Friday, August 22, 2008

"Doggie Dynamo"

By Jerry Zezima
The Stamford Advocate

If I ever star in my own sequel to "Father of the Bride," in which I had the title role in 2006 when my older daughter, Katie, got married, I may have to put paramedics on the guest list. That’s because my younger daughter, Lauren, has literally fallen into the bad habit of needing emergency medical care whenever she is invited to a wedding.

And it’s all because of my granddaughter, Maggie.

Lauren is a single mother and Maggie is her baby, a playful little pup of whippet and various other breeds who will be 3 in October. To say Maggie is in the terrible 2s would be barking up the right tree.

This is why she may have to go to obedience school.

The trouble began about a week before Katie and Dave’s wedding. I was sitting in the office, trying to figure out how I was going to pay for everything without having to continue working even after I am dead, when the phone rang. It was Lauren.

"Dad," she moaned, "I think I broke my face."

"Are you all right?" I asked.

"No," Lauren said, sobbing.

"What happened?"

"I was walking Maggie, and she pulled me, and I fell face first into the bricks on the outside of my apartment. I might have a concussion and a broken nose."

It turned out that Lauren, who was the maid of honor, had neither, although she did have bumps and bruises that healed enough to be covered by makeup on the wedding day.

Fast forward to this past May, when my wife, Sue, and I, as well as Katie, Dave and Lauren, were invited to the wedding of Amy and Mel. Amy is the daughter of Jane and Tim, who in 2003 became the first couple in our circle of friends to marry off a child. It was their older son, Marshall, who married Sara, who last year gave birth to Anna, making Jane and Tim the first couple in our circle of friends to be grandparents (of a human, not a dog).

I was the first guy in the group to be father of the bride, the role Tim played in Amy’s wedding. The night before, Sue and I got a call from Lauren.

"Dad," she moaned, "I think I broke my ankle."

"Are you all right?" I asked.

"No," Lauren said, sobbing.

"What happened?"

"I was walking Maggie, and she pulled me, and I fell down the stairs outside my apartment."

To make a long story even longer, Lauren tore the tendons in her right foot and ankle and couldn’t drive to Cape Cod for the wedding. She ended up in a cast and had to use crutches to get around. Her ankle still bothers her.

Maggie is taking the rap for both incidents. She’s really very sweet, in a slobbering sort of way, but she’s also – I say this with great affection because Maggie is, after all, my own fur and blood – insane.

Whenever she visits Nini and Poppie, as she did last weekend, when Sue and I doggie-sat because Lauren went to Boston to see Katie and Dave, she runs around like a madwoman, terrorizes our four cats, chases squirrels and completely dominates our dog, Lizzie, who just became a teenager and is a bit long in the fang.

Maggie doesn’t have a job, but she ought to be on an excavation crew because she’s such a proficient digger that she could have tunneled her way to China for the Olympics.

She also is a miniature cyclone when being walked, which is why Lauren thinks she should enroll Maggie in obedience school.

I don’t know if Maggie will pass with flying colors or, more likely, flunk out, but I do know that when Lauren gets married, the dog’s not invited.

Copyright 2008 by Jerry Zezima

Friday, August 8, 2008

"Baby Face Zezima"

By Jerry Zezima
The Stamford Advocate

Baby face, I’ve got the cutest little baby face.

Those are the lyrics I am singing to myself these days, not just because I smell like a baby, but because I look like one.

That is what I was told when I went to the makeup counter at a department store after finding out that wearing makeup is the latest fashion trend among men.

I had heard about it when I went to that same store with my wife, Sue, to buy cologne.

According to a recent story by The Associated Press, baby powder scent is popular in women’s perfumes. As a man who not only has been called a big baby but is often told to take a powder, I wondered if the same were true for men’s cologne.

"It’s true that baby powder scent is popular with women because they love that new baby smell," said a fragrance specialist named Phyllis. "I imagine men feel the same way."

"I have two daughters who are all grown up, but I can still remember what they smelled like when they were babies," I said. "I don’t think I want to smell like that."

"He never wanted to change their diapers," Sue explained.

Phyllis nodded knowingly and introduced me to Michael, the fragrance manager, who took me to the men’s counter to see if there was anything that would make me smell like a freshly changed infant. After being sprayed with an array of colognes, I picked Touch by Burberry, which is aptly named because it has a touch of baby powder.

"Baby powder is good," Michael said, "but the real trend among men these days is makeup. A lot of guys are buying it. It’s not for me, but if you want to look better, go for it."

That’s what I did a few days later, when I went back to the store, this time without Sue, and headed for the makeup counter, where I met Jenna, a makeup artist, and Keri, a beauty analyst.

"I sell a lot of self-tanners to guys," Keri said. "One application lasts for a week and makes you look bronzed."

"It also covers up acne," Jenna noted.

"My zits cleared up a long time ago," I said. Then I added, "I’m 54."

"Wow, you sure don’t look it," exclaimed Jenna, who is 19.

"You mean I look even older?" I wondered.

"Not at all," said Jenna. "You look very young – you know, for your age."

"You have very healthy-looking skin," said Keri, who is 23. "And no wrinkles."

"Except for these crow’s-feet around my eyes," I remarked. "It looks like a flock of birds landed on my face."

"Those aren’t crow’s-feet," Keri assured me. "They’re smile lines."

I smiled. "I guess I don’t need plastic surgery," I said, "although I ought to cut up my credit cards. That would really be plastic surgery."

Keri and Jenna smiled. They didn’t have crow’s-feet. But they did have a color chart they used as a guide to determine my skin tone.

"On this spectrum," Keri pointed out, "you are in the red and orange range. They’re warm colors, which means you would look good wearing brown, green or gold."

I was wearing blue, but I guess it didn’t matter.

Keri then dipped a buff brush into a small jar of powdery makeup and started applying it to my face. "This helps cover pores and blemishes," she said, "but you really don’t have any. Your face is very clear. And very smooth."

"Like a baby’s?" I asked.

"Yes," said Keri, adding that some guys buy makeup to cover blotches and even use eyeliner. "They want to hide their imperfections," she said.

"It’s probably a clever rouge to attract women," I guessed.

"I think that’s the reason," said Keri, who handed me a mirror.

"I don’t notice any difference," I said.

"You don’t need makeup," said Jenna, who saved me a lot of money because the stuff that Keri applied costs $32.50 per 0.31-ounce jar.

When I got home, I told Sue about my makeup session. "I look like a baby and I smell like a baby," I said.

Sue nodded and replied, "So when are you going to grow up?"

Copyright 2008 by Jerry Zezima