My friend is a successful businessman, and over the 50+ years I’ve known him, I have seen that he is well and truly a genius. I don’t mean a specialist, like a physicist or a mechanical engineer. I mean in everything about everyday life, he sees all, clearly. It seems he researches everything he encounters, so he can know his position on the subject.
Here’s an example of how he wins in daily life, by knowing what he needs to know: His main office is in a busy, central location. He owns the parking lot behind the building, and it is used for staff cars and cars of visitors for meetings. Often, people park in the lot illegally, because street parking is difficult to find.
One day, my friend arrived at his office to find a big Audi SUV in his personal parking spot. Unperturbed, he parked his car in front of the offending vehicle and went into his office. A while later, police asked for his help. He accompanied the police to the parking area. The first officer asked him if he knew whose car was blocking the way. He said yes, he did know. The Audi guy was pushing the police to act.
The cop asked if my friend could have the car moved. He said no. The owner of the Audi was agitated to say the least. He demanded the police insist the car be moved. When asked whose car it was, my friend acknowledged that it was his own. The Audi owner asked why he wouldn’t move his car. He pointed out that by law he was not obliged to move his car.
One of the two cops knew of the obscure law on which my friend was basing his position. Then, as cops most often say, they said there was nothing they could do. My friend walked calmly back to his office, the cops left and the Audi guy had to wait ‘til my friend took his car out for his own reason.
He was very beautiful, even as a pup. He grew up to be a magnificent Kerry Blue Terrier. We lived in a rural area, surrounded by farms. Some were dairy farms, some were beef farms, and most were growing corn and hay. It was commonplace in that remote community to let the farm dogs have their freedom. Each dog most often stayed around its home farm, and occasionally went roaming and hanging around with others.
I thought Dorian was an elegant name for a country dog. I got it from the famous classic book, “The Picture of Dorian Grey.” I should have thought it through, as you’ll realize if you have read the book. In Oscar Wilde’s novel, Dorian Grey is constantly out on the town. He drank to excess, he smoked a variety of weeds and drugs, and engaged in a seemingly endless numbers of sexual encounters with women, girls, and boys. It seemed to not matter to him that his life was a continuous debauchery. In fact, if anyone attempted an intervention, he simply convinced them to join his depravity.
My Dorian grey was a lovely guy, and an adventurer by nature. Many nights, while I lay asleep in my bed, or my television chair, Dorian was out. He’d be running with other rough and tough country dogs, chasing cats, including some lynx, racoons, and occasionally a bear, I believe. Still, he’d return home in the morning, spry and happy, having apparently suffered no punishment for his aggressive antics. I felt like he’d had his way with every available bitch in the county.
On the other hand, I’d wake up feeling spent. It was as if I’d been carousing and fornicating all night, like Dorian did. I didn’t always fully recover, and by the time I was 45, I was like a man in his sixties. At the same time, Dorian was 19, and still as spry and lively as a pup. Finally, I realized that I was Dorian’s “portrait”, as in the novel. Dorian, the anti-hero of the novel went on carousing throughout his life, while his handsome face in the portrait, in a locked room at home, grew increasingly aged as time passed.
A very lovable, very strange guy was Gerald Fineberg. We met at a Jewish men’s club gathering. I never go to these things, and I don’t remember why I was there, but I remember I was pressured by a friend, for some reason. In the end, it was okay, because I met Gerald F. (for fearless) Fineberg. We eventually became good friends for many years.
At the ridiculous ‘lodge meeting’, Fineberg and I were chatting, and learned that we had a mutual interest in automobile racing. Gerald was a unique character, big and round like Pavarotti, and could let out an aria from ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ that was pleasant to the ear. He smoked large cigars, wore a cowboy hat and boots. He was most often in loose shorts with massive legs showing between shorts and boots.
During our chat, he invited me to his garage. He claimed he was building a Formula Vee car to race and a hot rod to drive daily. I didn’t believe the very large, muscular man with the western hat and boots, chewing on a cigar. I went to his home one evening, to see for myself. He lived with his parents in a large home in a suburban neighbourhood of upper-middle class homes. His father owned a kosher food distributing company.
The first thing I noticed was Gerald’s vehicle in the driveway. It was magnificent! It was a shiny as new, 1956 Ford pickup truck in vibrant orange. He came out of the house, greeted me with his usual booming enthusiasm. The double garage had no division between the two sides. When the double door rolled up and away, I was greeted by a hot-rod roadster in the making on the left, and a single-seat, open wheel Formula Vee race car. On the side were the words ‘Outcasts Racing’. Formula Vee cars are very small, and Gerald was very large. He built his car to accommodate his bulk.
