What It Means to Buy A Buick

Today, I took the first step toward becoming a senior citizen. Today, I bought a Buick.

Buick is the brand of the final car you own. A Buick is the car you drive just before the kids have a talk with you and convince you to turn in your keys for your own safety and then follow up that conversation with one during which you help pick a nice nursing home.

The word Buick is derived from a French term that means “a man completely and utterly without sex appeal.” When a man talks to his friends about his Buick, he cannot use the same terms that he used when he spoke of his previous cars, those from his younger days. He no longer uses terms like “sweet ride” or “a burner.” He will refer to his Buick as a “solid, dependable car” and that it is a “good value for the money.”

He tells his new friend Morty, a thirty-year resident of the nursing home, all about his Buick. He shouts into Morty’s hearing aid that his Buick even has ‘navigation GPF’. Morty thinks he said ‘rice pudding’ and a five-minute argument ensues, at the end of which neither the man nor Morty has any idea what started the argument and he tells him again about the ‘navigation GPF’.
The image on the navigation screen never changes because he can’t figure out how to use it. The screen becomes that picture that comes with a new frame that sits on the shelf at Walmart.

When a man finally gets the radio to work, he learns that Buicks cannot play any music recorded after 1979.

When a man buys a Buick, he tells his family that it’s good to buy an American-made car because ‘the Japs bombed Pearl Harbor and we shouldn’t be rewarding them for that by buying their cars.’

There was another person at the dealership who was interested in this solid, dependable car. A blue-haired 78 year-old woman who had obviously mastered the walker and pulled an oxygen tank behind her as if it were a feather. When she tried to make an offer, though, her teeth flew out of her mouth and fell to the floor. I saw an opening and I seized the opportunity. I made my offer and the salesman accepted it but said at that price he could not include the one-year supply of Geritol that comes with every Buick. I was fine with that.

During the ride home, I noticed that people drive too darn fast and the radio seemed loud. I also learned that Buicks come with a warning should you try to drive with just one hand on the wheel. Sensing only one hand, Frank Sinatra’s voice will come from the wheel saying, “You get two hands on that wheel, mister.”

This will take some getting used to, because…wait…what was I talking about?


Five Course Comedy

Another book that shouldn’t have taken so long to get through but for the fact that I had to stop to laugh. Constantly.

My daughter bought this book for me after reading it because she knows that the author, comedian Jim Gaffigan, and I must be related somehow. Six degrees of pizza or something. Having seen his comedy routines and especially after reading this book, I’m confident she is right. It would not surprise me that should either of us¬†ever need an organ transplant, we would each be a match for the other.

Gaffigan is an unapologetic lover of food and the consumption thereof (my people!). The book is his thorough assessment of all things food from everything he likes, such as bacon — “the candy of meat”– and cheeseburgers — “there should be way more poetry written about cheeseburgers” — to the much smaller number of foods he finds repulsive, such as “seabugs” (lobster, shrimp, clams, etc) and health foods like kale — “tastes like bug spray.”

What sets this book head and shoulders above others in the humor genre is Gaffigan’s remarkably prolific comedic mind. With humor books you hope for a laugh on each page. In this book, you’re getting one in almost every sentence. Many of those will cause you to close the book to spend a good amount of time laughing or if you are really in the spirit of reading “Food: A Love Story” by eating while reading, you will find yourself expelling your taco or bacon from your mouth or your nose. You’ve been warned.

You’re not going deep here. From a literary point of view, you’re not getting steak (“the tuxedo of meat”). Enjoy it for what it is — a damn good (and hilarious) cheeseburger.

Good Night, Mr. Warmth

What may shock people is that Don Rickles was actually one of the nicest, classiest people I’ve met. His sarcastic nickname, “Mr. Warmth,” was really very appropriate for him as a private person.

This photo was taken 20 years and 400 pounds ago. I met him in my role as Director of Marketing and Entertainment for Caesars Pocono Resorts. His first words to me were, “Who the hell are you? Are you someone important?” We laughed, then talked about Johnny Carson, CPO Sharkey and life in general.


Book Review: Get This Book

A quick read that would be even quicker if you didn’t have to stop so often to laugh out loud.

This book is a collection of great stories told against the backdrop of his rise in the entertainment industry — from doing shows in questionable clubs at 4am to headlining in Vegas and roles in Hollywood films. It also reveals the warm and truly sensitive person he was offstage.

Perhaps the best thing about this book is the way it is written. It is a conversation. It is told as if Don Rickles is sitting across the table from you in the back corner of a Vegas lounge with a vodka-based cocktail regaling you with stories about his experiences and some of entertainment’s biggest names — Sinatra, Martin, Carson, etc.

Complete the experience with a cocktail and some Rat Pack music playing in the background while you devour the book.