Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Hero's Tale

Being ten years old was interesting because I started to feel more grown-up, but I still had the body of an Olson twin. Elizabeth was getting pretty sketchy around us. The newspaper reported a brutal stabbing on Berwick street in the 100s. My house was 133. I started seeing all sorts of craziness outside, i.e. An old married couple screaming at each other, then the woman smashed the man over the head with a bottle. The man was running after her screaming "Why would you waste that!? Why would you waste that!?" Then my mother had her Oldsmobile stolen right out of our driveway. It was the last straw. Also, I was ten years old and still hadn't learned to ride a bike, a.k.a. Huge Loser! The sidewalks were ruined with jagged concrete and littered with used condoms and old Capri Suns squeezies. I wasn’t skilled enough to navigate through all of that crap.

So we moved to Green Brook, New Jersey. A small, suburban town separated by the Route 22 highway. There were a lot more white kids here, total stereotype but very true, and our new street was part of a cul-de-sac. A cul-de-sac! It sounded so European. Or something I have when it’s cold outside.

My younger sister, Lauren, had a pink bike she was too young to ride, and with the moving van still in my new driveway, I rode the hell out of that Barbie-cycle. My dad was so happy, “All right Mikey boy!” And with the pink tassels fluttering in the wind off the handlebars he said, “We gotta get you a blue bike now. Right?”

I was really fortunate to be able to move into such a nice neighborhood. My parents worked very hard to get us there. My dad worked with technology in New York City and his recent promotion allowed us to make this move. He has the biggest heart in the world, so it always threw us off guard when at random moments there would be scenes like this:

Is everybody ready to go to church?

Can you give me one fucking SECOND!!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE!!!!!!

The 50 plus hour workweeks combined with the pressure of buying and selling our homes was getting to him. Our dads are Superman when we're kids. Here was my hero, drowning in Kryptonite.

A Letter of Support

So a friend from high school, let's call her Awesome Girl, wrote this really sweet letter of support for the blog, and I wanted to share this with you. Its sentiments totally match my view on the world and I hope it matches yours too. Here we go:

hey mike,

i just read your ENTIRE blog. the whole thing, seriously, it took me like a full ten minutes.

anyway, the reason i'm writing is because you mentioned that you felt you had some growing up to do. i have been having a similar conversation with various people in my life lately.

i have a few jobs.. maybe even a real career path.. i own a home.. i'm married with two dog children.. i work my ass off and then i come home and put on a clown mask and play video games until bed time. occasionally, i will prepare dinner for my husband.. which generally consists of pizza or mac and cheese.. i sometimes throw a vegetable into the mix.

i am sure people at work think that i go home and put on an apron and dote on my husband. i don't. i hide behind the shower curtain and wait for him to get home and try to scare him.

i had an instance a few weeks ago, where i had a call out for work pretty late at night. my dispatcher dispatched a police officer as well to follow up on me and make sure i didn't get kidnapped or anything.. i was a little dejected by that. and then as i recounted the story to my dad i said.. "well, i guess i can understand his thinking, since i'm a young woman and all" and my dad said.. "you're not really a young woman." and i was like WHAT THE FUCK, DUDE?! i totally see myself as a kid.. and think that everyone else should, too.

so i've been polling the people in my life.. from my siblings to my father in law, who just turned 64. and apparently, you never feel like a grown up unless you WANT to. My father in law said that when he was in his forties he went through phase where he thought it was time he start acting like a grown up, and he was miserable. he told me to keep acting like a kid for as long as i please. and that is my plan.

don't grow up, buddy.

awesome girl

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Leah Goes Vegan!!!

Check out my girlfriend Leah's blog!

We are both going Vegan, and Leah is chronicling her journey through it all. Really interesting and cool stuff. She's a great girl and you'll love the read.


Vanilla Christ

Elizabeth, NJ is a big city, and when I was a kid ‘hip-hop’ was really popular, it still is in Elizabeth. If you know me now, as an adult, the thought of me bobbing my head to Jay Z would cause you to laugh and point at me. When I was about eight, it was the LL Cool J, Kris Kross, and Vanilla Ice era for me. I was blasting “Ice, Ice Baby” while getting dressed for my first day of church. This was to be the cure for the insane nightmares that were plaguing my sleep (The devil dressed as the crazy, cartoon leprechaun drowning me in his Lucky Charms, while screaming ‘Suck on my marshmallows Michael! Suck them!’).

It was a nice sized chapel filled with smiling faces. I remember thinking, their faces are smiling but their eyes look really angry. Then, this ordinary looking man, Pastor Nick, turned out to be some kind of wizard. He said that he 'knew' god personally, and that god was always talking about me.

What does he say?

He wants to know why you never let him in.

Tell him I live on Berwick Street, my room's upstairs, he could come find me whenever he wants.

He's tried Michael, but YOU didn't let him in.

I didn’t? Well, I’m sorry.

He's always there. Always knocking. Right outside of your heart.

I can't feel him at all.

You need to try harder son.

I could feel my mother boiling over with frustration until finally…

Michael paleease try baby. Iss either Jesus or El Diablo Michael.
You can only choose one.

