Doctor Malamud
The Archive's of:
Dr. Malamud©

The mostly unedited ramblings
of a broken-hearted man

"The middle years of marriage are the most crucial. In the early years, spouses want each other and in late years, they need each other."

Rebecca Tilly

Archived Page Number 16:
June/July 2005

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June 2005

Tuesday ... Last night I took Mainio and his girlfriend, who flew in from the East Coast (and boy are her arms tired) out for his birthday dinner at the Outback Restaurant on Cactus Road. Except for the (smaller-than-last-time) 'Bloomin' Onion', I was disappointed. With none of the usual and expected waiting lines, seating was immediate and service was impeccable enough to earn the 20% Dr.Malamud tip. Outback logo I keep falling in love with the waitresses whenever I eat out. Trapped! Click to enlarge. Hell, they are the only females who smile when they talk to me. <grin> Last time I visited this exact same Outback with the pre-divorce-I-want-a-divorce-Mrs-Dr-Malamud, the rib eye steak was the beef version of oven fresh, soft and warm brownies. This time, it was no better than a breakfast steak served over at Bill Johnson's Big Apple. Maybe the spicy fried onion appetizer dulled my taste buds to the more subtle flavors of fried cow? Having carefully ingested four precisely measured out medicinal shots of Jose Cuervo prior to leaving the Paradise Valley apartment, and therefore not requiring any tequila or wine with my meal (and not being able to stomach the 100% mark-up in any case) perhaps without having the cleansing effect of alcohol washing over my pallet, the primal flavors of my gray and pink meat dish leaking blood on my plate was rudely muted? After we departed the premises, we discovered some SOB in an extra-wide box truck parked far too close to the Alaskan-white Dr. Malamud convertible. "What an asshole!", I thought. Mainio was forced to enter the old Olds via the passenger side door, slide over the raised center divider and then behind the steering wheel. After checking to see that none of his private parts were left dangling on the middle console shifter, he had to start and then wiggle-waggle the car out far enough away from the truck so that Dr.Malamud could swing open the very long driver's side door that convertibles use. The dumpster-sized vehicle next to us was such a piece of shit, that with anything less than a yellow-handled, eight-pound mallet, I could not leave the driver a physical reminder to be more considerate when parking next time. I'm sorry to have left my 14,000 weekly readers with nothing for the past thirteen days, but I'd been busy filling up a pair of ninety-three hour work weeks. Even the corporate office marveled at my physical constitution that could get by with five or less hours of sleep for five days in a row. Thank God, I bill hourly. Friday ... Drunk again. What am I celebrating? Hell, buddy, I'm a getting the friggin' weekend off. Yes, that's right, I do not have to work a single shift, hour, minute or second this Saturday or Sunday. Son of a Bitch! I've got a rib eye steak from Safeway (bought on sale of course) in the sink. Defrosting. The boy Mainio and his latest squeeze, are off at the movies eyeing the same gentleman I watched leaving Starbucks a few weeks ago. Brad Pitt. In the recently released movie Mr. & Mrs. Smith. (And yes, I'm certain I could tame the odd Angelina Jolie. It would take a few spankings but I could do it. Plus it might make Morgan Fairchild jealous.) If a person normally gets Saturday and Sunday off, it is no big deal. But for me it is a really big deal. Other than my ten year vacation from November of 1991 until July 31st of 2001 (well, actually, I was raising the kids while, like the bastard I am, I forced my wife - now my ex-wife - out back into the marketplace) I've had only two days off on paid vacation. How sad is that? I'll answer: "Very sad". Oh man, oh man, via my Dish Network satellite hookup, I was listening to Siruis's Broadway's Best and a song from Robert Goulet's performance in the Broadway musical of Camelot forced me, in a foggy tequila stupor, to flip through my collection of 33 RPM black vinyl records for my own Camelot album. Bent down, squinting and eyeglass-less, I spied my 1967 cover of Orpheus featuring the incredibly distinctive voice of Bruce Arnold.Dr.M's 33 Rpm Collection I carefully lifted up the dust-darkened clear plastic cover of my Bang&Olufsen turntable, gently placed the huge black Orpheus disc on the platter, and cranked the Onkyo amplifier to "11". Drug under by the resulting tsunami of sounds, I instantly and involuntarily remembered the unforgettable