Mr. Grooism

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July 28, 2004 - 1:50 a.m.

Grooism #19: A Goodfellas Grooism

Or… Don’t Talk To Strangers!

Isn’t it funny how these stories always seem to somehow involve Godzilla? What, they don’t? Ok, never mind.

Anyway, back in May I went to Manhattan’s Film Forum with my buddies Oscar and Mike to see the one, the only 1954 Godzilla on the big screen, the original uncut version in Japanese with English subtitles. Yaaaay!!!

It is without a doubt a far superior film to the hacked up Americanized version where Raymond Burr talks to the backs of actors dressed sort of like the characters in the original, minus any real sense of tragedy or drama. The original is a moving allegory of nuclear annihilation, played against a compelling human subplot that the American version largely ignores. The American version is fun but dopey.

Speaking of dopey, I bought a cute little plush Godzilla. Awwww. A splendid time was had, but that’s not what we’re here to talk about, are we?

We three had a few drinks and then headed for home. Although my neighborhood isn’t the roughest, neither is it the safest neighborhood around. My buddy Mike lives about 30 blocks away and takes the same bus, but decided to get off at my stop with me, chat and have a cigar on the long walk home. I tried to talk him out of it, but he was In The Mood For A Good Walk, a mood I know all too well.

So I pulled out a stogie of my own (a rare treat I indulge in usually around special occasions. I’m good at making up occasions, though) and decided to walk him halfway home. At the halfway point we’d then each go our separate ways. Simple, no?

The halfway point merges quite nicely with the point of this Grooism. Mike and I were saying our goodbyes when a drunk staggered up to us and asked for a light. Now, I always make a habit of avoiding strangers late at night, it make’s Good City Sense, but we got caught flatfooted while deep in conversation.

Best not to antagonize the bum, so we gave him a light. He then planted himself firmly in the middle of our conversation, and like a weed strangling tulips thoroughly killed our pleasant chat.

He started in ranting like this:

DrunkFella:Hey, you guys look like fun guys, come party with me, we’ll have a blast!

Us:No, hey, getting late, gotta get up in the morning…

DrunkFella:Naaa man, we’ll go into the city, I’m paying. We’ll get a hotel room and some broads and party, man!

Us:Geee, yeah, well we gotta go, just came from the city ourselves and are pretty exhausted…

DrunkFella:Do you have money, like, a lot of money? ‘Cause I do!

Us:Money? No, we’re broke…

DrunkFella:I’m in The Mafia, man, and I’m rich! I got about $2 million dollars! Come party with me, I’ll pay for everything, come on…

Us:Look, we’re going to bed, we’re tired, thanks, but…

DrunkFella:Yo, I said I’m paying! I’m in The Mafia. Look, look. Look at this!

With this DrunkFella pulls out a wad of bills you’d have to see to believe. He waved it around carelessly and a bill peeled off in the breeze, trying to escape the madness. Instinctively I darted after it and chased it down.

It was a hundred dollar bill.

The guy had a good 50 Benjamins in that wad. Suddenly we started to pay very close attention, as he morphed instantly from annoying kook to dangerous lunatic. Mike and I exchanged wordless glances that pretty much said “We can’t afford to make DrunkFella angry, though he’s probably not really in The Mafia, he no doubt has done some Very Bad Things to earn that bankroll he’s recklessly waving around!”

DrunkFella:Hey, I said I’m paying, so you guys are coming with me, we’re gonna have us some fun! People don’t say no to me! Let’s get a cab!

Us:Listen, that’s very generous of you, but we both have to work early…

DrunkFella:@%*$! work, I got money! You want money? I’ll pay you! We’re gonna have a good time, get us some broads…

Mike and I shifted into somewhat defensive stances, and tried sizing him up to determine if he was packing…

Us:Sounds like a blast, we’d love to go if it was any other night, but we’re exhausted…

DrunkFella:Hey, I’m in The Mafia, no one disrespects me, when I say we go, we go…

Larry:That’s cool, we’re not disrespecting you, we’re just too exhausted. Mike’s fiancée is waiting for him, I’ve gotta get some sleep…

DrunkFella:Come on, we’re going…

I figured by now that we may have to literally make a break for it. It’s never a good idea to split up in this situation, but I figured if one of us wanted to try to surprise him, it wouldn’t be a good idea for the other of us to be equally surprised. So I said…

Larry:Mike, why don’t you split, your fiancée is probably getting worried, and I’ll talk to you tomorrow. Go on, get out of here. He’s already in trouble for staying out so late…”

Mike wisely took the out and started walking away. DrunkFella harassed him as he left.

DrunkFella:You pussy, you should come out with us, blah blah blah…

Larry:I’ve gotta split too, I worked all day and already partied all night (yeah, like two beers is partying…), I just want to get into my warm bed…

DrunkFella:I told you don’t disrespect me. We’re gonna have some fun, we’re going into the city. I’m in The Mafia, man. You know what I do to people who disrespect me?

Cliché as it sounds, he ran his finger across his throat. Yup, he just threatened to kill me if I don’t party with him!

Larry:Hey, I think you’re a great guy, it’s good of you to offer to let me party with you, any other night I’d be sooo there! But I will be No Fun, because I’m so exhausted I’d probably fall asleep on you. You wouldn’t have any fun! Trust me, you’ll have more fun finding some guys who are all juiced and ready to party, not someone boring like me…

Thankfully, my phone rang. It was Mike.

Mike:Larry, are you out of there yet?

Larry:Hi honey, I’m just saying goodbye to a friend of mine and then I’m heading right home, I promise. I’ll be there soon! Bye! I LOVE YOU!

Now, I’m hopelessly single, but DrunkFella doesn’t need to know that! Before he had a chance to respond I shook his hand and finallystarted walking away! This was the grand finale, would it be The Great Escape or The Big Sleep?

Larry:Goodnight again, thanks for the offer but I’ve gotta crash before I get in trouble. Take care!

I casually turned my back on him and walked away as unhurriedly as I could.

He let me go.

I walked a few blocks and slowly made a right down the wrong street, then RAN! Halfway down the block I ducked behind a van and watched the street for a while before determining that I had not been followed. I called Mike back, filled him in and went home.

What do we learn from this, Larry?

Like mamma always said, Don’t Talk To Strangers!!!

P.S. If DrunkFella really was in The Mafia something tells me he wouldn’t have to try and buy friends off the street! Loser! Still, the wad of money and attitude convinced me he was truly dangerous and needed to be handled with care!

P.P.S. During this entire encounter I was clutching my little plush Godzilla. I can just imagine getting shot in the back by the jilted DrunkFella, and the headlines saying Dead Man Found Hugging Stuffed Godzilla

Mice 3, Larry 0

Harrumph! The glue board by the stove got me again!!!

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