Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Steady Diet of Scardale

Lee and Lori, married 21 years (Joey Kulkin photo)

BENNINGTON -- "Scarsdale."

That near Briarcliff Manor?

"No. We're 18 minutes north of the city and it takes me 23 minutes to get to Briarcliff Manor. So it's 40 miles north of the city. Do you know someone in Briarcliff Manor?"

I dated a girl who's mom lived with her boyfriend there.

Moments later ...

Any good restaurants in Scarsdale? If I were to drive to Scarsdale right now, I'd eat where?

She looked at me like I was a cuckoo bird.

"I'd say keep going and go to Manhattan. Have you ever been to Scarsdale?"

Who hasn't been to Scarsdale?

"It makes Bennington seem like it's BOOMING with restaurants."

Well then.

Her husband joined the conversation.

Every time I hear Scarsdale I think Seinfeld and the Scarsdale Diet. Wait, the Scarsdale Diet isn't in Seinfeld. There's a Scarsdale thing with Kramer going to the Tonys to accept an award for a play about Scarsdale.

But, funnily, the husband asked if I ever knew the details about the woman who killed the Scarsdale Diet doctor. Her name is Jean Harris and apparently she just died. At the time of her trial, the husband said, Harris tried using a facacta defense.

Like the Twinkie Defense?

"Something even loonier than that."

Turns out the husband has a connection to Harris through one of his lawyer colleagues. I can't remember the exact connection because the wife soon asked if I ever saw the movie Kissing Jessica Stein because of its Scarsdale connection.

Did you just say Kissing Jessica Stein?

"Yes, Kissing Jessica Stein. Have you seen it?"

This is becoming wonderfully funny.

I told them that I've never heard of the movie. Oh, you've just got to see it, Lori said. "It's about a young woman whose character grows up in Scarsdale. She's in her mid-20s and happens upon a lesbian and they have a brief affair" and ...

... Lee and Lori conflated a few details about the actresses and the characters and all of the Scarsdale connections. Lee called up IMDb on his iPad and edited the narrative.

This is how it goes: Jennifer Westfeldt is the actress who plays Jessica Stein. Jessica Stein is from Scarsdale, and she has a lesbian affair. Tovah Feldschuh is the actress who plays Jessica Stein's mom, and in real life Tovah Feldschuh is from Scarsdale. Lori knows Tovah. 

As an aside, Tovah's 103-year-old mom just died. She did not live in Scarsdale.

As I wrote down the details I couldn't help but think about the Gotham City writer. Because obviously. This is just too rich of a moment. I began to tell Lori about why the mention of Jessica Stein put a shit-eating grin on my face -- I fell in love with a writer in New York City with the same last name -- and then tried to explain the story vis-a-vis the Old Man and the Sea, but she just wanted to know if I've asked the writer out and I changed the subject.

So why are you up here?

"We just dropped our son off at Middlebury for a 7-week French immersion program."

Is he in high school?

"Just graduated," Lori said.

Mazel tov!

"Are you Jewish?"

Yep, had my bar mitzvah in '84.

"Mazel tov!"

Then I changed the subject to talk about RPI hockey with Lee.