WACKED / STEVEN LORBER

 

From File Clerk to CEO-or My Dinner with the Georgetown 5.

 

By  Steven Lorber

 

 

 

(Just call me Willie)

 

 

———–THE PORKYS
NATIONAL ANTHEM——-

 

 

 

It’s a hard world to get a
break in
All the good things have been taken
But girl there are ways
To make certain things pay
Though I’m dressed in these rags
I’ll wear sable
Someday
Hear what I say
I’m gonna ride the serpent
No more time spent
Sweatin’ rent
Hear my command
I’m breakin’ loose
It ain’t no use
Holdin’ me down
Stick around

But baby, but baby
Remember, remember
It’s my life and I’ll do what I want
It’s my mind and I’ll think what I want
Show me I’m wrong, hurt me sometime
But some day, I’ll treat you real fine

 

                                     “It’s My
Life” – The Animals

 

 

 

I have recently joined the
ranks of the unemployed. Not by choice, but rather the all too familiar
corporate heave ho. Yes I enjoyed the requisite pity party, the Muslim breast
beating ritual (minus the razors)-the Buddhist meditation which ended with a
non-directed fuck you; and so, I was back where I started. Déjà vu- -or what I
call-the Peter Sellers Syndrome.  I
dusted off the mantle, the nameplate, and the web site of the once great Metro
Music. Yes the business where I was the King- and the King was I. The challenge
that now stood before me was; could I resurrect a vinyl business in a digital
world and achieve greatness as I had done 15 years before?? The world had
changed in my absence. What kind of bizarro universe was I entering where
10,000 songs can be had for nothing; stored on a disc the size of a pinhead.
Music that could be ripped sampled trampled mixed doctored downloaded and
served up fresh on an I-pod/cell phone/I-pad-the cloud?!!. Would I be able to
meet this Herculean challenge?? Could I bring some semblance of sanity to a
world gone mad!! Once again I was at the crossroads-“hello darkness my old
friend”!!  Just as the Green
Lantern-summoned his strength-“On the darkest day in the darkest night-no evil
shall escape my sight”-I called on the Gods of Porkydom-Barney Fife/Harvey
Pekar/Sgt.Bilko/Captain Kangaroo/Ed
Grimley-Give me strength my friends-breathe life into my soul so that I may
soldier on-and show the world that a vinyl record-is your friend-its there to
comfort you-to inspire you, and to love you. And so it became, I, Steven Lorber,
went from file clerk to CEO of Metro Music.

 

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit
that these recent events triggered the inevitable 19th Nervous Breakdown-the
rush to the doctor for more powerful drugs and the spiritual questioning/self
loathing inherent in this porkys genetic makeup. I spent my days making friends
at the local Dunkin Doughnuts emporium drinking way to much coffee and
convincing myself that “Their Satanic Majesties Request,” was light years ahead
of Sgt. Pepper (2000 in fact). Strangely enough no matter what psychotic roller
coaster my mind seemed to take-I kept
coming back to the question of education. My education. Had I received my
degree in 1975, as I should have-what would my life have been like/wp-content/photos. You see
I had a small difference of opinion with Mr. John Carroll and -thus I engaged
in a 25-year war with the almighty Georgetown.
The epic David & Goliath battle ended in august 2000 as the bruised and
battered giant awarded this belligerent porky his cherished BSFS degree.

 

 

 

In the process of getting the
Metro Music office ready for business I couldn’t stop thinking as to how I
arrived at this place in my life. –  58
and starting all over again? Had I even started/wp-content/photos What had I really done?
—  “Who knows where the time goes”?
/”Time has come today-Time in a bottle-The time and the place-Love me two
times-Summertime-Time wont let me be-Time is on my side-Time of the Season- Tea
Time (won’t be the same without my Donna)“.”

 

 It was a sunny day in June-after returning
from DD and trying to put my office in order I came across an unmarked file
filled with letters documenting my 25-year war. 
I marveled at the gall, the tone and the slightly pathetic nature of my
letters. How they must have dreaded receiving my letters with the never ending
cajoling, begging demanding; imploring, beseeching, requesting and petitioning.
Who said you cannot petition the Lord with Prayer??!!. After a cursory
examination-I concluded that I’m a pretty damn good beggar! And why not-Hell
I’m not that proud, I spent my whole life begging for grades, begging for sex
and begging God to forgive me. Amongst the mountain of documents I was sorting
for posterity one caught my attention. It was a one-page transcript with my class rank. – Steven Lorber Class Rank
350 of 0355.  Yes I actually finished
higher than 5 other people. The days went on and I kept
thinking who are these 5 people? How was I able to finish ahead of them?? Well
I decided to find out. It was just my luck that I had a connection with a girl
who worked in the GU admissions office. With the requisite begging and bribery
I tracked down my fellow low ranking Georgetown
comrades. After the perfunctory introductory e-mail, I sent them all an
official invitation to come back to DC to enjoy a dinner and pay homage to each
other as we would examine our lives and our connection as the bottom 6
graduates in the class of 2000.

