The house phone rang last night. That can only mean one of two things: one) a pestering telemarketer or pollster is ignoring the myriad DO NOT CALL lists I am on, or two) Uncle Slappy has something on his mind.
I almost didn't pick up. I feared that Uncle Slappy would go on about the Knicks, New York's over-paid, over-arrogant and under-achieving 6-15 basketball team. Like me, Uncle Slappy has been a Knicks' fan since the glory days of Clyde, Willis, Earl, Bill Bradley, DeBuscherre and Jerry Lucas. Unlike me, Uncle Slappy still follows the Knicks. I have forsaken them just as completely as they have forsaken the concept of intelligent basketball.
But, finally, just before the answering machine kicked in, I picked up the horn. When your 86-year-old surrogate father calls, you answer. It's that simple and surely the right thing to do.
"Boychick," Uncle Slappy began, "I have figured it all out. Finally, I have figured it all out."
"The meaning of life?" I asked, "Or something important, like where to find a good everything bagel in Boca."
"After 55 years seeing a therapist," Uncle Slappy said, "I have condensed all wisdom down to a single sentence."
Uncle Slappy is a wise man, a learned man, a teacher and a Rabbi. Strangely for him, he did not seem to be joking.
"Well," I said gingerly, "lay it on me."
"Here's what I've learned: We have good days and bad days."
"That's it?" I asked "We have good days and bad days?"
"That's it," he said hanging up the phone, leaving me to ponder.