Is it possible to destroy sounds stuck in our jukebox memories? Not the hideous Archies singing “Sugar Sugar.” That rots all by itself. But what about the sayings of our elders? Chaim Pinkowitz did everything in his power to remove the broken 45 records of his father but they just wouldn’t go away. Come to think of it, they were more like EP’s.
“When you shtoop a goy, don’t stick your schmuck so far up her snatch that your head follows and gets stuck. OK, boycheck,” pops would say. “Trust me. It”ll be another death march to Auschwitz, only this time, you won’t be so lucky and get the instant gas chamber death. It’ll be a slow nibbling of scavengers picking away at your flesh and soul.”
Abe Pinkowitz made a living out of dealing smutty porn and for every one of his son Chaim’s birthdays, there were beautifully dirty magazines with fully explicit center fold cherries. Chaim’s mother Esther called it a shunda to have a father who made money from such impurity. She waved her hand, marched off to the kitchen and performed confessional sacrifices with onions, beets, soups, chicken and Kugel.
Chaim did everything in his 14-year old power to rid himself of his father’s broken records, but Abe just laughed and said, “I am a sinner with G-d’s permission my good man” and then threw up his arms and asked. “Who brings home 8 braided golden roast challahs every Friday Shabbat? Do you wanna be schlepping home a Lulav looking like a cracked baseball bat or an estrog from the dead ball era? We’ll be the laughing-stock of Cook County on Sukkot. Be happy, say your bedtime Shema and let Abe take care of the rest.
Chaim did say the bedtime Shema and added an extra prayer.”Thank you G-d for outlawing fathers from naming sons after living relatives.” Chaim’s prayers must have been answered. In a few short days, Fat Frankie came over for dinner. Frankie’s father, the Don of smut and a close friend of Abe had recently passed away. Frankie still suffered regret for not making peace with his father. He sensed a similar conflict on Chaim’s face.
Frankie took his routine after dinner cigar stroll through the neighborhood and returned with a gift for Chaim; a pack of baseball cards. Chaim’s prayers had been answered. He could now fill up his smut magazines with baseball cards and pretend to be enjoying breasts and snatch. He could sit in the same room and fulfill the 5th commandment’ honour thy father.
It was easy for Chaim to honor thy mother. Esther cooked a tasty potato latke, lit the Shabbat candles and washed all of Chaim’s clothes. He could now sleep at night. And like any burgeoning junkie, Chaim bought one pack of baseball cards after another and another and another.
Frankie loved what was happening. Seeing a human being change before his very eyes sent pimp like power up his spine. He was becoming a Don in his own right. Frankie also slept well at night, believing his highly respected father-Guido Marconi loved his son. May he rest in peace.
Fat Frankie invited Chaim to the back alley rooms where him and Abe filmed their midnight skin flicks. The ladies liked Chaim’s side curl payots and asked to borrow the Fedora on top of Chaim’s kippah. Abe thought it was a great idea and began work on a new skit. He reminded his son that “he had Hashem’s permission.”
Fat Frankie handed a pack of Camel Filters to Chaim and encouraged him to offer them as a gift to Lady Splinter; “the one with the big rump” he said. “Trust me my good man,. She’s got a gift for you and anyway, who needs those god damn cigarettes! They don’t come with baseball cards anyway. Ain’t that right?”
Chaim smiled and did what he was told. The lady with the big rump handed over a 1955 Bowman Mickey Mantle card, accepted the cigarettes and offered to do Chaim any other favor, but young Chaim politely declined the offer,saying, “we’re not allowed to shake a woman’s hand.”
The lady with the rump had never been so well-respected “I wasn’t talking about a handshake, but God bless you.” Chaim walked towards his father knowing more than ever that G-d was everywhere. He admired the Mantle card with its wood panel border looking like a TV screen. He dreamed of one day going to Yankee Stadium. Three hours must have passed. Abe put his arm on Chaim’s shoulder. They walked home. It was Friday. There was still time before sunset to buy flowers for Esther.