Freudian Slips: April 2007

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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.

April 29, 2007

An Engendered Species

While flipping channels on the television, I heard a male boxing announcer refer to a woman boxer as “a complete lady.” My ears did a double take at what my eyes were seeing live in action. Two female gladiators stood manicured toe to toe. The topic of conversation, however, was a woman I would not like to find down a dark alley. She delivered repeated blows to another not so lucky lady if you will, who sported a flowing cut, cauliflower ears, and a clobbered nose.
Since women have entered professional boxing ranks, I wish announcers would refrain from referring to sweating and bleeding female pugilists as ladies while they are inside the ring. It is sad commentary. I don’t care if a purse is on the line.


April 26, 2007

A Tree Grows Next To Brooklyn

-I snapped this heavenly picture in NYC Central Park in 2006.


April 24, 2007

Clearview Teaching

Once upon a time, I found myself student teaching in a high school psychology class at Clearview Regional High School in Mullica Hill, New Jersey. Although nervous, I prepared and rehearsed my first lesson plan for an audience eight years my junior.
I stood center stage in the front of the class explaining watered down psychological theory. My lesson plan covered Carl Roger’s hierarchy of needs principle and Abraham Maslow’s concept of self-actualization. A wide-eyed female student sitting in the second row hung on my every word. The rest of the class acted generally receptive although any knowledge that I imparted invoked little class discussion.
The perfunctory ringing of the school bell ended class. While the high school seniors packed up their belongings, the same enthusiastic female approached me. She discreetly handed me a note then gave me an ear-to-ear humanistic smile reminiscent of any toothpaste commercial. I stuck the note in my pocket and never opened it until I got home. I paid the offering little mind although I could not imagine what encouraging words, if any, the note contained. Only two sentences littered the note although bold looping cursive handwriting filled half of a page. The student’s words literally jumped off the page for this newbie teacher.
Mr. Tornatore, you have a nice a$$.
Call me sometime at 555-3456.
Yours, Lacey.
A clear view student for sure, Lacey operated from her own hierarchy of needs.


April 22, 2007

Socket To Me

-When manicured fingernails matter.


April 20, 2007

Roadside Assistance

Straight from the archival vault of Freudian Slips, my friend’s car once broke down on the freeway. He coasted the clunker car to the empty shoulder then hitchhiked home to gather the necessary tools to fix his flat tire. He used a secondary vehicle to return to the scene, where his initial worry about abandoning his car on the side of the road relented to peace of mind. Repairs had to be completed before nightfall, however, so he hunched over in a kneel struggling to remove stubborn lug nuts in order to fix the flat tire.
The cars whizzing by forced waves of air on his back. After a few minutes, another car pulled up. Two cars now parked behind the one disabled vehicle. My hardworking friend heard approaching footsteps and assumed a Good Samaritan arrived to offer roadside assistance. A stranger indeed stopped at the disabled vehicle wielding a long screwdriver. He crouched then started to pry a hubcap off a wheel using the tool for leverage. The two men now worked on the same side of the disabled car but on different wheels.
“What do you think you’re doing?” solicited my friend.
The wily man replied, “Just because you were here first on the scene doesn’t mean you’re entitled to steal all four hubcaps. Don’t be stingy. I’m taking as many as I can before dark just like you.”
“Stingy?” my friend incredulously replied. “I went home for tools. These are both my bleeping cars you thieving a$$hole!”


April 17, 2007

First Kiss

As they walked through the department store, the mother prompted her sassy daughter into action with a blanket permission slip.
The mother invited, “Go ahead, do your thing, honey.”
“Do I need more lipstick, mommy?” the daughter asked.
“Nah, you look all dolled up for the camera.”
The ten-year-old girl led the younger boy by the hand into the department store photo booth. The mother removed coins from a pocketbook that had seen better days. She dropped ever-ready quarters into the corresponding metal slot in the booth. She shuttled the children inside then closed the black velvety curtain where she stood magnificent guard. The boy did not know it yet but he would soon be paying the price for admission.
Not to mention the mother’s role as an accomplice, the daughter was three years older, bigger, and stronger than his lanky frame. The girl held his peanut arms down to the side for reasons he could not understand until she pressed her lipstick lips against his. There was nothing tender in her territorial advance. He fleetingly wondered if her roughness were by design or inexperience. As he tried to resist, she absolutely smothered him with tangled limbs and eager lips.
When the arms of the mother appeared through the jostling curtain, the boy thought he would be saved from the photo booth horror. In a flash, the mother smirked at his compromising position then issued a congratulatory nod to her daughter. The only adult in sight repositioned the curtain then returned to guard duty at the lone entrance. Her daughter followed suit by aggressively pushing him back down on the bench. His back slapped against the bench seat. She menacingly towered over him and pointed a single digit finger. He could not figure out how he could be left in the company of this evil woman and her maniacal child. Oh, how he wanted his mommy.
“Don’t move!” barked the bad seed of a girl as she threw back her shoulder length hair with actress quality.
The girl did not need to threaten him anymore for he knew there was no way out. Her firm lips spread wet slobber across his nose-scrunched face. The camera flashed. The frightened boy wanted to scream but inexplicably did not. She lunged her body forward to kiss him again. He heard more money drop into the machine. She positioned her body to show for the camera that she had her sadistic way with him. Other pictures snapped. She continued degrading him until the photo shoot was over. He watched the mother snatch the developed pictures from the carousel then place them into her pocketbook. Like a contrast in the maternal instinct, the mother handed him a tissue to clean himself up.
I would like to forget the mother daughter team who gave love a bad name but that boy grew up to be me. My only souvenir, I still have saved a mental picture of the stolen moment. I just cannot seem to spit it out because my first kiss turned out to be my first taste of women.
-Joe Tornatore as a child no more


April 15, 2007

April Showers May Bring Flowers

The Nor'Easter traveling across the United States has inundated the area with torrential rain. The creek running through my backyard is swamped but not as bad as this lakeside McDonalds.


