"The Little Jewish Lady"
Now the question stuck in my rapid-fire-wordy mind is "How the hell can you ever love so disgusting and crass a person as LJL?" Nope, not a confession of love for her, not at all. Maybe a hint at developing a compassion for her as an American character, which is what she truly was, last of a New York City character, too, though her traits will continue on in new-arrival little fat Jewish girls who lose their defending fathers when they're young and left in the arms of a loveless mother--those do continue on, though not with the flair of this lady, the gaudy flair, the disturbing flair, but a character who once you'd hung around her every day for a ton of years you couldn't forget her--you couldn't wipe her off your many pages of notes taken on her all those years.
One day she decided she was going to hire me to counsel her son, the "mommy's boy," I'll call him Loser, 'cause that's exactly what he was, a loser Jewish kid--and he didn't even look Jewish, another thing against him. He looked like a goombah--a gullible goombah, a wannabe street dude, though he was so gullible in the street that soon any number of true street people were ripping him off of everything from money to cell phones to girlfriends.
LJL had a fascination for Florida. She definitely was headed for the Sunshine State the minute she retired, which she planned on doing the minute she hit 62 on the advice of her accountant who was her sister's husband who LJL liked but didn't like--she didn't trust him but she did; she was very Jewish lady in that respect--she didn't trust anybody except herself and she didn't really have a good hold on that trust either. She had a bunch of friends and relatives in Florida. While she was down there one summer when she worked for the cardiology journal and her son was pestering the hell out of her for support, refusing to get a job, though she said he had learned a lot about cars from his father who was a Jewish failure though he had learned the wholesale auto parts business that he and LJL invested in, in the Bronx, and soon, as she put, "He couldn't tell a gyp from a kick in his ass he was that business dumb--and I was just a young woman--I tried to keep that business going but, shit, soon the IRS nailed us and that was it for two stupid Bronx Jews trying to make it in the business world." Except the son had grown up helping them in the business and he became a great car detailer--you know, he cleaned 'em out and sprayed them full of "new car" smell, that sort of shit, and then he got into customizing too, so when LJL was in Florida she got Loser a job detailing cars for an uncle of hers in Tampa. It didn't work. Soon she got a call; her firstborn was in jail; doing hard time in Dade County; he'd gotten involved with cocaine and robbery or something like that and then fled to Miami to try and hide out--I think he may have stolen a car to make his getaway, but, no luck, Loser got caught, and was in jail when LJL came to work at the agency--she and her husband were just getting him bailed out--and he came back from Florida the first week she worked there. He was back and so dumb he'd already got caught driving without a driver's license in New York, which meant if he got a violation Florida could bring him back to Florida and throw him in the slammer for many moons. LJL got a lawyer; she corresponded back and forth with the Florida courts and after a ton of money and bribes she got the boy released from his Florida charges on the grounds he never came back to Florida again.
"You talk to the boy. You're brilliant in that sense; hell, it's what you're good at. I give you credit for giving me the score here--for saving my job. Did I tell you the tall redhead chewed me out yesterday? Boy was she mad." "What did you do?" "I went in and got all the jobs off her desk the other morning when she didn't get in until 11..." (the tall redhead was notorious at coming to work late--with every excuse in the book--one morning she called to say she couldn't find her house keys--that she thought the dog had hidden them) "...hell, I thought I was doing her a favor. I think she should let me manage this office, dammit, since she won't make me an editor, but she told me in no uncertain terms I was never to take over her duties ever. She's a vice president--ohhhh, I'm so scared." "She was pissed right?" "God was she. I'll buy her some flowers...." "No, no, she hates flowers." "See what I mean. You're the best at analyzing these people and I appreciate that."
