Is That What’s Bothering You, Bunkie?

Is That What’s Bothering You, Bunkie? The LAGuide to Never Giving Up.
By Steve Deutsch
At Stevieslaw, we believe the first law of parenting is to give your child a locally recognizable name and, if at all possible, one that can be easily shortened without evoking thoughts of body parts. This was certainly true in Brooklyn in the 50’s, when what we knew of bullying was primitive. If you told your mother that “Miss so and so” and “Mr. this and that” had held your head under water for two hours at Betsyhead pool, she would tell you to, “Hit them with a brick.” Although I’m sure Aunt Edith and Uncle Arthur, of British heritage, meant well by naming their first born, Wilberforce (which you and I both know was, in the Wodehouse Jeeves novels, the middle name of Bertie Wooster) it did not play well in the streets. Wilberforce was forced to get his nickname the hard way. One lovely 102 degree day in August of 1952, he got his right sneaker stuck in the melting tar in the middle of Bristol Street while his left slid into a pile of dog poop. He had executed a perfect split (as his jeans attested) and found he couldn’t move. Fortunately, my perennially unemployed uncle, Phil, directed traffic around him. His friends and relatives spent the day pointing and laughing, and worst of all, it was his mother who finally untied his sneakers and pulled him out of them. I like to believe that his sneakers are still there.
I suppose “Poop” might have gone on to be a respected brain surgeon at Mount Sinai, but he didn’t. When it rains anywhere on the planet, it rains on Wilberforce. Clearly, we all have days when life picks us out for special treatment. In 1956, an obscure “borsch belt” comedian, named Eddie Lawrence, had a hit record entitled “The Old Philosopher.” In the recording, to the strains of soupy music he would recite, in a downtrodden voice, a list of calamities that might have befallen you. Here’s one (of the digestive variety) —“hey there, friend, you say your wife went out for a corned beef sandwich, and the corned beef came back and she didn’t.” The list of disasters would accumulate until Eddie would finally add, “Is that’s what’s bothering you, Bunkie?” And then, cymbals would crash and to a rousing brassy rendition of the “National Emblem March,” Eddie would loudly declaim, “Lift your head up high and take a walk in the sun…you’ll show them where to get off, you’ll never give up, never give up…the ship.” For people my age and older, simply sadly saying, “Is that what’s bothering you, Bunkie?” will inevitably ignite a spark of recognition. And in this day and age when personal and national calamity stalks our every waking hour, we, at Stevieslaw, are pleased to revive the notion by publishing: “Is that’s what bothering you Bunkie,” The Less-intelligent-than-average American Guide to Never Giving Up.” In the guide, we will teach you how to hold your head up high and never give up through thousands of potential catastrophes, including:
1. Identity Theft: You say someone has stolen your identity and is using your credit cards to stay at luxury hotels from Cannes to Istanbul, while traveling between them in first class airline seats or in a new Lamborghini? Is that what’s bothering you, Bunkie? No problem. Just concentrate your thoughts on just how well the person you have become is doing. You could never afford to live in luxury in these exotic locations and now you are doing it! Think of the adventurous person you have become. A mystery man capable of grand larceny. And, yes, it is okay to brag a little.
2. Job Loss: You say your boss has replaced you with a 79 cent chip and productivity has jumped 300%. Is that what’s bothering you, pal? No problem. Remember how badly you wanted to quit that job to pursue “your art.” Well you certainly still won’t find time to do that. But your boss was a jerk and with the minimum wage they paid, you could barely make ends meet anyway. Take your severance pay and buy yourself a smart outfit. Then tell everyone and everyone’s brother about your amazing lottery win. Let them know your checkbook is so heavy, you need help carrying it. Then settle back and live off the endless series of invitations for free this and free that, coming your way from people trying to separate you and your money. Odds are you will live better than you ever have and won’t have to spend a dime for the next decade or two.
3. Loss of Access—You say your computer, phone and tablet have contracted a password disease. And every time you enter your seventeen digit alpha-numerical password from your notes, which you’ve cleverly scribbled on a napkin, your device will not only reject it, but will tease and humiliate you by issuing messages like, “ooh, that was really close,” or “warmer” or “cooler.” Is that what’s bothering you, friend? No problem. That is simply the cost of being human in the 21st century and will provide you with endless empathy from everyone you meet.
So buy the guide and learn, whatever life’s problems, to hold your head up high and never give up,…never give up,…never give up the ship. We are counting on you, Bunkie.

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One Response to Is That What’s Bothering You, Bunkie?

  1. stevieslaw says:

    Reblogged this on Stevie's Law and commented:

    An old LAGuide from Voices of Central PA to spread some cheer.

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