Drooling on the Pillow

Friday, December 02, 2005

Tip-Toe Through The Fat Cats 

You heard about that Bat Mitzva where the dad paid to have a troop of rock stars shimmy through the party at a cost of 12 bazillion ferengi. The left's angle was 'Creepy war profiteer', the right's angle was 'Hello, he makes body armor'.

Nobody that I know of commented on how retro '80s the whole thing seemed. Remember the decade of greed?

I was there.

I once was a waitron for a party some Wall Street slickster threw for his girlfriend's mother. It was on a party boat that was a converted WWII minesweeper. It was refitted and decorated with pots of money and no taste whatsoever. I'm talking flocked red wallpaper and disco balls. I'm talking lighted dance floors and bathrooms with four mirrored walls and a mirrored ceiling.

I'm talking silver souvenir coke spoons. Okay, now do you remember the '80s?

I spent the morning helping load ice sculptures and a couple hundred cases of Dom Perignon. As I passed out canapes I reflected that what the guy paid for the stinky fish eggs on one of the crackers on my tray would pay my rent for a month. As we circled Manhattan and the evening wore on, the boat's captain asked for volunteers among the wait staff who were strong swimmers to post themselves along the rail. The behavior of the guests was becoming erratic.

For entertainment we didn't have Steve Tyler or Tom Petty and I don't think 50 Cent was born yet. We had Tiny Tim.

He only performed for about a half an hour late into the evening (and, bless his heart, that was plenty) so for the rest of the day he was hiding out in the kitchen with us peons. I can tell you that was no act. A sweet, good humored, profoundly strange man.

He wanted a bite of everything we were serving, but by 'bite' he meant a smudge. No matter how many times you cut it in half it was far too much and he would shriek and clutch his heart and declare we were trying to ruin his performance. People who get the vapors can be pretty tiresome, but that boy lived in the vapors.

All of the waitresses patted and fussed and coddled him, which was pretty annoying, but I have to admit, there was something, something essentially decent and even genuine about him. I have no idea what, but something.

To the guests it was just a freak show and it went perfectly with the rest of the party, but the real freak show was watching that crowd try to get down the gang plank around midnight.

Tiny Tim, who was born as Herbert B. Khaury, died in 1996 on his way to play at the Ukulele Hall of Fame. Swear to god.
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