I’m Art Kumbalek and man oh man manischewitz what a world, ain’a? And about this summer solstice June 21, it’s a bad news/good news deal to me. Bad news: June 21 is the first—not the last—focking day of summer with way too many to follow, chock-packed with heat, stupidity, racket and bugs. Good news: The days become shorter as they say, so a couple, three more spins of the moon around the Earth and fall, with its more civilized seasonal sanity, will be upon us. And it can’t come soon enough, I kid you not.So on account of my summertime blues, fock the essay this week. And since the Uptowner tavern/charm school is yet to open, I’m off to my favorite Webb’s. Come along if you want but you leave the tip, what the fock. Let’s get going.
Bea: Hey there Artie, what’s your pleasure?
Art: Hey Bea, how ’bout a nice cup of the blackest, thickest and cheapest of whatever you’re calling plain-old regular coffee today. And by thick, Bea, I mean you got to stick a fork in it to tell if it’s done or not.
Bea: You’re in luck, Artie. I just took some out of the oven right before you came in.
Art: So what do you hear, what do you know, Bea?
Bea: We had a nice couple stop in for their rehearsal breakfast earlier. They’re getting married tomorrow.
Art: Yeah yeah, June. Great month for brides, limo drivers and those goddamn DJs, ain’a? The one piece of advice I got for any young couple planning a catered affair is this: Live music is best.
Bea: It surely is, Artie.
Art: Anyways, I wish them the best of luck. It’s one thing to get married, but it’s not so easy staying married like it was years ago, no sir. Too many couples aren’t ready for the practical realities of the conjubial obligations of the marriage betrothing.
Bea: You may be right about that, Artie.
Art: Focking-A, Bea. I’m no expert but maybe they could help cut the divorce rate right from the get-go during the wedding vows for the husband groom, if in between when he says “to love, honor and obey” and “till death do us part,” he had to say, “and damned if I do, damned if I don’t.” You ever been married, Bea?
Bea: No Artie, can’t say that I have. And how about you?
Art: That would be a definite no, Bea. Not to say there haven’t been a couple, three possible future-ex Mrs. Art Kumbaleks come down the pike, but the thought of marriage can sure put the fear of the lord into a guy, and what do I need that kind of aggravation for?
Bea: Couldn’t tell you, Artie.
Art: Cripes, I already got the fear of the IRS, the fear of coming up with one more excuse for the landlord, the fear of running out of cigarettes when all the stores are closed—I sure as heck don’t need to be tossing the lord into that fearsome pot, what the fock.
Bea: I suppose not.
Art: ’Nother reason I never got married Bea, most of the ladies I know either have a pet or always wanted one, and that’s just too risky a proposition for a successful marriage.
Bea: Really, Artie.
Art: You bet, Bea. Let me tell you a little story. This gal I know was coming out of the donut shop on her way to work when she saw the strangest funeral procession heading to the cemetery. At the front was a long, black hearse followed by a second hearse. Following the second hearse was a solitary woman dressed all in black and walking a dog on a leash. Behind her were maybe 200 women walking in single file.
Bea: You don’t say.
Art: So my gal friend says to the woman walking the dog, “I’m sorry for your loss. I know it’s a bad time to disturb you, but I’ve never, ever seen a funeral like this. May I ask whom it’s for?” And the dog lady says, “The first hearse is for my husband. My dog attacked and killed him.”
My friend says, “I’m so sorry. But then who’s in the second hearse?” And the lady says, “My mother-in-law. She was trying to help my husband when the dog turned on her.” A moment passed and my friend asked, “Could I borrow that dog?” And the new widow said, “Get in line.”
Bea: Isn’t that something.
Art: That, it is. Anyways, I got to run, Bea. Thanks for the coffee and for letting me bend your ear there, Bea—utiful. See you the time that’s next.
Bea: My pleasure, Artie. Always nice getting talked at by you. Take care.
(It’s off to the Uptowner. And if I see you there, then you buy me one ’cause I’m Art Kumbalek and I told you so.