Spinner – The Broad Street Bullies

The funniest guy I know…

Before I start this one, I’m very proud to announce that I have reached  500 followers! That’s 500 more than when I started this journey 6 months ago. I want to thank each and every one of you for reading phicklephilly. Your comments and likes have been wonderful, and I try to respond to all of you. I have so many more stories to tell and I hope that this blog evolves into what it ultimately should be. I’m documenting my past loves and my quest to find true and sustainable love here in Philadelphia.

But hopefully, I begin to examine who I am and how I got here, and what made me into who I am today.

I’m glad you’re all on the journey with me, and it pushes me forward to continue and never give up!

Thank you one and all!

I have known Spinner for over fifteen years. He is the funniest guy I know. He has a brain that somehow can put together words, phrases, and ideas faster than anyone I know.

He used to work for me back in 2002. He was hired as a bank teller at a branch I managed in Mt. Laurel, NJ. I started to notice how funny he was after a while. He and I developed a good rapport. One day Spinner just stopped coming to work. So our head teller fired him. I think he just hated working for the head teller who was an angry asshole. I liked Spinner, so I kept in touch with him.

We actually started hanging out. We’d go out to eat at the mall and girl watch together. He was really cool to hang out with because he had such a quick wit. He has the ability to freestyle comic bits at lightning speed.

I remember he came over to my house one time. He had a flyer that had information about an upcoming comedy show at Stockton State College. As I read it I saw that he was headlining and that it was a fundraiser for spina bifida. Then I saw that my name was on it as one of the comedians on the bill. I laughed and asked him what that was about. He simply told me that I was one of the funniest people he knew and that I would kill. I thanked him and told him there was a distinct difference between me and the other comics. I didn’t have an act!

Although I was terrified, I was still intrigued. I wrote some material and went out and did it. The thing with fear is, unfortunately, you have to run toward it to overcome it, not away from it. That simple piece of advice given to me by an old friend, helped me overcome much of my lifelong anxiety disorder. Stand up is terrifying. Playing in a band is scary until you get through the first song and start rocking, then it’s awesome. But standing alone on a quiet stage with a spotlight in your face, and making people laugh is really hard.

So I did it. It was nerve-wracking, but also fun. The peals of laughter coming back from the audience from what you’re saying is similar to the cheers and applause you get playing rock. It’s just a little different high. I did well and somebody even shot a video. Spinner ended up transferring it to a VHS tape and gave me a copy. He said I was the best of all of the comics. I was so happy. But try to find something to play that tape on now!

I have since gone on to perform stand up in New York, and here at the Laff House in Philly. It’s all thanks to my buddy Spinner.

Sometimes we would go to the Tropicana in Atlantic City, and he would gamble. He likes roulette. I’m not a gambler, so I would just blow through twenty dollars and then drink and talk to women. Sometimes he would win a lot of money, but obviously, that doesn’t happen all of the time.

I moved to New York and didn’t see him as much anymore. But we always kept in touch. If I was around on a weekend to see my daughter, sometimes he’d hang out too.

But in the last year or two Spinner and I have reconnected and have been attending sporting events. I’m not a sports fan, but it’s really fun to go out with someone who is, and understands the game. Plus, as an added bonus the guy is a fucking riot.

Spinner is a huge baseball fan. He loves the Boston Red Sox. We’ve seen the Sox, the Phillies, and most recently a Flyers game. I have realized hanging out with Spinner why men love sports so much. It’s the competitive nature of the game. I love the exchange of power. If your team comes out and they trounce the other guys, it’s no fun to watch. But if we’re up and they take away our lead, it’s on! We have to fight to get it back to win. It’s very exciting for me.

I was never into hockey at all. It looked violent and moved too fast. Now, I love it. The talent of these athletes! Chasing and controlling that little puck all the while on ice skates! It’s such an intense and fast-paced sport. Really good. I loved seeing that game and really want to see more. (The Flyers won after a sudden death tie. It was glorious!)

So hopefully this interesting and enduring friendship continues. I want to see more live sporting events! As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been better at maintaining relationships, but in this case Spinner, he has been the one that has kept us connected over the last few years and for that, I am very grateful.

