An Award-Winning Disclaimer

A charming little Magpie whispered this disclaimer into my ear, and I'm happy to regurgitate it into your sweet little mouth:

"Disclaimer: This blog is not responsible for those of you who start to laugh and piss your pants a little. Although this blogger understands the role he has played (in that, if you had not been laughing you may not have pissed yourself), he assumes no liability for damages caused and will not pay your dry cleaning bill.

These views represent the thoughts and opinions of a blogger clearly superior to yourself in every way. If you're in any way offended by any of the content on this blog, it is clearly not the blog for you. Kindly exit the page by clicking on the small 'x' you see at the top right of the screen, and go fuck yourself."

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Finale and an Overture

After approximately 950 posts on My Masonic Apron, I'm taking off my apron (easy, ladies) and bidding a fond farewell to this place where I vitted vitriol, dispensed mock advice, and experimented sexually.

(You were great, by the way.)

It was fun (sometimes) and I felt, though, that this space and I weren't in the right place for a continued relationship. What I was saying and how I was saying it no longer meshed with the blog's original intent, which was to avoid prosecution for that thing that happened in Ciudad Juarez.

But, when one door closes, another opens. I hope you will join me at It's my new, non-anonymous adventure.

Yes, commies: I will name names.

So fuck off this place, and fuck on, Garth.

I had a great time, and so did you.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Clown Car

I remember when my friend bought at 1974 Volkswagen Beetle-- white with red aftermarket velour interior-- back when we were in high school.  For my tastes, after 1967, the Beetle got too modern, bloated, and ugly, so I wasn't terribly jealous of this purchase, and was therefore able to enjoy the few rides home from school or "Into the Woods" rehearsal I got from him in his VW.  It had oversized rear tires and a big-ass exhaust system.  

Very gaudy.

One brisk winter's day, a bunch of us clammored and cajoled our way into that sweaty little car and cadged a ride through ice-covered winding suburban streets.  A bunch of us.  Me and my friends.  It was exhilarating and terrifying and funny and stupid and high school and fleeting.  It could have ended on the front page of the local newspaper.


Looking back on that moment in my life, frozen as it is in time and weather and memory, the only thing I can think is that the number of friends I have in my life today would fit far more comfortably into an antique Beetle.  With room to spare.

I don't like those thoughts.  They're sullen and self-serving.  But they're there, I guess.  

It's funny-- when people typically think about aging, growing older than they were or are, I think the things they typically fear the most are wrinkles and grays, crinkles and creaks.  The inevitable breakdown of the body and its internal components.  The changes in how we look.  We're vain sonsofbitches, I guess.  What I never gave much thought to when I was younger was the fear of changing relationships, of the people who just... fall away.  They drift away slowly and you really don't notice it at first.  Time between emails gets longer, texts become more superficial, phone calls are-- well, what are phone calls?  I don't call or write like I should, bubbuluh.  

Oh, I have the trump card, though-- I have twins!  But here I am, writing this, instead of a heartfelt email to a friend of mine who just had a baby and a birthday of her own, I could mail a card to a friend in Chicago who's probably forgotten what my handwriting looks like.  

I could say hello.

My parents like to torture me, probably like yours like to do to you, by asking me how my friends are doing.

"How's so-and-so?"

"Have you heard from thus-and-so?"

"Where's what's-her-name living now?"

"When's the last time you heard from thing-m'-bob?"

When my father started in along this line recently, I abruptly terminated the Comfy Chair-style interrogation by announcing that I no longer spoke to anyone about anything.

"I have 2 friends, I think," I said, "and one of those is debatable."

"Oh," said my father, "well, I wouldn't think too much about that if I were you."

I wanted to hit him, but I didn't.  I had to stop myself and force myself to remember that I was talking to a man who saw his best friend drown in the sea in Israel.  My father, then a young, hot-blooded man, tried to save Gagi from the hungry and brutal ocean one hot sandy day-- but it was not to be.  I wonder how often he thinks about that day.  I wonder how often he thinks about his friend.  I wonder how often he thinks about the Six Day War or the Yom Kippur War or Israel or his youth or his dead sister or my mom or his business or anything.  Probably as often as I think about my friends-- wherever they are.

