Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday in the park with George.

For about the last three decades I have had a Thursday routine. (Occasionally Thursday happens on Friday, as it did this week.) It starts, my routine does, with a half mile walk to my psycho therapist (two words.) And ends with a walk across the park, another half mile to the subway. I do not listen to music during these walks, or walk as so many do so frequently with my nose to the screen of my iPhone. No, I walk and wonder and wander. It's, in all, about a two-hour escape from everything that is around me. A restorative niche. Something I need.

Today, as I walked across the park I saw a talk lanky Puerto Rican shadow boxing amid the blooming dogwoods, the forsythia and hordes of young women about to bring forth new Upper West Siders. I saw dogs cavorting and chasing. Kids of all ages on their way to school. And well-abbed runners ripping across the asphalt.

But mostly I watched, I stopped for a minute and watched the Puerto Rican jabbing at the ether. He danced nimbly and feinted the punches of his invisible opponent. When he turned around I noticed he had white block lettering on the back of his faded black t. His shirt read: Anthony "The Nightmare" Castellano.

His nickname, "The Nightmare," made me think of an agency president I worked with almost two decades ago. If I were a little more clever I would have called him  back in 1993 'Warren "The Nightmare" Dechter.'

Warren was one of the nicest guys I've ever met. He cared for his two daughters--which puts him high in my book. But as an account guy, Warren was a nightmare. I remember once he and I walked down 3rd Avenue together (this was the era when agencies could actually afford office space near their clients.) I was holding a 3/4" tape and said to Warren, "Listen when we present the spots, don't say anything about the mix. I know it's a little hot." Naturally, before the tape was even inserted in the machine Warren said "The mix is a little hot."

He could unsell ice cream in August.

The Nightmare.

1 comment:

glasgowdick said...

Love that.

I remember Hayden telling me how he'd always have to school the account folks with, "as soon as the sale is made put the shoes in the box and close the deal."

Reminded me of all the junior account people who would, seconds before leaving the room, ask, "you sure there's nothing else wrong with the rough cut?"