Freudian Slips: March 2009

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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 29, 2009

A Touchy Subject

When you live on a three acre wooded lot, raking leaves is not a seasonal chore but a never-ending project kept on my vigilant wife’s honey-do list as a top priority. Leaf raking and the lack thereof has always been a touchy subject in our household. I admit that I did not get the last bunch of the 226,000 leaves up off the ground before winter arrived. The forty-foot trees seemed to laugh at me as they shook leaves from their branches with me scraping the autumn ground below their guarded position. So I moved indoors where it seemed a lesser evil for my wife to pester me.
In between hiding the metal rake and praying for high winds that might blow my leaves to a neighbor’s property, my niece lost her expensive Itouch player at our house during a sleepover. When a welcomed snow buried errant leaves, it gave me a temporary stay of execution to my wife’s chagrin. So while I exchanged a leaf rake for a snow shovel outdoors, I turned the indoor of our house upside down looking for the lost gizmo. Flipped beds, a pulled out refrigerator, moved furniture, and a searched basement on hands and knees yielded nothing but a fine toothcomb in our sterile home.
Meanwhile, the white snow melted to reveal the ugly brown leaves besieging the beauty of our property. My wife began to complain about our depreciating property value. I tried to use the excuse of a surgically repaired foot to get out of another round of leaf raking but my driven wife had enough. Mumbling choice invectives found nowhere in our marriage vows, she grabbed the metal rake from the garage and started to rake leaves I would have been content leaving until they turned to mulch.
That is when my wife’s rake got tangled in a wire. Protected by a warm bed of leaves underneath an insulating blanket of snow near the porch was my niece’s Itouch player. Low and behold, it had somehow survived the coldest winter weeks without ill effects thanks to my gross dereliction of chores thus proving there are hidden benefits of not raking leaves for an old man in Old Man winter. Now I am sitting back and reaping the joyful smiles from my niece for a job well done. I just got to convince my wife that sitting on my duff was a good thing after all.


March 25, 2009

I'm not McGrubbing it!

My writing style was recently compared to the stern objectivism of author Ayn Rand by co-workers. I question whether that is a good thing but she is a helluva writer. As my friend Pax Romano preaches from his one-hand clapping choir, there is no such thing as bad pubilicity.
There are enough reminders and bad publicity about American society being obese. After a few months of inactivity on my part, I am getting almost as guilty as the fat man in the circus. I believe that home cooked meals are too often replaced with fast food takeout in this culture. After a few billion people served at Mcdonalds alone, the biggie supersize craze was introduced as a convenient way to ordering larger quantities of unhealthy food.
Since we got that all behind us literally and figuratively. What's my beef pattie now? Well, something is wrong with the way we do business when we can now buy something so consumeable as McDonald's fast food using credit cards with double digit compounding interest. That's right with a wave of a plastic credit card you can eat now and pay later. Ten years from now, these consumers will still be burping up the sorry remants of $23.00 greasy burgers. No thank you. I'll pay cash. I'm not McGrubbing it on credit! Thanks for listening to another Ayn Rand rant.

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March 19, 2009

A Shot in the Dark

Getting hurt at work is no laughing matter but this outtake from my telephone conversation is a golden gem .

This is Joe.

Hello, I’m Olga Sizemore your Personal Care Manager. You will be happy to know, we just setup physical therapy for you. You will be starting physical therapy.

Physical therapy? I haven’t seen a doctor yet…

Hear me out…You go to physical therapy…see what they can do for you.

Don’t you think you’re getting ahead of yourself?

What do you mean?

I need a medical evaluation first.

We have been through this before..

What do you mean like 10 seconds ago?

I know what you’re thinking?

Trust me. You have no idea what I am thinking.

I have a doctor’s appointment set-up..

Thank you. Now we are getting somewhere.

Bear with me. We want you to start physical therapy first.

I don’t think that is protocol anymore than its prudent.

Joe, grab a pen. I’m going to give you…

You’re going to give me agita.

I am trying to give you the name of the specialist you will see afterwards. That is what you wanted, right?

I wanted a specialist not a taskmaster physical therapist.

(Papers ruffling)…I made an appointment for you in Tinton Falls, NJ on.

Tinton Falls? Isn’t that like 75 miles one way?

I personally looked into your case. It can’t be that far.

(Flabbergasted)But Tinton Falls? Why Tinton Falls? What's in Tinton Falls?

It’s just where the doctor is that I want you to see. Hey, it’s right near where we are sending you for physical therapy.

That doesn’t make me feel any better. How long have you been a personal care manager, I got to know?

I spoke with their office. Joe, they’re going to give you an epidural in your ankle…If the pain doesn’t subside…

Let me get this straight…You want me to forgo a medical evaluation, take physical therapy for my pain, then get an epidural. I got to tell you I am not comfortable with this. I’m not even sure I can get an epidural shot with my rare disease.

Mr. Grabekowitz, you always give me a hard time.

Dead silence follows.

