Davins Comedy Blog

Am I a Schmuck or a Mensch? - By Pip Helix (Davin's Den)

As listeners who are also my friends on Facebook know, the past year at my “day programs” has been rather fraught with ups and downs.  I worked at a position with one employer, with whom I dealt with a hierarchy of Evil Overlords that made my days miserable, and my nights sleepless and full of doubt.  The Evil Overlord chronicles were a rather popular item on my Facebook page, as it seemed that people could either relate to my pain, or for the terrific schadenfreude it offered. (If you don’t know that word, Google it, because it’s a great word).  After I left the long-time position at the Palace of the Evil Overlords, I went on to (Temporary) Sanctuary, a job that I thought I would really enjoy and which would cause so much less stress – only to be told that I wasn’t the right fit after the three month probation period was over.  OUCH.  So much OUCH.  I was embarrassed and hurt.

Recently, one of the Evil Overlords texted me from the Palace, and asked for advice on one of the more complicated programs we ran while I was still working there.  I knew it wasn’t something that could be explained over the phone, so I agreed to meet with him after work and explain it.  During our conversation, we realized that I had made a mistake in doing the report the last couple of years, but he wasn’t meeting with me to blame me, he wanted to understand what happened and correct it.  It was a very civilized meeting, and even though I didn’t give him the answer he wanted, he was grateful for my time. It felt bad to realize that I had made a mistake that would be a slight pain for them to correct, but it felt good to be finally treated like a professional by the Evil Overlord.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder?

Shortly after that, one of the people I worked at Sanctuary with, a really good friend, let me know that due to a scheduling conflict, she would be on vacation with her family the same time a major annual project needed to be done.  When I worked at Sanctuary, I guided her through it, and this year she would be on vacation and my replacement was inexperienced as well.  The head muckity-muck, who fired me, asked her to sound me out about coming in and working with my replacement to show her what to do, and to get the whole thing done on time.

I knew that refusing to help would put my friend in a difficult spot, trying to take her family vacation on the one week that all parties were available to go away, and I didn’t want her to not be able to take her vacation.  And, as much as I want to, I just do not hate the guy who fired me.  I would rather find out that it was a bad fit, at the time that my current position was available, than afterwards, when I would be well and truly stuck for a job.  So, I agreed to go to (No Longer) Sanctuary and work for a few hours with my replacement, who I’d met at an industry gathering, to help her through the project.  We banged it out in one evening, and I will get paid for my time.
I wonder if other people still keep in touch with their old places of employment, and work for them/meet with them if needed, or am I just this schmuck who can’t seem to burn employment bridges?


THE RACE TO THE END PART 2 THE NEW HOUSE - By Joe Currie (Davin's Den)

During the whole part of my life changing ordeal there was so many frustrating moments in selling my house, such as the home for the disabled making an offer on my house, leading us on for three months and the day before going into contract walking on the deal. As I say in my act, ‘The first time they can walk and it’s on me”, we have an open house and no one is showing. People are scheduled to look at the house and they don’t show up, top that off with an estranged wife that made every step a struggle.

But I told Joe’s girl that I knew in my heart that I had a gut feeling that these things were happening because the house that I wanted was not up for sale yet.
In April a week after I went into contract on my home in Huntington the house I knew was waiting came on the market. 

Joe’s girl found it on line, the price was great and it was in a community I fell in love with years ago but never pursued further to move to because my wife wanted to stay in Huntington.

No photos of the home were available and due to the price we thought there may have been something wrong and we were about to pass, but we didn’t.
We went to the open house and when I pulled up to the house there was this inner voice telling me that this will be my new home. It was beautiful on the outside, but what would it look like on the inside??? It was in mint condition and immaculate with nothing really to do but repaint two of the bedrooms and a bathroom (they were pink and as of this writing one of the bedrooms are done). As we were walking through the house Joe’s girl asked me what I thought of the place? I told her, you know the house that I told you that was waiting for me? Well we are standing in it.

This was the house, the reason there was no photos is the home just came on the market and the photographer had just left.   

I was planning on getting an apartment after I moved and really was going to start to look then. But this was the house and I could not let it get away.
I grabbed my real estate agent the next day and we made an offer which was the asking price. I was a purchasing agent for years and I know how to haggle and negotiate but I also know when something was a flat out steal. It turns out the women selling the place had health issues and wanted to join her son in Florida and wanted a quick sale. When we made the offer the selling agent said the price is firm three times and we had to tell them we understood and we are making an offer.

