Wildwood Daze – Betty Ann – Part 4 – Boy Toy

The next time I saw Betty was in the store. It was business as usual. She came in to order another video for purchase.

I would never kiss and tell and this new affair was top secret. No one I worked with knew what was happening between this queen and me, and I wanted it to keep it that way. I had never had an experience with an older woman, let alone a married one.

A few days passed.

When the movie she ordered came in I called her to let her know we had received it.

“Why don’t you bring it by my house tonight and bring something else we can watch. I’ll get a babysitter for little Kelly.”

After work that day I again drove to her house. This time it was under the cloak of night which I preferred. I was worried about her neighbors seeing something, or worse… saying something. I was pretty paranoid this whole time.

I get there and she invites me in. She gives me a hug and a little kiss. She’s very much in control of this situation.

She tells me that she’s having some issues with her video equipment and something’s not working right. This was pretty common back then. The technology was new and there were a lot of different complex hookups the average person didn’t understand. But because I was working at a video store I was a master of all things VCR and TV.

“I appreciate you taking a look at my system. I don’t know what’s wrong with it. Oh, and can you see if you can get the sound to come through the stereo when I watch a movie on the VCR?”

“I’ll take  look at that.”

“A couple of my girlfriends may be stopping by for a sec to drop off some stuff for a bridal shower we have to go to next week, okay?”

“I don’t care. You do your thing and I’ll see what’s wrong with your system, Betty.”

I’m down on the floor in front of their entertainment system checking all of the leads, wires and plugs. At one point I even had to move it away from the wall a bit and climb behind the piece of furniture.

I can hear the doorbell from the other room and Betty chatting with several other women.

But then it gets a little quiet. I’m checking the RCA audio/video cables and making sure red is right and white is left and yellow is direct video. I remember I had brought some really good gold top cables from the store. (Paid for with my employee discount of course!)

I came out from behind the unit to see several attractive ladies standing together giggling at the edge of the living room. They were whispering and smiling at me. Betty introduced me as her friend Chaz who was “helping” her with her video system from the store. I smiled and waved, and went back to the task at hand.

In a short time, I heard the front door close and Betty returned to the room.

“I think I fixed it, Betty. Watch.” I flipped a few switches and grabbed the remote. Everything was working fine and the sound was coming through the stereo now.

“Thank you, Dr. Video!”

I liked that title. “That’s me! At your service, Miss.”

“That was my friends. They thought you were cute.”

“They seemed nice.”

“I wanted them to see you. I was showing you off to them… my boy toy.”

“Is that what I am to you, Betty?”

“Of course. Come here and join me on the sofa.”

I obeyed like a dog. She welcomed me into her arms and we kissed. I loved kissing Betty. She was just so beautiful and perfect.

If she wanted me to rob a bank with her I would have done it.

She takes my hands and looks into my eyes. “Listen Chaz. We have to talk about a couple of things.”

(Here we go…) “Okay…” (Is this where we plan to rob a bank?)

“We have to have some rules. We can’t fool around in this house.”

(What’s she talking about? We haven’t even done anything yet!)

“You can’t drive my car, and we can’t fool around in my car. We can’t ever have sex in my bed either. I can only see you when I can because I’m the one with everything to lose here. I’m the one who’s married.”

(This all seems a bit premature, but I’ll say whatever she wants at this point. I just like seeing her.)

“I understand, Betty. I’m just happy to know you and spend time with you. I’d never do anything to make you feel uncomfortable in any way or jeapordize your marriage in any way.” (But in reality, it was she who called me and started this whole affair. But whatever.)

“That’s good, Chaz. We can have a lot of fun together and I think you’re a sweet guy. I just need to set some guidelines at the onset of this.”

“I totally agree, Betty. You’re right. I promise to respect your wishes and will make every effort to protect your interests.”

(I can almost hear my father in this moment…)

“Thank you, Chaz. That means a lot to me. I just don’t want any complications.”

“Me either, Betty.”

“C’mere…” She pulls me to her and kisses me deeply. It felt wonderful to hold and kiss this lovely woman with caramel skin. Her raven tresses tumbled over her shoulders like a moonless river.

I wasn’t falling for Betty at this point. I had already fallen for her the first time I laid eyes on her in the store. It was instant. But I never dreamed I’d be here with her right now. It was all a miraculous dream. I felt resurrected after failing to become a rockstar in Los Angeles. Here I was still able to pull the talent. I still had my mad game no matter what I did for a living. I had come so far from the timid, loser of my early teen years. Now I could get the kind of girls I could never have imagined would even talk to me in junior high school. But here I was. Making out with the lovely Betty Ann.

Most men dream about getting women they fantasize about when they meet them in real life. But I had become a magnet for this in the summer of 1980 in Wildwood and later in LA.

We wrestled on her sofa like a couple of high school kids. I don’t even remember what videos I brought over and I know we didn’t watch them. It was exciting. It was probably something Betty missed in her life now. She missed the rush of a new guy. A new face. A young man. Boundless energy and a fiery libido in its absolute prime. I was just happy to be in this simple teenage-like intimate moment with her. We were like a couple of kids just making out on the couch and doing a little gentle touching.

“I really appreciate you listening to me tonight, Chaz. It means a lot to me that you’ll respect my wishes and stick to my rules. I needed that.”

“Of course. I completely understand.”

Betty smiled and held me tightly. Her warm perfume swirled about me as my face disappeared into her dark mane that was like ribbons of coal.

At that moment, I knew.

I knew what I had to do. I was now determined to a singular mission.

I was going to break EVERY ONE of those rules and Betty Ann was going to like it.

Check out my latest book LAWNDALE on Amazon!

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Wildwood Daze – Betty Ann – Part 2 – Infatuation

If you missed Part One, you can read it here.

Spring  1984 – Wildwood, NJ

I was 22 years old.

Like any job when you work with men, we always have our favorite female customers that come in. Everybody had their favorites, but there are always the top 5, top 3, and number 1. I know it may sound silly or sexist, but it’s really just something men do. I’m sure women do the same thing as well. That certain guy that comes in with the shoulders, eyes, or voice that makes you weak in the knees when he comes in your store to buy or rent something. It makes any job more fun.

But there was this one lady that came in that I absolutely adored. She was petite, with lovely caramel skin and raven hair. Her name was Betty Knight.

Not Elizabeth.

Betty.

I made it known to my male coworkers that she was my number 1. They all agreed she was one of the prettiest women that came into our store. No one knew much about her other than the fact she was beautiful, over the age of 30, and had a little daughter. Just a lovely lady who periodically came into the store to rent movies.

There was this black guy I worked with named, Tyrone. He was in perfect physical condition. I remember the guy just being in incredible shape. He could just grab onto any secure object from above and pull himself up in the air. You could wash clothes on this guy’s abs. I was always envious of guys that looked like that. Anyway, he was a sweet guy who had a goofy sense of humor.

He liked silly jokes and pulling pranks. One time I was putting away some of the video boxes on the shelves in the library. I was reaching up high to put a box on a shelf and Tyrone snuck up behind me and tickled me. I was not only surprised, I accidentally farted. I was embarrassed, but Tyrone thought this was the funniest thing he’d ever seen. He joked and kidded about it with me for the rest of the week.

