Thursday, September 22, 2011

Italians, Ambulances and Washing Machines

Women, beware:  if you marry an Italian and then buy a home with said Italian, you'll likely one day follow him by car as he travels in an ambulance to the hospital after so severely injuring his back from attempting to move a washing machine while installing a wood-laminated floor for fourteen hours in the apartment attached to the house, leaving him supine next to the kitchen table, unable to move, thus subsequently requiring bi-weekly physical therapy and daily mega-doses of Hydrocodone.

Entirely true story...except, I left out the part where this all occurred in front of a prospective renter from South Africa.  He was looking for an apartment while participating in a program aimed at bringing pharmacists to America.  He didn't run and actually rented from us for the entire summer. He was totally desperate.  I decided to build a deck.

We're just f***ing stubborn.

I'm convinced I have hearing loss but refuse to see a doctor.   I have trouble sleeping but balk at sleep medication.   I boycott Smithsonian Magazine because the picture I submitted to their national photography contest was better than those they selected as winners.  I stopped frequenting the Hulls Cove General Store when they insisted Joyce no longer bake her cookies, transferring her to a different gas station entirely.  I've been painting the house for three years because I don't want to pay someone to do what I can obviously do myself.

It's a militant determination that my Yid can't tame.  My Jewish pessimistic realism normally can calm the most grandiose of ideas, just not when my inner Mediterranean bull digs in.  Italian Adam forges ahead, injuring himself; Jewish Adam feels sorry for it.

"Hire somebody!" says Jewish Adam.

"I can re-roof the house by nightfall," says Italian Adam.


My wife just instructed me to recant my portrayal of Jewish Adam.  According to her, Jewish Adam wouldn't say, "Hire somebody!"  Rather, he would say "We don't have the money, right now! We'll have to do it next year," or "We don't have the money, right now! Go ahead, Italian Adam! Do it!" Either way, it apparently doesn't get done because inevitably, Jewish Adam doesn't find the money or Italian Adam injures himself and Jewish Adam can no longer find work to earn the money.


When I was three, I determined the best way to break a stick that clearly needed breaking was to hold it at either end and push on it against a tree whose bark decided my face needed work.   One gashed bottom lip and seven stitches later, I lied to my mother and told her I fell down the slide I wasn't allowed on.  This wasn't simple toddler impulsivity; this was all Italian bull-headedness and I haven't outgrown it.  Do you see how deeply ingrained in the Italian psyche this condition really is?   It starts young.  It's in our DNA.

My grandfather died in his fifties.  That's way too young.  My grandmother lived to eighty-seven but it appears as though the men don't quite have that kind of staying power.  I better calm down.  This is no way to go out.

So, ladies, heed my words: unless you, yourself, are an Italian, the kind that will throw a dish at your spouse's head when he comes home late after eating a globe-sized ball of wasabi on a dare (true story but not me - that guy was Irish), please, stay away from the Guineas.


  1. My attitude to any DIY task is always "I'll have a go and if I fuck it up I'll get someone in to fix it".
    Then when the job is bodged "That'll do". Of course it's not bodged in my eyes, that's what other people say when I show them my latest triumph.
    Just wondering if my being part irish and part jewish has anything to do with that now.

  2. Wait... Irish and Jewish. I thought I had it bad. Hats off to you.