We are now in what I call the “hurdles to jump”. In the entertainment business you are trying to make impossible stuff happen day in and day out and I realized that this situation would be difficult but possible. The first hurdle was they were going to have another open house that was already scheduled and I prayed that no one would outbid me. It turned out that no one made an offer on the place and they accepted mine.

The next step was the home inspection to see the condition of the home. If you remember from part one this day was a very sad one in the sense that we interred my sister in law into the mausoleum that afternoon, I said goodbye to people and places that were a big part of my life for twenty five years and I had to leave my wife sitting alone at the mausoleum as I went out to meet with the home inspector, the real estate agents and Joe’s girl. It really was the official day of my old life coming to a close and the next stage coming to life. With all the strife of the day the house passed the inspection with flying colors. 

  Now I have jumped two hurdles and there were plenty more to go.
Next hurdle, I had to put down a down payment but cash was not available until I closed on my old home which was a month away. 

If you know me you know I don’t ask anyone for help but I decided this was not charity but a chance to get a home that I could not let go. Thanks to the generosity of several people that hurdle was jumped.

The next hurdle was going into contract. The seller’s lawyer was a nice enough guy and a friend of the seller but not really versed in real estate and moved excruciatingly slow. We waited almost two weeks to get the contract to sign but finally they came and I signed. 

The next hurdle?? The bank. Stay tuned for part 3

NINE WEEKS IN - By Davin Rosenblatt

I am in the middle of my ninth week of the 21 Day Fix workout program. They call it 21 Day Fix because after 3 weeks it all just repeats. I don’t know, I am not paying very close attention to be honest. I just know every day of the week is a different work out. So for instance every Monday is something called full body cardio which means cardio with weights. Ugh. There is a meal plan and shakes (which I have mentioned previously). So how am I doing?

I don’t do the meal plan. Haven’t even looked at it. I am eating less and drinking less.  I figure that would be part of meal plan. I am having much less ice cream. I figure that would be encouraged. I have replaced my morning Pop Tart with their shake. The shake is pretty filling and I was never much for breakfast anyway. My appetite has shrunk.  I will eat a meal and think I have stuffed myself to the gills and then later look on the scale and realize apparently I did not eat that much. So my own food strategy is at least having the effect of me eating less.

Now there have been a few occasions when I went off the eating reservation. When you go to a Bobby Flay restaurant you are going to eat. It is expensive and more importantly it is delicious. I did show restraint and have only one Mojito. I wanted another but I am trying. I also did not finish my dessert. It was great. I was stuffed. In the old days I would have powered through and finished it. I left it there to melt. Yay for self- restraint but boo for the loss of deliciousness. That meal fit for a king cost me a week’s worth of weight loss. One damn, beautiful, calorie packed, sumptuous meal.
During the course of the 21 days they want you to increase from one 30 minute work out a day to two 30 minute workouts a day. Listen, if I wanted to spend an hour working out I would not have picked the 30 minute work out program. I also would not pay for a gym membership I haven’t used in years. I don’t have time nor desire for that. I know I am cheating myself. I cheated myself in Spanish class too by passing and not really learning. It’s ok, I’m fine with it.

As I have mentioned before, I have done other weight loss programs. The most recent ones have been eating programs where to be honest I lost a couple of pounds a week. The ones with pre-made meals were the easiest. I know people say it is a lifestyle change. For me once I hit my goal weight I did not eat according to the program. Because…cake. Because pizza. Because ice cream. Because anything yum. They made me thinner which was awesome but there was no weight training. I eventually gained all the weight back and more.

I do not like the daily work outs. They are not getting easier. They are not fun. Fun is playing ball. Fun is watching a movie. Burpies are never fun. Full body plank is never fun.  I still curse at Autumn (the trainer) when she says “let’s do a bonus round.” Bonus round means more pain but I do the damn bonus round. I do it all some days better than others. I don’t do the yoga on Sunday. I go for a walk on those days. Me, the hills, and my music. It makes me happy and I am not just lounging eating pancakes.

So what are the results with my half-assery of kicking my ass into shape?  I am averaging about a pound of weight loss a week. My pants are looser. I am wearing shirts I have not worn in a while. My face does not look as fat in pictures. I have my American Greed appearance on TV coming out next month and I know I will look huge unfortunately. My stomach is a bit flatter. I still have much more to lose in the tummy.  This work out is very core intensive so I know I will continue to lose weight there. It is also very shoulder intensive which will broaden me out and make me look thinner than I am.  I get frustrated that the pounds are not falling away quickly. I, like many of us, like instant gratification. This work out, the half ass way I am doing it, does not give that. The way I am doing it this is more of a body shaping program and in that regard I think it is working. I have a long way to go and I would much rather eat cake but 30 minutes of pain daily for a pound a week while body shaping seems to be a fair trade.  Just once I want Autumn to say, “how about a bonus round of cake.”