I didn’t really mind, because no one else was around when he did it, and he didn’t tell any of my co-workers.  He simply enjoyed juvenile humor. I liked him so I took it in stride. Just locker room horseplay among guys working together in a boring retail job. Let’s face it, farts are funny.

He knew I liked Ms. Knight because when she would come in I always said that I’d wait on her. I would fuss over her and go above and beyond on the charm and customer service. I don’t know if she realized it at the time, but I simply did it because I thought she was gorgeous, and enjoyed engaging her in the store. Any excuse to chat with her and be near such an ethereal beauty.

Thursday

One morning I was working the day shift with my man, Tyrone. We were just working the counter, chatting, and watching videos on MTV. (Which ran all day, every day at the store.) Betty came in to drop off some videos and get some more. Of course, I greeted her and did intake on her returns. She then went back to the library section to look for more movies.

When I looked at her account I noticed she rented The Little Mermaid on a regular basis. Now, this isn’t the one we’re all familiar with. This isn’t the animated Disney classic that my daughter grew up on. This was a cartoon made back in 1975, and one of several titles that found its way onto home video in the 1980’s. I’m talking some Hans Christian Andersen stuff here.

Amazon.com: Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid: Fumie KASHIYAMA, Tomoharu KATSUMATA: Movies & TV

Not many people have ever seen this relic, but back in the mid-’80s, you couldn’t get many Disney titles back then. They hadn’t made the leap to home video yet. I knew a guy I worked with who had a bootleg of Disney’s Pinocchio back then. That was a rare and illegal copy of the film. The video and audio were poor quality, but it was still Pinocchio and a watchable dub.

We chatted a little bit when she returned to the counter to rent her movies. I mentioned to her that I noticed that she rented the Little Mermaid quite often and that if she wanted we could order her a copy for purchase and it would only be around forty bucks. I even told her I could hook her up with a discount. She said she’d think about it.

The transaction passed without incident and she was preparing to leave. Then Tyrone suddenly said the following words:

“Charles likes you, Miss Knight!”

I was mortified. I couldn’t believe the unmitigated, awkward, audacity of the outburst. Was this something he did to his friends? Just outed their private romantic feelings to whomever? It was insane.

“Shut up, Tyrone!”

She simply smiled and I was so embarrassed I could barely look up from the counter. She gathered her things and walked out the door, smiling and saying goodbye.

“What the hell, man?”

“What? You know you like her!”

“But you didn’t have to tell her! I don’t know anything about this woman! It’s weird, dude!”

Tyrone just laughed it off and went back to stocking the shelves.

A week or so passed, and I was working at the counter with a different guy who worked there. That’s when the phone rang. My co-worker was waiting on someone so I answered it.

“Thank you for calling Home Video Centers, this is Charles. How can I help you?”

“Charles. Just the person I want to talk to. This is Betty Knight.”

(My heart rate speeding up…)

“Oh… Hi Betty. What can I do for you?”

“I thought about what you said, and I want to order the Little Mermaid for purchase. Can you order it for me?”

“Sure! Let me just write that up and take some of your information for the order.”

I do that and then… “We’ll probably get that in a week to ten days, and I can probably get you a discount. Is there anything else I can do for you?”

“Umm… would you like to get together sometime?”

My brain almost couldn’t process the data that was coming through the phone into my ear. I nearly threw the receiver into the air thinking this was some sort of spell that had been cast upon me by evil wizards and witches.

“Uh… yea. Sure…” (Anxiety raced through my system like a freight train.)

“You have my address and phone number. Are you working Saturday?”

“No…”

“Why don’t you just come to my house on Saturday around 2pm. Can you do that?”

“Yes, I can Betty.”

“Bring over a couple of tapes. I like Rod Stewart. Bring over one of his concert videos and maybe something else. Do you have any suggestions?”

“Uhh… how about Eddie and the Cruisers. That’s a great movie.” (trembling)

My mind is reeling at a million miles per hour. Dopamine is searing my brain as it explodes and blooms like a flower in my cerebrum.

“Great. Call me before you come, okay?”

“Sure thing, Betty.”

“Great. I’m looking forward to seeing you, Chaz.”

“Umm… you too. See you then.”

She hung up and I had to step away from the counter. I had to go outside into the parking lot to process what the hell just happened. I lit a cigarette. How was this possible? She’s like the hottest woman that comes in here! Why me? This almost seems like a prank. It can’t be real. It can’t be happening to me! I’ve lived a charmed life since I was 15 years old, but I don’t remember anything about me getting wishes granted. Had I somehow accidentally made some pact with the devil for my soul one night while I was drunk? This can’t really be happening.

But it was happening.

It was real, and it was on.

More next Tuesday!

Check out my latest book, LAWNDALE on Amazon!

It’s chock full of stories from my youth growing up in Northeast Philly in the 70s!

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

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Wildwood Daze – Betty Ann – Part 1 – Home Video Center

Winter 1984 – Wildwood, NJ

Upon my return from California after failing to become a metal god, I took a job as a sales clerk at Home Video Center in Northfield, NJ. The last job I had in Los Angeles was at a video store called Videon. It was a new idea back when VHS & Beta were in their infancy. The owner of a chain of stores in LA called Music + decided that home video was going to take off and wanted to create a new line of stores that catered only to video. So I had a little experience in a new industry.

I was 22 years old.

It was a fun job, and I liked the people I worked with. We had 500 titles in both formats, VHS and Beta. We carried, all kinds of titles. Drama, comedy, horror, thrillers, kids movies, and also adult titles. (The adult titles were all stashed on the very top of the shelves so kids couldn’t see them.) It was funny how people rented pornography back then. There was no internet, and the only place you could view porn back then was in magazines, or some sleazy adult theater or peep show in a rough part of the city. Now video brought pornographic movies right into the homes of America for the first time. It was funny when people would rent porn. They would get a few legitimate titles and the porn box was always at the bottom of their stack or sandwiched in the middle. They had to hide their desires. But we were trained to be professionals and after a while you ring up the titles like anything else you do in a job. It’s simply another transaction. Like when I worked in a bank. The money loses it’s meaning because it’s just part of the job. You might as well be handling lettuce. The companies that made porn videos back then must have made billions of dollars. They already made their films on the cheap. (Every movie is about the same thing) and they already had all of the films, so they just attached themselves to a new delivery system to get their products into the hands and pants of America. But surprisingly, adult titles were a very small part of what we rented. People wanted quality films they could enjoy at home with their family and friends. It was a good job. We were selling entertainment. That’s a good thing. (But, please, be kind, and rewind the tape when you’re finished watching it!)

They had more movies in one place than I had ever seen. It was amazing, because we could rent up to three movies at a time for free. I saw so many films I had been dying to see for so many years and this was a huge win for a film guy like me. Home video changed the way people got their entertainment. We were no longer chained to local programming and cable TV. We could watch what we wanted when we wanted for a fee. This was the beginning of the way we get our entertainment today.

Here’s a post I wrote a while ago about how wonderful that experience could be when shared between family members.

My Father’s Chair

I worked the rental counter with a few other people, and they had one or two sales guys that sold VCRs, TVs and video cameras. When I think about that technology now and how groundbreaking it was, it all seems so ancient now that I can do all of the things that all of those machines did with my cell phone.

