Looking Forward to the New Good Old Days

The New Good Old Days;

Don’t give up yet;
Maybe; if all goes well;
So it shouldn’t be a total loss,
And in order to help our digestion;
GOD decided to “throw us a bone.”
So to speak.

Urban Dictionary: throw me a bone: “give me a break”/ “give me a hint,” Give me a chance.


One day, while I was attentively listening and observing what God was up to at that particular moment in time, there came upon me a new and even more intensive reckoning to deal with than I had ever experienced (while endeavoring to reckon with what was then currently on my plate at this unbelievable moment of life’s urgencies).

If all this is a touch confusing to you, well then, I have succeeded in conveying what it was like for me as I turned off the evening news and sat there alone in deep thought (no longer multi tasking) wondering what in the name of hell were our elected officials talking about.

After Many Centuries


Finally, God decided to correct our years of dialect corruptions. Many of us, usually the ones who have inhabited one of our larger cities, developed their own peculiar way of talking. For whatever the reason, and I am sure there must be an explanation for it, often very good words – nice ones with intellect, manners, and substantial couth, bearing, and, of course, above average stature – along with correct pronunciation have been discarded. Think about my plight – what a shame it is to look for a word definition and discover no such word exists – words like “freakin’,” or “friggin’” like my Mother used to say.

When I was about eight years old, there wasn’t a kid in my Brooklyn neighborhood not using today’s common place derivations of slang as a daily ritual. “Freakin’,” and “friggin’” were comfortable words that our parents allowed around the house, but never in the classrooms. A good example of the typical immigrant usage of these famous American slang words could often be heard as a useful add-on during a heated or semi-heated discussion amongst friends where two folks engaged in a vigorous bartering exchange. One asks how much money the other would take for a particular item. The guy thinks for a second, and then says it’s too much money. The seller becomes indignant and tells the prospective buyer to “Go s–t in your friggin’ hat,” as he walks and sulks away. (So very American, don’t you think?)

For a moment, please enlist yourselves in a personal pleasure of mine: re-creation, remembering, or for want of the more precise, reflections of my past – something I have, and you don’t. Please consider me, in this case, a smug “rememberer.” At this point, if you happen to get it, understanding where I’m coming from you’re most likely in a state of (as the immigrants would put it to whomever) “eating your heart(s) out.”

(Humorous definition)
Something you say that means you or someone you know can do something better than a person who is famous for doing that very thing;
“I’m taking singing lessons. Sammie Davis, eat your heart out.”

So, what am I getting at, alluding to, bragging about, or really and truly philosophizing? Perhaps rhapsodizing over this is the cause of my often smiling and joking at the “eat your heart out” syndrome that allows me to celebrate a form of relief from the daily rigors of my incessant observations of the untidy lives so many folks are forced to live. (I choose to use the term “untidy” as opposed to “cruel” as a descriptive for what the newspapers and television happens to be spewing forth in a regular dosage for us, the common man; bullshit to place in our own personal hats?

Decades of listening and reading have fostered my ability to self indulge. If reflections of the past relaxes and brings with it a heartier laugh than younger people would understand, then my celebration by the mere conjuring of the past could also validate the statement: “I’m taking singing lessons. Sammie Davis, eat your heart out.”

I (almost) love when a loved one, family member, or friend asks a favor of me. While not usually looking for a helping hand, I never the less adore those people who freely come forward with the pleasantness of their smiling face asking for nothing more than my reflective countenance.

QUESTION: “So, damn it – what’s the point, Harv?”

As I prepare to answer your question regarding what my point is, or what the hell is he writing about now, the question reminds me of a time in the fifth grade when a teacher of mine was asking the same thing of my Mother.

“What the hell is your kid talking about now?” was the question.

My Mother responded with, “If you figure it out let me know.”

At that point of her life, Mom thought an abstraction was something done by a dentist.

By age eleven, I was firmly convinced almost anything could be considered funny, or at worst, a reliable source of humor. Honestly, I knew nothing about abstract art in any shape or form. It was the great humorist Robert Benchley who helped to set me on a course that I’ve never successfully veered from – and good God I’ve tried earnestly to do so.

Please don’t get the idea that, as a little kid in grammar school, I was being personally enlightened by the likes of the crowd, which held daily lunchtime meetings at the now international landmark the Algonquin Hotel in New York City.


It was, however, the early days of film; the famed Robert Benchley, a charter member of the “Algonquin Round Table,” aside from his adeptness as a syndicated writer, was being recognized for his disjointed humor presented as short films in movie theaters countrywide.

Week by week, Benchley witticisms were creeping into the American vernacular. It was becoming an in thing for young adults to be able to quote lines from a short Robert Benchley film. As an adept copyist I was prone to repeating many of the things I heard, regardless of being able to understand their meanings.

But, it was actually a line delivered by Dorothy Parker to her cronies at a roundtable luncheon that got da Harv well on his way towards constant trouble with his grade school teachers.

The Algonquin Round Table

The group was playing one of their many word games when Dorothy floored them with her latest and perhaps greatest quip, “You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her drink.”

**Obviously, it’s a play on words of the familiar, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink,” and is spoken as, “You can lead a whore to culture, but you can’t make her think.”

Now, if you’re able to imagine a ten-year-old kid saying this in a classroom, one might also imagine the indignant response of my teacher. In any event, I was labeled as an intentional teacher’s foil; whatever that means. Compare all of this to today’s culture, and I’d come across as a choirboy. What a difference a few decades can make.

What hasn’t changed for da Harv, regardless of the extensive lapse of time, is that I still find myself spending a great many hours up in front of a classroom filled with students – still playing with words – still reflecting on the words of Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, and a proverbial laundry list of Americans from the past.

Back then, what we considered raunchy would not raise an eyebrow today.

Raise (a few) eyebrows:
To shock or surprise people

Imagine the effect it would have had if I were a rapper? Talk about raising an eyebrow; I’m laughing as I get a mind’s eye picture of me as a ten year old, up in front of my class, dressed in jeans down around my butt with my underwear covering what would have been a visible slit in an inappropriate area of a plumber’s calling card.

The thing I find sad about today’s supposed great communicators is that most of them can’t be trusted with the real meaning, or truth of the matter they’re attempting to communicate.

Is it really so difficult for any of us to look the other guy straight and forwardly into his or her eyes and say, “You voted for me, and I screwed up.” Can you just imagine the effect a statement like that would have? Almost, without exception, all of us Americans would agree – we had just heard a politician being honest. How very uplifting for all of us, don’t you think?

But, they don’t seem to get it, for now. But, we all do. Without reservation, deceit will be reckoned with – it always is.

Sure hope that it applies to will, without hesitation, “Put that in your (their) pipe and smoke it!”


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