Lame Adventure 419: The B Word

The b word I have in mind is birthday. Mine occurred on Sunday. This is the first birthday in forever that I am physically fit. On December 30th, I stopped eating like a starving hog and started riding a spin bike for 40 minutes four days a week. I’ve been a barnacle to my diet and exercise routine. As a result, I’ve shed a dozen pounds, went down a pant size and rediscovered my waistline. When I glimpse myself naked in the mirror my immediate thought is no longer:

Me: Ugh, I’ve gotta do something about that.

Now that I’ve returned to being lean, I wonder:

Me: Why are you still single?

Another dividend of de-flabbing is that I have much more energy and I feel much less cranky. On Saturday, I was walking down my block when I encountered a squirrel. We made meaningful eye contact. I dug my hand into my pocket. The squirrel looked hopeful. I took out my iPhone. The squirrel realized that I was a useless source for treats, scampered under a shrub and dug out a snack from its stash. The critter then hopped onto a ledge and struck a pose.

Last critter photographed at 54.

Last cute critter photograph at 54.

I snapped a shot. A woman approached:

Woman: What’s he eating?

The Old Me: How the hell do I know? Do I look like a squirrel-ologist?

Now that I’m mellow I’ve muted my snark. If she was lesbian and we had chemistry, this could have been a brilliant way to meet: bonding over a charming rodent nibbling God-knows-what.

As for my birthday, I’m not big on celebrating, but I appreciate low-key acknowledgment. My friends and family know that I’m not into gifts. My bud, Coco, once remarked in sheer exasperation:

Coco: You’re the hardest person in the world to get a black tee shirt for.

I welcome cards and my annual birthday cake at The Grind. This year, I wanted a pie, specifically an apple pie. My boss, Elspeth, opened her wallet, and my colleague, Godsend, ordered the exact pie I craved: crumb topped from Billy’s Bakery. Billy’s is known for their cakes, but note this fellow pie enthusiasts: Billy’s crumb topped apple pie is superb.

Birthday pie.

Birthday pie.

My birthday wouldn’t be complete without attending the theater with Milton. This weekend, we saw two plays on Broadway. As I power slept on Saturday he rose at daybreak to wait in line for $29 rush seat tickets to The Velocity of Autumn, a one act play starring Estelle Parsons and Stephen Spinella.

Pre-theater crowd waiting to enter.

Pre-theater crowd waiting to enter.

It’s a very moving, unsentimental story about a middle age son trying to talk his elderly mother out of blowing up her Brooklyn brownstone with one hundred Molotov cocktails she has scattered throughout her home in defiance of his siblings demand that she enter assisted living. It is not a comedy, but it is packed with hilarious jokes. It strikes many chords about aging whether you’re 85 or 55.

86-year-old Estelle Parsons delivered a knockout performance as the mother. She was nominated for the Best Actress Tony award last week. Ticket sales were slow so the producers closed the show on Sunday. Because time was running out to see it, Milton hightailed to the Booth Theatre’s box office in pursuit of the cheap seats. He scored third row orchestra, but was warned that they were partial view, proving the new adage that skinflints can’t be choosers. When we got to our row C seats that hugged the theater’s wall, Milton gasped in terror:

Milton: What an angle!

Angle.

Angle.

Fortunately, when the curtain lifted, the view was good. Milton declared:

Milton: I would gladly pay $29 to see every show on Broadway from this seat.

Stephen Spinella and Estelle Parson at curtain call.

Stephen Spinella and Estelle Parsons at curtain call.

On Sunday, my birthday proper, we saw Of Mice and Men starring James Franco and Chris O’Dowd. We bought those tickets in January. The theater was packed with young women, many probably attending a Broadway play for the first time. But they behaved. No one screamed or threw her underwear at the leading men.

Pre-theater crowd entering the Longacre Theater.

Pre-theater crowd outside the Longacre Theater.

Ben Brantley of the New York Times gave this inspired revival a bitchy review. He ridiculously compared James Franco to Yosemite Sam. Milton said that for film stars that had never performed on Broadway, both gave very solid performances. We thought it was entertaining. Furthermore, Milton never once complained about having to climb 51 stairs up to the balcony.

