The Tall Man and the Beautiful Woman

For your thoughts: Penny.

Penny was very happy.

The following is an exclusive excerpt from my new children’s book, The Tall Man and the Beautiful Woman, to be published just as soon as the illustrator finishes the rest of her drawings.




This is the story of the tall man and the beautiful woman.

The first time they met was at a park on a chilly day.

As he was crossing the street, the beautiful woman waved hello to the tall man.

The tall man smiled.

It was like at first sight.

The beautiful woman had a cute dog named Penny.

Penny immediately liked the tall man.

The three of them went for a walk in the park.

They talked and talked. Except for Penny.

Who didn’t talk.

After some time, it began to gently snow.

The beautiful woman and the tall man shook hands and said goodbye.



The tall man (TM) and the beautiful woman (BW) went out to dinner soon after.

The BW was even more beautiful and the TM felt even taller.

A few minutes after they sat down, the BW noticed that she had lost a black glove.

They looked and looked but couldn’t find it.

Oh well.

They had a very good time anyway.

They talked and talked. Except for Penny.

Who wasn’t there.

The BW and the TM told stories about their lives.

It was a perfect evening except for the lost black glove.

And right before they left the restaurant, they found it!



The TM wanted to kiss the BW at the end of their perfect evening, but he didn’t.

He was afraid.

The next day, he told the BW that he was afraid to kiss her at the end of the night.

The BW said that she wanted him to kiss her.

They made a plan to meet again and kiss in a few days.

And then something strange and wonderful happened.

Later that same afternoon, they bumped into each other at the local drugstore!

The TM smiled just like he had smiled the first time he saw the BW.

The BW shyly smiled back.

And then the TM kissed the BW in the drugstore.

It was the best kiss ever.



The TM and the BW couldn’t stop kissing.

Sometimes they also kissed Penny, but mainly they kissed each other.

The TM had a beard and it would often scratch the BW’s face when they kissed.

The BW’s face glowed red and became even more beautiful.

The TM began to kiss the BW more gently. It felt warm and nice.

Like they had been kissing each other forever.

The TM couldn’t stop smiling.

The BW couldn’t stop smiling.

Penny couldn’t stop wagging her tail.



As the days went by, the TM and the BW grew to like each other very much.

No, that’s not entirely correct.

They didn’t just like each other very much.

It was more than that.

It felt like when Penny wags her tail – multiplied by a kazillion.

The tall man was very happy.

The beautiful woman was very happy.

Penny was very happy.

Shut Up and Deal

“Why do people have to love people anyway?”

“Why do people have to love people anyway?”

I hate when people ask me what my favorite movies are because I don’t know where to begin. Well, that’s not entirely true. I can easily rattle off the top three – Annie Hall, Pulp Fiction and Citizen Kane – and you could probably guess why I love each of them, so I’m not gonna bother with an explanation other than to say that these are the three greatest movies of all time, and whatever you think are the three greatest are not, unless, of course, they are these three. After this triumvirate, however, is where things get more complicated than Rashomon (also a fave, one that should only be seen in The Criterion Collection edition).

I love so many different movies, in so many different genres, by so many different directors, with so many different actors, from so many different countries, from so many different eras, it’s really just an endless list (picture a taller, more beardy version of IMDB). So let me just cut to the chase and talk about one special movie for one special day – The Apartment.

IMHO, it’s Billy Wilder’s simplest, warmest and best work. For the uninitiated, it’s about a lonely dude who lets the executives at his boring insurance company use his place for trysts with their mistresses (the ’50s rocked!), and as they say, complications ensue. And even though I’ve seen it many, many times, the ending always kills me.

Shirley MacLaine and Fred MacMurray are celebrating New Year’s Eve (they had a summer affair, his wife found out and if you haven’t seen it, immediately add it to your Netflix queue, although I’m about to spoil the ending for you). After they briefly kiss at midnight, Fred turns away for a second and when he turns back, Shirley is gone, running back to Jack Lemmon, the aforementioned lonely dude, who she suddenly realizes is the only man who really cares about her. When she triumphantly climbs up the stairs to his apartment (with the music swelling), she hears a loud pop and thinks that Jack may have killed himself. She bangs on the door, frantically yelling his name and when he finally opens it, he’s standing there holding a bottle of flowing champagne.