One thing that amazed me about this woman; at the same time she was eating at her desk, smoking tons of cigarettes on abundant cigarette breaks, working, she was also reading books. She would always say at some time during the day, "If they ask where I'm at, I've gone out to read my book." She read book after book after book--she was a member of a book club and was constantly calling them and bitching that they sent the wrong book or had overcharged. Now, don't get me wrong, she wasn't reading at a much higher level than Dick, Jane, and Spot--I remember her reading The Bridges of Madison County. She also liked going to the movies with her girlfriends and eating barrels of popcorn and drinking tons of diet soda, which she knew were worse for her than regular old colas, but she stuck to her habit of drinking them. She also liked eating in restaurants and once a month at least she'd go out to dinner with her girlfriends. She also joined Weight Watchers over and over, always breaking down and reverting back to her high-cholesterol foods after several days of sticking to boring salads and those unsatisfying looking Weight Watchers frozen meals.
Finally she brought Loser to work with her, and golly gee golly, you talk about a poor soul of a human being. He was slumped over bad. He had two earrings. I assumed he had nipple rings. He had a prison tattoo on one arm and was about as confused and mommy-dependent man as I'd ever crossed thoughts with. I talked to him but ended up just jiving with him, music talk, tough times talk, rebellion talk--he'd a made a great Anarchist stooge. Soon I gave up on the lad and then he found the free food in one of the conference rooms, pizza by the tons and pastas and salads and he went in there during a meeting and excused himself and then helped himself to a couple'a whole pizzas. Soon one of the account execs came out and was asking who the young man was who interrupted their conference to help himself to their food--"Two pizzas this guy took. Does he work in the mailroom?" And the next day LJL got another cussing out from the tall redhead--they had a huge brawl of fervid words--"God-dammit, big tall redhead, I could run this office and you could take it easy--make me the office manager!" "Over my big tall redhead dead body I'll make you office manager. You're a proofreader and that's it, case closed." Shape up or ship out, LJL. And LJL came back to the office and she slammed things around, opened her desk drawers and slammed them shut. "That's it. I'm outta here." And with that she put her coat on, grabbed her purse and cigarettes, and was gone. When the big tall redhead found out about it she came in the office and talked to me for over an hour about how LJL was getting on her nerves and how dare her--and I calmed Big Red down--she was putty in my hands--and soon she was saying she'd better call LJL at home and apologize to her.
That was the luck of LJL. She could defy the CEO or the CFO of the agency and get away with it. She was amazin' in that brash way she barged into affairs, was rebuffed, then when she went into her temper tantrum was forgiven and not only forgiven but sanctified. Yes, after awhile, LJL became the office saint. How she had that effect over people puzzled me always. Why, if I had done the things she did in that office, I'd'a been out on my ass mucho pronto, gentes--and that's one of the special charms all Little Jewish Ladies used to be born with.
It wasn't long before I became LJL's spiritual and reality advisor. It wasn't long either before I got to meet Little Rocky and his dumbass fool brother Sidney, her "other" sons, her incestuous sons. First I met Little Rocky. He weighed at least 400 pounds--solid blubber--and he waddled--he wasn't very old either, maybe 25 or 6, and he believed he was very cool and he was also smarmy and the first time she let him come up to the office he sat there and whined and baby-talked and then he discovered there was free food in a conference room and soon he was sitting in our office scarfing down some lasagna and gulping down a couple of Pepsis, which LJL, I discovered at that point, had been hoarding in her desk--she had what looked like a case of Pepsis in the deep-well drawer of that desk.
Then Sidney showed up. Sidney was the opposite of Little Rocky. Sidney was skinny, wore his Yankee baseball cap backwards a la Dah Bronx, and had no teeth.
LJL loved gambling; she loved Atlantic City; she and "her other" sons were always going down there--she'd take days off when she went down there--and she'd come back always a loser, though she said Little Rocky was a finagler down there and knew a couple of the dealers and he played blackjack and she said he was a winner at the blackjack table. That turned out to be a legend when one day she came in the office and said, "Little Rocky lost $4,000 dollars in AC Saturday night and I had to cover 2 grand of that."
