Some of Irv’s favorite phrases

The other night my dinner companions were talking about how hungry they were, as we waited for a table.   In similar situations my father often said “I’m so hungry, I could eat pork.”

Out of the blue, and with great manic cheerfulness, he’d demand in his best R rolling German accent:  “have you rrrelatives in Cherrrrrmany?”.

In relation to nothing in particular he might say “up your nalgas with a meat hook.”   Years later I’d learn the definition of nalgas [1].

Once in a while he’d burst forth with a string of words like “Tanganyika!  Tuskegee!  Brrrritish Emmmmpire!”  

He would raise his fist and say “Lumumba died for freedom.”  (He did, actually).

In closing a chat with a colleague from the Human Relations Unit, or any kind of ironic hipster he might run into, he’d say “keep the faith.” 

More than once, to my mother’s pretended amusement (she’d smile, tears in her eyes, nostrils flared) he’d say “Ehvvy, if I had your nose full of dimes, I’d never have to work again.”   

He said, more than once, “he has all the attributes of a dog, except loyalty.”

He had many occasions, since he provided me with much to complain about, to remind me “you’d complain if you were hung with a new rope.” 

If he was ever asked to guess what someone had bought him as a present he would immediately say “a combination egg and beet slicer.”   

Said in a disturbingly martial spirit, rather than with his usual ironic delivery: “you and your sister might win this battle, but you’re going to lose the war.”   What the fuck was up with that?   It was said about things like refusing to drink four glasses of cow’s milk a day.   

“Easy for you to make fun of a dead man, wise ass,” said the skeleton of my father snappishly.  “It’s just like you, too.  Wait until you’re dead, and your son writes a memoir of your life– oops, I forgot, you don’t have a son, do you? You have a cat you call the Baron.”   

The Baron is not my son, I had a paternity test done.  Besides, I work for the Baron.  What kind of father does that make me?   

“Don’t get me started, you ungrateful bastard,” said the skeleton.  “By the way, Elie, do you realize that the two bags of rituxan they infused into your arm recently cost more than twice what you paid for law school?”

Obviously, but you knew I knew that.   

“Droll,” said the skeleton of my father.  “Meditate some more, there are more of my memorable phrases you will remember later.  If not, I’ll try to remind you.  Now if you will excuse me….” and with that, his mouth still open, he ostentatiously fell asleep.






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