Monday, November 8, 2010

Now I Can Die Happy

My sometimes popular wife and I deferred our 10th anniversary celebration this year.  Why?  Because ten years is nothing to sneeze at, and we wanted this to be big.  Real big.  Like, as big as Uranus.  We had planned a enchanted weekend in sunny Indianapolis (the Brickyard is beautiful this time of year), but then an idea came a tapping, gently rapping at our chamber door.  Suddenly it made perfect sense to celebrate the event not in Indy, but on Halloween weekend in New York City.  Why?  Let me show you:

I'll admit I was reluctant.  As much as I heart Pee-wee, a weekend jaunt to NYC seemed a luxury we could ill afford.  Fortunately, Alex's reason prevailed over my anxiety: When, exactly, will you get another chance to see your idol in person?

Well, that shut me up in a hurry.  Thirty seconds later I had booked two tickets and a flight.

This was about more than just Pee-wee, however.  This was to be a celebration of a true love, a pure love, a love high in fiber and loaded with antioxidants.  That kind of diet has not only kept us regular for a decade; it had us in tip-top condition for the marathon day we had planned.

It started Saturday morning, when we hopped into our rental McBonemobile and sped from my sister's upstate pad to midtown Manhattan.  The first order of business was to fuel ourselves up.  Alex spied a bakery offering a wide assortment of sandwiches and confections.  Having ordered our 'baguettes' (a goofy way of saying 'bread'), we sat down among the well-heeled diners, all of whom were conversing in some funny dialect Alex referred to as 'French.'

Here she is double-fisting dessert for breakfast, dizzy dame!

Our repast finished and appetites comfortable sated, we made for Central Park.  We had some time to kill and we decided it would best be killed by...a FEROCIOUS POLAR BEAR!!!  Well, far from the terror of the frozen tundra, this bloated excuse for a man-killer was more or less enjoying the life of Riley:

With 'Gus' content to wallow in his own crapulence, we exited the zoo and made haste to Broadway and the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.  The show started at two, leaving us a few moments to snap some hilarious photos:

I was terrified going into this thing.  Doubt came a gnawing, clawing at my stomach walls.  What if Pee-wee had lost his touch?  What if the crowd reacted with a collective yawn?  What if it bombed?  I was aware of the good reviews his show had scored in Los Angeles, but still I cringed at the idea of a balding, corpulent Pee-wee Herman trying to pick up where he had left off 20 years ago.

No need to worry.

It was great!  Better than great!  The Pee-wee Herman show is something I recommend to ALL McBoners, young and old alike.  Alex and I and the entire matinee crowd spent a full hour and a half laughing our collective asses off, screaming the secret word, chanting mekka lekka hi, mekka hiney ho!  Pee-wee was as good as ever, blending together elements from his canon and throwing new material into the mix.  High marks for the rest of the cast, too, including original members Lynn Marie Stewart and John Paragon who reprised their respective roles as Miss Yvonne and Jambi the Genie.  Rarely have I so delighted in a live performance.  Rarely have I been so sad to see one end.

Afterward we hoped to get a glimpse of the manchild himself, but he gave us much more than that:

I know you are, but what am I?
I don't make monkeys, I just train 'em!
That's my name, don't wear it out!
Why dontcha take a picture?  It'll last longer!
I took this one chance to tell Pee-wee that I loved him.  It's true, after all, so why not say it?  Very few artists have impacted me as profoundly as Paul Reubens.  Bob Dylan, Alec Guinness, Tolkien, Shel Silverstein, Beethoven, Gary Larson.  This list isn't very long, so I was perhaps understandably trembling, yes trembling, when he emerged from the stage door.  His reply to my sincere if unoriginal flattery was an equally sincere 'Thank you!'

Alex, ever the astute one, seized this rare chance to engage Mr. Herman and ask when the forthcoming movie (to be directed by Judd Apatow) would be released.  'I have to write the movie first,' was the answer.  'But before that I have to rewrite some of the show.'

'But it's perfect,' protested Alex, to which he replied that it was 'almost perfect.'

Pee-wee wasn't signing or taking pictures with people, but he seemed genuinely grateful for the turnout and curious about where people had traveled from.

'Venezuela!,' declared Alex in a moment of semi-truthfulness.