and uplifting voices from Spanky & Our Gang and The Association. Oh my gawd. Memories. Memories. From the late 1960s: so many memories and emotions charge at me it's as if, during rush hour, I stepped into oncoming traffic on the Squaw Peak Freeway. Which in my drunken state, somehow makes sense; with one of my 1969 Cortez High School graduates dying the other day in a senseless traffic accident near Van Alystyne, Texas. Your Dr. Malamud is ready to die, and here a fellow classmate of mine, apparently leading a happy and productive life, is instead taken from us. Is it a message to me? Do you have any idea how often I look at the obituaries in the Arizona Republic? I do not even subscribe to this local variant of USA Today, and only had it because Mr. G, who left for the summer, thought he had canceled its delivery to the one hundred foot driveway that leads to his shuttered and empty manse. What is the message to me? Keep doing nothing, going nowhere, drinking like Hunter S. Thompson and I'll live long? Or get productive, seek the imagined incredible destiny set aside for me and die early? Or somewhere in between? Sunday ... It's the middle of June in Scottsdale and I am freezing. I journeyed away from the Paradise Valley apartment so that I might concentrate solely on reading the almost erudite, and incredibly funny, Christopher Moore book, Lamb. Starbucks Shea & Tatum However, relaxing in one of the only two upholstered chairs, I'm uncomfortably cold inside the Shea Boulevard Starbucks. Prior to icicles forming on my eyelashes, I was imagining how nice it would be to have the apartment cooled to a temperature this crisp. Maybe not. Having two days off in a row, one following the other, is like having a shoulder-mounted rough-hewn, six-by-six oak cross arm resting across my back trailing a pretzel-like greasy, gray chain with links the diameter of bratwurst securely fastened to a Sisyphean, less than round boulder, lifted off and set aside. "Set aside" because Monday, before dawn, I wearily, but willingly, will lift up that piece of timber, maneuver it across my shoulders and begin my unhappy trek again. A frustrating trek to, on a good week, Friday, but many times Saturday or Sunday or back again to Monday. Damn! and here I started out feeling good and now; I'm down. Not really. How could I be in the dumps on a day that includes no drive to work because it includes no work? Albeit, no income either. That's the goal, eh? Either to receive pay without work (as the Starbucks' employee explained, "That's why they invented the lottery") or to work for pay doing what you love, so it is not really work. I step outside into the mist-cooled blueness of an Arizona dusk. As I survey the area for possible assassins <grin> I notice a lime green taxi has pulled up. "Who would use a taxi?", pops into my mind. As I look around, I see the "who". A slim young lady, with less than perfect long brown hair, is dwarfed by the seemingly seven foot long and spaghetti-thin red tipped white cane confidently held in her right hand. Standing. Waiting for guidance. And I'm busy feeling sorry for myself? After a three and one-half hour stint at the Sandbar on Goldust with the couple who purchased our home of twenty-three years Saturday night, in a pretty much drunken stupor I actually signed up at the dating service, Actually it wasn't that I was that lonely, but my visit was in the hopes that I could find guidance myself. Thursday ... "Piggyback time!", instructed the pink-outfitted tiny blonde girl sporting the coke bottle thick glasses as she crawled up her father's bent over back outside of Starbucks. Starbucks Mr.'s Earlier, at the apartment, with Mainio asleep in his room after a sleep-over Wednesday night (go figure) I was enjoying building an eyesight blurring buzz as I multi-tasked by sipping tequila and ice tea (out of two separate containers) while uploading a few JPEGs to my web pages. I then decided to run off to my alternative barber shop (my primary one requiring a forty-five minute drive and a week's notice) to get my head shaved bald. Again. I told myself it was because of the cool-ness a hairless scalp will allow during the coming hot summer; while the gray hairs spouting from my scalp called me a liar. As I piloted the mighty Peugeout, I pulled up behind an E320 Mercedes. And I'm drawn back to when I drove a brand new E300, not knowing what lay ahead of me. The memory tugged at my heart, but, only for a moment, because, well because we control far less of our future than we imagine. I don't think we can blame 'bad luck' on our less than pristine conditions, but I do believe that 'good luck' counts for far more beneficial