This next part is what kills. Jack tells Shirley that he loves her and then Shirley asks Jack what he did with the cards (they had played gin rummy earlier in the film after Shirley tries to kill herself), she grabs them from a box, shuffles twice, they cut and then she hands him the deck and says the greatest last line of any movie in the history of all movies:

“Shut up and deal!”

All I’ve ever wanted to hear is that perfect line in real life, and on New Year’s Eve, when I’m watching The Apartment with my girlfriend, maybe I’ll have a shot.

Best. First. Kiss. Ever.

A wish that came true.

A wish that came true.

It happened again! The goddamn universe and its mysterious ways! I swear to God, I can’t make this stuff up.

So the reason I asked Zach about kissing in the first place was that I had gone out on a date last weekend and when the time came to make my move, I didn’t, and got a perfunctory peck-on-the-cheek consolation prize instead, but it was totally cool because I really liked the woman and knew that I’d eventually have another shot at it. As it happens, she lives just a few blocks away and we made a plan to see each other soon.

We started emailing in the beginning of the week and it was filled with all of the usual witty, flirty, semi-charming banter (which I will kindly spare you here) and the upshot was that we’re going out again on Friday night.

Full disclosure: one of the reasons I kinda, sorta in a completely innocent, non-scumbaggy kind of way wrote yesterday’s blog was so I could send it to her as a kissing ice breaker, admitting my history of apprehension and other assorted squirreliness, and lo and behold, she liked it! I believe her exact words were “You’re making me crazy.” To which I responded “GOOD!” She then sent me another email that said, “By the way, you should.” And I immediately sent one back saying, “I fully intend to.” And we exchanged some flirtier, kissier emails that made us both smile, to say nothing of feeling like we were in a John Hughes movie.

Now here’s where the goddamn universe comes in: I went to the local Rite-Aid late yesterday afternoon because I was out of kitchen garbage bags and Arizona Diet Arnold Palmer (I am the George Clooney of Park Slope) and I’m standing on line at the checkout, listening to that Kendrick Lamar song I love, and guess who walks in?

That’s right! Like I said, I cannot make this stuff up.

She looked at me and I looked at her and for a few surreal moments, it was totally disorienting like we were in each other’s dream because just a few minutes ago we were emailing about the logistics of our first kiss (I’m also the General David Petraeus of Park Slope and, as you well know, my own biographer), and now we were face to face and I hadn’t even brushed my teeth.

“This is so crazy,” she said and started to laugh.

“I think we should kiss right here,” I said, and we were both smiling hard yet acting a little bit shy.

“I have stage fright,” she admitted and looked away for a second as her beautiful face turned slightly red.

“So do I!” I said. “I think everyone does.”

“I’m actually here to buy toilet paper,” she said. “Sexy, right?”

“Tell you what,” I said. “Lemme check out and I’ll come find you.”

She was shopping in the back, near the stationery section. “Do you think they have birthday candles?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” I said, “but let’s kiss.”

And we did. Right next to the Christmas ornaments and Dark and Lovely hair care products, under the glaring yet strangely romantic fluorescent Rite-Aid lights, we kissed and then paused for a moment to look into each other’s smiling eyes and then gently kissed again and began to breath heavily and then paused to drunkenly smile at each other and then sweetly, juicily, tenderly kissed one more time until someone on the store intercom ordered a cleanup on aisle Larry.

Best. First. Kiss. Ever.

Good Vibes

Should I or shouldn't I?

Should I or shouldn’t I?

I can’t believe that I’m in my mid-fifties and the prospect of kissing a woman for the first time still makes me feel like I’m back in ninth grade. It’s that thrilling, almost nauseating combination of Carly Simon-esque anticipation mixed with Kierkegaardian dread (and those kids, I think, would’ve made a cute couple). In other words, I never know when to make my move. So I thought I’d consult an expert on the subject.

Larry: Yo.

Zach: Yo.

L: Can I ask you a question?

Z: Shoot.

L: It’s about kissing.

Z: Uh-oh.

L: HA! Anyway, here goes: How do you know when it’s the right time to kiss a girl?

Z: I gotta be honest with you, Dad. I don’t think I’m the right person to ask.

L: How come?

Z: Cuz it’s not like I’m going out on dates.

L: Right, I know.

Z: It’s just that I don’t find myself in those type of situations.

L: I get it. College is different. But hypothetically speaking …

Z: And I’m more like the guy who misses the opportunity and winds up in the friend zone.

