Discover more from The World of Tosh Berman
Tuesday, December 28, 2021
“It’s not what you are; it’s what you don’t become that hurts.” I was simply born, so that is good. From that foundation, I tried to build myself up. On the other hand, “underneath this flabby exterior is an enormous lack of character.” I lost the promise that I had due to my laziness and being so indifferent to my suffering. I often felt like I was watching myself on the big screen that just got smaller and smaller. When my wife and I split up, I moved to sunny California, and somehow I brought nothing but drought and an unfortunate cloud over my head that seemed to rain, but nowhere else. My friend Harpo and his wife invited me over to dinner, and since then, I haven’t left the dinner table. The great thing about the house (besides my hosts and the daily grub) is that they have a magnificent Steinway piano. Harpo doesn’t play piano, and I never could understand why people have a giant piano in their living room. I guess it’s a room decoration of some sort or just a prop to show one has some form of culture or another. As for me, I’m a damn good piano player.
I have another friend, Glenn, a fellow traveler in the pill world. We share our stash and talk about music for the whole night. One of the reasons my wife threw me out of the house was the long-night pill-fueled talk sessions I had with Glenn. We often sat at the piano, when I had the piano, my wife has it now - anyway, he would sit at my left and handle the left side of the keyboard, and I’ll do the rest. The funny thing is he would play Bach, while I played Gershwin simultaneously and place. This would drive my wife batty, and I think that incident was the one that broke the camel’s (or my wife’s) back.
Since then, she married the owner of the Lowe’s Theater movie chain in New York City. I miss her greatly. I’m perfectly happy at Harpo’s pad, but I miss my old piano and my gal. It seemed she married him right away after our divorce, which I thought was not that respectful. And now, both are using my piano as a furniture piece in my once lovely living room. On a lonely night, I called her and happened to wake her up and her husband. She started to yell at me, and I was trying to get a word in, but she just kept the verbal abuse. Finally, during a moment of silence, I just asked her if I can just ask one critical question, just one important question. She said to go ahead. “What movie are they showing at Loews on 3rd Avenue?” The silence afterward was deafening, especially when she hung up the phone. I don’t know. “I’m controversial. My friends either dislike me or hate me.”
“Once I make up my mind, I’m full of indecision.” Therefore, I’m quite comfortable on Harpo’s living room couch. I made a fort of some sort, where I put the string up one wall to another and added a big bed sheet to cover the space up. I felt like a kid who had a secret fort, but the odd thing was the fact that it was placed in my friend’s living room. The truth is, I could spend my whole life there, but eventually I noticed that dinner time didn’t happen all the time. I made sure I had reservations, but it seemed Harpo, and especially his wife, seemed to ignore my dinner appointments at the dining table. Slowly, and very clearly, I was getting a message that perhaps I should move on. Harpo once told me to my face that “Every time I look at you I get a fierce desire to be lonesome.” How awkward is that?
I just can’t help myself. “I was once thrown out of a mental hospital for depressing the other patients.” Over time, and I have to be honest here, a ‘short’ period of time, I alienated all my friends. My checkbook looked like Swiss cheese eaten by a hungry mouse, and I would just play on Harpo’s piano, endless songs by Gershwin. My depression had no bounds, and clearly, I was sinking in quicksand, but of my own making. “What the world needs is more geniuses with humility, there are so few us left.” So I sit by the piano to make some sense of my broken being and try to remember that “happiness isn’t something you experience; it’s something you remember. ”