"I'm not a fan of Downton Abbey," Uncle Slappy said at 4:30 this morning when he decided to call me.
"Uncle Slappy," I said. "Why are you calling this early? Only farmers and milkmen are up."
He laughed at that.
There are no more farmers. And certainly no more milkmen.
But as usual, Uncle Slappy had a rejoinder.
"I knew you were up," he said. "I could feel it in my kishkas."
I had to hand it to the Old One. His kishkas were right. I was up at 4:30 this morning.
"So you were in Atlanta, and you didn't swing by?"
He made it sound like the distance from his place in Boca to Atlanta was nothing more than a mile or two.
"I was working, Uncle Slappy," I said. "I didn't have a moment to myself."
"Down to watch the Super Bowel I was hoping we could together see," he jumbled. Articulate as he is, and intelligent, sometimes some Chomsky-element of Uncle Slappy's brain slips into Yiddish sentence structure. I unravelled and answered.
"I would love to be able to watch the game with you," I answered. "But I have too much to deal with in New York."
"I'm not watching," the old man admitted. "Bunch of thyroid cases in tight pants."
"As you know, I have to watch. I have to see the commercials."
"The blight on our culture that interrupts the blight on our culture."
"That's about right," I agreed.
"The Super Bowel. Feh," he concluded. "Sylvie will have me watching Downton Abbey."
"Of which you are not a fan," I reminded.
"On the Lower East Side amid the rats, the pushcarts, the no heat and the landlords I grew up," he said. "Manor houses, butlers, footmen and inherited wealth do nothing for me.
"Now if Pupik Broadcasting did a series about my childhood, that I'd watch. I even have the perfect title."
"What's that," I asked. George Burns has nothing on me as a straight man.
With that he hung up. Leaving me staring into my iPhone.