L: Like father, like son. Story of my life, man.

Z: It’s like I’ll be at a bar talking to a girl. For me, it’s just talking.

L: For me, too. I know what you mean.

Z: And I’ll notice how close she is to my face, and since I’m taller she may get a little closer …

L: Yep, that works. I’m also taller.

Z: And … I literally don’t know how to put the rest into words.

L: Just keep going.

Z: Well, if we’re both vibing each other, it just sorta happens.

L: Right, right! So here’s my deal. I’ll be out on a date and we’re “vibing” …

Z: HA!

L: … and then it’s the end of the night and things begin to get a little squirrely.

Z: I truly have no idea what you’re talking about.

L: It’s like should I or shouldn’t I?

Z: I don’t know what to tell you, Dad. It’s just one of those things that I can’t explain.

L: Me neither. Last question: What makes someone a good kisser?

Z: Dad! This is awkward for me.

L: Sorry. Didn’t mean for it to be.

Z: It’s fine. It’s just not the right topic for me.

L: You think Rob would be okay if I asked him about it?

Z: HA! He’d be twice as embarrassed.

L: Cool. I’ll call him tomorrow!

I Don’t Want to Be Right


Mum’s now the word.

I know you may find this hard to believe, but I used to be a stubborn prick. I always needed to have the last word and would never admit to being wrong. Because I was always right! End of story. Hey! I said end of story! SHUT UP!

It probably started with my father, who was also a stubborn prick (and, in his free time, an asshole). While we were living under the same roof, we’d go at it like George and Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? And just when the battle seemed to be over, I’d nail him with one last snotty remark and he’d look at me with murder in his eyes, turn tomato-red, and then plow his fist into the wall. Cue Nelson Muntz.

Here’s another classic example of my prickishness: One day, when I was 13 or so, my best friend, Steve, and I were walking to the schoolyard to shoot hoops. Along the way we took turns dribbling the ball between our legs and around our backs, and at some point Steve accidentally dribbled the ball off of his foot, although he thought it went off of mine. The ball went tumbling into the street and I said something like, “Go get the ball, it hit off of you last.” And he said, “No way, you go get it, it hit off of you.” And I said, “I’m not getting it!” And we were both laughing until we realized that neither one of us was getting the ball. We just left it there in the street – we never got it! – and didn’t speak with each other for several months afterward.

After all these years, you’ll be happy to know that I’m ready to get the fucking ball. Hi, my name is Larry and I’m nearly a grown-up! Arrested development (like the TV show) was finally put on the shelf and most of the credit goes to — you guessed it — women. Women have taught me to be less stubborn and more flexible, to say nothing about opening my eyes to the reality that I’m hardly ever right (that last part should be sung by Luther Ingram).

My ex-wife and subsequent girlfriends have been right about most everything (and yes, you heard me right, shut up!). Even when I was absolutely, positively sure they were wrong, in retrospect they turned out to be right. It’s proven to be one of their best magic tricks. They are the Nate Silvers of correctness, political and otherwise. And there’s only a 7 percent chance that I’m joking.

Now, before you call me crazy (guys, I’m talking to you!), hear me out. Remember that argument about that obscure actor’s name from that old TV show you watched when you were a kid and you were positive his name was such and such, and your wife or girlfriend said it was definitely someone else, and as it turned out you were right?

Well, women don’t care about being right on trivial bullshit like that. They shrewdly throw us a bone when the argument centers on this kind of nonsense. But when it comes to the big important stuff in your life, whatever the hell it may be, they not only know to get the ball — but will very often grab you by it and squeeze until you’ve seen the error of your ways. Of course, you know that I’m speaking metaphorically here. For the most part, anyway.

This isn’t easy for me to admit, but as soon as I accepted being wrong all of the time, everything just felt right. When I stop to think about it, I guess I’d rather be happy than right.

Am I right?

Open Your Eyes

Woman on top.

To Larry with love.


Hi Larry! It’s Penélope.

Oh hi!

I just wanted to call and say how happy I was to hear the good news!

That’s so sweet of you, Pen. Is it okay if I call you Pen?

Yes, yes, of course. Teller won’t mind. I make a little joke.

Penélope, I have to confess that I’ve been in love with you ever since I first saw you in that movie where you were naked … I forget what it was called.

Thank you, Larry. You know, I often think about you when I am making love to Javier.

