Cheap Old Fart

Dick Shawn is dead. He collapsed on stage in front of a packed house during the middle of a performance. Dick’s son called to tell me and at first I thought he was joking. I had always assumed that Dick would live well into his nineties because I have always believed that mean people live the longest. But when he told me he wasn’t kidding I told him how sorry I was for acting as if he was, and then I told how him sorry I was that his dad was dead. I told him to keep me in the loop about the funeral. Because I wanted to pay my respects. Dick may have not been the nicest man, but he was my boss, and he signed my checks, which never bounced. Just for that alone I think it was incumbent upon me to throw on my one black suit, show up at Hillside Cemetery, and slap a yarmulke on my noggin. When I told my wife that Dick Shawn was dead she laughed and said it was Karma. My son, who was just a toddler when I worked for Dick laughed as well, and then said, Bye-bye, you cheap old fart. That’s what I used to call Dick behind his back. The cheap old fart. My son heard me say it so many times that when I finally introduced Dick to my son my son looked up at Dick and said, Hello, you cheap old fart. I tried to cover my son’s mouth with my hand, but the words escaped anyway. Lucky for me that Dick wasn’t paying attention to my son, as he was too busy checking out the feet on a receptionist who was walking down the hall of CBS studios. My son called Dick a cheap old fart and Dick looked at my son and smiled. Then he looked at me and said, Did you check out the feet on that Oriental chick? I told him that I hadn’t. Dick said they were the sexiest feet he had ever seen. He said the woman wasn’t much to look at except her feet, but that her feet were so sexy that someone needed to tell her that she should get work as a foot model. I said that maybe she already was a foot model, maybe that’s what she did to supplement her income as a receptionist, but Dick wasn’t paying attention to me either. He said, You know I’ve been all over the world, and the only thing I’ve learned is that Oriental chicks have the nicest feet. He said, And you know what that means? When a chick has nice feet? I’ll tell you what it means. Then he pointed at his crotch and made an inverted triangle shape with his hands. He pinched his thumb and forefinger together until they met. He repeated this motion three or four times. I had no idea what he was doing or what it meant but I laughed anyway. That’s what you did when Dick did something like that. You just laughed and hoped it would satiate him enough so that he would move on to the next person. And there was always another person for him to perform in front of. I was surprised how many people showed up to his funeral, because any time I ran into someone who knew Dick they would never have anything nice to say. But those were the very people who were at the funeral. Dick’s son gave the eulogy, which was sort of touching and kind of funny, and he maintained his composure throughout, which I thought was pretty impressive, because I know that if had to speak at my dad’s funeral I wouldn’t be able to keep it together. There’s something about having to speak in front of a crowd that makes me cry. And it’s not nerves. Because I’m not nervous. I’m just sad. And I don’t know why. Looking at all those faces makes me emotional. But Dick’s son didn’t cry while giving the eulogy. He did cry at the reception afterwards, however. I saw him standing at the table where they kept all the bread and cold cuts. He was holding a sandwich and crying. I went over and put my arm around him. I told him that there was nothing I could say that would make him feel better. I told him that we were all really sorry that Dick was dead. Dick’s son looked at me and said, I’m not crying because my dad’s dead. He held up his half eaten sandwich and said, I’m crying because this isn’t even real turkey. He said, It’s processed.


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