Hi fella, I hope you don’t mind me pulling up a spot on this bench. Nice to sit for a while in the sun, feel it warm up these old bones of mine. Hey, nice suit, by the way. What is it, Italian made? Yeah, I can always tell quality when I see it. You might not know it to look at me now, but I used to be a pretty important guy myself at one time. Mover and shaker, man of the world. Mondo Uomo. Was a time I rubbed elbows with Grace Kelly, Howard Hughes. Flew around from place to place in my own silver airplane, right up there above the clouds. I ate sirloin steak and drank whisky out of crystal glasses. Good whisky, too, ten dollars a glass. Smoked a pipe and wore slippers. Real silk. Used to own this big penthouse apartment in New York City, with a dance floor right out on the rooftop. I’d stay up all night long dancing with chorus girls, drinking with Hemingway and Babe Ruth while Count Basie played the blues.
Those were different times. People would let a man be himself back then. Everybody wasn’t so afraid looking out of place back then. Not so afraid of germs. What’s that your eating? Sushi? No thanks, I’m not that hungry, I just ate yesterday.
Where was I? Sorry, it’s all the pills they’ve got me on. These days doctors don’t want to talk anymore, just make you line up and you open your mouth and they pop a pill into it. I was a doctor myself, back then. Harvard medical school, top of my class. Saved more than one Rockefeller’s life from choking on a chicken bone. Oh, yeah. I was a big wheel back then. Played dice with Fidel Castro, too. Taught Minnesota Fats everything he knew. And I was a good man. Loved my kids. Three boys and one girl. All famous doctors and lawyers and ballet dancers. Suzette, that’s my youngest one. Beautiful just like her mother. Golden hair and blue eyes like the kind of ice you only find at the top of the world. She was a famous ballet dancer. Travelled the world, married a diplomat from France, flew her own plane from city to city. Send me postcards from all the places she’d been. Venice and Bali. She still asks me to travel with her, come and see her at the Royal Ballet. But I don’t like moving around from place to place so much anymore.
Important back then, I was. Wish I had a dollar for every time my name was in the Times. Bought and sold currency. Had lots of money tied up in gold. Had the deeds to diamond mines in my trouser pockets. World leaders would phone me for advice. They’d send big black limousines to pick me up in the middle of the night. But I knew too much. Too many secrets. All about the…
Hey fella, where you going? You haven’t even finished your lunch. Oh, I guess I understand. Pretty busy guy, lots of stuff to do. No time to sit and listen to some old guy talkin’ a lot of crap about the way things used to be. I understand that. I know what’s it like to be busy, have places to be. Secretaries and conference calls. I know all about it, I really do. Because deep down, I’m just like you.