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Tuesday . . . Had some $8 and $11 per goblet wine yesterday with lunch. In reality: three glasses, two room temperature reds and one chilled white. They were delicious. They make the rotgut I've so far tried from my Christmas stash, taste like, well, rotgut. I wonder if I'll ever again be able to enjoy an affordable bottle of $10 wine. The ex-Missus Malamud sent me an eight and one-half by eleven inch enlarged photo of a yellow-breasted bird not much bigger than my thumb. I took the original photo. I saw the same bird again this morning and it reminded me of the gift. It did not actually speak to me, but just seeing it, reminded me. The picture was one of a pair of Christmas gifts. The other was a lifetime subscription to eHarmony.com. Just kidding. The bird photo, which I must humbly state is awesome, was to replace a much larger photo, snapped by her, and then stolen from my wall when she last visited the diminutive Dr. Malamud apartment. In less than two weeks I'll be celebrating my first Valentine's Day as a single man since year 1976. It will be quite a chore sorting through the thousands of red, heart-shaped cards I'm sure are on their way to my mailbox. But, I still love the ex-Missus. So lot of hearts will be broken <grin>. When I'm alone in bed, which come to think of it, is always, and I hug by massive pillow for comfort, I can't even put a face on the thing. I have no one I'd like to live with for the rest of my life. Odd, that's what I thought marriage was: "for the rest of my life."
Thursday . . . Out of the shower and wiping my head with the bath towel (that is the softest thing this side of a female) I noted the red smear of blood in its vanilla colored fabric. In the past, this could have caused a worry, but since January 27th, 2005 after my morning shower, this has been a pretty much normal thing. For on that day, two weeks ago, I went to my Paradise Valley Barber (not to be confused with my "7th Avenue Barber") and sixteen dollars later had no follicle on my pate that exceeded 2mm. That evening, I finished the job using the electric shaver previously reserved for the front of my face. While around the apartment, I donned a bulldog-emblazened cotton skullcap and it took two days for the teen Mainio to discover my hairless state. It took me my first midnight, awakened by the frost on the top of my head to understand, to really understand, why bald infants always wear a cap. Since my own balding, once or twice a week, I've been using a razor to return my head to cue ball smoothness during my pre-dawn shower. Why have I cleared my head of all hair? I had always planned to shave my noggin once my divorce with the Missus Dr.Malamud was formalized by me receiving legal notice in the mail from the County of Maricopa. As I noted in an earlier column, although the divorce was final in mid-December, it was not until a few days ago that I received mere xeroxes of the pronouncement bearing the now Ex-Missus-Doctor-Malamud postmark. Shows me how important I was in this whole process <grin>. In 1977 SHE couldn't wait until Valentine's Day, the 14th of February, so we were hitched on the 11th instead. In one day what would have been our 28th wedding anniversary becomes just another number on the calendar.
Saturday . . . Banging me out of a sound sleep, the distinctive double-ring of the apartment phone bounded down my auditory canals crashing into my eardrums. A ring which indicated a long distance caller. Since Mainio was out musician-ing and his mother sometime calls from the Lone Star state late at night, I let it ring. I have nothing to say to her . . . nothing that would/could change her decision anyway. Later I awoke again and while propped up on the massive, half-occupied, Malamud mattress, reading the Neil Gaiman book assigned to me by Mainio, the phone began its out-of-state-double-ring again. More rational this time, I realized it could be my dearest actress-friend calling from California or even an anxious Morgan Fairchild calling from who knows where. I answered the phone and it was indeed the "X" searching for our youngest musician. I told her to try his cell phone and rang off. Sadly, last evening, at about 5:00 PM, it would have been our twenty-eighth wedding anniversary. Maybe that's why she "found a reason" to phone the Malamud apartment in Scottsdale. Monday, the 14th, is Valentine's Day and I thought back of when I was in my teens and madly in love and being dumped by fellow church member, the slim, freckled and red-headed Jeannie Bateman. For comfort I searched the Bible for what it had to say about love . . .
I Corinthians 13:4-13
Love is patient, love is kind,
and is not jealous;
love does not brag and is not arrogant,
does not act unbecomingly;
it does not seek its own,
is not provoked,
does not take into account a wrong suffered
does not rejoice in unrighteousness,
but rejoices with the truth;
bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
Love never fails;
but if there are gifts of prophecy,
they will be done away;
if there are tongues,
they will cease;
if there is knowledge,
it will be done away.
For we know in part,
and we prophesy in part;
but when the perfect comes,
the partial will be done away.
When I was a child,
I used to speak as a child,
think as a child,
reason as a child;
when I became a man,
I did away with childish things . . .
But now abide faith, hope, love, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.
