Hitler’s Shindig

I was going through the family photo album and I came across some old snapshots of when I used to hang out with Adolf. This one in particular is from when he threw a pool party. Actually, the pool was more like a trench he made some of the guys dig, and as for it being a party…well, let’s just say that Hitler’s parties may not have always been fun, but you wouldn’t soon forget them.

The way parties went at A’s house, you really didn’t get to relax for the first few hours. He orchestrated every action of every guest. You had to talk to the people he wanted you to mingle with, eat whatever and whenever he wanted you to eat, and sit where he wanted you to sit. It wasn’t that annoying when he threw a dinner party, because we would all be at a table. But the garden parties and pool parties were horrible, because he would shout out instructions to you from where ever he was at the time. If he was in the house, and you were talking to the wrong person, he would open the window and yell instructions at you. Pain in the ass.

Anyway, this pool party was a little different. It was an unusually hot summer day, and A was a little tired. He had been up pretty late, working on Mein Kampf. So he just sat in a lawn chair under a tree with his dog, Fritz (named after Fritz Thyssen). Fritz was a good dog, and pretty loyal too. The only problem was that he wasn’t much in terms of protection because A had a friend of his who was a dentist file his teeth down until they were flat. A always thought the dog might turn on him one day, and if and when the day came, Hitler would suffer minimal harm. As a result, whenever Fritz would bare his teeth he would look kind of like Gregory Hines, now that I think about it.

So on this particular day, Hitler indulged in a couple of pints of pilsner, and we could all see he was starting to get loose. He started asking why no one was getting into the “pool” and saying stuff about us letting a nice day go to waste. Well, no one really wanted to splash around in a trench just to make him happy. So somebody said, “Why don’t you get in the pool, Moe?” Usually that would get him riled up, because everyone knew A didn’t swim because he wasn’t about to let us see him in swimwear. I’m sure you heard that he only had one testicle. Well, the real embarrassment was not that he only had one, but that the one he had was the size of three testicles. It was something none of us realized until he put on swimwear at the beach one day. It was like a misshapen mango. We never discussed it amongst ourselves.

But this day, A was so tipsy that the suggestion to splash around didn’t seem unreasonable to him. He stood up, took a swig of beer and broke into song. Funny thing about Hitler that few people know is that when he would get drunk he would sing blues songs. Not just any blues songs, but the songs of Ma Rainey. It was funny because he didn’t speak English, but once someone translated the meanings of some of the lyrics for him, he was a big fan. A big closet fan. One of the songs he loved to sing was Shave ‘Em Dry Blues. To hear him sing those vulgar lyrics in English with his accent would have us rolling on the floor.

He jumped into the trench with Fritz and started singing Ma Rainey. This time he’s singing a song he’s just learned, “Sweet Rough Man”. We all had a great laugh, watching him splash around with all his clothes on, dancing and singing. When he got to the end of the song, he climbed out of the trench, grabbed a towel and started to dry off with his clothes on. He then announced that he was going to strip down to his underwear to dry off, that he was among friends, and he wasn’t ashamed of his testicular defect. Hell, if he didn’t care, we didn’t care. It’s not like we were going to gawk or anything. We did, however gawk when he drunkenly “dropped trou” and revealed that he was wearing a pair of ladies’ bloomers. Apparently, he’d forgotten he was wearing them, and now he was standing in front of us, with his t-shirt and his panties on.

There was another one of those buzz-killing silences that we had begun to get used to, as his eyes darted around the yard, measuring the shock and amusement on each of our faces. Then he shrieked like a schoolgirl, and ran into the house. A few minutes later, he opened the window and said, “Why are you still here? This party is over! Get out! Get out!”

And we did.


Another One Bites the Dust for Christie Brinkley

Things are looking kind of bad for my girl Christie, at least on a personal level. This is marriage number four, shot to hell in an instant. We’re starting to wonder what is going on with her and her relationships; it’s kind of hard to feel really bad when you get screwed over after you’ve been married four times.

I watched all the stories on Extra and Entertainment Tonight , and I decided that this would be a good time to track Christie down and offer her some career advice. In my opinion, this is a pivotal moment for her. This divorce story can put her in spotlight and set her up for a comeback in a BIG way, or it can go the way it’s going, and be another failed Christie marriage story. This is how our little talk went:

C: Hello?

Me: Christie? Christie Brinkley?

C: Yes?

Me: Boy, am I glad I finally caught up with you. You are a hard person to catch up with. How are you? Listen, we’ve got to get to work on putting your side out there to the public with this whole marriage mess.

C: Who is this?

Me: Shhhhhhhhhh……now listen, this is not going well at all. You’re starting to look like a real stooge here with this Mr. Brinkley and the other girl story. And you know that’s who he really is: Mr. Brinkley. We don’t care what his name is, the bottom line is, he’s just Christie’s husband. That’s what you have to remind people, because they are losing the focus of the story. The press is going to make you look like a fool, simply because you are not reminding them that it’s all about you. Remember how when this whole infidelity story broke; everyone wanted to do a story on the girl. The girl! Sure, she was a victim in all this, but let’s face it, she is nobody. Mr. Brinkley is nobody. Sure, in a lot of ways, you’re almost nobody, but compared to them you’re someone. And this is your opportunity to be someone again.

C: Excuse me!

Me: Stick with me for a minute. Let’s talk about this girl. This “other woman”… Who is she? Yeah, at this point, she’s younger and kind of prettier than you, but beauty is relative. And now, a second girl has come forward to talk about her fling with your husband, before he became Mr. Brinkley, and was just “that architect”. Don’t let these young girls ride your coattail to fame, woman!  This is your time to shine! What about Christie? What about your eating disorder?

