Friend of the Devil

Her Satanic Majesty.

Her Satanic Majesty.

I was sitting in a neighborhood bar the other night, waiting for God to swing by for some holiday cheer and I’m waiting and waiting because He tends to run late (like the whole world revolves around Him), and finally I get a text saying that He’s sorry, but He can’t make it because He needs to do some last-minute Christmas shopping, which, of course, is just His way of telling me that He met some hot new babe. “Goddamn it!” I texted back, but before I could type another word, a beautiful woman in a blue Prada dress sat down right next to me.

Her: Looks like you got stood up. So did I. Buy me a drink?

Me: Do I know you? You look so familiar. Are you an actress? Have I seen you on TV? BTW, I’m Larry.

Her: Please to meet you. Can you guess my name?

Me: OMG! I knew you looked familiar! I thought you were a man … you know, wealth and taste

Her: Sometimes I’m a man, sometimes I’m a woman and sometimes I’m a scary monster. That reminds me, I need to send a Christmas card to Linda Blair.

Me: Well, whatever you are, you’re smokin’ hot!

Her: Duh! Remember where I live?

Me: What are you doing here anyway? I was supposed to meet God.

Her: He’s so unreliable, isn’t He? Speaking of which, He’s also a total dud in the sack, especially for a guy who’s supposed to be omnipotent. More like rearrange those letters around a bit, if you know what I mean …

Me: You slept with Him?

Her: That’s pretty much all we did. And He snores. Like thunder. So annoying. How about you, Lar? Are you, um, reliable?

Me: I’m really flattered but to be honest, I’m not available. I have a girlfriend.

Her: Ha! I know! I’m just fucking with you! That’s what I do! Temptation is my thing. And just so you know, I was the one who didn’t give you prostate cancer.

Me: That was you? I thought for sure it was Him!

Her: Nope, all me. I think you’re kind of cute. In fact, I’ll make you a little deal.

Me: Are we gonna play chess or something?

Her: That’s my homeboy Death, silly! I’m far more charming. Haven’t you ever seen me in the details?

Me: Yes, yes, I know. I’ve heard about your deals. I grew up on The Twilight Zone and Damn Yankees.

Her: HA! Isn’t it funny how you could now pretty much substitute any New York team? Tebow? That was me! And don’t get all hot and bothered about the Knicks either. Spike’s time is just about up.

Me: So what kind of a deal are we talking about?

Her: What if I told you that I could make you happy for the rest of your life?

Me: Yeah, yeah, yeah and all I need to do is give you my eternal soul, sign in blood and then you give me a massive heart attack or I get hit by a truck, is that about right?

Her: Something like that.

Me: Does this tired routine actually work on people?

Her: Are you kidding? Have you ever been to Hollywood?

Me: You know what? I’m pretty happy with my life right now. No deal.

Her: Honey, do I look like Howie Mandel?

Me: You actually look a lot like Penélope Cruz.

Her: I did that just for you, sweetie. I like you, Larry. We could totally be friends. Let’s stay in touch.

You’re a Mean One

Every gland

Down in Carlat-ville

Cancer stinks, stank, stunk.

Liked Larry a lot . . .


But cancer,

Who lived right next to Carlat-ville,

Did NOT!


Cancer hated Larry!

For no rhyme or reason.

With respect to the timing, it’s a holiday lesion.


His prostate may not have been screwed on all that tight.

Or it could be, perhaps, that his dick was too slight.

But I think that the most likely reason of all,

Was that cancer was a total asshole and inexplicably hated Larry’s remaining ball.



Whatever the reason,

His dick or his ball,

Cancer would metaphorically make him feel less tall.

It thought and connived, a black heart filled with hate,

“How can I torture this schmuck? Why, I’ll just make him wait!”


The only thing worse than ending up dead,

Was the pain and the suffering inside his own head.

Cancer knew that this would be it – no ifs ands or buts,

This head trip would surely drive Larry’s ass nuts.


So Larry went and did the biopsy thing,

His ex-wife went with him to salve any sting.

When the doc knocked him out, he began to snooze,

Dreaming of Jann Wenner and Penélope Cruz.

