Freudian Slips: Rubbing Salts

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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 10, 2007

Rubbing Salts

As my car idled at the corner of Broad and Snyder in South Philadelphia, I thought about the road ahead. Giving an old-fashioned technologically challenged Italian man his first ride in my loaded 2007 Nissan Altima would produce magic moments. My inner ear will bend to hold true the thick Italian accent from the old country, sounds that will encapsulate my father-son memories long after his passing.
Beaten by the hardships of life, a seventy-year-old man crossed the busy street. He is dressed in nice fitting slacks that his own gifted hands designed and tailored. If I were blind, I might smell his destitute loneliness to know the arrival of my estranged biological father. Before he even nestled down and back into the plush leather seats or took in the new car smell, he managed to air his first grievance.
“The car is nice, Guiseppe, but you-ah probably spent way-ah too much and dug a hole for yourself and you-ah gotta get your last name off of your license plate and-ah put mine on it.”
“I was adopted, remember? Both my mother and Motor Vehicles know that. Besides, I don’t want to confuse my daughters if I changed my name back.”
He accentuated vowel sounds at the end of long Italian names. “You are a Percaccio not a Tornatore. Everyone should know that! Now you-ah advertise the wrong name on your car too. This is disrespectful to you father.”
“It’s just a name not who I am.”
He surveyed the veiled cabin. “Whatta ya plannning a funeral in this car? The windows are painted funeral black?”
“The windows are tinted with Luminar film not painted.”
After some uncomfortable silence, he touched the protruding knobs on the dashboard the way a gruff man would grope a woman’s nipples. “Whatta these for?”
“Dual climate controls. Both the passenger and driver can have separate comfort levels. Mine is set at 73 degrees, your side of the car is registering a balmy 79.”
“Bullshit!” he interrupted with a dismissive wave of his hand. “I sneeze. You-ah get wet.”
I chuckled at his rigidity. “Apparently, six degrees of separation does not matter to you.”
He digressed with a rant about how the world has changed and how technology has left him behind. Soon a sultry female voice spoke through the six Bose speakers of my vehicle. I turned and could all but see his Italian blood percolate.
She instructed, “In less than a quarter of a mile, bear slight left at the three-way intersection.”
“Why is that wo-man interrupting ah-me? I no like-ah that. I could-ah go home and hear da same-ah thing. I was ah trying to tell you-ah something important.”
I explained, “The instructional voice on my global positioning system does not even know you are talking. But by all means, continue your story.”
“Is that wo-man gonna interrupt me-ah again?”
“According to the visual display for our route guidance, she will not interrupt you for another 7.8 miles. I’ll drive slow and you talk fast. Why don’t you just relax? What is so important that you cannot sit back and really enjoy my new car for a few minutes.”
He pointed his finger the way a father scolds a child. “I have to tell you-ah this. Very important. When a we go-ah out to eat today at the casino, no-ah table salt for ya.”



Anonymous et said...

As you well know, one must always take your Bio-father's rhetoric with a grain of salt.

Good post, Joe, you described him perfectly. God love him!

10:35 AM  
Blogger mommanator said...

O MINE PAPA-to me he is so wunnerful?
lets not do this to our children as we get older!

11:13 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

it was an otherwise positive visit in between two storng personalities.

it's a done deal.

2:15 PM  
Anonymous et said...

Mommanator, every time I hear that song, I get melancholy for my dad.

Joe, so glad you had a positive visit.

4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe, this was a good post. I could actually hear his voice in my head. Di

5:49 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Wish you were there. Not.

The negativity never effected me.

9:13 PM  
Anonymous Catherine Mary said...

Oh, to hear his voice once more. Next time bring me with you. The first thing he'll say to me is watta happened to you. Your too fat! He will remember me as a cute young girl, skinny with long hair.

12:19 AM  
Anonymous et said...

Catherine Mary, you're right!
My Experience with him:
"Heya, you-a getta old and letta yourself go?"
This was in reference to my decision to keep Mother Nature's dye job. I laughed at him for saying such a thoughtless thing.
He asked why I was laughing! I told him that all through the years he has not changed one bit and that time really does stand still.

8:33 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

catherine mary,
Selfish of me not to ah share-ah da joy.

Estupido of you-ah for-ah not using da salon gift certificato.

9:07 AM  
Anonymous Crimp said...


intimating you change your name - give me a break!

mom - is anyone out there coming to claim the rest of us? (lol)

Oh - and in case anyone is keeping score -- while my sweety of nearly twenty years calls me honey, and while the 40-something hotty that makes my breakfast sandwiches on Saturdays smiles when she calls me John, and while the guys at work call me JT (among other things, I'm sure), and even while the online gaming community trembles when they speak the name of Crimp, the name at the top of my stationary is Tornatore - and, like Joe, I wouldn't have it any other way.
Kudos, Dad - r.i.p.

8:30 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

And he feels disrespected. Ephesians 5:33.

7:26 PM  

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