Hang it Up! Part Deux

He did it again!

Just after he called me on my cell phone to tell me he couldn’t talk, he called again and got my voicemail. I happened to be writing the first Hang it Up! post on my iPhone at the time so his call went straight to voicemail.

This time he left a voicemail message saying he couldn’t talk. Like he needed to reiterate that point?

I got it the first time. Really.

The ironic part is that his voicemail was really long. He took a forever to tell me he couldn’t talk. In fact, he couldn’t stop talking. On and on he went about how he couldn’t talk.

You think I’m kidding. I’m not.

Here’s the voicemail. Listen for yourself:

(Click the Image Below to Play)


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Hang it Up!

I just got a call from Jaffe. He called to tell me that he couldn’t talk.


Why? Why do people call just to say they can’t talk? It’s a waste of a call folks. And, if you’re calling someone with a cell phone, they are charged for you to tell them you really don’t want to talk to them!

Insulted and charged for the insult to boot!

Lee said it and it’s true: Only a Jew would call to say he can’t talk.

Moral: Think before you dial!

Posted from my iPhone.


Whine and Bugs

I’ve been told that I’m prone to whine and whine loudly, like Stewie in the video below, from other rooms in the house.

Also of note is Stewie’s disdain for insects. I too hate the little critters, and my disdain for them comes directly from my mother.  

In fact, the last line, delivered by Stewie in this Family Guy scene, could have indeed been delivered by my dear mother.

(Click the Image Below to Play)


Cohen of Uncertainty

 Are we, the Jewish People, truly competitive, even envious of other people’s suffering?

Oy! You should only know from pain!

Or, is it just shtick?

We’re told we are the chosen people but I think we’re taking that too literally — and only when it comes to suffering. Neither being the schoolyard bully, nor being the nebbishy kid should be worn like a badge of honor.  Yet we, as a people, fight and claw our way up the ladder of suffering, with no end in sight.

For many of us, good fortune and even prosperity are suspect and we wait indefinitely for the other shoe to drop.  Whenever I’m doing well, for instance, and I’m able to take that long-needed vacation, I become convinced that the plane, about to embark to my holiday destination, will plummet to the ground like a tin can.  It’s only when my life sucks that I’m sure it won’t crash.

The Cone of Uncertainty on Jewish suffering has not, as it should by definition, diminished.  

 Cone of Uncertainty

Do we attract suffering? Is it just our self-imposed cultural ethos guiding us toward suffering? Or, again, is it just schtick?



Like most Jews I grew up with, including my entire family, I am no stranger to illness. In fact, without illness there’d be practically nothing to worry about, to talk about during supper (the particularly gruesome illnesses, it seems, were actually saved for dinnertime conversation — Woody Allen parodies this in “Annie Hall“), or, and most importantly, to be used in a psychotic Jewish version of one-upmanship that makes the WASP’s keeping up with the Joneses seem absolutely normal.  

Illness, not health, is our way of “keeping up with the Schwartz’s” I suppose.




So it should have come as no shock to me that all the allergy medicines (and there were many)I took as a kid, along with weekly allergy shots, all given to me at the insistence of my mother, were unnecessary from a health perspective but completely necessary from a Jewish perspective. My mother derived narcissistic satisfaction while I just got drowsy!


Worse, however, was that I couldn’t have a pet. My mother insisted that allergy scratch tests confirmed that I was allergic to dander and therefore could not have a dog or cat.  I had always wanted a dog so this announcement was a crushing blow. I never really was a cat person so not having one was not an issue per se.  What was an issue, and very problematic indeed, was that not only could I not have a cat but I could now not be at any friend’s house that had a cat.

Now here’s the rub: As a kid I would develop symptoms of cat allergies — runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing and, last but not least, wheezing. But I’ve since had my own allergy scratch tests and none have ever indicated that I’m allergic to cats. 

So the question remains, did I get that runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing coughing, wheezing simply due to my mother’s insistence that I am allergic to cats? Did I became a human snot rag to get love and affection from her in the only way I knew how — by filling a Jewish mother’s narcissistic need for her son to be ill? Was my allergy to cats just psychosomatic, or in my case psychosemitic?

On my last trip to Los Angeles, the trip I made after my mother told me how to pee so as not to drip on her marble bathroom floor, I arranged to stay with one of my oldest friends. He has two cats. On the way to the airport I told my mother about the cats. She cut me off saying, “You can’t stay there. You’re allergic to cats!” I told her I wasn’t but she insisted I was.  I let it go and with it my allergy to cats. 

