I'd Like to Say...
Updated: Jul 30
I’d like to say my best friend, Claudia, and I are eating at Le Bernardin on 51st Street in Manhattan. But I can’t because we’re eating at a pizza stand in the garment district. The reason we’re eating at a pizza stand instead of Le Bernardin is because of the Making Money Club, where a dozen women got together to research and invest money in eco-socially-responsible-LBGTQ-friendly-politically-correct companies. The members, except for us, were prudish, wore business suits, had short coiffed hair, got mani pedis regularly, and slung the latest Gucci bags over their shoulders filled with credit cards, cash, iPads and iPhones. Claudia and I had faux Gucci bags filled with Kleenex, mini-pads, and cell phones that couldn’t keep a charge. We got invited to join the exclusive group because Claudia convinced everyone we were brilliant marketers even though our personal bank accounts suggested otherwise.
Wednesday, Claudia and I were to give our first presentation highlighting a company to invest in. Tuesday night–late–we sat down in front of my MacBook Air with a bottle of Chardonnay. Two hours later after some very serious Google searching, a popup came out of left field like a drag queen at a monastery. Lubricated condoms, thin, ultra-thin and invisible condoms. Double ecstasy condoms. It was obvious that Trojan condoms would be a good investment.
“Really?” Claudia sighed with minimal confidence. “Condoms?”
“Yes! Visualize our country, after the ‘60s, still in a sexual revolution. Unplanned pregnancies and STDs are on a collision course with Trojan Condoms.”
We spent the rest of the night working on our Prezi and another bottle of Chardonnay. At 2:00am we drew straws to see who would buy condoms. Claudia cut the straws and I drew the short one.
The next day at CVS, after a long deliberative search down the long, cavernous aisles, I whispered to an employee shelving Kotex boxes, “Can you show me where the condoms are?”
“Condoms?” she shouted to the far corners of the store. “What kind of condoms?”
Again, I whispered. “Trojan.”
“They’re in the back,” she hollered.
I wanted to say, “Can we just use sign language?” But didn’t.
“I’ll have to bring them out. Meet you at the front register,” she bellowed and disappeared down the long aisle.
At the front register, not a single customer was in sight. But then the stock girl rolled an old, creaky, six-by-four-foot, wooden case of condoms onto the showroom floor, and a mob descended upon the checkout stand.
“What kind do you want?” she bellowed, as she held up a box of Trojans like a scepter. “There’s blue ones, and ribbed ones, and here’s some red and green ones for Christmas, and some for Hanukkah, and Halloween.”
The gaggle of customers rotated in my direction to observe the stock girl thrusting several boxes of condoms into my arms, which I quickly dislodged into my shopping basket and whispered, “This should do it.” I bought $1500 worth of condoms and a tank of helium and headed home.
“Are we blowing all these condoms up like balloons?” asked Claudia as we stood on the roof top of my apartment building surveying the varieties of condoms.
“Just a dozen. The rest we’ll hand out.”
“Everyone is going home with a hundred condoms?”
“That’s the point, Claudia. We want them to think about condoms every time they open their purse, every time they see a pregnant teenager, every time they…”
“I doubt it. You’ve seen the gabardine they wear.”
I tore open a neatly pressed condom and tossed it to Claudia who slapped it on the helium tank’s nozzle. I turned the valve and the helium shot into the condom, which serendipitously shot off the roof at about Mach 4. A condom, unlike a balloon, has a wide opening that doesn’t fit tightly on a helium tank regulator’s nozzle. Of course–now–that was obvious.
One after another, the condoms torpedoed off the nozzle and landed several hundred feet below on unsuspecting New York pedestrians. We tried everything from fastening the condoms on the nozzle with rubber bands to duct tape to potato chip bag clips, to our contorted twenty condom-clasping phalanges.
A few hundred mishaps later and the last condom was filled to capacity with helium and tethered by a color-coordinated ribbon. Claudia and I, attired in our ‘60s tie-dye mid-drift blouses, bell-bottoms, and peace-loving-hand-painted-glass-blown beads wrapped around our long, black wigs, crammed the “balloons” into the taxi.
The taxi driver sped towards SoHo to the Making Money Club meeting. Halfway there, a condom exploded like a titanium-induced blast. The taxi bounded through several red lights in Little Italy, the wrong way down a one-way street in China Town, across the grass at Columbus Park, made a harrowing U-turn at Park Row, and finally settled at the Confucius Plaza. Convinced that he’d blown a tire, perhaps because we’d suggested the rather obvious, however, misleading conclusion, the taxi driver jumped out to inspect the tires. And then the proverbial light bulb turned on. We had no idea what he was saying, but we intuited that his high-pitched shriek meant that we and our “balloons” were to exit the taxi.
As the taxi’s dust settled, a posse of smirking police officers surrounded us. Because of the melee, Claudia, with wig somewhat intact, looked like Addams Family’s Cousin Itt, and my headband had wound around the bouquet of withering condoms and encased my wrists in peace-loving-hand-painted-glass-blown beads, which conveniently served as dual-purpose handcuffs.
I’d like to say that Claudia and I are eating at Le Bernardin’s on 51st, but I can’t because we’re eating at a pizza stand in the garment district. I’d like to say we have become post-apocalyptic pizza aficionados. But that’s not true. I like to say we got kicked out of the Making Money Club because of the police escort, or because of the bad wigs, or the wilted condoms. I’d like to say…well, let’s just leave it there.