Sales Experience Necessary

IT HAS LONG BEEN PROPOSED in some circles that, in order to build a better class of citizens, we need some sort of national-service program along the lines of an in-house Peace Corps or revamped Works Progress Administration. “Give people the tools to literally build the country they live in,” goes the argument, “and they will obtain a greater sense of national ownership, pride, and responsibility.”

Not a bad idea, that. Here’s another:

“Everyone should work retail for a year. Especially during the holiday rush.”

I’m not joking.

We’re all just raindrops on a windshield.”
— Jerry Seinfeld, to Michael Richards in “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”

Let’s Get Real

ON THIS DAY EIGHT YEARS ago, I stepped out from under the shadow of a decades-long cannabis addiction. And I haven’t been the same man since.

Thank God.

What brought me to that point was twofold: I decided that 1) I was being selfish to the ones I most love by robbing them of my alert and unaltered presence, and 2) I just didn’t like feeling stupid all the time anymore.

Looking back, I realize that cannabis had structured my existence in some scary ways. I planned my life around it, spent my money on it, self-sabotaged with it, and turned into a raving jerk when I was deprived of it. What I didn’t know at the time was that these behaviors are all symptomatic of addiction.

One Another

THE SCENE: LAST WEEK AT a medical office.

It was a strictly routine matter, but one which involved removing my cabbie cap and disclosing my kippah.

“How was your Chanukah?” the technician asked.

“It was good,” I replied. “Lots of light in a very dark time.”

His eyes held mine. “Tell me about it. I celebrate Chanukah too.”

Prosatio Silban and the Ravenous Inebriate

WHEN YOU’RE ROUSTED FROM A warm bed around midnight, it had better be worthwhile.

What in the Nine Hells is that racket? Prosatio Silban thought, rolling out of his sleeping berth and onto his galleywagon’s ornate braided rug. Is something on fire? A rampage of animals? Natural disaster? What? and more so, why?

The loud and rhythmic rapping at his door was then punctuated by slurred cries of “Hey! Cook! Wake up! I’m hungry!”

Prosatio Silban and the Grave Matter

ALTHOUGH THE UULIANS COMMONLY CREMATE their deceased, it is also common for the bereaved survivors – at least, those with means – to erect quaint stone monuments in favored locations. Rare is the park, garden, or waterside lacking at least one discreet marker listing a decedent’s name, death date, and tender qualities, thus:

Melora Hyart
13 Jackal, Year of the Panting Cat
Beloved Friend, Wise Mentor, and Devoted Daughter-in-Law

On occasion, the memorial might also mention an achievement of some sort – Honest Launderer, perhaps, or Accomplished Throat-Musician, or Taxidermist Supreme.

And sometimes, the “achievement” was a favorite recipe.

Fear of death is worse than death.”
— R. Yehudah de Modena