When he awoke, the doc said he had spotted a lesion,

“It’s 90% good! Don’t worry! No reason!”


Larry had heard this same rap so wasn’t relieved.

The Big C was lurking — it was what he believed!


He thought about his string of really bad luck,

And how he might piss his pants and be unable to fuck,

He wouldn’t get results for at least a whole week,

And that was the news that made Larry freak!


“I know just what to do!” Larry cried in his throat.

And he put on his hat and he put on his coat.

And he blubbered and sniffed, “Before I shoot my wad,”

“I’ll go to heaven and talk with stupidhead God.”


When Larry met the Big Man at the pearly gate,

God laughed and said, “It must really suck to wait.”

“You don’t have cancer, Lar. Or maybe you might.”

“But if you stop wasting time, you’re gonna be all right!”


And what happened next?

Well, you know the deal,

Whatever the verdict,

Larry would heal.


When Larry came home, there was snow in the air,

He knew that from cancer there was nothing to fear.

He thought of friends, family and then up above,

And knew these were the people, the people he loved.


An Act of God

monsters maple street

God and monsters laugh.

Act  I. Scene I.

Me and Him walk into a bar …

me: (angrily) Are you fucking kidding me with this Sandy shit?

Him: (casually) What can I say? I was bored. (He downs a shot of whiskey)

me: (very loud) Bored!? There are millions of people without power! (Larry takes a pull on beer)

Him: Now they all feel what it’s like NOT to be me! HA! I crack myself up.

me: (getting more perturbed) You destroyed homes! You killed people!

Him: I guess that Geico lizard is going to be a busy beaver, excuse the mixed metaphor.

me: You really suck, you know that?

Him: Why are you getting all Erin Brockovich/Norma Rae on me? You still have cable and wi-fi, right? (He takes another shot)

me: (meekly) Um…yes. Thank God.

Him: You’re welcome.

me: What about screwing up mass transit? People can’t go to work and kids can’t go to school? (Larry nurses beer while slowly peeling off label)

Him: Like I said, you’re welcome.

me: (Waits a beat, thinking) Don’t you usually save this armageddon shit for Florida or the Panhandle? Isn’t it enough that New York gets the terrorist shaft every time you read a Tom Clancy novel?

Him: (laughs) Oh, don’t worry. I have something extra fun planned for Florida, especially if they wind up going for that idiot Romney.

me: (deep sigh) My closest friends in Manhattan and Long Island are sitting in the dark, finishing the last of their ice cream and eating mayonnaise out of those disgusting little squeeze packets. Do something!

Him: (pleasantly) This is me doing something. I’m watching! You know the famous Twilight Zone episode when the alien monsters fuck with the Maple Street people by turning the lights off and on, and they get all paranoid and panic-stricken? Who do you think gave Serling that idea?

me: (angry) This is the Devil’s work! How are people supposed to believe in you when you do horrible stuff like this? (Larry finishes rest of beer, rips off remainder of  label)

Him: Hey, it’s just nature! It’s not like I’m sitting up here judging you. Um, wait. And the devil’s work? You offend me, sir. Did you see the satellite-view of that hurricane? It was a thing of beauty. The Devil is an amateur. I’m an artist. (He takes another shot but the glass is empty) Hit me one more time, will ya!

me: (softly) You know, I was supposed to go for a sonogram tomorrow and now it’s been postponed.

Him: Dude, I’m doing you a favor. Unless you were really looking forward to having a probe stuck up your ass. And I may be wrong about this, but I don’t remember making you gay. (He downs another shot) Mmm. Nectar of the Gods. No, no, wait! Nectar of me! That’s good.

me: (almost whispering, eyes shut) I just want to get it over with already. That’s all.

Him: (puts his arm around Larry’s shoulder and looks him in the eye) Lemme hit you with a newsflash: You don’t have cancer! (pauses) Or maybe you do! Who knows? HAHA! This is like a private Twilight Zone screening just for you! I love fucking with you people! (to bartender) One more for the road! I’m feeling no pain. HA! I never feel pain!

me: What ever happened to your famous compassion?