That’s funny because I often think about you too when … well, let’s just say “a lot.”

In fact, I called out your name the other night and Javier flew off the handle like he was back in No Country for Old Men. The Coen Brothers annoy me.

Javier annoyed me in Skyfall. What the hell was that?

I know, Larry, but enough about him. Let’s talk about you, my darling. Do you remember the scene from Nine where I do my little song and dance number?

Are you kidding? Of course! “Squeeze me, here and here … and … here.” OMG!

That was all for you, my sweet sweet man. Matthew McConaughey thought it was for him, but he is just a boy.

You know, I never understood you being with him. Or for that matter, with Tom Cruise.

Well, talk to Nicole and Katie, if … how do you say … you get my drift. Larry, love of my life, fire of my loins! I need to be with you! And I need to tell you a little secret …

I don’t have to sleep with Almodóvar, do I? Because that would be a dealbreaker.

Hahaha. No, no, no. On the contrary, I was talking to my dear friend Salma Hayek, do you know her?

Yes, she rocked in Savages.

I hate Oliver Stone, but anyway, I was talking to Salma the other night and out of the blue she mentioned your name and told me that she has often fantasized about having a threesome with all of us, and I told her that I, too, have had the same fantasy. We call it “the Larry sandwich.”

Oh Pen! You’re more than any man can handle. And besides, Salma is very short.

Larry, my precious love! I am leaving Javier, the baby and Pedro! I need to be with you in Brooklyn!  I need to be your muse. I need to feel your lips on mine. I have heard that you are a wonderful kisser.

Um, not according to the last woman I was dating.

She must be a fool! Larry, Larry, Larry! Only unfulfilled love can be romantic.

That’s from Vicky Christina Barcelona, right?


And I’m not really talking to you? This is a dream, yes?

Yes, my sleepy angel.

And you’re not leaving Javier or Pedro, are you?

Of course not, silly. Have you ever seen Javier in Biutiful? He’s the sexiest man alive. And Pedro is a genius.

So I should probably just wake up now.

Open your eyes. Or Vanilla Sky, whichever you prefer.

To Whom It May Concern

Only $1.00

Dear _____,

I know you’re out there. And you know you’re out there, too.

I don’t know what you look or sound like, but I do know that you remind me of someone I’ve met before or have seen in a movie or on the subway or at the airport or Yankee Stadium or in my dreams or, come to think of it, perhaps it was on Facebook.

I know that you’re nice and also good. And even though I don’t know what you look like, I can see this nice goodness (or good niceness) in your eyes and in your smile, and I’ve often felt your warm, faraway gaze upon me, particularly when I’m asleep and sometimes in the shower.

The way you look at me is the way that no one has ever looked at me before. It’s like you’re wearing a magical version of those X-ray Specs that used to be featured in Bazooka bubble gum and in the back of comic books, and you can see who I am and who I was and who I will be. And I can also see you in the exact same way. It’s like seeing each other naked without really being naked, although that will come later.

Simply put, we were meant to be. In Hebrew, it’s called “beshert” but that’s not to say that you will be Jewish. We are destined to be together and we’ve both known it since we were little children right out of a book by Haruki Murakami or Wes Anderson’s latest twee movie. I used to tell my mother about you and you grew more beautiful with each telling, and she said that we would find each other someday because that’s the way true love works, and then told me to shut up and go finish my homework. Maybe your mom told you to shut up, too!

You’re amazing, and no similes can do you justice because you’re incomparable, but I’ll give it a shot anyway. You are:

… as smart as lots of books (most of which I’ve read) combined into one big book.

… as sexy as Penélope Cruz applying deodorant first thing in the morning.

… as compassionate as thick, natural wool socks in a blizzard.

… as insightful as a four-year-old who has lived several past lives.

… as fearless as Gandhi, but without all the fasting.

… as kind as the fantasy mother in our daydreams about perfect moms who never tell you to shut up.

as sweet as candy to my soul, sweet you rock, and sweet you roll (thanks, Dave).

In other words, you are “the one” – although there are hundreds, maybe even thousands like you.

But you are the only one for me.

You’re either tall, short or medium. You have blonde, brunette, black, red or auburn hair, or maybe you wear a wig. You’re thin, average, curvy or full-figured. You’re white, black, Asian, Hispanic or other. You’re Jewish, Christian, Catholic, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, agnostic or atheist, anything but Mormon or Scientologist. You’re rich, poor or make a comfortable living. You have children, want children or were once a child yourself.

