Come on in…This’s great. You know. You’ve really got to meet Debra.
I could have signed a book for her at the store. (You know.)
But she’s a big basketball fan. Come on, this will be fun. Come on.
Jeez, maybe I should just leave a signed basketball or (someting).
No, no..this will be great. Watch this. Debra, Debra.
Hi. Who, Who’s your favorite basketball player of all time?
No, no, no. Retired, retired basketball player.
Oh, Larry Bird.
He, he played for the Lakers.
This isn’t my house. That’s what it is.
I want my book back.
Kareem. I’ll make you something to eat.
Did you hear Howie Simon’s son sold what a funny little anecdote to the Reader’s Digest?
Yeah? Okay, good, good for him.
That’s fifty dollars<$50>.
So why can’t you do something like that?
Dad, I’m a writer, Dad. The newspaper pays me to write full-time.
(Look), I’m not talking about the sports column. That’s great. I’m talking on the side.
Funny anecdotes on the side?
Yeah, that’s free money for you.
Here, lamb chops.
Oh, mom! I’ve got the dinner! You’re cooking, all right, one more..Look, Dad, thanks for your advice, but, I’m not writing anything for Reader’s Digest.
What’s with you? You can afford to turn down extra cash? I’m talking on the side.
Ma, where’s the..
Hold on, (the) mint-chili, yeah, yeah, hold on, here, right here, (okay).
We’re talking the Digest here, Ray. You know the kind of talent it takes to take a novel like this and put it on a page and a half? That’s writing!
All right, enough already, Dad. Look, if you like the magazine so much, why don’t you go write something for yourself?
What do you mean?
Yeah, he’s right. Why don’t you get off your rear end and do it yourself? I think it’s a very good idea.
I’ll tell you, would you go write something for the Reader’s Digest. I’m gonna go home and fake hunger.
Give me that chop.
The Reader’s Digest. They do have some funny stuff in there.
Hey, oh, boy, what’re we watching?
Oh, Wee Sing in Sillyville. Hey, Guess what? It’s on mornings and evenings now. Twice as silly.
“There goes John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmitt, da, da….”
Okay. We have to cancel cable.
Yeah. Go and get your jammies on. Uh, Ray.
Robert’s still here.
Oh, hey, Robert, what are you doing here?
I had a suspicion I need to confirm.
Robert, what’s wrong?
I don’t think Michael likes me anymore.
What are you talking about?
He’s not like Geoffrey, he seems stand-offish.
You know Michael is a baby, right?
It’s just a feeling. Cop’s instinct. He wants nothing to do with me.
Attention, everybody. Guess who is now a published writer.
What are you talking about?
Today, the mailman brought me fame and fortune. The Reader’s Digest, over 27 million copies sold in 19 languages. And all around the world, each and every reader will now open to Page 64 the “Humor in Uniform” section. Well, what are you waiting for?
Oh, how did that happen? Did you know about it? You knew he was doing this?
Please! You think he’d get this done by himself? The man can’t wipe his own chin.
Marie was my little typist.
Don’t call me a little typist.
So why don’t you read it out loud, Ray?
No, no, we don’t, that’s not necessary, Dad, We’ll read it.
No, no, come on, you have such a nice speaking voice.
“Throughout our first week of basic training…”
Louder and funnier!
“…our drill sergeant–”
Stand up! Stand up!
Up! Up! Up! There you go. There you go.
“…our drill sergeant stressed to us the importance of addressing all officers with what he called ‘the sir sandwich’. ‘Sir, yes, sir. Sir, I don’t know, sir,’ and the like. “A few days later, a colonel approached me in the motor pool “to ask what I was working on. “Using the sir sandwich, I said: “‘Sir, checking the oil, sir, in these jeeps, sir.”‘and, sir, checking the tires, sir.’ “The colonel laughed and said, ‘Private, I appreciate your respect “‘but I don’t need the sir club sandwich.’ ”
Thank you. Thank you. True story. Hey, Ray, what do you think?
Oh, it’s a classic, Dad.
And that’s not all, look at this: A check for three hundred dollars. I’d frame it, but then I couldn’t take my little typist out for a fancy dinner.
Every time you call me that, it’s gonna cost you three hundred bucks.
Michael threw his milk at me.
Isn’t that great? That could be my second story. The Digest loves a naughty baby!
“Teenage boys can be shy and awkward. Their voices crack, their skin breaks out and they’re afraid of anything in a dress. This was especially true for my son Roy.”
Dad, you’re writing about me!
It says Roy.
Oh, thanks, Dod.