First pigeon photograph at 55.

First crummy pigeon photograph at 55.

This year is off to a great start.

Lame Adventure 418: Stair Crazy

My friend, Milton, is trying to come to grips with having to climb 79 steps to see the Broadway play, The Realistic Joneses, from the balcony of the Lyceum Theatre next month. Looking as if he’d just seen Donald Trump pre-elaborate comb over, he groused:

Milton: That’s like climbing five flights.

When Milton mentioned five flights that struck a chord with me. I have climbed up and down five flights every day over the course of the nearly ten years I have been employed at The Grind. During any given work day I scamper up and down those stairs several times. When I left on Friday night with my colleague, Godsend, we counted the steps. They numbered 84. That’s a heart attack waiting to happen for those that do not ride a clothes rack that doubles as a spin bike.

Excluding weekends, vacation time and holidays, I whipped out my abacus and calculated that I easily climb 50,000 steps every year at my place of employ. Multiply that by ten years and the total is half a million steps. And that’s a conservative estimate. But why stop with the stairs I climb while at The Grind? What about the stairs I climb on my way there, leaving my sanctum sanctorum (a third floor walk-up: 34 steps) and entering the 72nd Street subway station (26 steps), then exiting the Franklin Street subway station (26 more steps)? Coupled with doubling those numbers for my return trip, that adds another 40,000 steps to the equation. In essence, over the course of the past ten years, I have climbed at least 900,000 work-related steps. In reality, the number is probably much closer to a million steps. Too bad I’m not paid a dollar per step.

Downtown 72nd Street subway station staircase I have climbed down countful (considering the nature of this post) times.

Downtown 72nd Street subway station staircase I have climbed down countful (considering the nature of this post) times.

Then, I turned my focus to my third floor walk-up apartment, where I have resided close to 31 years. I calculated that I have easily climbed up and down over three million sanctum sanctorum-related steps these past three decades.

Some of the less than magic carpeted stairs in my sanctum sanctorum.

Some of the less than magic carpeted stairs in my sanctum sanctorum.

What about my childhood? My childhood home had three levels and my room was on the top floor. There were approximately eighteen steps in that climb, a climb I made numerous times over the course of twenty-one years. The conservative estimate is a million steps climbed. Impressive for a slacker.

As for when I was an undergraduate Film student at NYU(seless), my dorm room was on the fourth floor. I took the stairs, so let’s toss in another 40,000 steps scaled there. I recall that I rode an elevator to get to most of my classes. That’s about all I remember from my illustrious film school education and probably explains why I make my living labeling tile today.

When I worked a completely thankless job for eleven years in broadcast news, my office was on the sixth floor. I would ride the elevator up but walk the six flights down when I took my lunch break and left for the day. I never thought to count those steps possibly because my attention was focused on how much I hated working in broadcast news. Today, my friend, Coco, lives on the top floor of a six-floor walkup. I asked her to count the stairs to her lair.

Coco: There are 80 lovely steps. I pray there is never a fire.

Over the course of those eleven years I worked in broadcast news, often six-day weeks, I climbed down approximately 80 stairs twice a day. If I worked a five-day week, factoring in three weeks vacation and time off (we always had to work holidays in news) that would be at least 440,000 steps climbed over eleven miserable years. The figure probably well exceeds 500,000 steps considering how many weekends I had to work.

In conclusion I have calculated that over the course of my entire life thus far, I have climbed the following steps:

Childhood Home 21 years (excluding from birth to age two): 1 million

College dorm room 1 year: 40,000

Manhattan apartment 31 years: 3 million

Miserable broadcast news job 11 years: 500,000

The Grind (including commute) 10 years: 1 million

Miscellaneous: 2 million*

Example of miscellaneous steps: steps leading into off-Broadway theater bathroom.

Example of miscellaneous steps: steps leading into off-Broadway theater bathroom.

*Figure pulled completely out of thin air.

It seems that I have climbed in the vicinity of 8 million steps in the course of my life. This achievement reminds me that the staircase is a great design wonder like the wheel or the shoebox, coincidentally another name for my apartment. Possibly after Milton reads this post he’ll feel less grumpy about having to climb 158 steps (79 up and 79 down) when we see that hit comedy play. Or, this will further remind him about how much he resents the theater’s lack of another great invention: the escalator.