(Yes, Morgan Fairchild is
mentioned in the Bible)
Wednesday . . . This Friday with Mainio, I'm looking forward to seeing the first screening of a movie at midnight. This viewing, I may actually enjoy, unlike the entirely predictable Blade III which was about thrilling as a pair of grizzled and 18th Century dressed Seventh-Day-Adventists-knocking-on-the-front-door, Blade III. I was thinking back this morning, not with guilt or sadness, but with awareness earned only by experience, at all the extra hours I spent at work or after hours out drinking with my coworkers, when I could have been at home with the wife I chose and our children. Not an excuse, but I was only doing what my own father had modeled for me as I was growing up. Parents are so incredibly important, but so many of us don't realize how vital our attentions are as they relate to our own children . . . until they are themselves adults. Parenting is such a vital function of civil society it's so sad that in this increasingly conflicted America that we all cannot come up with some form of public education that will equip future generations with the not-so-common-sense information needed to transform children into stable and functioning adults. Met some very nice looking ladies last night. Very nice looking. And this morning, I was reminded again of why I see so many divorced men in their 50s, 60s, and 70s with women age 40 or younger. That situation is due to the fact that American males are so cursedly visual. Right around her late forties a woman, even those who take care meticulous care of themselves, begin to look like our grandmothers did. And often times, they are grandmothers in reality. So, divorced middle-aged men, who believe they still look like they did in college, chose females in their thirties or forties rather than someone their own age. And this is doubly conceited and selfish. One because middle-aged males look no better, and usually far worse, than their contemporaries in the female ranks. Sadly when a man weds a woman twenty years younger, since he faces a shorter lifespan, he dooms her to many years alone. As a widow.
Tuesday . . . I just realized that whether I've been drinking or not the afternoon before, the following dawn shines very little light on my dreary life. That's only because I won't let it. I, we, all of us American's, just living in the U.S. of A (certainly in Arizona in the winter months) should be doing hand-stands of joy every morning. Dr. Hunter S. Thompson apparently took one of his favorite weapons over the weekend and ended it all. My regular readers (and who isn't? <grin>) know that a few months back I too was considering the easy way out. And then God Hisself stepped into my life and dangled my soul into the whirlwind that is eternal Hell and I decided against the most selfish act a human being can perpetrate: suicide. Since Hunter was an avid 'John Kerry for President' fan, I imagine the major media will blame his suicide on Bush's win. But politics is not my venue here. Feeling my, more or less self-ordained financial straits, one might believe that more money would help the situation. Yes, more money would help my financial situation, but not the lack of joy in my life. The other day I was listening to a husband on the radio say that if his day was horrible and his spouse was wonderful what happened during the day did not matter once he was home with her. And if his workday was wonderful and his wife was horrible, his whole day was horrible. I know that sounds a little simplistic but that is the way it really is. That's why so many people have dogs. And cats. They don't have a spouse to love. Or worse, they have a spouse who doesn't love them. Or worst of all they have no one to love. "Don't you want somebody to love? Don't you need somebody to love?" the old Jefferson Airplane lyrics bounce in my memory. It was my teen years since I last I thought long and hard about those words. I mean really, really thought about them.
Tuesday . . . With temperatures in the 70F's last weekend, I glanced at the pool area by my apartment and thought how wonderful it would be to lay out there in lounges and enjoy the sun with my wife. Only, I no longer have a wife. Or a girlfriend. Or a life. Well, you can't have everything, eh? Although I'm fairly certain I have no tears left to cry, that didn't stop me from attempting to weep Saturday night over how much I miss my wife. My ex-wife. (I had written and then erased, "how damned lonely I was." Because I really do miss my ex-wife, my friend and, let's be honest, my former housekeeper.) Maybe that's why I numb the pain almost every night with the Satan's piss that we call tequila. It is cheaper and safer than the Prozac my doctor, pen posed over his prescription pad, began offering over two years ago. How could he know that I've been suffering from depression since before a Creighton Grade School psychiatrist diagnosed me as "different" way back in the second grade? In 1961. Last weekend a familiar, successful writer and dedicated alcoholic, Hunter S. Thompson, sat down with a heavy, square-bottomed glass filled with two caramel fingers of Chivas Regal. Shortly after hearing the light tinkle of ice cubes as clear and pure as a brisk Colorado stream winding its way through rocks worn smooth by the ages, Dr. Thompson fired one lethal bullet through his life. Through his soul. Without alcohol, writer's are prone to suicide, because we are occupied first with studying and recording the world's wrongs. While most others are either suffering from the wrongs visited on them by others, or perpetrating these same wrongs on others. Especially if they are in sales. Writer's steep themselves in 'the wrongs' and then, in an attempt to turn off the thought-machine, we soak our brains in alcohol, and it sometimes then fuels suicidal thoughts. It's March 1st, and I'm setting some fitness goals and life goals. With my weekly work schedule of 48 to 72 hours and occasional visits to the gym, the athleticism of my drinking will probably suffer. But, within days, I should feel much better about me, both inside and outside.