PAPER ROUTE - By Pip Helix (Davin's Den)

When I was a child, my brother had a paper delivery route. His route was larger than the other kids’, and the weekend delivery was even larger, because some people only subscribed to the Sunday edition.  So,  on Sundays, my father, brother and I would wake up at some ridiculous pre-dawn hour, and go to the home of the woman who was in charge of local distribution of the newspaper.  We would crowd into the garage and help put the “inserts” (advertisements, the comics and the Sunday magazine) into the papers, count them out, and stack them in the back of our family van.  My brother and I would then sit on the edge of the van, with the sliding door open, and Dad would drive us around the delivery route. He’d stop when we needed to jump off of the side, and run between houses, bulging Sunday newspapers under our little arms. 

I can only imagine doing this today, and seeing some child welfare office throw my father in jail for letting us ride around town like that.  But even though we worked our little asses off, it was fun, and I enjoyed every last bit of it. Stealing off into the dark, feeling like the only people awake for miles, watching the sun come up as we snuck through the sleepy town quietly opening and closing their screen doors, getting the paper in without letting it flop back out onto the stoop.  It was an acquired skill, and I was strangely proud of how quickly and efficiently I could cover my assigned half, or probably more like one third, of the route.  I was five years younger than my brother, and he was taking more papers at a time, and covering more ground, surely, but I hustled as fast as I could go.
After the route, my Dad would treat us to breakfast at a local diner.  For some reason, my father had a fondness for the eccentrics and broken people of the world, and I remember that we went to the most broken down, lonely diner in the world.  I used to order a disgusting little kid meal, a jelly omelette with hot chocolate.  The man in the eye patch always seemed to be there, sitting at the counter, talking to us about whatever, and making comments about how much of my omelette I left on the plate. Another man with a cane sat at a booth, trading quips with the eyepatch guy and the cook.  I don’t remember thinking that any of this was odd, as we were a rather eccentric family to begin with, but I became aware of it as I grew up, and my brother made jokes to my Dad about the weird place he brought us to eat each Sunday.  For some reason, we upgraded to another diner eventually, but I didn’t mind the old one.

Sometimes, to let my hard-working father sleep in, my brother and I would set off alone to do the route by ourselves.  We walked to the distributor’s house with a little red wagon in tow, and then stacked a ridiculous amount of newspapers onto the wagon, and did the route by foot.  It would take hours and hours, but it was worth it to let my father get a break once in a while.  I think about how different things were, that two really small kids were walking around alone in the dead of night, and no one even thought anything of it. Imagine your 11 and 6 year old children leaving the house at about 3 a.m. without telling you, and walking the length of your town on their own, going door-to-door with newspapers.  

I am horrified thinking of it now, because it is not something we would allow today, but at the time it didn’t seem odd at all.  That freedom of being outside while others slept felt like we were the only humans in an amazing world unknown to others. While everyone else slept, we were enjoying the company of nocturnal animals, the occasional milkman or other delivery truck, and the blanket of quiet that enveloped the town.  Dim street lights, stars, and the occasional porchlight or inside lamp were the only things disturbing the darkness, and we were careful to be quiet as we snuck through their neighborhoods, so the dogs wouldn’t begin to howl. As the morning sun began to light the world, my brother and I staggered home, satisfied that our work was done, and that we had saved our tired father one chore of many.

THE RACE TO THE END PT 1 - By Joe Currie (Davin's Den)

This past April to June was the most stressful part of my life since the passing of my Mom twenty four years prior. I was ending a twenty three year relationship, I was leaving a home I lived in since I was three, I had to get packed and ready to move with no help, I lost an     in law, I had an estranged Wife who was just sitting watching TV and then coming home at all hours of the night instead of packing, she also was refusing to pay the expenses of living there as she thought our settlement was unfair. I was also running out of money and was a month away from being bankrupt, I had found the place where I wanted to live and had to make an offer, have it accepted, and get the mortgage to get it.   
So here we go, after almost a year on the market and a bunch of false starts I finally sold my house to a very nice couple in April. Finally the end was coming into this whole life change ordeal. We went into contract and were scheduled to close on June 15th which was ironically the anniversary of my father’s death. There was so much to do now, make moving arrangements, pack the house. I have always helped people move but I never moved myself before. I lived in the house since I was a toddler and my parents were kind enough to handle the arrangements back then.