My daughter loves to point at a picture of my wife and I dancing at the wedding of a friend of mine-- the friend who used to own the white Volkswagen.  She and I had only been dating a few months when the picture was taken.  I'm wearing a rented tux and antique Harry Potter glasses.  My wife looks radiant with a super short haircut and I remember how I used to like to run my hand up and down the buzzed part of the back by the base of her neck.  That was damn near ten years ago.  My mother had the picture framed in a little heart frame and my daughter points at it and makes us take her straight to it at least 30 times a day.  She'll have friends, so will my son.  I know they will.  And some day they'll all pile into an old car together and go tooling around in the snow listening to Dennis Leary's "Asshole", singing it out the open windows as loud as they can, to startle the Orthodox Jews walking along the sidewalk to synagogue.  

Just be careful in the ocean, my babies.  My friends.  

Friday, February 8, 2013

Different Than Good

"And though scary is exciting,
Nice is different than good."

Little Red, "Into the Woods"

"Oh, he's nice."

When I was younger, and hornier, and single... er, hearing that a girl thought I was "nice" had the equivalent effect of generously receiving a judiciously thrust rusty harpoon through the left ventricle.

Now, being told I'm nice, or being thought of as nice, is what keeps me going.  It's fuel.  It's horny-juice.  It's the sun and it's life and it's, well, nice.

Nice is not a nice word.  It's a little word-- paltry and benign and seemingly insignificant.  Most guys would rather probably be thought of as "handsome" or "strong" or "a great fuck", but I'm perfectly willing to wear the badge that reads "N-I-C-E".  I suppose, to me, nice means a lot of other different things.

To me, nice means:










I'm sincere.  Sometimes, when I'm having what appears to be a casual conversation with somebody, my voice will quaver, as if seconds away from breaking-- because it is.  What we're talking about might not seem very weighty to the other person involved in the conversation, but it is to me.  I'm earnest about things that should probably be taken a little lighter.  Everything is of consequence, everything is heavy.  I probably wear people out.  I wear myself out-- I know that.

I suppose that's because it's awfully hard to be nice all the time.  I'm not saying that it'd be much easier and more effortless to be an irascible muckety-muck, but, well, I guess maybe it would be.  To say how you feel without giving undue concern to the feelings or the perceived feelings of the world entire-- to put yourself first.

Years ago, while doing research for a book I shouldn't have written, I came upon a quote by the English poet William Blake, and it goes like this,

"The most sublime act is to set another before you."

I clung to the jingoistic, romantic, valiant and gallant sentiments that hang heavy on this quote like so much heavily broached Victorian drapery.  This was back long ago when I thought I was going to become a police officer.  (The first time.)  When I thought I was going to stand before the ordinary citizens and chase felons fleeing in the night.  Not only that, this was when I thought I was going to set myself before myself-- that I was going to go join a fraternity where I quite clearly did not belong.  That I was going to be the square peg in the round hole, whether my family, or my fellow officers liked it or not.  Whether they understood it or not.

Whether I understood it or not.

I was going to be a nice cop.

I had this vision-- valiant and gallant-- that I would walk past stores in my uniform and a shopkeeper with a broom and an apron would nod to me as I passed and he would think to himself, "Well, he's not the biggest or the toughest cop, but he's the nicest.  I'm glad he's mine-- and I'm glad I'm his."

Sometimes I really can be quite naive for one so cynical.

Wanting and trying to be nice is good, I think, it keeps you honest and it keeps you mindful of others, but it doesn't do much for filling up your own tank, because being thought of as nice by others is the only measure for whether what you're doing is working or not.  It doesn't matter if you think you're nice or not-- you don't count.  Like all things one does or thinks, the effort required to be nice can take its toll, and it can become no longer commensurate with either the results or the energy required to attain those results.  I suppose, chances are, if you're the type of person who's expending an exorbitant amount of effort to be nice, you probably already are.

I wonder how many times I'll have to read that sentence to myself before I start to believe it.    

Friday, January 18, 2013

Hooray; It's Soup Kitchen Day

You're probably going to hate me after you read this one.