Most importantly – you love me and I love you.

Sincerely yours,



“Je regrette tout.”

There’s an old Ben Folds song that Zach and I used to play the shit out of called “Regrets.” Zach loved it because of the melody and because it starts out with I thought about sitting on the floor in second grade … and that’s how old he was when we first listened to it together, so he thought it was about him. I loved it because of the melody and because it goes on to list a lifetime of regrets, so I thought it was about me.

I’m the anti-Edith Piaf – I regret most everything! I’m not talking about things that happened to me like being dealt a crappy father or testicular cancer; that stuff you can’t control. I’m referring to the things I decided or — what was more often the case — didn’t decide to do. Remember the scenes in Defending Your Life when Albert Brooks is forced to watch himself make bad decision after bad decision because he was too scared to act? Well, that was based on me (as was the Coen Brothers’ A Serious Man).

And nowhere was this immobilizing indecision more on display than with women. There was this one time, maybe 20 years ago, when I went out to lunch with an adorable blonde who I worked with, and we took a walk to an antiques store under the guise of me helping her pick out an armoire for her new apartment. It was a hot summer day and we were flirting and laughing with each other like we always did, and I remember her standing in front of a giant piece of pine furniture in the back of the store, and she looked so sexy and willing, and I wanted to kiss her as badly as I ever wanted anything. But I didn’t.

Another time I was out with this freelance writer who had written a stupid, little story I had assigned to her because her exquisite face had been haunting my dreams, and we talked about it over shepherd’s pie (I can’t believe I remember that). The thing she wrote was incredibly bad and inappropriate, filled with all kinds of sexual innuendo, and she was completely ravishing as she drank Dos Equis, sitting so close to me, and the only thing that happened was that I had to completely rewrite her story.

There were so many other missed opportunities. Late-night dinner with a female boss in L.A., a stunning and ambitious young woman who came into my office everyday just to flirt, an attractive older woman who I sat next to on a plane ride to Las Vegas, and on and on. All kisses I never kissed, missed opportunities I didn’t miss, bad stories with no happy endings.

My biggest regret of all involves someone I dated during a particularly tumultuous time in my marriage, and I realize how ridiculous that may sound but I’ll try to explain. Convinced that Caryn and I were over, I had met a beautiful woman on a trip to Amsterdam and had fallen for her hard. Long story short, when Caryn found out about the affair, we decided to reconcile.

I called the beautiful woman the next morning and said I needed to talk right away. We met in Bryant Park. “I can’t do this anymore,” I said, and she assumed I was talking about my wife.

“You just need to move out already,” she said, taking my arm in hers as we walked in the empty park. “You’ll be so much happier.”

“I can’t. I mean … I can’t see you.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I’m getting back together with my wife,” I said and, for the first time since we met, couldn’t look at her beautiful face.

“I hate you!” she screamed, pushing me away from her. “I knew this was gonna happen!”

“I didn’t.”

“I fuckin’ hate you for this!”

“I hate me for this, too,” I said, and sat down on one of those green wooden folding chairs on the big lawn.

I kept thinking of things to say, but nothing came out. To see her in pain, pain that I inflicted, pain that I was very familiar with … I just went numb, unintentionally holding my breath until I almost passed out.

“Just leave me alone,” she said finally, and walked out of the park.

To this day, I regret hurting this beautiful woman more than I’ve ever regretted anything in my life. And if you peel open that regret you’ll find others: I regret being too scared to see what life would’ve been like with her, and not ending my marriage when it should’ve naturally ended.

The good news is that I am no longer scared and, not coincidentally, just felt compelled to pop on “Coyote” by Joni Mitchell, an old favorite, mainly so I could loudly sing the refrain:

No regrets, Coyote,
 I just get off up away.
 You just picked up a hitcher,
 A prisoner of the white lines on the freeway.

The Big Kiss-Off


“I just want your extra time and your kiss.”

I’ve always thought that I was a pretty good kisser.

Until recently.

Me and the woman I had been dating for these past few weeks could never get it together, kissing-wise. She’d open her mouth too wide and I’d slobber spit down her throat and then we would knock teeth. It was like we were back in junior high.

We ultimately broke up because of it. Here was her big kiss-off:

I was a bit unsure of the romantic connection all along and then it felt solidified over something as stupid as feeling I could never get the kiss right, it never merged or connected, which seems like a Seinfeld episode in the most pathetic way.

