Me: Hey, Happy Anniversary. I always forget that you guys got married on January 30th and not New Years Eve.
Dad: Well, we were rich and stupid then and should have made it a different
night, but we thought it would give people a day to make plans.
Dad: So, what's new with you? Are you still seeing the hickey girl?
Me: She faded away. I might have a date with a girl I used to work with.
Dad: You know after seeing my genes passed on in such a cute way with your sister’s baby, I'd like to see it again some day while I can still see.
Me: What if I end up with a buck-toothed blonde or a cock-eyed fat girl?
Dad: Don't worry, the Finkle genes are strong and the family cuteness will shine through.
(After a few moments of uninteresting talk about me looking for work, I change the subject back to my sister’s baby. In a Jewish family you can be arrested for shoplifting a sex toy but if your sister has a baby that week, it’s all good with new grandparents. Although, the statute of limitations on idiocy or laziness runs out after the bris)
Me: Do you consider it a Hanukah miracle that one of your offspring was finally able to spring out a baby?
Dad: I don’t want to consider it a miracle that would make its reccurrence unlikely.
Me: So, it’s not as impressive as the oil lasting 6 days.
Dad: It was 8 days and actually a rabbi told me a few years ago that that was all made up.
Me: I know. You told me already.
Dad: They didn't come up with the Temple miracle until 800 years later.
Hanukah was originally just a celebration of a battle victory. Even David leaving Israel was because Saul wanted him out.
Me: Was there even a Goliath?
Dad: Yes there was a Goliath, but he definitely wasn’t Jewish. You don’t see too many Goliaths walking around now.
Me: That’s because he lost. If he had beaten David, maybe you would have named my brother Goliath Finkle.
Dad: That does have a ring to it. There was a Goliath but he wasn’t a giant.
Me: What was he 5’9’’?
Dad: More like 5’6.’’
Me: It’s like when you watch movies from the 40s. Everyone was 5'6’’ back then.
James Cagney was like 5'4.’’
Dad: I used to be 5'9.’’
Betsy: (my stepmother can be heard faintly in the background ): When were you 5'9?
Dad: Ok, 5'8 1/2. Now, I'm 5'8. Grandpa shrunk almost 2 inches. I hope that
doesn't happen to me. See what you have to look forward to when you get old. So,
is this your Happy Anniversary call and your Happy New Years call?
Me: This is my belated Happy Anniversary call and I'll call you tomorrow
for New Years.
Dad: Gotcha my boy. I will speak to you later. I can't really talk now. We're at
the gym. Love you.
Me: OK. I'll speak to you later, bye.
My favorite thing about the conversation is that my Dad ended it with “I can't really talk, we're at the gym" and I only imagine him sweating on a stationary bike while holding the cell phone. He is in his early 70s and he is in much better shape than most people over the age of 35 due to an isometric routine that he has been doing for over 40 years. I started doing his routine ten years ago and I fantasize about doing an infomercial with him, but I’d be the one who would have to get in better shape to do it.
I do the timed workout routine along to quick rock/punk songs on Pandora and for every The Ramones-to-Rancid -to-Tom Petty song runs, there’s always that fourth Pandora out-of-the-blue song that cuts to Johnny Cash and songs of that tempo for the next few minutes to take me out of my rhythm.
Nothing against the man in black, as he is the guy you want on the radio when you’re a production assistant on an extremely low budget action movie and you’re being driven back to the city from upstate NY by the cool DP in his car on a summer night and you’re in the back seat next to the laid back prop girl with the sly smile who was born to wear a tank top and jeans (and you’re 95% sure is not a lesbian) while you’re both vaguely stoned but more comfortably tired after a 15-hour shoot; but try doing squat thrusts in your bedroom to “Delia’s Gone.” It’s not ideal.