Him: You should’ve seen me last night. None of those Muslim virgins were complaining, I’ll tell you what.

me: (exasperated) I thought God is love.

Him: Like I just said. (pauses and leans in close, speaking conspiratorially) Look, Lar, here’s the deal: Sometimes I do unspeakably horrible things and sometimes I do unimaginably beautiful things and sometimes I truly fuck up and you read all about it in UsWeekly, but mainly I’m a good guy just trying to get by. Like you. (hiccups and then sings) “What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us?” I fucking love that song! (He puts on his leather jacket) You got this, right?

God exits stage right into the cold, dark night.


A Literal Panic Attack

panic attack

Panic not at the disco.

I’m going to get that sonogram a week from today and have been praying to what’s-His-face, usually first thing in the morning and sometimes late at night when I can’t shut off the caffeinated monkey voices in my head. Here’s what I’ve been saying:

Please don’t let me have cancer! Please don’t let me have cancer! Please don’t let me have cancer! Please don’t let me have cancer! Please don’t let me have cancer! Please don’t let me have cancer! Please don’t let me have cancer!

After a few minutes, I start singing it to the tune of the old Animals song “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.” It’s become my new mantra and the truth is, I’m not really even asking Him (and not even sure why I keep capitalizing the H either, although I’m told He’s kind of into it), I’m really just trying to convince myself that I’ll be okay.

By simply putting the words out there to the Universe (cap U intended), maybe whoever’s in charge or even some Twilight Zone-looking aliens or, you know, really anyone who is kind enough to listen will listen, and when I go for the sonogram next week, the doctor will tell me that I’m clean and I’ll start crying like a baby, you watch.

I didn’t plan to write this. I was working on another post about beginnings and endings, and as soon as I started to riff about how I’ve always hated all kinds of endings and how I usually handle (read: don’t handle) goodbyes, the “Please don’t let me have cancer” refrain came spewing out, and even as I write this now, I have no idea what’s coming next.

It’s the opposite of writer’s block — a literal panic attack — and the only way I know to calm myself down. I don’t know where it will lead but hope/pray that I arrive at a place where I feel like my old self (sans cancer), and that it’s not my time just yet.

That’s exactly what my friend Ralph said the other day and Ralph is never wrong and right now, that’s good enough for me. 

Me & Him

crumb god

Nuthin’ but a G thang.

If there is a God, I’ve always imagined him to be merciless, especially when it comes to my favorite Kübler-Ross stage, bargaining.

Me: So who do I have to blow to make this cancer thing go away?

Him: Don’t talk to me about blow. I’m the guy who provides 72 virgins to every Muslim who kablooies himself to get up here.

me: What if I become a born-again Jew? I’ll even wear one of those funny hats.

Him: Hey, I invented Jews, remember? Adding one, taking one away, it doesn’t really matter. Didja ever hear of the Holocaust? That was me.

me: What if I dedicate my life to being good and helping those less fortunate than myself?

Him: If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard that load of crap, I’d be … Oh, that reminds me, I need to buy more Apple stock. You’re gonna have to be a little more creative, Lar.

me: Hmm … Do you need anybody killed? Um, sorry, forgot who I was talking to.

Him: Jesus Christ! Tick-fucking-tock. I don’t have all of eternity. Oh, wait.

me: Whatever happened to “ask and you shall receive?” Isn’t that in the Bible?

Him: Do you believe everything you read? Have you ever gone to TMZ? I should give all of those reporters cancer. Hold it, lemme write that down.

me: How about penance? What if I give up bacon?

Him: Why should I give a flying fuck about what you eat? And you’re talking to the guy who invented the flying fuck. Speaking of which, I’m working on something that’s even more delicious than bacon and also involves sex. I could tell you about it, but then I’d have to kill you. Hahaha! I love that stupid joke!

me: What if I become celibate?

Him: Prostate cancer isn’t exactly gonna make you into the next Ron Jeremy. I’m on a roll today! I’ll be here all week. Until the end of time.

me: You really are the greatest! All knowing, all seeing, all powerful. What if I worship you like no one has ever worshipped you in the history of the world?

