OMGabe

by Gabe Berman – the author of Live Like a Fruit Fly

The Long Island Medium

Unequivocally, I received a message from my dad tonight.

Some people will chalk this up to coincidence or randomness and I have to tell you, I have as much concern about that as I do for the dreams of mosquitos.

I was going to meet a friend at the diner to have one of our late night chats about life but she had to cancel at the last minute because her friend was going into labor and didn’t want to be alone in the hospital.

So, I stretched out on the couch and switched on the TV.

I clicked around until I found thirty minutes left of Apocolypto.

And although I wasn’t in the mood for the violence and stress of it, I tossed the remote to the side and watched until the closing credits.

I did it for my dad.

He loved this movie so much.

It was his cinematic crack pipe – he couldn’t put it down once it was in front of him. Regardless if my mom rushed out of the room frustratedly saying, “Harold, how many times are you going to watch this?”

She hated the violence and stress of it.

And since I decided to keep it on for my dad, I secretly hoped in my heart for a serendipitous message to reveal itself because, between you and I, I was suffering from an unspecific uneasiness underneath my skin.

But I got jipped.

No wisdom. No insights. No nothing, aside from Mel Gibson’s shmucky name staining the screen.

But as destiny and/or fate would have it, the movie started over again and since Apocolypto is one of those flicks you’d normally only catch from the middle, I let it roll.

And then, within the first few minutes, a message from the heavens was revealed in the lines of dialogue between the village elder Flint Sky and his son Jaguar Paw.

– Flint Sky: Those people in the forest, what did you see on them?

– Jaguar Paw: I do not understand.

– Flint Sky: Fear. Deep rotting fear. They were infected by it. Did you see? Fear is a sickness. It will crawl into the soul of anyone who engages it. It has tainted your peace already. I did not raise you to see you live with fear. Strike it from your heart. Do not bring it into our village.

That was my dad talking to me. Right there.

I shut off the TV and here I am writing to you now, with a few tears in my eyes.

Fear, I’m going to conquer it.

I owe it to myself.

I owe to others.

I’m already almost there.

love/thanks and fearlessness,
gb

Love Looks Like This

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If Not You, Then Who?

About an hour ago, I saw a young woman and a little girl, who I’m guessing was her daughter, pick trash out of a dumpster behind a shopping center as I was driving home from Mother’s Day dinner.

Holy fuck, were they scrounging for food?

I quickly scribbled a few mental notes at the red light: my mom’s first Mother’s Day in seventy years without a mother. One day, as sure as sugar cookies, I will be motherless as well. And a tie in with these two poor souls dumpster diving.

But then, like the ice bucket challenge, these thoughts crashed over me, “You’re just going to write about this?? Do something about it NOW!”

I pulled a u-ey across the double yellow line with the precision of a stunt driver and then screeched into the shopping center.

I had time, in the seven seconds it took me to make that maneuver, to debate over how I was going to ask them to take a twenty-spot from me. And I also had time to remember that the universe, in its magnificence, would choreograph the dialogue perfectly so I had nothing to worry about.

But as soon as I got to the dumpster, they were getting into their relatively not so ancient Toyota Camry.

Maybe they just threw something out accidentally earlier in the night.

Or maybe, well, who the hell knows what. As long as they weren’t looking for sustenance, I’m alright with whatever.

So, what’s the moral of this story?

There isn’t one.

But thankfully, regardless of how much I’m succeeding or not succeeding, I at least can put my head down on the pillow tonight with no regrets.

Exactly as I do, night after night after night.

Thank you for taking the time to read these words and Happy Mother’s Day to all,
gb

P.S. The picture posted is of me, my mom and my dog Chuckles. But I was still marinating inside of her belly.

Get Oprah’s favorite book of all time here (although, as of today, she’s unaware of this fact):
Love Looks Like This

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Lets Do The Time Warp…Again

It’s 10:52 PM on a Saturday night and an old man is sitting all alone at Starbucks and it’s breaking my heart.

But then again, it’s 10:52 PM on a Saturday night and here I sit, all alone as well.

I’m pretty okay though.

And I hope he is too.

Maybe he’s me in the future?

If so, I hope there’s someone, somewhere, who truly loves him.

this is what your mom wants for Mother’s Day (she called me last night and told me):
Love Looks Like This

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Stop What You’re Doing For A Sec And Read This…Now 

Hey you..
Normally I’d say: you are loved. 
But today I’m removing the “d” and saying: you are love. 
You are love. 
Yes, you. 
I’m speaking directly to you. 
You are love. 
Everything else is a story. 
And not a good one. 
So, let it go and trust me on this. 
Please. 
You are love. 
Thank you.  

 

No Sleep Till…

My dad would have known in two seconds.

In less than that.

But my mom wasn’t exactly sure.

“Hey, where in Brooklyn is that?” I asked.

We watched the movie Brooklyn tonight and she didn’t know where this one specific scene was shot.

My dad would have said something like, “That’s the corner of so-and-so and so-and-so. I once worked three blocks away from there. And you see that car? It’s a ’49 Pontiac. My father had one.”

I’m truly grateful to have the opportunity to spend so much time with my mom, but I really missed him being around tonight. More so than usual.

I miss, so much, seeing them on the couch together.

And me, being me, knew full well it wouldn’t last like that forever so I took rolls and rolls of mental photos of my parents falling asleep on each other’s shoulders. It’s just that I was hoping to keep those photo books in storage for as long as possible.