Lame Adventure 417: Theater Karma

As much as I love theater, I hate the ticket prices. But, it is my passion so I try to see as many plays as I can for bottom dollar. Volunteer ushering off-Broadway plays has allowed me to see three of the last five Pulitzer prize winning shows for free. Unfortunately, Broadway does not allow volunteer ushers. About a week ago, Milton, sent me an email asking about The Realistic Joneses a 95 minute hit comedy written by Will Eno playing on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre. The poster features a dead squirrel lying atop a mailbox.

Eye catching poster.

Eye catching poster.

Milton wrote:

Milton: Are you interested in this?

Is grass green, is the pope Catholic, does New York stink in summer? Sign us up! Because we are both of modest means, we agreed that we would settle for balcony seats to the tune of $39 each. We’re not wild about seeing it from the proximity of Canada, but at least we’re getting to see it. The ticket seller asked:

Ticket seller: Can you handle climbing seventy-nine steps?

Me (thinking): Is this a test, should I be insulted, can she not see that I am the icon of fitness for my age demographic?

Me (answering): Yes, absolutely!

As soon as I spoke I imagined Milton screaming:

Milton: I’ve got to walk up seventy-nine fuckin’ steps?

We’re not seeing it for another month, so he has four weeks to prepare himself mentally and physically for this challenge.

As I walked past the Cort Theater, where a revival of Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple of Inishmaan starring Daniel Radcliffe, was in previews, I noticed a sign on the door announcing the $37 rush ticket policy.

Head turning sign.

Head turning sign.

I asked the ticket seller how soon one should get in line for rush tickets for weekend performances.

Ticket seller: I’d say an hour would be fine. No one is aware of the rush policy yet. The sign was just posted today.

When that play was staged in London, where it also starred Radcliffe, it was a huge hit. The run sold out. Word travels fast in New York. I had seen this play five years ago off-Broadway for free when I ushered it. I loved it. It is a black comedy set in 1934 Inishmaan, an island in Ireland, where nothing much happens. Even the gossip is dull. One day a film crew arrives. That causes tremendous excitement, but no one is more excited than Billy, the cripple in the title, whose favorite pastimes are reading and staring at cows. It’s a tale packed with idiocy, cruelty, redemption and a lot of wit. It’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser.

I had a feeling that it would get rave reviews here and then I learned that it was opening this weekend, on Sunday. Once the raves pour in, getting weekend rush tickets might require getting in line several hours in advance. The weekends are when I power sleep. So Milton took sleep deprivation upon himself and got into the rush line this past Saturday at 8:52 in the morning waiting for the box office to open at 10 am. At 10:09 am, while I was deep in REM sleep, he emailed me that we got tickets to that evening’s final preview performance at 8 pm.

Cort marquee.

Cort marquee.

Our seats were in the center orchestra, row AA. That’s directly in front of the stage. We could almost eat the styrofoam painted to look like Inishmaan’s sea wall.

We resisted biting into the stage. We figured it does not taste like chicken.

We resisted biting into the stage. We figured it does not taste like chicken.

I asked Milton what he thought the seats behind us cost.

Milton: $400.

As for the play itself, the story was as wonderful as I remembered. The supporting cast was brilliant. The way one actress repeatedly delivers the three-word line, “Not a word” blew what remains of Milton’s mind. Daniel Radcliffe was a far prettier Billy than Aaron Monaghan, who I thought was perfect in the role five years ago. Milton was impressed with Radcliffe’s gay male following in attendance, but he thought that Radcliffe was the weak link in the production. Yet, his star power guarantees box office sales. He is adequate in the role. To his credit, he doesn’t chew the scenery. Overall, we were entertained.

When we were leaving the theater, a woman who probably paid ten times what we paid for her ticket, found my iPhone. Unbeknownst to me, it had slipped out of my pocket and she noticed. Afterward, at a pub, the bartender bought us our second round of suds. Overall, it was an excellent night. The play opened on Sunday to the rave reviews I anticipated.

