My Young Life: Innocence Lost

Early Grade School

I grew up on a street called Magee Street. It was a picturesque neighborhood of classic 50’s and 60’s lifestyle. All the dads kissed their wives goodbye in the morning and went off to work. All the wives stayed home and got the kids ready for school and then settled into housework and running errands. Most of the kids went to Lawndale school which was a public school and all of the Catholic kids went off to Presentation in nearby Lawncrest.

I remember being in the car with my dad one day and a kid named Mark Simpson was being pulled around in a wagon by his sister Linda. Only thing was, he had a cast on his leg.

“I always see that kid running out in the street all the time.”

“Well he’s not running now.”

“He got hit by a car. That’s why his leg is broken. He better watch out or he’ll get killed one day.”

I listened to my father’s words and watched in silence as Linda pulled her little brother down the street until they vanished from sight.

We lived in a time of basic rules. Say Thank you. Respect your elders. Stay off of other people’s property. Look both ways before you cross the street.

We also lived in a time of no bicycle helmets. No one wore seat belts. (Some cars didn’t even have them.) No sunscreen. No organized sports for everybody. Children ran free to go anywhere unsupervised. Just be home in time for dinner. I played by the railroad tracks. We’d ride our bikes miles from our homes. We had no cell phones. We developed keen senses of direction and distance. Everyday we thought of new ways to have fun by putting ourselves in some sort of isolated danger.

But we were fine. Young people live by the “I” words. They don’t know it, but they do. Immune. Indestructible. Impotent. When you’re young you think you’ll live forever.

Grade School

I think I was in 4th Grade when I became a Safety.  You wear a little white belt like the kid in the picture above. You also get a nice shiny silver badge to pin on it. (My sharpest memory of being a Safety was when I was doing poorly in school and my father said he should rip that belt off me and beat me with it. Fucking piece of shit thing to say to a child. But he was a rage machine back then.

Your job is to stand on your designated corner and put your arms out and block the little kids from crossing the street until it’s safe. I don’t even know how I became a Safety. Maybe someone just elects you. Maybe they didn’t have enough kids who wanted the job. But each morning and afternoon, you’d go to your assigned corner and protect the little kids.

I remember one time I was holding a soft pretzel in my hand and I put my hands out to stop the little kids. As I was waiting for the traffic to clear one little kid on my right took a bite out of the pretzel in my hand in front of his face. Too cute!

Mark Simpson and I worked the same corners. We weren’t really friends, but he lived up the street from me. I think my sister Janice maybe sometimes hung out with Linda, but I’m not sure. I think Mark may have been a grade behind me. On cold mornings his mother would whip up a few thermoses of hot chocolate for the Safetys. We’d finish up getting all of the kids to school and then all head into an office in the school and sip hot cocoa together. A little warm repose and reward for keeping the little ones safe on their way to and from school.

Fels Junior High

I was in 8th grade. I remember walking down the hallway early one morning. The school was oddly quiet. My friend Jimmy Hunsinger comes around the corner and says the following words:

“Did you hear? Mark Simpson was coming home from chess club, and ran out in the street around a bus and got hit by a car.”

“Oh my God. Is he okay?”

“He’s dead.”

‘What?”

I just stood there frozen. My face, a grimace of mute protest.

You cannot process that kind of information when you’re a 12-year-old boy. Your friends can’t die. Kids don’t die. There must be some kind of mistake. What kind of horrible lie is this?

But it was true. He ran out in the street around a stopped bus, and a car coming by the bus on the left side took him out. Apparently the trauma to his head was so forceful that he was hemorrhaging from his brain and he died on the way to the hospital.

Word quickly spread throughout the school and the neighborhood.

I remember my friend Michael and I went to his funeral service. (Closed casket) Everyone was dressed up in suits and ties and girls were in their Sunday best. This kid named Paul Berger was standing to my left in the pew, and he was playing with the zipper on his jacket because he was obviously bored. I told him to knock it off and be still out of respect to our fallen comrade.

After the service the family came to us and thanked us for coming. I just remember Mark’s sister’s face was almost unrecognizable to me because of how scrunched up it was from crying nonstop. Her face soaked with tears as she hugged us both. We here alive and had been through a few scrapes of our own but nothing compared to this nightmare.

Later we went to the Simpson’s home to pay our respects. This is some grown up shit here. Death puts everything into perspective. Especially when a child dies.

What Michael and I found odd was that nobody really looked broken or sad there. It was like a forced family reunion over grim circumstances. Everybody was eating and drinking. Mrs. Simpson asked us if we wanted to go up to Mark’s room. I had never been in Mark’s room let alone this house before. Like I said, we didn’t really hang out together.