Mr. Grabekowitz…Hello? Mr Joseph Grabekowitz of Apple Jack Lane in Scobeyville? Hello? Joe?

This is Joe, all right. ...Joseph Tornatore.

Wrong file.



March 14, 2009

Trash Talking

The fulll length feature film, The Nail has made its way into The Philadelphia Film Festival with a couple of premier showings later this month. The Phiiladelphia Inquirer is rumoring its sale to Twentieth Century Fox. The trailer is posted on You Tube.

William Forsthye opens the theatrical trailer and I play his bar bouncer in this film. The beginning of the street fight that I acted in as a tough guy starts at 1:37 seconds when Tony Luke Jr. and Leo Rossi exchange words. Over three hundred film credits of experience goes into the scene that I join. I had to play a tough guy but when this much talent surrounds you it is easy to become a shrinking violet. How often does a prolific actor such as William Forsthye tell you alone to go take out the trash on film...with Leo Rossi, Billy Gallo and Tony Luke Jr. all in frame?
I am not trash talking here. I made the final cut!


March 11, 2009

The Seedy Side of Life

It’s a benign curiosity of mine to ask new employees who begin working with a special needs developmentally disabled population their previous job experiences. Working with some of the most fragile human beings alive often takes a special person and it’s difficult to deny that where people have been helped shaped who they are.
Selena, where did you work before this?
Do you really want to know?
Absolutely. I ask this question all the time. Don't mind me.
…An abortion clinic.
Did the clinic operate under the euphemism of a Women’s Center?
Guilty as charged.
No, I’m not passing judgment just trying to understand what I don’t know a lot about. What did you do for the lovely folks at the Women’s Center?
Abortions. I assisted killing babies. Do you feel me?
Selena began a detailed explanation of abortions. I could not believe the nonchalant graphic detail she provided with no emotional attachment to somebody she barely knew. My eyes pinched closed. I started to only hear certain words....
The day often starts by running by screaming protesters. I got hot coffee and donuts in my hands and these picketers are shaking their signs and cussing at you. I just wanted to do my job. So you get into your scrubs and oh, they recommend wearing a surgical mask so you cannot be recognized in public. About 9am the pregnant strippers and the traumatized knocked up teenagers come in for their abortions. Mother gets needles for pain relief, what’s unwanted inside her gets a needle to stop the heartbeat. That’s when it gets messy. You know the further along in the pregnancy the bigger the instruments gets. By five months, it takes real effort for the doctor to get it all out. Lot of blood, do you feel me? Afterwards, they seal them in transparent jars, add liquid preservatives and a label marking the age of the term. It reminded me of pickling minus the UPC code. Not everything goes in a jar. The afterbirth and goop gets sealed in medical waste bags. A guy pulls up in his truck once a week, like a trash man only different. He picks up a week’s worth of abortions and brings in the sterilized recycled jars. I was responsible for confirming the fetuses or whatever you want to call them were absolutely dead long before the actual pickup day. Check this out. Some of the babies look like they died in pain by their frozen in fear expressions. Their tiny hands used to freak me out, do you feel me? The older ones are tougher to kill. The doctor has to break their necks on the extraction.
Stop! I had enough.
You look white as a ghost. I guess you get the seedy side of abortion. Worst job I ever had, do you feel me? I got fired for telling a mother the dead baby looked just liked her. Just a job, I tell myself. So what. I work with the handicapped now. I don’t even list that job on my professional resume, do you feel me?
I don’t feel anything. I think I’m numb.
I am not sure when life begins but I shed sorrow about how it ended.


March 08, 2009

Mudroom on Your Face

My seven-year-old nephew took matters into his own hands when his older sister refused to do his school homework for him. No amount of his screaming could change her mind. When she tuned him out with IPod ear buds, she implemented a behavior modification technique called planned ignoring. He declared the situation an actual emergency and dialed 911.
On the telephone with police, his tattletale rage finger pointed intolerable big sister behavior but it also indicted his disproportionate sense of entitlement. By the time his mother intervened in the escalating argument, my nephew hung up the phone on the police dispatcher. After his mortified mother verbally reprimanded him, my nephew sensed that he overreacted a smidgen by involving armed men in blue over an incomplete multiplication table. Waiting for the police to answer the domestic call, my nephew barricaded himself deep in the closest of the mudroom under the camouflage of snowshoes.
During the police intervention, no amount of winter boots could hide his red-faced embarrassment. My nephew had mudroom on his face.


March 01, 2009

Face the Nation..with Facebook

I joined the glorious multitudes on Facebook for unkown reasons. It seems like everyone is registering on Facebook. Let's just say, I grew curious about people soliciting me emails wanting to be my cyberspace friend.

I will still keep the blog up and running. Admitedly, I do not know how to use Facebook or what its advantages are. Anyone who wants to find me can Google my full name. The time I checked on this my name was #1 in the world in frequency of hits. How Facebook will unite me to the masses...I do not know.

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