happenings in our lives than any but the bravest of us would contemplate. In any case, once at the barber, two customers were ahead of me and the door was locked and business hours were over by the time my head was being shorn. The touch feels so good. Not in a sensual way - it just feels good. I'm brought back to the times Mainio, even as a adult-child begs me to pull on his thick head of hair or massage his feet and calves. All this makes me wish I'd completed my profile at the match-making internet service I visited six days earlier. Couples get so used to the touch of their partners so quickly. We all take it for granted. I remember when the Ex-Mrs-Dr-Malamud would perform all these unselfish acts solely for me and I didn't even notice. She was showering me with love, but it no more touched me (as I sit cooled in my own sweat) than these misters outside of Starbucks do as they hiss above my bare head. I had so many grand things to write about when my blood alcohol level was higher. As my liver burns away the golden tequila and converts it into golden urine, the doors in my mind close. First one, then another, then another. And behind them are locked the magnificent words I was going to write. Friday . . . 8:45PM. The Cadillac's glowing green digital display announced that it was 99F degrees outside, but it did not tell me that it was too humid to turn on the misters at Starbucks. I would have kept to the refrigerated inside portion, but closing time was only 45 minutes away, and to move my writing stuff takes about 45 minutes. Outside, I'm downwind from a pair of females and olfactorilly stepping my way through the lovely scents they're wearing. Wait a moment - the pickup bar, disguised as a Mexican food restaurant, has its misters on, full steam; and one hundred feet away, I'm sweating like Mike Tyson at a spelling bee. But I'm tough. PUB I'm a native-born Phoenician. And I don't hesitate to tell anyone, that in August of 1951 I was pushed from a wet and comfy 98.6F degrees into the dry heat of 110F degree Arizona summer. Perhaps I wouldn't be perspiring like the proverbial pig if I didn't resemble one, eh? There's only so far I can 'blouse-out' an XL shirt before my naked flab is flopping out for all to see. Sadly, many young ladies, and even a few mature women, believe that showing their fat pouch is somehow sexy. Or maybe they are exposing their oftentimes stretch-marked floppy hides in an effort to keep men away? I'm sitting in the one hundred degree minus one heat with sweat beads exploding from my skin like microwave popcorn kernels at the one minute forty-five second point, but yet I'm sipping coffee that was precisely heated to 189F degrees? In this heat, it is unusual that the place is packed both inside and outside. The attraction of a Starbucks is indefinable - it has got to be the caffeine. I endured a couple of incidents this week that indicated I may be drinking too much. Imagine that. <grin> So Monday I stopped drinking alcohol, Wild Turkey, I mean cold-turkey. It's not that big of a deal, because I am not saying 'ta-ta' to tequila forever. The nearly full 1.75 liter jug of golden Cuervo still sits on my kitchen countertop guarded on each side by a favorite shot glass. I know at some point (maybe tomorrow) I'll start up again. I can't focus tonight. My mind is flitting here and there; eavesdropping on the three groups of java junkies crowding me. One female is recalling, when as a little girl, the first time she saw the millions of stars burning in the night time sky, for once not shrouded by the haze of civilization. Another person is talking about the lightning-caused fires near Desert Mountain. At the third table I listen as a lad describes a forty-nine day trek in the wilderness: "... really enjoyed that first shower." A bum is cruising back and forth between the Starbucks and the restaurant, just like I'm cruising in my mind for something to write. Conversation with peers that's what I miss; what I yearn for? At first I thought that, but then I realized the older I get, the less I talk, while I listen to hear something that hasn't been said one hundred times before. One thousand times. One million times. That's why I don't have a blog - because as Dr. Malamud I don't really care to read what others think. I see the couples leaving the restaurant, some fueled by alcoholic libations, many fueled by alcoholic libations and I know many of their relationships are hollow. There's nothing there. There's no connection. The men are loose and hopeful only because of the happiness dispensed at six dollars a drink. The ladies hopeful . . . for a different mode of connection than their male counterpart.