He had a typical young boy’s room. It was neat and clean with all sort of boy memorabilia about the room. It felt weird to be looking at his stuff and touch his things. I picked up a little model car he had made. I thought they should give all of this stuff away to other kids because Mark will never come home again.

But of course I didn’t say anything about it.

As darkness fell over the neighborhood in those days, the clouds soon clear and people go on with their lives. Kids playing and going to school and just normal everyday events happen. Life goes on. The world continues to turn and some of us are not in it anymore. Some day that day will come for me and everyone I know. But we all hope it comes in old age and asleep in our beds when death comes to scatter our days. Not as a child.

I suppose the biggest ironies of this story are: My dad’s black prophecy about Mark getting hit and killed by a car. Him being a Safety and protecting other little kids from getting hit my cars, and then darting out into the street and taken by that very thing.

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am EST.

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Mary – Chapter 2 – New Years Day Brunch – Part One

Another tale of one man’s journey navigating his way through the dating scene in Philadelphia.

Normally, a dating post like this one would appear on a Monday. But since I’m publishing three days a week now, to preserve continuity with the events of New Years weekend, this is technically the third installment of the events that occurred over my New Years weekend. Clarice, Carly, and Mary is a trilogy that should be together.

Since our first date Mary and I have met for lunch at Capital Grille and also at Square 1682 again for drinks. We went to Capital Grille because she said she’s known the bartender for fifteen years. She says she gets the hook up. I dig the hook up when I get it so I was down. The lunch was delicious and the company was good. Poor Mary, was having some oral pain for some dental work she needed done, so instead of steak she went with the salmon. But at nearly sixty-nine years of age, she’s hanging tough and looking good doing it. I did the burger to keep the cost down, but in the end we didn’t get any hook up. Good news is, Mary kicked in over forty dollars towards the bill, so Mary is clutch. The moral of this story is, if your name isn’t Phicklephilly or Church, you don’t really get the real hookup.

So this would technically be our fourth date. Mary’s cataract surgery was complete and the vision in her right eye is now clear again. After my date New Years Eve brunch with Clarice, (See: Clarice – 2016 to Present – The CEO – New Years Eve Brunch) and the wedding set up with Carly, (See: Carly – 2014 to Present – New Years Eve) I was ready to spend New Years Day with Mary.

These have been my kind of holidays and I think I finally got it right. In December I saw my family in the middle of the month at our annual holiday party.

Fantastic.

Like I’ve said before I’ve never been a fan of New Years because it’s drunken amateur night. Just can’t do it. So this year, I’ve managed to build these little meetings around the holiday, without actually having to participate in said holiday.

I decided to take Mary to brunch at the City Diner at Broad and South. It was formerly Juniper Commons. A Kevin Spraga restaurant. It was an abject failure. They had eighty different gins. You could pick your club soda from a load of different flavors. It had a diner decor and played 80’s music throughout. I had brunch there when it first opened. I had this magnificent pancake concoction. Best ever. The two times I went back my buddy Church said the burgers were sub par, and another time I had brunch with Trish there, the food outright sucked. Who wants gin, let alone eighty different kinds?

The place went under in less than six months. Bitch, please.

A Greek family came in and turned the place into a twenty-four hour diner. Crushing it. perfect spot and perfect idea. Like my partner Achilles over at the salon, the Greeks just know how to get it done. Wait until some big shot goes in and does the whole build out on the restaurant and wait for it to fail. Then go in and open your restaurant and all of the stuff is already there to make it work.

Genius.

I meet her there and we’re all set. I called a few days before and made a reservation for a window booth on the Broad street side. The mummers parade goes right down Broad street all day on New years. Perfect vantage point to dine while watching the parade go by. Mary is impressed. It’s what I’m good at. Being at the parade can sometimes be a shitshow, but being behind glass and away from the crowd and noise, it’s a delight.

We have a really nice Irish girl who will be our server. It’s about 1:15pm at this point. I order a Yards Pale, and Mary goes with the prosecco. How about that? Two different dates in two days, and they order the same thing. Just goes to show, ladies dig bubbly when it comes to day drinking. Place is swinging. Very busy. Juniper Commons was never like this.

Mary and I are chatting and catching up on what’s been happening in our lives over the holidays. The server comes by and we’re not ready. That always happens. I get chatting with someone and forget to look at the menu. She returns in a bit and we’re ready. Mary goes with the Eggs Benedict with Canadian bacon, and I have the french toast deluxe. Deluxe means they give me a sizable slice of ham, two pieces of bacon and a single sausage. Just a glorious brunch item. Order is in, and now it’s maybe 1:40pm.