There were five owners, and they banked at First Fidelity bank where my dad was a regional manager. He got me the gig at Home Video Centers. Again, my father helping me find gainful employment. He told me to go apply and they naturally hired me. It’s funny how history repeats itself. My dad got me the job at Hunt’s Pier, Home Video, and later Circle Liquors. I got my daughter the hostess job at The Continental when she first moved to Philly in high school, then the gig at Bar Bom Bon, and later a part-time position at a local smoke shop during the pandemic. So it goes full circle. My father led by example, and he taught me to walk where he walked… not where he pointed. I’ve tried to do the same for my daughter.

The other four owners were silent partners. Brad ran the operation for the stores. (We also had a site in Vineland, NJ.) They had a manager that was in charge of the staff, named John. A cool ex marine that had a humorous intensity about him. I really liked him. I’m pretty sure he was married to Brad’s daughter and that’s how he got the job. Speaking of family, one of the partner’s daughter’s worked there too. Her name was Valerie and we used to call her Video Val. (I think because her monogrammed  license plates said that.) She was a sweet girl who loved all things Madonna. I mean, LOVED Madonna like I loved Aerosmith. So I got her passion. For those of you who didn’t grow up in the 80s, Madonna was the Britney Spears of the music scene back then.  I remember taking Val out for some gin and tonics and then we wet to see the film, Suddenly Seeking Susan, a movie that Madonna had a small part in. Val always liked me and we were good friends back then.

It was a good crew of people. The one owner Brad was in and out, or up in his office. John managed the place and there were a few guys who worked in the repair shop in the back. Can you imagine that now? There was a whole workshop back there where a few tech guys would repair and clean ppeople’sVCRs. I remember some guy brought in his front loading betamax and said it  something was wrong with it because he couldn’t put a tape in it. When the guys opened it up, they found a little toy car inside that his son had put inside it thinking it was a garage for his matchbox cars.

Sony Betamax ARABIA SL-T20ME RED PAL & SECAM Beta auto voltage *free shipping*

I have to admit, it does look like a little garage door on the front. You could jam a whole fleet of Hot Wheels in that thing. I’m sure the man wasn’t pleased.

It was a good group of people working together in a relatively new industry. I remember when I was back in California I went to a party at some rich dude’s house and he had a VCR. Nobody I knew had one of those back in 1982. It cost him around $1500 back then. It was new desirable technology back then and they could charge what they wanted for it.

We also sold some of the old big screen rear projection TV sets. That was an amazing yet primitive hunk of furniture and technology. They made them 36 inches up to around 40 inchesscreen-wisee back then. They were thousands of dollars but we sold a lot of them. Back then it was the best way to watch a movie at home or a sporting event. Some of them weren’t that bad, (Sony, and Mitsubishi made the best ones of course) but most of them really didn’t have much clarity as classic tube sets of the day. Little did we know that one day you could have a 50 inch flat screen that you could hang on the wall for around $300 from Walmart!

I remember one day this guy came in and there were a couple of us guys hanging out on the sales floor. The conversation went like this:

Guy: “Do you guys sell anything that I can use to get stains off abig-screenn TV?”

John: “Hmm… I could check in the back.”

Guy: “Okay.”

Me: “Actually, we have a product like that. It’s called, “Cums Off.”

We all burst into laughter, including the guy, who got the ‘big screen, you’ve been watching too much porn reference.’

Me: “I’m sorry sir, I just couldn’t resist. I would just turn off the set, unplug it, and use a little light soap and water on a cloth. Wipe the screen down vertically.”

It was a riot.

Working at Home Video Venters was a cool job. I watched all of LIVE AID while at work. It was on every TV all day and a magical day for a musician and music lover like me. It was amazing to watch all of the music stars of the day rock out in an all day live concert up in Philly.

I saw the whole MOVE thing happen in Philly as well at Home Video Centers. I watched as they burned down Osage Avenue on 30 TVs around the store.

I learned everything there was to know about VCRs, VHS, Beta, and wiring up audio and video systems to work together. I once rewired an entire media room including all the HIFI aspects of the system to make it all sing together in one room.

I saw my first Pioneer laser disc. I saw my first compact disc at that job. I remember putting the demo disc in a CD player in a 100100-wattstem and hearing the band Rush’s song, Tom Sawyer for the first time digitally. I was blown away by the power and clarity and sound of this new technology.

Plus, I’m surrounded every day by bunch of people who love film and watching movies. I remember going to see Hitchcock’s, The Man Who Knew Too Much with a buddy of mine at a small revival theater. It was amazing. I had never seen any older films in the theater in my life. Only new stuff. Just brilliant!

Oh, Betty? I’ll get to her in the next installment. Tune in next Tuesday. I’ve had too much fun writing about the video store!

Check out my latest book, LAWNDALE on Amazon!

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. 

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

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California Dreamin’ – VIDEON

Santa Monica, CA – 1983

I always loved music and films, so at some point, I decided that working in a music store would be better than working at a restaurant. I applied at several around Los Angeles and got an interview with a chain called Music Plus. They sold albums, tapes, videos, and concert tickets. I remember acquiring tickets to see David Bowie on his Serious Moonlight tour from there! But that’s another story.

Here’s another author’s memories in regard to Music Plus:

https://www.championnewspapers.com/opinion_and_commentary/chino_memories/article_4d1201f6-23d7-11e8-88aa-9faa52530da0.html

They liked me well enough but told me they didn’t have anything available in their music stores. But they were opening a flagship video store on Lincoln Blvd. in Santa Monica.

I knew that VHS and Beta were emerging in the home video market and thought it would be a cool job. Music Plus was a retail chain around LA, and since video was growing they decided to designate a whole store to just videotape sales and rentals.

It was a great idea at the time and the owner was truly a visionary for coming up with the idea. (We all know what happened in the coming years with the arrival of Blockbuster, but this was at the very beginning of the home video craze.)

VCR’s cost over $1500 back then and were the size of old electric typewriters. They weighed a ton and I think Beta was the only format in the beginning. Sony invented Beta and VHS but Beta was the better format. More compact with a simpler mechanism with better sound and video. They sold off the rights to VHS because it was inferior. But more companies bought it up and started making VHS VCRs like crazy. VHS ultimately won out in the format wars simply because more companies manufactured the machines and they were more available to the public. Funny, how the superior format failed to the inferior one simply based on availability. Man-made selection at its best!

I was 20 years old and just happy to not be working in a hot, sweaty kitchen in a bar and grill until midnight every day. This was a cool, clean job in a new industry.

The day manager was this super French guy who was easily well into his forties. He knew a lot about film and especially foreign films so that was cool. In the evenings they had another manager named Renee who was probably around twenty-five. She was short with brown hair and eyes. Kind of cute, but that was ruined by her bitchy personality. She seemed over her head in the position and was always short-tempered and stressed. She was always scheduling me to close with her because she liked me. Even though she was cranky a lot of the time, I knew she dug me. She would always ask me to smoke a joint with her out in the parking lot after work. I obliged because I figured maybe she’d be nicer if I hung out with her.

One night that parking lot smoke turned into a bit more and we ended up back at her place. I was young and didn’t possess the moral compass I have today. (Come on… who am I kidding? You’ve read this blog.)

There was one other girl who worked there most days with me, who was the quintessential 80s girl. (Think one of the members of the band The Go Gos) She was after me as well. Where were all the available men in LA back then? Nothing ever happened between us because I just wasn’t that into her. She seemed weird.

