Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Why do these shoes feel so tight?

If I'm limping a little bit today, it's because I'm wearing Ethan's shoes.

I took my 6-year-old dress shoes to the repair shop on Friday. They still look fine, except that some of the stitching is coming out. The shoe guy said they'll be ready tomorrow.

When I got home I realized that I'd thrown away my back-up, 13-year-old pair of dress shoes in the fall because I hadn't worn them in the past 6 years. I'd also thrown away my 10-year-old casual buck oxfords because I hadn't worn them in the past 6 years either. I've found that the best way to need something you haven't used in 6 years is to throw it away.

So last night I frantically rummaged through the boys' closet in hopes of finding any kind of shoes that would look better at a business meeting than bright red Saucony Triumph running shoes.

Samuel's shoes were too big. Ethan's were too small.

I went with too small.

Monday, May 27, 2013

My Liberace story

I just watched the HBO movie starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon (two thumbs up, btw).

It reminded me of my one and only true-life Liberace story.

In the spring of 1984 I was a college intern at "Late Night With David Letterman." One of the highlights was Bob Dylan's appearance on the show.

Normally the interns could watch the show from the make-up room, but on this afternoon it was packed with staffers and NBC execs and their friends and colleagues--all to see Dylan.

So one of the researchers and I went backstage. Dylan played a song, and when it was over, Letterman wasn't sure if Dylan was going to come sit down. (Dylan was apparently too important to provide any advance guidance.) So Letterman walked over to him, and Dylan backed away. It was awkward. Letterman cut to a commercial.

Dylan did two more songs, then left to wild applause and walked backstage. As he passed us, my colleague said, "Great show, Bob!" Dylan said nothing and kept walking.

The next guest was Liberace--who in 1984 was, as far as I could tell, basically a gag guest, one rung above Larry Bud Mellman.

Liberace came on and sat down next to Letterman. Letterman said something to the effect of, "So what do you think of Bob Dylan?"

I thought, "Uh-oh."

Liberace immediately gushed about what a legend Dylan was, what an important mark he'd made on American music.

Nothing against Dylan, but from that day forward I liked Liberace better.

And that's my Liberace story.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Removing the fire escapes

An apartment building at the end of our block is being gut-renovated. This morning as Ethan and I walked to school we noticed that the workers had removed all but one fire escape from the front facade. There were two guys standing on the last remnant.

I said to Ethan, "I don't think I'd want to be one of those guys unscrewing the last bolts."

Ethan said, "Dad, I'm pretty sure they've thought this through."

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I am so skinny and fast

So I finally acknowledged that my suit pants were never going to fit again unless I had the tailor let out a couple of inches from the rear end.

I did that, and they suddenly fit so well that I've worn them to work all three days so far this week. Not only do I look like a high-paid CFO, but I suddenly feel skinny because, you know, these pants used to be really tight.

I was feeling so good that when I got home from work today I decided I was going to run a 6-minute mile. I haven't run a 6-minute mile in at least a year, because I'm too old to run fast, and when I try I pull muscles everywhere in my body.

But I'm looking great, so...

I took off like a bat out of hell and hit the quarter-mile mark in 1:27. I was thinking, don't worry about starting too fast, because the trick is to build a little cushion in case I tire in the final hundred yards or so.

I hit the half-mile split in 2:57. I was thinking, sure, I'm getting kind of winded, but I just have to keep up this pace for three more minutes. I'm right on pace, and I was smart to build in that extra 3-second cushion in the first quarter, because I might need it.

I don't know the three-quarter-mile split, as my heart was exploding out of my rib cage and I couldn't see the numbers on my watch, but when I crossed the mile mark I was thinking, damn, running a 5:59 isn't as easy as it used to be.

Then I looked at my watch.


I don't think it's humanly possible for me to go 10 seconds faster. I think the jig is up.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


"Dad, how much would it cost to build a small fallout shelter for one person?"

Monday, May 6, 2013

I like book editors


I went to a "soiree" the other night, which sounds like something illegal, but it was just a cocktail party for literary agents, editors, and authors.

I think of all the people I've met, children's book editors are the nicest. I'm not just sucking up because I need to sell some manuscripts, either.

If the whole world were populated by children's book editors, there would be no wars. At most there would be mild disagreements about whether Saturday can rhyme with that-a-way.

The biggest problem in the world would be overcrowding at Vassar. Life would not be about who has the most natural looking Botox. It would be about making kids giggle and creating positive things that will still be around in a hundred years.

I know perfectly nice people who are bankers and school teachers and architects and digital media execs. But as a blanket statement, I'm going with children's book editors.

And I do need to sell some manuscripts, actually.

(P.S. Soiree invitation artwork by fellow Prospect Agency client Leeza Hernandez.)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

LA is not so bad

It helps if you stay at the Ritz-Carlton, run on the beach, and sit by the pool in the evenings with your feet in a hot tub.

Also, if you get to see your niece and nephew.

But I'm happy to be back home in NYC, where I was greeted by two barking spaniels and two kids on computers who I'm not sure fully realized I'd been gone for three days.