I searched and searched inside my heart. There was just nothing. Had Jesus given up on me? I started crying, and everyone around me thought my tears were a sign of Christ’s presence. Finally, I was so exhausted, that I saw the face of Jesus. And he looked just like Vanilla Ice, with a thin line of facial hair and the letters JC buzzed into the side of his head. And he was singing, “Christ, Christ baby, ding-ding-ding-di-di-ding-ding.” And I screamed, “I feel him! I feel him in my heart! Break it down JC!”

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Brilliant Blog

Hey Everybody,

Just want to give a shout-out to my good friend Mark Brennan Rosenberg's blog entitled Mark's Big Gay Blog. It's hilarious, moving and really fun to follow.

Check it out:


Monday, April 5, 2010

Fear of Balls

My dad is a very athletic guy. Today at 61 years old he still cycles miles a day and exercises so much that I have to take a Xanax just thinking about it.

He stands tall at six foot one, and to me at 7 years old with most of my baby teeth, he seemed like a gargantuan freak of nature. At that time, I could never imagine being that far off the ground. If you were to fall, I thought, you would have to alert the public below you, so as to avoid casualties. It was fun growing up with a guy like that, because he was great at teaching me basketball, throwing the football around, and he signed me up for little league baseball. However, 'baseballs' are as hard as rocks. The major leagues are riddled with stories of grown, gargantuan men like my father, being taken down by these tiny terrors. One man was even BLINDED by a baseball. So, to me as a kid, if someone asked me "Hey, do you want to play this fun game called baseball? Oh by the way, there's a small chance you'll be BLINDED by it." I would've said, "No way." But my parents talked me into it. Even my mom felt strongly about it, "Ay, come on Michael. Iss fun. All da kids is playing this baseball. In Ecuador, we used to play a game called El Cuchillo en la cama, that means The Knife in the Bed. Much more dangerous than the baseballs but vedy, vedy fun".

I was on the Super Bagels team, named after the illustrious breakfast venue on Elmora Avenue. My nickname given by my teammates was Stupid Bagel, a reference to my haircut and my Jewish heritage. Little Nazi bastards. I was in the level of little league where the coaches were the pitchers. This made me happy, because it eliminated the risk of some crazy kid aiming for my precious eyes.

But one day, we were facing the Cost Cutters (a way better name than Super Bagels) and their coach, Mr. Davis had a pretty bad drinking problem. Mr. Davis started drinking very early in the morning. I know this because our game started at 10 am, and he was already wasted. None of the parents had any issue with the intoxicated coach, because he was a Vietnam veteran. Apparently, serving our country means you can drink around children. I was third in the batting order, and after watching the two kids before me, I was petrified. Mr. Davis was wobbling all over the mound, mumbling things like 'dumb bitch' and 'take cover'. He wore sunglasses so no one could see where he was throwing. And before each pitch he would shout, "Fire in the hole!" and launch the ball with frightening speed.

I put on my over-sized helmet and stood in place. Mr. Davis was very still now, except for his shoulders moving up and down. Was he crying? Yes he was. There was a moment of silence before, "FIRE IN THE HOLE!!!!" Mr. Davis threw so hard his sunglasses flew off his face. The ball was aimed straight at my stunned eyes. 'This is the last thing I'll ever see', I thought, 'This drunk, weeping gorilla hurling his Budweiser grenade at me'. Luckily, he aimed too low and hit me in my mouth. Before I could realize what happened, I was being cradled in Mr. Davis' arms.

"Oh, Daniel. Are you alright buddy?"
I spit some blood and teeth out of my mouth before responding.
"Yeah, I'm okay. But my name is Michael."
"Oh Daniel, I'm so glad you're alive buddy. I'm just so glad."

It sucked getting hit in the kisser like that. But on the plus side, I helped a guy get over a traumatic experience, and I finally lost some of my baby teeth.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Devil Made Me Do It

Being a child is like being a blank slate. Your parents are the first people entrusted with the chalk. They can draw love, nurturing, a love for fairy tales, etc. My parents drew all of that for me. They also drew God, the Devil, Ecuadorian ghost stories, and Sesame Street.

Most memorable feeling from my childhood: FEAR (and some love too)

My house was quite multicultural. My mother immigrated to the Bronx from Ecuador when she was sixteen. My father was born and raised Jewish in Brooklyn. We now resided in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

My father's Judaism was based primarily on tradition, and had little spirituality involved. We would all fast and avoid electricity for Yom Kippur, only to find my dad huddled next to a small t.v. with milk and cookies in the basement.

My mother comes from a long line of very spiritual people. Her grandmother was a medicine woman in Ecuador and I grew up with countless stories of holy visions and strange encounters with Satan himself. I didn't have to look very far for a boogie man. When I begged my parents to help squash my nightmares, which was ruining everyone's sleep, my mother insisted the culprit was the Devil himself, or El Diablo she would call him. There was only one solution. CHURCH!

Who Cares?

Today, I've decided to start this blog. I am a 25 year old actor/ writer/ comic living in NYC with my lovely girlfriend. We are both aspiring performing artists, just like most of the city. Nothing really unique there, I know, but if you keep reading, I promise to deliver. Anyway, there are blogs about stamp collecting and Ferrets I should be able to have one too. This isn't Russia.

This blog will be about me growing up, which I still feel I have to do, and pursuing my dreams, even when life punches me in the face. And believe me, it does. Life has a bad-ass upper cut. But so do I Life, so watch out! The next post will start at the beginning of my life. Thanks for reading.