patsyporco

Who’s The Brat?

In Humor on July 25, 2015 at 2:33 pm

When my younger brother, Gus, was in second grade, his teacher gave his class an assignment to write about their families. Gus’s essay went something like this: “Patsy is a brat. Rick is a brat. Monica is a brat. Peter is a brat. Veronica is a brat.” I don’t think he mentioned Victoria since she was still an infant and hadn’t had a chance to annoy him yet. His teacher read the essay and wrote across the top, “Who’s the brat?” My parents thought that this was the funniest thing ever, and “Who’s the brat?” became a saying in our family.

Tonight, my husband and I went to the Mets game, as guests of his friend, Don, and his wife, Annie. I had met Don before and liked him a lot. I had never met Annie. This was my first time at Citi Field and I was very excited to be there. It was a perfect evening for a ballgame, balmy and warm. When we arrived, I sat next to Annie, who sat next to Don, who sat next to my husband.

Don and my husband, who hadn’t seen each other for awhile, had a lot of catching up to do, so while they talked, Annie and I got to know each other. My husband and Don had a marvelous time reminiscing about what must have been hilarious things. Annie and I, however, had a harder time of it. It seemed to me that she took offense at everything I said. I spent a lot of time explaining that she had misunderstood me, and apologizing.

Halfway through the game, Don and Annie said they were going to visit their good friends, who were also at the game. They said they wouldn’t be long. As soon as they left, my husband asked me how I like Annie.

“Well,” I said, “she’s difficult to get along with. I tried so hard to be pleasant, but she kept misinterpreting everything I said and taking offense.”

“What did she misinterpret?” my husband asked.

“For instance,” I said, “When she told me that she was an actor, I asked if I might have seen her on TV. She said that she had recently been on episodes of ‘Blue Bloods’ and ‘The Black List.’ I told her that we were huge fans of ‘The Black List’ and never missed an episode, so we must have seen her.”

“Oh wow,” said my husband. “What was her role?”

“She said that she had played a waitress. And she said that, between takes, she spent a lot of time in her trailer. I asked her if she shared her trailer with other actors.”

“And?” my husband asked.

“Well, for some reason, my question annoyed her.” I said. “She gave me an irritated look and said that no, she had her own trailer. So I asked why someone who probably appeared in the episode for 30 seconds got her own trailer. She got really frustrated then.”

“You said what?” my husband asked.

“I was honestly curious,” I responded. “But then she turned her head and started ignoring me.”

“She ignored you?”

Uh huh,” I said, “So I explained that I thought only the stars got their own trailers. She finally turned around and said, very snippily, that all of the principals in a show got trailers. So I asked her how an actress who played a waitress could be considered a principal.”

My husband stared at me. “What did she say?”

“She got really huffy at this point,” I said. “She said that to get the role, they auditioned at least 50 people, and that I wasn’t understanding that her role was important to the show, which made her a principal, as opposed to an extra. That comment ticked me off because I had told her earlier that I had registered with Central Casting to be an extra. She stressed that she had never worked as an extra.”

“Yes,” said my husband, “But you’ve never actually been called by any casting director to be in a show, so I don’t think she was comparing herself to you.”

“Oh,” I said. “I think she was.”

“But you’re not an actor, and she is,” he said, rather unreasonably.

“We’re getting off-point here,” I said.

“So what is the point?” he asked.

“The point is that I apologized profusely and told her that I was in awe of her, which I wasn’t, but I said it just to be nice.”

“Uh huh,” he said. “Then what happened?”

“Well, after I told her that I admired her, she said, ‘Good.’ And then she and Don went off to meet their friends. When they get back, I’m going to try to overlook anything negative she might say.”

“That she might say?” my husband asked. He stared out at the field and looked like he saw something amusing.

Shortly after our conversation about Annie’s prickliness, Don returned. He was on the other side of my husband and they immediately started talking again. I tried to catch Don’s eye, but he never looked my way. Annie never came back. I suppose she was uncomfortable about how she treated me.

I think we all know who the brat was in this situation.

Intentional Singing

In Humor on July 22, 2015 at 6:48 pm

Years and years ago, I remember Kathie Lee Gifford making up a song about her needing a change, and then singing it on her show, “Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee.” I remember it because, as much as I liked Kathie Lee, I hated that song. It was really terrible, almost as awful then as Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” is today.

I love Taylor and her music, but that song must have been dashed off in a fit of pique. It sounds like a derisive chant you’d hear on an elementary school playground.

Anyway, not long after Kathie Lee debuted her song, she announced that she was leaving the show. And right after Taylor sang her song, everybody found out that it was written about Katy Perry and her theft of Taylor’s backup dancers. I don’t know what the repercussions were after Katy heard that song, but bad blood was probably the least of them.

