“Masonite”

Your friendly bartender is always amazed when things like this occur, when the universe takes its cue and connects the dots…

A week ago Friday this friend came in (a talented writer and director I’ll call Neil), who decided to have some dinner with me at the bar. He does that a lot. So he started with his usual bowl of onion soup, tomato/mozzarella next, then followed that up with a sliced New York steak on toast points. Not a bad sitting. But after he knocked off this one-man feast I could see by the familiar glint in his eye it was dessert time. See Neil loves his desserts, probably more than he should, and being Jewish he has little choice in the matter. It’s in the DNA!

“Pear Strudel with ice cream?” I asked, a proven winner in the past, “or how about a slice of cheesecake or maybe creme brulee’?”

“Ya’ know what I haven’t had here yet?” he declared with all the gravity of a man on a quest.

“No, what?” I replied.

“Your key lime pie. I… have… not… yet… tried… your… key… lime… pie. Is it good?”

“Of course it’s good, ya’ bum, whaddaya’ think? Everything’s good or it wouldn’t be on the menu.”

“Okay, you sold me, let’s give it a shot.”

So I served him the pie which he gobbled down in a shot. And I mean like two minutes!

“Jesus, Neil,” I said to my friend, seeing the empty plate which didn’t need washing, “that didn’t take long.”

“Small piece,” he said, with a mischievous grin.

“Really? You serious?”

“Nah, the size was fine, I’m just kidding.” Which he was. And which he always does whenever he visits our confines. It’s in his DNA too!

“You know what this reminds me of?” I then said to my friend. “That old Jackie Mason routine about the Jewish guy in the restaurant eating cheesecake.”

“Which bit is that?”

“I think it’s from his first HBO special, The World According to Me, where this Jewish guy is sitting in a restaurant about to bite into his cheesecake, when he notices a bigger slice on the table next to him. So he leans over to the guy and says, ‘What! They made you a partner?'” (Pronounced paht’-nah!) Then we both laughed and that was the end of that.

Now here’s where that “zany” universe swings into action…

That following Monday night (I never work on Monday’s by the way, I was just filling in, which makes the following event even more serendipitous), who walks in the door but Jackie Mason. What the hell are the odds??? I mean here we are a mere three nights later, three nights after I quoted him, and in he walks for the very first time in our bar. That’s like me humming American Pie and Don McLean walking in for some key lime pie. It’s totally off the charts.

So about an hour after his entrance, after Jackie and his three friends had finished what they had been eating (Jackie only had dessert, what else?), I approached the man and shared this amazing coincidence.

“You know, Sir,” I said, joining him out in the hall where he was conversing with (nay interrogating) our lovely owner, “I quoted you just the other night.”

“You quoted me?” he said with curiosity. It should be noted that the last word in all of his sentences rises sharply in pitch, just like it does when uttered by the man on stage. For he’s always on stage.

“Yep indeed, Mr. Mason, I quoted your routine about the Jewish guy eating the cheesecake.”

Now probably knowing a thousand jokes about a Jewish guy eating a cheesecake, he just furrowed his brow, stared and waited for more. So I gave it to him. I told him the story like I told it to Neil, somewhat nervously of course, realizing I was doing Jackie Mason to Jackie Mason, even affecting “partner” in his patented “paht-nah”. But I did it without a hitch and guess what? I not only got a laugh from the man, I lit him up like we’d just made him a partner. In our establishment! Which was great to see. Because most comedians hate being quoted or hearing their catch phrases yelled at them on the street. It becomes tiresome. But this was different, dear reader. Different I think because I remembered something so distant in Jackie’s past, it reflected if nothing a longstanding appreciation for him.

“You remember that?” he said, all smiles. “That’s from my first HBO special, how could you possibly know that?” {final “woid” rising}

“I remember a lot of your work, Sir, and I’ve seen all of your specials, I’m a big fan.”

“Well, thank you very much,” he said. Then he shook my hand and returned to his table of four.

Now on a personal note which might be construed a disclaimer…

I have to say I do not agree with Mr. Mason’s politics, he leans so far to the right on talk shows you wonder if he wore a tricorn hat to the studio. Which you’re free to look up. But also while you’re looking that up be sure to catch some You Tube bits from his specials. Because they are special. And worth it. And you’ll see why the man on stage is all that really matters. His politics to me have nothing to do with the genius I see on stage, a genius who’s been plying his trade for some fifty years. And ten minutes!

Why the extra ten minutes? Because that’s what he did in the bar when he made his exit. Ten hilarious minutes. With pure Borscht Belt laser acuity he nailed me, he nailed the piano player, nailed some people at the bar, then glided out of the room to resounding applause. Which was as it should be. And since your friendly bartender obviously loved every glorious “minute”, I guess that makes him a dyed-in-the-wool “Masonite”.

Now about this universe doing it’s mischievous thing again. If I could just think of a single quote from a Juliette Binoche movie….

See ya’ next week-end, dear reader!

10 Responses to ““Masonite””


  1. 1 jc October 16, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    The only thing you need to do for Juliette is throw yourself in a chocolate fondue fountain.

  2. 2 scribbler50 October 16, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    jc: Where’s my wet suit???

  3. 3 Anonymoustache October 17, 2011 at 9:04 am

    The truly talented comedians are always good extempore, aren’t they? Good stuff, bro.

  4. 4 scribbler50 October 17, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Anonymoustache: Yes they are, just like you are sometimes on this blog.
    Cheers, pal!

  5. 5 chris October 17, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    great story….he really is a funny man…
    and so are you my friend…
    d-a-p

  6. 6 scribbler50 October 17, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    d-a-p: Thanks, bud, and you’re right… he’s beyond funny. Like turning on a joke machine full throttle!

  7. 7 physiobabe October 18, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Here’s a Juliette Binoche quote that may refer to you: “What makes a person sexy is when he’s not trying to be sexy.”

    I’m not into girls, but I swear to god, if I ever met her, I’d fucking kiss her on the lips. She’s THAT gorgeous!

    Ciao, Scrib

  8. 8 scribbler50 October 18, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    physiobabe: It’ll be my mantra behind the bar tonight. 🙂
    Grazie, bella.

  9. 9 blue girl October 25, 2011 at 8:29 am

    Wonderful, Scrib!

    And *of course* you did it in his accent! I wouldn’t have thought any different! 🙂

  10. 10 scribbler50 October 25, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Blue girl: Thanks, Beege, you should’ve been there you would’ve loved it!


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