I decided to get a POD, which is essentially a shipping container that is dropped off at your house you load it with your stuff and then they store it or bring it to your new place, the thing was great and I gave myself a month head start. I also got a dumpster to put next to the POD so there was stuff going and stuff not going.

It is amazing when you go through things you have collected through the years that mean a lot until you have to move it.One of the fun things I threw in the dumpster was the big framed wedding picture of my wife and I. Obviously it’s not something I want to take, but she did not know I threw the thing out and when she found out she charged me thirty five bucks because her mother bought the frame. I paid it because the look on her face when she saw nothing on the wall was priceless.

Don’t get me wrong I do not wish any wrong against my soon to be ex which in my tweets has been known as the Co-owner, she has just made a difficult process more difficult during this whole ordeal and I also feel so sad for her, she has in the past five years lost her Father, Mother, and in April lost her sister to cancer. On the day of the funeral there was a brief viewing before the church service and I knelt in front of the casket and I cried like a baby, My sister in law and I were cut too much from the same cloth and sometimes we had our issues but I did get to hug and hold her several months before she passed and we cried and I did tell her that I did always loved her which I did.

I watched my wife at her Sisters casket, they were very close and I could not hold back the tears as I watched her say goodbye to her. The plan was that after her and I went our separate ways they were most likely going to live together and now it was not to be. I did not want this for my Wife and her sister it was awful and I felt so bad.  

 On the way to the church I passed my wife’s old family home where there a were a lot of great memories as my wife’s family made me their own but now they are all gone, and as I passed the home it was saying good bye for the last time to this place that was like a second home to me. On the side of the house was an air conditioning unit that I stared at for five minutes, a simple air conditioning unit but one that my Sister in law and I would cover every fall. It was a tradition, every year and we would laugh and argue on how it was to be covered. A simple cherished moment, and now a memory.

All during the funeral service I kept a watchful eye on my wife during the service to make sure she was okay but as we are separated I did respectfully keep my distance. After the service at the cemetery they were then to place my sister in law’s casket into the wall at the mausoleum. As I waited with my Wife and we discussed us moving on and that we tried and things did not work out. My Sister in laws casket was then ready to place into the mausoleum. In attendance was myself, my wife, her other Sister and her husband. After the casket was placed into the wall the sister and her husband left and it was just my wife and I there.
My wife wanted to sit there for a while and when her father passed away I was there to sit with her, I still had guilt because I felt I should have been there more for her when her mother died as the cracks were already were showing in our marriage. I wanted to stay and make sure she was okay like I had for twenty four years but I had to go. The home inspector, my real-estate agent, and Joe’s girl were all waiting for me at my new potential place and I had to go, I felt awful that I had to leave her there. When I got home later she asked what it felt like to have nobody anymore and we both cried, a day later she told me she was not paying me another dime to stay in the house, so there you go.  About the new house?? That’s part 2

Us and Them - By Pip Helix (Davin's Den)

I recently had a conversation with a young man, just turned 19, about politics and race, that turned some of my preconceived notions on their head – and not for the better.

This young man, whom I will call Alberto, was born in Central America, and became a naturalized citizen.  His mother came to the United States illegally, as many have done, by crossing the border from Mexico into the United States. She found work and eventually opened her own business, married, and afterwards brought her young children to the U.S. from their grandmother’s home in Central America.

Now that Alberto has grown up in the United States, and he and his brothers have become naturalized citizens, he completely considers himself American.  This is normal, as he has spent most of his life here,  and the story of many immigrants that have come to America.  I am sure that my own family members came to think of themselves as proud Americans, rather than Germans or Irishmen, or what other various countries my people came from. What I was not expecting was to hear that Alberto now actively disliked people from his home country, and was also disparaging of Mexican people.

The conversation lead to the infamous Trump wall on the border between the U.S. and Mexico, and I was shocked to hear him say how in favor of the wall he was.  I asked him if it even occurred to him that the border crossing his mother suffered through was what paved the way for him to ultimately become an American.  He stared at me blankly. I know that he’s barely out of his teens, but it disturbed me that he had come to the conclusion, in a nutshell, that “I got mine, you go get yours”.  He seemed to recognize the problems within his home country, but rather than have empathy for those still suffering, and feel for the people living in poverty in Mexico, he had become one of the privileged of America.

