Return to most recent Dr. Malamud entries
Note: that the oldest entry is at the top of page
while the most recent entry is at the bottom
FRIDAY . . . Hard to believe. I'm outside at my original Starbucks in my sky blue Polo shirt. Alone. Why? Because, at below 75F, all the patrons are inside. It's too chilly out here. My God, I never thought I'd ever again sit outside without also being covered in sweat. At an attempt at being funny, I hope, the employees have the Christmas music CD playing. I discover it isn't a joke. My belt buzzes and I grip my match box sized cell phone with the tweezers Verizon provided and carefully flip it open. It's "Missus Malamud" my caller ID, DNA sequencing and photo radar detection function announces. Odd. Six weeks ago, I'd be yearning to talk to her. Tonight though, she's almost . . . almost, just another interruption in my life of interruptions. Since she was phoning from her eighteen hour a day job, the call was soon over. Maybe I'm becoming too self-centered again. Maybe I never stopped being self-centered is more like it. After I bounce a loud "Hello Doctor" off of him, the doctor brother of my doctor rumbles to my table and wheezes to a halt.
With a glance at my pad and my reference books he asks, "Are you a writer?"
"I'd like to think I am."
"Anything you can make money at?"
He then makes a parting comment and hobbles off to his German SUV fingering his mocha whole caramel decafe venti frappuccino. The pickup bar disguised as an upscale Mexican food restaurant is packed. Snowbird season is in full flock. Or nesting. Or whatever this crowd that clogs our streets and rubberized-freeways is to be labeled. The middle-teens couple sitting near me raise their voices when they want me to hear and lower them when they don't. The girl tries to shock me by loudly announcing to her boy partner, "I bet I have the smallest tits in my class." And goes on to relate a "Story from the classroom." I am shocked. Right. So sad that many of tomorrow's mother's talk exactly like today's hookers. In reality - having never been desperate enough to pay for sex - a Scottsdale's hooker language is more refined. Well, "That's not entirely correct" the Chief of Staff told the President, in the popular movie, "Independence Day." Vague enough? It's twelve minutes past closing and the customers keep coming in. Finally the barista locks the door, eventually leaving nineteen caffeine addicted customers to search in the night for a still open Starbucks among the five within a 190 second drive. The two teenagers, whose conversation has basically degenerated into putting a show on for the funny old guy in the hat, wearing the Skecher's, finally tired and left. A quad couple, hooting and hollering as they leave the restaurant quiet down as the stumble, trot, and run by me. The late 20ish men lead the way as they thread their bodies through the inverted U-hoops of the empty bicycle rack. Next, they delight at the discovery of an orphaned olive green down-sized shopping cart, as one wedges himself into it, while the other grabs the pushbar with both hands and begins pushing it across the dark and busy parking lot as fast as ethanol powered legs can pump.
FRIDAY . . . It's 4:45AM and I'm freezing in the Arizona desert north of Phoenix. Or what was once desert and is now being slowly frosted with asphalted streets and trimmed with concrete sidewalks where
red-tile-roofed cookie cutter houses are at last put down. The brown of the sand and dirt and the gray of the mesquites is being sodded-over with the latest low moisture hybrid green grasses for the Par 70 golf courses. Earlier in my shift, I was able to stand outside with the owls and the bobcats and the coyotes until about 4AM, when the desert, missing the sun's warming rays for over ten hours (and myself missing the insulating feathers and furs of my hidden friends) dropped its temperature down into the 40's, forcing me to seek warmth inside. I had an opportunity to purchase several books from QPB at bargain prices a while back, so I ordered another half dozen and was reading one this very morning. "
Literary Feuds", which judging by its title would seem to be a college reading assignment or a simply a boring, unattractive book. However, your Dr. Malamud, being an accomplished writer, is discovering it to be very interesting. Interesting, even though many of the feuding author's I had known little or nothing about prior to cracking open this trade-sized paperback. Once again - as always and forever - the written quotes of Ernest Hemmingway and Samuel Langhorne Clemens, even when used in the non-funny tasks of bashing former friends, caused me to laugh out loud. Guffawing, which I'm sure, startled my weather-proofed audience of the blackened desert fairways and close-cropped putting surfaces. As I read and learned about these authors, I wondered how much longer this author would put off earnestly searching to be published. I imagine my first book taking form . . . eventually earning me millions of dollars and accumulating a battalion of readers who approach me to tell me how my words made them chuckle even when they didn't want to. Made them cry when they needed to. Gave them hop when they felt hop-less. You probably did not know frogs could read did you? What do you think they do with those big old eyes anyway? But, evoking emotions from my reader's, is the main reason I write. To draw a tear or a chuckle is my goal. I want people to look forward to reading what I've written.