We had a good time working there and it was fun being around all of those movies all day. I learned a lot about film and the video industry working there. The whole store was arranged by studio, not by subject. So we had a section for Warner, Paramount, Twentieth Century Fox, etc.

The best part was, at lunch you could go in the back and watch a video while dining on your sandwich.

But here’s the interesting part. This was a legit spin-off from a big music store chain. Everything was above board. For the most part.

You won’t believe what the home video experience cost back then. It was a fledgling industry and everything was new, so that means expensive. The machines were a fortune, and the tapes were really pricey as well. Most videotape movies started at $59.95 to purchase. But we did have a rental program. It was $100 to join and to rent a movie it was over $20 and you had to leave a huge deposit on your credit card every time you rented some movies. Isn’t that crazy? It was like renting an automobile!

I remember when Raiders of the Lost Ark came out on videotape. It had made so much money worldwide, they released it for $39.95 on VHS and Beta. This was unheard of. A groundbreaking low price for a blockbuster film.

Next was the making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video and the music video all in one tape. That was released for only $29.95. The lowest price ever offered for a home videotape ever. We sold the hell out of them.

There were NO Disney titles of any kind on VHS and Beta. I think they were waiting to see what the NEW format would do for their stockholders. (Now they own everything!)

We didn’t have hundreds of copies of popular movies back then. Most of the films available were from the past. So everything in the store was from the 70s and back. New movies were in the theaters and it would be years until they landed on video. But there were plenty of great films to watch. But the only place I could check out titles was during lunch in the back.

But here’s the twist to this upstanding business called VIDEON. We sold the occasional tape to some wealthy people who wanted to own some quality films to show their friends and family.

Home video was in its infancy and it was like the wild west back then. Here’s what they did at VIDEON. Say, someone rents a few films. They watch them and return them after the 3 day allocated time. We take that tape in the back room. There is a table with a spool of shrinkable cellophane on a roll and an industrial blow dryer. We rewind the tape and rewrap it in our own little shrink wrap. We sear the creases on the spool so it seals the wrap. We then hit it with the blow dryer and that shrinks the wrap so that it clings to the original box with the tape in it. Does it look brand new? Does it look like it came from the factory? No. But do the customers know that? No.

So basically they were renting movies all the time and then repackaging them and selling them as new to unsuspecting customers. I wasn’t comfortable with this practice because it just didn’t seem right. People were tricked into thinking they were buying something brand new and paying the top retail price. But in actuality were being sold a used product. That smells like fraud to me. It had to be illegal. But like I said, back then it was the wild west. I was getting a paycheck every week so I never said anything about their diabolical criminal enterprise.

The way to tell was, I knew what the rewrapped shrink wrap looked like, and if you looked through the window on the tape, the tape on the spool was slightly uneven. When they’re new, this is not the case.

I don’t know what happened to that company, but I’m sure they were devoured by Blockbuster some years later. (It was the last job I had before leaving California)

It’s funny how when something’s new, it costs a fortune and feels so exclusive. But in a few years, it’s all cheap and available to everyone. Now, it’s all gone. You can simply stream everything. DVDs aren’t even a thing anymore.

But it was a fun job and a peek at was to come in the world of home video in the future.

I recommend you watch the documentary The Last Blockbuster on Netflix. Very interesting. The best bits are about the business and corporate end of that industry. The rest is just a bunch of self-absorbed clowns talking about their love for Blockbuster and home video.

But I will say this one last thing. I do have some wonderful memories of picking up my little daughter on a Friday night and heading over to the local Blockbuster. We’d pick out some movies, popcorn, and candy for the weekend. It was a fun ritual that just about everyone I know once did together.

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Wildwood Daze – The Dolphin Restaurant – Part 2

North Wildwood, New Jersey – Summer, 1978

The girl I worked with was named Therese. (Pronounced: Terez, which makes it so much sexier and exotic) But Therese was just a nice girl who like myself had been moved to this island as a teenager. She told me she was originally from DC and went to Wildwood Catholic High School. She was 16 and I was 15 at the time. I’d be forced to move to the island the very next year, but that’s another story.

Therese said she was miserable and lonely when she first moved to Wildwood. The place was a resort and it was literally a ghost town in the winter. She said that the kids were mean to her and she described her experience in Wildwood Catholic as being like a scared little animal.

But Therese was absolutely beautiful. What made her lovely to me wasn’t just her lovely smile, sparkling eyes, and world-class legs… she had a sweet disposition. She was one of those girls who’s hot but doesn’t know it. Just a really nice, moral person. I loved her and I think she was my first “#1 most beloved”.

I knew she had a boyfriend. Some “Joe College Type” who was tall and good-looking named John. She was taken and there was no way I could compete with an 18-year-old guy on his way to university in August. It was like pitting a boy against a man. An unwinnable war.

But I was just happy to work beside her in the restaurant every day. After the morning rush, we’d clean up the dining room and start doing our side work. They were little maintenance chores we all had to do to prepare for the next shift. I would always blaze through mine early so I could help Therese. Sometimes I would even do her side work for her without her knowing. So when the time came for her to have to do it, I had already completed it for her and she could just leave.

I remember once I had taken care of some arduous task for her that she didn’t want to do. She rewarded me with a peck on my cheek. I blushed and felt like my head was going to explode. I was so smitten!

She knew I was crazy about her and instead of it being weird, she was always sweet to me. It was so obvious. She was like my queen. I understood what Eddie the dishwasher was experiencing with his feelings for hot Sue across the street. The unattainable goddesses we desire but can never have. We just scuttle along washing our dishes and carrying our bus pans like the rodents we are.

“So sorry to hear about John getting into that boating accident.” I would say to Therese.

“What?”

“Oh… right. That’s not until next week.”

Even back then I had a twisted sense of humor. But Therese would just laugh knowing I secretly wanted her boyfriend out of the way, so I could be the king to her queen. (So diabolical!)

I knew John was leaving for college and Therese was sad her boyfriend was leaving. I was relieved that this obstacle was being extracted from the equation and maybe I could make some sort of move. It was risky, but even at 16 years old I knew fortune favored the bold. What would my idol Dave Bradley do? I needed to talk to him tomorrow on the beach.

“Just walk up to her when she’s on her own in the dining room near the end of the night and ask her out.”

“That’s it? No special instructions or any kind of move?”

“Just have a plan, my friend. Don’t just ask her out, have something you want to do with her. Think it through. Nail down a time and a day. You’ll be fine.”

“Umm… okay, Dave.”

The next night it was around 8 pm and we were cleaning up the dining room after getting run over by tourists. I went over to one of Therese’s tables as she was picking up the check and her tip. I loaded the dirty plates into my bus pan.

“Hey… Crazy night, right?”

“Yea. My feet are killing me. I’ve been running around here all night like crazy!”

“Umm… (I smiled as I looked upon her beauty. My heart thumping in my chest and my stomach doing flip flops) Therese, would you like to go to the movies with me the next time we’re both off?”

She paused, then smiled. “Sure, Chaz. What do you want to see?”

I was stunned. This was actually working. Don’t blow it… “I was thinking Animal House. I heard it’s hilarious.”

“Oh, yea. Me too. I wanna see Animal House. I’m off on Thursday, would that work?”

This was too easy! “Yea… I’m off too. I’ll get the showtimes and we’ll figure it out this week.”

