Dating Woes

My Jewish Date 

I had no idea how philosophical differences alone could affect a relationship until I dated a Jewish Psychologist. She worked at St. Luke’s hospital when I was a Resident and was not only beautiful but also extremely intelligent. After a few dates that seemed to go well, I asked her if she would go with me to Yankee Stadium to see a ballgame, which she excitedly agreed to.

Because the game started at 7:30 p.m., I told her I would pick her up at 6:00, which would give us plenty of time to navigate the subway system, be on time or perhaps even see some of the batting practice. When I went to see the Yankees, I wanted to saturate myself in the entire experience.

She told me she would still go, but that I couldn’t pick her up until 7:00 because she was in psychotherapy herself three days a week and couldn’t miss a session.

At that time in my life I gave little credence to psychotherapy, paid it lip service at best and in her case wondered intuitively why her professional training did nothing to help her fix her own problems.

When I asked how long she had been in therapy, she told me about five years. I then asked what she was working on and why it was taking so long to work it out. The response was something to the effect that therapy was indefinite because the issues were so deep seeded it would take a lifetime to sift through it all, adding how could she do her job effectively if she did not look at situations from the patient’s point of view. It was a circular argument in addition to which she never divulged any of her supposed issues. That was confidential.

I chalked it up to her avoiding intellectual intimacy until she got to know me better. That was Ball one.

Then I asked if there was any way she would consider making an exception on this one night because I already had the tickets and would it make that much difference if she missed a small particle of the brain shrinking process.

Replying in the negative she said it would interrupt her continuity, would leave her feeling guilty and emotionally naked, all of which would then make the baseball game more of a negative than a positive experience. I should have dumped her right then, but gave her the benefit of the doubt, even though I thought… what could be better therapy than a Yankee game?

I gave the baseball tickets to a friend and took her out to dinner instead, although the conversation was rather superficial because I was afraid to ask if she had made any progress in getting her personal demons under control. Now the count was one Ball and one Strike.

That was when I found out she was a vegetarian and had to endure the predictable interrogation about why I ate meat and how she knew if we stayed together she would be able to convert me to her culinary preferences. That was Strike two.

Strike three occurred several weeks later when I invited her to go sailing on the Hudson River with a Jewish Urologist I met when I moonlighted in the Nyack Hospital Emergency Room. He  invited me to crew for him on his thirty-foot boat which he raced every Saturday.

I did warn him ahead of time that I had only sailed small boats for recreational fun with no actual racing experience. He said not to worry, that he didn’t take it too seriously, that bringing a date was fine, and that he had plenty of sandwiches and drinks. He intimated that the whole thing would be just a peacefully fun outing.

Nothing could have been further from the truth.

He used my date as ballast, announced that we could not drink beer or eat our sandwiches until the race was over and then because there was virtually no breeze, we then spent several hours, overheating in the sun.

This was while listening to him repeatedly curse the weather conditions or how poorly his boat was performing; along with veiled oblique reference to the fact that I was lacking sufficient skill to read his mind in being able to perform my duties. He finally capitulated by motoring back to the dock; constantly bemoaning the fact of a badly ruined day.

When we finally moored, he handed each of us one half a tuna sandwich and one seven-ounce pony bottle of Rolling Rock beer. This was some gala outing all right: stuck in the doldrum horse latitudes with a horse’s ass, half a sandwich and half a beer. That put an end to my sail racing career, as well as any further desire to go to sea with Doctor Captain Bly.

When I angrily recapitulated my frustration over the experience with my psychologist sea nymph, all she did was make excuses for his behavior. Even though I insisted instead that he was a selfish egocentric, lying prick; I was too annoyed to argue the point as I secretly thought:

  • Wow. Maybe you should take him on as a patient; because based on what I just experienced, you could get on the hook of coming back to see you in perpetuum.

The count was still holding at one Ball and two Strikes.

The last straw was when we went back to my house where the first thing I said because of being so stressed, was that I was going to have a beer.