We chat away, and order another round. The diner fills and several large parties come in. We’re laughing and talking as the parade rolls by. The people watching alone is almost better than the parade, and we’ve got a court side seat.

Time goes by.

More time goes by.

And even more time goes by.

We’re not starving but it’s been an hour and no food.

An hour!

At a fucking diner!

At Midtown diner they crack that food off to you so fast you barely tell them what you want and it’s in front of you. And Little Pete’s? Lightning. We can’t figure out what’s wrong. The server comes over and apologizes, several times. We’re not angry because we’re enjoying each others company the time sort of just rolls by. But we should be a little cross about this situation. The server tells us it’s the kitchen’s fault. They have had a few large tables come in and they are in the weeds. But that’s not our problem. I understand the challenges of the service industry and so does Mary…first hand.

Once it’s an hour and a half, and we’re about to order our third round, the server returns once again. She apologizes and is really sweet. We tell her it’s not her fault. I suggest that we pay for our drinks, and when our food eventually comes out after two hours, we eat it and tip her up to what the whole meal would cost, but the manager or owner comps our lunch. In theory this seems fair.

But the server tells us that they are Greek. (we know this) Any shortcoming that occur in the diner are the fault of the server. But we tell her she is completely innocent in all of this. She insists they will take it out of her pay and she’ll get in trouble.

Well that sucks. I can’t let that happen. We tell her we’re rescinding the offer and to forget we ever said anything. We express this with great earnest because she’s under enough stress, running around all day serving hungry cranky customers. I drop the idea.

Mary agrees. We’re cool. The server tells us just two more orders ahead of us and they’ll bring us our food. We’re both a little buzzed at this point and are still having a lovely time.

A few minutes later our orders from nearly two hours ago finally arrive. Fresh and hot just as if they were delivered minutes after we ordered. Presentation looks solid, and we’re both satisfied. We tear into our platters like hungry children. (#firstworldproblems) it’s all delish!

The server comes back and tells us if we want another round it’s on them. I think we’re square. It really wasn’t bad sitting there with Mary chatting away on a beautiful day. We’re finishing up and she gets a glass of wine and I go with a cocktail. The Scofflaw. It contains Crown Royal, dry vermouth, grenadine, orange bitters, and an Amarena cherry. Not a bad, spirit forward drink for a diner at 4:30 in the afternoon.

We’ve been here all afternoon!

We enjoy our free drinks and I pay the bill, but I told Mary that since she’s had so many medical woes lately, I wanted to do something for her. She’s been paying dutch normally when we go out, and I appreciate that. It’s New Years day of 2017, and I enjoy her company. I want to do something for her.

Tune in tomorrow to find out where these crazy kids end up next!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 9am EST.

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Duncan – 1997 to Present – Blind Ambition And The Sin of Avarice

I have known Duncan for a long time. Nearly 20 years. He is originally from Northeast Philly like myself. I met him back when I was in retail banking. I was selling mutual funds at a branch in South Philly. He was my underwriter. So I would procure the clients, and sell to them, and Duncan would put together the hypotheticals and make recommendations. So he was my back office support person assigned to me. He had followed a girlfriend to Charlotte, North Carolina a few years before. Our headquarters were there.

We became friends shortly after he saw that I had written, “The Green Manalishi with the Two Pronged Crown”, on the auto reply on my internal email. It’s a Judas Priest reference and he got it. We started talking and got to know each other and our mutual of all things heavy metal.

He had family in Pennsylvania and would come up and visit occasionally.

Over the years he would come and stay at my house and we would plan his visits around heavy metal concerts. We’ve seen AC/DC, Motorhead, Ronnie James Dio, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Cinderella, Iron Maiden, and many other bands on several occasions.

When I got divorced he dumped his girlfriend who had gotten heavier and lazy. I bounced around the banking industry for a few years, and dated a few women. Some crazy, some not so crazy. I don’t remember if he dated much after he split with his girlfriend. Here’s the thing, Duncan is a good-looking, fit guy, but he has absolutely no game whatsoever. He works out, but doesn’t eat all that well. The boy needs more fruit and vegetables.

He always had around five dogs. They were his buddies. He lived on a remote road and had a big yard for the dogs to run around in. Always the dogs. So while I’m working in and out of banking and consulting, Duncan is taking all of these courses to become a CFA. (Certified Financial Analyst) He meets a woman in one of the courses he takes at night and they get to know each other. I think she was married before or in the process of getting a divorce.

So they hook up because they are both sporty and good looking. They eventually get married.

One thing about Ducan that is his biggest flaw is that he has no coping mechanisms in place. He has to control everything, and everything has to be about him and meeting his needs. Kind of like my dad. So after two days with the guy you’re ready to escort him off the property. You have to do the activities he wants to do, and eat the food he likes to eat. That shit doesn’t work long-term with any relationship. But he only visited a couple of times a year so I didn’t mind. We had good times for years.

