and he said, "well, there's a character for you."

I nodded my head, we shared a laugh and I finished my margherita slice. Then I wished him a good day. He said "you too" and I walked out into the warmth of the Fall Day with a smile on my face, knowing that I just had a normal conversation with a fellow New Yorker.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Late Night Shownanigans

The other night I happened to be watching a few minutes of a George Lopez interview with the young, cute, adorable, bubbly, zaftig, black actress from Glee. I looked on the cable guide to check out the guests for the other shows and it said that Jimmy Kimmel had on Gabourey Sidibe. Gabourey Sidibe. God I love saying her name. I put it right up there with Nikolai Khabibulin, the goaltender for the Edmonton Oilers, as two of my all-time favorite names to say out loud. “Hello sir. I am Nikolai Khabibulin and I am here to escort your lovely daughter to the Ball. Maybe I can be of some assistance Madame, I am Nikolai Khabibulin, and I once delivered a baby in a Moscow Sizzler with some napkins, a wet nap and salad tongues.” I’m telling you the name just rolls off the tongue, like Gabourey Sidibe.

After I was done pondering the sound of Gabourey Sidibe’s name, I realized she is the young, cute, adorable, bubbly, zaftig black actress from Precious. I could be wrong, but it just doesn’t seem like it’s a coincidence that they would both be on competing talk shows at the same time. It's not like there's 20 young, cute, adorable, bubbly, zaftig, black actresses that are currently famous to choose from. They are the only two.

I'd like to believe a scenario occurred in which the talent booker for Kimmel found out the girl from Glee (Amber Riley) was on Lopez and shouted to her assistant to get the agent on the phone for another Glee cast member. She pointed to her chart of “Celebrities of Equal Importance” or “C.E.I.” that she made up on Excel to ensure that the other talk shows would never one-up her with a booking. It’s a pretty simple formula. If Leno books one member of an ensemble show than she would book another member of that show or an equivalent show. For example, if Leno booked Mathew Fox from Lost, than she would try and book the actor who played Sawyer from Lost and if they couldn’t get him, they would possibly book Simon Baker from The Mentalist, who has equal sex appeal and TV show status.

Sometimes, they can go with someone who has an equal audience attraction but to the opposite sex. So, if Letterman had Simon Baker, Leno had Mathew Fox and Kimmel had David Boreanz from Bones, she might go with Jennifer Love Hewitt, who has the same appeal to men that Mathew Fox does to women(and was also his co-star on Party of Five which would add symmetry.) Now, Michael J. Fox would not be considered as a match for Mathew Fox, but he is one of the few matches for Muhammad Ali. It’s a delicate system of checks and balances, not unlike our own United States Congress, she once told her assistant.

The creation of the C.E.I. chart is what got Amy Fuller, Jimmy Kimmel’s talent booker, her promotion. After paying her dues in the industry; spending six months as the craft service person for Leno, where she had to keep the fridge in his office stocked with Mallomars and root beer and then two years as his assistant talent booker, she had perfected her system before taking the job with Jimmy Kimmel. There was only one famous person in Hollywood who had no C.E.I. match. David Caruso.

David Caruso's overt belief in his own perceived greatness and his continued insistence on talking like Adam West’s more serious asshole brother in roles, is quite apparent in interviews. Since this persona can not be duplicated by other crime show actors and can only be compared to agents, producers and British oil company CEO’s, he is usually booked against animal trainers and country singers.

Amy Fuller, the senior talent booker on The Jimmy Kimmel Show looked at her C.E.I. chart and realized that Glee’s Amber Reilly had not been added to it. “Either the gay guy, the dumb jock, the cheerleader, the Asian girl, the Jewish dude in the wheel chair, the Jewish hot guy, the teacher that gets way too involved in his students lives, or Jane Lynch will do”, she told Becky Slater, her protégé/assistant. When Becky told her that the rest of the cast of Glee were busy in rehearsals for “Glee On Ice” Amy thought out loud "Ok, who can we get that will compete with this young, cute, adorable, bubbly, zaftig, black actress. Then they both turned to each other and said “Gabourey Sidibe.” Amy called Gabourey’s agent and booked the appearance on the show.

They relaxed for a moment and Amy Fuller, a 32 year old woman with Tina Feyish glasses, tells Becky how Harrison Ford talked to her for a half hour before a show the other night thinking she was S.E. Cupp. (1) Becky Slater, a 25 year old dead ringer for every 25 year old blonde girl in LA whose face is prematurely thinned out, pursed her lips and said “weird.” Amy replied “Yeah, that’s the second time this week. My friend who works at Bill Maher says she’s not really the uptight conservative bitch she seems to be. I mean she’s uptight and conservative. She’s just not a bitch.” Well that’s cool, Becky said in between sips of her mocha frappucino. “Plus, guys really want to do her.” When I was 13, I looked like Fiona Apple. You know what it’s like to have 8th grade boys tease you about being a bad, bad girl? It’s no fun having a doppelganger whose bat shit.”

I did notice a day later that there were two movies on at the same time that used the Kiss song Beth as a plot point. The first was the appropriately titled “I Love You Beth Cooper,” the other was Role Models (which I consider to be the slightly less funny Paul Rudd vehicle than I Love You Man) I’ll give Kiss some credit. It’s not easy for a rock band to have a romantic ballad sung by a man with cat whiskers painted on his cheeks and still look cool. If you were magically transported to a Kiss concert in 1978 and had never heard of Kiss before and Peter Criss came out from behind his drum kit and sat down and crooned Beth, you’d expect Rum Tum Tigger to dance on to the stage and lick his face.

(1) I recently saw S.E. Cupp on Bill Maher and although she is a conservative capitalizing on Republican men who seem to love having sexy, snooty women represent them, I actually was taken aback by her hotness. She reminds me somewhat of what Grammar Girl might look like in real life. I have a huge crush on Grammar Girl, the Web site and her sexy librarian cartoon representation. Mignon Fogarty, the woman who created the Grammar Girl site comes off on her pod cast as not only cute, but genuinely sweet. She would probably approve of my dorkiness but disapprove of my overuse of parenthesis. I can picture her pointing out to me the fact that S.E. Cupp was not actually physically on Bill Maher. At that point, I would probably imagine myself physically getting off of her.