I'm not worried about how many Followers I have anymore (I'm pretty sure that 189 people don't actually actively "follow" this blog anymore anyway) and I don't care about pageviews or stats or ego-stoking comments.  So, hate me, chastise me, call my arguments "stupid" (my wife did-- several times, just to make sure I got the idea.  After all, I AM stupid!) and berate me as you will.

It's okay.

I'll get through it.

And, here we go:

I hate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

I hate it.  I think it's not only ridiculous and insulting, but I think it's insensitive and defamatory and offensive.

(No, I'm not writing this while dressed in a white bed sheet.)

It used to be, as my wife reminded stupid me, just a day off, and people decided that it needed to mean more than a Monday without TPS reports, and so it became a "national day of service".  People paint over graffiti.  They volunteer at a soup kitchen.  They clean up a park in West Philly.  They shake hands with a homeless guy and give him a sandwich and a cup of coffee.  They plant victory gardens.  I don't know.

So-and-so annoying person that I don't like posted on Facebook that she's having a difficult time explaining to her 5-year-old daughter how their family celebrates Martin Luther King Day.

"So?" I asked my wife after that pronouncement earlier this evening, "who cares?  Why does it need to be celebrated at all?  I personally don't want anything to do with it."


Right.  I don't.  Why?  Because I think it's a sham, and I think it's a disingenuous opportunity for disingenuous well-to-do white liberal phonies to have someone take a picture of them holding up a paint brush in front of an inner city crackhouse and put it up on Facebook so their equally self-serving, narcissistic friends can Like it.

Give me a fucking break.  A day of service?  Is that what Martin Luther King, Jr. would have wanted?  His picture on a goddamn postage stamp and the Hallmarkization of his lifelong struggle, the struggle for which he was shot through the cheek on April 4th, 1968 by some racist fuck bastard who wanted nothing more than to diminish everything that man stood for.  And I feel like, with this dumb "holiday", we're diminishing his memory and betraying his struggle a little bit more every day.  By making it a talking point for politicians, a chance for a school project for teachers, an opportunity to serve not the greater public, but ourselves by performing an uncharacteristic, random "good deed" to lend a hand to those "less fortunate" to bend down.

How nice of us.

I think, if Dr. King had his choice, he'd get rid of Martin Luther King Day altogether and, I'd like to think, in its place, he'd ask for people to honor his memory by trying their best, every single day, to be a little nicer, a little kinder, a little better to one another than they did the day before.  To not talk down to anyone, to not subjugate anyone, to not treat anyone as beneath you regardless of how much money they have in the bank or their wallet or what level of pigment they have or what they use to comb their hair.  To have open discussions about what race means in America.  To have a dialogue, to really sit down and talk.  That would be my fantasy-- that on Monday, businesses wouldn't close, but employees would get together over coffee and doughnuts and actually talk frankly and honestly and openly about race, about prejudice, about what it all means to struggle with our own identity and the identity of others.  No Cultural Competency PowerPoint presentations, no awkward speeches by bosses.  No talking points and no bullshit-- just conversation.  Real people, looking at one another, and talking.  I think Martin Luther King would rather see that than some well-meaning though incompetent gawky white asshole fucking up the line at a soup kitchen because he wants to feel good about himself.

I think Martin Luther King, Jr. would want to see a black president, and high school plays written by staid and stodgy old dead white men featuring multi-racial cast members.  I think he'd want to see black police officers patrolling Harlem, Baltimore and St. Louis, riding around in radio cars side-by-side with white cops, who earn the exact same amount for each shift.  More than that, he'd like to see the black sergeants and lieutenants-- not to mention the captains and the commissioners.  I think he'd like to see us talking to each other.  Really talking.

I think he'd like to see us try our best to not treat each other like shit, or worse, as we move through the world trying to lessen our discomfort with uncomfortable issues, emotions and questions that we don't know what to do with-- answers that we're afraid to find.