She started the dialogue:

  • But you just had a beer on the boat.
  • That was not a beer. Seven ounces was a teaser. Twelve ounces is a beer.
  • But why then do you think you must have a beer to relieve your stress?
  • Maybe because I don’t go to counseling three times a week.
  • That is not funny and maybe if you did go to counseling you wouldn’t feel compelled to drink so much beer.
  • But I like beer; I only have two a day and I don’t think I need counseling anyway.
  • Two beers a day is a lot. You don’t have to drink every day and everyone needs some counseling at some point in his or her life.
  • I don’t think I’m screwed up enough. And you only think that way because you’re in the business.
  • Well if you think you must drink beer to relieve your stress, you are screwed up.
  • This conversation is going nowhere. And just because you’re making me so aggravated right now I’m going to drink another beer. That will make three.
  • See, just like I said, you’re an alcoholic, and an angry one at that.
  • I am not. I just like to drink beer and right now I’m annoyed at your value judgments.
  • Two beers a day is an alcoholic habit.
  • O.K. You win. So now that you have me really upset; because on top of spending a wasted day with a psychotic doctor who thinks he should captain the America’s Cup Team, and also because I have to listen to you berate my social habits, right now I am going to sit here and drink an entire six pack, which I never do. So, I would like you to politely not pass any more commentary on it. On top of that I won’t be able to drive you back to New York because I will be drunk.
  • Fine. I’ll make a salad. But we need to explore this issue some more, which is something we can do when you’re not drunk, or more in control of yourself and your emotions. I can help you with this.

The only thing I did explore later was her body, during which time she admitted to being addicted to sex, not beer, and liked some of the kinkier aspects, including being tied up, taking herbs or “cleansing” enemas, and having anal sex. That was Ball two.

This confession did perhaps shed a bit of light on some of her own personal psychological issues, or perhaps her childhood relationship with her parents; but I was then too afraid to ask; and didn’t really want to know.

If I did ask, I knew I might be in for ninety hours of listening to her self-analysis, although the sexual aspects had piqued my imagination enough by all its potential prospects. This might, include being able to punish her nagging with daily bondage, including anal torture and mouth gags to block her carping for a while.  But the vision was tainted by the additional dread of having to withstand the idea of a lifetime of perseverations about having to go on both the Heineken beer and the White Tower burger wagons.

Just the thought of never again having any more burgers or beers was impossible for me to entertain; as it far outweighed the prospects of a lifetime of kinky bedroom romps.

The count had now gone to two Balls and three Strikes. And she was out.


Take me out to the ball game


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Uncle Bill and the Kennedy Assassination

Uncle Bill and the Kennedy assassination 

I was in the tenth grade sitting in Social Studies class when it was announced on the PA system that John F. Kennedy had been shot. It is probable that almost everyone who was alive at the time can remember exactly where he was and exactly what he was doing on the day this news was delivered. It was also an earth-shaking event that truly seemed beyond comprehension.

At that time my Uncle Bill lived in Dallas where he also owned a popular bar.

William Howard Cooper being a hard living, hard driving, hard loving man, was the kind of person who could be best described as a “real high flyer.” He admitted to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day as well as to drinking a case of beer and just short of a quart of Jack Daniels Bourbon to go along with it.

Beside this addiction to alcohol and tobacco he also had an addictive penchant for gambling that would take him on frequent round trip junkets to Las Vegas. One week he would be asking Granny Cooper to hide upwards of $50,000 in winnings for him in a suitcase under her bed, saying, “ I don’t want my wife Jean to know about this,” then go back to Vegas with it the next week returning empty handed and begging his momma for grocery, beer, whiskey and cigarette money.

He was also involved in some shady sideline business dealings as suspected by him showing up for brief visits at our house in New York toting or trying to fob off anything from newly hijacked microwave ovens to recently fenced multi-stone diamond rings. The deals for these items that apparently had just “fallen of a truck” were so good, that my mother could not resist them; and although Bill never directly stole, he never seemed to mind being in the “secondary retail broker market.”