Hey, look, I’m using what we call “artistic license” there. Sure, I’m writing about my kid, but it’s gotta come off like anybody’s kid. You see, I have to write as the Everyman.
You’re the Everyman?
Right. It’s gotta mean something to Debra and Marie, the guy in snowbound Sweden looking for a laugh.
Oh, especially him. Yeah, okay. Look, Dad, I got a column due in about an hour. All right? So I’m gonna see you. Okay.
“Roy, being a typical teenager, was besieged by raging hormones, making it difficult for him
to keep his mind on his studies.”
Wu! He’s the Everyman.
Can you imagine, can you imagine if everyman was Frank Barone?
Boy, wouldn’t Sizzler love that. Do me a favor, please keep Everyman out of here.
Ha, ha. How am I supposed to do that?
How fast can you make a pot roast?
So what’s the column about, Ray?
No! It’s the Giants, Dad.
Go on, go on, don’t let me bother you. This is the toughest part, isn’t it?
That. The blank page. It just sits there and mocks you. Dares you.
Annoys you. Bothers you.
I guess so. (But) go on, write. Conquer the blank page. I’m not even here…Shouldn’t you indent?
Dad. Don’t you wanna get started on that story about the twins?
No rush, it’s fermenting.
Don’t let it go bad in there, Dad. Come on. Go, go, run, run with it. I’m asking you <to>, Dad, as a proud parent. Run.
I guess you’re right. You know, I gotta go get started.
You know, Ray…when I retired, I thought, “Well, this is it.” You know, I sometimes I just sit there saying: “l got nothing left.” But with this writing thing, it’s like I got a new lease on life. I, I, I can’t describe it. It’s like for the first time, in a whole lot of years, I feel good.
That’s, that’s good, Dad. That’s nice. I’m, I’m glad.
I got you to thank for it. You’re a writer. I looked at you, and I see what I had in me. Hey, you know, now we know Where your talent comes from. So, go on, show me your chops. Did you know Mark Twain had a son who was a writer?
You know what they called him?
Choo-Choo. Choo-Choo Twain! That was in the Digest.
Oh, hi, you’re hungry?
Shouldn’t you be at work?
Yeah, I was, mom, until Dad stopped by. I’m, I’m having lunch at the paper with the guys, and he just shows up. He starts telling us about writing. Telling us! When I left, he was teaching us about alliteration. So, fearing my father the freak, I fled before there was a fatality.
Look at these. Look at these hands. I used to make angel hair pasta with these hands. And now I’m a grease monkey!
You have to talk to him, mom.
No, he doesn’t listen to me. You think I like doing this? Oh, I have a life, too. I could be out learning French.
Ma, you wouldn’t do that.
We’ll never know, will we? Now, Raymond, Raymond, you have to handle this. This is your problem.
What do you..? How is it my problem? What did I do?
You’re the writer. Huh? He wants your approval. Can’t, can’t you see that? Just talk to your father.
Talk to Dad?
Oh, Where do you come up with that stuff, mom?
Hey, Ray, there you are! Hey, your friends are really gung-ho about that computer stuff. Personally, I don’t see what they’re so excited about. Maybe it’s all that lnternet porno.
Just talk to your father. I hope you’re happy, I’m an ink-stained wretch!
Dad, this whole writing thing, Dad, I’m, I’m glad you found it. ‘Cause it’s good to have something.
You mean the Digest?
I’m gonna give you $1,000 if you stop calling it “the Digest.”
Fair enough. Testing, testing.
Listen, I think it’s important that we’re honest here with each other.
You know, I’m glad you said that because there is something I was afraid to ask you.
What? “Frank Barone’s ‘l Was Just Thinking.”‘
Yeah, my thoughts on a bunch of subjects. You know. Infomercials. The new-car smell. Minute Rice. Stuff like that, it’s all there.
Yeah, it is.
Why do I have it?
Well, you said you wanted to be honest. I honestly think this would make a great column in your paper.
Yeah, why don’t you pass it on to the editor?
You want me to show this to my editor?
Thank you, Ray. And tell him I look forward to his feedback.
It doesn’t come out! It doesn’t come out!
Hi. Listen, I’m gonna be hiding for the next few months, okay? So if my father comes by looking, you don’t know Where I am.
Listen, you gotta run interference for me. I’d do the same with your parents.
My parents live in Connecticut.
I’m willing to go. As matter of fact, he’d never find me in Connecticut.
Why are we hiding today, Ray?
Look at that.
“Frank Barone’s `l Was Just Thinking`”. What is this?
It’s his column.