I don’t pretend to know the answer to the issue of illegal immigration into the country.  In the current climate of rampant terrorism, I am naïve enough to believe that we can have open borders in the sense that anyone should be able to immigrate without thorough vetting.  However, the fact remains that thousands stream into the country undocumented.  Building a wall at great cost to Americans doesn’t make sense to me, as long as there are ladders and shovels in the world.  Although I felt the need to mention this larger issue, it is not actually the crux of this discussion.

What surprised and dismayed me the most was the fact that a first-generation American was so willing to turn his back on his former countrymen.  There could be some bad experiences playing into his feelings about his home country, but to consistently speak of all of his brethren as “them” in a disparaging way, and to go so far as to say that he hated the people of other countries was so very disappointing.

I was pleased to see that he and his brothers had fully embraced life as Americans, but to see this particular young man become so xenophobic, without appreciating the irony of his situation as newly one of “us” to be able to disparage “them”, was indeed eye-opening.

WORKING OUT - by Davin Rosenblatt

I don’t like it one bit.  I don’t like feeling the burn.  I don’t like lifting heavy objects. Nope don’t like any of it.

However, I do know that if I don’t work out and just give into my worst impulses I could be the guy where they have to cut off the front of his house so he can leave his furnished tomb. That ain’t happening either.  I was fat for many years and then in high school I dieted. I drank water and ate salad and the weight melted off. All the sudden I had a girlfriend.  Through the years my weight has fluctuated.  In college I may have been in the best shape of my life as I lifted weights every day and still had a decent metabolism.  I didn’t mind lifting weights in college because I went with friends and I wanted to get laid so having a nice body seemed like a good way to help accomplish that.  I continued to work out pretty rigorously at various gyms by myself but then I moved away from where they were and I did not immediately find a new gym.

Since college I found my wife so to be fair being at optimal fighting weight lessened in a priority. Still I have tried to keep some weight off.  I have done South Beach & Nutri System. Both times the weight came off. Both times it came back but a bit more. I am a member of a gym. I used to go by myself and work out but I found it boring and the gym a bit too far. Really those are excuses and I am aware.  I have ridden my bicycle which I enjoy but where we live it is very mountainous and there are not a lot of safe places to ride without getting hit by a car.  When the weather is nice I walk the hills in my complex for about 40 minutes. I do not mind it because I listen to music. Still it does not burn the calories necessary to lose weight. Though when I stop the weight rapidly climbs.  I am still a member of a gym. I don’t think I have been there in three years. I pay $20 a month for the privilege of telling people I belong to a gym. It is ridiculous. I am aware. 

I am not playing softball and volley ball like I once did. I enjoy playing sports and being active when there is a goal other than losing weight. The goal of winning distracts me from the task of shedding pounds.  You would think I would be winning by shedding the pounds but my brain can’t seem to wrap itself around that concept. 

Still I eventually get to a point every several years where I go enough is enough. It is time to be a little more proactive and lose some weight. There is only so much tightening of the pants one can stand and going up in waist size is not on the table.

I think my wife gets the same way as eventually she wants to start a program. This time her motivation is a weekend coming up with her best friend who is in great shape I am told. I get it. We want people to see us at our best even though they should love us at our worst. 

With that in mind we started this program called 21 Day Fix by Beach Body hosted by a celebrity fitness instructor named Autumn Calabrese. She is in great shape obviously.  Most of the people training with her are in great shape. They have one person who is not in shape doing the program as well.  I think that is to say hey even you fat ass can do it if she can.  I get it. Not a bad tactic.

Obviously Autumn is a peppy lass. The program has you constantly moving for 30 minutes straight. It is a combination of cardio and weight training.  I am glad when the 30 minutes is over but I am also glad that I did them however I do not look forward to doing them again. I will do them again of course.  At the end of the work out Autumn starts pushing the shakes that are part of the work out program. They cost $100 a month. That is expensive. Then again a shake at McDonalds every day of the month would probably cost me about the same.  Autumn says she may put some banana in her shake for fun.  No Autumn bananas are not fun.  If was ripped like the people in the video fun would not be a banana. Fun would be private jets, champagne, cocaine, and hookers. That would be fun. That would be my reward for working hard to look great. If my idea of fun is a banana then I may as well be a 500 pound shut in. Ooooo I’m not leaving my house I should have some extra potassium. Produce is not motivating my ass Autumn. At the end of the thirty minutes I don’t want a banana. I want the girls from a Motley Crue video to strip dance their way onto that yoga mat Autumn. I want a promise that if I just push a little more. If I can just get that 6 pack that those girls are coming over to my house and will use me as a human jungle gym. That’s fun Autumn! That type of motivation will get me to bench press a Buick Autumn!

