Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What'd He Say?





    Did you ever stop to think that what you say can sometimes last forever?

    Even though you may have no earthly recollection what it was (hell, you probably have no earthly recollection that you need to put on pants, you old bastard) you may be reminded one day when an adult walks into the rest home and says, “Hey, remember me?  I was the one with a face that could stop time.”

    And then he unplugs the ventilator.

    Obviously, some things hurt.  Even though you made a comment in jest, the recipient of your oh-so-clever jibe may not have thought it was terribly funny.

Surprisingly, I was teased unmercifully.
What?  They made fun of my carnation.
What did you think I meant?
    I’m sure, if I asked, all of you could give me such an example.

    Luckily, there are also times when something someone said was a good thing.  Whether a sincere congratulations or approving word, I recall them as if they happened yesterday.

    There are even those sayings which I’ve unknowingly adopted as my own.

    Such it is from something said to me more than forty years ago.

    When I was twelve, I was a stockboy, delivery boy, salesboy (apparently, the requirement of the job was to be a ‘boy.’) at the Thompson Food Market in Stratford, Connecticut.
Not really.
But close.
    SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION:  The chapter “Gold As Gold,” from my mega-thriller (in my mind at least) Shag Carpet Toilet, is based on these experiences.
GET YOURS NOW!  
DON'T BE ONE OF THE HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS WHO DON''T HAVE A COPY!!

Seriously, this is what Gladys looked like.
Although not as attractive.
And a woman.
    My bosses, Max and Gladys, were made for each other.  He was a balding butcher who punctuated his opinions with a frightening flourish of his cleaver.  She was a woman whose dimensions were such that she taped wooden blocks on her car’s brake and accelerator because she had to slide her seat all the way back.  Yet, she swore she was a dancer in her youth.

    Together, they were made for each other. 
Banned by the Catholic League of Decency.
Along with Rosemary's Baby, hippies,
and Richard Nixon.
 
If only because no one would have been able to live with them.  However, I learned many things while working for them.  Gladys taught me how to make the cover of Land O’ Lakes butter into something you wouldn't want your mother to see.  Max taught me that pimento loaf is just as tasty as boiled ham, if not cheaper.

    His speech was peppered with little sayings, most of which were directed at the former dancer crafting pornography from butter cartons.

    However, he always had a kind word for his customers, especially children.  No matter how small our purchase, he made us feel that we were buying an entire side of brontosaurus, when in reality we were just getting penny candy.

    Even though he’s long since passed, I still remember him.  Even more, I hear the same words which came out of Max’s mouth whenever we handed over some of our allowance for a couple pieces of Bazooka Bubble Gum.

    It’s the same thing I say whenever a student with whom I’m working has helped me out with something:  “Thank you, sir, you’re a real gentleman.”

    So be mindful of what you say to others, especially children.  Kids quite often repeat things they heard from decades before, good or bad.

    Or they could give the Land O’ Lakes lady boobs.

    And no one needs that.

Oh, yeah.
Gladys would so get arrested nowadays.

33 comments:

  1. Oh yeah, what we think is funny some surely may not. Always have to watch what we spit out. Especially with kids, little buggers pick up everything haha

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    1. I know that, in fifteen years or so, I'll ask, "I said THAT!? Good God...hey...what are you doing with that ventilator plug???"

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  2. I'm reminded of just how much my kids hear almost every time they open their mouths. Sometimes I want to crawl in a hole. Yikes!

    But yes, we should certainly think before we speak. If there's one thing life has taught me, it's that...

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    1. I remember when I brought home a class picture (couldn't have been much more than 8). My father looked at the picture, harrumphed and said, "Jesus Christ, you look like a raped ape."
      47 years later, that still makes me sad.

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  3. Can't snark a nice, heartwarming post like this.

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    1. I remember the first time I said it.
      I immediately thought of Max.
      And that Land O' Lakes lady.