Bring on that dead squirrel!

Lame Adventure 416: “What are we here for?”

On a recent pay-what-you-want Friday evening at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Milton and I were among the first of the small spenders. We each paid five dollars, significantly less than the usual $20 admission fee.

Prized $5 ducts.

Prized $5 ducats.

Milton: What are we here for?

Neither of us had ever visited the Whitney before. I reminded him that it was for the Biennial; an exhibition the Whitney holds every other year showcasing contemporary art produced by lesser known as well as up and coming artists.

This year’s Biennial is the last at the Whitney’s current Madison Avenue at 75th Street location, an iconic building designed by Marcel Breuer.

The Whitney's facade resembling upside down steps.

The Whitney’s facade resembling upside down steps.

Next year, the Whitney will relocate to a much larger space designed by Renzo Piano in the very trendy Meatpacking district in lower Manhattan. After the Whitney moves, the Metropolitan Museum of Art will have exhibits and educational programming in that space. It is comforting to know that one building remains on Manhattan Island that has yet to go luxury co-op.

Three of the Whitney’s five floors are devoted to the Biennial that is on display through May 25th. But the top two floors feature an exhibition called “American Legends: From Calder to O’Keeffe” that runs through October 19th. Possibly due to the proliferation of smart phones attached to every 21st century museumgoer’s mitt, attendees were allowed to snap shots with abandon.

The first paintings we saw when we exited the fifth floor elevator were works by Jasper Johns.

Do I have triple vision?

Jasper Johns. Three Flags. 1958.

We saw exquisite paintings by Edward Hopper.

Edward Hopper. Early Sunday Morning. 1930.

Edward Hopper. Early Sunday Morning. 1930.

When we entered a gallery with flower abstracts, I declared:

Me: This has to be Georgia O’Keeffe, it’s so vaginal!

Georgia O'Keeffe. Music, Pink and Blue No. 2. 1918. (Sure looks like something else to me.)

Georgia O’Keeffe. Music, Pink and Blue No. 2. 1918.

The symbolism in a Jacob Lawrence painting from 1946 called War Series: The Letter made me reflect on how I feel about labeling tile at The Grind.

Jacob Lwrence. War Series: The Letter. 1946. (Or the agony of tile labeling.)

Jacob Lawrence. War Series: The Letter. 1946.

Milton was particularly unimpressed with the paintings by Burgoyne Diller.

Burgoyne Diller. Untitled. 1962

Burgoyne Diller. Untitled. 1962.

Milton: It blows my mind that something like this is considered significant. If your kid brought that home, you’d throw that shit away, or you’d find a way to hide it.

We entered a gallery where we were greeted with this painting by legendary pop artist Roy Lichtenstein.

Roy Lichtenstein. Bathroom. 1961.

Roy Lichtenstein. Bathroom. 1961.

Milton: I can’t look at this room. I hate this!

Roy Lichtenstein. Still Life with Crystal Bowl. 1963.

Roy Lichtenstein. Still Life with Crystal Bowl. 1972.

Milton stormed into the next gallery where he was welcomed by this oil on linen portrait of poet, art curator and critic, John Perreault, painted by Alice Neel.

Alice Neel. John Perreault. 1972.

Alice Neel. John Perreault. 1972.

Me: At least you found something to look at.

Milton: Not that I enjoy it.

Milton has never been shy about how much he despises the paintings of Alexander Calder.

Calder. Contour Plowing. 1974.

Alexander Calder. Contour Plowing. 1974.

But he admitted that he liked this sculpture.

Calder. The Brass Family. 1929.

Calder. The Brass Family. 1929.

Milton: That’s fascinating. What’s it made of, wire hangers?

We moved onto checking out the Biennial. We first noticed that on every floor there was a speaker with plush toys emitting groaning noises.

Plush toys, scarves, stereo speakers and groaning.

Plush toys, scarves, stereo speakers and groaning.

This was from the 2013 collection of the artist, Charlemagne Palestine called:

hauntteddd!!

n

huntteddd!!

n

daunttlesss!!

n

shuntteddd!!

Apparently, spelling has lost relevance.