July 2005

Tuesday . . . Gripe, gripe, gripe. Waa, waa, waa. I'm always complaining. I'm behaving like my mother Elaine did. (God rest her soul.) Well, the instant I'm standing in the kitchen and urine starts running down my leg is the day I put a gun to my head. Ever wonder why those 'match making' services like eHarmony run commercials non-stop, 24/7 on all the cable TV channels? Just get in the desperate, lonely and sad situation where you decide to use one yourself, and you might understand. There has got to be high attrition rate of subscribers. Especially those in their forties and over. With my bland 150 character introduction and my incredibly handsome thumbnail photo, I managed to snag two replies almost instantly. Well, a week is pretty instantly isn't it? The first reply was so sad. The woman's e-mail moniker implied she was good looking, but yet she had no photo posted. Plus she admitted to smoking (yuck) and her biography sounded like someone who was just waiting to be matched with a wife-beater. My heart sank. The next 'hit' had a photo included. I looked at it. It looked like my mother. With tears brimming, I stepped over to the bathroom mirror. My father's misty eyes stared back at me. Damn. Damn. Damn. sperm injection into ovum Men are incredibly visual. All men believe we look like Brad Pitt or Sean Connery. Men all believe we trail the charisma of a Bill Clinton or a Ronald Reagan. But, over age forty-five, we're just basically balding, fat, dopes looking for someone to cook, clean and occasionally share an ill-timed (and usually) drunken orgasm with. (Note to self: Do not inform dates that I author this website.) It's the thing that I've written about before. When a man marries a woman, marvels as she births their children and shares a quarter century of life with; looks no longer matter. Well, looks matter, but they do not remain a paramount factor in the relationship. While, in everyday life, we are obviously attracted by looks (men very much more so than women) these dating services get way too much out front too soon. The delightful discoveries normally spread over days and weeks and months, are instead crammed into the dry and emotionless bits and bytes and consumed with a brief three minute reading of a biography and a five second look at a photo. (This is known as a "glance" at the service I'm subscribed with.) In the search for the perfect mate, these sites, after being fed by members, their most personal likes & dislikes (sometimes even down to musician favorites, how you lace your shoes and whether you favor black or blue ink) statistically match each partner to the other. (My aforementioned first reply came in at an entirely believable 23%.) It almost looks like we're choosing a baby by sorting through sperm and ovums looking for the perfect match. It seems; it is; unnatural. But so is, for me, to have gone over three years without the company of a female who loves me. Saturday . . . You know you're old when you read a lady's biography and feel a tingle in your crotch as you read the words: "I own my own home." I learned the other day that some of Mainio's friends inherit millions of dollars before they are out of their teens. But, I don't have to also learn, I don't have to be a soothsayer to know they, at one-third of my age, full of energy, youth and optimism will be no more happier than I. "I" who carries my net worth on my Starbucks card. One hundred million pennies won't make Penny any more happy. As you might have guessed, I've been poking around at the web dating site. Today I actually found someone who meets my high standards and might also be blind <grin>. One of the attributes I'm searching for in my next conjoining, would be a woman with no children to disrespect her in front of Dr.Malamud; and there she was. Or may be. I'm at Barnes & Noble Cafe surrounded by the smells and noises of the Starbucks bistro that won't honor Starbucks cards. Hemmed in by shelved new books with their moist ink and fresh-cut page aromas buried under the overpowering