Freudian Slips: October 2006

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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, 2006

Michelin Man Not Treading Lightly

I cannot decide whether this photo is more funny than it is sad.

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October 29, 2006

A Strange Brew

A full moon spotlights a dead patch of night before the decorative witch in our Palladian window.
In a recent letter from our child’s Superintendent of Schools:
“It is with much regret that the climate of today’s society forces such decisions to be implemented. I know that this decision may not be popular with some, however, your child’s security must always be one of our top priorities.”
The Superintendent referred to the cancellation of the traditional Halloween parade.
-Times have changed. I believe that Halloween needs a drastic makeover.


October 26, 2006

An Accident Waiting to Happen

- Passengers poised for terror.

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October 24, 2006

Freudian Slips Blog Birthday

A rousing Happy Birthday to Freudian Slips, who turned two years ripe this week. After posting three short stories a week for two straight years, how much irony is there left to report? Plenty. To anyone even thinking about starting a blog to attract a readership, please inquire within about the time committment to produce quality writing.


October 22, 2006


Opportunity Kanks

-Joe Tornatore, stage right closes in on the heated action in Kank.
The plastic sealed DVD Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna sat untouched staring at me for three days. After being only an out of focus blur as a background actor in the final cut of the movie Invincible, I had zero expectations and little curiosity of seeing myself in the Bollywood blockbuster Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna. Opening on 1,200 screens worldwide, KANK(Never Say Goodbye) holds the record for the highest 1st week gross for an Indian movie and is already one of the biggest Bollywood film grossers in terms of revenue. It has been invited to be included in the Oscar library and I can safely conclude that I had little to do with its acclaim. Right before watching the movie, Freudian Slips struck me kind of funny when I picked a supermarket receipt off of our kitchen floor. It strangely boasted an advertisement BE THE STAR OF YOUR MOVIE NIGHT! I accepted the quirky ironic sign to commence watching the movie that I earned wages playing a train passenger.
I filmed for an entire weekend outdoors in bitter temperature at 30th Street station so my ego wanted something, anything really, to show for it. Let me just say, I continue to be amazed how the movie industry creatively pieces together film footage. Watching a finished product is a fascinating experience after being on a movie set. Shedding my cloak of invisibility in the movie Invincible, I actually appear in two of the most riveting scenes in Kank. At 3:02 and 35 seconds, I dart across the screen alongside a train in the climactic last scene of the movie. At 1:40 minutes into our love story, I appear for four seconds of stylish slow motion time-lapse footage. Crocodile-tear music and heart-tugging dialogue punctuate the scene. Mind you, I heard no music and I’m not the one delivering the line. I have only a mark and a footpath to follow. It is the scene where the stars, Shahrukh Khan and Rani Mukeric, accept their powerful love for each other as they steal a passionate embrace at the train station. Fleet of foot, my meager part involved me stepping around the star-crossed lovers. My left shoulder grazed the tangled duo and clever editing nixed the blooper take where Rani’s pocketbook inadvertently swung to nail me in the family jewels. The final cut shows me walking in and out the scene. The take conceals the pedestrian extra whose wielding broom almost impaled me in unsavory fashion.
To whom it may concern, my pedestrian face is discernible on film. I am carrying a backpack and a newfond crush on the elegant mesmerizing Rani Mukeric. I felt her hot breath and the swoosh of her hourglass body as she jumped into the proud arms of Shahrukh Khan in the climactic scene teetering between farewell or beginning. Time Magazine once named actor Shahrukh Khan as the most recognizable face on the planet yet I had no idea who in the world I was standing next to at the time. In a still frame, that is the Forrest Gump angled story of my life.
Irony aside, I turned out not to be the star of my own home movie but anyone who knows me should be able to recognize me with a laser pointer and freeze frame technology. Out of the hundred or so movie extras, I am as close to the closeup action without getting lipstick smeared on me. Not stopping to gawk at the beautiful Rani when she outpoured affection is fine acting worthy of mentioning here. I have so many wonderful memories of shooting this film that it makes bit acting a bit worthwhile for a while. Namely, I kidded Shahrukh Khan in between takes that he really knew how to pick his parts. He sheepishly smiled at me before an assistant applied eye drops to keep his peepers moist then rubbed his shoulders warm as I stood dry-eyed in the freezing cold elements. I did not need eye drops, however, to appreciate the tearjerker I was seeing. I wanted to nudge Shahrukh Khan out of the way on the next take and accept Rani’s loving arms in the stud’s stead…you know as any warm-blooded wannabe actor standing out in the cold would do.
*For more details about filming KANK, click on the link above to read my original blog story Hindiana Jones.


October 19, 2006

Where is the Beef?

When south of the border means south of the border!