Duncan was driven to be what he wanted to become and put off family until he felt he had reached a certain level in his career. “When I pass this test, or when I get that license, we’ll try to have kids.” Well, he put it off for too long and the window was closing on his wife’s ability to reproduce. They tried for a while but nothing was happening.  She finally did get pregnant but at some point lost it. It was painful physically and emotionally for her. She didn’t want to go through it again, and that was it.

Duncan’s wife came from money and had no real concept of it. I remember him telling me she had over one hundred thousand dollars in revolving debt. She kept promising to pay it down, but I don’t think she ever did. He only found out about it when they were doing a refinance on the house and she couldn’t be on the loan because she was so upside down with her credit card debt. Duncan always kept all of their finances separate. She liked to blow money on frivolous things, and Duncan was always frugal.

With any hope of gestation off the table, she started going out on the weekends with her soccer buddies. Many of them were younger and she would stay out late and party at the bars and clubs. Duncan used to smoke a bunch of weed when he was cool, but was never really a drinker. He doesn’t go out anywhere. He’s not social at all. He doesn’t really have any friends. I think I was his best friend for many, many years.

He did cut me off for about two years once when I first returned to Philly from New York. I don’t remember why. Some trivial shit. But out of nowhere he started texting me again. When I asked him why he cut me off, he literally said he had no recollection of doing it. I remember exactly where I was when he cut me off. Saying, “we had a good run, but it’s over.” But I was just happy we were back. Even if he lived fifteen hundred miles away.

Duncan is telling me he’s getting fed up with his wife going out all of the time. But she probably was bored with him by then. I know if I were a woman I wouldn’t stick around. He’s got to be 48 years old by now and he still acts the same way he did back in his late twenties when I first met him. He hasn’t evolved as a man at all. Still the same guy. But he gave up weed years ago.

So after about a year of her going out he finally says he’s going to divorce her. They were married for eight years. He worked his ass off for the bank. They own him. Scooter is married to his ambition. He spends so much time working that he has amassed a small fortune. But of course his loser family all have their hands in his pockets. He had to go on their mortgage or they would lose their house and have to go bankrupt because of their reckless spending.

They split up. He’s on his own with his house full of dogs again. He tries to date some woman at his office and she’s not interested. He has to go to therapy for his divorce. Not because he’s sad that it ended but because he’s so angry that he failed. He started dating some older Asian woman at his tennis club. He says he’s never getting married again. But he bought her $5000 earrings last Christmas. He makes killer bank now. They have been together for a few years now. I refer to her as Yoko because I hardly ever hear from him anymore. They’ve come up to the area twice, but the first time I really didn’t feel like hanging out with them. Then around last 4th of July, they were supposed to stay in the city but ended up staying out by his parents and I never saw him.

One of the last conversations I had with him this year was him telling me that when he sells his house in the Spring 2017, he will be worth a million dollars. Maybe then he’ll finally be happy.

But I doubt it.

UPDATE: Duncan text me over the holidays that he was on the train with his girlfriend on their way to Warminster to see his family. He sent me a photo of a 1.75 bottle of Grey Goose being held by her in a liquor store. He said it was for me. No warning. No planning. Just has a bottle for me and am I available in the city tonight. I already had really important plans with a lady, and I wasn’t going to be around. I told him I’d be available Saturday night and Sunday. I got a text later from him saying he was on South Street, and where could he take his girlfriend for dinner. I told him Serpico or Ella. I never got a thank you or another word from him. He said later that maybe on Sunday he could see me because he was visiting his cousins. At this point, I wished he just left the bottle on my front steps and left. Because it’s all about “Mr. I have no coping skills.” So I think I’m done. (Still love him though) Too much has gone by and he’s so locked into his old Asian granny of a girlfriend that I won’t hear from him for a long time. I liked him better when he was a pot smoking clerk. At least he was fun back then.

Bitter?

Yeah. Table for one.

(But… Stay tuned. There is more to come in the future and will be glorious.)

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 9am EST.

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Michelle – Chapter 11 – RU486?

We were sitting out on Michelle’s balcony. She lived on a high floor and had a great southern view of the city. City View was the name of the development.  I remember looking at all of the burned out bulbs on the top of the PECO building. I always found that ironic. THE ELECTRIC COMPANY CAN’T CHANGE THEIR BULBS WHEN THEY BURN OUT.

They have since replaced the whole moving signage with more energy-efficient LED lights.