Tuesday . . . I am so very depressed and I raise up my head to glance across the street and notice the previously unnoticed marquee announcing "Pinnacle Paradise." God loves me and loves to do that to me. Who says He doesn't display a sense of humor? I was thinking that if my teen Mainio moves out (or when he moves out, after all how long can a child live with his father?) I'll have no one. No one. Damn. I should have known this particular bout of darkness was on the horizon. And in a month, a week or a day from now I'll pull out of it. As I've decided to lose some serious weight, my gloom may even be being fed by my very strict diet. I'm already feeling a little better just putting my gloom to word. Hearing of Mainio's challenges - which I believe are not out line with the typical 21st Century teen stuff - but still, not being able to help but a little, pains my soul. Although, according to published statistics, I enjoy more time talking with my son in one day than most American dads do in three weeks. I probably shouldn't write "talking", because I've grown wise enough to realize that teens only need someone to talk to. Not condemnation or unasked-for suggestions from someone nearly three times their age. And then I'm thinking about Dr.Malamud appearing back among a church family that does not know me. Cast once more in the Easter play, I'm reminded why I don't attend church at all; even though a person would be hard-pressed to find a stronger Internet-level Christian Apologist than me. I remember the first time to church after the now Ex-Mrs.Dr.Malamud shunned me; a visit that resulted in ninety minutes of weeping, when eventually, a little old lady, with so-soft hands, reached over the pew and gently held one of my own. I was weeping like the Biblical Job weeped after the loss of his family, for I had lost my own. The second visit to the church found me, head down, simply sobbing and whimpering like a recently chastised puppy for most of the service. And then leaving early.
Monday . . . Sometimes I behave like an idiot. A drunken idiot. Last Friday I was faced with a rare Saturday and Sunday away from work. A time to get caught up on my web pages, resumé and housework. So how do I proceed? To unwind from one of the few jobs in the universe which can be left entirely at the office, I decide to unwind using Man's favorite depressant, alcohol. Being disappointed that my tequila seemed to have evaporated, I console myself with a tall goblet of delicious, almost sweet, Smoking Loon Merlot. Accepting the slight buzz attained, I then slid into the leather seat of the Peugeot and wound my way through the snaked streets north of Shea and Scottsdale Roads to arrive at Sportsman's Liquor, formerly "Drinkwaters". There I snatch a liter of mescal, worm included, and a cute perfume bottle-sized single shot of tequila. Once home (never drink and drive because you may spill your drink) I quickly, almost hungrily finished off the pleasantly bland tequila and then moved on to the mescal. After forty years of alcohol use and abuse you'd think I would realize where I was headed. I consume alcohol as if I drink enough I will have visions, see the face of God or perhaps have great wisdom revealed to me and me alone. What a sap. All I accomplished while watching borrowed DVDs with Mainio, is to totally waste away an evening. However, it wasn't a total loss because I did learn some eternal truths from Coach McGurk. After again not hearing from God or gaining a great revelation or even seeing the face of Jesus in my scrambled eggs, I retired to the half-empty Malamud mattress. I awoke several times during the night and early morning to dull my already throbbing temples with a pair of generic aspirin and to begin to drain the expensive poison I so carefully, and with much ceremony had put into my half-century old carcass earlier. All day Saturday I had about as much energy as a cat spun-dry on high heat for twenty minutes in the clothes dryer. When awake, I endured a pain that I can only describe as if someone with a large thumb was shoving that same oversized digit into my right eyeball. Even after plenty of rest and almost total abstinence Saturday and Sunday, I still found myself dragging this Monday morning, and this, after having my ass kicked by the Demon Alcohol two and one-half days earlier. I likened this morning's maneuvering pain that was banging my dura mater, to a bodyshop man with a ball peen hammer attempting to true up a damaged car fender. Have I taught myself a lesson? We will see. We will see.