Let’s be honest, most of us are trying to look better so other people find us more attractive. That is the motivation.  If it was hottt to sit around and look like a tub of goo most of us would do that. We would shove gallons of ice cream down our gullet in the quest to become so gelatinous and sexy that the opposite sex would melt at our sight as we melted into the lazy boy lounger.  So a banana is not fun. Working out is not fun.  Eating right is not fun. Watching the opposite sex drool when you bend over to pick up a pencil is freaken amazing. Now excuse me while I have some kale and do some jumping jacks.  I look forward to your drool.

Unpredictable - By Pip Helix (Davin's Den)

This evening, I was driving home on a highway that is separated by a thick, wooded median, with wooded areas on either side of the highway, and traffic was moving along at a decent clip. As I came around the small bend in the road, I suddenly saw the brake lights, and the strange, cautious driving in both lanes ahead of me.  The story of the slow-down soon began to unfold, as I saw the cars were attempting to avoid the splintered bits of glass and car debris in the inner “fast” lane.  Traffic crawled for a moment, and I saw the dead deer on the grassy shoulder, and then two cars, one on the inner shoulder and one on the outer.  As the cars crept past the car on the right, I saw that the headlight and grill was smashed inward on the driver’s front, but not so badly that it seemed to affect the driver’s space.  Still, it was a relief to see someone moving around inside the car.

My first reaction was to pull over in front of the damaged car and see if the driver was ok.  I put my hazard lights on and cautiously made my way over to the car behind me.  The man was then standing in front of his car, blankly looking at the smashed in grill, obviously in shock.  I asked him if he was okay.  He said he was, and his first question to me was whether the deer was okay.  By now, a woman had made her way across the highway, and she told him that the deer was dead.  He made no comment, but a stricken look passed over his face.  I asked if the woman was ok, and she said that she just narrowly missed being in the accident, but that she was fine. I asked them both if the police had been called, and he asked me if I thought that he should do that.  I said that he should, and volunteered to take care of it for him. 

After I contacted the police and gave them the location,  I turned back just in time to see the woman, who apparently had crossed the highway back to her car, yelling at a car that sounded like it had just stopped short of hitting her.  Oh wow, I thought, we nearly had a worse situation.  I looked for the man, and saw that he was walking down the highway, still on the phone.  Did he go to see the deer?  I couldn’t tell what he was up to, but I was afraid to leave him there alone, as shaken as he seemed to be.  Was he doing something irrational?  Why was he crossing the highway, and searching the brush on the other side of the guard rail?  I noted that the other woman had left, so there was no one to consult. 

Soon, it became apparent that he was searching for the missing part of the front of his car, and he was coming back towards the car with some of the grill.  I don’t know if it was worth saving, but at least that made some sense. 

I don’t blame the man for being shaken.  Within the same week, on the same exact stretch of road, I had nearly hit a deer that was bolting across a clearing on a direct collision course with my car.  Had he not veered as I stomped on my brakes, I would have been in the same shape as this poor guy, or worse.  It took me and my husband a while to calm down after that narrow escape, and we hadn’t even made contact.  I have been in a few too many car accidents, and I recognized the shape he was in.  Was he my problem?  No, but I was not going to leave him at that point, at least not until the police showed up to take over. One thing that everyone can do in situations like this, that I hope they will do, is to take care of others when they are vulnerable and in need of help.

The deer population in our area is on the rise, and over-development of once-huge tracts of wooded area has forced them out into the suburbs, streets and parks.  When I was a child in this area, I think I may have spotted a deer once or twice a year, and only when I was in the woods.  Now, I rarely have a day when I don’t see one, if not many.  And not from a distance, in the woods, but a few feet away in my own yard, crossing the streets as I drive to work, or grazing on the sides of the highways, only a few feet from the rushing cars.

 People are of two minds about the increase in our communion with deer:  They either think they are beautiful and feel sorry for how much we’ve encroached on their habitat, or they are angry that they are plentiful enough to pose danger in the form of Lyme disease via ticks, or physical harm or even death via car crashes. I understand both viewpoints very well.  One thing is for certain, and that is deer are anxious, unpredictable creatures prone to surprising burst of activity and hair-raising, unannounced changes in course.

If you like deer, and tend to argue in their favor, all you can see is their impressive size, and make excuses for any of their undesirable behavior, as it affects humans.  They are beautiful, and I do respect that their nature makes them behave in ways that may be incomprehensible to me, but which are completely reasonable and admirable to the deer themselves, and to their supporters.