From then on, the more money LJL made, the more her Loser son and her "other" sons robbed her blind. First her son talked her into to buying him a Mustang--a custom one, too, a babe rod, with red leather interior--LJL made the down payment on it--several thousand bucks. How long was it until Loser fucked that up?--about a day and a half--and she came in and said Loser had either wrecked his car or it was stolen, he didn't remember; hell, he didn't even remember where or when he and his Mustang had parted company. They finally found the car--it was wrecked--and it was impounded and then LJL found out he was driving without a valid license--and she had paid a couple'a grand to get a lawyer to get him a New York driver's license, which he'd almost immediately lost or had stolen. God--he was a loser.
LJL suffered really badly from arthritis, especially in her legs but also in her hands; plus she soon claimed she had developed Carpel-Tunnel syndrome--so her arthritis got so bad she couldn't walk very well and couldn't take the bus into the city because the walk from the bus stop was too many blocks for her to walk, so Sidney started bringing her to work and he would stay and eat an egg feast with her for breakfast--and one morning after he left, she looked at me and said, "Tell me, Mr. Psychiatrist, why do I love that boy so? He's stupid as an ox. I've known him since he was a baby. I know what those boys suffered; their mother was a whore and they never knew their father. Their mother, that bitch, I knew her; she was no good; a whore, a doper, and she abandoned those boys when they were teenagers--my husband and I have tried to help those boys over the years and in the process I fell in love with Sidney." "OK, that's understandable." "Oh yeah, then explain it to me." "You're looking for a replacement for Loser; I mean your own natural-born son you've given up on so you're looking to project your motherhood onto Little Rocky and you mother love onto Sidney." "I took him to Vegas one time and tried to shack up with him at the Aladdin but he couldn't get it up. I worked on him all night and he just couldn't get it up. All he could do was wimper and cower and cry and talk about how scared he was. The son of a bitch."
And one day, after the superdrug was launched and selling like hotcakes, and the agency was boistrous and blooming with buds of more and more millions of bucks and more launches coming--I mean it was top of the world for the agency and they got so prosperous, the tall redhead announced one day we were getting some new editors and that she was also going to get me MY OWN OFFICE, to myself--and I began to dance about like Pan--like a goat-boy--did you ever read Giles Goat Boy by the wonderful American writer John Barth--I mean, come on, folks, Sotweed Factor is a great book--or is it? I loved it. Anyway, a date was set and soon an era was going to be over--almost 2 years of working in the same office with the Little Jewish Lady--holy shit, I couldn't believe it.
"The Little Jewish Lady" [12/24/07]
The holiday season has suddenly rolled into town on me, caught me unawares, off-guard, resisting all sorts of loves being thrown at me in the names of old friends, world travelers, relatives, and even cheers from a woman who once told me I was the dumbest, sorriest, lowest, most warped person she'd ever met in her life--and now she's rolled into my life again and has invited me to spend this Eve with her--"eating crow" I assume--and turkey that I am, I'll probably go.
For the past 4 days, I have done nothing but raise glasses of beer and rare whisky in toasts--at the Irish Pub I've frequented for 25 years--at my relative's uptown apartment--with a friend of mine, themountainmanfromNew Mexico, who I hadn't seen in two years--an ex-Manhattan friend--on his way (maybe) to Antarctica to live for six months--and then I hit the subway with themountainman and "my babe" of many moons and we partied hearty until 4 a.m. Sunday morning, and then yesterday it was down to the Broome Street Bar, in chic-y-chic-y SoHo, for tons of toasts with my Michigander friends, the bigguitarplayer (who's a bartender there), and the segolendrummer--both former bandleaders for whom I worked and who I hadn't seen in many a moon and who out of a full-mooned sky got in touch with me, invited me down, and down I went and now it's 7 a.m. on X-mas Eve and here I sit able to write again, though, like I said earlier, I'm going out partying tonight, too, with the witchy woman from love's lost past--I'm liable to be wasted, that I am, by the time Saint Nick drops down my chimney in the morning and gets his ass blown off--I'm not used to grown overweight men wearing weird red suits breaking into my apartment, I don't give a shit if it is X-mas, Oh Holy Night, or not. I'm kidding, of course; I wouldn't shoot Saint Nick--I might stab him, or hit over the head with this Lloyd Mangrum signature golf club I keep by the door, but I wouldn't shoot the old legend.
