Some Moments from My Life
The following excerpts from my new book, DISAPPEARING ACT, by now available for only $10 from Amazon.
My father and mother would often tell the story of the day they lost my grandmother in Atlantic City. They were at a casino with her and while they were gambling, the old woman wandered off. Minutes after she disappeared, they began a frantic search. When they couldn’t find her, they went to casino security with their problem. The man at the security desk was very sympathetic. He told them to follow him and took them to a room. He opened the door and revealed 25 little old ladies quietly sitting on chairs.
“Is any one of these yours?” he asked with a sigh.
The following day, George seemed better. At least, he was sitting up and alert, albeit with tubes in his nose and mouth, preventing him from speaking. He seemed pleased to see my mother, brother, and me, but Effie couldn’t resist a quick joke. “Look at you!” she said. “Where’s my camera? We should take a picture.” George, not knowing whether to take her seriously or not, frantically shook his head and rolled his eyes. After writing one message on a pad, “No pictures!” he scribbled another message. “Get her address,” he wrote, indicating the nurse. “Maybe he wants a date!” said the nurse with a smile. I never learned why he wanted the address, though, as we soon discovered, he may have not have wanted it all. We were entering The Crazy Zone.
I was very uncomfortable with people knowing I had a girlfriend. Indeed, it got so silly that I hid her from my family and friends. I recall, in particular, one night when she was visiting after school. We were hugging and kissing in my bedroom in a relatively innocent way, when my mother announced dinner. I left Nina in the bedroom and went to dinner.
“Doesn’t your friend want to join us?” my father asked me a few minutes after I had arrived.
“No. She’s all right where she is,” I replied.
You’re sitting on the board.You have to meet with a proposed sublessee of one of the apartments in your building. He arrives and you think he’s a bit arrogant. He also doesn’t show up with his wife, who plans to live there with him. You have your doubts about him because he seems overly aggressive, and you ultimately turn him down.
Oh, yes, and he just happens to be black.
Guess what? You may have problems. Big time. In fact, you may face a discrimination lawsuit like the one that hit Manhattan’s Beekman Hill House cooperative. In that 1997 case, a federal jury found that the board had illegally discriminated against an interracial couple who were awarded $640,000 in damages, $410,000 of which was paid by the individual board members themselves.
"...you too refer to a grave and serious hazard. Your first support of this contention has to do with the closed vent ‘so that gases from the fire cannot properly dissipate to the outer air.’ My expertise in this area is certainly limited but if you are saying that a burning gas flame requires some sort of a chimney or vent then this must be a new insight into the dynamics and the properties of burning gas. What happens to those undissipated gases from all the ventless, chimneyless gas ranges used in our building and in many others? Certainly our kitchen stove, when a large meal is being prepared with all jets and both ovens going, creates more ‘undissipated gases’ – whatever they may be – than our three-or-four-times-a-year living room log. If you conclude our log is unsafe because of the absence of an air vent, our kitchen range is downright cinematic in its potential for destruction."
Also available now from Amazon: Sense and Nonsense: Lessons from Improv, the full 42-minute DVD!
COMING IN NOVEMBER: A DOCTOR & A PLUMBER IN A ROWBOAT: The Essential Guide to Improvisation by Carol Schindler snd Tom Soter. Learn how to have more confidence, be more spontaneous, and tap into their creativity. Aimed at improvisers and those who teach improvisation, the lessons in this book can also help actors, writers, teachers, corporate executives, producers, dentists, firemen, factory workers, goat herders, astronauts, social workers, magicians, accountants, manicurists, Ninja warriors, and, of course, doctors and plumbers. Improvisation can be helpful for everyone. Even if you don’t necessarily want help, it’s still just plain fun.