When we entered the exhibit, these were amongst the first works we saw.

This is great art.

This is great art?

This is big red art.

This is big red art.

Marble sculptures n

Alma Allen marble sculptures on wood bases.

These sculptures of marble on wood are by Alma Allen, a self taught artist who works independently of any movement.

Milton: I don’t know what that shit is.

Philip Vanderhyden recreated People in Pain, a massive installation in crumpled vinyl backlit with now primarily forgotten movie titles from the 1980s. Gretchen Bender originally conceived it.

People in Pain.

People in Pain.

When we saw the title to the film, Ironweed, film expert Milton observed:

Milton: The only people in pain were the audience.

On the next floor, Milton seemed particularly fascinated with this wall of tee shirts.

Wall of tee shirts.

Wall of tee shirts on hangers.

Me: Do you like the tee shirts?

Milton: I hate them.

We encountered this cast salt wall hanging, Limbs of the Pacific, but I prefer Milton’s name for it:

Limbs of the Pacific.

Limbs of the Pacific.

Milton: Fuckin’ sandpaper!

Someone did a painting of the actor James Dean masturbating in a tree.

Glamorous.

Rebel Without a Cause All Right.

Milton liked the concept but pronounced the painting:

Milton: Awful.

There was a series of paintings by Etel Adnan that were variations of this.

And we must work day jobs?

And we must work day jobs?

I stopped to look at this sculpture hanging on a wall, but I didn’t get its name, so I’ll improvise to the best of my ability.

Throw Something on the Wall and Call it Art.

Throw Crap on the Wall and Call it Art.

We saw these eight briefcases that musician, recording engineer and anti-war protester, Malachi Ritscher, used to store hundreds of concert recordings made on digital audiotape and cassette.

Eight brief cases, but feel free to count them.

Eight brief cases, but feel free to count them.

In 2006 Ritscher self-immolated himself near the Kennedy Expressway in Chicago to protest the Iraq war. I like to think that there are easier ways to be included in this exhibit.

We left the exhibit in silence until Milton spoke:

Milton: This breaks my spirit. Someone’s junk being honored!

But there was one bright spot: this fellow attendee’s tie.

Fellow attendee wearing floating tie.

Fellow attendee wearing floating tie.

Lame Adventure 415: Head Games with Head Colds

This week I’ve been gradually recovering from a cold named Colossus. If it were a movie it would be in IMAX 3D. My most special effect is a thundering phlegm-filled cough that strikes fear in every subway rider standing in my soggy, heavy breathing presence. I have wondered what germy New Yorker passed this monster onto me. How I wish I had deflected that pass. I recall my blood running cold when a store clerk suffering stage four sniffles rubbed her nose as she handed me my change. But that was a few weeks before I fell ill. When I returned home from that encounter, I played it safe: I bathed in bleach.

My concentration has had lapses. I’m more focused on sneezing, wheezing, hacking and hoping one day my ears will unclog. Then I can once again savor my fellow commuter’s iPod leaking tinny percussive sounds. Sounds played by a small orchestra. Possibly an orchestra comprised of a herd of hamsters bred with minute opposable thumbs that have discovered the triangle.

My thoughts are all over the place. When I was in the vitamin and health section of my market trying to remember what I needed while coughing that was when my thoughts left the building. It was as if The Head Thought declared:

The Head Thought: I don’t know about you guys, but I’m out of here.

Apparently, all of my other thoughts followed that charismatic thinker. So I completely blanked on getting cough drops. Now thoughtless, I impulsively picked up a box of green tea that has done zilch to silence my cough.

Product placement.

Product placement.

The next time I went to the store I repeatedly said to myself “get cough drops” like a mantra. I got the cough drops. I brought them home. I placed them on my table and then my thoughts apparently went on spring break because I forgot to take the cough drops with me when I went out. If there were a medical procedure where I could have a package of cough drops sewn discreetly into my body, if it was covered by my insurance and did not cause too big a bulge, I’d seriously consider it. If there could be room for a pack of tissues and lip balm, better yet.