As to this continuing story of the Little Jewish Lady (LJL)--well, let me see, I'm the writer, the storyteller, so I can like say "To make a LONG story short...." and get the hell out of this blog-writing trap I'm in--I'd love to write this while drunk on Yule liquor but, nope, I'm sober as Judge Clarence Thomas with a cunt hair on his can of Coke at the moment, so I'll bang out something tidily Yuletide Eve in this continuing story of a little Jewish woman I encountered on my trip through my life in the advertising industry.
So, to make a long story short, soon after the office was pompously self-satisfied with itself, having moved from out of the pharma advertising nowhere to become #25 in the USA...USA, hell, let's say the WORLD--todo el mundo. So the emails started flying around the office that I was getting an office of my own. By now, another unbelievable thing happened, the big tall redhead up and quit the firm--Whaaaaa! Yes. We found out she'd become extremely jealous of the money we freelancers were knocking down there, several thousand more than she was and she was a vice president of the company and she figured if jolts like me and the other freelancers were cashing in big time freelancing, she could surely top us all if she started freelancing, too. She was always bragging about how many editorial directors she knew, some who had worked with her, and that she'd be working freelance almost immediately, blah, blah, blah, "Sure!," we all replied.
One day, our new boss--guess who? Remember the other resume I picked when I picked LBJ's resume, the raised Christian Jewish chick who'd gotten coffee for her graphic artist boss at another pharma agency, remember her? Well, guess who talked her into to taking the big tall redhead's place? You guessed right if you guessed me...
[The construction noises over on 6th Avenue are firing up their heavy machinery that are digging the huge hell hole that is going to be the underground floors of the 2000-room hotel their building overthere--hell no, construction doesn't stop just because it's a holiday--we must build more buildings, more and more buildings, glutting the market with overpriced hotel rooms and very overpriced apartments, changing the whole nature of New York City, but especially Manhattan, for the worst of course though we're told this is just normal change that happens all the time in NYC's history. Never like this, I say, a 38-year-resident of this burg. The noise if ferocious today since no-one is working today and the city is almost dumb quiet.]
So yes, the Christian-Jewish woman became our boss. And, yes, I talked her into it though I knew she could never handle the pressure, and sure 'nuff that's how it turned out. What a wimp she turned out to be; not Jewish bitch at all, but rather too indoctrinated in Christianity and its master/slave bullshit--Jesus the Master/Thou the Slave--and this woman was still a Christian slavegirl rather than a tough-ass Jewish bitch.
The first bullshit this dipstick fed me was, "Wolfie, your new office is back here, come on, I'll show you." She took me further back into the back of the office and showed me a cool corner office, nice big desk, computer, telephone, the works. "Wow, thanks, Christian Lady, cool, when can I occupy it?" "Immediately, Wolfie, it's yours, so immediately." I rushed back to the office I was sharing with LJL, boxed up my stuff, flipped some BS with LJL, then trundled my kit back to this office only to start to move into it when, oops, there was a chick setting up in there. "Excuse me, but this is my office," I said. "The hell it is," she replied. OK, bitch, I'll show you, so I up and go to the Christian Lady and I say, "What the hell's going on." She checked. "Oh, it seems I was wrong. The office manager says she never told me I could have that office. I'm sorry." She was sorry, too, and I was getting sorry I'd talked her into taking the job; she'd not wanted it, that she'd told me, but, hey, I thought I saw a person I could easily work under without the same BS pressure that the tall redhead put on us with her wimpy VP stance.
