I'm a Certified Civil Trial Attorney in New Jersey, my day job. I grew up in Brooklyn and sometimes it feels like I never left, even though I've lived in New Jersey for almost 30 years. My parents always wondered what I'd do with a major in philosophy and a Master's in Creative Writing. The answer should have been obvious: law school. I also performed as a stand-up comic for two years in the mid-70s. I liked getting laughs but I needed a full-time job. I sold six jokes to Joan Rivers in the early 90s. She had a PO Box for unsolicited material.
If I bought a horse, if I had $9,000 for a no-name
like California Chrome, I don't think my father
would have minded if I named it after him because
he liked to handicap; because I drove him to OTB
on Kings Highway near the el to place two dollar
bets before I left for work; because his friends at
the Post Office, Depression Era cronies, nicknamed
him Rosie The Horse—it probably had something to
do with his klippety-klop walk courtesy of the 1918
polio epidemic; because of the leather strips he nailed
to the soles of his shoes, uncannily like horseshoes,
to level out his gait; because he worked two jobs to
support his family, even if one of his sons never seemed
to listen to a word he said; because he ran straight
and hard for the finish line, shelling out for cars and
college educations, even after I gave my parents quite
a shock and introduced them to Joyce, my Puerto Rican
girlfriend with the 4.0 GPA—which caused a shitfit beyond the
ongoing shitfit I caused them by being a pot-smoking
hippie, a shitfit that their well-meaning racially-challenged
neighbors would never let them forget, which turned
my parents about three or four whiter shades of pale,
and especially, if I bought the eponymous horse, "Izzy's Dream,"
just in time for Father's Day—just under the wire.
I might be kidding myself, but I don't think he'd mind.
I'm the senior citizen, Medicare's new
face. I get 10% off at most places,
I'm the son who didn't listen, now in debt.
I've signed on the dotted line too often,
my wife is my partner in these pecuniary crimes.
She knows what she's doing.
I blame her.
I taught my kids to drive to get them out
of the house, played dad and loved it.
I'm the guy who comes home at night,
falls asleep in front of the TV, awakens
several hours later in the middle of an
infomercial for Nu Wave Oven (the best
in conduction, convection, infra-red
technology—what a bunch of bullshit)...
But wait—I'm the target market.
I'm dreamy enough to be talked into anything.
I'd like to revisit a lot of my mistakes—my
doubt, anger, duty, self-mockery...
Maybe not... I hang out where fools gather.
I get in line, take a number.
After a shower, a man holds a towel
above his head like a prayer shawl
and recites, as if there's an inscription:
Blessed thou art, Heaven's Emperor.
Thou hast made us holy through thy
commandments; King of the universe,
thou art great and merciful, holy
and just; thine will may never be
known, our devotion stays strong.
Thou hast sanctified us and given us
this season of delight, made water
flow from a desert stone, turned the
Nile into a sea of blood; thou hast
separated light from dark—a lot like
laundry, sacred from profane,
pointed the way out of Egypt. Thou
hast left us the Sabbath. And,
O God, that shower felt so good.
©2015 Bob Rosenbloom