We were sipping chardonnay as usual. Laughing, smoking and chatting away the evening. Then this horrible sentence happened:

Michelle: “You know…it’s been awhile since I got my period. I think I’m late.”

No man ever wants to hear these words. My father drilled into my brain as a boy how being on time is a super important thing.

But this a whole different kind of “Late.”

I told her she was probably fine and just miscounted the days or something.

This is Def Con 4 boys….

She goes and gets a pregnancy test. Literally runs over to the drugstore across the street to get one. (Women are awesome. They know things) She comes back. I’m still sipping and smoking. She goes into the bathroom.

Within a few minutes, the next thing I hear is:

“Ohhhhhhhhhh Fuuuuuuuck!

I think at that moment I was glad I had a bunch of wine in me. Michelle came out and showed me the wand with the little plus sign on it.

There’s nothing “positive”about seeing that. But I guess for some it’s a moment of great joy.

For us, that was definitely not the case.

Michelle was not on the pill. I don’t remember why not, but taking that every day can have some negative effects on a woman’s body. That’s probably why she wasn’t on it. I remember using condoms a lot but apparently not enough. So stupid of me. I could say, “I don’t know how that could have happened!” But you don’t slip and fall into someone.  Whoops! Sorry I got you pregnant. That is one mighty sperm out of millions that makes that fateful journey and wins the race. Once that one guy lands on that tiny planet, there is an electrical charge. No one else can get in. That’s why I don’t believe in artificial insemination.

If you fuck someone and get them pregnant, your biology lines up. If you’re trying, and you don’t have enough guys or they’re not swimming, or if somethings wrong with her goods down there, maybe it’s not meant to be. Maybe biology says you’re not a genetic match to procreate. I know this all sounds a little Aryan but it’s just science.

Why should some doctor pick a few of your dudes and plug them into a few eggs and hope for a couple of weak fraternal twins. Did God pick up Christopher Columbus by the scruff of the neck and drop him off in North America? Did Aliens come down from space and pick up Neil Armstrong and drop him off on the fucking Moon? No. You need to fight for that shit. You need to be Michael Phelps. Be the one who wins and gets there first. That’s what species do. So I am a firm believer in natural selection. But I’m also a fan of abortion.

That’s why the crime level went down around the year Bill Clinton got into office. Because of Roe vs. Wade. Abortion was legalized and all of those poor, single mothers that would have had to raise kids in poverty and low-income environments got the right to choose for their own bodies. So all of those kids that would have grown up to be juvenile delinquents were never born to offend or clog our penal system. Think about that one for a minute.

Abortion is a good thing.

Just solid economics.

And one more thing on this subject. It’s not hard to make a baby. We are the most complex and evolved species on the planet. We build bridges, and airplanes, and literature and art and rocket ships, medicine, and amazing electronic technology. We do beautiful work as a species. We build cities and created civilization, for God’s sake!

But you can be drunk at two in the morning in an elevator and create another human being.

I remember paying for the morning after pill once or twice, but this time we didn’t really know how far along Michelle was. She didn’t want a baby at that time either. Can you imagine me back then paying not one, but two child support payments if things didn’t work out? I would have put a pistol in my mouth in a New York minute. (But at the time, I was sure things would work out between Michelle and I, but it was just way to early in the relationship to bring a third party into our drunken mix.

Michelle scheduled an appointment at the local clinic. She told her mother about it. I guess she wanted her mom there when they were performing the procedure. I don’t know if I gave her money for it or not. I had paid for an abortion once before back in 2001 for a girl I was dating. I remember that girl telling me she was on the pill, but had forgotten to take it. Don’t you have to take that shit every day?

My own damn daughter Lorelei takes that shit every day.

I can’t remember why I just didn’t go with her. But maybe I had to work. I wish she hadn’t told her mother but what could you do about it then? Because her mother told her sort of 2nd husband about it. Michelle wasn’t happy about that. He didn’t need to know that shit. I remember her mom telling her that she had to tell her husband everything. People don’t need to know everything. There are civilizations held together by keeping secrets. There should be, and can be, private things that are kept between a mother and daughter. Same goes for a father and son. there’s crazy shit I know about my dad that I’ll take to the grave with me. Some stuff you just have to keep in the vault. Let sleeping dogs lie.

But weakness is what it is.

I know Michelle was upset about all of this. I think she just wanted it all over with. I had been down this road before, and it’s a serious decision. You just created another human being with another person, and before that life form can arrive on Earth you’re going to kill it. But Homo sapiens are so good at killing things we’re not even in the food chain anymore.

I think the reason that this story is so important is because of another one.