The next bad news to hit me was when the agency LOST the big bad arthritis drug that we had launched so successfully--it had been the fastest selling NEW drug in the history of NEW drugs--a COX 2 inhibitor--you know what that is? Yes, the stupid agency dickheads lost that account and with that account gone--whoops, they suddenly found their rank plummeting and soon the umbrella company was sending snoops around running checks on us and running downsizing estimates on the full-blown staff. Some cuts were gonna be made. First cut! NO MORE FREELANCE WORK. You either came on staff, at quiet a bit less than what I was making as a freelancer, or you hit the door. If they used freelancers from now on, they said, they'd have to come through a legitimate agency--one that took taxes out and Medicare and shit out of your checks. The Christian Lady said she wanted me on staff--by then, too, she had an opening for an editor so I recommended one of my workers from my boss days at the accounting firm, a brilliant dude, one of the great men of world languages--he knew about 12 languages--and an editor first-class as far as I was concerned, except of course he had no medical editing experience and that bothered the Christian Lady until I reminded her she'd had no medical editing experience either, so she hired my pal. When she hired him, then she announced, "Wolfie, I'm sorry, but I'm gonna have to renig on my promising you a private office--so how about you and L Hat sharing an office?" I hit the ceiling. L Hat hit the ceiling; she had promised him a private office to lure him into the fold. So, in the end, I took the full-time job. The CEO and the CFO both came to me and insisted I stay on staff--and they made me a more generous offer than the Christian Lady had spun out at me--much higher; in fact, when I did come on staff, the rest of the freelancers who'd come on staff with me were pissed like hell when they found out they'd offered me about 10,000 more a year than they got--and this pissed off attitude was also suddenly trumpeted by L Hat, too, because he was making even less than the old freelancers.
So I became a regular staff member at this pharma ad agency. And soon L Hat and I were sharing an office. Hell, it was fun, but we were all getting more and more pissed as the agency kept swinging towards a more rigid and ruled routine--turning those routines into hell routines since the agency was sliding into the pits of the unknown, disaster for an advertising agency that depends on high-paying top-brand name clients for its big bucks. On losing the arthritis drug account, their name became mud. So they went into this reimagining stage, so proud when one of their big-shot copywriters came up with "disruptive advertisement," a concept developed by a Frenchman and which I thought was kind'a stupid when we were advertising pharmaceuitcals--what kind of disruptive advertisements could you use to sell drugs? "Hey, folks, you look like you've got ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE, already! Holy Smokes, you look ready for the mortician! You need AgriVate (placebo/salt solution), the reversing drug that solves EVERYTHING that is wrong with you and your physical being." This disruptive genius then was made head of all the writers and then all the editors. One day he called a staff meeting and in it he explained the new rules of the editing department--I didn't like the new rules one bit and said so and this jerk--I'd worked with him closely on a lot of drugs and especially the arthritis superdrug, but he was like he'd never seen me before in his life, the bastard, and he just up and told me, "You know, Wolfie, if you can't follow these new rules then you'd better look for another agency"--haughty asshole. That's when I started losing it. That's when I became a thorn in the side of the editing TEAM.
Next they cut out meal allowances. Then they up and said, they were no longer going to pay overtime pay--nope, overtime was going to be simply a part of your job description--if you had to work late, and we always did, then it would simply be included in your yearly salary--aha, compulsory overtime--that didn't settle well with anybody at that firm but especially me who had been a freelancer and had come on staff because these now-acting-like-jackasses big shots had begged me to.
The Little Jewish Lady had stayed in "our" old office. One day, though, L Hat and I were bitching and moaning but also getting into computers--we had new iMacs and we soon were going on line and staying on line all day long--learning all about computers and then emailing and then PhotoShop and then blogs and I also discovered eBay--the big worldwide on-line flea market, and then ONE DAY, we heard a commotion in the office adjacent to ours on the left--and then we heard the wheezing bitching and moaning of the Little Jewish Lady--she was given a private office next to ours. L Hat and I both got our hackles up and went to the Christian Lady--you promised us a private office and then shaft us and now you give a private office to her--why her? The Christian Lady was falling in behind LJL's total bullshit--my first screwing from the new boss.