“Great. It’ll be fun. Thanks for asking me.”

I smiled and went back to cleaning. I went into the bathroom and looked in the mirror. I stared at the reflection of the young man who would be taking Therese Freeman on an actual date. This was a watershed moment. These sorts of things didn’t happen to guys like me. Or did they? I had been on a couple of dates last summer. I had navigated these treacherous waters before. She was just a girl I worked with. No reason to be nervous. Just a couple of coworkers checking out a funny film together. No big deal.

But no… this was a big deal. This was my queen. The woman I loved. The unattainable was nearly in my grasp. I needed to play it cool and not screw anything up before Thursday. I could hardly think over the sound of Aerosmith’s song, Back in the Saddle blasting in my head as the dopamine splashed all over my euphoric brain. This was the big time. A date with Therese Freeman. Dave Bradley would be proud, and his lecherous brother Chickie would be jealous.

Welcome to the NFL, Chaz!

The next night we worked the same shift again. I had already looked up the movie times in the newspaper and knew exactly where and when we were going to see this movie. “Planning is everything”, as my father used to say. We coordinated the time and Therese wrote down her phone number and address on a slip of paper.

Just having that data in my hands was worth a fortune to me. Things were definitely happening in my life! Everything was getting better. I just needed to survive this date with Therese and not screw it up.

Later, I was in the kitchen emptying my bus pan and Chickie Bradley was there doing the dishes. Therese walked in and dropped off some plates from one of her tables. Chickie immediately hit on her. (The filthy animal!)

“Hey, yo… Therese, we should uh… you know… go out some time.”

My heart sank with rage and despair. Chickie Bradley could get any woman. He was a rake and had a reputation for closing deals. He probably had so many notches in his bedpost that it was whittled away completely!

Therese smiled and spoke. “I wouldn’t go out with you if you were the last man on earth, Chickie Bradley.”

She glanced over at me, gave me a knowing grin, and left the kitchen.

As the big wooden doors to the dining room swung back behind her I could feel Chickie’s spirit exit his body. I was in my glory. I’m indestructible now. A real player in the game of life. New confidence and power coursed through my veins. This was a fantastic moment in my young life. Say hello to the new king, Chickie Bradley! Take that!

Thursday arrived and I was terrified. My anxiety was off the charts. This wasn’t just a date to the movies with a coworker. This was Therese Freeman. A date with the queen. I was a nervous wreck. I had the power and the nerve to ask these girls out, but my anxiety would be tearing me apart before the event. It was absolutely as horrible. The pain equaled the joy I had felt the other night when she said yes.

It just didn’t seem fair. Why was I like this? I wanted to go out on dates with girls but was always in a terrible state leading up to it. Little did I know, this would go on for years and years. Anxiety and depression are the worst. An unexplainable fear and sadness you carry around with you. Where your friends and family are happy and excited to do things, you are crushed with blackened fear that squeezes your heart to near paralysis.

It was so bad, that my family actually had a little acronym for me. They used to call me The ARM. That stood for Anxiety Ridden Mess. Isn’t that lovely?

Thanks, family. YOU’RE NOT HELPING!!!!

Acute anxiety disorder. How do you overcome it? I’ll tell you how. Without drugs or medicine. You’re born this way, and you literally have to keep walking toward the things you fear the most. You have to do this over and over for maybe decades. Most people aren’t willing to do this, nor do they possess the inner strength to carry out this incredible burden. You have to rewire your brain to keep walking towards that which you fear. After a while, you realize you’re not going to throw up or die from going into the unknown.

If you’re willing to do that, you’ll succeed and not only overcome it, you’ll realize something wonderful. After all of those years of being afraid and sad, you’ve become stronger in spirit than most. You’ve spent years overcompensating for those fears. You’re more charming and cool around people because you’ve been performing like that for years. You then become an even better version of yourself than you ever realized.

People will call your charm a gift of gab, or a special way with people. No. Quite the contrary. You simply practiced for years to mentally overcome your disability. I did it, and you can too.

Back to the story…

I remember lying in the bathtub in our upstairs bathroom before the date. I thought maybe a nice cool bath would calm my shattered nerves. The clock ticked away the minutes ever faster as the deadline approached when I’d have to leave the house and pick up Therese.

This is an awful feeling. Why did I even bother asking her out? This is too much for me to handle. I’m out of my element!

I pulled myself out of the tub and got ready. I want to do this. I asked for it and she said yes, so this is definitely happening. I did everything I could to calm my mind but to no avail.

I remember my dad handing me some extra cash in case I wanted to buy her ice cream on the way home from the movie. Dad comes through in the clutch again!

I walked up our street west on 8th street. I walked past the ball fields. I lingered there for a few minutes to gather my courage. I figured if I had to throw up, now would be the time. I remember one of my friends later told me they saw me milling about there and I appeared to be talking to myself. (Yea, it was that nuts.)

I get to 5th and New Jersey Ave. and approach her house. I look down and carved into the pavement is her name in the concrete. It even had the two little accents over the vowels and everything. Of course, her name should be carved in stone forever. She’s Therese!

I step onto the porch and tap on the screen door. It starts to get a little fuzzy here. I don’t remember meeting any parents. Maybe her family was out or something. But I do remember Therese just chilling in her living room in a lovely blouse and a pair of white slacks. She looked awesome. I had only seen her in her waitress uniform. Here she was. All ready to go on a date to the movies with Chaz.

I don’t remember what we talked about on the walk to the theater. Probably work and general stuff about our friends and families. I was too terrified to be on record mode during that trip. I think Animal House was playing all the way down at the Shore Twin which was on Atlantic Avenue, west of Marine Pier. (Later, Mariners Landing)

I still have half of the ticket from that night. I even wrote her name on it and kept it to memorialize the event.

The film was great. Animal House is one of the funniest comedies ever made. The late, great John Belushi is brilliant in the role of Bluto Blutarsky. This movie solidified his stardom.

Therese laughed a lot and I knew this was a good choice. I always later told my friends who lacked experience with dating to always pick a movie. I would tell them that it was two hours you get to spend with her and you don’t have to talk or seem interesting. You let the movie make the night great and fun. If she’s having a good time at the movies, then she’ll associate you with fun and exciting feelings. It’s just science, folks.

I had a wonderful time that evening and so did Therese. I was happy to just spend time with her and be close to a girl I really liked. She was the sweetest thing. I walked her up to her doorstep and sealed the evening with a kiss.

I probably skipped all the way home that night. My older sister was there and asked me how the evening went. I gave her the thumbs up and was happy I survived it. She knew I was nervous about it and was worried about me.

It was pretty great to be the only guy that got a date with Therese after her boyfriend went off to college. I think being brave and a gentleman goes a long way. Women just know.

I didn’t really see Therese after that summer. I moved on to a job at Hunt’s Pier. We did stay in touch a little though. I still have her letters. She went into the medical field. Of course, someone as sweet as Therese would have a job where she helps people.

I ran into her once back in the 1990s in Stone Harbor, NJ. I was staying at my wife’s family’s shore house up in Avalon. I was standing out on 96th Street while my wife was in some shop.

I just suddenly saw Therese standing there like an apparition from my past. It had been over 15 years since I’d seen her. My heart leaped at the sight of her. She still looked smoking hot.