WEDNESDAY . . . I'm naked. While I was attempting to plaster down my nap-time hair, my sugar-cube-sized cell phone began dancing on the bathroom counter. A dance which was not the response to an incoming call, but a scream to be fed. So now I feel naked, because my cell phone, rather than riding this right-hander's left hip, is at home in its cradle. Feeding. I have all these unbelievable wise thoughts on my drive over to my consecrated chair at the Barnes & Noble Café, serving Starbucks coffee. As soon as I'm seated my mind goes blank. I secretly scrutinize the lovely ladies and women and teenage girls crowding the cafe and ask myself, "How fair it is to all of them for me to remain married?" <grin> Mega-mouth Michael is here again. Maybe this is his office, he being the high-roller he pretends to be? I really need to pick up some calendars. Some 2004 versions. But it just kills me to pay full price before the round, cherry red, "50% Off!" stickers bloom on their plastic stretch covers in January. But, I already have engagements stretching into next year. Imagine that. A gorgeous, Slim-Jim-thin blonde meticulously negotiates the three steps leaving the Café grounds, an LSTAT study book in her stack. Just like attorney-Dave the told me when I asked him about the para-legal profession. He told me that there were plenty of pretty and perspicacious blondes who would always be offered a position prior to the hiring of a (more qualified) male. And, I'll wager quite a few of these flaxen-maned maidens end up getting involved in more than just paper pushing with their mainly male mentors. Perhaps 'The Plan', either conscious or unconscious, is to 'Become a para-legal, marry a successful and wealthy lawyer, rarely see your husband and never need to work outside of the home again. Ever.' Not that I've become Solomon, but the current level of my understanding of the world amazes me. How where now (usually) rather than simply reacting to situations thrown at me, like a batter facing a Randy Johnson 99 MPH fastball, I find myself quickly comprehending why people do what they do. I find myself, rather than standing in their way trying to get them to change, simply stepping aside and monitoring (and many times, marveling) at their actions. And pondering the profound wisdom that must have been possessed by the ancients mentioned in the Bible who lived to be 100, 200, 300 or more years old. Ancients who lived under the thick water barrier that shielded the Earth's surface dwellers from Sol's, X rays, gamma rays, UV rays and Ray Romano. The water barrier that was the source of the Great Flood. The Great Flood that swept the world clean of the even greater filth than we live in today, and coincidentally, in the process slashed the Grand Canyon through northern Arizona while the infant Carl Hayden slept inside Noah's Ark. Every corner of the cafe is crowded with babbling bobble-heads tonight, quashing my creativity. I'm going home.
TUESDAY . . . This last week I met a centuries-millionaire, the fourth wealthiest man in the country, ate my second made-from-scratch pizza ever and had my first cup of home made espresso. In reality, the latter pair was more impressive than the former duo. But, I'll get a lot more gab-mileage out of the former because . . . why? Because they are quite a bit more rare than pizza and coffee I guess. I was also in my first movie-short film since earlier in this year. Being the shooting came a full week earlier than I was told and being a method actor (who needs days, not minutes, to build up steam) and not having the time to prepare, much less even memorize - I was, let's say, less than professional in my performance. Yes, less than professional, let's leave it at that. I'm pondering the odd sight of a uniformed police officer, complete with holstered Glock thirteen cartridge capacity automatic pistol, shop for a science fiction novel. A fair skinned, twenty-ish long-black-haired female walks by my micro table. She catches me checking her out. I smile back. (I'm probably older than her father - but not too old to be her 'daddy' . . . oh yeah!) She sits with her hugomatic boyfriend in such a way that she's purposely facing my direction, which is not to her front, but at about a forty five degree angle to her nicely formed port side. Like the typical ego maniac male that I am, I imagine she's doing that for me. I ignore the fact her grabby chum is seated in the same manner. She reminds me of my high school sweetheart Connie Boone. I suffer from the affliction of continuing to believe that I look on the outside the twenty eight years of age that I feel like on the inside. Because of that disease, I continue my flaccid flirting with females far younger than me. I'm working fifty six hours a week, hours in which I am always front and center, unable to escape the over 500 pairs of pupils which determine my continued employment. On top of that, I'm driving five and one-half unpaid hours to and from my posts. However, I feel pretty darn good. And every now and then, I'll break out into uncontrolled dancing or strutting or 103 decibel singing at work. Occasionally all three at once. Once home again, at my luxurious Scottsdale apartment, I soon enough, slowly topple, like a recently sawed-through forty foot pine, onto the massive Malamud mattress. And then I usually only manage to read one and a half pages of the science fiction novel that I originally bought for my brainy daughter, before my eyelids feel like they are glued closed with rubber cement, forcing me to blindly stab the book mark into the pages and toss my glasses in the direction of my bed stand, before I lose consciousness. My cobalt tressed Connie Boone-reminder pushes her chair back and stretches as she stands up, her lamprey-like companion still firmly attached. As she strolls, right to left, through my field of vision, negotiates the three steps and strolls down the main thickly carpeted aisle, she quickly tosses her head and glances over her left shoulder at me. Yes! At me. She's probably a 'candy striper' at some Alzheimer's home and I remind her of one of the sad and confused souls she helps out. I finally received my two hundred 8 ½ X 11 black and white headshot reprints from the coast. As a matter of fact, I used one on my 'audition' for the above mentioned short. I mailed another to my actress-daughter in Texas. I purposely did not send one to the Missus in Texas. Next thing I hear my headshot has (via the magic of image reduction) become a shrunken-headshot cleverly attached to the face of a talking male doll. A male doll, whose countenance now crudely altered, regularly elicits this query from guests at the ultra-swank hotel, "Is that Sting?"