My relationship with LJL was now less involved, though she was still in the office next to us and we could hear her talking on the phone and playing her F-ing music through the wall. Yes, I still went in and had long conversations with her. They ban her from bringing her sons up, though they still came around quite often. Her son was getting into constant trouble--he got caught in a motel room with a weapon--they were threatening to throw him back in the hoosegow and LJL had to put up his bail and then had to talk long talks with his parole officer--and she finally got him cleared from that shit--and then he got right back into another fuck up, he knocked up a chick who was a street ho, and LJL had to either get the girl to have an abortion or else what a mess would happen. Little Rocky, her nonson son, got diabetes and they had to cut his foot off and then he was relegated to a motorized wheelchair, which LJL bought him--she also paid for all his hospital bills. Her other son, numbskull Sidney, was also so fucking prone to fucking up and always LJL picked up the tab that bailed him. She also found out he was cheating on her with an older woman than she was--a woman she knew from the neighborhood--and then she got in a big brawl with stupid Sidney and this broad and then Sidney came back to LJL and then he'd go back to this other broad, back and forth...ugh, too much for me.
Soon LJL started talking to me about what should she do? She had to get away from her real son and her other sons and her dumbass husband, too. What to do? She was approaching 62 at the time so I suggested why didn't she retire when she was 62. "Oh no, I can't do that; you have to work 'till your 70 now to make any money on SS." "I don't think so, LJL; I think it's not worth waiting till you're 70." Then, like I've already said, she talked to her accountant (her brother-in-law) and he told her definitely to retire at 62, that waiting until she was 70 didn't mean that much more money, maybe a hundred bucks so LJL began to think about retiring--she got real excited about it. On retirement, she'd get SS, plus she had a 401K and a pension with the company, and she was already talking about moving to Florida and leaving New York for good.
And that's exactly what happened. LJL retired--and it was in the fall of the year. They gave her a big farewell party--there were tears in everybody's eyes, including especially the big tall redhead who one day surprised us by showing up again after they'd hired her back as an editor--and, dammit, then I found out they'd hired her back at a higher salary than I was making, and then she got a private office. God-dammit, I was beginning to not like the turn of events that was taking place in this office. I was really getting beligerent and cocky and talking loud and bitching often; yet working my ass off and doing good work--or at least I thought they thought I was doing good work--but I did get very cocky--and they started to hate me and turn on me, especially the Christian Jewish Woman the the big tall redhead, the bitches. Plus the umbrella company that owned the agency then sent some snoops in to qualify us all--you know, they passed around self-evaluations, then they had meetings with us to interview us. I felt like an innocent schoolboy when I was interviewed by my snooping stooge. I mean here I was with beaucoup years in the advertising business and I was being interviewed by a scumbag stooge as though I had just entered the game. I was boiling mad when I emerged from such a juvenile interview. After that I simply became boiling mad all the time. I was mad. I was mean. I became cynical. I began bitching at every bit of work given me--bastards! Also, the Christian Lady seemed to suddenly turn on me and blame me for taking her job and how the job was really getting her down and then she said, "I'm so discouraged, I'm thinking of resigning."
In the meantime, the Little Jewish Lady was gone. We couldn't believe it the day we came in and her office was stone empty.
To be continued--AFTER X-MAS--we are too tired and hungry to continue with this saga now--God-damn, and it has turned into a SAGA.
Note: We will soon be announcing the publication of a new book languagehat coauthored. Cheers to languagehat. His book is a book of insults. No wonder we love that guy here at The Daily Growler.
Raise a Growler of Ale to Olde Saint Nick himself, Siegheil! Merry Nick's Day from The
Daily Growler STAFF and thegrowlingwolf! Huzzahs all around!