Sunday, October 22, 2006


This weekend my father turns 60. It's a good age. Especially on him. He still runs a few times a week. Plays tennis. Is very handsome and fashionable. Comes into the city to hear the blues. Writes. Gives great advice. Is up on anything and everything pop culture related. Always calls and emails us to ask how we are doing. Plays practical jokes that keep us laughing. And yet still manages to annoy each and every one of us - Mom, my sister and I - with his inability to A.) Run a simple errand at the grocery store without returning with the exact opposite of what you asked for or B.) Shop like a normal person without dashing through the store at neck breaking speed as if on the game show Supermarket Sweep. Hey, the guy needs some flaws.

Finding a gift for his 60th has been difficult. My sister, Mother and I agree the guy is impossible to buy for. If he doesn't like it - it's all over his face. Not in a mean way but rather just in a very honest way like, "Why in God's name would I possibly want this?". You can't blame him. He's half Irish and to say he wears his emotions on his sleeve is a huge understatement.

I have bought only one gift in my lifetime that my father liked. It was for Christmas and it was an old vintage radio that he could put on the shelf in his office. He actually really liked it. I know because when I attempted in dire straits the next Christmas to recreate the same reaction with vintage radio number two - his face told me everuthing. One...was enough...thank you.

It doesn't help matters that my Dad is very good at giving gifts. But he's most known in our family for giving good practical joke gifts. The classic story was how one time when we were younger, my Aunt (his sister) and Uncle had a somewhat uptight engagement party in Westchester to celebrate their recent engagement. At the party my father was especially giddy and upbeat. Strange. Then...there was a knock at the door. The door was opened. And much to the surprise and horror of all the guests, my crying sister and his stunned newly engaged sister - standing before us was a three hundred pound white guy dressed as a Buddah in an orange loin cloth complete with mini-finger cymbals hired (by my father) to sing the party a few tunes. Um.......

Remembering this story recently I speed dialed my sister and we happily agreed in glee that for Dad's 60th it might be payback time. This week I placed a call to a Long Island singing telegram service. Someone to attend my father's 60th party this upcoming weekend.

K: Hello - I'm calling to find out more about your singing telegrams.

A man that sounded like Steve Buscemi said:

SB: Well...whadda you want? I got a Jew Grandma, a Bag Person (?), a Tony Soprano, a crazy Chinamen, an Islander Hockey playa and the California Raisin.

Weeding my way mentally through the first highly offensive part of the list I was intrigued by the California Raisins option. It seemed so strange and outdated and totally scary. I could see it now. A group of rainsins forcing my father to get up on the table and sing, "Heard It Through The Grapevine" - I loved it.

K: How much for the California Raisins?

Steve Buscemi: What do mean raisins? I got one

K: But's the California RaiSINS - plural. What does the one raisin do?

SB: He comes in, he has a costume on like a big prune, he's got the white oversized hands and feet...

K:(laughing) ...oh I get it...and the sunglasses...haha

SB: (deadpan) There are no sunglasses.

K: No sunglasses? But that's like...the whole look of the raisin

SB: No sunglasses.

K: No sunglasses?

SB: Fifty. Extra.

K: (sigh) Ok well...I'll have to call you back thanks

After doing the Math my sister and I agreed the joke turned out to be more pricy than it was worth.

In other news - I am still working on my creative project. If you would like to be part of my project and have been too shy to contact me - please do. It's a cool project and I'd love you to be part of it. Email:

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