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The Importance of Being

May. 6, 2009
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I’m Art Kumbalek and man oh manischewitz what a world, ain’a? So listen, about this character by the name of Rick Perry—who just happens to be the American governor of Texas—flapping his gums about how maybe the Lone Star state ought to fold and walk away from the constitutional union of spacious skies, amber waves of grain, purple mountain majesties, fruited plains and what-not, I would like to suggest that he grab ahold of the Washington Monument and shove it up his…

(Oops! Hold on, I got the phone ringing here and I better take the call. It could be this Nigerian prince I ran into on the Internet who sent me a message that he’s got like a million bucks with my name on it if only I can help him out with a little misunderstanding he’s having with a United States financial institution, the bastards.)

“Hey Artie, so you know if you’re coming by my place Sunday yet?”

(It’s my buddy Little Jimmy Iodine. He’s planning to have a Mother’s Day brunch for us fellas whose ma’s have gone to a better a place, and by better place I don’t mean Vegas on a three-day junket. I’ll make this call short so’s we can get back to business.)

“Jimmy, call me later. I’m right in the middle of whipping out an essay for the paper.”

“Yeah, OK Artie, I understand—power of the press, or what’s left of it, et-focking-cetera. But I got to know now how many Polish sausage I got to get. And don’t forget, I’m making my famous ground-beef stuffed cabbage rolls and yes, I got plenty of horseradish. Hey, did I tell you Felix Bryszeswiczkowtowski said he was coming?”

“You got to be jerking my beefaroni, Jimmy. I haven’t seen that wag since that night years ago when he got barred-for-life from the Dutchland Dairy restaurant after he loosened the tops to all the salt-shakers right before the crowd from Our Lady Of You Kids Are Going Straight To Hell came in for their post-prom repast.”

“Yeah yeah, Artie. Justice could be harsh for the young people back then. So’s you know, his ma died some years ago but he still puts flowers on her grave each day of the week.” “That can be expensive.”

“Could be, but I’ll tell you Artie, he works out at a cemetery. Same one his ma’s buried at, and it doesn’t cost him a dime for the flowers. What he does is when he’s out cutting the grass, raking leaves or something and he sees someone put flowers on a grave, he’ll wait ’till they drive off and then move them over to his ma’s grave.”

“It’s the thought that counts.”

“You betcha, Artie—especially with this economy. Listen, I know you got to go and do your little article, but I want to run by you for suggestions a little spoken-word thing I put together that I’d like to recite right before we cut into the ring baloney on Sunday. I call it “How I Spell Mother” and it goes something like this:

“M: is for those meals you cooked I always tried my best to be way late for. I’ll never forget those pot roasts. I’m still trying to swallow a piece from one of them that I’ve been chewing since 1963. O: is for the first vowel in the word “vocabulary.” And you taught me well that “o” is also the first vowel in “soap.” Cripes, I was the only kid in fifth grade who could swear and blow bubbles at the same time. T: is for the twenty-tofifty thousand dollars my baseball cards and comic books would be worth today if you hadn’t tossed them in the trash while I was elsewhere some afternoon performing my community-service obligation. Lucky for you I couldn’t afford a better lawyer when I sued and took you to court for “loss of income.” T-anks for nothing.

“H: stands for those what-the-hell-kind-ofcancer-patient haircuts you administered in the kitchen while I sat beneath the salad bowl just so you could save the two-bits that the ribald Italian barber up the street would’ve otherwise charged. I still can’t look at the photos from my first wedding to this day. E: what the fock, still haven’t figured out what “E” stands for. And R: is for that even with all the toil and trouble we gave each other, I really miss you, I kid you not. I do really miss you.”

“That’s nice, Jimmy. Yeah, OK, see you Sunday.”

And hey, talk about the spoken word come to think of it, if you’re looking for a nice champagne toast at your own Mother’s Day brunch, how ’bout you pop some Oscar Wilde: All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his.

O-Wild, you be the man still, ’cause I’m Art Kumbalek and I told you so.


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