Yeah. He wants me to hand it to my editor.
Oh, you’re kidding?
Look at this: “The chirp of the cricket has been replaced by the car alarm. God only knows
what will replace the car alarm.” What is that? What could that possibly mean? Oh, God, he’s out of control!
“l like the smell of a freshly painted room as much as the next guy, but in the end, wallpaper is easier to clean.”
All right, so he’s right about that. But, come on, how can I hand that to my editor? He’s gonna tear it up!
You know, Ray, I think you should let your editor take a look at that.
Why? So everyone at work loses respect for me? Then I get fired, and you can go back to work, and I stay with the kids. No, no. I will not fall for that, Delilah.
No, no, you take his name off of it, and then you submit it to your editor. And he gives you some honest feedback which you can pass on to your father and all of this will end.
Hey, that’s not bad, that’s not bad. My editor’s gonna hate this. I’m doing it. I’m gonna do that.
Tell me the story again about the parents that live all the way in Connecticut.
Once upon a time……
Once upon a time……
Louder and funnier.
Hey, Rob, thanks for coming over. Come on in.
I just wanted you to try playing with Michael again. You know, just give it one more shot.
No, I don’t think so.
No, listen, Rob, I just, it makes me feel terrible that you think one of your nephews doesn’t like you. Come on in. Robert, come on. Just sit down. Yeah, that’s not so bad. It’s Uncle Robbie. All right, play with Uncle Robbie.
How’re you doing? Hey, Michael. Would you like Uncle Robert to read you a story? He’s not that tough after all. “Baby bunnies have such fun. Bunnies on the hop, skip, run.”
Hey! Look at me and Michael.
You and Michael? No, you mean you and Geoffrey…Yes, Michael. You got it. Yeah, that’s Michael.
Hello? Hey, Bill. You read the column? No, I didn’t write that. Did not write that. No, I passed it on to you From a complete stranger guy. Okay. Was that call waiting or did a vein pop? Yeah. Okay, I’m sorry. Right. So very sorry. Okay, bye. Oh, Ugly. Oh, that was ugly.
Oh, hi, Ray. You’re hungry?
Marie, Marie, I gotta get my thoughts down on tapioca. Like it or lump it.
Oh, that’s enough for today. I’m gonna go lie down under the car.
Hey, Ray! Hey…What’s up?
Nothing, nothing. I, uh, I talked to my editor today.
Well, um. I guess the newspaper is not looking for a columnist right now.
I don’t have to be a quote unquote columnist. I mean my, pieces can run every so often in the paper.
Yeah, well. They said they already got something similar to your piece in, in there.
On what? What, what in your paper is similar to what I wrote?
In tone. Similar in tone is what he actually said.
This, this guy sounds like he’s dodging something. Is he some kind of an oddball here?
He’s not an oddball. Dad, look, it just wasn’t for him, that’s all.
What did he say? What were his exact words?
I don’t know exact words.
What do you mean? You just spoke to him, you can’t remember what he said?
Dad. You don’t wanna hear it.
Don’t tell me what I wanna hear or what I don’t wanna hear! Tell me what he said!
He said it was embarrassing!
He said it was embarrassing.
Oh. What else did he say?
What else did he say?!
He said it was amateurish.
I’m sorry, Dad.
No, no…it’s okay.
You know what, you can’t trust what this guy says. What does he know? He’s an oddball, that guy. So what if you’re not in the paper, you’re in the Digest.
Twenty-seven million people in 19 languages. People are reading this in Germany and Japan as we speak, Dad. Come on, huh? Nobody reads newspapers.
You know, I, I was feeling so good. Now I don’t know.
Dad, the Digest. Send it in, send it to the Digest.
I did! They didn’t like it either. That’s why I tried your stupid paper!
Come on, you can’t just give up, Dad. Come on. You still got all those Roy stories in there. Come on! What about Everyman? What happened to the Everyman? You got all those opinions, they’re just fermenting in there. Got to let them out, got to let them out. Dad, or you’re gonna explode.
You know something. You’re right. I’ve got opinions.
Who can I share them with?
Come on, there’s always……
I was thinking guys at the lodge and people at bus stops and clerks.
Wait, here’s one. “Poetry! Get to the point!”
Who could argue with that?
“How about those poems that don’t even rhyme? That is this man’s definition of lazy.”
My job is done here.
“Make up your mind, America, is it often or of-ten?”
Uh huh. You’re the king of those. All right, I’m gonna go run and tell everybody.
Hey, Ray. What did you think of my column?
I thought it was great, Dad.
Thanks. “Amish people, friend or foe?”