 

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Phicklephilly – Business Development

My friend Keila (Keila – 2012 to Present – The Gaza Stripper) Who works with Alice at their IT recruiting firm knows so many people in the city. Her mom is friends with another Israeli woman who owns an Alcohol Education Institute here in the city. I know how that sounds. But it’s not what you think. The woman who owns it formerly owned over six bartending schools in the tri state area. After many successful years, she sold them all and now only has the one institute here in Philly.

Funny thing is, back in 2005 when I was working as a consultant for the financial industry, there were times when we weren’t working on a project. I decided to take a bartending course at a school in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. I had no idea at the time, but it was one of theirs!

They are the first center dedicated to training and empowering both sides of the bar: The bartender and the guest. The institute prides itself on teaching people the ” Joy of Alcohol”, and on working with the most creative and inspiring people in the bar industry.

From Flair Maestros to Sommeliers and Brewing Masters, their instructors are some of the most specialized mixologists in the Philadelphia area. Many of the instructors are members of the United States Bartending Guild (USBG) and compete nationwide in bartending competitions.

The institute teaches that alcohol is good.  They celebrate the rich history and virtues of spirits and educate bartenders and consumers alike to respect the trade, perfect the craft, and drink with joy.

They run a standard alcohol education program/bartending school, but they teach so much more than just the basics. When the students graduate from this school, they are probably better than most of the bartenders working in this city right now. They’ll even help them find a job!

They find jobs in multiple ways. One of the primary ways they find jobs is through their “Hire A Bartender” page on their website. They have also built connections with neighboring bars and managers in the industry who are interested in their students.  The third major way they gain jobs is by aggregating relevant job postings from different online sites. Afterwards, they get in contact with the manager to find out exactly what they are looking for and post a more detailed explanation on their Alumni page. The fourth way they do this is by requesting a dream list from each of their graduates.

From that dream list, they call every single place and give the requesting graduate the information for the jobs that are hiring.

Sweet, right? It’s the real deal, and I have known the family for about three years. They are all really nice and recently approached me to come work for them. It’s an exciting position. I am the VP of Business Development. My job is to procure liquor companies to sponsor their products and services in the institute. I am also in the process of pitching a “Bar Leadership Program” to casinos, hotels, and larger restaurant chains, to train their people to understand the bar business beyond the bar. How to manage a bar, manage a staff, create a menu, what beer and wine you’ll need to stock your bar, etc. It’s the next level course that can make bartenders into managers.

So this could be a great fun gig for me. I’m looking forward to getting back out there to promote this great institute.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 8am EST.

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Nadereh – Persian Beauty

Another tale of one man’s journey navigating his way through the dating scene in Philadelphia.

I met Nedereh on the online dating platform, Clover. It’s like Tinder but I think the woman has to speak to the man first. (Or maybe that’s Bumble) She lives in Jersey City which is up near Manhattan, so she’s really far away. Normally long distance just doesn’t work. But she is going to be in town to meet with her brother. I was at Square 1682 and ran into my buddy, Church. (See: Church – 2012 to Present – Seizure Salad) His phone was dead and he needed to use my charger. I always carry a charger in my blazer. He senses that I seem a bit on edge and asks what’s going on. I tell him I’m meeting some chick I met on Clover for a drink. It was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving which is a huge drinking night. Everybody gets together with family and friends and goes out to party. I didn’t plan on staying out late, I almost never do anyway. I’m getting too old for that shit. Besides nothing good ever happens after midnight when there has been a lot of booze involved.

Nedereh texts me that she is parking. Church asks me if I want him to leave. I told him to hang in case I hated her. Besides, she was only staying for about an hour or so and then going to her brother’s house.

Nedereh arrives and she looks good. Early fifties, but great skin so she looks younger. Pretty face and a fit body. I’m drinking my usual chardonnay with ice and she orders a glass of red. I introduce her to Church. We’re at the bar and she’s sitting between us. We start chatting to learn more about each other. She’s originally from Iran. Her family came here to the US twenty years ago. She said her husband is an asshole and they have been divorced since 2002. She has one son who lives in California and works in IT in Silicon Valley. Match.com and Clover haven’t yielded any good matches for her yet.

She works in Manhattan, selling insurance through brokers. She lives in a high-rise  apartment building in one of the better neighborhoods of Jersey City. A coincidence is that her birthday is 8/6/63. I’m 8/9/62. Both Leos and although a year apart, very close in birthdays. Who knows? Maybe we could share our birthdays with one celebration next summer if this works out.

