Take My Wife…Please

Some days going to New York City feels like that old Henny Youngman joke: Doctor, it hurts when I do that! So don’t do that.

The feelings of envy and jealousy start right around Yonkers when I tune in WFUV. Now that station is a gem and they’ve played my records and had me on the air many many times so no complaints but when I’m driving into the city every record they play is not me, is further proof that I’m nowhere and everyone else in the whole world is putting out way more work than me and playing to thousands of people wherever they go, invited to perform at festivals and events and hey everybody, Courtney Barnett is playing four sold out nights at Bowery Ballroom and I’m in a downward spiral of self-pity and I haven’t even started seeing the fabulous high-rises and gorgeous buildings along the West Side Highway that I’ll never live in. (I get the same feelings looking at the Sunday Times but at least I can fling a paper into the recycling bin).

I had a book-related meeting and so was able to console myself I’m taking action and moving things along and that must’ve made me feel brave and strong because I actually went into the Whole Foods at Union Square. This place is pure intimidation but I desperately needed a bathroom. And then I was sucked in and found myself caressing soy candles “wow they have such sophisticated things here, if I buy one of these candles life will look and smell like a magazine!” Then it was time to check out and I felt pretty befuddled, it was this complex horse paddock system but everyone else seemed so blase and confident I just copied them. When it felt like my turn I casually went to a register.

“You jumped the line,” a man came up behind me at one of the thirty cashiers. “They called 25 and you went from the red line and that’s not how the system works, you should’ve waited.”

“I’m so sorry, I didn’t realize!” I said.

“We don’t do that here!” he continued. “You have to follow the system.”

The cashier stepped in. “Look, she only has two items – I’ll take you next, sir.”

When she handed me my bag , I told the man again that I was sorry.

“I don’t think you are. I think you’re very insincere with that,” he said.

“Okay, I was sorry before. I really was,” I said. “But now I’m not. So fuck you.”

The magic was working! In just over a couple hours, I was a leaner, meaner version of myself.

I was a New Yorker again.

“Good,” the man said.

lady liberty

 Amy Rigby in NYC – Thursdays in May (7, 14, 21 & 28) HiFi Bar 169 Ave A 

22 thoughts on “Take My Wife…Please

  1. andy

    i went to a 4 year old’s birthday party in one of those west side hiway buildings. i realized that i am not a man that day and likely wont be.

  2. john

    You mean like the people in the Trump Towers by the W.Side Highway? We don’t want to be those people. I think there are very few scrappy songwriter types left in Manhattan.

  3. cellsumfrost

    Chump Towers. There are no people there- only parking spaces for cash that is spirited out of the owners’ homelands before their relatives and pals are deposed.

  4. cellsumfrost

    And Whole Foods is just a sneak preview of Hell. Even if subscribe to a religion that doesn’t believe in it.

  5. Hal Davis

    I loved this, but “Don’t do that” was part of Smith & Dale’s “Dr. Kronkheit” sketch, although Youngman, aka the Thief of Bad Gags, might have, er, borrowed it.:

    SMITH: Doctor, it hurts when I do this.
    DALE: Don’t do that.

    Other moments:

    SMITH: Are you a doctor?
    DALE: I’m a doctor.
    SMITH: I’m dubious.
    DALE: I’m glad to know you, Mr. Dubious.

    SMITH: Look at this, doctor.
    DALE: Look at — oh, that there? Did you ever have that before?
    SMITH: Yes, I did.
    DALE: Well, you got it again!

    More, much more, is here:


  6. amyrigby

    I always loved Youngman’s delivery, he and Rodney Dangerfield used to make me howl when I was a kid…I probably didn’t even understand what I was laughing at, it was just the way they said it.

    1. Hal Davis

      Buddy Hackett said, “Ask me what’s the secret of comedy.” Johnny Carson started to say, “What’s the secret of. .. ” “Timing,” Buddy yelled.

      Hackett’s timing was superb. His joke about the guy with a bad neck in a bar, starting at 5:02, is poifick.

  7. Eric Goulden

    We don’t need an swanky apartment on the West Side Highway – we’ve got a house in Catskill and it’s great! And finally enough money to get the roof fixed and everything!

  8. cellsumfrost

    There will be plenty of soy candles in your future (should you really need them). Great news that you are having a book meeting. Keep at it! (PS- I roam through Eataly after having business in that area- just looking at the incredible array of chocolate is far more therapeutic than anything Whole Foods offers, and even if you get a bag of mini Brussels sprouts, blood oranges or espresso, it is still cheaper than a trip to Italy).

  9. yeahanotherblogger

    Speaking of Rodney Dangerfield, I like so many of his jokes. Such as: My psychiatrist told me I’m crazy. I told him “If you don’t mind I’d like a second opinion.” He said “Alright, you’re ugly too!”

    Rodney was a howl.

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