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.


One Good Thing About a Hurricane

hurricane sandy

Sandy, the aurora is rising behind us.

One good thing about a hurricane is that it forces you to connect with the people you love.

My sons, who are up in Binghamton and down in Tampa, both texted me the other night to see “what was what” (which is the way guys tell each other we’re concerned) in Brooklyn. I also texted with my ex-wife, who lost power in Long Island, and we joked about all of the times we were snowbound together and ended up telling each other to stay safe. I did the same with my last girlfriend, who lives in Queens, and was entertaining her small children while the lights flickered on and off.

I emailed and texted the woman I’m currently dating to see how she and her teenage daughter were faring on the Upper West Side, and checked in with my friends Tony and John, who both live downtown and lost power sometime Monday night. My old pal Steve in Boca Raton emailed to make sure that I wasn’t drowning in the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel — and I even heard from someone I was briefly involved with a few years ago, who was also sleep- and powerless in Manhattan and just wanted to say a quick hi in the dark.

My sister Patti, who lives in Scottsdale, texted to see how Sandy was treating me. And even though we were just in a big fight and weren’t speaking with each other, we were able to put that shit aside. Worrying always becomes the first priority.

When bad things happen, we instinctively need to hear from those closest to us –especially if they’re not physically near — so we know that everything will be all right. And maybe I need it more than most. Maybe I’m just a big mama’s boy (read: pussy) whose mom has been dead for more than 30 years, but the reassurance of connecting with a loved one during the bad craziness going on right outside my window makes me feel warm and safe inside. And I’m not just talking about my apartment.

Obviously, texting, emailing, and social media bring us together so much easier and faster, which led me to post the following question on Facebook yesterday:

How did we all ride out a storm before Facebook and Twitter?

An old friend answered “Drugs!” but the real answer is that we didn’t have so many choices back in the dark days before the Interwebs and simply picked up our phones. Don’t get me wrong: It was great to hear from family and friends, but I dearly missed the sound of their voices. All of our back and forth was online or texting, and I’m pretty OK with it because that’s the way we all live in the world these days. But part of me really isn’t so OK at all.

Which is why I called my sister yesterday.

“Hi,” I said. “I just wanted to hear your voice.”

“I’m so glad you called. I really am,” Patti said. “I wanted to call you on Monday, but didn’t know how you’d feel so I texted instead.”

“I know. That’s why I called you,” I said. “I just wanted to tell you that I love you.”

“I love you, too,” she said.

And that was the one good thing.

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