Him: OM! (I love that I don’t have to use the G.) You mean, like some kind of a stalker? No thanks! I had to unfriend Lindsay Lohan on Facebook. That chick is craze-ee.

me: I’ll donate money to charity! Or stop asking for your help during Giants games.

Him: Ooooh! Now you’re talking! Why don’t you write me a check for a quadrillion octillion dollars. Make it out to cash. And btw, my fantasy football team is kicking ass this season.

me: Okay, here’s my final offer. What if I believe in you?

Him: HAHA! You already do, schmuck. You just don’t know it yet.

Atone Deaf

rainbow cookies

Break fast of champions.

Today is Yom Kippur, the holiest and most solemn day of the year for we Jews. It’s a day of atonement, repentance and reconciliation, to say nothing of generally picture-perfect weather. You’re also supposed to fast and abstain from having sex, and I usually go one for two there.

Here’s the deal: Other than slimmer thighs, fasting is about atoning for sins against God (using His name in vain, parking in His spot, drinking His last Red Bull and so on). Atonement is supposed to bring about spiritual cleansing — “wiping the slate clean” was what we called it in Hebrew school — because God is merciful and forgiving (as long as you don’t fuck with His shit), and genuine repentance must ultimately be rewarded with forgiveness and love.

If only I believed in any of this crap.

I’ve been atone deaf for what feels like forever. The last time I seriously observed the high holy days was almost 50 years ago when I was in the second grade. I remember going to shul in Brooklyn with my grandfather, having absolutely no idea what I was doing there, other than trying to be a good Jewish boy. I also remember being scared to death of God. I thought if I didn’t pray along with Pop, something really, really bad was going to happen, like the Holocaust 2, starring Zombie Hitler.

So I imitated Pop the best I could, bobbing my head back and forth to the rhythm of his davening and occasionally muttering a Hebrew word here (“Adonoi”) and there (“Elohim”) to show God that I at least knew His name. At the end of the service, Pop said how proud he was of me and held my hand on the walk home where we subsequently ate like pigs.

That, of course, was the best part. “Breaking fast” by stuffing our fat faces with bagels and lox and whitefish salad and sponge cake and my grandmother’s noodle kugel was my version of hitting the jackpot on Christmas morning, and the only remnant of this holiday that I still observe.

This rainbow cookie is for you, Pop.

Are You There God? It’s Me, Siri

Siri screenshot

Siriously annoying.

I finally figured out what Siri is good for (and yes, these answers are real):

Siri, does God exist?

I would ask that you address your spiritual questions to someone more qualified to comment. Ideally, a human.

What about Christ?

Humans have spiritualism. I have siliconism.

So how can I discover the essence of my being?

I don’t know that. Would you like to search the web for it?

No thanks. Siri, do you have a soul?

Now there’s a good question, Larry. Now where were we?

What are your feelings on organized religion?

I eschew theological disquisition.

Does that mean you’re Jewish?

I can’t answer that.

What’s the meaning of life?

Try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try to live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.

That’s crap. Tell me the truth: what’s the meaning of life?

I Kant answer that, Ha ha!

You’re funny. Tell me another joke.

I can’t. I always forget the punchline.

Siri, can you look into the future?

I suppose it’s possible.

Great. Will I ever be truly happy?

I’m on it. How about a web search for “will I ever be truly happy?”

I don’t think it works that way. Will I ever fall in love in again?

Checking my sources. I don’t know that. Would you like to search the web for it?

Nah, I’ve tried that. Doesn’t work. Siri, do you love me?

I respect you.

Does that mean you’ll sleep with me?

That’s a topic for another day and another assistant.

Let’s change the subject. Can you talk to dead people?

I can, indeed.

Cool! Can you say hey to my mom?

I’m sorry, Larry. I’m afraid I can’t answer that.

Okay, fine. How’s my dad doing in hell today?

I don’t know who your father is, but if you tell me I’ll remember it.

You’ve been no help here.

I don’t want to argue, Larry.

Go to hell, Siri.

What did I do to deserve that?

