Not many people achieve what they set out to do.  I’ve practiced the xylophone for over fifty years and where am I working tonight?  I have thought hard about this and have come to the realization that my true calling was not being a Xylophone Virtuoso but rather a professional Bingo Caller.  I love doing it, people love me doing it, and most important of all I am really good at it.

But now of course we live in an era where every poor-entitled soul with a few bucks feels that just because they are paying for something they can tell the expert how they should do it.

So a guy hires an artist to paint a picture of him.  He has chosen this artist after seeing his work.  Then just before the artist begins, the guy tells him that he wants to look thirty pounds lighter, have a full head of red hair (he is bald of course) and “I want my suit to be a pale green.” Of course the suit is brown.

I used to, at lectures, explain that regardless of money some people are just not entitled and should let the experts do their job.

My best pal needs brain surgery.  Only one man in the world can do this very rare, delicate operation.  He must be the Ian Finkel of brain surgery.  Fourteen hours, dozens of doctors have all agreed that this expert is the only one in the world that can save my friend.  We go to him.  He wants two hundred and fifty thousand dollars for the procedure and though we have no insurance (of course) I tell the great brain surgeon not to worry I’ll get the money.  I do and it is all set up.

Operation day…my pal is into the eighth hour of fourteen.  It is going well.  During the procedure I walk into the operating room, I do not wash my hands nor am I even wearing a proper gown and I walk over to the doctor and grab his arm to the freaking out of all the others in attendance and say, “Don’t use that whatever the hell it is.  Use this rusty butter knife!” and I give it to him.

The good doctor looks at me in horror and says, “Are you insane?!  You have compromised the entire procedure.  Good Grief and Gosh!”  And I say “Oh Yeah?!  Well I am paying you so therefore I am entitled to my opinion!”

Now obviously I am not.  I know nothing about brain surgery, remember I didn’t even wash up before entering, and just because I am paying for the operation that does not mean I am entitled to tell the surgeon what to do.  Nor can I call up a great artist (think Picasso) and say, “Hey Pablo baby, sweetie, I want color!  Not black and white!  Hey look Mr. PP, after all I am paying you and that is what I want!”

Okay so many of you gentle readers are going to disagree.  And I agree that one could certainly tell the caterer that you want the fish and not the chicken, the house painter you want the toilet green and not white.  But getting back at long last to Bingo, “please, please, please” (James Brown my hero) don’t tell me how to run the game.

I was hired by a super-sized company to run a Bingo game for a volunteer event, that they are holding  at a Senior Citizens Center!  After checking out the Bingo numbers, machine and prizes, the time came around and we were about to begin the game.  I must first point out that I give away prizes like crazy. I explain to the audience that when someone calls out BINGO to not…not…not clear their card as I am going to continue and of course the next Bingo person gets a prize, First of all, especially at a Senior Citizen Center, if the player has reached eighty, ninety and plus years of age, I feel they deserve a great prize just for that.  Secondly, the corporation that hired me has got mucho big bucks and the money they spent on the prizes is nothing to them.  In fact, I see to it that everyone that walks in gets a prize, everyone is a winner and as each game gets harder, a straight across to a full page, I give away bigger and bigger prizes.

Okay so we are about to begin and right away someone with a whistle around their neck, holding a clip board, comes over to me and starts telling me how to run the game.  “Keep it going, tell a lot of jokes, etc. etc.” And I say, “The Company hired me so why don’t you get lost?”  Then a company volunteer who is in charge of coffee cups at work comes over to me and starts telling me what I should do.  Should do?!  What I should do…What I should do is to tell her to get lost as everything she has told me is wrong.

  1. Lady, I don’t do that stuff
  2. Please get lost
  3. Drop Dead
  4. Get lost and then drop dead.

People love to heckle and a computer operator is going at me.  He wants jokes, such as, “B13!  Bar Mitzvah!”   Hey Hey, Yuck Yuck.  I don’t do that, I just have fun with the numbers, repeat them out loud several times, pour out the charm and give away a lot of prizes.  By the way, after the gig I watched computer boy push the up button to leave.  We were on the 4th floor.  It is the down button.  “You push buttons for a living and the stork that delivered you was arrested for smuggling dope!”  Dope got it?  I took that line from an old movie.

After the game was over and all the prizes were given away.  Many people both from the corporation and the senior citizen’s home came over to me to say how great it went, the prizes were wonderful, how perfectly charming I am, (Naturally) and you must come back soon to do it again.  Those opinions they are entitled too of course.

I must mention that I have just hired Itzak Perlman to play at a cocktail party of mine and after I tell him I want a medley of Mustang Sally, some Pharell Williams and Mozart’s biggest hits  I will show him what fingerings to use.  And maybe, even loan him that orange jacket I wear on stage.

Next blog:  Cigars

For more of my writing click here.


The Merde of Park Avenue

There are a lot of Beatles fans.  I am not one of them.  James Brown is my man.  When I am amongst other musicians and I go into my,  “I hate the Beatles act” and how Bernard Purdie ghosted many of the drum-tracks for Ringo on their recordings, most of the other players bury their heads in their laps covering up with their arms.  I usually finish off with the ever popular, “Hey and I hate Brahms as well, I am a Tchaikovsky man.  Leopold Auer was a better player than Josef Joachim.   Oh just google these names, will ya!”  I so much enjoy the encore of the head burying arm cover up bit they do.

So now that I have turned off so many members of the music world, I have to move onto The World of Art…Art… If you like something, to you it is good, if you don’t like it, it is not, to you.

I have always hated much of the “art” around the city.  I am of course referring to the stuff that is displayed on the street, mostly sculptures and not the marvelous works housed in our wonderful NYC Museums all around town.

As I drive or take a taxi down Park Avenue, which I do quite a bit, I am always amazed at the garbage that is so proudly shown on the median.  Who picks that crap?!  Who pays for it?!

There is a piece that has been rusting on the lower entrance of the Washington Bridge that to me is a piece of crap!  Remember if you like it that is fine with me, but do not expect that we’ll have a cup of coffee together.

I could go on about so many other sculptures around town but I would like to mention the absolute worst piece I have experienced to date.  It is the large mound of excrement that stands in front of the Seagram’s Building on 53rd Street and Park Avenue.

Here is a picture of it.


I rest my case.  O you like the Beatles?  Warm to the music of Brahms?  You think this sculpture is not that bad?  Rather decent?

Worth the money that was paid for it?!  You probably eat at McDonald’s and enjoy Reality TV.


(Next blog:  Bingo)

For more of my writing, click here.



The Merde of Park Avenue