There once was a 16-year-old girl who was young, naive and in love. Her boyfriend at the time was one of these outlaw types. Well, he got this teenage girl knocked up and basically they were in the same situation Michelle and I were in at the time. This young lady struggled with her now dire situation. I’m sure she was terrified. She was a junior in high school and had to make a gigantic life decision. And LIFE is what she chose.

That life became Michelle.

I believe it was the morning of her appointment at the clinic, that Michelle miscarried.

We never really spoke about it again after that…

Sorry this isn’t a fun one but there was no fun to be had when we went through this. But we grow and evolve through the things that challenge us.

Life is what it is.

So is death.

 

 

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Church – 2013 to Present -Seizure Salad

I’m sitting in my go to bar with Church. It’s our spot and it’s what we do. He’s sipping a Sailor Jerry and Coke, and I’m having my usual Chardonnay with a side of ice. He orders a salad and I go with the sliders. There is a couple a few seats down from me to my right. I know the guy, his name is Brian, but I don’t know the lady he’s with so I wave but don’t approach. He could be working.

On the left of Church, is a brunette in her thirties and an older gentleman. Looks like a lawyer. We don’t really pay any attention. We’re chatting and doing our thing.

Daphne rolls behind the bar and says hello. She tells me it’s a slow night. Not much happening. She goes back to her hostess stand and it’s just another night in paradise.

Suddenly, the woman who was sitting to Church’s left, goes off the bar stool and hits the floor. Normally, I’d call that Thursday night.  We see so many banged up people around the city losing their shit. But this woman was having a seizure. People within visual range are shocked and the bar goes quiet.

I point to the phone on the wall, because the bartender on duty didn’t see one of her patrons suddenly vanish from the bar. “Liz, call 911.”

She starts dialing. Church, with his cat-like reflexes, springs into action and goes from sitting next to me sipping a drink to all the way around the other side of her on the floor holding her head to keep her steady. I get down there and untangle her leg from the lower rail of his bar stool. I have the legs. Church is focuses on the poor woman’s head. She’s thrashing about, and Church is barking commands to those around him. He’s literally single-handedly coordinating the effort to help save this poor woman, and keeping her from injuring herself further.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but Church was formerly a Corpsmen in the United States Navy.

A Corpsman works in a wide variety of capacities and locations, including shore establishments such as naval hospitals and clinics, aboard ships, and as the primary medical caregivers for sailors while underway. Hospital corpsmen are frequently the only medical caregiver available in many fleet or Marine units on extended deployment. In addition, hospital corpsmen perform duties as assistants in the prevention and treatment of disease and injury and assist health care professionals in providing medical care to sailors and their families.

They may function as clinical or specialty technicians, medical administrative personnel and health care providers at medical treatment facilities. They also serve as battlefield corpsmen with the Marine Corps, rendering emergency medical treatment to include initial treatment in a combat environment. Qualified hospital corpsmen may be assigned the responsibility of independent duty aboard ships and submarines; Fleet Marine Service, SEAL and Seabee units, and at isolated duty stations where no medical officer is available.

Yea, pretty bad ass. That’s the guy you want next to you when somebody takes a header at your favorite bar.

She’s making what almost sounds like barking sounds, and staring wildly about. He’s got a good hold on her. He’s talking to her. But mostly he’s trying to keep her from bashing her face into the wooden wall of the bar. The bartender comes around, and some others have gathered. I grab a cloth napkin and ask if we need to put it in her mouth. I always heard that epileptics could bite or swallow their own tongues. Church says, no. He knows what he’s doing and has the situation well under control.

She seems to be calming down. I look over at the guy who was with her. He’s just standing there staring, and looking uncomfortable. The paramedics come and stabilize her. I feel so bad for her. It’s the holidays, and she’s out for a drinks and this horror befalls her. They get her onto the gurney and roll her out. The police are there and also ask some questions. Church is on point, he gives law enforcement the full report.

They also speak to the guy she came in with. He says he doesn’t know her very well. He met her over at DelFrisco’s steakhouse, and then brought her over here for a drink. That’s a big lawyer hang out. Not my scene. This guy didn’t do anything to help or comfort her when she had the seizure, and he didn’t go to the hospital with her. I don’t care if you just picked up the chick in a bar. Lady falls down, you go to the damn hospital with her. I’m thinking that weasel was married and didn’t want any problems. How would he explain to his wife that he was at the hospital with some other woman? I may be wrong, but I got the vibe something was definitely shady about that guy.

We go back to our seats at the bar and have another drink. Church is pissed because somebody was telling him to turn her head when she was foaming at the mouth and that’s not what you’re supposed to do. Me, I was just glad the lady was okay.

Daphne came over to chat and get a recap. I tell her what I know, and tease her.”You had to say it was a slow night and that nothing was happening, and look what you did, Daph…”

“I know, right? Me and my big mouth.”