'Oh!  Venezuela!  Wow!' cried Pee-wee in a moment of semi-astonishment.

'Indiana!' I shouted, but received no reply.

Alas, time is fleeting, and Pee-wee took his very gracious leave.  The crowd roared and, like that, he was gone.

But there was no time for tears.  On to round four.  For this very special day we chose a restaurant we felt could stand up to the occasion: merely the finest steakhouse on the entire east coast:

Almost we didn't make the reservation phoned in two months in advance. The streets of New York were filled with spooks, spectres and ghosts (and not a few Lady Gagas), all of them riding yellow cabs to whatever haunts they were bound.  Meanwhile, we hungry mortals were shit out of luck.  Nary a taxi was to be found, so we flagged down a private car and negotiated the fare to Brooklyn.  Our driver got us there by some mercy, and so we didn't miss out on this:

The thickest, most delicious bacon on planet Earth
Peter Luger's porterhouse.  There is nothing like it.  And check out that creamed spinach!
We dined at Peter Luger's once before.  I always remembered that first experience as not just the best steak I've ever had, but the best food of my life, period.  Ten years later, I was skeptical of my memory.  Perhaps time had exaggerated how good it was.  Turns out I had probably understated the excellence. Here was the menu du jour:

Beefeater martini on the rocks with a twist and an olive
House Merlot
Sizzling bacon appetizer (2 strips)
Peter Luger specialty ale
Steak for 2
Creamed spinach
French fried potatoes
Hot fudge sundae

The bacon was so rich and buttery that even Alex, a sworn bacon hater, dove in.  To eat an entire strip would be to spoil the appetite, so a few bites bridged the gap between cocktails and main course.  Porterhouse is all that is offered--perfectly marbled cuts aged on the premises and broiled until tender, juicy nirvana is achieved.  The waiter's suggestion of medium rare was more of a command than a choice.  On a whim I asked if anyone ever asked for theirs well done.  The waiter sneered his reply in a Russian accent: It happens from time to time, but the steak is so thick it's not possible without ruining, really, and so no.  No, no, no!  He was getting more agitated.  Flames leapt from eyes that zeroed in on me as if I had dared to make such an infamous order: Not here, no.  Go somewhere else!

We ate until we could eat no more.  As bloated as any Central Park bear, we rolled out into the streets where the doorman had a taxi waiting.  Next up was a cabaret show staring Lady Rizo and the Assettes.  Quite naturally my sister had been recruited to get on stage and shake her tookus as an honorary Assette.  That we couldn't miss, and so we found ourselves back in Manhattan, where everyone it seems was in costume; everyone, that is, except Stanley Tucci*, who we watched have better luck flagging a cab than we did.  A perk of being Stanley Tucci?  I don't know and I didn't care, for there was much booty-shaking to see on this special night:

An example of an ass being shook (not my sister's)
Well, you'd think that Lady Rizo would have finished us off, but we weren't done yet.  With just enough gas left to catch a flick before calling it a night, we took in Never Let Me Go.

Though disappointing, the day had been far too exhilarating for a movie to spoil our moods.

The last traces of our energy got us back to the car, and, ultimately to my sister's crib, where we arrived safe and sound but without strength enough to brush, floss or gargle.  All we could do was haul our corpses up three flights of stairs and collapse in the warm afterglow of a day so perfect that even the Two Lous would approve.

Thank you, my lovely, not just for a memorable Saturday, but for making it a perfect 10.


*Alex was thrilled to see Stanley Tucci, as her only previous NYC celebrity sighting had been Monica Lewinsky.


C.J. said...

I cannot wait to hear the retelling of this over a large bottle of Jameson in a few short weeks. Increible!

creative jenny said...

Indiana, I love you too! and let me express that this is the most complete post I have read in your blog. Thank you for sharing and spicing each moment with your humour and talent. Lindo de verdad, gracias.

MrsFallis said...

It is up to you to ensure that Mike takes me to NYC for our 10...

McBone said...

Siege, who knows what will happen when we crack open that bottle of Jameson.

Gracias Tia! I thought it was maybe a little too long, so I'm glad to hear you liked it!


Kid Shay said...

It was an appropriately lush post to commemorate such a joyful milestone. (Can milestones be joyful?)

Here's hoping I can be around to congratulate you guys on ten more decadeiversaries.