I said her name and she turned. It was an amazing moment. After all of this time, here she was. We chatted a bit and caught up.

Thoughts of the gift shop suddenly bursting into flames and my wife dying in the fire and Therese having to comfort me with my sudden loss came to mind… but only for a second. (Oh, stop it… I’m kidding!)

I noticed she had a little brace on her arm near her wrist. I asked her what had happened and she told me she had rheumatoid arthritis. I found this heartbreaking but told her my mother suffered from the very same thing. I thought, how can there be a god when this kind of stuff happens to perfectly wonderful people? It’s not fair.

It was great seeing her and I couldn’t wait to tell my family who I had run into in Stone Harbor that day. They all knew I adored Therese since the 70s.

I haven’t seen her since, but at least we’re friends on social media!

I’m so glad I have all of these great memories to wrap myself up in and share with you. Thanks for reading this. I really enjoyed writing about the restaurant and of course my queen!

Thanks for saying yes that day in 1978 and going on a date with me. It meant the world to me.

I will always love you, Therese!

Here’s a pic of Therese I found on Facebook. It was taken around 2012.

A stunning beauty!

On a final note, I earned around $500 that summer. I was becoming a serious self-taught musician and decided to make an investment. You can see what that was here.

Want to learn more about RA? Go here: https://www.aiarthritis.org/

or here: https://www.facebook.com/IFAiArthritis

or here: https://www.facebook.com/TerezFreemanHumphrey/?ref=page_internal

If you liked this story, you’ll love my next book, Down The Shore, coming to a bookstore near you Memorial Day, 2023!

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. 

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Children of the Night: The Best Horror Actors of All Time

Behind every great horror film monster is an actor with the perfect chops for sending a chill down your spine.

Some of the silver screen’s best actors and actresses have portrayed monsters or ghosts or the victims in which those monsters stalk.

In honor of Halloween, my love of films and the wonderful performances that have existed in horror films, I will count my top-5 horror actors of all-time.

No. 5: Boris Karloff. From 1919 to 1971 Boris Karloff racked up credit-after-credit as monsters, murderers and maniacs. Most notably, Karloff was Frankenstein’s monster in the 1931 Universal Studios classic “Frankenstein.” Karloff would portray the famed man-made monster two other times in his career and also starred in Universal’s “The Mummy” as Imhotep — the mummy himself. Karloff was tall and menacing-looking, with haunting eyes and prominent cheekbones. His looks, along with his cold and chilling acting style made him the perfect horror film actor.

No. 4: Bela Lugosi. Hungarian born Bela Lugosi is most recognized for his role as the evil vampire Count Dracula. His mysterious looks and accent became Dracula’s signature for decades (until another actor on this list flipped the switch). Lugosi was Universal’s Dracula several times throughout his career, and also appeared in 1941′s “The Wolf Man;” played Frankenstein’s monster in “Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man;” and appeared in films like “The Black Cat” (alongside Karloff) and “The Human Monster.” An icon of horror cinema, Bela Lugosi’s name is still recognized by horror fans of all ages as one of the genre’s best performers.

No. 3: Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. It’s hard to separate Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, chiefly because the duo starred in a bevy of Hammer Horror Dracula films together. The two were pitted against each other several times: Lee as the haunting and suave Count Dracula, and Cushing as the altruistic vampire hunter Van Helsing. Lee starred in several Dracula films including “The Horrors of Dracula,” “Dracula Has Risen from the Grave” and “Taste the Blood of Dracula” — to name a few. Cushing portrayed Van Helsing several times, and starred as Doctor Frankenstein in Hammer’s Frankenstein series. Both actors starred in several other horror and sci-fi films: Cushing in “Star Wars Episode V: A New Hope” and Cushing in “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.”

No: 2: Lon Chaney Jr. Perhaps no horror actor pulled off inner torture and turmoil quite like Lon Chaney Jr. Chaney Jr. is most known for his role in 1941′s “The Wolf Man.” He’d portray the famed werewolf four other times but also starred as Frankenstein and Dracula in various Universal films. Chaney Jr. — a one time Colorado Springs resident — was a classically trained actor, starring in films like “Of Mice and Men” prior to his roles with Universal. Chaney Jr.’s chops allowed him to pull of the inner guilt, turmoil and fear as a lycanthrope which in turn made his Lawrence Talbot/Wolf Man character a sympathetic near anti-hero.

Honorable mentions: Jamie Lee-Curtis, “Halloween;′ Sigourney Weaver, “Alien;” Jack Nichoslon, “The Shining” and “Wolf;” Robert Englund, “A Nightmare on Elm Street;” Bruce Campbell, “The Evil Dead.”

And the best horror film actor of all time is …

No.1: Vincent Price. His ghoulish laugh, hauntingly deep voice, pointed haircut and mustache and acting chops made Vincent Price a legend. The king of macabre performances, Price shines in films like “The Last Man on Earth,” “House of Wax,” “House on Haunted Hill” and the original “The Fly.” Even in the 1970s and 80s Price continued his run as horror’s screen king, starring in films like “The Abominable Dr. Phibes,” “Theater of Blood” and Tim Burton’s “Edward Scissorhands.” Price’s laugh and voice have been used in songs (notably Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”); cartoons and on various radio programs. He read many of Edgar Allen Poe’s works on recordings throughout his career. Price has become a horror icon and rightfully so. Beyond his looks, Price pulled off creepy, mysterious and wicked better than anyone.

 

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Another Life – Chapter 3

We took them to a movie – Dutch treat. I didn’t catch much of the film: Sam kept leaning over to whisper in my ear. “Who is that?” she’d ask. Or, “Why is he doing that?”

She had a hundred questions. Some of them were truly stupid. I think she genuinely had trouble following the plot. Or maybe she thought she had missed something important.

But it didn’t escape my notice that every time she had a question, she leaned over, rested her hand on my arm, and put her lips next to my ear. Once I even felt the pressure of her boob on my shoulder. Sam wasn’t skinny everywhere. Tanya kept shushing her. Sam tried to justify herself. I had to promise to explain the movie to her afterwards.

We went for ice cream (Marty’s idea). I kept my word, and summarized the film’s plot for Sam. It turned out that she really did think that she had missed a key scene, near the beginning. After that, she felt like she was struggling to catch up. Tanya rolled her eyes so energetically, I was afraid she was going to hurt herself.

I wasn’t sure that I believed Sam – not entirely. But while I was explaining the movie, I discovered a few things. For one, if I was doing the talking, that shut off most of Sam’s inane chatter. She listened attentively, with a big smile, her eyes never leaving my face.

It’s flattering, for an 18-year old guy, to have a girl focus on him like that – no matter how dumb she might be.

Besides, I had no problem looking at Sam. When she wasn’t saying something stupid, she was actually quite pretty: long blonde hair, bright blue eyes, and a cute face. In fact, if she wasn’t talking or giggling, Sam was downright attractive.

She had narrow hips, and not much of an ass, but she was far from flat-chested. Then she giggled, and put her hand on mine. “You’re so smart!” she said.

It was like throwing a bucket of water on me. I immediately remembered where I was, and who I was with. I wasn’t immune to flattery, but …

– “I think she likes you.” said Marty, after we had dropped them off.

– “Great deduction, Sherlock.” I said, with a snort. “Lucky me.”

– “Come on, Joe – it’s not so bad, is it?”