She asked about the distance factor. I knew that would come up and be a problem. I like her. She’s pretty and sexy and I think we could be a match. But Jersey City? Come on. I lived there. She might as well be on another planet. I thought helicopter and told her that, but she had a better idea.

Nedereh  thought we should drive toward each other and meet in the middle. That’s a great idea actually. It would keep her away from my Philly lifestyle and my longing to be alone, but I could occasionally visit with her in some foreign town and explore, and go on a date. Could be sexy and fun.

I don’t know. Seems like a stretch. The holidays can be such a bitch.

I think the best part of the encounter was Church. He ignored us most of the time, which was respectful. He played with his phone and ran his business. But he would chime in and occasionally and be the best wing man ever. Nedereh asked me about my music career and Church started whipping out pics of me back in the day with my band. Nedereh liked the pics of the young, skinny, me but said I looked great now. I liked that. He showered her a pic of me last year holding my axe and she liked that too. Church was there making me look totally metal and I realize that he is an amazing wingman.  I don’t require a wingman, but he was perfect. I won’t forget him for that.

Church was funny and lively and I really appreciated having him there.

In some of my Tinder pics I have a beard. I shared some pics with Nedereh and she asked me about my beard. (Middle Eastern chicks like beards) I told her it now comes in completely white. She didnt’ seem to mind and liked the beard just like Michelle did. Michelle inspired the beard. She always thought I looked good with a beard and if I wasn’t clean-shaven, it would scratch her sweet face and she didn’t like that. I told Nedereh if she became my girlfriend I would grow my beard back. She loved that and laughed.

It was a wonderful hour and I’d love to see this Persian beauty again. She was fiery and fun. I love when there is good energy with people around the holidays. It makes it so much more intense and romantic. Everyone is in the spirit.

She had to go and I walked her to her car. She was driving a Mercedes 2 series. Which is little but I don’t care about material things. I’m sure she is proud of her little coupe. She said she may come back into the citylater to party with her sister-in-law. I told her I was down but I didn’t really want to do it. I was done. I hooked her, gaffed her and brought her aboard and was done.

I actually hoped I didn’t have to go out again. I spent my energy on meeting her and being in character and that took a lot. Church was awesome and he was waiting for a friend of his to show up to meet up for a drink.

I kissed Nederah and I told her I wanted to see her again. She is a solid lady and I would love to spend time with her. But the distance thing will probably sledgehammer any of that and I have to realize that. Fucking Clover. Too much distance. I am not ruling her out because she has great energy and we definitely had chemistry.  We’ll just have to see where this takes us.

I  texted her later and I told her I was tired and had family commitments, and wouldn’t be able to come back out later, (a bold-faced lie) and she agreed she was going to stay put as well.

Church said the best line of the night: “What nationality is she?”

Me:”Iranian.”

Church: “Maybe she’ll take you hostage.”

Me: “I hope so.”

 

I have spoken to her since that night and we both agree we like each other and would like to see each other again. It’s just the distance factor.

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 9am EST.

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Duncan – Blind Ambition And The Sin of Avarice

I have known Duncan for a long time. Nearly 20 years. He is originally from Northeast Philly like myself. I met him back when I was in retail banking. I was selling mutual funds at a branch in South Philly. He was my underwriter. So I would procure the clients, and sell to them, and Duncan would put together the hypotheticals and make recommendations. So he was my back office support person assigned to me. He had followed a girlfriend to Charlotte, North Carolina a few years before. Our headquarters were there.

We became friends shortly after he saw that I had written, “The Green Manalishi with the Two Pronged Crown”, on the auto reply on my internal email. It’s a Judas Priest reference and he got it. We started talking and got to know each other and our mutual of all things heavy metal.

He had family in Pennsylvania and would come up and visit occasionally.

Over the years he would come and stay at my house and we would plan his visits around heavy metal concerts. We’ve seen AC/DC, Motorhead, Ronnie James Dio, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Cinderella, Iron Maiden, and many other bands on several occasions.

When I got divorced he dumped his girlfriend who had gotten heavier and lazy. I bounced around the banking industry for a few years, and dated a few women. Some crazy, some not so crazy. I don’t remember if he dated much after he split with his girlfriend. Here’s the thing, Duncan is a good-looking, fit guy, but he has absolutely no game whatsoever. He works out, but doesn’t eat all that well. The boy needs more fruit and vegetables.