Indeed…

 

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Sarika – Song of the Black Widow

God, she’s beautiful. I couldn’t find a stock picture on the internet to capture the delightful beauty of this girl. She is so pretty. Indian. Exotic. The type of beauty you’d almost pay for to be seen with at an event. She is probably one of the most beautiful women I know in Philly. But she recently reached out to me to come hang at a happy hour and a brand new place in Rittenhouse, called Scarpetta. Smith and Wolensky’s is gone and now that place is here. It’s in the Rittenhouse Hotel. She also mentioned that she wants me to come up to her apartment and check out her new place at the Dorchester. I am so glad I have reconnected with her. This vacuous she-devil is such a good character for this work. I am a huge fan of lovely Sarika.

I got to Scarpetta around 5:30. They’ve done a nice job with the place. It’s dark and intimate. The bar looks the same but they’ve opened up the place a bit. There’s only the one bar, but they have a lounge in the back and there is a dining room upstairs. I look around for Sarika but I don’t see her. I’m chatting with the manager and then I look out the window and see her walking towards the building.

Sarika looks amazing as always. We grab a couple of drinks at the bar and sit in this cool little area by ourselves near the window. Rittenhouse Square looks beautiful. It’s all decorated for the holidays.There are strings of bulbs in the trees and the whole park twinkle with light. She is having some sort of light pink beverage that I didn’t catch the name of, and I’m having the old-fashioned. Normally, cocktails are around fifteen dollars, but during happy hour they’re half price. So that’s something I can live with for now.

I ask her what she’s been up to and she says she’s been going on a lot of dates. Turns out that weasel she wanted to bring to my eighty dollar a plate New Years party last year has been gone for a while. I remember she was so into that guy. Apparently they were together off and on for two years. She says she wasted her best years on him and now she’s old. She’s 28! Come on Sarika, you are still but a child. She said he was a jerk to her and probably never loved her. I get her laughing, and start thinking that the black widow isn’t so bad after all. She may be smart as a whip, but she’s still a young woman navigating her way through love and life. I even joke that she probably has a blood-red hour-glass tattooed on her belly.

I do love pretty things, and she is no exception.

I tell her she looks great as always. She has been in some sunny destinations lately, so her skin is a darker brown than normal. I like it. It makes her look even more mysterious and exotic. I mention it and she immediately asks if I think it looks ugly. She always says things like that. She is so smart but so immature at the same time. She’s also a bit of a chatterbox. I think most men can’t handle that and don’t like a girl who talks too much. I don’t mind it. I like a girl who has things to say and experiences to share. I love to talk and entertain a woman, so it’s nice when I have a chatty girl so I don’t have to do all of the work. Women like a good listener and I grew up with three sisters. But what I can’t stand is what Carol used to do. Just babbling on nonstop like a tire spinning in the snow. (See: Carol 5/2014 to 8/2016 – There’s No Fun In Dysfunction)

I once read that women speak up to 20,000 words a day, compared to men, who speak only 12,000. So when we get home…We’re done!

It is puzzling how a woman this strikingly beautiful can’t keep a man. But the more you’re around her the more it makes sense. She says she’s been finding men on an app called J Swipe. It’s like Tinder for Jews. I asked her why that app? She said Jewish men normally appreciate women more, have good jobs, and have money. Sounds like she’s hunting for a husband. I think one of the challenges Sarika is facing is that she may be viewed more as a conquest. A creature to be captured and checked off of some list, because she’s so beautifully exotic.

She said she went out with a guy on Monday and even had a date with a pilot after our happy hour. So I assume I won’t be getting a tour of that gorgeous apartment in her building tonight. Sarika has a very busy life. She travels a great deal for her job as a scientist. I know she was formerly an engineer, but now I guess she’s a scientist. She makes great money and spends her other free time hopping on planes and taking little trips. It sounds like a fun life with all of the dating, and jet setting vacations, but it almost seems like she doesn’t want to be alone in her apartment. She’s crazy dating now. It’s good that she’s getting out there and meeting people after two years wasted with weasel man. But again, I can see men wanting her because she’s so beautiful, but she’s kind of annoying to talk to for any length of time. So if they get the opportunity to sleep with her they may not stick around.

Sarika is very intelligent and a nerd. I have taken her to Science after Hours at the Franklin Institute in the past. She loved it like a child. We went to see Jurassic World last summer, and Guardians of the Galaxy is her favorite movie. If my friend Duncan finds that up he’ll probably move up here from North Carolina. You would think guys would find that hot. A pretty girl who likes guy stuff and sci-fi, but it hasn’t worked. Maybe one of these many men that she is meeting for dates, will be rich and just marry her as a trophy wife. But sadly, people are funny about race in this country. They may want to sleep with a hot girl, but they may not want to bring and Indian woman back home to meet the family. I personally I have nothing against it. If you have been reading this blog, you know I love all different kinds of women. As Hank Moody says in the show Californication, “I got all your albums. I love you all and you and you included, Sarika.”