It wasn’t. That’s why I agreed to go a party with Marty and the two older sisters a few weeks later. Tanya was there when we picked them up, and from the expression on her face, she wasn’t too happy to be excluded.

– “Don’t be late!” she said.

Marty drove. I picked up a case of beer. Caroline sat quietly; she didn’t say much at the best of times. Her older sister made up for it, with a non-stop flow of questions: who was hosting, would they know anyone there, could she have a beer – or two …?

The host was a friend of Marty’s, a guy from our high school named Jim. He had a cute sister, who had been a grade behind us. But if I had had any plans to check her out, those were immediately torpedoed.

Sam attached herself to me like a barnacle. She kept one hand on my arm at all times, as if she was afraid to lose contact. I couldn’t entirely blame her: she didn’t know a soul at the party. It didn’t stop her from asking questions about every single person there, though.

Did I know him? Did I know her? Had I dated her? Would I date her? Did I think she (another girl) was pretty? Could she (Sam) have another beer? Half of her questions I couldn’t even hear, because the music in Jim’s basement was on so loud. They were playing the Cars album – I’d heard it too often on the radio.

I steered Sam up the stairs, and into the backyard. It was a nice autumn night, with a clear sky. We sat down on a bench. To keep Sam from talking, I told her a long story, about how Marty and I had met, and become friends.

– “He likes Caroline.” she said, with a giggle.

– “Yeah, he does.” I agreed. “Does she like him?”

– “I dunno.” she said, with a shrug. Well, that made sense. I doubt that either of her sisters ever confided in her. Telling Sam a secret would be the equivalent of putting it on a billboard.

At that point, Jim came out into the backyard with a buddy of his. Introductions were made, and Jim said “Hope we’re not interrupting.”

– “Not at all.” I assured him. I didn’t want Sam to start chattering, so I asked Jim what he’d been up to since graduation.

– “Working with my Dad, mostly. Learning the ropes. Have to get started, if I’m going to take over the business some day.”

– “What kind of business?” asked Sam. I held my breath when she started to talk, but to my relief, it wasn’t a stupid question at all.

– “Men’s clothing.” said Jim.

– “Is it hard work?” she asked. I had to turn, and look at Sam. She worked in a major department store – in the women’s clothing department!

Jim started explaining the trials and tribulations of selling suits to ignorant customers, or cheap customers, and working with temperamental tailors.

– “And then you have to deal with the Jews …”

My eyebrows rose.

– “I’m Jewish.” I said.

Jim stopped dead. Then he started backtracking. “I was just … umm … I didn’t mean …”

I didn’t say anything. I just let him squirm. His buddy looked embarrassed. Finally Jim remembered that he needed to refresh his drink, and went inside.

– “I didn’t know you were Jewish.” said Sam.

– “I’m not.”

Jim’s buddy grinned. “Nice one.” he said. “Have to remember that.” Then he excused himself, and left us alone.

– “I don’t get it.” said Sam. “Why did you say you’re Jewish when you’re not? Was it just to make him stop? Oh … that’s it, isn’t it?”

I told Sam another story. “There was a kid in Grade 4 who got picked on, just because he was dark and had kinky hair. I didn’t stand up for him, then – but I knew I should’ve.”

“My uncle Ray lives with a woman from Guyana. Nice lady. My stepmother calls her names, makes fun of her. I call her on it. I can’t stand that shit. One more reason we don’t get along so well.”

Then I remembered something. “Sam, you work in clothing.”

– “Yeah. In a department store.”

– “Why did you ask Jim if it’s hard work? If anyone would know, you would.”

– “I know.” she said. “But … I didn’t want to start talking about my job. It’s not very important. Besides – I can tell … you don’t like it when I talk too much.”

“I know I’m not very bright.” she continued. “I say – and do – silly things. My sisters tell me, all the time.”

– “What about at work?” I asked.

– “I’m fine at work. I know what I’m doing. And if I have a problem, or a question, I can just ask Mrs. Maguire – my supervisor.”

This came as a revelation to me. Sam was … well, pretty dumb. But she knew it. In my limited experience, most stupid people have absolutely no idea just how ignorant they really are. On the contrary, many of them actually believe that they’re smart.

“I just … I guess I try too hard, sometimes.” said Sam. “I just want people to like me.”

– “I like you, Sam.” I said. At that moment, it was no more than the truth.

– “Really?”

– “Really.”

– “That’s nice.” she said, with a smile that didn’t look goofy at all. “You know, I was really impressed – what you said to that guy.”

– “Let’s get you another beer.” I suggested.

 

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Another Life – Chapter 1

This was originally going to be two separate stories, but they overlap (as you’ll see), so I decided to combine them. This story is also set in the distant past, before PCs and the internet … back when a record was something that sat on a turntable …

– “So, Joe … c-can you help me out?”

That was how it all started.

Marty was a short, paunchy nerd with a speech impediment – a stutter that came and went. He was understandably shy in social in social situations.

In Grade 9, on Initiation Day, I stepped in between Marty and two bullies who wanted to use his head to clean a toilet. I wish I could tell you that I kicked their asses – but I was the one who got my clock cleaned. Oh, I got in a couple of shots, but Marty did the most damage when he bit one of them hard enough to draw blood.

It would be nice, too, to report that the student body respected our courage, and that initiations were strictly forbidden from them on.

Yeah, right. We were suspended for 3 days, and got a reputation for being a couple of psychos. We probably weren’t going to fit in with the popular kids anyway, but that incident certainly accelerated the process.

Marty was a nerd, and I … I was never there. From the age of 13, I’d had a part-time job (and sometimes two). Right after school, I went off to work. All day Saturday, too.

It was my stepmother’s idea, really. I think that she just wanted me out of the house. Then, a few years later, she got the brilliant idea that I should pay rent, because I had money. My Dad was too whipped to object.

– “It’ll be a valuable lesson for him.” she said.

– “It’ll be a good experience for you, Joseph.” said Dad.

The fuck it was. Stacking shelves at the grocery store, pumping gas, or carrying roof tiles up a ladder all summer doesn’t teach you much, except how hard it can be to earn an honest dollar – or how much of your school’s social life you miss when you’re always at work.

That meant no sports, no clubs, no extracurriculars of any kind. Marty and I were both socially invisible. But there was always that bond between us.

In some cultures, if you save a man’s life, then you become responsible for him. I have to admit that I felt something like that towards him. And Marty … well, let’s just say that he went out of his way to pay me back.

In my senior year, I had to consider my options. I wasn’t sure that I could afford college. Dad finally spoke to his younger brother about me. Ray was a grease monkey at a downtown garage. He was a damn good mechanic, though, and when he put in a good word for me, his boss took me on part-time.

– “Don’t fuck this up, Joeseph.” said Uncle Ray. “You do, an’ you make us both look bad.”

– “I won’t.” I promised.

I cleaned up the garage, learned how to change tires, and do oil changes. I was also Joe Fetchit if anyone needed a tool, or a coffee, or a donut … and I went home dirty every night. But it paid better than most of the jobs I’d had – and I was actually learning something. Most of the guys were pretty decent to me, too.

So maybe that was how Marty and I connected – talking about cars. We started to hang out a bit. He regularly came over to pick me up, if we got up to anything. I never asked – God’s honest truth – Martin suggested it, every single time.

