Friday, October 26, 2012

Chazz Palminteri Was Right

Like most Americans, I learn all my life lessons through movies.

And I don’t think there have been many movies that have taught me more things than A Bronx Tale.
You’ve all seen this fine film, haven’t you?  Of course you have.  If not, go rent it now.  Go ahead… I’ll wait.

All done?  Splendid.

A Bronx Tale tells the story of a young man growing up in New York in the 60’s, and how his life and morals are shaped by the teachings of his father, and a local mafia boss who takes him under his wing.

I fucking LOVE this movie.  It’s just so rich with talent, and Chazz Palminteri steals the show as mafia boss/surrogate father Sonny LoSpecchio.

One of the reasons this movie is such a gem for me is because of all the great pearls of wisdom Sonny imparts to young teen Calogero during the course of the film.  He teaches him life lessons about all manner of things…. First loves, vengeance, redemption.

He also teaches us about the costs of losing unworthy people in your life.

In one scene, Sonny glimpses young Calogero chasing down some loser in the street.  When asked why he was doing so, Calogero angrily says that the guy owes him $20 and the kid has been ducking him to avoid paying up.  Sonny looks at Calogero and tells him to let the guy go.  For the cheap cost of $20, Calagero has learned that the other kid is untrustworthy, and not a good friend.  For 20 dollars, he has essentially bought that person off and ensured himself that the kid will never bother him or ask him for money again.  Calogero begins to see the situation in a different light and agrees that he just cut an unwanted person from his life for the low cost of 20 bucks.

I’m always reminded of that scene whenever I lend a friend some money.

In May, I went to Jamaica and a co-worker here, who was born in Jamaica, asked me to pick him up an expensive bottle of rum that you can only get there.

I did as he asked, and when I returned I gave him the bottle and told him how much I paid for it.  He thanked me and told me that he would pay me back at the end of the week, after pay day.

Two weeks went by and I never got a cent.  Every time he passed me in the halls, he again apologized and said he would be paying me soon.

After a month, he stopped me in the cafeteria and handed me some money.  It was half of what the bottle cost me.  He told me that he would get me the other half at the end of the week……

…. That was in July.  I still have received jack shit.

And as much as that might typically make my Sicilian blood boil, whenever I see him now and notice how he quickly turns the corner to avoid meeting my eyes, I am always pleasantly reminded of A Bronx Tale and that, for a relatively cheap cost, this fuckwad has been excised from my life.

I STILL want to donkey-punch him in the nuts, though……


Verdant Earl said...

Had a similar thing happened to me. A friend, who was way more trouble than he was worth, got a DUI one night. Dude actually called me to bail him out, but I was away that entire day so I didn't get the message until after he had made other arrangements. He did, however, need money for fines and lawyers and what not so he came to me with his paws out. I lent him $1,500 knowing it was a bad idea.

Every time I saw him he would regale me with how he was going to pay me back soon. After he finished paying back everyone else. What the fuck is THAT about? Why was I last? Whatever...about a year afterward, he saw me and gave me $300 with a promise of more to come. Over the next six months or so I got back another $400 or so. Then I stopped seeing him around very much. Or when I did, he made some excuse to scoot.

He was bad news anyway. Total loser and the only reason we had become friends is that he was a local bartender and he became a golfing buddy. Once I stopped golfing and stopped hanging out at the crappy bars where he worked, I realized I didn't want him in my life anymore.

I did the math, just like in the movie, and decided that $800 or so was worth it to never have him in my life again.

I ran into him in the parking lot of a grocery store a few months back. We were walking directly at each other so there was no way to avoid a conversation. I was very pleasant, we spoke for about a minute. Then I said my goodbyes and walked away. He called back out saying that we should get together sometime. I looked back over my shoulder, said "Nah, I don't think so" and went on my way. See ya, asshole. Thinking of A Bronx Tale the entire time.

Slyde said...

that was "Sweet n Low Andy", wasnt it?

Chantel said...

An excellent lesson--and I thank God for the times I learn of the assholiness of someone during the FIRST encounter.

Cause damn, I married one by mistake. *sigh* There was like a DECADE of penance for that one.

Slyde said...

yeah, if you can see in 'inner-jerk' of someone when you first meet them, it certainly cuts alot of the aggrovation later down the road, doesnt it?

Heff said...

NOTE TO SELF : Heff now knows TWO DUDES UP NORTH that will NOT ONLY buy me expensive liquor, but will ALSO bail my sorry ass out of jail after I get caught drinking it whilst driving.


Slyde said...

we love ya right back!

but earl loves you in a non-herero way...

Choleesa said...

LOVE that movie...
especially that scene. If Im gonna pay someone to leave, Id rather just give them a 5.

Shelly said...

I think karma's probably already donkey punching him. That movie is one of my husband's faves~

Anonymous said...

Jerry Sandusky did some of the very same.

Yvonne said...

I knew I liked you for a reason! I LOVE A Bronx Tale! It's got humor, drama, violence, redemption -all in in that one movie. And lest we forget, Robert De Niro. -Those are my reasons for loving this movie.

About lending people money or buying something for them that they asked for, with the promise of paying you back -meh! I've learned the hard way that when/if I lend someone money, I don't expect it back. It just saves me grief. If sometime in the future, I'm fortunate to see a dime of that money, then I've hit the jackpot! But in reality, I know I'm know I'm never seeing that money again. Same goes for buying something for someone that asked me to "buy it for me and I'll pay you back" -Sure you will...

Bruce Johnson said...

Mafia lessons are always the best lessons.

LoLy said...

WOW, New to your blog, and I TOTALLY love it, Hell true, you know whom your real friends are :)
I just love that movie too

MarkD60 said...

If you want I can call My Cousin Vinnie and have him whacked.
It's a good movie. My Dad grew up in the Bronx in the 30s and 40s. It was a different planet back then. I remember visiting the Bronx in the 60s

Chris H said...

What a shit thing for him to do. I'd still want to whack him one too.

Happy Mommy said...

How are you doin' Slyde? Did you survive Sandy?

Unknown said...

My favorite scene is when the kid learned from Sonny how to test if his girl really loves him.

You know Lillo's real story, right?

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