I responded to the email from a House Manager at a theater company who scheduled me to usher an off-Broadway play on May 17th by declaring, “Thank you for scheduling me to usher on March 17th.” That matter has since been resolved. I assured him that “I am on top of my game this 2004 theater season”. I suspect that he is now completely convinced that I’m senile.

When I was returning home from doing my laundry last night I saw a fireplace mantle strategically placed over a city trash can on the street corner. I continued walking, certain that my flake-filled head had imagined this. Then, I walked back. Here’s proof that I remain somewhat lucid in my delirium. But maybe not the greatest picture taker while holding a laundry bag. At least I wasn’t coughing.

"Hon, what should we do with this old mantle? do you think one of the kids would want it or should I just throw it out on West End Avenue?"

“Hon, what should we do with this old mantle? Do you think one of the kids would want it or should I just throw it out on West End Avenue?”

Lame Adventure 414: My Silver Lining

This is the door to my closet.

Keep out.

Keep out.

For three years I have had a canvas jacket in there that I purchased online from J. Crew Factory at a very deep discount. I don’t recall how deep the discount was, but the shipping and handling probably cost more than the coat. The coat was in a color that sang melodically to me: drab.

I thought that this coat would be the perfect spring-weight addition to compliment the rest of my drab-colored spring wardrobe. But, there was a catch: this coat was unlined. Nowhere in the description was it mentioned that this coat lacked lining. I considered returning it but I didn’t want to pay the return-shipping fee for a coat that was essentially a steal. J. Crew Factory purchases cannot be returned to J. Crew stores. The Factory stores are located in East God Knows Where. I otherwise liked the coat and it fit decently. I wore it once or twice, but it never felt quite right without a lining. I like linings. I like socks. I don’t wear shoes without socks. I like that extra layer of fabric between my being and the shoe or the garment. To sound like a demented take on a movie quote linings and sock complete me. For three years that unlined coat has been exiled behind my closet door. It was a source of reliable irritation on a hanger.

This year I am doing a Big Purge, a complete clean out of my apartment. This purge includes unloading all of the clothes I no longer wear. I looked in my closet and saw that unlined jacket. It was on the Big Purge list. I tried it on and it still fit well, even better now that I’ve shed Mini Me — ten and a half pounds of girth, leading to the rediscovery of my waistline. I knew that as long as that jacket would not have a lining, I would never wear it again, but then I had a light bulb.

Light bulb: Why not get it lined?

My friend Coco is a fashion expert. I asked her where I could find lining fabric:

Coco: B&J Fabrics on Seventh Avenue. They have everything.

Seventh Avenue runs through the heart of New York’s garment district. The stretch between 34th to 39th Streets is known as Fashion Avenue.

Bronze statue called "The Garment Worker" a relic to the era before  garments were made overseas.

Statue called “The Garment Worker” a worker who would today be found toiling overseas but not wearing a yarmulke.

B&J Fabrics is a family run business that’s been around since 1940. It’s located on the second floor at 525 Seventh Avenue.

Welcome.

Welcome.

While walking down this storied avenue I observed the Fashion Walk of Fame honoring many of the biggest names in the American fashion industry.

Calvin Klein and the toe of my sneaker.

Calvin Klein and the toe of my sneaker.

When I entered B&J’s, I stepped into a fabric wonderland. They’re a go-to source for designers, costumers, fashion students, homeowners and even the casual doofus on the hunt for lining. Their inventory is extraordinary. Here’s a glimpse:

Fabric everywhere.

Fabric everywhere!

Feathers!

Feathers!

Polka dots!

Polka dots!

Metallic brocade!

Metallic brocade!

Raw silk!

Raw silk!

Sequins!

Sequins!

Italian wool!

Italian wool!

Irish linen!

Irish linen!

Glow in the dark!

Glow in the dark!

Delicate and fluttery!

Delicate and fluttery!

Chainmail!

Chainmail!

Fortunately, I did not have to search from feathers to brocade to chainmail to find coat lining. All I had to do was ask one of their many helpful and vastly knowledgeable staff members for direction. Within ten minutes of entering the premises, I found exactly what I wanted, a silver paisley jacquard.

Linings!

Linings!

Five minutes later they cut two yards of fabric for my drab colored coat and I was on my way back uptown to the tailor’s.

