Friday, November 26, 2004

The Three Faces of Gooch

4-Eyed Gooch (Age 13)

In hindsight, smaller frames may have been a good idea.

Gooch at 15

A supplement to my recent "Making Out in the Middle East" post. Taken right before I boarded the plane for Israel.

Long-Hair College Gooch

A couple months shy of my 20th birthday. Come on, ladies, don't you kinda want to run your fingers through it?

But wait, there's more...

Order now, and get a bonus picture of Gooch with a mullet, ABSOLUTELY FREE!!


Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Tonight, On a Very Special "The Gooch On..."

If my life were a sitcom today would have been a good Thanksgiving episode. An issue arose at work within the last few days that threatened to ruin my Thanksgiving holiday. Yesterday afternoon it appeared as if the problem had been solved. Then this morning not only did I learn it hadn’t, but it was worse than I originally thought. Then it looked like it was fixed again. Then it wasn’t.

I am a firm believer that we are as heroic as circumstances cause us to be. On this episode, Gooch learned that when called upon, he can indeed be a problem-solving hero. And what lesson could one be more thankful to learn on Thanksgiving?

We’ll be leaving tomorrow morning for the Bay Area in order to spend the holiday with my family. Good news for you – that is where my most embarrassing pictures are housed. May be time for the obligatory “Funny Old Pictures of Me” post.

Have a good (and safe) Thanksgiving everyone.


Friday, November 19, 2004

...Making Out in the Middle East

When most Americans think of Israel they usually envision one of two things – a country that is invariably involved in a war of some sort or a place where men dressed in long black suits wear funny hats and pray a lot. So it may come as a surprise to non-members of the tribe to learn that to an American Jewish teenager, Israel is looked at as the Mecca of debauchery. You see, #1 It is a tradition for America Jewish teenagers to go on a youth trip to Israel between their sophomore and junior years of high school and #2 Israel has no drinking age. Therein lies the humorous irony of these youth trips – parents send their children on them in hopes that their kids will experience a spiritual journey that will forever solidify their Jewish faith, while most teenagers anxiously agree to the trip knowing they can spend the majority of a Summer getting wasted on their parents dime and quite possibly, get laid. I know it’s why I went.

Upon arriving in Israel we wasted little time in making our way to “The Underground” a popular Jerusalem nightspot so named because to reach the nightclub portion of the establishment requires a trip down a flight of stairs, technically leaving you “underground”.

An immediate disappointment to me was seeing that the group of guys I was out with took no time in congregating around the girls from our own Bay Area youth group. You have to understand that the majority of girls who were on the tour with us were girls I had known for years through Hebrew School and synagogue. It seemed like a colossal waste to travel halfway around the world only to hook up with the same girls I could hook up with back home.

This dilemma was more or less solved for us when the girls from our trip were approached by a herd of Israeli soldiers. Think the “Do you mind if we dance with your dates?” scene from "Animal House". I guess given the choice between soft, pimply-faced, immature American boys and dark, muscular, macho Israeli men, it’s not hard to see why we got left in the dust.

Now poised to do some serious skirt-chasing, I pushed and shoved and fought to strategically place myself next to my long-time friend Danny Katzenberg. This was quite a change of pace for me. Danny and I had been friends since pre-school, but somewhere along the way towards adolescence Danny had turned into a major junior Casanova. I swear, literally (and I do mean literally) every girl I knew who knew Danny had a major league crush on him. Just goes to prove the Chris Rock theory of 90% of the women going after the same 10% of the guys (and then proceeding to complain about the lack of good, available men). Worst of all, it isn’t like it was undeserved. In addition to being unbelievably handsome, Danny was a super nice guy too. There was no way to compete.

I had drifted away from Danny as we’d gotten older for two reasons. First, I was extremely turned off by the group of hanger-ons who tended to follow Danny around like little puppy dogs. Future “Yes-Men” of America. I’m assuming these guys figured that either some of Danny’s magic might rub off on them or that they may be able to pick up some of his leftovers. That type of hero worship just seemed kind of pathetic to me. Also, I theorized that strategically it just didn’t seem wise to be so closely associated with someone that desirable. Same theory as to why you probably wouldn’t open a Sizzler next to a Ruth's Chris. However, on this particular night, when the chance of scoring was actually a legitimate possibility, all my theories kind of went out the window. I figured the least I could do was attempt to be within Danny’s general vicinity so I could be guaranteed to be where the action was.