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  4. Like you, I can remember things said, good and bad) years ago, as well as the people who said them. Kids are such sponges. Say, in case you missed it, I wrote a post on Sunday called "Ouch," based on one of your comments. Check it out if you have time.

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    1. Thanks! I'll go check it out. I'll be shocked if it isn't great.

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    2. I'm not shocked.
      You made the right decision.
      You're made of better stuff than I, sir.

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  5. X - rated butter. Now that would be something!

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    1. Imagine what shapes it could come in.
      Oh, I just did.
      Eww.....

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  6. that's why they call it LOL butter

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  7. I soooo want to make fun of the land of lakes lady, but I won't :) Good post, you're right about kids! It's too bad our kids have to grow up with this new generation of mindless morons... Guess they won't be hearing much other than the little lady in the apple phone ;)

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    1. Gladys also showed me how to fold a dollar bill to where it said:
      "Gal, tender and private."
      The more I think about it, the more I think she was a dirty old bird.

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  8. I always try and watch what I say around kids. I was good at spelling things around Kiddo.

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    1. When the kids were little, we used to say "DQ."
      Then, when they figured it out, we spelled "D-A-I-R-Y Q-U-E-E-N."
      Then, what THAT fell through, we took to saying it phonetically, "Delta Quebec."
      Then, what THAT failed, we just went and had Blizzards after high school graduation.

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  9. I try and be careful with what I say to people because I know how it can affect them.

    But with that in mind, sometimes I carefully craft words to inflict maximum damage.

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    1. I do the same, but I'm sure that they'll pick up some things. I just hope good.
      One thing I used to say to the kids when they asked me a question was, "Why? You writing' a book?"
      I hope, in the years to come, they will remember that fondly. I'd hate for someone to write a scathing post about me in 30 years.

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  10. Now I'm going to have to re-read "Gold As Gold." I'm sure that I'll enjoy it even more the second time around! I love the photo of you with the carnation, and the lovely picture of Gladys the dancer! The clip with Marty Feldman is a classic. I even saw Young Frankenstein the stage musical. I still think that you should collaborate with Mel Brooks. In the meantime, everyone who loves your humor should read Shag Carpet Toilet by your alias Ken Lynch. It really is funny, as well as heartwarming.

    Julie

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    1. I think I may post that chapter maybe this weekend. The danger, of course, is posting something which is long. Folks may not be so inclined to read. I suppose I could jazz it up with some pictures. Or do a two-parter...? That may work. As far as the picture, the sky on my planet was yellow. Or it was smog. It was the 60's, after all.

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    2. And how can you go wrong with a clip from 'Young Frankenstein?'

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  11. This is one of your best posts Al, although obviously we both know you have an incredible resume. For some reason I thought this would focus on the fact that words can have consequences but you did it the other way around, manners are something that can be picked up and used for life because of the slightest of things, the couple you worked for weren't that bad after all!

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    1. When I first wrote it, that was exactly what I was shooting for. But, then I thought to write about something positive. Unfortunately, things said to us as children all too often are negative.

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  12. I tend to like sarcastic humor and sometimes it doesn't come across the right way. People take me too serious when I'm actually joking 97.6% of the time.

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    1. We're always warned to avoid sarcasm with the kids because they could take it wrong. Even though the vast majority of the time, we're just playing. This may come as no surprise, but I like sarcasm, too. So I have to watch myself.

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  13. I think I'm immune as my kids have never taken any notice of a word I say!

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  14. I wonder if anything I have said will be remembered after I am gone, I doubt it since all I say is dribble...................lol

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    1. Oh, I think it shall. Even the dribbles.

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  15. While this was a great post and what you said is so very true...I cannot get past that awesome Pontiac GTO in the background. Now that's a car!

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    1. It was a bitchin' ride, for sure. My uncle owned it.

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  16. Great post! First off, I have to agree with Barb, I'm pretty sure it's a 1966. Very nice.
    I try to be careful about what I say to kids, because I remember almost everything from my own childhood. My mom didn't talk to us much, but when she did, it was usually something dramatic like, "I wish you were dead!"

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