But as my dad was fond of quoting, “The best laid plans…”

And listen, I know I’ve been writing about my dad being dead for a few years already. But if you haven’t experienced losing a loved one in such a horrible way, I’m simultaneously envious and relieved for you. But let me just say this – there’s no getting adjusted to it. It’s awful. Always.

I mean, of course I smile and make people laugh and I enjoy existing for the most part, but his absence on the couch is still as shocking as wet sponges hooked up to a car battery.

I’m teary as I type this and got teary earlier when I couldn’t watch him watch the movie.

But these weren’t the only two times I cried tonight.

I also lost it a little when I saw Tony look at Eilis in Brooklyn. He fell in love with her, deeply, before he was even conscious of it and it was portrayed so perfectly and delicately and beautifully.

I’ve been in love like that and it’s the goddamn greatest ever, but that wasn’t what pushed tears through my tear ducts.

I cried because I’ve loved like that. And I’m in love like that, everyday. Incessantly. With just about everything beautiful. And that made me cry when I realized, for the first time really, that’s all I have.

That’s all I have.

Love.

That’s all I got to offer. And I know, thoroughly, down to my bone marrow, that it will never, ever be enough in this world.

And that’s sad.

It’s just so sad for so many reasons.

But at least I know why I’m here. Finally.

So, if you’re reading this now, there’s a pretty good chance that I love you. Whoever you are. And if you’re thinking these are just words, think again.

Please.

thank you,
gb

Love Looks Like This

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Abre Los Manos

Genetics, man.

Thank God for genetics.

Those little chromosomes deliver unexpected gifts at times.

Like today.

I went to Mollie’s house.

She’s ninety.

My bubbie’s little sister.

They have the same exact hands and I never realized that until today.

I mean, why would I?

But Bubbie has been dead since January and it’s nice to see her hands again.

So nice.

Mollie is sitting next to me as I write this and she’s reading my new book Love Looks Like This.

Although I make everyone else in my family buy it if they want to see it, I gave her my personal copy.

I really loved her as a kid, and of course I still do, so, she deserves it.

She read it twice from beginning to end and now she’s fixated on the front cover.

And get this, she just said, “Ohh! These long shadows. I see what you mean now. Love looks like this. Love is endless.”

That wasn’t my intended message when I designed the cover but nevertheless, she’s right.

Love is endless.

(And so are post-Passover matzah crumbs)

Love Looks Like This

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To All The Jews I’ve Loved Before

Dear New IPhone,

Yes, you rock.

Obviously.

But if you really want to impress me out of my pants, step up your technology to this –

“Hey Siri, text every Jew in my phone: Happy Passover!”

There’s just too many of them in there. And I don’t have the time or patience to go one by one.

And if I send a group text, even with a P.S. of, “Please don’t respond to this group text. Text me back separately,” I’ll invariably get a message from one of my hoodlum friends like,
“Hey fuckface! How are your balls?”

And my ninety year old aunt Mollie, in Boca Raton doesn’t need to see that.

However, just in case you’re interested Mollie, they’re just fine.

Happy Passover everyone!

And to all a goodnight.

love/thanks,
gb

Live Like A Fruit Fly

Love Looks Like This

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Fuck Pride

It took three tries and two long pauses between those tries to get the goddamn sentence out of my mouth.

“Remember the music from that movie daddy…”

“Remember the music from that movie daddy would…”

“Remember the music from that movie daddy would…always whistle. Once Upon A Time In America with Noodles? With De Niro playing Noodles?”

My mom checked back into the old files in her mind and within a second, smiled in acknowledgment.

And after I almost cried three times, I smiled too.

It was a nice moment for us to share.

We watched Tarantino’s latest flick together tonight. The Hateful Eight. Ennio Morricone composed the music for it. And for the Once Upon. My dad would randomly whistle a song from that score while reading the New York Times. And then he’d look up from the paper and say to me, “Hey, Noodles!”

I wonder when I’ll stop being eviscerated by these memories.

Hopefully never.

love/thanks,
gb

My new book – Love Looks Like This

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Paralyze The Mother Fucker

“Hey, your dog is looking pretty tired,” I said loud enough for this guy to hear through his headphones.

He was riding a bike on the boardwalk and his leashed dog was doing his best to keep up.

Looking down at the dog he yelled back to me, “He’s fine. He can go twenty miles without breaking a sweat.”

That may be true, but the dog might have been on his last legs.

Might have been.

I wasn’t exactly sure.

And that’s the only reason I didn’t deliver karma.

My first thought, really, was to rip him from the bike like a samurai would dismount an opponent from a horse. Then, chain him to my car and drag him around town for a few miles.

But I know me. And by the time I found a chain and figured out how to actually chain it to my bumper, I would have forgiven him.

So, I quickly replaced that idea with a more immediate one: ripping him from the bike, samurai style, and breaking his spine over my knee. Really.

Wait.

Just wait.

Gabe, didn’t you just put out a book called Love Looks Like This? Don’t you always say that we’re all connected?

Yes and yes.

This is love. Tough love. Very tough love.

And, yes, we are in fact all connected. This world, this universe, is one giant organism. And sometimes I’m a brutal white blood cell. Removing cancers from our body. Taking names.

Someone has to stand up for that dog.

If not me, who?

Right, there’s you. Thank God for you. Really.

justice is ours,
gb

Love Looks Like This

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My True Love

It burns like a bitch.

Suntan lotion in the eye.

The worst.

But yesterday it stung sweetly.

Because it’s a sign of the upcoming summer.

Ahh, summer.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Is there anyone in your life who is simply in love with love? Love Looks Like This

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