Friday, January 7, 2011

A goon by June

Of course, the many of us who celebrate Christmas know it isn't about the gifts. Still, there’s one certain present that—sorry, sweet family, I feel terribly ungrateful—I wish I’d found under the tree. Or standing, rather, beside it.

You see a perfect example of one in The Godfather. In the early wedding scene, a photographer apparently decides to approach the tables one at a time and take pictures of everyone seated. He takes only one photo, but that shot happens to include Don Emilio Barzini, the head of one of the so-called five families. Before the camera’s flash fades, Barzini makes two gestures. He taps a henchman who’s inches away, then points. The man grabs the photographer. A second man grabs the camera, and they rush the film to their boss, who pulls it from its casing into the light, ruining it. End of problem.

No, I’ve nothing against photographers, certain school shutterbugs excepted. I just want a goon of my own. Is that so much to ask? I’m even giving plenty of notice. Father’s Day, after all, is more than five months away.

The possibilities are myriad. Most problems people have in the world, after all, involve other people. Even Italian friends I have who consider Mafia movies and shows insulting to Italians have to admit this particular notion has a certain attraction to it. And the position is equal-opportunity—only obedience is required. Someone give you a hassle? Tap. Point. End of problem. What’s not to like?

Goons aren’t for just any problem. Sure, I’d be tempted to reach back to my goon—tap, point—when someone at the supermarket checkout decides to argue with the cashier about a debit card that should work even though the machine repeatedly says no. I’d even consider using him when a service technician comes hours later than we were promised.

But the goon is most suited for those everyday situations we face that render us feeling utterly helpless. He’s just right for a visit to the homeowner-insurance agent who was always in my face when trying to selling me cruise tickets, his side business—but appeared to be cruising himself, unavailable, when I needed to submit a claim. Tap. Point.

Take the guy in the men’s room who leaves without washing his hands, his germs on the doorknob anticipating my touch. Tap. Point. The people who blab and play cellphone games throughout a movie I paid to see. Tap. Point. And the driver, while we’re walking walk from our car to the mall, who decides he’s not in a parking lot but on the Autobahn. Lunge for safety. Reach. Tap. Point. My goon will be one good shot.

And who couldn’t use a personal goon in the workplace? Not so I could sit around all day and do nothing—last I checked, I didn’t drive a New York City plow. But I could surely have used one in my first job, in which the brothers who ran the company required employees to sign in each morning with their time…yet never cared to know how late after five, six or seven we needed to stay. Tap. Point. Point.

Before you ask, I truly do understand that while this is the business I have chosen, all this must end. Some day I expect to find myself at Heaven’s pearly gates, awaiting judgment from Saint Peter. He’s bound to look me up in his big book and begin shaking his head, muttering some nonsense about “meting out my own justice.”

My saving grace, though, is how many people leave this planet a day: about 300,000. There’s one set of gates, and one very exasperated-looking guy who probably takes a lot of abuse from a good percentage of people who didn’t appreciate waiting in line on Earth, either, and are letting him know it. I’m not unreasonable. He’s going to take one look at me, then glance at my goon. He’ll whisper in my ear. We’ll shake on it.

It’ll be a win-win, you see. I’ll get to spend eternity with my loved ones. And the line outside will suddenly become a lot more orderly.


  1. One of my favorite scenes in "Goodfellas" is when young Henry's "friends" tell the postman not to deliver any school letters to his house anymore, and do so by sticking the postman's head in a pizza oven. It worked. Yea, I know it's wrong, but still... fun Bell!

  2. So did you want exposed film under the tree? or did I miss something...SP

  3. Thanks for posting as anonymous, I hate to be known as the next older brother who had a goon following him...

  4. All I can say is "LOL"; SP, my goon may have other words with you! Thanks, both of you!

  5. Why not just make them an offer they can't refuse!!