You don't need a day to tell you to love your mother or your wife.  You don't need Patriot Day to tell you to be sad every September the fucking eleventh.  You don't need a day to tell you to call your dad or to tell you to be thankful for food and friends and family.  And you certainly don't need a day to tell you that all human beings on this earth should be treated equally; with liberty, justice, and fellowship.  I'm not saying "get rid of Martin Luther King Day".  If people want it and they think they need it: fine.  That's fine.  For me?  I think that all I want to do is try my hardest every day to be good and do good, and that is subjective and unmeasurable and I can't take a picture of it for you and hope you Like it, or me, but I think Dr. King, in the end, would be satisfied with my infinitely small, sometimes comical, always insufficient but nevertheless sincere effort.

In any event, I hope you have a nice Monday.  I love you.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

At the Risk of Being Referential

I'm waiting.

I'm waiting for them to call.

Not me.  Them.

I'm waiting for them to call, um, them.

They're going to call them.

At least, I think they're going to call them.

Hopefully, they'll call them.

God, please don't call them.

Wait.  Wait.  Wait.

I am waiting.  For them.

They're going to call them, I know they are.  They said they'd call.

Why haven't they called them yet?

I'd know if they called them.  They'd tell me.

Well, they wouldn't tell me.  But they would.


What will they say when they're called?









Dedicated, though.

Honest.  To a fault.


But always early.

He's always early.

He's overcompensating, but he's still early.

It looks good on paper.

On the time-clock.

On the swipe-card.

Dresses well.

Hair is combed like it's 1964.

Glasses, too.  Same vintage.  Same deal.

He wants to stand out, yet he wants to hide in the corner.

Hide in the dark.

Head down, writing notes.

Writing writing writing.  He's always writing.

What's he writing, anyway?

He can smalltalk.  It looks as though it's killing him, but he does it.

He has things to do.

Walks briskly.

Eats his lunch in private.

He's private.

He'll tell you anything-- if you ask.

If you don't.

A renaissance man.  Knows a little about a lot.

Or is it a lot about a little.

You won't have to write another letter again-- he'll do it.

He can find your voice.

Steal your voice.

He can do it.

No math.  He was told there'd be no math.

No skills, lots of personality.




Poor eye-contact.



Bright affect.

Once he's comfortable, you'll want to fire him every day.

But you find you can't.






Farts quietly.

He's bringing back the necktie.

You'll love the one with all the carrots and one white rabbit.

He's going to eat all the carrots, you know.

He'll tell you so.

Just ask his references-- they'll tell you, too.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I'm a Brooks Brotha

I like Brooks Brothers.

I do.  I really, really do.

I own three Brooks Brothers shirts.  Two, I bought from thrift stores for a grand total of $22, and one was purchased for me, at full price, by my in-laws.  It has an eyelet collar (that's a hole through each collar, through which a solid gold tie-bar (they also bought that for me) goes through and fastens behind your necktie's knot.  I can't even imagine how much that shirt cost.  I don't want to imagine it, but I sometimes find myself imagining about it.

Against my will, of course.

According to Facebook, which is never wrong about anything except that one thing someone I didn't go to middle school with said once about Tina Fey that time, Brooks Brothers is "the official men's clothier for The Great Gatsby".

What the fuck does this mean? I genteelly asked myself, in that Great Gatsbian way of mine.  Google, which is also never wrong about anything except for that one time someone Googled "donkey porn electrified cum twin badgers" and got to My Masonic Apron, informed me that Brooks Brothers teamed up with costume designer Catherine Martin to design over 500 costume pieces for Baz Luhrman's film interpretation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby", starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby and Toby Maguire as that other asshole whose name doesn't matter.  I'm guessing that ready-to-wear versions of these costume pieces will be/are available for wealthier-than-average Republican motorcar aficionados and parlour games enthusiasts at nationwide Brooks Brothers retail establishments.

I don't recall much literature I read in high school for required reading.  I don't remember much of the literature I read in high school for the other kind of reading either-- what was it called?  Where the student gets to pick the book?  Voluntary?  Secessionist?  I forget.  It's far easier for me to remember middle school.  There was a story in the obligatory Houghton Mifflin Reader about an Eskimo dog whose heart explodes while he's doing something heroic.  Or something.  I remember distinctly reading about an explorer who, along with his crew, froze to death while searching in vain for the Northwest Passage, and I didn't sleep for two months thereafter.  I remember in 6th grade, I chose to read "Death Be Not Proud", which was sitting there on the shelf (right where it had no business being) and its morbid back cover synopsis, the tale of a young boy in the 1940s being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and dies at 17, of course called out to morbidly-obsessed 12-year-old me seductively.