However, their seemingly irrational and unpredictable behavior can make them dangerous.  The danger is obvious to the individual with the smashed car, and the child with Lyme disease from a deer tick bite.  The problem is that the danger also has a ripple effect.  One bizarre dash across the highway by a wreckless deer causes a car crash, a near-miss of a human almost being hit by another car, the potential of other cars crashing into one another in the immediate aftermath of the accident, and so on.

 Humans depend on a certain amount of factors to remain constant in order for safe car travel to be possible.  There are laws and social conventions which make the potential chaos of traffic become a well-oiled machine (most of the time).  It is frightening to know that this one rogue deer, this one unpredictable and wild creature, could make moves that can affect so many, without the will or the ability to consider the ramifications of its actions in the moment, and in the future. But what can be done to guard against the negative effect of a deer running chaotically into the river of traffic?  One thing we can do is try to support one another, try to minimize the damage done.  Help out someone who is adversely affected by the deer, even if it isn’t affecting you directly. We can fight back by using all of the tools at our command to keep the deer population at bay, and minimize the potential damage that a wild-eyed, unpredictable deer can inflict.  We can co-exist as we drive by and see them grazing on the side of the road – but never take your eyes off of them, and protect yourself as best as you can.

DOCUMENTATION - By Davin Rosenblatt

In American political life we are once again being reminded of the importance of documenting things so that you can go back to the notes when things get a little weird.  Former FBI director James Comey was known for taking notes or memos.  He would make these to document when things were out of the ordinary.  FBI notes have been admissible in court and are highly regarded.   Comey took notes on meetings with President Trump.  He noted the conversation where Trump, without anybody else in the room, asked Comey to drop the Flynn investigation.  These memos are now just another scandal for the Trump administration. Long after Comey was fired and out of power his documentation could possibly set the record straight in a way his former boss never imagined.  A nation waits for that documentation.

I long ago valued the importance of documentation.  When I took a part time job as a waiter at a restaurant my boss did not pay me while I was training.  That was against state law.  I quit but I also was going to demand I got paid for the work I had done.  I did not know how unscrupulous this owner was going to be so I brought a tape recorder in with me and hid it in my pocket when I went in to confront him. When faced with state law he agreed to pay me. The recording was never needed but I did see the value in having it.

When I first started booking comedy shows I did not use a contract.  I was young and naïve. A contract is documentation on the terms of the agreement.  Well after not getting paid for a job once I never made that mistake again.  Every show I do has a contract and on a few occasions it has won me court cases.

It is so much easier to document things now with better and cheaper technology. Everything has a recording device in it and video recorders are cheap.  Even more and more police are using body cams which is documentation.

Good scammers use documentation. They keep notes on what their victims say.  I keep notes when I talk to scammers. I keep better notes then they do and I get to trip them up on their own words. It is quite enjoyable to watch a scammer hang by the noose they created.

Just recently somebody who I had thought was a friend tried to hurt my career.  I had been warned about this person but I give everybody a chance.  I posted something on Facebook. (I discussed what I posted on the radio show a few weeks ago).  She took offense to it and thought it was directed at her.  She asked me about it in a private message.  She kept on insisting I was angry. I was not and told her as much.  I thought we had solved the issue. I was mistaken as she blocked me mid-conversation. Ok, I figured end of that relationship. Unfortunate but it was her choice and I was fine with it.  Today I find out that she is lying to other people in the industry about what my initial post was and the conversation we had.  It was potentially costing me work.  Fortunately, I have the documentation of what I originally posted and the conversation we had.  I called up the people that I knew had heard the lies from her.  They were relying on hearsay. I had the evidence if it was needed.  We had a discussion and the air was cleared.  We are all fine. The woman that started this mess? Well she will never work for me again.  She is no longer working with the club she was partnering with.  She never was working for the other booker.  She wound up hurting herself.  As for me, I never really worried because I had the documentation to back up my story. Documentation always has your back!

Smart Aleck Curse - By Pip Helix (Davin's Den)

When I was born, the gypsy mid-wife took one look at me and declared that I would be full of Smart Aleck for the rest of my life.  Once the curse was placed upon me, my life story was basically written.

