Two of my favorite people are Kopal and Malcolm, our neighbors.
They’re both smart, funny, perceptive people; excellent parents, warm, loving, engaged … on and on and on.
Yesterday afternoon I was at their house, and I told Malcolm I’d bring his kids over to bounce with my son on the trampoline.
“OK,”Malcolm said, “listen to Mr. Pearlman …”
My dad is Mr. Pearlman (his name is actually Stan). His dad was Mr. Pearlman (his name was actually Nat).
I am not Mr. Pearlman. I’m Jeff. Jeffrey, if you must. Guy. Dude. Hey. Hey, you. Even dickhead, motherfucker, asshole, asswipe, cocksucker—anything, dear God, but sir. Anything.
I actually discussed this last night with Kopal who, again, I can’t say enough good things about. She comes from a home where children referred to adults by “Mr.” and “Mrs.” and believes (strongly) that youngsters should offer such respect to their elders. I can’t argue this point. In fact, my folks raised me in a similar fashion. Why, I remember one girl—her name was Jen Gelber—who always called my parents by their first names … and it infuriated me. How dare she speak in such a manner? Where’s the decency?
Now that I’m an old wad of crap, however, I feel differently. I don’t want to be reminded of my adulthood. I feel aged enough as it is, creaky back, peeing three times per night, gaining weight with every late-evening snack. I prefer not to have children reinforce the fact that they have decades of glory to look forward to, while I have “Silver Spoons” re-runs and strained peas in the Florence Smith Home for the Aged.
Mr. Pearlman? Hell no.
Call me Jeff.
(“King” would be OK, too)