I remember reading Graham Chapman's "A Liar's Autobiography" the following year, in 7th grade.  Actually, I didn't read it, I listened to it on several tape cassettes, because the book was out-of-print.  How I managed to score the tapes, who knows?  I recall being fascinated by Chapman's vivid and frank discussions of his alcoholism and his homosexuality, and the moment he realized he was gay.  He was in medical school and was having sex with a nurse, or a nursing student, I forget.  He said that he had the epiphany that he was attracted to men "as I came between her breasts for the third time".

I did a long book report on "A Liar's Autobiography" and Miss Stein, a newly-minted year-long substitute, gave me an A, and couldn't look me in the eye when she passed the graded report back to me.  There were no comments and, fortunately, no phone calls home.

In high school, I know I read "The Crucible", and I appeared in it onstage, too.  That was a mistake.  So was the time I appeared in it in college.  I hope to not make that mistake a third time.  I read "Major Molineux" which, apparently, is actually called "My Kinsman, Major Molineux", but who cares?  I also read "The Scarlet Letter" which is by Hawthorne, too, and it was hot-- much hotter than Major Molineux.  I read a short story by James Joyce in eleventh grade, but I couldn't tell you what it was called.  There was "The Grapes of Wrath" and "The Great Gatsby", too.  But I didn't find either very wrathful or great.

Maybe that's because I'm a phony bastard.

I fell in love with "The Catcher in the Rye" the same way every depressed, repressed, neurotic, sardonic scowling and howling boy of sixteen or whatever does, and I'm embarrassed to be such an ardent cliche, but then, I'm also a Jew with a big nose, too, so what can you do?  I could sit here and write all day about it, but then you'd probably start to get worried about me.  But then, maybe you wouldn't even notice.  People never notice anything.

I'm kind of surprised Brooks Brothers didn't release a line of clothing inspired by late 19th century garb after the movie "Lincoln" was released.  Throwbacks.  Vintage.  Silk top-hats with grosgrain ribbons for everyone.  I learned yesterday listening to a radio interview with Julian Fellows, the creator of "Downton Abbey" that, in the 1950s, they briefly brought back the corseted, crinoline clothes of the 1880s, only to abruptly halt making them, because even rich people in the 1950s didn't have valets or maids to help them button seven thousand buttons the side of a baby's pinkie fingernail.  People have to get dressed themselves now, like big boys and girls.  I put on a pair of spats for a gig last month, and I almost broke my ankle, my wrist, and fell off the bed.  I was just pretending.  When I wear my Brooks Brothers shirts, especially the one with the eyelet collar, I'm just pretending.  I'm a marvelous pretender.

I guess what I really want to say about all of this is I'm very jealous of people who get to shop at Brooks Brothers, you know, regularly.  Like, when I say I'm going to "the store to get some clothes", I'm talking about a thrift store, typically, or Kohls.  I know there are people out there who say they're going "the store to get some clothes" and they're talking about Brooks Brothers, and I hate people who say that.  I hate people who say they loved "The Great Gatsby", because they didn't.  They'll sure like wearing the clothes, though.

I know they will.    

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 Can Suck My Peen!

I've decided it already.  If 2013 can be anthropomorphisized enough so that it can have a mouth

: >(  )

it can wrap its quivering lips around my mushroom cap and yule log and go to town.

That's right, you year, you: suck it.

2012 was a real mixed bag.  My children were born, (well, in 2011, but the tail-end of it), my brother-in-law died.  "Life is a series of meetings and partings, children, that is the way of it," Bob "Kermit" Cratchit tells his frog-and-pig children after Tiny Tim passes away in the "Muppet Christmas Carol".  I don't know if the real Bob Cratchit in the original "Christmas Carol" says that line, if it's Dickens or Henson, but who cares?