We would see each other at the races, although I raced in a different class from Gerald, we’d spend time together between races. In spite of his large size and big black beard, he was such a sweet person that dogs and children were immediately attracted to him. My daughter was especially fond of him. When it was time to take my wife to the hospital to give birth to a second child, I left my four-year-old daughter with Gerald for the day. She had a wonderful time, and lots of treats. In the basement of their home, the Fineberg’s had extra refrigerators and freezers. There they kept lots of ice cream, popciles, fudgicles, creamcicles and such things.
Gerald Fineberg made his living in various ways. He distributed sailboat finishes. He taught himself aluminum welding and did it. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked. The strangest thing about him was that he was a compulsive liar. He seemed to not remember that he lied the day before. He might say, “I’ve opened a bank in the Cayman Islands. It’s making a fortune.” The next day he might say, “I need to find a payment on my loan.” They were not always outrageous lies that were easily overlooked. “I’m going to raise the Titanic. My idea is to pump it full of ping-pong balls and it will float right up.” Crazy, right?
One day, he said he was going underwater to do submerged welding on the pylons that hold up Ontario Place. Ontario Place is a vast waterpark and entertainment venue in the waters of Lake Ontario, at the south extremity of Toronto. Of course, we just absorbed the unlikely story as we did with all his stories and claims. We never challenged him. He was a sweet guy. The next day, on the front page, second section of the Toronto Star, there was a huge photo of Gerald Fineberg, holding a huge divers’ helmet. The story was, he was going down to do some maintenance welding under water.
One day he told me that he used to drive a stock car, and one day the throttle stuck open and he plowed straight through a railing and a tall fence. They put a metal plate in his head to save him. Again, I let it pass as one of Gerald’s fantasies. Sometime later, I was in a performance parts store. When the salesman noted my somewhat Jewish name, he noted that not many Jews are into modifying cars. Having now profiled me, he asked if I knew a guy named Gerald Fineberg. When I said I did, he told the story of when Fineberg’s throttle stuck open and he went through a wall and needed a metal plate in his head. The salesman had been there, racing his own stock car.
Gerald was a great guy, eccentric all the time. I fear he must have passed away, because I’ve been unable to locate him during the past few years. I’ve been off to distant places, and lost touch with him. He was strange, but a very good person.
I remember more Fineberg stories, so I might have to bring him up again some time.
My wife pointed out to me that I don’t have any friends that are not strange in some way. It causes me to look at myself, because if I like them even though they’re nuts, maybe they like me because I’m nuts. I know I’m not typical nor do I live an average kind of life, but I think I have the “nuts” part of myself under control and properly directed. I’m much too productive to be totally nuts.
First, there was Harold. It’s difficult to know just what’s wrong with him, but if one watches for it, one can tell that he’s on a rusty track. He is often out of work, because no sooner does he acquire a job, than he starts telling the boss that his business is doing everything wrong, and he, Harold, can straighten it all out. Although Harold is very intelligent, he just can’t inter-act with anyone, including women. When he’s out of work, it’s because of the interference of others. The Asians are to blame. It’s the blacks. It’s the Italian immigrants, or the Estonians. It’s because of them.
When he was a boy, Harold could not abide anyone having a preference other than the one he prefers. I remember a time when Michael from down the street was wearing a Detroit Red Wings shirt. Harold freaked out. We had all been friends for years, grown up together, but Harold said he was through with Michael. It was obvious that the Toronto Maple Leafs was the team to adore, and Michael’s preference for the Red Wings deemed him unworthy of Harold’s friendship.
The crises over the hockey teams passed, and several years more passed. We were all into sports cars and sports car racing, and most of us participated. On the fringes of our group was a girl, a woman, really. She was a bit older than we were, and she had a 12 year old daughter. She liked race car drivers, and slept with some of them sometimes. Eventually, Michael, who was about 10 years younger than the woman – I think her name was Christie – announced that he was going to marry Christie and adopt her child. Harold freaked out again, and that was it for Michael forever as far as Harold was concerned. Poor Christie came to me and asked if I would attend the wedding, and I told her I would, of course.
Harold was very good looking, and was a wonderful storyteller. Women were attracted to him, but he did not respond. He was not gay, he just could not deal with an emotional situation. He liked sex, and he liked prostitutes. Good sex (he thought) and no involvement. It takes all kinds, and my kind of friends are kind of nuts.
I will write about another crazy friend, and another, and another, sometime soon.