PRE-TURKEY DAY . . . This deliciously crisp fall day in Phoenix finds me outside at my favorite Starbucks. And it is probably around 48F degrees and I am, for the first time, aware of the temperature of my round, green, writing surface. I had to rush back to the petulant Peugeot to fetch from the trunk my heavy Land's End winter-time coat. A coat that last winter zipped me up as tight a Wisconsin summer-sausage, tonight dwarfs my November body. That's what happens when you lose fifty pounds between season's. Bad for NFL players, good for formerly NFL-sized spectators. I'm the only one outside tonight and as I sip my outstanding (a word not often heard in reference to their coffee's) Starbucks' 'Light-Note' fresh brew, I decide that's okay. Being confined to a climate controlled environment, when it's not blazing hot outside seems a waste of lovely weather to me. It's so stuffy inside. Stuffy and crowded with smells of coffee and 22,000 calorie pastries and humans. And noises. Distracting noises. A huge bald eagle landed in a mesquite tree about 70 meters from where I was standing this morning. A considerable portion of the tree shook as he got comfortable squatting on his gorilla-hand-sized talons. With my Bushnell binoculars, I could see my flitting and fearless daily companion, aka: Mr.Hummingbird, darting to and fro, taunting the fierce feathered flyer, unaware or uncaring of the very real danger. I marveled at the pair of supporting shanks of this profound aviator, layered in thick feathers, as if wearing leg warmers. Sadly, my digital camera refused to come to life prodded by dribbling surges from it's ice cube cold batteries and I was unable to snap a photo of the first non-captive eagle I had ever seen. Dr.Doolittle like, I yelled out a warning to Mr. Hummingbird, "Stay away!" And heeding me, in a wink, he had gone to suck the nectar out of his regular morning route of red, orange and yellow blooms. Soon thereafter, the majestic raptor lifted off and with three elegant flaps of his breathtaking black, brown and white six foot wingspan was rapidly moving out of sight, a struggling sparrow dwarfed in the vise grip of his right talon. My employer pays me about one-tenth the amount I could (should?) be earning in a 'quote' real job 'unquote'. Happily my emotional salary easily outweighs that of a billionaire. My psyche's paycheck is cumulative and ends in a unbelievably inflated 'gross amount' rather than the withered 'net amount' of my dollars and cents pay stub. My employer's ADVICE DEPOSIT ONLY lists: Earnings: Regular and Overtime. DEDUCTIONS: Fed Inc Tax, FICA + Medicare, State Inc Tax, Medical, A-AFLAC Term Life, Uniform. My UNIQUE LIFE EXPERIENCE DEPOSIT lists: Seeing dramatic desert sunrises for twenty weeks in a row. Helping a fifty year old desert tortoise across the street so he doesn't get crushed by a shiny black roaring Cadillac Escalade. Watching quail families grow from mom and dad and a dozen donut hole-sized babies, to a huge covey of full grown birds. Seeing a family of three full grown coyotes prowl the desert as a crowd of cotton tail bunnies scamper for their lives. Watching a bobcat, nearly the size of a puma, stroll, unconcerned with my presence, within fifteen feet of me. Smiling at the blue heron couple's silhouettes as they fly overhead like a pair of soaring reptiles plucked from the the Jurassic Era. Hearing the sounds of man's machines cut through the sky: from a flight of F18s patrolling the Valley of the Sun on Independence Day 2002, to WWII B36 Bomber's, Harrier's, biplanes and the pedestrian white-line drawing passenger airliners. Personal interactions with individuals I'd never otherwise have ever met, like the fifth richest man in America to the grizzled and grubby father driving the twenty year old Mercury Marquis visiting his daughter, who he tells me, "Married right."
Click HERE to continue reading Dr. Malamud's
diary in chronological order