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October 17, 2006

The Crudeness of Gender Identity Disorder

Long stemmed artichokes labeled navel oranges.
Gender identity disorder - A condition marked by a long lasting feeling of discomfort over one’s gender. The feeling usually begins in childhood with gender identity problems and may appear as a teenager or in adulthood as asexuality, homosexuality, transvestism, or transexualism. –Mosby Medical Encyclopedia
My social work career would have to eclipse the century mark before I could possibly encounter a more tortured soul than Jean. Suffering from the peculiarity of gender identity disorder, Jean alternates between referring to herself in the third person as Jean or Gene. The switcheroo depends solely on whether Jean considers herself more masculine or feminine at the time of speculation. I never know which name she will spell out for me.
Born with female sex organs, Jean looks are double mirror androgynous. Adding to the confusion, she dresses like a man, wears short cropped haircut, and facial stubble. Her entire wardrobe consists of imprint NASCAR tee shirts obscured by denim overalls. In a nutshell, Jean directly blames her matronly mother for her own wretched existence. She wishes she were never born into this world as an in descript gender. Her heartbeat alone is a continual reminder to her unwanted existence on the planet. She loathes life and all those living happily. It makes me sad just comparing my life to hers.
Before medication administration, Jean displayed selective mutism. Outside of a few saving grunts or nods, Jean refused to answer any and all personal questions. Recent medication tinkering have only recently prompted her to talk. Emotional outbursts now curse people from mumbling to yelling at the top of her lungs and disturbing the peace The objects of Jean’s venom are often people she has no contact with, has never met, or who have long been dead: Reading the obituary of the third grader who called her a freak three decades ago. The old man who cut in front of her at the checkout counter to redeem a winning lottery ticket in 1991. Rocky Balboa for being a loser who made the grade. A cute little pigtailed school girl who dressed too feminine for Jean’s own liking. These are some of the people she now verbally lashes out at daily. A treating psychiatrist and anger management classes have yet to scratch the surface of her hatred.
Arriving for a field visit to her home, I had no knowledge that the floodgates had been opened. Unaware of the medication's success, I assumed I would be meeting with someone who would show selective mutism and ignore my every question. As I stepped through the front door, Jean stood on the staircase quite literally frothing a white foam at the mouth.
“Momma, if you didn’t kiss Daddy I wouldn’t be born.” snarled Jean at her elderly mother. “Then I wouldn’t be here scratching my beard wondering if I am a bleeping man or woman!”
In social work, success is often like unraveling an onion.


October 15, 2006

Back to the Future

The caption of this classified ad in Saturday's Courier Post newspaper reads Slightly Used Time Machine Available for Pickup on April 19, 1847. The unusual spoof made my weekend.


October 12, 2006

Fraud...It's Anybody's Game

In the wake of massive identity thefts infiltrating employees at my job, the following irony came to my immediate attention. In a doctor’s office, I signed in with the lovely receptionist. The first thing out of the receptionist’s mouth sounded like a military drill.
“Mr. Tornatore, could you use the phone in the waiting room to update your records?”
“I updated last month when I was here. I’m good for another year.”
“We changed our policy." she retorted. "Patients now need to update their information on a monthly basis. Use that phone over there to call the registrar.”
The first indication of it being a public phone is when people had to scurry from their seats for me to use it. In a game of musical chairs, the seating arrangement changed in order for me to access the phone. A strong indication of entrapment is when the designated phone is a corded landline that you can’t duck into a bathroom to whisper a private conversation. I dial the four-digit code and it connects me with a peppery male voice.
“What is your name?”
“Joseph Tornatore.” I proceed to spell my name heavy on one side of the vowel equation. The next question created an awakening inside me that oriented me to a crowded waiting room and identity theft.
“What is your birthdate? I need day, month, then year.”
“Look, I was told you needed to update my records. My birthdate has not changed. It is the same date from womb to tomb.”
Having endured this same torture ahead of me, people begin to chuckle in the waiting room. Apparently, I was not the only one who fell under a potentially fraudulent spotlight.
“Very well. Give me your social security number?”
I hicupped. "Running the risk of sounding like Captain Obvious, do you think my social security number is subject to change anymore than my birthdate? That too is a basket to casket.”
Every background actor’s dream, I now had an audience in the waiting room.
The voice into the receiver pressed, “I need this information, sir. For you to remain a patient, you need to adhere to our policy.”
“I have been very patient up until now. If you need to update my information you need to provide a private area to divulge personal information. Let me tell you this is no sanctuary. I’m standing in a waiting room with a dozen people in listening distance. I’m staring at a HIPAA privacy practice sign in your office the size of a movie poster and you are asking me my social security number and birthdate after I spelled out my full name letter by letter. Three people reached for pens as soon as I picked up this receiver. At the very least, you should be repeating my information to me, and I can agree or disagree.”
“We don’t give that information out." he assured. "We get it off you so we know who is receiving services today.”
I started to rile the waiting room patients up by repeating what was being said on the other end of the phone.