The Katz’s






“…my sister, my daughter.” Err, my sister, my mother.

My last spate of blog entries came in late January and, due to circumstances completely under my control, I decided I was too glum to write.  Don’t get me wrong, my misery, perhaps more than anyone I know, enjoys company. Though, on second thought, enjoys is the wrong word as I haven’t enjoyed anything at all since… Well exact dates aren’t important and clearly are not the point.

If you’ve read all of my entries you know I’ve been staying part of the time at my folks place in the suburbs on Long Island and at my sister and brother-in-law’s place in Northern Westchester. At my sister’s place there are the kids. They are completely distracting in the best possible way. I can’t get work done because I’m literally compelled to watch them and listen to them all the time: Telling each other stories; Playing — quite adeptly — on the computer; Singing, dancing and writing; and, Sometimes fighting. But they are a joy and being there is a joy as well.

It’s not quite the same at my folks house.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother as if she were my own mother (Although she actually is my biological mother I prefer to keep some ‘healthy’ phycological dysphoria on this one to keep me from jumping). I also love my step-dad. He and I have lots in common, including an unhealthy obsession to with computers and gadgets. But I’m isolated on an island of neurosis. There is never a soul on the street, or in the ‘development’ (this one created just after Levittown and in much the same way: A cookie-cutter Long Island nightmare).

Levittown, Long Island, NY

This Our house is also a hotbed of ADD, OCD, perhaps bipolar disorder and your run-of-the-mill neurosis.  My mother is a worrier and it informs everything she says and does. And, if one is not careful, it leaches out and infects everything it touches. Worrying, my friends is a disease — unless of course someone is actually following you with a gun or, G-d forbid, the government starts to mass produce yellow Stars of David.  In cases like that however, active resistance is best and any worrying should be purged tout de suite.

That perpetual progrom that resides just below the surface of most Jewish women’s brains just makes them and, in particular, their first-born sons crazy.  

Save it for when we really need it mom!! There are enough Republican Jews (akin to African-American members of the Ku Klux Klan) out there that are going to need a megadose of reality at some point! Until then…

So I’m back on Long Island searching for the impossible: An inexpensive yet perfect apartment/office in Manhattan.


You’ve Goth to be kidding…

I’ve been chomping at the bit on this one for a while. But out of respect for my sister I haven’t blogged this yet and shouldn’t be doing so now.

My sister and brother-in-law have a great couple friend. Wonderful people. Fun to be around. But there’s something I have to say, that I must let her know. It’s been disturbing me for far too long.

I’m just going to say it. Stop with the gray lipstick and the dyed jet-black hair . You’re in your mid-thirties and it is 2008!  You are not Joan Jett!Joan Jett

I know you’d rather live in the City and not in the burbs but deal with it! You are a beautiful woman that just needs some color!

Wow. I feel a lot better now.


Noah, I won’t get in the Ark!

Why must Jewish women make ‘no’ into a two syllable word? I’m just asking…


It could be worse…

I have heard the phrase “it could be worse” too many times to count in the last few months. First, a breakup. Then surgery. Then credit card debt. Then the landlord is suing. Then the IRS wants its money now. Then trying to find a new place to live. Then packing and moving and the ex is not around to help.Then moving day.

Oh my G-d, everything is going smoothly… Too smoothly. And then, the person I’m moving in with — who is subletting the place illegally from the coop’s owner — has not secured the permit necessary for me to move in! My belongings sit on an idle pod (people move with pods now) in the parking lot of a 60’s-era low- to medium-income cooperative housing development that feels like Soviet-era Russia.  

Soviet Apartment Block





Do Not Blab


Security guards surround the moving truck KGB-style, though they’re jabbering in Spanish, not Russian like the KGB or, ironically, like my movers, and just stare at me like I’m the enemy of the people, just daring me to move a single possession out of my pod.



So I have the movers re-load the pod and send the moving van to Long Island, to my mother’s house. Now all of most of my boxed stuff (and this was my step-father’s request) is confined to a 3 by 15 square tile area on the basement floor. The rest of my stuff is in the garage and they’ve already made plans to rid the garage of that small line of boxes by exiling them to the neighbor’s unused garage. So here’s the point: Every single one of the above-mentioned trauma’s have caused my friends and family to tell me “it could be worse…”

Well folks, it can and it does get worse. So do me a favor and don’t tell me it could be worse! Here I sit, in the suburbs and I’m not happy. In fact, I’m downright depressed and probably having a nervous breakdown.

And my biggest fear, at this moment, is that it could be worse.