Saturday . . . Back at the Starbucks on Tatum Boulevard. What a crowd. Oddly, many come not for the coffee, but for the fat and profit laden latte's and such. Today I'm enjoying a venti-sized portion of their Verona grind that required only a few pink packets to sweeten it up. So odd that I'm here to finalize my memorization of my Passion Play lines and the man and the woman at the next table are discussing Christian teachings as if they did it for a living. The man is instructing the woman. As it should be <grin>. A rare March day in Phoenix as it is overcast with dingy white, light gray and pewter clouds carefully pasted over the expected pastel blue heavens. And except for the temperature, I might be in Oregon or Washington State. I move outside to a recently vacated table and find it is only degrees colder au naturel than it is inside the manmade atmosphere of the café. Only in Arizona. An outstanding joy it is for me this weekend, as I have no work scheduled for the next forty-two hours. With the painful prudence of a divorced man, I examine a young married couple sitting two tables away; he reading the sports page of USA Today and she aching for conversation. I watch as an exceedingly attractive twenty-something red-haired girl, slimmer than slim, reaches to open the door only an arm length away from me. Her face is locked into a grimace so sad that I just want to jump up and hug her and tell her things will get better. That there is happiness waiting for her. Somewhere. But the last time I leapt up and embraced a young lady like that, I endured a night at the county psycho ward, arms pinned behind me by some ill-fitting white coat with far too many velcro straps. A day off and I'm savoring it like, in wealthier and wedded days, a $150 supper at Outback Restaurant centered around a rib eye steak sweating hot blood. I supremely enjoyed my 3,650 days of unemployment stretching from 1991 until year ought one. I remained at home, collected one massive rent payment on a building with no mortgage, and raised our two children. While, not probably the wisest choice, I sent the now Ex-Mrs.Dr.Malamud back into the labor market after a break of twenty years. What a delightful decade spent with Aili, my daughter aged twelve in 1991 and Mainio aged five. There was not a day when I was not aware of the incredible blessing that was raining down on me. There was not a day that I knew the money would run out and the vacation would terminate. And to think that these 520 weeks of retirement began with losing the business my father and his incredibly capable partner had founded thirty two years earlier. A business that provided my family with an income so huge that we mailed more in personal income taxes each year to the I.R.S. than 98% of American taxpayer's grossed. My unemployment was a blessed decade with Dr.Malamud just birthing his fortieth year, in excellent health, having the time to pursue my acting career and an occasional college class (maintaining a 4.0 average) with the best of all, being the designated driver for many of my children's off site private school plays, softball games and trips to the Phoenix Zoo. Feeling only seven dollars and twenty-five cents in my pocket, what to do now on such a darkly curtained March weekend in year 2005? I could swing by the Borders to relax in one of their overstuffed chairs to continue reading the strange Tom Robbins trade paperback I purchased at Barnes & Nobel. The previously mentioned Christian couple exits the Starbucks. She is draped in an expensive black leather waist-length jacket appearing so soft that a sneeze could tear through it. And sporting four inch heels on her black boots, that make her buttocks lift and tighten up and concurrently cause every male to look up from his sports page and take notice.
Friday . . . Like a football kicker, I finger-flick a lady bug off of my self-assigned, green metal table top at the Shea Boulevard Starbucks. That can only mean that summer and the screeching of cicadas aren't far behind. I'm almost buried in the tsunami of chatter from the people seated outside at the nearby restaurant. By late May, everyone will remain inside, like winter clothes mothballed for the season - because outside, it will be as hot as the red embers of the cigars being stoked by the in-breaths of the hippopotamus-sized patrons of the tobacco shop/poker parlor that, in my absence, has taken its aromatic atmosphere and slid around the corner. Another background sound, is the deep and entirely illegal volume of the thunderous roars generated by pairs and triplets of the hundreds of Parkinson-like shaking, Harley Davidson motorcycles visiting for 'Arizona Bike Week' located at the soon to be dismantled Rawhide western town on North Scottsdale Road. Gawd, I remember when I sat here while carefully and diligently writing on non-bleached, brown Starbucks napkins rather than on lined note paper. What a dolt. Odd, it's 72F degrees with 15% humidity and just a slight breeze, yet no one is outside with me on this absolutely delightful evening. I think I finally may have grown tired of nightly numbing the pain of my existence with Cuervo; and I just may be swinging to the more productive cycle of work, exercise, sleep and goal achievement. This is because I've been waking up with a sour taste in my soul. That, or my liver is beginning to fail. Tonight, I was at first going to sample a new coffee cafe I had been passing by on my way to Passion Play rehearsals. Strangely enough, even though it is within meters of two exceedingly popular luxo-eateries that cause overstuffing of the abundant parking lots, it was closed. Back at Starbucks, leaving the cacophony of the restaurant, the men walk in front, probably arguing over The Final Four, or some soon to be conquered challenge at work, while their female partner's pretty, and pretty much three sheets to the wind, trail them. The women's arms wrapped around each other's waists, faces inches apart as they giggle, grin and gab. Women are such neat and cozy creatures. But other than in a marriage or a strictly one on one situation, it is impossible for a male to withstand their obtuse and simple sounding chatter for more than a few moments. There we go, now I see people sitting alone with cell phones to their heads reminding me of the old days when drunks used to hold an icepack to their's. It just doesn't make sense to me that these people are digitally yapping so much, so often. Why not be with the person instead? Do they have anything left to say when and if they meet? Do they ever meet? I can see in the future where patrons sit at a T Mobile HotSpot, snap open and then precisely position their flip phone, blurt out their friend's name and they are no longer alone; for a 3-D hologram of their friend, magically appears at their table. An electronic apparition that makes the Star Wars "Help me Obie wan Kanobe", Princess Leah version, look like a crude charcoal drawing. This is my second weekend in a row with no work scheduled (and no money to match) but what an incredible feeling of freedom it is just to be able to relax and literally recharge the waning batteries of my soul enough to face the many (too many) tense situations I'm certain to be presented with at work the first week of April 2005. And while filing my 2004 income taxes is one of the stressful situations, that act deals with an invisible (although extremely powerful) adversary, while during my paid labors I face the corporeal variety, far less powerful, but still a clear and present danger to your Dr.Malamud. I chose my next words carefully - to avoid the ever-present search engines who scour through the internet like the multi-armed Sentinels of the first Matrix movie - but Wednesday, I received an unexpected and heart-thumping provoking call on my unlisted number from, shall we say, the boys based in Maryland? Evidently my voice is carrying just a little too far.