Hold Me Closer, Tiny Jesus

Tiny Jesus, Jesus Christ and God walk into a bar. Except the bar is Twitter.

Tiny Jesus cracks me up.

Jesus Christ is always good for a few laughs.

But God kills.

Losing My (Patience With) Religion

born again

The born again identity.

My oldest friend Steve is a born again Christian who moved from New York to Florida about 30 years ago and has never looked back. I was the best (and tallest) man at his wedding and among the best (and tallest) boys at his Bar Mitzvah.

When it comes to organized religion, we don’t exactly see eye to eye, but we’ve never let it get in the way of our friendship. I had sent a link to this blog (and was going to make a stupid joke here about Christians and lions although I can’t figure out who’s who) and got the following email from him this morning:

I’d like to share some core beliefs with you:

1. The emptiness we all sense has to do with us being disconnected from our creator God, of which there is only One. Man was not created disconnected from God, but after Adam and Eve disobeyed by eating from the only tree that God told them not to, they and all subsequent generations were spiritually disconnected from Him. 

 2. Our nature is to focus on self. 

 3. God provided a second chance for all to experience that reconnection and eternal life. After all, 70/80/90 years is a drop in the bucket vs. eternity.

 4. Since man inherently is incapable of not sinning via thoughts, words and deeds, the Messiah/Jesus/God The Son was sent to be a substitute for all who believe that he is such a Savior. He lived a sinless life and took the punishment you and I deserve. 

Life is hard, not fair and a grind at times. However, I receive wisdom and understanding reading scripture everyday. I share this because you are an important part of my life.

There you have it. 


My response:

Thanks for this. I know it’s coming from a loving place, but to be completely honest, I need to follow my own path…wherever the HELL that may lead.

Carlat Luck


Good lick.

I was taking Zach back to school in Tampa a few days ago and as we were waiting to board our flight, I showed him this blog.

“That’s cool,” he said, glancing at it for a microsecond while checking Facebook on his iPhone.

“You know what?” I asked. “How about I interview you for it?”

“Cool,” he said, while texting with his girlfriend.

“You know, I don’t think I’ve ever asked you this question before,” I began, “which is really incredible and I have no idea what you’re gonna answer.”

“Nobody told me there was gonna be a test,” he cracked. “Okay, shoot.”

“Do you believe in God?”

“I don’t know if I’d call him God or anything,” he answered. “But yeah, I believe that there’s something bigger than us.”

“That’s interesting because you know your mom and I don’t believe, which is why we never forced Hebrew school on you,” I explained. “Why do you believe?”

“I don’t know, I just kinda do. Never really thought about it and can’t really explain it. It’s like I feel that we all need to believe in something, you know?” he said, warming to the subject. “It’s kinda nice knowing you have something to hold on to when times are shitty, and when you can’t always look to the people around you for help, that’s when you can turn to whatever it is you believe in.”

As he was talking, I couldn’t help but think that even though I’m somewhere between agnostic and atheist, Zach’s pretty much the best evidence I’ve ever seen of God’s existence.

“I definitely believe in karma, though,” he continued. “I think if you’re a good person, good shit will happen to you. My friends call it Carlat luck.”

“Gimme some examples.”

“Well, I remember going to Dairy Queen this one time and I forgot my wallet and told them that it was my birthday, and they gave me a free sundae. And like whenever I go to a concert, I somehow always manage to make my way to the front row,” he said. “And my roommate Matt says that it doesn’t make a difference who our new roommate will be and how he’ll definitely be cool ’cause I have Carlat luck.”

I’ve had Carlat luck too, I thought. My father did two stints in prison, my mother died from breast cancer when she was 51, I had testicular cancer when I was in my early thirties, I got divorced when I found out that my wife was having an affair…when it comes to luck, I’m right up there with Lou Gehrig.

Zach has a tattoo on his right shoulder that says “The World Is Yours” (from the Nas song), and underneath it is an illustration of a hand gripping the globe.

“Your tat really says it all, dude,” I told him.

“I know, right?”

“You really are a lucky guy.”

Zach smiled. “Oh”, he said, “and I also have a friendly face.”

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