Freudian Slips: Framing the President

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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.

March 07, 2006

Framing the President

After removing the prized March 19, 1971 Life magazine from weather resistant plastic, I carefully slid it from the additional safety of its hard acrylic sheathing. With hardly any noticeable wear and tear, the magazine had survived the last 35 years by having somebody like me babysitting it. There was no line at the customer service counter for picture framing and I had a coupon. This started out as a good day.
The framer brings glasses up to her face before introducing herself. In pristine fashion, I laid my memorabilia out across the counter. With a smile, the framer recognizes the pride I take in handling the magazine. She exacts the same soft touch. She spins it around and moves it towards her work bench. To add to the nostalgia, celebrity Frank Sinatra took the cover photography from his ringside seat. The photo depicts two biggest names in heavyweight boxing squaring off. I wanted to remember this moment forever. I aimed to mount Joe Frazier's autograph underneath that Life magazine on a custom mat.
We chit chat as her tape measure works the necessary vertical and horizontal sweeps. We both agreed that a clean layout would provide ample margins for a 16x20 frame. I choose a stock frame rather quickly. Frames have always been easier to choose than mats for me. We debate the pros and cons of Pharaoh blue matting with a white pinstripe. I mull over the decision like a fickle person contemplating a bride. A lady arrives and she starts waiting her turn in line none too patiently. I can hear her getting antsy behind me. She mistakes my collectible for free reading material off the rack at a doctor’s office.
She remarks, “Look at those pugilists going toe to toe.”
The framer was off on the computer ringing up pricing. I was in no mood to argue with an old lady. I threw out something agreeable.
“Yeah, it’s a violent sport.” I add.
“Both of them look like they can take a licking.” She sasses.
She snatches my magazine from the counter. She leafs through the fragile magazine as a young kid would rush to find the centerfold in a pinup magazine. Over the next 1:26, my obsessive compulsive mind went haywire. Oh no. Lady, don’t touch my magazine. Oh, my God! Her hand wipes film from her nose onto my memorabilia. Heavens to purgatory! Joe Frazier had survived Muhammad Ali’s punches but he just got slimed. The same hand now opens the pages. I am paralyzed in fear. She is carelessly flipping through the brittle pages with reckless abandon. Her elbows firmly plant on the open spread of the large magazine. Oh no! She is fondling the heirloom. She is so rough. Oh my God! My eyes zoom in to see if the staple is shaking free from its binding. So far so good but this lady could break hardboiled eggs reaching into an Easter basket. This lady doesn’t know where she is in the world. I don’t think she has any idea she is playing with my memorabilia.
She says aloud. “Why are they talking about Richard Nixon in this article?”
“It's because you’re reading a 1971 magazine.” I answered. “Be careful.”
“For goodness sakes.” she scoffed. “Is that all that they have around here when you got to wait all day for framing?”
She wasn’t kidding. Her hand in an electric socket, Ben Franklin would call her a live one.
“It’s my magazine.” I declare.
She acts like she didn’t hear me. Instead, her head bends lower to the print. Her lips move but do not say anything.
“Sovereignty.” She hooted all at once. “Hah! I am going to rip out this article and send it to President George Bush. Somebody ought to assassinate that mother f%^$#(!”
Talk about margin for error. She spared no mind in wanting to frame the President. I had to act now or be a doormat.
“Oh no you're not. Lady, let go. Please give me back my magazine.”
She slammed the magazine closed. No matter what my politics, my memorabilia wasn’t becoming evidence in a death threat on the President of the United States. Two things were for sure. All of the boxing pictures in the world couldn’t take the fight out of this fireplug and I would remember this moment forever.



Anonymous marcus said...

you were a knucklehead for even letting her touch the dam thing

9:27 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Knuckleheads step into a boxing ring. I admire from afar.

10:09 PM  
Anonymous et said...

Joe, how were you able to control yourself for 1 minute and 26 seconds?

7:16 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

I thought she was a harmless old lady until she threatened to assassinate the President.

8:18 AM  
Blogger rfvgardens said...

I remember that pix very well, as a boxing fan it brings back a flood of memories, both happy and sad.I didn't know it was ole blue eyes picture. Thankx for not knocking the old lady out. Tell me was her political views that saved her.

4:42 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

It is telling political commentary when Nixon mentioned in the same breath with another President comes out Nixon.

5:04 PM  
Blogger Maja said...

Argh! You had my heart racing!

12:33 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...


7:32 PM  
Blogger Antarro said...

I felt for you while reading this one. It's a shame your wife wasn't there. She could have stabbed the old ditty with a toothbrush.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

for a crime like that, they throw the book at you. lol

12:33 AM  

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