Wednesday . . . I awoke at 7:00PM this evening, but it is actually six forty-five because my alarm clock runs one quarter hour fast. However, I'm awake not because of any buzzing or beeping, but due to my own supine sternutations. Before leaving the apartment, I must dose myself with the allergy pill Sudafed©, which doesn't put me to sleep. Since the Biblical rains stopped, to avoid sneezing my brains out (I have discovered specs of gray matter in the Brawny© towel sheets I hold to my nose - it is a good thing I possess such a large brain) I've been swallowing three to four of the sparrow eye-sized red tablets each day. At bedtime (or anytime) a single yellow Chlortrimaton© dampens my allergic reactions and puts me to sleep. However, my prostate, or my libido, I'm not certain which, awakens me every two hours for a trip in the pitch black to the bathroom. I was planning to sit and write at my Starbucks tonight. Outside. But my eyes are fogged with opaque tears and I feel as if I have a Vaseline© coated Hebrew National© wiener shoved up each nostril, with its crimped end resting directly below the inside corners of my eyes. To avoid even greater misting and dripping, I chose to drive to the Pima Road Barnes & Noble to sit at their indoor Café© that serves Starbucks. And use my B&N gift card, which currently holds my remaining net worth. While still in the parking lot, after carefully placing the mighty Peugeout exactly in the middle of the white stripes, I see a young man in a bee-keepers outfit. He has cordoned off an area with the shiny, plastic three inch wide 'crime scene' tape made familiar to the public by cable's 'Law and Order' series. I see his truck's lettering mentions something about Africanized Bees. Like a Catholic priest spreading incense inside a cathedral, the bee keeper is puffing a fine stream of grey smoke into the branches. Smoke puts bees to sleep - Chlortrimaton© for bees. There must be a swarming in the six foot tree that I cannot make out in the parking lot lighting. I wonder if the yellow crime-scene tape says anything about 'Killer Bees?' Tuesday the Ex-Mrs.Dr.Malamud was in town to visit her mother. When I arrived at the apartment after work, I opened the front door and saw my two boys sitting on the couch. The older one, half-brother of Mainio, volunteered, "Mom's in the bedroom. Asleep." Carefully opening the door to my bedroom, I gingerly stepped over her hope chest-sized suitcase to empty my pockets beside the sink. And as I'm placing the 'worry-stone' Renee gave me on the hard counter top, I remember that sharp noises instantly wake the Ex up. I hear her stirring on the massive Malamud mattress and at the same time, I turn and note that she is on the side of the bed that I'd want her on if we were . . . sleeping together. Sleeping. I study her as the portable fan she has turned on high and aimed directly at her, rustles her clothes. Still beautiful. I know in reality, she appears pretty much like any other twenty-five pound overweight fifty year old broad - but my quarter century journey with her has morphed my vision so that, to me, she's as beautiful as Morgan Fairchild. Okay, maybe not. But still, beautiful as my only wife, the mother of our children, my traveling partner for a third of my life and now, my Ex. Hours later, after she consummates her nap, (during which time I carefully anesthetized myself from my horrible and lonely life <grin> with a few goblets of Smoking Loon© Merlot) and we are outside the apartment and we are hugging goodbye, and my hug lasts too long, she laughs as she instructs me, "Time to let go, Hammurabi." I do, and moments later she is driving off to visit her mother, my oldest boy at the wheel of the car.