stench of an Ultimate Chocolate Chip Brownie being bombarded by microwaves. It is so difficult to write in the midst of so many volumes that need to be read. But even with all my knowledge gained through books (public school simply sparking my interest in specific areas of learning) I remain profoundly unhappy. Like money not buying happiness, knowledge can't purchase it either. Knowledge does provide some understanding as to why one is unhappy though. With my entry into the world of Internet dating, to be fair to the droves of women who will electronically throw themselves at me in bits and bytes, I must be prepared to make a clean emotional break with the Ex.Mrs.Dr.Malamud. library-sized mansionAt 11PM, after snagging a couple of on-sale hardbacks, one for Mainio and one for Aili his older sister, I left the bookstore and drove the thirteen miles to my ancient friend's manse in very north Scottsdale. He's back East avoiding the heat, but here at midnight, on the lower level outside patio, facing the fourteenth fairway of a world renowned golf course, it is anything but hot. Rejoicing in a light breeze, except for the lack of Caribbean humidity, I could be in Anguilla, in the British West Indies. Having been in this Valley when the distinct edge of civilization and the Sonoran Desert began twenty miles south of here, I often wonder if these wealthy few appreciate the splendor that formerly was reserved for real cowboys, bobcats, coyotes and scorpions. The EPA mandated vehicle emission controls must be working, because the nighttime sky is as clear as I remember it being being in 1991. Because, almost a decade and one-half ago, to avoid the blistering daytime heat, we hardy few motorized cowboys, each illuminated by a huge, single Baja headlamp, raced our off-road dirt-bikes through this same desert. A more primitive dessert that was lacking green fairways, yellow-striped black asphalt, hilltop library-sized homes and aromatic sewage lift pump stations.
Thursday . . . Wow. Really a lot of good looking women down here tonight. Of course they find it difficult not to steal glances at me. Could be because I'm dressed like a little old man who still thinks he's a teenager. Chuckling out loud as I sit down, it struck me as sad that I don't approach my salaried job with laughter, but instead with shouting at the firmament (the heavens). Someday I'll look back at this period, or rather my multiple biographer's will look back, and label this my Transfixed Period.  It's funny watching, or rather, listening to people and how they will talk with the fairly obvious intention that everyone around hear their 'private' conversation, but then when they have something actually confidential to say, they lean forward towards their partner and whisper it. Click to expand to see entire shapely bottleAt 8:00PM and 107F degrees, my Shea Boulevard Starbucks doesn't have its misters outside hissing their cooling fog around and amongst the round, green, metal tables. So I'm inside and being bombarded with the sharper sounds and general cacophony restaurant racket restricted by the necessary four walls. Starbucks Muzak, noises, clanging, and too-loud conversations keep me on edge. My internet dating service is moving along about as fast as the Supreme Court nominees will. But I'm in no hurry to be emotionally flung about by a female holding onto my . . . heart. While at work I'm surrounded by organ transplant surgeons, here I find I'm seated next to a chiropractor - I winced as the barista addressed him as "Doctor." Har. Wonder what types of phony, unproven, untested or downright dangerous methods he uses to earn a living? Probably sells Xango to subsidize his income. It's a perfect fit. Sad. As sad as my life? No, sadder. Because at least what I do is honest; and more, it takes a lot of guts to tell people, right to their faces, something they really do not want to hear, much less participate in. Which goes exactly against my emotional grain. Which is why I hate my job that begins with me shouting at the firmament.