There is a good side to the Smart Aleck Curse, in that many people enjoy a side of snark with their meal of life’s little indignities and tribulations.  It certainly has been a social lubricant in some respects, and I do enjoy making people laugh, even if it’s the kind of laugh that says, “Oh my god, that is so bad. I’m not sure I should be laughing at that, but I kind of can’t help myself.”  I’ve made a lot of friends who enjoy my company because I’m funny, and once they get to know me, they can tell that the snark is never meant to hurt them. 
At least, I hope that they all know that!  It’s crucial to make sure that the naughty or acid tongue doesn’t wound anyone too deeply, or you friendships corrode.  It’s not always the easiest tightrope to walk.

The other part of the Smart Aleck Curse is that once afflicted, it is difficult if not impossible to wield the Snark on unsuspecting strangers, to varied results.  I have suffered the bewildered or wilting looks of many people in the service industry, because I just.can’t.keep.my.mouth.shut.  How I wish that the impulse to say something dumb would be squashed when I see someone behind a counter.  I try to remember to start out pleasant, smile, say please and thank you, and then…the stupid remark sneaks into my brain.  “No, stupid comment, you may not come out and play,” I say to myself, but it is bursting to get out, like a forgotten fermented jug of apple cider in the pantry.  And…the interaction turns weird.  They either laugh (thank the gods) or they immediately decide that I am a special kind of asshole, and go fetch a supervisor.  Damn.  It was going so well up until now.

A short compendium of snark and stupidity that made me into special kind of asshole:

In college, making a joking remark to an older professor about how whatever we were talking about and how her husband might respond to her if she said thus and such.  Moments after it was out of my mouth, I realized that she and a good portion of the class were staring at me aghast.  It turned out that most of the class knew that her husband was deceased, something I didn’t know until that ghastly moment.  Picture me sliding slowly under my desk, into the hole in the floor, and straight to hell.  I endured a heart-to-heart discussion with her at a later date regarding not following what she perceived to be a classmate’s bad influence, but the truth is, that was all me.  All Smart Aleck Curse.

Anyone who listens to the show knows that I am an especially obsessed Steve Winwood fan, and that adulation spills over to his very talented touring band.  Paul Booth, who just about plays everything but drums during the course of one of their concerts, is a great jazz horn player, and an all around good guy with a great sense of humor.  He understands my sense of humor, and is the best sport about teasing humor.  My friend and I were lucky enough to be told about a very small, hastily organized show that he was playing in New York, featuring members of Steve Winwood’s band and members of Rod Stewart’s band (who Steve was touring with).  My friend, who is another Winwood fan extraordinaire, and I were very excited, and amazed to be in the presence of so many talented musicians and their pals.  Almost everyone in the room was involved in the tour in some way, except for me and my friend.  Carried away by excitement, I saw Paul preparing his saxophone for the show right in front of the tiny stage, and I called to him, a few feet away, “Hey Paul!  Try not to suck!”  As soon as it was out of my mouth, I read his expression to mean that perhaps that kind of kidding was okay when we were standing around joking, but not in front of all of his peers.  I cringed a little, and I’m sure my face went red.  Just then, a female member of Rod Stewart’s band who was sitting on the next bar stool looked me up and down with a cold, eastern block nation stare, and asked me in her thick accent, “Are you a super fan?”  I was not familiar with the term, but considering the timing, the delivery and the look on her face, I read it to be a euphemism for “Special Kind of Asshole”.  I was so flustered, I don’t remember what I answered, but in that moment, I think she was merely confirming my status. I mentally crawled out to the street, climbed into my Special Asshole Mobile, and drove away…even though my body stayed for the show.

A friend from college had an abortion, and it was a very tightly held secret, of which I was one of only perhaps four people who was privy to this information.  One night, a couple of people were joking around, and my friend joked that she was a virgin.  I came back with a phrase that my father had used many times as I was growing up, always in the context that someone was NOT a virgin.  Dad used to say,  “Not unless there is a star shining in the east!”  It wasn’t until the moment it was out of my mouth, and I saw the stricken look on my friend’s face, did I realize that the other connotation to that comment was that there was a pregnancy involved.  Certain that I had said it to make clear that there had been a pregnancy involved, she swiped back at me with lightening speed with a reference to something I was ashamed of.  No matter how much I apologized and explained later, I am certain that she never believed my innocent slip, nor did she forgive me.

I know that there are others of you cursed with the same affliction, and you will recognize yourselves in these stories, and feel my pain as you wince with the second-hand humiliation.  There are others of you that will think, “How could you say that stupid thing?”  Those of you asking that question were clearly not the ones chosen by the gypsy – not the ones with the sign of the Curse.  For the rest of you, my people, I will see you at the monthly meetings.