And this is how I found myself standing with Danny atop the staircase that led to the dance floor. Now, either Danny’s male prowess had been vastly overstated or my negative energy was so powerful that I was sucking all the life out of him because there was nothing going on besides us just standing there. I had honestly never been to a social outing with Danny where he wasn’t flooded by hordes of girls. You could just imagine what it did to my self-esteem to see that the one time I’d ever seen Danny completely lose his magic touch happened to be when he was hanging out with *me*.

We must have been planted there for hours before we were finally approached by two stunningly beautiful girls who pleaded, “WILL YOU SAVE US?” Apparently these two were not nearly as impressed by the aggressive flirting of the Israeli soldiers as were the girls from out own tour group. By saving them, they meant would we go out and dance with them to make them look sufficiently taken. We happily obliged.

Unfortunately, the amount of time we'd wasted just standing around came back to haunt us. We couldn’t have been dancing with these girls for more than 5 minutes when Rob, another guy from our group, grabbed Danny and I to tell us it was near midnight (our curfew) and we needed to hurry back to the youth hostel. Later on in the trip we would come to realize that many of the “rules” were made just so our parents back at home would feel more comfortable about sending their kids off to a foreign country without their supervision, as they were very liberally attended to. But this being our first night, we weren’t willing to take any chances.

Later that same week, our tour group had the opportunity to visit the historic Wailing Wall, one of the holiest sights on the planet. Traditionally, visitors to the Wailing Wall write down a personal prayer to stick within its cracks. Nearly 16 years later, I still remember the prayer I wrote down that day: “Please let Danny and I run into those two girls again sometime before we have to go home”

Should you ever get the chance to visit Israel and have the opportunity to put your own prayer within the cracks of the Wailing Wall, I would recommend against it. It’s a hoax.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


If there is any sort of sadistic quality to my personality it is the joy I get out of watching overconfident people being brought back down to Earth. I would feel bad about this not-so-tender-hearted aspect of myself were it not so obvious I am not alone. How else do you explain the crazy popularity of "American Idol", particularly the first few try-out episodes where people with truly horrendous singing voices look like deer in the headlights, appearing genuinely surprised and confused as to why they were not chosen to be the next Christina Aguilera or Justin Timberlake?

I never know whether to feel sorry for these type of people because of the way they are forced to create their own fictional world to live in as a safe haven against the truth, or to be disgusted at what often appear to be truly massive egos immune to anything resembling reality. Generally I choose the latter.

Like when I was first transferred down to Orange County to take on a sales position. I’m not sure I had even finished unpacking my boxes when a woman in my department (the previously discussed Susie) tried to enlist me as part of her coup to get rid of our boss, Deena, and replace her with herself. Now, Deena was big-time coo-koo; it was obvious from Day 1 she was not long for the company. But why Susie, whose sales numbers held the ignominious distinction of consistently being dead last in the company, thought she deserved or had earned the right to run an entire sales department, I have no idea. Instead of receiving the promotion she was so positive she deserved, Susie was first given a demotion to sales assistant and ultimately, fired.

I got to thinking about all of this last night as I left the gym. I experienced an awkward moment where I arrived at my car just as some guy was sticking a flyer onto my windshield. I have to give the guy credit, his marketing strategy is a good one – arrive at the gym at "rush hour" (6 o’clock-ish) when the gym couldn’t possibly be more stuffed with people and flyer the parking lot with an offer of one-on-one personal training. And to answer the questions posed on his flyer – Yes, I am tired of waiting at crowded gyms, Yes, I am looking for V.I.P. treatment and Yes, I do think my workouts would improve with private training that provides that extra push I need to succeed. I’d be all set to sign up, except, get this – the guy offering the training is kinda fat.

Anyway, if any of you are interested in how to please a woman every time, just drop me an email.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

...The Dealbreaker

At this time four years ago I was dating a woman, Cinn, who appeared on paper to be my perfect match. Which is to say she was attractive (she looked a lot like Minnie Driver), roughly my age and Jewish.

She had a couple of annoying qualities that I found somewhat difficult to tolerate, but not dealbreakers. For one, she had two pet bunnies she talked about incessantly. I couldn’t have a conversation with her on the phone without being given a running play-by-play of every movement in their cage (“Awww, Petey’s giving her KISSIES”).

Second, she still lived with her parents. Now, I lived in Orange County at the time as well, so I am completely sympathetic to anyone who decides to take advantage of free rent as an alternative to the OC’s ridiculously overpriced real estate market. But it got kind of silly having a girlfriend who needed to call Daddy with a made-up story about her car breaking down every time she wanted to spend the night at my apartment.