Sunday . . . Another late night/early morning spent behind the desk. Well, I can certainly use the extra income. I consumed virtually all of the daylight hours Saturday, that I imagined I'd spend poolside relaxing-whatever that means, instead precisely posting my digital photos from the Easter church theatrical performance onto the internet. But that isn't exactly not-relaxing, and I didn't really consider it work. In addition, I learned some new HTML programming tricks and shortcuts. I wrote "precisely", because that is my inescapable nature; to be precise. To be perfect. Yeah, that's me, perfect <grin>. I've spent decades ridding my psyche of the feelings formally felt when the word "should" was spoken. But I should go to Bible study before church Sunday. But I will most likely do neither; that is, go to Bible study or go to church. Not because, with all the Christianity bashing books I've been reading lately, that I am any less believing in God, but because I'll be too tired after putting in what used to be a normal work week of seven days and fifty-six hours. Bedlam: A Year in the Life of a Mental Hospital, is a book I'm reading right now. The stories are so incredibly sad and funny at the same time, and remind me of precisely why I don't want to let go and slide into the abyss of madness. Or just succumb to the darkness. However, after reading the stories, other than the wealthy serial killer avoiding a death sentence by claiming insanity, not one the inmates appears to have chosen their particular madness. (After all, who would 'hear voices' telling him to smother his girlfriend's infant and strangle her mother? And then for the following three days, continue to feed the baby and have sexual intercourse with the girlfriend?) While I'm in such an upbeat mood (I always surprised my long-time psychiatrist and proud BMW owner, Dr. Nelson, in that the midst of my gloom, doom and tears, when I would crack a joke that penetrated her stoic professional patina causing a chuckle to erupt) but now I wanted to step behind the pulpit for a few sentences and state that Hell is not a crackling cauldron or the tortures described in Dante's Inferno. But it is separation from God and all the people you love. I mean, possibly Hell does not have to consist of physical punishments, but could simply be total cleavage from our Creator God. When on the cross, Jesus screamed out in pain, "Father why hast thou forsaken me?" His question, by some Biblical scholars, is said to arise from the particular and acute pain he felt, after a day of massive pain, by His momentary separation from God the Father. Reader's who don't believe in God may respond, "What the hell! God isn't with me now, so this 'separation being Hell' and so painful, is just crap." Aha! But God is with you now, whether you want Him to be or not. Only at your death will you feel the pain of separation. The pain of Hell. For eternity. Now, allow me step from behind the pulpit and state the obvious: I am a sinner, a slothful man, a closet misogynist, a failed husband, a high handicap golfer, etc., etc., etc., . . . but even so, I will never be separated from my God. So, all in all, I ain't got it that bad. Have I?
Saturday . . . Another sleep late, read by the pool, eat homemade scrambled eggs and microwaved bacon, nap, go to Starbucks, glorious Saturday off. As I pull the powerful Peugeot into a rare empty space in front of my Starbucks, I couldn't help but notice my stablemate, a charcoal-gray, G-500 Mercedes-Benz SUV shod with sparkling silver chrome wheels that must cost at least $2,500 per copy. Stepping out, I gazed into its straight up and down side windows tinted as black as Hitler's heart and couldn't help but enjoy, not a vision of the interior, but a reflection of my own humble visage. Then, I thought that maybe I should slip out of my black and white checkerboard shorts the 3.2 megapixel Cannon PowerShot ELPH and snap a quick photo of this rarely seen $80,000 wheeled pillbox. However, my practiced, paparazzi, peripheral vision alerted me to the fact that someone was approaching the vehicle from the direction of the front door of the coffee shop. "Probably the dickhead who owns it," I thought, as I slipped my Altoids can-sized ELPH back into my shorts. "And he probably thinks that he's so special and has no idea that I see plenty of millionaires and billionaires every work day." As the slender, brown haired 30ish man closes the gap between himself and his ride, he separates from an attractive, straight-haired, blonde lady who is coming over to my side of the vehicle to step up into the passenger side of the Gelaendewagen. (Apparently, according to articles since published this was my heart-throb Angelina Jolie. I doubt it.) I turn and walk around the back of his vehicle and come up the driver's side headed for my cup of java. And, as I take in his face, since I'm always changing people's faces into those of the rich and famous . . . his face would make a perfect Brad Pitt. Only this time, no morphing was necessary, because it is indeed Brad Pitt! He probably didn't appreciate the extra-large Rush Limbaugh t-shirt that was spread tightly across my chest with huge letters spelling out "DITTOHEAD". Unless like many denizens of Hollywood, he is a closet conservative. Somewhat of a coincidental meeting, as under my arm was the William Froug book, Zen and the Art of Screenwriting. After reading this delicious tome through the sunset, I relocated to another table, one that would be lit by a wall-mounted sconce once the Scottsdale sun fully sank below the faded pink horizon. To wield a wet towel in order to wipe my green table top Howard Hughes clean, I walk inside. As I pass a good looking lady my own age (a rarity) I chuckle out loud when I imagine her visually checking me out as the Discovery Science Channel said women do " . . . eyes, hairline . . . ending with his Skecher's white striped black tennis shoes." Har, I look like a goof. The 100 watt bulb in the wall fixture snapped on, and I recalled the cell phone conversation I overheard earlier, as the man in the perfectly fitted black suit walked by saying into the blackhead-sized mouthpiece ". . . The Matrix. And then you just populate The Matrix . . ." He seemed to shimmer like an optical illusion as he reached out to grab the stainless steel handle of the front door . . . So much for thinking it's all fiction. A bosom-filling breath reminds me of how I am almost giddy at not having to work this Saturday. Or this Sunday. During the week while on-the-job, my chest cannot fill with the dry and healthy desert air because the weight of the work I hate parks its heavy, too heavy contradictions and concerns right over my heart.
