Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Man Handler

So tomorrow, with forecasters calling for rain and heavy winds, many untrained volunteers will help wrangle flopping towers of polyurethane through Midtown guided only by instruction sheets reminiscent of airline safety cards.
-The New York Times

When I heard a balloon handler interviewed on the radio this morning, I had to pause, head not quite poked out of shirt, as I thought I was hearing myself. I had missed the part about the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade and the part about the nearly fatal Cat In The Hat balloon mishap of years past that left a New Yorker brain damaged. What I heard was somebody saying that when stirred, there's no knowing what could happen with this unwieldy, careening beast as it bullied its way down the streets of Manhattan. Essentially, the frustrated handler had gotten no training whatsoever for how to control something many thousand times larger than she and filled with something that unevenly buoys it up in the most unpredictable of circumstances. She had been given only a little card with scanty drawings and she was basically giving up on the spot, live.
She is almost me, but I never got any little instruction card and instead of the Cat in The Hat, I get Dan (who shares the body type but does not ever wear red and white together.)

My husband is a force. I don't know what makes him go exactly, but while some would try to medicate it, others would harness it if they could. Maybe the best and worst thing about Dan is that he gets ideas and then actually carries them out. Dan:
  • Quit high school to work.
  • Decided that he didn't like his boss at Lagoon and walked away from the Ferris wheel he was charged with, mid-ride.
  • Borrowed money to fix and flip decrepit houses, amassing many properties before he was 26.
  • Went completely planless to England and filled a shipping container with antiques he had culled during one week.
  • Auctioned off the antiques and broke even.
  • Bought more and better French antiques with every last inch of our credit.
  • Lost all of the antiques when the container was punctured mid-voyage.
  • Lost all of his properties.
  • Had our cars repo'ed by a high school friend-cum-repoman.
  • Lost our primary residence.
  • Started a crazy Internet business.
  • Almost lost his wife.
  • Watched his Internet business take off.
  • Got new cars.
  • Went completely planless to Transylvania and filled a shipping container with antiques he had culled during one week.
  • decidedly did not break even on the antiques.
  • Bought film equipment and went to Austria and soon, the Philippines, to make a documentary.
  • Bought a car off of eBay.
  • Moved to NYC with the insane wife and kids.
  • Is building a robot that will do something which the wife can't exactly wrap her mind around.
  • Walks Manhattan while conducting business all day on a cell and knows the City like it's his own.
  • Is doing something wacky with the Internet that promises World domination soon.
  • Bought up lots of land on a trip to Costa Rica and is building his hideaway (take that literally, or no.)

So last night a weighty package arrived at our door and within was something I was completely ill-prepared for; a cook book that Dan had ordered. For himself.
Does that sound nice? Yes, I too was suspicious. The last time this person cooked (as in combining ingredients, not the heating up of prepared comestibles) was when we were living together, pre-married, in creaking poverty. We were earning a combined 400.00 per month by waiting tables and working in a print shop, so there we were in thrift store clothes, not completely for the grunge of it. We were two kids, alone in a slum, cooking potatoes on a found hibachi. Dan got hold of some variety of things one special evening and combined them to create what I think of now as Edible Bruise or perhaps, Hopeful Destitution. That was his cooking, and in the cabbage and ketchup, we found love swirling around like oil. It wasn't that bad.

Do you believe he will cook now? The world-dominating documentarian entrepreneurial spaz. Cooking. Well here's the part in the equation that makes sense: this cook book is from elBulli, a restaurant in Spain that some consider THE best restaurant in the world with its array of twinkling Michelin stars. The hulking book comes with software, which becomes understandable when you read descriptions by foodies frothing on about, "an impossibly light, dusty popcorn piece served on a spoon, which disintegrated and then disappeared on the tongue; sheer glass panes of sweet nori seaweed; tiny puffed quinoa grains in a cornet; and a parmesan and lemon crunchy asteroid ball." Well, we'll see.

I'm also to believe that the chef has included recipes including cough drops and other common things found in one's purse or desk. This is the part that grabbed Dan. If he's going to cook, he better be doing some serious alchemy. He's been an alchemist for so long now, creating gold from balls of dung. I asked him if there would be rubber-band tortes for Thanksgiving then, maybe roasted band-aid fricasee? He says there just may be some complicated but tasty foams.

At 250.00 for the book, well those foams better be transforming.

Happy Thanksgiving


Anonymous fatty said...

one item you left off your list of the husband's attributes/accomplishments/faults: he has been flayed publicly in your work often enough that he has earned the right to commit one (and only one) felony to set the karmic seesaw aright.

4:38 PM  
Blogger newbrooklyner said...

I've considered those works to be tributes, toasts, if you will.

But we'll keep the cinderblock hideaway in Costa Rica if the Karmic seesaw doesn't see it my way.

5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dan is a handsome, witty, and well-dressed man, with excellent taste in food, cars, and clothes.

5:40 PM  
Anonymous Rocky said...

If Dan decides to be an alchemist...well, then he will be an alchemist. It seems that no matter how unconventional the approach, the results are inarguable. And what a glorious, albeit bumpy, ride along the way. Lucky you.

9:17 PM  
Blogger ZinniaSoCA said...

One thing you would have to say is that your husband sure is interesting and never at a loss for something different to do!

Wishing you all the happiest Thanksgiving!

I love the drawing... it's almost frighteningly similar in style and detail to drawings at 5 by my now 6-year-old grandboy. I have an entire "puppet theater" of about 35 drawings (stuck onto popsicle sticks) of The Puppet King and his entourage, including The Happy Giver and other nice chracters, along with some dark ones with those big claws, maybe ray guns, sticks, etc. Two, however, have those big hands with clawlike appendages and I'm told they are for making rainbows. They are himself and me. I think the detail is the thing that is really indicative of something positive, which is a really creative mind, and then that all of them have hands and fingers would seem to indicate that the people in his world are empowered, a good thing.



10:54 PM  
Anonymous BIG Mike said...

I just heard on the news that the balloon handlers tried to manage the population boom again this year.

My thanksgiving is - I am thankful that we don't have street parades with amateurs in charge of deadly inflatables.

2:00 AM  
Anonymous the sister in law said...

Everyone should be so lucky to have a "Dan" in their life. Someone so spontaneous, generous, and one your teenagers lookforward to seeing at family reunions.
When I think of Dan C. I shake my head and many lost cell phones, keys lost on vacation, high dollar bets with the kids..."bet you can't hit that car with a rock"! and lots and lots of parking tickets and near fatal accidents while driving with us and talking!
And is there anyone the teens would prefer to be with and talk about life with? Nope! Has spent many hours with teen son and daughter making them feel like they were the most important person he knew. Treating them like a valued adult, considering their opinions. They also love the spending sprees he takes them on with free reign in a store!
So thanks Dan C. for your crazy, unconventional way of life and sharing with our family! We think you are great!
Your family in colorado

10:57 AM  
Anonymous KeepYerBag said...

Note to self: Stay out of business ventures that involve shipping containers of antiques from one country to another.

9:02 AM  
Anonymous A. Toad said...

My best mate sounds a lot like Dan. Every big decision he's ever made has been a spur-of-the-moment sort of thing, and has been acted upon within a week. Sometimes, he fails colossally, but the other times are such successes that they wind up more than compensating and he comes out on top.

I'm always in awe of people like that... Whenever I do anything spur-of-the-moment, the next morning I wake up either in a bathtub full of ice, missing various internal organs, or in Tijuana.

7:51 PM  
Anonymous BIG Mike said...

toad - At least you know you've lived.

2:52 AM  

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