the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Is it Tom Cruise’s Sport Jacket?


I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but I haven’t been adding my “A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month”‘s at the end of my posts for the last few days. The reason is because when I look at my archives, I see that the first anniversary of my father’s passing is coming up, and I’m avoiding looking at the archives. The last few days have been depressing. Since the Jewish calendar is different than ours, my father’s memorial day was on Monday. That’s right — on 9/11. I lit my father’s “yahrzeit” candle in Los Angeles, and my mother lit hers in New York. I couldn’t deal with reading all of the 9/11 blog posts until Tuesday, which made me depressed two days in a row.

Even my recent posts seem grouchy. Sophia’s job has been extended another week or two and I’m forgetting what a woman smells like. I would be miserable if my friend Barry didn’t come to town on business. He is a friend from New York who I have known since kindergarten. Yesterday, we met up for dinner.

Remember when you were a kid you could spend the whole day having “adventures,” but when you got home and your mother asked, “What did you do?” you answered, “Nothing.”

It was that kind of “wild” night.

The night actually did start out with a bang. We were stopped by the police on La Cienega Boulevard. The reason: My registration sticker was one month old! Woo-hoo, I’m a rebel! I looked the cop in the eyes and said, “F**k you LAPD pig! I’m no Rodney King!” And then I meekly said, “I’ll take care of this immediately, Officer,” and he let me go.

Next up: Barry thought he had an ear infection. Rather than going to the hospital, he suggested we go to this “walk-in” clinic in Beverly Hills. I didn’t even know they had these things. We met with some friendly Iranian doctor, who gave Barry a prescription for antibiotics. We headed over to Walgreens for the pills, but they said it would take three hours.

Three hours! What do two Jewish guys from Queens do? We walked to Pico Kosher Deli and ate some of our favorites. We flirted with the cute waitress and tried to figure out if she was Jewish or a non-Jewish actress acting Jewish as her role of deli waitress.

As we ate our soup, we discussed 9/11 and why so many people think Bush knew about the attacks ahead of time and did nothing, wanting it to happen as an excuse to go into Iraq. We decided that the only way for this conspiracy to work would be if both the Bush and the previous Clinton administrations were in cahoots, which would at least show some bipartisan cooperation.

After our meal, we discovered this cool used clothing store that sold wardrobe pieces from major films and television shows. Most of the clothes was very high-end and looked like they had only been worn once or twice. Barry bought a nice Perry Ellis sport jacket for $35 that originally starred in Mission Impossible 2.

We went back to Walgreens, but still had an hour to kill. So, we spent the time wandering in and out of the aisles, playing with products. We talked about which razors we both used. We agreed that Swifter is overpriced for what it does. When we noticed that Barry had a mustard stain on his shirt, we experimented with different “spot removers,” but nothing worked. We read Us Weekly, Star Magazine, and Black Men Magazine. Finally, Barry got his antibiotics and downed it with some Gatorade.

We hung around for another half hour, sitting on the trunk of my car. Barry got cold, so he put on his new sport jacket. We wondered who could have worn the sport jacket in Mission Impossible 2. Was it Tom Cruise’s sports jacket? Anthony Hopkins? Or was it just some extra in the background?

There was only one way to find out!

We walked over to Blockbuster, rented Mission Impossible 2, and went back to my place. We watched the movie in slow motion, our only purpose being to FIND THAT SPORT JACKET! Unfortunately, this was so tedious a job that we both fell asleep with the TV still on.

Fun!  Eat your heart out, Sophia.


  1. Pants

    That kind of wild night is my favorite. Drug stores can be so much fun with the right friend.

  2. wendy

    So this is one reason I love living in Colorado. I have NEVER, almost 8 years of living here, since our move from LA, waited more than 20 minutes..for a perscription. Half an hour…tops..for a doctors appt. And I know you wont believe it…but the first time I got a CO drivers license, I did it at the MALL, in a kiosk..and it took 10 minutes..I left with it in my hand. One more thing..How do you tell if one IS Jewish…or simply ACTING jewish? I’m a shiksa (sp?) through and through..educate me..oh Master Jew…

  3. 3rdtimesacharm( 3T )

    *giggling* You wild and crazy young guys! What a night out Neil! I’m sure Sophia is dully, I mean duly envious.

    You do have me curious as to who wore the sport jacket in Mission Impossible II. 😉


  4. Rhea

    I loved your night out! Your description made me feel as I was right there with you. I’m movin’ to L.A. And I really like Swifters.

  5. Sarah

    Wild night indeed.
    Anniversaries of death are extremely difficult, so do take it easy on yourself. Can you afford (money and time-wise) to jet-set it off to NY to see Sophia for a weekend?
    Thinking of you.

  6. Charming, but single

    This reminds me of nights I had with some buddies in college. We’d always get together on Sunday evenings for no reason and have the most random fun. Like going all around town looking for Vanilla Coke or a certain movie … true friends don’t need elaborate plans or things to do, because they’ll find a way to relate.

    Good post. 🙂

  7. fringes

    Glad you had a good time in the midst of it all. Great timing with your friend coming into town.

    Women smell like cookies.

  8. chantel

    Sorry about the double-anniversary, I know it can be tough.
    On a good note: If things fall through with you and Sophia, it sounds like Barry would be a shoe-in.


  9. Neil

    Wendy — It’s all in the movement of the ass.

  10. EEK

    Sounds like a day well spent. I think you should fly out to New York for a long weekend. That’d be a nice pick-me-up.

    You can spend your Saturday loitering aimlessly around one of the Duane Reed pharmacies.

