Your Hip, Hapless Child

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From Edward Gorey’s “The Hapless Child”


There’s a knock on the door and my son answers it. An adorable three-year-old girl is there with her dad, who asks my son if his mom or dad is home. My son calls me by my name, which he does when he’s nervous.

“There’s someone here to see you, Marty,” he says.

It’s missionaries, I think. I always talk to missionaries because they can at least put me down as a “maybe” and get more mission-kibble. But I’m wrong. Continue reading

Upon First Looking — Really Looking — at My Newly-Paralyzed Dog’s Anus

GORDONFCE1This story, about our dog, has a happy ending.

Over the course of 18 hours one day last month, our beloved dog became paralyzed. Continue reading

The Bathroom At Connie’s Wedding

The Bathroom At Connie’s Wedding
An I love you with all-a my heart, if I don’t see-a you again soon, I’m-a gonna die poem for Valentine’s Day

godfather-valentine
Sorry, Sally, no can do
Fredo, this heart’s not for you
Yes, Bruno once felt my embrace
And ‘pollonia lit up the place
But now there’s someone who, I feel
Would not eff up my birthday meal.

My love pours forth as if from holes
And I feel sunny, despite the tolls
It will not stop! It comes unbidden
As poor Carlo’s trashcan liddin’
Like Clemenza loved his cannoli
You’re my Ragazza, One And Only.

O, you’re my little Red Barchetta
And, ’til I die in some vendetta
You’ll mean a great deal more to me
Than the peas of Frank Pentangeli.
(But if you see me in your bed
Don’t act like I am Khartoum’s head.)

Christmas in L.A. Is Officially Over

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Following a 16-year study of measurable Christmasing trends, I have determined that L.A.’s Christmas season runs from just before Labor Day to Super Bowl Sunday. Continue reading

Today You Will Wear Jean Shorts

jean-shorts-barrettLet’s be reasonable — It’s bleak, but it’s not hopeless. You have many pants choices. And each one is safe, thoughtful, and flattering. To wear jean shorts today is a step backward into despair, yes?

No. It’s an assured, progressive step. It’s still too cold for them, and that’s why you should do it. Instead of wearing pants to the post office and supermarket, greeting your neighbors as if you are embarrassed of your shins and calves, dazzle them with the Mary Kay Rabbit Lab brightness of your winterized legs. Legs that say: It Is the Festival of the Unconquered Sun, And Wintertime Will Soon Be Over, Especially in Los Angeles Because, You Know, Let’s Face It.

You will wear jean shorts because you are jumpstarting the world.

You say, “But they will identify me as a dad by my jean shorts.”

What’s wrong with that? You are a dad. If you were in the 18th Street Gang, would you cover up that huge “XVIII” facial tattoo and eschew the blue and black colors that represent your connection to the ancient Sureño barrio gangs? No. You might be murdered. If you were a dog, would you dress as a cormorant? If you are the Pope and are readily identified by your skull-fitted zucchetto, would you instead don the conical white koukoulion of the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Russia? Of course not. Are you high?

Neither Kristy McNichol nor Bucky Dent were ashamed of their jean shorts.

You will wear jean shorts because you are so proud of being a dad that you say, “Not only am I a dad, but I can be one again, anywhere you like. Behind those trash cans or in the Von’s dairy aisle. Just give me a minute.”

Today you will wear jean shorts, and you will every day that ancient protocol — like a coronation or moon landing — dictates that you don’t. You will wear jean shorts. You will be the guy who wears jean shorts. There will be memes and hashtags, and maybe a multi-city protest, but you will wear jean shorts.

Oh, look! There is a five-dollar bill from last August in my jean shorts.

Tucumcari Tonight: Lowell George’s “Willin'”

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Here’s what a great song is all about: I love the song “Willin'” even though I am neither a truck driver, drug trafficker, substance abuser, nor commitment-phobic. It’s among the most noncommittal and narcissistic of love songs, and yet you feel that the singer, Lowell George, is really trying. Continue reading

Let Despair Be the First Celebrity Death of 2017

Isidorus of SevilleDoes the fact that a bunch of people died, that the 2016 campaign was particularly awful and hopeless, and that nearly half of those who were eligible actually voted make you despair? Well stop. That’s what they want. Don’t go over the Rainbow Bridge just yet. Continue reading

How I Lived To Be 47

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Doubtless the superannuated raisin you see before you fills you with a sense of wonder and a grave respect for both the lost majesty and, yes, the abominations of the ancient world. But you may also wonder if you, too, can achieve such an age and, to do so, what compromises must you make, what obstacles must you overcome, and what tomes must you study to unlock this terrifying state of grace and elegance I embody every goddamn day. Continue reading

50 Years Ago Tonight: A Killer Lineup, Plus the Beatles, at Dodger Stadium

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Paul McCartney, one of the world’s finest bass players, played on second base at Dodger Stadium 50 years ago tonight, in what would be the Beatles’ penultimate concert (I don’t count that thing on the roof, as John Lennon himself called it an “audition”). It was the second-to-last show of a 14-city tour in a year that saw fewer ticket sales due to Lennon’s “Bigger than Jesus” remark that March, and the trip that would make the band give up touring altogether.

But there were four other groups on the bill that night in the shiny, 4-year-old stadium, leased to the Beatles while the Dodgers were away in San Francisco, and each has a fascinating story. Continue reading

Thanks, Don Bailey

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My ninth-grade Latin teacher, Don Bailey, introduced me to limericks AND the word natator. I might be making this up, but I think when he asked the swimming coach where the natatorium was, the coach, confused, said, “No, it’s Not A ‘torium,’ it’s a swimming pool.”