“Oh, you don't give that information out? So you want me to spill the beans. Why don’t you just put me on loudspeaker throughout the hospital and get it over with. Or you could take credit card applications in the office and when I call the registrar I can be asked my mother’s maiden name.”

“Sir, you are being difficult.”
“I may be difficult but I am trying to drive home my point. I’m a social worker sensitive to confidential information to unintended parties and this isn’t right. Either offer the dial in option where we can press A for no changes or find me a private place to blab. Look other patients have come into the waiting room. How about I hang up and go ride an empty elevator for privacy? You can ask me whatever you want when I call you back on my cell phone number. In case this line is tied up with more fools calling, what is your cell phone number where I can reach you?”
“I can’t give that to you.”
“See what I mean.”
I hung up the phone.


October 10, 2006

Sex Drive

A booby prize will be awarded to the first married couple together for longer than 25 years who can locate this place. Wherever Sex Drive is, the prick of barb wire surrounds it.


October 08, 2006

Every Breath I Take

After a gym workout, I occasionally cool down in the swimming pool. I prefer to take advantage of this opportunity when there is nobody else using the pool. There is nothing more serene than lying submerged in still water by my lonesome. Many people do not like being alone in their skin. For better or worse, I have never been quite like other people.
Left alone in this world to my own devices, I will lay with my eyes closed floating on my back in water. I embrace the weightless buoyancy by paddling just enough to avoid sinking. The void of outside noises, voices, and distractions is soothing. With no waves or ripples and just my nose teetering above tepid water, my worries dissipate. I do not know if it is a logical extension of myself or a spiritual experience but something happens when I skim across the top of a swimming pool. If I listen closely, I can hear myself breathe. Most people take their breath for granted but noticing the very breath giving life is exactly the exclamation point. I draw deep breaths through my lungs and push air out through my mouth. It magnifies the sound of my breath in an echo chamber. A purposeful oxymoron, my breath makes me feel alive like no other feeling on this planet. Whenever I recreate this wonderful feeling, it is as if I am in a warm womb preparing for birth. Without fail, I ask God what I should be doing with my precious breaths in my life, however many may be left. To what end I do not know but the answer inadvertently always comes back to writing. To keep writing.


October 05, 2006

Howard's End

-Ryan Howard preparing to clobber another homerun.
Naturally, the man sitting in front of me at a late season Philadelphia Phillies baseball game was not a baseball fan. Freudian Slips would have it no other way. A youth group leader, he and his merry band of men bussed troubled youths to the September 22, 2006 ball game. He carried a bullhorn but little interest in the game itself. Naturally, I wound up talking to him about his work since I had a lot to draw on as a career social worker.

The sellout crowd went ballistic when titan Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard clubbed his league leading 58th homerun to the opposite field in the third inning. While sitting in the bleachers reveling in the hoopla, the business side of me seized control of my brain.

Drawing on every ounce of my background acting skills, I melodramatically dropped a line. “So how many kids did you take to the game?”

The group leader fanned me the wad of 105 ticket stubs in his possession. I looked wide-eyed at a clump thicker than a pinochle deck. How many other avid baseball fans and Ebay sellers knew the way I did that only five other baseball players in major league history have hit more homeruns in a single season? I debated tossing the guy a few bucks for the game used tickets citing my hobby as a memorabilia collector. If that homerun turned out to be Ryan Howard’s last of the season, I could sell the tickets individually on Ebay for upwards of $20.00 each. Just when I thought I was in the catbird seat, reality reared its ugly head. The Phillies still had nine games remaining on their schedule. Experts projected Howard to hit 61 homeruns so a ticket stub for the 58th homerun would be worth chump change on the cha-ching dollar. I kept my mouth and wallet closed.

Needles to say, Ryan Howard finished the season with 58 homeruns and 148 runs batted in while batting a lofty .315 in the process. I relished the pleasure of witnessing in person Howard’s final homerun of a storied season. I also lament the pain of knowing I passed up on making over $2000.00 the easy way. Being in the right place at the right time and still not capitalizing is the untold story of my ironic life. Freudian Slips would have it no other way.


October 03, 2006

Diaper Man

-How do you know when you had too much to drink at a wedding?
When an adult male dresses like a baby and confuses it with a baby shower. I hope that this gentleman was not the father of the bride. That cockeyed safety pin is about to make the affair even less private.
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October 01, 2006

25,000 Visitors

Maybe the reason I missed this triumphant mile marker is because no bell or whistle sounded. However, last week Freudian Slips catapaulted over 25,000 visitors. I decided to do some research to reveal the identity of my 25,000th visitor. I downloaded my statistics and discovered that my 25,000 visitor was a midget from Arkansas who Googled the word "irony" and got inundated by hundreds of short stories links posted on my blog. A midget getting caught on the short story end of irony is too apropro for even Freudian Slips.


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