Freudian Slips: October 2004

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

October 31, 2004

Sigmund Freud speaking on reflection.


Mischief Night

Famously convincing his mother that he needed to guard the house, my stepson Jimmy wormed his way outdoors on Mischief night. Never mind that I could hear and see everything while working in the library, the front room in our house. At ten years old, I remember feeding my own mother the same malarkey. Jimmy disappeared from sight for a few minutes and I wondered whether our little rascal was up to no good. The four rolls of missing toilet paper from the downstairs bathroom should have given his intentions away.
A little while later into the night, Jimmy entered the library, where I sat working at the computer. Jimmy was out of breath but he clearly had something else to get off of his chest.
“Joe, I committed my first act of mischief.” Jimmy said in a confessional tone.
I looked up from the computer monitor. He had my undivided attention now. “You did?” I said invitingly.
Never one to keep a secret unless he coughed up serious money as collateral, Jimmy blabbed. “Yeah, te-he, I toilet papered our neighbor so and so’s house.”
I sighed. “You mean to tell me, a few days prior to the election, you littered the house of the man who may be New Jersey’s next Congressman? Not a smart first criminal act, my son.”
“Only if he wins and I got caught would it be a stupid move.”
Not the mind of a career criminal but I think we will keep him inside next Mischief night.


October 30, 2004

Running for Public Office

With the election right around the corner, I am reminded of my stepson Jimmy's aspirations for public office.
In second grade, Jimmy applied for a peer mediator job in his elementary school. Peer mediators settle elementary squabbles. Jimmy is as fair as the hair on his head and we sensed he wanted to emerge as a leader among his classmates. During the briefest of interviews for the post, a teacher asked Jimmy to name three good qualities about his personality. Jimmy answered, " I'm playful, I don't like my sister, and I'm hungry." Needless to say, Jimmy's very first interview did not go well and he didn't get the job. Although it should not be the case, honesty often gets you nowhere in a bid for public office. Two years later, his fourth grade teacher asked students to each run for President of the United States in a mock election. I don't know how much strategy went into Jimmy's campaign but when he was asked what principles he stands for, he replied in unpretentious fashion. "I'm standing up here to tell you I love to eat cheese." Running for bigger office, Jimmy simplified his platform only giving food for thought. We hold these truths to be self-evident but Jimmy lost in a landslide to another Big Cheese.


The Apple Doesn't Fall Far from the Tree

As a government social worker, I have the unenviable task of going into people's homes and report on how good of a job they are doing. I went into one particular apartment of a fifty year old mildly retarded female. For privacy sake, let us call her Sister A. She is one of four sisters. She lives with Sister B, who functions in the borderline range of mental retardation herself. Sister A is my client although Sister B could be too. Sister C lives in a group home and also receives services from my agency, the Division of Developmental Disabilities. Sister B's toddler crawled around the apartment and by observing his developmental delays, I suspected disability. An adult nephew, who had a speech impediment and questionable disability himself, chased after the toddler in a game of the apple doesn't fall from the tree.
In the middle of the meeting, Sister D telephones to inform me that unforeseen circumstances would prevent her from joining the meeting already in progress. While on the line, Sister D asks about how to register individuals with the Division of Developmental Disabilities.
"Which member of your family do you want services for? Given the family dynamics, it seemed an obvious question. It even had me looking around the apartment for other inhabitants in need of social services.
"I have a cousin who has a disability."
"Oh, I see. Take this phone number down." It sounded like she wrestled a pen from a gorilla but after much commotion she returned to the phone. I gave her the phone number of our intake unit which determines eligibility.
I hang up the phone only to realize I am surrounded by disability with this family. My heart hangs heavy indeed at the challenges they face. Full of purpose, I am now prepared to discuss the option of genetics testing and Planned Parenthood to Sister B. My good intentions are interrupted by a startling conversation Sister B is having with Sister A and a third party attending the meeting.
"Congratulations." beams the third party "I didn't know. How far along are you?
Sister B proudly says, "Five and a half months."
"You're pregnant?" I asked with surprise.
"What did ya think I'm just fat?" she replied. "Yes, I'm pregnant again. I'm due the beginning of April and that worries me plenty. I don't want no April Fool's baby."
She spoke my sentiments exactly.


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