Cinn was kind enough to treat me to a visit to Universal Studios for my birthday that year. While we were there I stopped in at one of the shops to look for some kind of stuffed animal to buy for my nephew, whose birthday was (is) just three days after mine. He was turning 1. As I looked around I casually mentioned to Cinn that my nephew had Down Syndrome.

Without skipping a beat, Cinn asked me, “When you see a child like that doesn’t it make you not believe in G-d?”

To this day, I have no idea what kind of reaction she was expecting out of me with that comment. Like, was I supposed to respond, “Why yes, I find my nephew so incredibly grotesque and disgusting that I hereby renounce my faith”???

Anyway, fuck that bitch and Happy 5th Birthday Bug.


Uncle Gooch


Wednesday, November 03, 2004

...It's All About Me

I hope you don’t think me arrogant for starting off today’s post with a quote from, well, myself, but it seems rather appropriate, if not all that profound.

From this blog on July 13, 2004:
It is stupid, when discussing your favorite sports team or political party, to refer to them as “we”. As in “We have a much better defense this year” or “We should win this election in a landslide”. If you haven’t been invited to any of the meetings, it’s “them”, not “we”.

Now onto more pressing matters:

Dear President Bush,

Congratulations on your recent re-election.

In honor of your victory, as a way to help jumpstart the economy and also, as you claimed was so important for America during your campaign, to help small businesses succeed, I have a modest proposal for you.

I spent no less than six hours commuting today in order to meet with a potential client, a division of the US military, regarding a fairly substantial project they are looking to move forward with. Even by Southern California standards, that’s a pretty major shlep.

As the leader of this great nation I was hoping you might be able to throw a white Jew from the suburbs a bone (preferably kosher) and, like you did with Haliburton that one time, give them the ok to no bid this contract so all my hard work won’t be for naught should a competitor beat my price by $.50

After all, you wouldn’t want this little guy to starve now would you?

Thanks in advance.


Tuesday, November 02, 2004

...A Non-Partisan Political Post

You know how sometimes you'll be watching, say, a baseball game, and the score is something like 9 to 4 going into the bottom of the 9th, and yeah, there's a chance the home team can still win, but everyone kind of knows that chance is pretty fucking slim? But the television announcers still try to make it sound like it's anyone's ballgame because they don't want you to change the channel?

That's kind of how I feel about the coverage of the presidential election right now.

It occurs to me this post may sound really dated by the time I wake up in the morning. Sorry about that.

Monday, November 01, 2004

...As Time Goes By

Among the many petty things that serve to annoy me to no end is the concept of instant nostalgia. Perhaps this concept is best exemplified by the recent "I Love the 90s" special on VH1, where multitudes of C and D-List celebrities waxed nostalgic and shared their misty-eyed memories of things that, you know, JUST FUCKING HAPPENED.

But I may be forced to eat crow on this one. After successfully putting the baby down for a nap the other day (my wife was out spending some much deserved and needed time getting pampered at the nail salon), I started rereading some of my old blog entries.

Let’s be honest. I’m hardly the most prolific blogger out there. I probably average, what, 2 posts a week? Not due to disinterest; I’d love to blog more. But as my sister so eloquently wrote about recently, one of the drawbacks of being a happily married blogger with kids is that my life tends to lack the sort of daily drama that makes for compelling reading. I mean, I suppose I could do daily updates about how I got up, went to the gym, went to work, came home, changed a few shitty diapers, helped with homework, did dishes, watched a little TV and went to bed. But would anyone want to read that?

And it’s not like I’ve been doing this for all that long. I started my blog in mid-June. 5 months at a rate of about 2 posts a week does not a large body of work make.

Nonetheless, here I was, getting all emotional as I rediscovered some of the gems of blog entries gone by. Hey, there’s the one I wrote when I fucked up my left calf right before leaving on a trip to the Bay Area for 4th of July. There’s my one and only attempt at a serious post where I wrote about how I miss living in the Bay Area a little bit. How `bout that one about my ex-coworker, Susie, who once took a massive, stinky dump in my old apartment? Can never go wrong with toilet humor. Awww, there’s the one where I announced I was taking a blogging break because the doctor told us the baby was going to come any day now. I could even see where my missing first post, ironically about how many of my friends have gotten really dull and boring ever since they got married and became home-improvement obsessed, would have gone had I not deleted it fairly early on in my blog’s history because, to be honest, it was kinda stupid.

We’ll always have “The Gooch On…”. They can’t take that away from me.
<< List
Jewish Bloggers
Join >>
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by

< ? California Blogs # >
Powered by Blogger