1962

capturei saw it first as a child in miami beach, where my parents had taken us on vacation to visit our grandparents at the vast and luxurious Gordon Hotel.

out on the sand and in the lobby, tables of ancient oldsters flaunted wizened flesh, glossy with suntan oil, liver spots falling out of paisley swimming suits.  it was wild.

but the women were doing all the talking. the men were silent, hidden under sunhats, sleeping or worse, while their wives and sisters gamboled on.

‘say, dad,’ i asked. ‘what’s wrong with the guys down here?  have you noticed they’re all like half dead?’

‘they do look pretty tired out,’ he said.

‘and their wives don’t even seem to notice,’ i said.

‘well, they’re probably pretty tired, too.’

‘they don’t seem nearly as tired as the men,’ i said. ‘it’s like they’re all at the table playing canasta with a corpse sitting there.  it’s kinda ghoulish.’ (note: i may be paraphrasing here.)

‘now paul, that’s not necessary.’

‘but maybe if they took a moment to ask the guy they’ve lived with for eighty years if he’d like a cup of coffee or something, he might actually, you know, turn over and mumble something.’

‘men and women age differently,’ said my father.

‘yeah, i guess,’ i said.  ‘but if they keep getting ignored like this i’m worried all these old jewish guys are gonna rise up one day and vote for donald trump.’

‘don’t be ridiculous,’ he said.

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