1.If you could style yourself what would you choose as the accoutrements?
2. What is your favorite homage to trousers?
President Lyndon B. Johnson ordering pants from Joseph Hagger on August 9, 1964.
3. If you could be worn by anyone whom would it be?
The young doctor so frustrated and filled with ire, he ripped Paddy Chayefsky’s words straight from the page and served it up cold to an enraptured audience.
4. Good for him. Sometimes you have to let it out. And I do love that monologue, however, I’d have to imagine at least someone on the hospital staff would know it, therefore, knew they weren’t the doctor’s words? Maybe? Maybe not?
Not when your audience is a room full of 8-year-olds. My guy was giving a healthy dose of Paddy to his son Billy’s 2nd-grade class in the spirit of Career Day. The perfect storm of everything bad seemed to hit the doctor all at once; so hard, in fact, that walking into his son’s school and presenting to children a poached monologue about impotence and the ill state of the country’s health care system seemed like a great idea. Budget cuts and overcrowding at the hospital, the ex needing more child-support in addition to her planning of a wedding to a man who actually knew all baseball terms and threw a mean curveball, feeling like he was losing his son to this stranger, wondering why he’d spent all that time becoming a doctor, trying to get back to the point in his life when he loved his profession, trying to forget Madeline and seek the affections of another woman… All of it was accumulating in his head like a storm forming, ready to raze anything in its path and preparing to find satisfaction in the destruction left in its wake. Yes, folks, the warm air was indeed about to meet the cold and together they were about to be introduced to varying winds. It was only a matter of time before my guy erupted and let everyone else in on what had been building. On a side note, the hours spent committing Mr. Chayefsky’s words to memory allowed the doctor’s frenetic mind a moment to cop a squat. Once the monologue was over, every hand — save for Billy’s, of course — shot into the air accompanied by eager, amused eyes and rapidly kicking feet. Oh boy, did these kids have questions. They had a hunch what a “limp dingus” was but they thought it best to get the cold, hard facts straight from the professional’s mouth. The reality of what my guy had done hit him hard. Luckily, the young, sprightly teacher — perpetual smile — this angel of a woman stepped in, placed a hand on the doctor’s shoulder and said, “Hey, guys! I think instead of questions we should enjoy the yummy cupcakes Billy’s dad brought for us! How does that sound?!” Being eight and pretty much loving cupcakes above anything else, the bait and switch worked, as an en masse, “Yay!” rang out. The kids hustled to their feet and raced to the back of the room where the refreshment table awaited and questions about limp dingi seemed to fade away.
5. My god… I’m to assume the ride home was very quiet?
You don’t know from quiet. The one thing the doctor longed for was to connect with Billy on a true father-son level. The 316i pulled up to his former home, the home he had dreamed of raising a family in with the love of his life. The doctor watched as his son jumped out and ran up the steps. He waited until the woman who used to greet him opened the door and waved, letting him know Billy was in safe hands. And, in the spirit of things the doctor never, ever needed to see, Julio, the handsome, new man in his family’s life, joined them in the doorway and the three waved him off. The 316i pulled away with the weight of the world on its shoulders. Before stepping inside, Billy turned and watched his dad drive away. Never do you want your child to feel sorry for you, but here it was and there was nothing the doctor could do about it. I hate to say it but he’s the one who set the stage. He didn’t secure the brave face tight enough. Hell, my guy tossed the brave face over his shoulder and went commando, “Here I am, world, the victim with a bull’s-eye on his forehead! Lap it up!” That’s just what he said without actually saying it.
6. I don’t know if I can bear the rest of this story. Do you mind if we stick a pin it?
Buck up. This right here is real life and it ain’t always pretty. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. The doctor arrived at the mangy apartment he was now calling home. Upon entering, he immediately fell to the couch (that’s how small the place was) and went to retrieve notes from his bag but realized his bag wasn’t with him. Not being able to take yet another kick to the gut, he released a scream so blood-curdling, Mrs. Tanner next door contemplated calling the police. She didn’t, of course, but she came pretty damn close. But let’s be honest, she always came pretty damn close, for the bird fretted over every single thing. Mrs. Tanner instead opted to peer through the Chantilly lace curtains only to see the doctor exit his apartment, get into his car and drive back to the only place he could’ve left his bag: the school. Back at the school, my guy parked the car in the vast, empty lot and looked to the building. Is it possible for a structure to glare at you with indignation? On this day it was. The doctor got out of the car, slammed the door shut, opened the door again only to slam it once more for good “F*** the world” measure and then he set out toward the school for the second time that day. He entered the classroom to find his bag sitting on the corner of the teacher’s desk as if keeping her company while she graded papers. Thank god. I love that goddamn bag. My guy rapped on the door. The teacher looked at him and smiled. She stood up and came from around the desk. He thanked her for keeping the bag safe then launched right into apologies for the day’s earlier display. The teacher interrupted the apology to let him know that she actually covertly took the bag with the hope that he would return for it. Then, due to budget cuts that directly led to the school being lodged in 1999, the teacher reached out and pressed a button on a big, old boombox. A CD faintly squealed to life and began the only song one should hook up to with their student’s father whilst atop a desk…
7. The little minx… And you’re so right about the song! What happened next?!
Next, she downshifted her gaze, causing the gaze to say, “Oh doctor, come over here and play with me.” The smart doctor did exactly what the gaze told him to do. Next thing I knew, star stickers, an apple, a stack of half-graded tests, a picture of the teacher with her best friend on the Great Wall smiling and holding up peace signs… everything went flying off the desk and crashing to the floor, no match for the storm of hungry, thrashing, thrusting bodies! It was the kind of carnal mauling where the body becomes numb, every second happening a second too late, no move arriving soon enough! My guy was up up up! That I knew! The tent was pitched! A limp dingus?! What limp dingus?! Then… she abruptly stopped.
8. What?! Why?! What?!
Ouch! Can you let go of me?
9. *I released my grip.* Forgive me. Can you go on, please?
That’s better. Thank you. Eeesh… Now, as I was saying, she abruptly stopped kissing him and looked deep into his eyes. My guy was confused and down, down, down. Next, the teacher asked a question that anyone should have asked considering the Career Day presentation, “Are you impotent?” I felt like exulting, “Oh, hell no!” But the good doctor handled it, “No. Not at all, in fact.” Then she sort of cocked her head to the side, her stare deeper and more curious, “That wasn’t your speech was it?” He responded, “No. The proprietor is a man by the name of Paddy Chayefsky. I haven’t been in the best of moods lately and I guess… And well, I guess I lost my mind a little, which seems to be the only explanation for what happened this morning.” “Oh. Okay.” They took some time to study each other. Then, almost simultaneously, they started to laugh, both realizing the moment of ravaging one another atop a desk had moved on to someone else — probably some pot-bellied insurance agent and his gorgeous, zaftig assistant in an office located somewhere in Laughlin adjacent. However, for my guy and the teacher, the moment had been replaced by an even better moment, one of sweet understanding and the realization that they each really liked the other. They continued to laugh as they picked everything from the floor and placed it all back in the rightful places. My guy suggested they start over at a nearby diner – the getting acquainted, not the carnal mauling. The teacher agreed and they proceeded to get to know each other over hot cocoa and a shared slice of blueberry pie. That night, while lying in bed, the doctor realized that it was the first time in four years that he felt genuine happiness and hope for his future. Hope beyond his ex-wife moving on. Hope beyond Billy finding his soon-to-be stepfather more adept at baseball. Hope beyond budget cuts at the state level. Just hope. A silver lining. A reason to smile.