This lining scored such a hit with the tailor, I was called and told I could have a twenty-five percent discount on the job — and it was finished three days early.

When I went to pick up my lined coat, the clerk at the tailor’s was thrilled to show it to me. He gushed enthusiastically about the  quality of B&J’s lining.

Clerk at Tailor’s: This coat before was so nothing, but now, now it’s like, “Wow!”

I smiled wanly at the combined compliment and insult.

Drab colored jacket at rest.

Drab colored nothing jacket at rest.

If I ever wear this jacket on a date, it is going to take all my power of self-control to resist turning it inside out.

Love my lining, love  me.

Love my lining, love me.

Lame Adventure 413: Lucky Numbers

I am going against my blogging rule. I’m writing about something I detest writing about: blogging. I hope I do not give the impression of being a gloating cur. On the four year and two month anniversary of Lame Adventures’ debut, I was the recipient of WordPressian validation. I was notified that last week’s post, Lame Adventure 412:The Deodorant Debacle, was selected to be Freshly Pressed. My stats had a nice spike.

What a nice spike looks like numerically.

What seemed like a million percent increase to me.

I thank all that took the time to visit. I welcome the increase in my following. To my 125 new followers, I will make an effort to visit your sites. Please accept my apology in advance that I anticipate this mission could take me two hours shy of forever to complete. I lead a very active life: I work full-time, I write humor pieces that do not appear on Lame Adventures (in 2013, I self-published a book; my worst seller), I work out four-five times a week, I usher off-Broadway theater and I make time for my posse. Please be patient with me. If you are inclined to post several times a week, several times a day, or your posts are long-form, I am easily overwhelmed. Until a day is 36 hours in length, I have neither the time nor the energy to read a barrage of posts from one blogger or the blogospheric equivalent of Ulysses. To me, less is enough. If you receive a like from me, I guarantee that I read your post and genuinely liked it.

I was Freshly Pressed once before. It happened 196 Lame Adventures ago, on a Friday in August 2011, the era before Freshly Pressed badges began adorning sites. I had about 70 likes, 99 comments and a monumental hangover from quaffing my weight in sake the night before. When it happened again last Monday I was stone cold sober. That morning, I groused to Godsend, my colleague at The Grind, that traffic was slow.

Me: It’s obvious to me that this post is a leaden soufflé.

When I received the email from Krista at WordPress alerting me that I would be Freshly Pressed later that week I was surprised. I noticed the number 1,788,883, in our correspondence. I asked Krista if my post was the 1,788,883rd to receive this recognition. Was my lucky number 1,788,883? This prompted me to Google how many hairs there are on the average human head: 100,000. I wondered how many grains of sand there are on earth? Robert Krulwich at NPR’s answer:

“…[I]f you assume a grain of sand has an average size and you calculate how many grains are in a teaspoon and then multiply by all the beaches and deserts in the world, the Earth has roughly (and we’re speaking very roughly here) 7.5 x 1018 grains of sand, or seven quintillion, five hundred quadrillion grains.”

I concluded that my post, the possibly 1,788,883rd Freshly Pressed, fell nicely in-between the average head of human hair and all the grains of sand in the world. Krista answered my email. She explained that 1,788,883 is a numerical ID code. There have been less than 12,000 posts that have been Freshly Pressed.

1 in 12,000.

1 in not quite 12,000.

I intended to write that deodorant post a week earlier, but that week had been hectic. I prefer to publish posts whole-assed rather than half-assed so I held off writing it. Delaying writing that post was one of the smartest moves of my life ranking with when I left my desk at another Grind a nanosecond before the ceiling collapsed directly over my chair.

The cynic in me, who comprises 99% of my being, is aware that so many other deserving bloggers have never been granted this validation once. This brings to mind a quote from the author Gore Vidal:

Gore Vidal: Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little.

I knew that feeling through my first 215 Lame Adventures. I returned to feeling like chopped liver through the next 195. You can never predict when your lucky number will come up, but hopefully it will be well before 1,788,883.

Regularly scheduled Lame Adventures will return next week.

Look, the Mona Lisa's in Manhattan!

Look, the Mona Lisa’s in Manhattan!