Freudian Slips: Passing the Torch

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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.

June 25, 2006

Passing the Torch

We just returned from a family vacation getaway in New York City. Commandeering a minivan through the congestion and changing traffic patterns of New York City proved to be an adventure full of conundrum but short of mishap. Taxi cab drivers all but tossed me the middle finger as they zipped by while I rigidly honored the posted speed limit. A school bus nearly sideswiped our minivan as it saw fit to haphazardly change lanes around the Lincoln Tunnel. Children screamed but upon inspection they were all mine.
Not to be confused with a world traveler, I had never before visited New York City on vacation. We stayed overnight at the Doubletree Suites on 7th Avenue overlooking Time Square, the heartbeat of New York City. Decent accommodations with fluffy pillows presided but our guest room felt overpriced by a couple hundred dollars. In my humble opinion, location, location, location was ninety percent of the bang for the buck.
Considering my sheltered existence, I experienced so many gratifying first experiences while in New York City. I devoured a yummy Reuben sandwich from an authentic New York City delicatessen. If I am not mistaken, I got some loose change back on my crispy twenty-dollar bill for the purchase. I strolled through Central Park for the first time and never once found reason to look over my shoulder. Discarding our thirty-three year age difference, my youngest daughter and I both saw our very first play on Broadway. We were excited to snare discounted boxed seats for the Tony award winning musical Hairspray right before show time. The rest of the family scooted off to an AFI punk rock concert wearing funeral black garb and mohawks. We also visited three museums never frequented before which gave opportunity to expose our children to the arts.
I reconciled that this busy city that never sleeps doesn’t sleep because its inhabitants can’t close their wallets long enough to get some shut eye. I paid $50.00 to park one vehicle for three measly hours with no reentry privileges. That was a first. I paid $20.00 for an a la carte salad that was almost lettuce alone. That was a first. I window shopped in Times Square for the first time. A quick downpour of rain did not put a damper on commerce but it did cause the city to smell like a wet dog fond of the sewer. On the crowded streets of Time Square, a topless cowgirl played lousy guitar at a busy intersection. Her exploits with a g-string raised the eyebrows of my embarrassed daughter. If cowgirl wasn’t a first for me, I’m not telling a different story here.
What is a trip to New York City without paying rightful homage to the Statue of Liberty? Maybe I picked the wrong school days to get sick as a child but I never before had been to the Statue of Liberty. I couldn’t have been walking through Battery Park for more than a few minutes when I saw her standing tall outside the ticket booth. Not thee Statue of Liberty but an honest to goodness landlubbing Statue of Liberty character dressed in full regalia. All seven feet of her from flesh to fabric were colored the familiar green of oxidized copper. Her waving arms invited tourists near. Something about even an effigy of a statue symbolizing liberty demanded my respect. So I hopped up on the standing box before her. My wife steadied the camcorder on us for what seemed like a New York minute. Her Majesty’s inviting arms delicately wrapped around my large frame. She held me tight then handed me her mighty torch prop to behold. Protected by her embrace, I hoisted that torch up for the family and crowd to see. My beaming smile supplanted the words of how proud I felt to be an American. That is when I heard a startling baritone voice whisper instruction in my right ear.
“Now get down and put $5.00 in the drop box.”
I didn’t move at first because I continued to make a stand. The moment took time for the naivety to come full circle. Lady Liberty was a streetwise man dressed as a woman and she was shaking me down for money. Her grubby hands stabbed me in the back to nudge me off her high perch. A sucker is born every minute. In New York City, the gateway to our nation is no different. I have home movies to prove it.
“Welcome to America.” I muttered to myself while fumbling for my tired wallet. “The land of opportunity.”

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3 Comments:

Blogger PaxRomano said...

It took a trip to the big apple for you to get shaked down by a drag queen?

And you saw Hairspray?

10:18 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

pax,
doesn't the topless cowgirl count for something?

12:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe, if you saw the topless cowboy from brokeback mountain, you'd have something to crow about!!!

10:18 AM  

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