My kindergarten teacher said that I was the first five year old cynic she had ever encountered. I did not like children’s books because, well, they were written for children. And while others were watching unrealistic TV shows such as Leave It to Beaver and Father Knows Best, I watched TV shows like Ernie Kovacs, That Was The Week That Was, and Jack Paar. Paar had a frequent guest named Oscar Levant who was an actor, a pianist, and a wit with a twitch who sported an ‘I don’t give a shit’ attitude. I loved Oscar, there was an unapologetic authenticity to him. Kovacs did comedy bits which I did not understand and I thought that was wonderful. I had much to learn.
I grew up in Brooklyn, NY in a standard two parent, one son, one daughter household. I attended a high school comprised of 75% first or second generation Americans, which is the substance of overachieving which somehow I avoided. Because I was a terrible student I did not have my choice of colleges, so I looked at the subway map and chose the nearest four year school by distance, Baruch College. Fortunately, I met my wife of 45 years there. She was impressed by how I continually made an ass of myself in Economics. At Baruch, I was the Content Editor for the college paper. What I thought was funny and what the administration thought was funny, were three different things. Thus I only lasted one term. I also had a radio show, where I enraged a certain segment of the student population so, they stormed the studio and pounded on the glass on more than one occasion, while I was on the air.
Because my grades continued to be poor, I had to wait many years to apply to graduate school so other things would matter more. I applied to only one program, Creative Writing Program at NYU. There I studied with Thomas Keneally, Peter Carey, and E. L. Doctorow where learned a great deal about writing and how to produce quality work under time pressure. I was also thrown off the graduate school literary magazine because I lacked the solemnity for our elevated status.
After graduating from college, I worked in computer typesetting. After a few years, we were told we would all lose our jobs to something called word processing. It was prophesy that would hold true, so my wife and I became paralegals. This opened up all sorts of opportunities for us. My last position was in a Fortune 10 company where a colleague and I headed up a Native American practice.
When we retired I finally had the time to write, as I am slow writer it took years to complete my novel. Additionally when you write funny, the first thought is not necessarily the best. The writer has the advantage of L’espirit D’escalier or staircase wit, which is when you think of witty or clever response after the conversation is over. The reader has no idea when you wrote the witty retort.
My first novel was originally called “The Dead Are Annoying” but I was afraid, people would think it was about vampires or zombies. It is in fact about the least successful Jewish family in America and that is what Creativia is re-releasing as it was originally published by CreateSpace. The reviews have been exceedingly generous. It was a semi-finalist for the 2017 BookLife Award for General Fiction and the Publishers Weekly called it “an achievement.” I took a chapter from the novel and made it into a standalone short story which won second place for the Rick DeMarinis Short Story Contest.
I am currently working on a satire about business.
I am ice hockey cuckoo and never met a bread I did not like. We have visited more than 40 countries and have returned from most of them.