It was a time when I was living alone, except for my Golden Retriever, Pookah. I was still quite new in town, and had not yet earned any trusted friends or neighbours. I wanted to go back to my home town of Toronto to visit my daughter and my friends for a weekend. I wanted to take Pookah with me, but I couldn’t drive there because my car was already there, and I planned to drive it back to Montreal. I sat down and schemed.
There was an overnight train from Montreal to Toronto and the same in return. It took all night because it stopped everywhere on the way. I thought I’d take a private bedroom on the overnight train, so I’d have a place where Pookah could be with me. I couldn’t stand the thought of her in a cage in a cold baggage car. I had to smuggle her onto the train somehow.
I focused on the dog’s dimensions before I went shopping. I bought an inexpensive suitcase that was a bit longer, wider, and taller than was the dog. It had four little wheels on the bottom. I drilled a series of holes in the underside, near the wheels, so the holes couldn’t be seen when the suitcase sat upright.
During the week preceding the train trip, I regularly put Pookah into the bag for a moment, and then took her out. I did it several times, so it wouldn’t be strange to her when it was for real. My scheme was unfolding as I hoped it would.
The night train leaves at five minutes before midnight. My apartment in Montreal was in a terrific location over all, and within walking distance of Central Station. At about eleven thirty on the warm summer night, I put Pookah’s leash on, and we walked through the quiet city streets toward the station. I carried the empty bag. During this walk, the dog could relieve herself and be comfortable with the overnight hiatus.
The streets were quiet, and it was not too difficult to put Pookah into the bag outside the train station. She was a smallish Golden Retriever, but still, a considerable weight to carry. I tried rolling the bag along on its wheels, but the rumbling sound made her start moving around inside, so it was very hard to handle. I had no choice but to roll it along until I got close to the ticket window. I got the first class, private stateroom ticket with the doggie bag beside me.
One of many benefits to first class is that you get advanced boarding. I held onto the bag while I descended the escalator to the platform. I was quickly shown to my quarters, and was grateful. The weight of the doggie bag was becoming annoying. I released Pookah onto the bed the instant I was in the room. She was happy. I let her look out the window as the train snaked its way out of the station and across the city on its way to Toronto.
I was able to give the dog some water from the private washroom that comes with the stateroom. I set up the sleeping arrangement, and soon the dog and I were asleep. In the morning, a steward brought orange juice, toast and coffee to the door. I took it from him through a narrow opening, so he wouldn’t see the dog.
As the train ground to a stop in the Toronto station, I put Pookah into the suitcase and carried her out of the train. I didn’t try to carry the doggie bag all the way through the vast, Great Hall of the Toronto station. In the corridor, with hasty people sweeping past with unnecessary haste, I released the dog and walked brazenly through the station with the dog on the leash and the bag in my other hand.
I boarded the subway car with the dog on the leash. The only people that paid any attention were those who smiled and petted the dog. I rode through half-a-dozen stations ‘til I got to the one where my daughter met me, and took me to her home. My car was there, so after a couple of days of food and conversation, I drove back to my Montreal home with Pookah beside me.
Imagine a gorgeous model, making her successful way through a life of glamour. There comes an occasion when she sees an older man. People seem to gather around him. Melania wonders why. She finds him quite unattractive, like the fabled ‘Ugly American’. He is, in fact, quite ugly, with a radiant, orange face and a hairstyle like an Orangutan.
“Why is that homely oaf in the baggy suit getting all that attention?” she wonders aloud. A nearby servant overhears her.
“He has several billion dollars,” the servant says, “and many New York buildings. He even has a personal Boing 747 jet plane. They say it’s lined with gold.”
“What’s his name?” Melania asks.
“Trump,” the servant says. “Donald J. Trump.”
“Thank you,” says Melania. She puts her drink down on a table and snakes her way across the room to the object of her fancy. “Oh, Mr. Trunk,” she says.
“It’s Trump!” he says.
“Oh, Mr. Trump,” she says, “I’ve been a follower of yours for a long time. I’m so pleased to finally meet you in person.”
“You should be pleased,” Trump says. “Everybody wants to meet me. I have thousands of people trying to meet me. Putin, Churchill…”
“Uh… Churchill’s dead,” Melania points out.
“Oh, I didn’t hear. I’m sorry,” Donald says. “I was wondering why he didn’t return my calls.”
“He’s been dead a long time,” she says.
“He didn’t call for a long time,” Trump shrugs. Meanwhile, Melania smiles sweetly as Donald grasps her vagina and kisses her mouth with his suction cup lips.
“Oh, Thank you Mr. Trump,” she says.
“Call me Donald,” he says. “Let’s get married.”
“Yes, let’s,” says Melania, with a girlish blush.
Does this make Melania Trump, soon to be first lady of America, the most expensive whore in the USA?