It was even more Kramer-esque with the two women I had dated briefly before her. One woman sucked in her lips so tightly that it looked like she was holding her breath until it was over (which it was, in about 1.5 seconds) and the other simply refused to budge as I tried to pry her mouth open with all of the grace and subtlety of Gene Simmons.

I’ve always loved kissing. It’s the closeness of it that I like best, which explains why I hardly ever shut my eyes ­– I don’t want to miss a second of the juicy fun. Now I know that I’m no RPatz, Prince or Seal, but I never really questioned my osculatory skills before. For chrissakes, I use Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1 every night!

In fact, my last steady girlfriend and I could’ve been the models for Rodin’s or Klimt’s The Kiss (and thank God, not Kathryn Harrison’s). The first time our lips locked lasted close to eight hours. It was our second date and we were at the beach and after an invigorating swim, I asked if I could kiss her. She said sure, I leaned in and cue the proverbial sparks. The crashing waves provided the cliché soundtrack while we were swept away in the electric blue sky of each other (which is really the wordy way of saying “Oh my!”). We were insatiable, and didn’t care that near-naked people walking by our disheveled blanket made fun of us. We didn’t stop kissing until dusk.

Some women have told me that I’m a great kisser and others have said that I was more meh than muah, and I’ve always believed whoever I was with at the time. Of course, as every other online dating profile will tell you, it all comes down to chemistry. And that shit is as mysterious a thing as love itself. You can be wildly attracted to someone with Angelina Jolie-caliber lips and their kiss can leave you as cold and lifeless as … well, as Angelina Jolie herself.

And then there’s the converse. I once went out on a first date with a frumpish criminal lawyer, let’s call her Plain Jane, and we were drinking a bit and at the end of the night, we just started to make out like crazy while waiting for the F train (which sounds kinda euphemistic in this context) and we must’ve let a dozen of them roar by before finally coming up for air. Inexplicably, we never saw each other again.

Being on a cold streak is enough to make you forget what a red hot chili pepper suck my kiss feels like, so I texted my ex-wife to help me recall how we were in that particular department.

I’m writing about kissing. How did we kiss? Was it ever any good?

In the beginning, remember how we loved each other’s lips. Very very good.

 I do remember! Was just making sure. I’ve had some bad kissing experiences lately. I always thought I was a good kisser.

 And modest.

Ha! Maybe it’s my breath?

You have good lips.

Thanks. As do you.

The Last Dance

disco ball

Dim all the lights.

I’ve spent too much of my life waiting. I’ve waited for something good to happen, for someone to come along and rescue me, for the phone to ring, for love, happiness, peace of mind, for transcendence. Tom Petty couldn’t have been more wrong – waiting is the easiest part.

Also the stupidest. I watched my mom wait until it was too late. I never understood why she didn’t leave my father. He went to prison when I was four and came home when I was twelve and for those eight years, she waited. We were one big happy family for about a week. He was always scamming and never held a steady job, and my mom worked like a dog to support us and believed my father would eventually hit it big with one of his wild schemes, so she waited some more.

When she was diagnosed with breast cancer some years later, she told my father that he needed to find regular work and for more than a year after that she waited again. She finally kicked him out of the house, but they were back together after two months. She waited for my father to become the man she thought he was capable of becoming and she waited and waited and waited until she died at 51.

I was once my mother’s son, especially when it came to love. My first crack at the waiting game came when I was 12 years old (that was some fucking year for me). I was in sleepaway camp, and we had a social with the girls camp from down the road, and I know, this is right out of every cheesy teen movie, but I still wince recalling how I waited the whole night before I finally asked a pretty, little, blond girl if she would dance with me.

A bunch of the other guys went right at it as soon as we got there, but I stayed pretty much all by myself in a corner, trying desperately to look cool on the outside because I was terrified on the inside. It’s really all a blur except for the punch line: the DJ announced that it was time for the last dance of the night. I went into a complete panic and my heart was beating louder than the music as I feebly edged my way to the pretty, little girl and I don’t have a clue what I said except it ended with me retardedly blurting out, “Wanna dance?”

To which she emphatically said, “NO!”

Now forty or so years later, it’s time for the last dance again and I’ll be damned if I wait more than two seconds before asking the pretty, little girl to step out on the floor.

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