Sunday . . . You know you're old when you read a lady's biography at a web matchmaking service and feel a tingle in your crotch as you read the words: "I am a widow." Before I left our Paradise Valley apartment, Mainio, after stepping out to his car for a moment, complained of the extreme heat and humidity. (Three homeless men; aka: bums - remember, anyone can be a bum - died from the heat this weekend in Phoenix.) I imagine, if I owned my apartment, I could term it a townhouse. Or a condo. Much more impressive than 'apartment.' High wind and a smattering of rain walked me to my car. I chatted about the coming storm with a bare-chested neighbor standing on his porch, a sweating, brown-bottled Budweiser longneck clenched in his hand as if it were an umbrella. I was clearing out, because earlier I had sat through the lights dimming several times and the computer stuttering as it fought off power surges. I felt a long term power-outage was brewing in the gravy brown skies bubbling above me. Cracked Ocotillo Besides, at 74F degrees inside, it is a lot cooler at my Starbucks than I can afford to keep my own place. How sad is that? I cannot even afford to cool my 980 square feet to a comfortable temperature. But I can afford the fifty-four cents for a refill at Starbucks. On the drive there, I had to dodge around a fifteen foot ocotillo limb that had snapped off in the rain-less and dust-less storm and lay blocking the outside lane. Being a Good Samaritan, I pulled over into the parking lot of the La Camarillo and drug a smaller branch assembly out of the roadway. Calling 911 and being put on hold for too long, I left my fellow drivers to deal with the lumber in the lane, pushed the red 'END' on my cellphone and continued my journey to Starbucks. Two more crippled green giants, both ocotillo's, bowed down to me as I neared the coffee bar. A triplet of Jewish men and three Yiddish yabbering women forced me into a corner. And, I, in turn, provided the half-dozen Heeb's with an uncircumcised Gentile to verbally impress. (Although I really am circumcised.) As the vanilla chatter plopped around me, I was reminded why I don't enjoy sitting and talking with others. Because it's not really meaningful conversation. It is simply one person waiting for the other to pause to take a breath, so he or she, can jump in with some more impressive fact. Like when a highway under construction narrows from two to one lane and you wait to scoot into the seamless rail-car-like traffic. Quickly the buzzing and all knowing sextet arises and leaves like a flock of locusts after they have stripped the land clean. Suddenly it's quiet again and I relax. Saturday night . . . Shot glass in hand, I'm viewing the DVD made at my son's 2004 graduation ceremony. I was the stay-at-home parent for ten years of Mainio's private schooling. And I was far more involved in his and his sister's scholastic and after-school activates than I remembered. 2004 graduation As I watched these ... these young graduating adults, for the majority of them, I could picture as little lads and lasses holding hands like life-sized paper doll cut-outs as they were escorted to the library or back from the playground. I knew most of their names. "How many dads would be able to recite most of the names of the graduating seniors of both sexes?", I thought. I was basking in how very, very blessed I was that my family business had 'gone away' throwing me in the street, jobless, but not without income, leaving me free to spend significant time at school every day. Am I crying for them, or for me, or for all of us? Okay, fine, I may have had a few tequilas, but that was simply to achieve both a legal and a higher level of consciousness. Or maybe it was just to dull the pain of my crappy life. (Do not try this at home dear readers.) My tears soon became sobs. I hadn't cried so hard since I watched the Ronald Reagan funeral ... for the third time. Thank gawd Mainio was up at DC Ranch with, who else? a long time grade school friend. Other than at a funeral or a psychiatrist's office, I don't think a man should be seen crying in front of others. That's why I will not attend the "Promise Keeper" meetings where men are seen openly weeping like Mike Tyson after his last bout. Men can cry, but not in public. As a child growing up, having spent a great deal of time with my 1950/1960s stay-at-home mother, I'm sure I picked up a lot more feminine attributes than are considered 'normal'. One of them being the ability to tear-up and cry. I think it's good to cry now and then. I think it is a release, a primal gut statement that simply expresses the inability to affect the situation. As a Christian, I usually follow a good cry with a fall-on-the-floor praying session, but God keeps stomping on my fingers, when I come to Him drunk, so I restrain myself when I've been tequilanating. Prior to going through the emotionalities (new word) of my divorce, several times a year I would praise God for endowing us alone with emotions. I don't do that much any more. Click HERE to continue reading Dr. Malamud's
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