So it’s Thanksgiving and if you still have relatives around it’s a problem. I wish I had one of mine around.
His name was Fred and he hated it. I met him when he married my Aunt and the first thing I remember about him is he used to tickle me and say “Ice Cream, Ice Cream, Ice Cream”.
That was not his most objectionable trait.
He was also a writer and as I look at my life it’s just amazing how much I have modeled his very worst habits. I’m a solitary recluse except when I’m practicing politics (in real life folks, takes a heart of stone to cut someone who delivered their votes to me, and I have one).
Fred always respected my space because he understood that being a writer meant spending large quantities of time reading and staring at the ceiling waiting for a muse and then turning out a piece of crap on deadline.
You know, like this one.
He was a public relations professional, an educator, and a Longshoreman (very proud of his Union memberships which he maintained throughout his life). He lived in New York City and on a commune with a goat and dirt floors. He spent several years picking rocks (I’m going to stop right here and explain. This is a pretty common seasonal agricultural occupation in New England where the frost heaves up stones during the winter and you have to pick them out of the soil before you plant). He never had to work in a chicken factory though except when he taught there. He wrote for newspapers and magazines pretty continuously, but he also did screenplays and plays, many of them for children.
In fact I’d say the bulk of his work by piece was children’s plays which he wrote for my Aunt to produce with her theater students. You see if you use commercial material you pay an arm and a leg for it. She says the worst thing for her is that he was around to see everything she ever produced.
And now, he’s not.
He was a terrible poet who’s efforts mostly reflected his twisted sense of humor which was formed by his admiration of Soupy Sales, the Marx Brothers, and the Three Stooges. He wrote some short stories and novels, most unpublished, but his magnum opus is his collection of B-Movie quotes which is far more extensive and accurate than IMDB. He has a collection of over 2000 tapes and DVDs and about twice that in books which will need to be cataloged.
I’ll probably end up his literary executor, not because his daughter (my cousin) is incapable of the task, she’s a book editor, but because she’s busy with two kids and a Masters degree in Special Education and I have the computer skills to detangle his drive which I expect is a mess.
He died unexpectedly after a short illness. I had not seen him for several years nor was I able to get there before he passed. I suppose it’s for the best, it was quite debilitating and I suspect that was not the way he wished to be remembered. I hope he knew how much I admired and respected him.
And so, instead of being with you this evening as I originally intended, I am serving a Thanksgiving feast I and my immediate family and friends have prepared at his memorial. Sorry I’m not here to interact as is my usual custom.
As it turns out this is not even my first this week. My political ally and partner lost his mother. He is a good friend and was the candidate until he lost. He decided to go in a different direction with his life, I persisted and became Capo di Tutti instead of Consigliere.
I hope you’ve all had a happy, healthy, and safe holiday, so what’s your fucking problem?