– “I’ll swing by and pick you up.” He must’ve said it a hundred times.

I was 18, but looked older, so I was the designated beer-buyer (Fake ID wasn’t readily available, back in the day). It was a mutually beneficial partnership, but I think I benefited more. What I’m trying to say is that I owed Marty quite a few favors, for all the times he’d driven me all over hell’s half-acre. He’d even lent me his car to go for my driver’s exam.

That was why, when Marty asked for my help, I didn’t hesitate.

– “So, Joe… c-can you help me out?”

– “Sure. What do you need?”

– “Will you … d-double date with me, Joe?”

– “WHAT?” I couldn’t have been more shocked. As far as I knew, Marty had never even come close to having a girlfriend.

– “I met her at church.” he said. Then the words came out – all in a rush. “She’s really cute. But shy. More shy than me. I think I like her, but if I ask her out alone she’ll probably say no.”

I was afraid that he was going to hyper-ventilate. “Slow down, Marty! Breathe …”

– “She lives near you. Close enough for you to walk. But I can swing by and pick you up. I already told her that my best friend lived nearby, and that we might ‘drop in’ on Sunday.”

– “Good for you, Marty. That’s great. Keep breathing. What do you need me to do?”

– “Well, she’s got sisters. Her parents will let go out, but only if her sisters go, too.”

– “Like chaperones.”

– “Something like that.”

– “So you need me to run interference? Keep the sisters busy? I can do that. Give me the bad news, then.”

– “What bad news?

– “Tell me the truth. How ugly are they? And don’t tell me they have nice personalities – that’s a dead giveaway.”

– “They’re not ugly.” It sounded like he was telling the truth, but I could have sworn that he was hiding something.

– “Come clean. Details.”

– “The older sister is 19. Her name is Samantha. I swear, she’s cute. And there’s also the younger sister – Tanya – she’s only 16.”

– “Three sisters? And you want me to keep two of them busy.”

– “C-Can you help me out, Joe?

– “Sure, Marty. What are friends for?” After all, I thought – how bad could it be?

– “Thanks, man.” he said. “This means a l-lot to me.”

 

https://lapetitemort17.wordpress.com/?p=365

 

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Die Hard is a Christmas Movie, Everybody Shut Up

Happy Holidays!

 

http://www.cracked.com/article_26110_die-hard-christmas-movie-everybody-shut-up.html

 

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9 Male Traits That Prove He’s Total Husband Material

How do you picture a perfect husband? We’re sure that there are lots of positive traits that can be added to the list. In this article, we examine how much female expectations match actual facts that have been proven by scientists.

In order to do this, we examined the most common marriage studies and are excited to report what an ideal partner really is, according to the experts.

1. Intelligence: Intelligent men cheat less often and earn more money.

9 Male Traits That Prove He’s Total Husband Material

There is nothing strange about the fact that some people are simply smarter than others. However, according to scientists from Finland, women should choose smarter men for a stable and happy marriage. Smarter men are known to cheat on their wives less often. More than that, smart men earn more money than the less intelligent ones.

During this research, the scientists studied 200 thousand Finnish men aged from 18 to 45. The scientists took a lot of variables into account, but according to their findings, it’s the intelligence that influences the success of a marriage the most.

2. Physical shape: Weight difference between husband and wife.

9 Male Traits That Prove He’s Total Husband Material

The scientists from the University of Tennessee came to the conclusion that men and women are more satisfied with a marriage when a woman is in better shape than her husband. She doesn’t have to look like a supermodel. All that matters is the weight difference.

The specialists warn that the level of human happiness is influenced by hundreds of factors and weight is only one of them. But their study proves that women shouldn’t constantly be chasing some mythical ideal of beauty, trying to lose weight all the time. It’s not necessary for finding a partner and building a happy relationship with him.

3. A sense of humor: It’s you who should laugh, not everyone else.

9 Male Traits That Prove He’s Total Husband Material

No matter how handsome a man is, most women value their sense of humor much more than their appearance.

Scientists, Christopher J. Wilbur and Lorne Campbell conducted a study that proved that women check the sense of humor box on dating websites more often than the attractive appearance box. According to their findings, women think that the ability to make good jokes is connected to high intelligence which, of course, gives such guys the upper hand.

However, a sense of humor is very subjective; you may like one kind of joke and hate another. So, the best component of a successful marriage is having a similar sense of humor. He doesn’t have to be a stand-up comedian, the only thing that matters is that you find his jokes funny.

4. Emotions: He doesn’t hide his emotions to seem more masculine and calm.

9 Male Traits That Prove He’s Total Husband Material

Many women want to have a strong and brave man who is never weak to call their partner. However, it turns out that being emotional is very important for a successful marriage.

So, Professor of Psychology, Dr. John Gottman watched 130 heterosexual couples for 12 years. In the end, he found that men who are able to listen to their wives, understand their emotions and express emotions in response have more successful marriages and are less likely to get a divorce.

5. Support: Support during good times is the most important.

9 Male Traits That Prove He’s Total Husband Material

Shelly Gable,A psychology professor at the University of California, conducted a study that led to the conclusion that support during good times is more important for partners than the support during bad times.

This is why the husbands, who can be sincerely happy for their wives even when their successes are not colossal, feel more satisfied in marriage than the husbands who support their wives only when they are in trouble. And women feel the same way, too.

6. Work: He wants you to work and develop as a professional.

9 Male Traits That Prove He’s Total Husband Material

During the time when feminism began to spread throughout the world, many men were still convinced that women were first and foremost housewives. However, the number of women who want to be good mothers and successful professionals is growing every day. This is why gender equality in marriage is so important. The results of the research show that working women who are supported by men are happier. This means that the likelihood of a divorce is less.

7. Money: He doesn’t try to earn all the money in the world.

9 Male Traits That Prove He’s Total Husband Material

Many women want to have a man who can earn a lot of money. More than that, these women are also often financially successful. But scientists from Brigham Young University studied one to seven thousand couples and concluded that the couples where money wasn’t the most important thing had more successful marriages than the ones who wanted to earn as much as possible.

Scientists found out that men and women who focus on money can’t solve conflicts correctly and be sensitive to one another.

On the other hand, it’s stupid to say that money doesn’t matter at all because it causes a lot of conflict too. It’s just important to remember that finances should not dominate other important traits that you value in a partner.

8. Living together: It’s important to co-habitate at a mature age.

9 Male Traits That Prove He’s Total Husband Material

A study by Sociologist, Arielle Kuperberg of The University of North Carolina, proved that living together before marriage doesn’t make the risk of the divorce in the future as high. On the contrary, the couples who started living together at a very young age divorce more often.

So, if a man invites you to live with him before marriage at the age of 18, this is probably not the best idea as living together will probably not end well. If decide to live together five years or so later, it is likely that the move will be more well-thought out and that the partner will be a good husband.

9. Childhood: He loves telling stories about his happy time as a kid.

9 Male Traits That Prove He’s Total Husband Material

Researchers from the University of Cambridge found that the people who were happy in their childhood are also happier in their adult life. This also influences their marriage. Additionally, happy adults are more likely to stop an unhappy marriage because they have high self-esteem.

But if your relationship is in good shape and your boyfriend often tells you about his happy childhood, the chance that you will have a happy marriage increase.

Which other traits of a perfect husband would you add to this list?

 

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