I don't know what else happened that year, because I was too befuddled and overwrought and enmeshed in my own neurotic horseshit to have noticed.  I stumbled through another year of work.  I got violently assaulted and I got a new used car (those two events were unrelated).  My daughter learned how to say "Mama" and "Dada".  My son learned how to stand up and let go.  My wife is finally crafting again (right beside me at her Viking Husqvarna, in fact, at this very moment).  My parents, ageless in my eyes for so many years, finally look old.  I'm getting fewer pimples and more wrinkles.

Hoorah, hoorah, hooray.

In 2013, I'll turn thirty-three.  My children will be speaking, evidently, if all goes according to schedule.  Hopefully I'll be working somewhere else.  Hopefully I can stick with the same pair of glasses for an entire calendar year.  I don't much know what it all means, though.  I don't know what 2013 can offer me.  That sounds kind of obnoxious, but the mirror on the stairwell says "GROW" and, while I continue, I think, to grow and change and evolve as a father and as a husband and as a partner, I cannot help but feel that I am stagnating as a person.  Will I be doing G&S patter roles with amateur theatre groups forever?  Part of me says, shit, I hope so-- I'll be pretty lucky if that's the case.  Another part of me longs to do Pinter and Shepard, Stoppard and Wilder, McDonagh and Chekhov (well, maybe not Chekhov so much), and another part of me longs to get paid for it.

I don't want to stagnate in therapy.  I want to keep climbing the mountain, and not get pooped on one of the little lower peaks.  I'm afraid to fall, and I'm afraid to ascend-- I don't know what I'll find if either happens.  What's worse-- I'm starting to not care anymore when I sit in that chair in front of that intimidatingly handsome man.  I'm starting not to care about what he thinks of me, or what he thinks about anything.  What good is he?  What good are any of them?  For how long will I continue to hand over those $50 checks-- how long will I tolerate it?  How long will he?  As long as I keep writing those checks, I suppose.

I want to keep learning about myself, but, in another respect, I want to stop.  I'm so tired and sick and grossed out by all the navel gazing.  It's consuming our society-- narcissism and introspection and masturbation and I'm growing so sick of it.  This blog, my internal monologue, my obsessions and my insecurities that I'm dying to throw up all over you with.  What I can't say here.  After 955 posts you'd think there's nothing that I can't say here, but there is.  I can say that I'd like to have sex with two Pakistani eighteen year olds at the same time before I die, I'm fine with saying that-- but there's so much that I can't say.  And that is painful for me, and, at the same time, it's annoying and necessary and at the same time, it's neither of those things.  I don't know what it is.

In 2013, my 2006 CR-V will reach 100,000 miles.  Years ago, when cars didn't really do that, you took a picture of your odometer rolling over (because, like I said, cars didn't really do that) and the car company would send you a beautiful metal medallion to clasp onto your grille to mark the achievement.  Volkswagen, Volvo and Mercedes did, at least.  Other car companies didn't because, like I said-- oh nevermind.  Now, most cars make it to 100,000, but car companies don't send you medallions anymore because they're too expensive to make and nobody makes things like that anymore and everything's plastic and nothing's metal and nobody cares and watches are all about bling now and Chips Ahoy taste like chemicals and they're smaller than they used to be and what exactly are crab fries anyway and where did we all go wrong and who wants tea and why did Graham Chapman have to die in 1989 and why couldn't it have been Nicolas Cage and why do you sob, heavy world, sob as you spin, mantled in mist, remote from the happy and Matilda's the defendant, she killed about a hundred and where you'll lay your head, where you'll sleep tonight, bluebirds say and a Gilbert is of no use without a Sullivan and I'm terrified to go to sleep tonight, and I'm just as scared of waking up tomorrow morning.

Or not.

I want to watch movies and go to the theatre and sit cross-legged at folk concerts and drink overpriced coffee again.  Can I do that, 2013?  I want some motherfucking balance, and some goddamned, Christ-gobbling fun.  Also, I want those two babies to hug me back.  They're going to hug me back in 2013, I think.

I want that.

And, I've got to say, in 2013: I don't want anymore partings.  And, frankly, I don't want anymore meetings, either.  I hate meetings.