My buddy Church shows up at Scarpetta. I’m happy to see him. Once Sarika  goes on her date at One Tippling Place up the street, he and I can go to Square 1682 and have a drink. Church knows everybody in the restaurant and bar business in this town, so when he orders a drink and the server brings it over, she says, “This one is on Nathan.” He’s the GM there so Church got the hook up. I get another drink, but Sarika is only having the one so she doesn’t show up drunk for her date at 7:00.

While I was waiting at the bar to get my drink, Church chatted with Sarika. I was a little glad that it took the bartender a little time to get to me and make my drink. Normally I don’t like that, but I thought it would give Church a chance to talk to Sarika.

I get back to our little area by the window. We all chat a bit more. Sarika has to go soon, so she heads back to the ladies room. Church tells me she wouldn’t stop talking and it was driving him crazy. He’s been on edge lately, and listening to Sarika go on about something was annoying him. He said something to the effect, “I wanted to put a gun in my mouth.” He said she is so vacuous and self-absorbed and all she talked about was herself.

He once said that about another attractive girl who talked a lot. He was in a car with her and she was talking non stop and he said, “I wanted to leap right out of the car while it was going 70 miles per hour down the highway.”

Sarika returns, and I put her coat on for her. I tell her I will pay for the one drink she had. She tells me she’ll get me next time. I give her a kiss on the cheek good-bye and she’s off. I get the bill for my two old-fashioneds and her dainty drink. It should come to over $22 plus tax. I look at it and it’s only $15. So I got the hookup because I was with Church.

Dude certainly has the power.

I think next we’ll do a happy hour with my friend Carly.  So the night went well and again without incident.

So maybe my pretty little arachnid is finally growing up.

I love Sarika. She is beautiful, and I enjoy her company, if nobody else does, and I can’t wait to see her again.

(Oh… and if you’ve somehow found this and other stories Sarika, I’ll understand if you cut me off. The truth always hurts more than fiction)

 

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Carly – 2013 to Present – The Coolest Chick I Know in Philly

I was at an event at Square 1682 a few years ago. This is before I became a regular there. I was sitting out in this big white obnoxious Humvee limo, being served cocktails. It was hot, uncomfortable, and the service was slow. So after about a half hour I went inside. I simply went to the bar and ordered a drink.

I was chatting with the bartender about some movie trivia, when I felt a pair of eyes on me to my left. I look over and I see this attractive brunette woman. It looks like she is dying to interject in our conversation. I pause and give her a look. She starts quoting some good stuff and making some good observations about the film we’re discussing.

We introduce ourselves and I learn her name is Carly. She is an events director for a large restaurant chain. She also makes marijuana edibles that are apparently incredible. Over the last few years we meet up at least two to three times a month for a drink and idea exchange. She is really an amazing person, but extremely busy in her job because of all of the demands of these large scale events she assembles.

Carly doesn’t live in center city so I only get to see her after work. She is happily married, and has a passion for rescuing dogs. She can be quite the talker, and when  I met her husband for the first time I said, “You must be a good listener.”

Carly and I do this bit, where if we’re anywhere and a person walking by even remotely resembles a celebrity, we’ll make a wisecrack about them to each other. We’re not making fun of the person, just making each other laugh. It’s just a thing we do.

One night we were sitting at the bar,and this red-haired stout woman walked by us. I turn to Carly and say, “Wow. Wynonna Judd has really put on some weight.” Carly laughs and we go back to our drinks. About twenty minutes later, I’m looking down the bar at the redhead. The waiter is chatting with her. He comes by me. I stop him. “Kenny. Who is that woman with the red hair down there? I ask. “Oh that’s Wynonna Judd.”

I nearly lost my shit. I grab Carly and tell her. We rush down there. Carly is spouting about how her mother loves her, and some shit about” How Love Will Build a Bridge.” It was an absolutely hilarious, surreal moment. Wynnona is a wonderfully sweet woman you’d probably love to have as a neighbor. Just a great southern belle. Her husband was a sweet guy too.

Carly and I have had some wild times and loads of laughs over the last couple of years. I am proud to introduce her here. Like the title says, she is the coolest chick I know in Philly.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday at 9am EST.

I publish new Dating content every Monday at 9am EST. I publish Updates and bios and stories about Non-Dating related characters, such as male and female friends, on Wednesdays at 9am EST.