Saturday . . . Hummingbirds. When I was a kid in the 1950s and 60s, I never saw them stop shooting about long enough to simply stop and sit on a branch. Did I not have the patience, or have they grown lazy over the decades? Overcast, trying to rain. Every now and then the completely calm turquoise surface of the apartment pool is pocked with tiny explosions caused by the drops falling from the darkest portions of the pewter gray and cotton white clouds hung above. How wonderful would it be to sit by the pool with a woman smoking a pipe. Actually, the woman would be sitting and I would be smoking the pipe. Stuffed with some flavorful cancer-causing tobacco leaves kept in an airtight pouch covered with warnings intended for the pregnant. Such a balmy day to recline outside in pool-side chaise while leaving the door to my apartment wide open. What a day for smoking weed. But with random drug tests and the aimless and bloody havoc marijuana use is proven to invoke . . .
Friday . . . Don't feel like writing. Don't feel depressed, just feel devoid of all feelings. However, I know from my reading that the lack of all feelings is depression. Oh well. Got good and drunk Friday night after work. Although I'm uncertain of how 'good' and 'drunk' were ever paired together. What an idiot. And depression is solidly linked to alcohol consumption. Shit, it all makes me want to drink. But I imagine that I'm simply self-medicating the old soul from the pain of being stuck and knowing I should not be stuck. The last time I conversed about my chronic and gargantuan gloominess with Dr. Bruce, M.D.; through his choking tears he suggested I be put immediately on an intravenous Prozac® drip. Forcibly if need be. Sitting by the apartment pool, I ignore the foot shuffle of my ancient white-haired female neighbor following her nasty mop of a dog. The girl sunbathing next to me gets a cell phone call and her earpiece is turned up so loud that from twenty feet away I can hear the words of the caller. Bill Cosby was right. These girls are an exciting sight in their two piece bathing suits containing less material than my extra-small jock strap. However, when, as an adult male, you listen to what they have to say you are convinced that a Nordstrom's manikin has more on it's mind than these sparsely clad and brained ladies do. She hangs up and redials and leaves a message on someone else's voicemail in a voice so loud that I turned to see if she was addressing me. I guess by their dressing scant and talking loud they're actually screaming to be noticed. But then what?
Tuesday . . . Don't feel like writing. Again. Something must be wrong with me. Some 'thing'? Hell, many things. But no one's perfect. I'm facing a seventy-seven hour work week, that's the bad part. The good part is that in ninety minutes the first thirty-one hours will be under my too-tight belt. I'm starting to really, really miss the companionship and comfort only a female of the species can provide. And no, I don't mean sex. I mean the female aura that surrounds the properly educated lady. I almost went over to one of those computer find-a-mate sites on the internet. But, I don't know. To me choosing the 'perfect' mate by matching up traits kind of seems like choosing the perfect kid by picking through his genes in a petri dish. Doesn't sound too romantic, does it? And speaking of having DNA-based decisions choose your kids, a la Gatica, I read a pretty convincing piece, written by a scientist who postulated that once 'chance' is eliminated from the moment of human conception we will no longer 'human'. But, even when I do find some incredibly lucky female (possibly even the Ex-Dr.Mrs.Malamud - hush, don't tell her) and she insists on marrying me, and she will, my days of making babies is long gone. However, I'm willing to go through the motions until the day I die. As a matter of fact I hope I croak in the midst of making love. Well, more like after I . . . oh you know. I cannot understand the level of unthinking selfishness it takes for a person like the wheezing Larry King to wed someone less than half the age modern medicine has allowed him to attain, and then impregnate her. He will die and leave her a grieving widow and the child an orphan before he reaches his teens. What an asshole.
Monday . . . Another incredible morning in the Sonoran Desert. Cackling cactus wrens, rabbits, bright red cardinals chirping and hopping among the Springtime blooms of pink, yellow and whites. And another seventy hours booked for this week. And another week with still not enough money. I've become such a drinker that I figure I could add almost thirty productive hours to my week if I stopped sipping myself blind after work. And no, it is not an addiction. It is a choice that I imbibe the juices stomped from the fruit of the vine and tequila squished from Mexican cactus to the point of spiritual numbness. Blah, blah, blah. I have an article at home cut out of the WSJ sitting on top of my Xerox machine, that shows once again, aerobic exercise is by far the best medicine for the disease of depression. I'm remembering of how, when I'm floating on the natural endorphines squished out by a ninety minute LA Fitness lifting and riding session, that while my crappy real-world conditions remain unchanged, they seem to take on a calming glow instead of their usual flat black patina of gloom and doom. Saturday, as I was coming in from work, I spied one of the ladies I chat with regularly during my business hours, driving her older model white Suburban near my tony Town of Paradise Valley apartment. With her freckles and straight strawberry hair falling past her shoulders, gorgeous smile and goofy personality, she isn't even aware that she has a crush on me <grin>. However, I must practice what I preach (see my previous entry) and since she is at least fifteen, if not twenty years younger than me, I must not give in to her un-uttered entreaties of love for the Dr. Malamud. Going back over my lifetime of love affairs, virtually all the ladies I've ever become involved with (except, of course, Morgan Fairchild) have chosen me. And been raven-tressed. But, being far more intelligent than most males about these matters of love, I realize that that is pretty much the case for all male-female matchings. The American female just lets the American male believe that he chose her.In any case, since I don't participate in anything but hours and hours at work (followed by the cloistered existence of a closet-drunk) I really should not expect to meet the next Mrs. Dr. Malamud, there, should I? I received some original miniature music cds from my movie-producer-screenwriter acquaintance. I write 'acquaintance' because in four years I have never met her face to face with only a rare phone call or e-mail passing between us. On these cd's, although I cannot be certain, I hear what I believe is her not so excellent voice singing lead. And laughing. And at first I thought, "How unprofessional. Laughing during a recording." And then I thought of the sound of her laughter and realized that it came from being giddy. Giddy at doing what she loves to do: to write, produce, direct and entertain. Someday, I too will be giddy ... and seconds later my Peugeout will be hit by a runaway freight train transporting LPG tankers. Oh well.