C: I don’t have an eating disorder…

Me: Okay. We won’t go there. What about an addiction? Jody Sweetin was a crystal meth addict. Poor little Stephanie from Full House, addicted to crystal meth. It’s shocking and sad. How about you overcome an addiction to crystal meth, or do you want a more expensive problem like cocaine? Yeah, that’s more the style of a model…You wanna overcome an addiction instead of an eating disorder? I mean, your family is already out there, supporting you in the media so you can’t say they abused you as a child-

C: Who the hell is this?

Me: Or, you could do the crazy-scary model thing. It’s working for Naomi right now. How about this: you show up at Mr. Brinkley’s office with a ball peen hammer and just start hitting everything in sight until the cops come? Just don’t hit anyone; that’s where Naomi keeps screwing up. Or, you could show up at the girl’s parents’ house in pajamas, and bang on the door screaming that you want to talk to the witch who destroyed your family. But I saved the best for last. This is really crazy, but give it some thought before you shoot it down-

I think something happened to her cell phone at that point, because we were suddenly cut off. When I tried to call back, I couldn’t get through. I’m hoping she broke the phone hitting her husband in the head.

Scrampled Eggs

One thing for sure, if you lived around the way, you knew Nay-Nay. Everybody knew Nay-Nay. Maybe your Nay-Nay wasn’t my Nay-Nay, but if you didn’t know Nay-Nay, you surely knew of her. The nickname was short for homegirl’s real name; it could have been Renee or Nadine. Or it could have been Na’Disha, D’Naya, Naronda or some other quasi-French/African-American name that is created when parents open their mouths and start putting together a mix of vowels and consonants they think sound pretty. Nevertheless, chances are you know Nay-Nay.

But enough about the name, and who your Nay-Nay is. This is about me. This is about my Nay-Nay. My Nay-Nay was a pleasant child, good in school and at double-dutch. She was good-natured and fair-minded, in the way that if for some reason she had to fight you, she wouldn’t try to pull out your cornrows or scratch your face. She wasn’t trying to do no long-term damage; she was just about whipping your butt.

Nay-Nay was cool to hang out with in school and in the neighborhood, and it was fun to watch television at her house. The only thing that made me uncomfortable sometimes was Nay-Nay’s grandmother. To be honest, her grand mom was nice enough; she reminded me a lot of Nay-Nay, except that she was much bigger, fifty-five years older, and always wore a housecoat and slippers. And she talked kind of funny; I couldn’t always tell what she was saying. I think she was from Tennessee, or St. Louis or Southwest Philly. Sometimes she would come into the living room while we were watching The Banana Splits, shake her finger at Nay-Nay and say something like, “Chile, what I say ‘bout that face rag, and Tussy at the zinc! It don’t go there! Put it up, put it up!” And she talked really fast, so sometimes it would take me a while to decipher things. Sometimes, I would just wait to see what Nay-Nay would say or do in response, and then I’d have my answer.

The biggest misunderstanding was usually around food. I eventually figured out that the “bald ham sammich” was boiled ham with a slice of Velveeta on white bread, with man-eggs…sorry; mayonnaise. And if I wanted a sandwich to go, she’d wrap in “tin foll” for me. In the summer I learned that when I was offered a glass of juice I would actually get Kool-Aid, a beverage that tastes so unlike the flavor on the package, people would call it Red, instead of Cherry. And if I agreed to some Kool-Aid, I’d actually get Kool-Aid’s inbred, dim-witted, mutant offspring: the Hug. On a hot summer day, there is nothing like those few ounces of colored sugar water in the container with the tin foll top. They come in flavors like orange-plastic, red-nylon, and purple-polycarbonate.

Nay-Nay’s grandmother was a good cook, so even though we weren’t on the same page with the cold drinks, I wouldn’t turn down an offer of food. Man, there was bis-getty and meatballs, and sal-mon cakes, and sometimes scrimp salad. And it was all pretty good. One morning, after spending the night at Nay-Nay’s her grandma asked what we wanted for breakfast. I had to choose between cole seral, like Alpha Bits or scrampled eggs. This time I didn’t wait to see what Nay-Nay wanted; I knew what I was doing. A home cooked breakfast is better than cereal any day.

In a few minutes Nay-Nay’s grandmother called us away from Deputy Dawg to eat. Nay-Nay got herself some cereal and milk, and her granny came came up to the table with a skillet and put some crap on my plate that I had never seen in my life. I recognized the Bacos, but this dish was not the eggs I expected. It smelled funny and it looked like it had bones it in. I told Nay-Nay’s grandmother I had a stomachache, and excused myself.

When we were back in Nay-Nay’s room I asked her what kind of scrambled eggs they were. “Scrambled eggs?” Nay-Nay said with surprise. “My nana didn’t say she was making you scrambled eggs, can’t you hear? She asked you did you want scrampled eggs! Girl, you can’t hear. Nobody in this house eats scrampled eggs but my grandmother and King.” King was the family’s German Shepherd. It turns out that scrampled eggs is a breakfast concoction that Nay-Nay’s grandmother made up during the depression. It was whatever was left over from the week’s meals, whipped up with some eggs. I had collard greens, half a pigs foot and some macaroni and cheese. It could have been worse, I guess.

Anyway, Nay-Nay and I remained friends until she moved to another neighborhood the next summer. Later that fall her play cousin told me she ended up getting 10 stitches when she got into a fight in her new neighborhood over a Chinese jump rope. The other girl took advantage of her niceness, and stabbed her in the behind with an Astropop.