 

 

 

Feeling smug, anxious,
excited, and nervous-I went to greet my fellow travelers at the world famous
Willard hotel on the designated night of November 12, “A day that will live
in…There was Thomas Bergeron, Sheridan Fawnstock, Susan Emerson, Sean Driscoll
and Cynthia O’Connell. I hosted this Dinner in one of the Willard’s private
banquet halls. It was my dream that this magical meeting-this dinner -would
help me realize my station in life. Secretly I was hoping that this special
event-this meeting of the minds would confirm my superiority. Arrogant?
Absolutely! Insecurity is the defining genetic marker of all porkys.  It drives us to beg, borrow or steal any
morsel of praise, encouragement and acceptance
being offered.

 

As we sat down at the dinner
table-our private waiter poured the wine. Sheridan
suggested we all introduce ourselves and give a brief description of our professions. Sheridan Fawnstock started
out explaining that after a few false starts he followed the path of his degree
right to the state department. Stamping passports in Burundi
eventually led to an appointment by George Bush to be the American Ambassador
to Nigeria.
Thomas Bergeron then went on to explain after a series of dead end jobs he went
for masters in accounting and was now heads the international division at PRICE
WATERHOUSE. . Cynthia O’Connell went to Georgetown’s
nursing school and is now the Head of the Nursing dept
at Bellevue Hospital in NYC. Sean Driscoll went to
open a successful line of department stores in the Midwest.
And Susan Emerson became a well known social worker in Maryland spearheading the Martha’s Table
Homeless shelters throughout the tri state area.

 

I immediately realized I
stepped into a big pile of do do. The Georgetown
5 were major success stories. Listening to my peers brought me to panic attack
mode. My stomach flew to my brain. -My brain tried to exit my head. The
elevator that was me was in free fall. When it came to my turn, I had to pinch
my leg to pull it together, “Well I worked briefly as a paralegal for a
prestigious law firm and then after a difference of opinion-I started a record
business selling vinyl, press kits, posters, buttons, cassettes…it’s a good
business with international appeal I provide……People like to touch and hold
records….it’s tactile-it’s an art object.. It gives pleasure…..Everyone’s a
collector-you’ve seen the TV show Pickers…no not Hoarders ..Pickers…. My worst
fears materialized-I saw that glazed look in their eyes-a look I knew so well.
Before I even finished, I morphed into the mentally challenged child at the
holiday dinner. I was “lather.”

 

 

 

The nights one piece of good
luck presented itself when the waiter interrupted
my bumbling announcing dinner would be served shortly. I did my best to curb my
conversation; use the knife and fork properly, napkin on lap and no nose
picking. I went out of my way to be polite, gracious and cultured. Halfway
through the evening I excused myself and went to the bathroom. I popped an
adderoll to focus and a Valium to relax. I took a few minutes to pull myself
together, engaged in some chanting and entertained nostalgic memories about
Quaaludes.  As the evening came to a
close Cynthia suggested we all describe our greatest success or
achievement.  Sheridan started off saying how he brought
two warring African tribes together and brokered a peace where there had been
horrific genocide. Thomas proudly described how he instituted the Price Waterhouse
college fund, which gives out $500,000 a year in scholarship money to needy
students. Cynthia heads the nursing staff for doctors without borders. Sean
makes it a point to hire 25% of his work force from minorities and the
disenfranchised population. Susan worked on the Presidents task force for
Welfare Reform.  Then it was my
turn—I’m not sure why-perhaps the Valium, but I felt strangely comfortable
with my level of achievement

 

“Well um I worked on the
Grammy’s-well not really… I did win this contest at a record show here in
Arbutus Maryland
were I was able to piece together a story using Beatle song Titles.. not a
simple feat mind you! -Here let me show you.” Do you wanna know a secret?  She was a day tripper, with a ticket to ride.
She said She Said, you’re a loser a nowhere man-yes I’m down-but I’ll be back-I
should have known better-help, its been a hard days night but its getting
better all the time-everyone is trying to be my baby….I don’t want to spoil the
Party…

 

Just as I was hitting my stride
my compadres got up and briskly left the banquet room. I was alone rapping “for
no one”. The GU 5 were now hurriedly walking down the long corridor towards the
exit exchanging phone numbers shaking hands and making promises to keep in
touch. How could this be happening to me, this nightmare -this meltdown– a
nuclear holocaust-a turned down day.

 

Then a force took hold of me;
from where I have no idea-and with the speed of a vampire from Bon Temps-I flew
past the GU five; fell to my knees, blocked their path and with my hands
stretched out to the heavens- I pleaded.

 

“I’m just a fool whose
intentions are good oh lord please don’t let me be misunderstood.”

 

 

 

 

The above excerpt is from the Author’s New Book, “Song Titles are
My Life.” Due for Publication early next year.

 

 

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