He always had around five dogs. They were his buddies. He lived on a remote road and had a big yard for the dogs to run around in. Always the dogs. So while I’m working in and out of banking and consulting, Duncan is taking all of these courses to become a CFA. (Certified Financial Analyst) He meets a woman in one of the courses he takes at night and they get to know each other. I think she was married before or in the process of getting a divorce.

So they hook up because they are both sporty and good looking. They eventually get married.

One thing about Ducan that is his biggest flaw is that he has no coping mechanisms in place. He has to control everything, and everything has to be about him and meeting his needs. Kind of like my dad. So after two days with the guy you’re ready to escort him off the property. You have to do the activities he wants to do, and eat the food he likes to eat. That shit doesn’t work long-term with any relationship. But he only visited a couple of times a year so I didn’t mind. We had good times for years.

Duncan was driven to be what he wanted to become and put off family until he felt he had reached a certain level in his career. “When I pass this test, or when I get that license, we’ll try to have kids.” Well, he put it off for too long and the window was closing on his wife’s ability to reproduce. They tried for a while but nothing was happening.  She finally did get pregnant but at some point lost it. It was painful physically and emotionally for her. She didn’t want to go through it again, and that was it.

Duncan’s wife came from money and had no real concept of it. I remember him telling me she had over one hundred thousand dollars in revolving debt. She kept promising to pay it down, but I don’t think she ever did. He only found out about it when they were doing a refinance on the house and she couldn’t be on the loan because she was so upside down with her credit card debt. Duncan always kept all of their finances separate. She liked to blow money on frivolous things, and Duncan was always frugal.

With any hope of gestation off the table, she started going out on the weekends with her soccer buddies. Many of them were younger and she would stay out late and party at the bars and clubs. Duncan used to smoke a bunch of weed when he was cool, but was never really a drinker. He doesn’t go out anywhere. He’s not social at all. He doesn’t really have any friends. I think I was his best friend for many, many years.

He did cut me off for about two years once when I first returned to Philly from New York. I don’t remember why. Some trivial shit. But out of nowhere he started texting me again. When I asked him why he cut me off, he literally said he had no recollection of doing it. I remember exactly where I was when he cut me off. Saying, “we had a good run, but it’s over.” But I was just happy we were back. Even if he lived fifteen hundred miles away.

Duncan is telling me he’s getting fed up with his wife going out all of the time. But she probably was bored with him by then. I know if I were a woman I wouldn’t stick around. He’s got to be 48 years old by now and he still acts the same way he did back in his late twenties when I first met him. He hasn’t evolved as a man at all. Still the same guy. But he gave up weed years ago.

So after about a year of her going out he finally says he’s going to divorce her. They were married for eight years. He worked his ass off for the bank. They own him. Scooter is married to his ambition. He spends so much time working that he has amassed a small fortune. But of course his loser family all have their hands in his pockets. He had to go on their mortgage or they would lose their house and have to go bankrupt because of their reckless spending.

They split up. He’s on his own with his house full of dogs again. He tries to date some woman at his office and she’s not interested. He has to go to therapy for his divorce. Not because he’s sad that it ended but because he’s so angry that he failed. He started dating some older Asian woman at his tennis club. He says he’s never getting married again. But he bought her $5000 earrings last Christmas. He makes killer bank now. They have been together for a few years now. I refer to her as Yoko because I hardly ever hear from him anymore. They’ve come up to the area twice, but the first time I really didn’t feel like hanging out with them. Then around last 4th of July, they were supposed to stay in the city but ended up staying out by his parents and I never saw him.

One of the last conversations I had with him this year was him telling me that when he sells his house in the Spring 2017, he will be worth a million dollars. Maybe then he’ll finally be happy.

But I doubt it.

UPDATE: Duncan text me over the holidays that he was on the train with his girlfriend on their way to Warminster to see his family. He sent me a photo of a 1.75 bottle of Grey Goose being held by her in a liquor store. He said it was for me. No warning. No planning. Just has a bottle for me and am I available in the city tonight. I already had really important plans with a lady, and I wasn’t going to be around. I told him I’d be available Saturday night and Sunday. I got a text later from him saying he was on South Street, and where could he take his girlfriend for dinner. I told him Serpico or Ella. I never got a thank you or another word from him. He said later that maybe on Sunday he could see me because he was visiting his cousins. At this point, I wished he just left the bottle on my front steps and left. Because it’s all about “Mr. I have no coping skills.” So I think I’m done. (Still love him though) Too much has gone by and he’s so locked into his old Asian granny of a girlfriend that I won’t hear from him for a long time. I liked him better when he was a pot smoking clerk. At least he was fun back then.