But back to me. My life currently needs a good shaking-up, so I’ll need to write a song to announce my intentions. I’m not yet sure exactly what I want to change, but that shouldn’t delay my work on my song. I’ll just leave a lot of blanks and fill them in when I know the who-what-where-when-whys.

I’m also looking to start a feud with someone so I can compose a revenge song. I started a few arguments recently, but I always felt remorseful and apologized. Maybe my song should be about people who pissed me off in the past but to whom I apologized out of guilt. I could even say that I wasn’t really sorry. I think this song is writing itself.

Because no radio station or talk show is going to air my horrible songs, I’m going to have a very limited audience, unless I locate the customer-service microphone at Walmart, or call in to a sports-talk show under false pretenses and sing really fast before they hang up on me.

The Geriatric Theater Mafia

In Humor, New York City, Theater on July 3, 2015 at 2:24 am

Anyone in need of a con artist knows to head for New York City, where it’s a licensed profession. While I’ll probably get verbally pummeled for profiling, I’m still going to say that most NYC scammers are young and usually men, but sometimes they’re young women. At least that describes the ones you meet on the streets of the city. There are plenty of confidence men and women who wear expensive suits and dresses, but they don’t generally try to sell you junk bonds on the corner. You have to look a little harder to find them, usually in upscale office buildings. But, if you’re looking to be fleeced by a run-of-the-mill swindler, you shouldn’t have any problem locating one, especially in the more-touristy areas.

Street SignProfiling has its pitfalls, however. When you stereotype, you let your defenses down around those who fall outside what you expect. That’s how we fell prey to an elderly fraudster today. My brother, Gus, bought tickets to a production of Little Shop of Horrors, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Ellen Greene, for himself, my husband, son, and me, for today’s matinee at the City Center on 55th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues.  

We got to the City Center minutes before the show started and joined the line of ticket holders. It was just Gus, my son, and me, because my husband hadn’t felt well and had stayed home. My son had suggested selling my husband’s ticket since he had seen tickets to this show selling online for up to ten times their face value. Gus, however, immediately nixed this idea, insisting that he positively did not want any involvement with haggling on the street, and he was especially horrified by the idea of having to sit next to a stranger we had just exploited.

So, when a well-dressed, elderly woman approached me and asked if I happened to have an extra ticket, I hesitated. I knew that Gus didn’t want to take advantage of anyone, but wouldn’t he want to recoup the ticket price? I decided to find out.

I got his attention and motioned toward the sweet old lady. “Gus, this woman wants to know if we have an extra ticket we could sell her.” Gus shot me an “I don’t believe you are asking me this after what I said earlier” look and then glanced at the woman. No doubt, he was thinking of our mother when he sighed and said, “Oh all right. Sell her the ticket.”

The woman looked delighted, at first. But then she assumed an I’m-living-on-a-fixed-income face.

“How much do you want?” she asked.

“Just face value, $25,” I said.

She grimaced. “Oh, no. That’s too much. Would you take $10?”

I looked at Gus, who had his mouth hanging open. “Um, no, I’m sorry,” I replied. “Thanks for your offer,” I turned away.

“How about $15,” she yelled at my back.

“No thank you,” I said. I was sorry I had gotten involved in this. I moved up in line, behind my son and Gus. A bony hand grabbed my arm. I turned and the woman asked, “$20?”

I looked helplessly at Gus. He rolled his eyes and said, “Fine.” Up ahead of us, a brisk ticket trade was ensuing with people raking in profits from their extra tickets, and here Gus was going to lose money.

The line was moving quickly, so it was imperative that the woman pay fast and close the deal. She got behind us in line and opened her purse which contained envelopes with money in them, each envelope designated for a particular expense. She pulled out the one that she used for ticket purchases (I’m guessing). Her envelopes must have struck a nerve with Gus because he said to her, “You can pay me $15.” She graciously thanked him and asked him to break a $20 bill or two a $10 bills.

By this time, we were at the door, being asked to present our tickets. Gus gave her the ticket and told her she could pay once Little Shop of Horrorswe were inside the theater. Probably because she was wedged between Gus and me, she didn’t take the ticket and run. Once inside, Gus located a $5 bill and finished the transaction, while I pretended to be looking at something interesting so as to not see the looks he was shooting  at me.

When we got to our seats, the woman, Rose, looked around the theater. “We go to every show,” she announced.

“Who’s ‘we’?” I asked.

Her eyes widened at her slip. “Oh, some people I know.”

“Did they come with you?” I asked.

“Uh, no,” she said.

“Are they in the theater now?” I asked.

She shook her head. “I don’t know. It depends on whether they got tickets. But they probably did.”

No doubt they did. She was an excellent profiler; she spotted me as a patsy immediately. Her friends were probably just as skilled.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/03/theater/review-in-little-shop-of-horrors-a-ravenous-plant-is-reborn-at-city-center.html?_r=0

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