As Aunt Jeannie used to say about it:

  • Bill is not really an outright liar. He’s just plain outright devious.

On these occasional trips “up North,” my mother would ask him to stay with us for a few days, but after about twelve hours of fidgety boredom or endless to and fro pacing, he would usually depart to go back to run his bar.

  • Ya’ll just don’t understand, Ruth. Ya see it all goes down like this. Ever’ night when they close up, my employees take out mah cash drawer and throw it up to the ceilin’ an’ ever’ thing that sticks on the roof, they say belongs to me, and ever’ thing that falls back down on the floor they get to keep for themselves. I got to go back or I’ll be broke in no time flat.

He had an old eighteen-foot teak Chris Craft boat with an inboard engine that he kept on the Texas Colorado River near Matagorda. Every once in a while when he got good and liquored up would aimlessly and recklessly race it up around the riverfront, much to the consternation of local sport fishermen or other folks of more genteel persuasion.

Even though he was arrested for this habit on more than one occasion, for some strange reason he always seemed to have a certain persuasion with the local police, who would then at some later date be seen riding out on the river with him themselves “hootin’ and a hollerin‘ and, of course, at similar breakneck speeds.

My father took one ride with him, one time and one time only. He said the escapade was so harrowing it nearly caused him to wet his pants.

uncle Bill


At one time Bill even cashed in on the football craze by running a Bar-Bus out to Arlington Stadium so that the drunken Dallas Cowboy fans that had signed on with him would have a safe ride back and forth. This was a motorized four wheeled cocktail lounge, undoubtedly quite novel for its time or place in the scheme of customer service innovations. But I also wonder how legal it may have been or how many political payoffs were involved to keep it in operation.

Unfortunately however, just about any Evetts descendant who smokes will also risk the curse of early vascular disease, because of what the additive effects nicotine brings to their genetically inherited high cholesterol levels along with a generalized predisposition to being overweight.

Aunt Thelma Jean, for example, who also smoked excessively and whose favorite libation was Schlitz beer; eventually had just about every artery in her body replaced by Denton Cooley. She used to say that if he got up to ten operations she would ask him to give her the next one free “just like at the car wash.”

After he had his third heart attack wild Bill Cooper checked himself out of the hospital. He told the doctors that enough was enough. He said:

  • Thanks anyway doc, but I just ain’t gonna lay around this dump anymore like some ol’ cripple. 

With that comment and despite the doctor’s protestations he pulled out his IV, checked out AMA (against medical advice) went home and died shortly thereafter in the comfort of his own living room recliner chair. He was 54 years old.

My mother used to say that Bill had nine lives. I told her that no, in fact he had lived nine lives while secretly thinking to myself that in doing so he had made up for all four of his sister’s conservatively self-inflicted solitary lives of boredom.

Sometime within the week after John Kennedy was killed, then subsequently Lee Harvey Oswald, my mother called Bill in Dallas and asked him “what in tarnation is going on down there? “ He told her that he knew Jack Ruby personally because Ruby had frequently patronized his bar. It was one of those hangouts where the mob, the politicians and the police crossed paths, exchanging information… and probably “a whole lot more.”

  • I don’t rightly know Ruth, but ever body down here knows that Jack was mobbed up and all the police are in on the take too. So I just don’t rightly know for certain, and I can’t really say so for sure but it seems to me like somethin’ mighty funny is going on.

A great many people still immutably believe to this very day in both their hearts and to the core of their souls that on November 20 in1963 something honestly and truly was very rotten in the Lone Star State’s notorious city of Dallas.



Dealy plaza

Now I don’t rightly know for sure Ruth, but it seems purdy likely to me that somethin’ mighty fishy is goin’ on down here. Yes indeedy. Somethin’ mighty fishy. 

(Uncle Bill)

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