April 11, 2007

Whining and Dining

My younger brother John is finicky and particular about his choices in life. He has been extremely successful in life by making the right choices without sacrificing quality. I believe his success in life makes him accustomed to a high standard of living. He is frugal and cautiously guards his money not to a fault but as a way to an even better means. By driving a hard bargain, John gets more bang for his buck than anyone I know. He is a shrewd operator whether he is haggling with a flea market vender or smugly using a wrinkled restaurant coupon on the last day before its expiration.
While choosing a restaurant is a thought provoking venture for my brother, ordering an actual meal is an even more calculated maneuver. Believe me when I say that I have been on the other side of a dining table with him. Food value, taste, portions, presentation, temperature, ambience, even the fragrance of the hand soap in the public restroom are all ingredients in his rating of a dining experience. Without sounding critical of a frugal gourmet, John has never been shy about offering an opinion or sending a subpar meal back to the kitchen. He qualifies his dissatisfaction with polite cajoling that seems more like a polished art trumping his hungry yet patient stomach.
About a year ago, John hit pay dirt when he ate at a new restaurant a few towns over. After the meal, John grabbed a customer satisfaction survey and took it home. He later completed the survey online with excruciating detail and bluntness. The overall tone of the dining experience was favorable but the establishment had margin for improvement. John told them so. The restaurant owner emailed my brother back thanking him for his candid statements. The owner related that this survey was the most detail oriented feedback the restaurant had ever received. My brother’s food critic skills so impressed the owner that he telephoned him hoping to hire him as a mystery shopper.
"Mr. Tornatore, I would like you to be our mystery shopper."
“What does a mystery shopper do exactly?”
“You come in to my restaurant eat for free then fill out another survey.”
“You mean I get to eat for free and complain?”
“Yes.” replied the owner.
"I have a big family."
"No problem. You can bring them along."
John answered, “I’m your guy.”
John’s new side job as a mystery shopper is easy to digest. It entails barnstorming the restaurant on a quarterly basis with his hulking family of five in tote. They eat for free from appeasing appetizers to creamy desserts. When their hearts and bellys are content, they leave the establishment without revealing their true identity. John tattletales back to the owner about kinks in the free loading experience.
All those years of complaining has finally paid off for my brother. A glutton for nourishment, John outlandishly gets reimbursed for his constructive criticism. My brother has never been more content in a restaurant than disguised as a mystery shopping. He is whining and dining. Forever the critic, John finally has something to complain about. It is his job and he is eating it up with a silver spoon.


April 10, 2007

Muscle for the Meeting

I have never heard a conversation at a professional meeting digress as much as this. Many years ago, a quorum of professionals gathered around a long table in a classroom for a crisis intervention meeting on a troubled institutionalized client. Team members discussed the self-abusive behavior of a borderline personality caught hiding contraband up his rectum.
A senior special education teacher interjected his thoughts with traces of grain alcohol on his breath. “I do not endorse the rectum as a makeshift storage compartment but isn’t the sphincter an incredible muscle? I do not know about anyone else but it is my favorite muscle in the human body. There isn’t even a close second for me. Think about its power, its magnificence, its adaptability. The sphincter can expand or contract at will. The small orifice can absorb or extract huge payloads. It can adapt to a gateway of pleasure or an exit for waste. I admire the powers of the sphincter muscle. No…I worship it.”
An awkward dead silence lingered in the classroom. What can you say about a teacher of the handicapped digressing to the point of fixation on his love for the sphincter muscle at the most inappropriate of times? I wanted to call this man the actual object of his desire but I thought he would take it as a compliment. A psychologist broke the ice for all those in attendance. He proclaimed, “God bless the sphincter muscle!” before we resumed normal discussion.
-Assholes come in all shapes and sizes.


April 08, 2007

Easter Greetings


April 05, 2007

New Meaning to Call Time

The talent agent for a Hollywood movie actor telephoned me. I recognized her unmistakable sultry voice so I knew the however unlikely connection was no practical joke. She told me to call an actor she represents on his cell phone about a certain matter.

I probed, “Are you sure it is okay for me to have his personal cell phone number?”

“Yes, he wants you to call him but not until after 9pm tonight. Joe, he is meeting with Brian DePalma over a role he auditioned for in a movie.”

I chuckled under my breath over the new meaning to call time. Since the mentioning of Brian DePalma and my name in the same sentence might never happen again, I decided to infuse humor.

“I promise not to call before 9pm. I wouldn’t want to make Brian DePalma wait.”


April 03, 2007

Dangerous Curves

-This could be misconstrued.


April 01, 2007

Old Eagle Eye

-Spring is here. Time for bird watchers to strap the binoculars on and go sightseeing like this guy.


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