This past week brought about my third visit Gamehendge as Phish visited the sandy shores of Jones Beach and, somewhat surprisingly, left the "Round Room" off the set list. I can't wait to get into the show, but I have a couple notes that I want to bring up before we take that journey.
The one and only Wong and his enigmatic hair returned for a weekend of Long Island leisure. Unfortunately, my work schedule didn't allow me to really spend all that much time with him and as, a result, I'm left with merely whispers of some stories to be added to the annals of Wong lore and a glimpse of some illuminating photos that seem to paint the picture of the occasion quite aptly. As much as it seems I did indeed miss out on the party, that's not to say we didn't have our own fun on the Friday night he came through.
Now, excusing the abrupt shift in the discussion, this Wong visit came with it's own very small, but nonetheless momentous accomplishment. A milestone that I don't want to blow out of perportion, but is worth mentioning. I, Tom Policastro, went to see the film "Ted". Now, some of you are thinking, "big deal, you and millions of other people", but we're talking about a man (at this point), a 23 year old man who is terrified of Chucky, freaked out to no end by Furbies, literally sprinted out of the room at the end of one of the "Santa Clause" sequels when Martin Short brings these giant grinning toy soldiers to life, had to have American Girl dolls removed from the guest room of a friends house before going to sleep and finally, a man who STRUGGLED (but did, for the record) to make it through all of "Toy Story 3". The difference between the third and the first two being that the toys had never been evil before. I mean, Prospector Pete wasn't exactly a moral compass for our nation's youth, but there's a difference between I'm going to chase you down to keep you here and a little toy internment camp with a bruiser baby, and screeching monkey watch...monkey. Seriously, the shit is ominous.
Anyway, with all that said, let's not make all that big of a deal out of it. It was a stoner comedy with all too familiar voice of Peter Griffin, so I knew what I was getting into and wasn't exactly biting my fingernails. I'll admit that I got really tense when I first knew Ted was going to come to life. I was a little concerned that if they made it creepy as an attempt at comedy, the joke would be lost on me and I'd wind up clinging to Becky and Wong (who drew the task of sitting next to me) like saran wrap. I am relieved to say that the scariest part of the movie was a truly disturbing performance from Giovanni Ribisi and I can't recommend that hilarious film enough. Although, I did cast some eyes about when Mark Whalberg and the bear were fighting as if to say "this is my nightmare."
After the film, Matty, Becky, Wong, Roo, and I retired to Matty's to relax a bit. I think stories that start out with "so, we were drinking" are rarely half as interesting to a listening or reading audience as they seem to those who lived it, so I'll be brief, but it's worth mentioning that we played quarters and I had the brilliant idea of initiating the rule that if you got passed by the shot glass three times in a row you had to take a shot of tequila. Wong sat between myself and Matt Matura. Suffice to say Wong picked the wrong chair to settle in.
Now, a quick work story before I let you go. I feel like I leave everyday with a story worth telling for better or worse. Most are more quick oral stories not worth the time it would take to type them, but every now and again you get something blog worthy. I give you the following. I'm at the register going through the tediousness of ringing groceries when I hear a rather shrill "Ah dammit, Jerry you always do that when I'm leaning on the cart." She was referring to herself resting propped up on the shopping cart and "Jerry" subconsciously pulling the cart forward to move up on the line and essentially pulling the rug out from under her and sending her forward, kind of like when you have those dreams when you're falling. There's no real danger of falling, but the sensation is there. I see before me a couple consisting of a rather large man and a rather small woman. Jerry seems unmoved by his wife's lament and in response to his indifference she absolutely rams him with the cart. At this point, my shirt flies up over my mouth to cover my smile as I bite my tongue bloody to keep from laughing. Jerry doesn't flinch at the blow and with my smile veiled, though eyes probably saying it all, I go about ringing them up. One of the first items I ring up for is some meat, which the woman asks whether in came up as $3.99. Jerry is blocking her from seeing the screen for herself and his face is stone as she asks him what the price is repeatedly. It is at this point I realize that Jerry either has the absolute best sense of humor in the world or is completely miserable at home. I finally jump in myself and tell her the price of the meat and she thanks me. That alone would have been enough for me to hang my hat on as the moment of the day, but then, in an unprecedented stroke of fate, he pulls the cart forward again and, again, sends her forward. If looks could kill that whole grocery store would be in the obits section. At that point, I lost it and again pulled up my shirt with chuckles clearly escaping. After the order they both thanked me with smiles and the woman gave a look as if to say "do you see what I have to deal with?" That gave me the sense that the preceding ordeal was kind of the dynamic of their relationship, rather than there being any real trouble in paradise and gave me the real freedom to kick back and laugh at the situation. Jerry's my hero and I'm suddenly looking forward to my next relationship (the poor, poor girl).
Great to see Wong and be in, (albeit in a rather menial position) a workplace where I revel in moments like the preceeding and socialize with a great cast of characters everyday. I've learned that you can't put a price on that. Look for a post tomorrow about the Phish show.
Song of the Day: Bittersweet Motel-Phish
Jazz Song of the Day: Cheek To Cheek-Ella Fitzgerald