Bitter?

Yeah. Table for one.

(But… Stay tuned. There is more to come in the future and will be glorious.)

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 9am EST.

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Sun Stories – Corn Chips and String

Another day at the office…

I was working at the salon on a Sunday. Some times the weekends are when that odd things occur. It’s a courtesy day, and we’re only open from 11 to 4pm. I never know who is going to walk through our doors.

On this particular Sunday, a really beautiful, sexy brazilian woman walks in. She doesn’t even look like she needs to go tanning. Her skin is a rich caramel color. She has never been to the salon before. She completes the client consent form, and I put her in the system. I ask her what she’s trying to accomplish. Is she going to an event, or on vacation, or maybe just maintain her current color?

She tells me she wants to just get a bit darker, and only wants to buy one session because she has to fly to Boston tomorrow. I’m trying to figure what her deal is. She could be a model, or a stripper or a porn star on tour, or maybe she’s a high-class call girl. She could be none of those things, but it’s Sunday and my mind wanders to keep it interesting.

I ask her if she wants to do a stand up tanning unit or the lay down bed. She asks what is the strongest. For the best overall tan I recommend the stand up model. It surrounds you with fifty-two bulbs at two hundred and thirty watts of power. She accepts, and I swipe her credit card for seventeen dollars for the nine minute session. That’s the maximum time you can spend in that unit.

She goes into the room. There’s a five-minute prep time on the room for the client to prepare to tan. Undress, apply lotion, etc. When the five minutes expire, the unit automatically lights. I tell people who if they are ready sooner, they can simply step inside and press the start button.

Once she’s in the room, I set the timer and go about my business. It’s quiet this Sunday and not many people have come in. I frequently walk around the salon just to make sure there isn’t any detritus on the floor, or anything else is amiss.

I’m walking back from the beds in the back hallway and the brazilian babe sticks her head out the door of the room. It’s just off to the left of the front counter. The session must be finished. “How’d you make out?” I ask as I carefully approach. “I feel like I get nothing.” she says.

“Well, I put you in for the max time.”

She proceeds to open the door fully and she is wearing the equivalent of what appears to be three Doritos chips connected by a few pieces of twine. She’s lovely. The latina gives me a wry smile. I try to avert my eyes, but she places her hand on her hip, and repeats, “I feel like I get nothing. Can I go again?”

“I can’t really do that, Miss. Nine minutes is the max time we should send anyone in that unit.”

“But I get nothing.” Her green eyes glance about the salon. It’s empty. She proceeds to pull down the top two triangles of her tiny bikini revealing her ample, sunburst breasts to me. “See? Nothing.”

In my mind I’m thinking, “What would Achilles do? What would Achilles do??  What would Achilles do?!!”

“Um…do you have cash?” I chirp.

She turns away, her raven locks swirl as she reaches for a twenty-dollar bill on the table in the room. Her breasts swing as she turns.  There is no corn chip sized piece of fabric in the back, just a bit of string. She’s basically naked in front of me. She takes a step forward still exposed, and hands me the bill. I try to hold my gaze on her emerald eyes, but it’s a struggle.

“Okay so you do me again?” she purrs, giving me a sly smile.

“Y,yes… I’ll reset the unit to do you again…”

I go to the register and ring in another stand up session. I pull out the three dollars change from the twenty, and set it on the counter to give her when she comes out. I write a note in the system to have Achilles ask me about the Brazilian lady.

Her session ends. I hear the door open again. I slowly turn to the left. “You see? Much better this time!”

She’s completely naked. She looks the same color to me. But I now see her waxed vulva instead of the dorito sized piece of fabric that was once wedged neatly into the moist junction between her caramel thighs.

Giggling she slams the door.

A few minutes later she emerges from the room. Thankfully, this time fully clothed. (Thankfully? Who am I kidding?) She struts past the counter, grinning. “Thank you so much!”

“You’re welcome. Oh, miss! Your change?” I hold out the three singles.

“You nice man. You keep tip.” And she was gone.

I feel like I should have been the one doing the tipping…

 

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