A May Saturday . . . Everyone is my father. Of course I know that isn't true, but I don't always feel that way. Well, I don't remind myself of that fact often enough. The fact is that everyone is not my father. As soon as I discovered that my father (RIP 1991) wasn't sitting in the audiences of my stage plays, grimacing his disapproval at every one of my utterances, tallying up every missed word or momentary lack of focus, I wasn't one-tenth as nervous as usual. Even so, on the job, I assume every new client is my father and immediately and involuntarily tense up and draw back as if I'd been hit by a Scottsdale police fired Taser. Just like Saint Paul (only I'm taller and better looking, but still circumcised) I believe I was given this "thorn in the flesh" by God Hisself. To make me a better man. That was the plan Stan. But in a universe that is decided by free will, such plans are oftimes written in sand. And, as my regular readers are tired of hearing about, Dr. Malamud has discovered the juice of the agave azul tequilana weber. Tequila. Oh yeah. Sadly, with next week's bookings at one hundred and six hours hours spread over seven days, I'll be on a strict Atkins' low carb and no Cuervo diet. I will anxiously anticipate reaching the forty-eight hour plus mark on Wednesday's thirty-six mile home. Wearing two pound dumbbells attached to my upper eyelids, fighting to keep awake, while dreams, that will wait no longer for total unconsciousness, begin to paint their Salvador Dali-like frescos on the inside windshield of my borrowed DeVille. 2:00PM in Paradise Valley and it's 106F degrees. I've never witnessed this before, but in the cool and closely cropped lime green grass in front of my office window, there is an ubiquitous blackbird, and in an effort to cool his body against the lawn, he has folded his legs beneath his body. Riding so low in the grass, at first I imagined him as the rare black-beaked feathered gopher. I've never seen a quail trot so fast across the superheated asphalt driveways, not halting its charge until it was several feet past the border of the cooling grass on the other side. It's going to be a hell-hot summer in Paradise.
Sunday . . . Outside the aroma is identical to a freshly ironed pair of Levi's . . . while they are still laying on the sizzling ironing board. I pray that my own ill considered negative comments directed at the boy Mainio are not as damaging to him as my face-to-face shouting matches with my own father were to me. I have KOOL-FM on. The DJ declared it was 108F degrees headed for a high of 111F, but it doesn't feel like it's going to make it. I avoid listening to 'oldies' radio, because as an oldie myself, the music brings back too many emotion-crusted memories. Too many feelings. Both good and bad. But, you know as I ponder the playlist, more good memories are resurrected than are bad ones. In any case, few regrets. Because the word regret implies that at that point in your life you absolutely knew what you were doing was wrong. (Or, for those of us who've been visiting psychiatrists since age seven: you knew what you were doing "wouldn't work.") And for most of my life, I did not not know what I was doing wouldn't work - I was simply making bad choices. Of course I knew it was wrong when I hit David Neftzker on the top of his flat head with a mortar-like and perfectly launched dirt clod the size of an apple pie. And it was wrong to call my teacher, the WWII-made-deaf veteran, Mr. Yount, a "bastard!" for singling me out the day after Halloween and confiscating my Sugar Daddy sucker. And it was wrong to shoot lighter-fluid-soaked flaming cotton balls from the ends of our pop-gun rifles while in the middle of the farmer's cotton field that, tinder-dry, waited to be harvested. (That one earned us the roar of .30-30 rifle shot carefully placed about five feet above our heads!) And it was wrong for me to counterfeit so many one hundred dollar bills and assassinate JFK <grin>; but other than those few things, I have led a singularly sinless life. I just saw a five foot long rattlesnake slither across a thirty foot wide street to take up residence under the spotty shade of a gray-green desert shrub. I'm reading a book I purchased at a used book sale. Inside its cover the inscription reads: "Best Wishes for a speedy recovery. Marion & Jerry 9/8/60". Thinking the gift is meant for reading while reclining in recovery mode, the "speedy recovery" wish is contradicted by the fact that this 1959 classic hard back novel (which retailed at a now incredible $5.95) is packed with font size 10 print, and an inch and three-quarters thick, six hundred and sixteen pages.
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