  11. othurme

    “Wendy — It’s all in the movement of the ass.”

    No amount of money spent on acting classes can buy you that lesson.

  12. Jody

    “It’s all in the movement of the ass”

    Considering ever since I can remember was the joke about how to tell a jewish girl from a non-jewish girl. The jewish girl doesn’t move.

  13. Brian

    The walk-in clinic… You can always rely on the ol’ doc-in-a-box.

  14. Daisy Mae

    You are just two wild and crazy guys! opps, sorry, wrong movie.

    But sadly, your evening out sounds way more exciting than my evenings. I live vicariously through others.

    And as for forgetting the way a woman smells, I can tell you how a mother in law smells. It’s been 3 days since she left and our guest room still has that old lady smell. I only wish I could forget the way a woman (or mother in law) smells.

  15. Rabbit

    All the time you spent in the drugstore and you never thought to do shots of NyQuil?

  16. Roberta

    I’m sorry for your loss, still, and again.

    Your adventure is like the most endearing thing I’ve ever read.

    Weird note about me — how I move my ass has changed drastically since I’ve lost weight. (Unlike Al Roker, who still moves through space like the big fat guy he used to be, I have adjusted.) But it makes me wonder; am I more or less (no pun) the Jewess?

  17. Leese

    …You party animal you…

  18. Dustin

    Who gets pulled over for having one-month over due registration stickers!?!?!? You got racially profiled my jewish friend.

  19. Viscountess of Funk

    I can’t believe you’re not home in bed recouperating from that wildly sinful evening of excess and debauchery.
    Seriously, I am sorry about 9/11 coinciding with the anniversary of the death of your father. I can’t imagine losing Moparman (my Dad). Did the spot come out?

    I also undersand about watching MI2 just to see the sport coat. I have a friend who was an extra in “Paint Your Wagon” with Lee Marvin. It took me hours to watch the stupid thing because I kept slowing it down to look for my friend, who, to my knowlege, I never saw. Good times.

  20. Neil

    Actually, Monday was only the Jewish day of memorial for my father, not the real 1st anniversary, which is coming up, which is right before the holiday of Yom Kippur, where there is another memorial service for the year! Talk about a religion that likes to make you feel miserable. If it weren’t for the nice asses, I would become Catholic.

  21. Neil

    Uh, just thought about that for a minute. Change that to Protestant.

  22. Mr. Fabulous

    If memory serves, women smell like brownies, binaca, and cheap gin.

  23. madeleine

    good night out, then? liking the slow motion movie disaster. sounds kinda soporific, though. it was on the cards really.

  24. Neil

    Exactly, Mads, soporific — as “something that causes sleep, as a medicine or drug,” which is something I knew and didn’t have to look up in Google.

  25. deezee

    sounds like someone needs a weekend in NYC… 😉

  26. sandra

    Neil, you’re CRAZY!!!

    But crazier still? Perry Ellis as part of the MI:2 wardrobe. It seems so…like a calm brand.

  27. Neil

    Now, I’m sitting here wondering if I could have had the same fun evening with Sophia.   Why can’t I visualize it?   Men — can you see your wife or girlfriend hanging out with you in a drugstore for over an hour and not buying anything?

  28. momentary academic


    I got one word for you.


  29. Bre

    That night? that sounds absolutely adorable.

  30. Roberta

    Regarding Sophia as a drugstore cowboy… hard to really picture. I mean, I can picture it, sure, I saw Good Will Hunting, and their charming shopping excursion first date. Trying on crazy glasses and LAUGHING together!
    But the reality is, it costs me $50 to walk into any drug store. Minimum.

  31. elle

    You guys are waaaay to wild for me. Just animals!!!
    (About your dad)
    They’re always with us.
    *big hug*

  32. Tara

    I am so not a shopper. I could easily go into any store and not buy anything – especially if I had someone fun to do stupid things with instead.

    Too bad there wasn’t a photo booth so you guys could have dorky drugstore souvenirs.

    I’m sorry that you have to go through this time of mourning. I was ten, so I don’t remember what day my mom died. I just reflect on her birthday – which is much easier because it’s Valentine’s Day.

  33. modigli

    So, is this is the Neilochka version of “Stand by Me”?

  34. Dagny

    I understand about your 9/11 issues. I know you have read my post about that time in my life so I won’t rehash it here. Needless to say, it was not a happy time for me — without the attacks. Every year when the anniversary rolls around, I am reminded about that dark period of my life. I don’t need any reminders because I live with it all every day.

    As for your “wild” evening out, you obviously need me to head south. If you had been hanging out with me, you would not have had the run-in with the cops until the end of the evening. They probably would have tossed around the words “lewd and lascivious.” And this would be no disrespect to Sophia — who I think is cool beyond words. It would have simply have been a misunderstanding. Something like, “When I dared him to run down the street in his new boxer briefs and to kiss everyone, I really didn’t think he would do it.” A little eyelash batting and we would have walked away from the situation so we could cause mayhem elsewhere.

  35. V-Grrrl

    Loved this.

    Glad you and Barry didn’t buy condoms and have a water balloon fight with them…

  36. anne

    You crazy youngs, you.

  37. Elisabeth

    What a nice post! Life serves us the bitter, and the sweet and, somehow, most of us deal with it.

    I’m forgetting what a woman smells like…
    That was a very nice line, a bit sad too.

    Your peregrinations with Barry were definitely part of the sweet stuff of life.

  38. justrun

    It occurred to me while reading this that you probably did one of the best things you could to get through those depressing days by hanging out with an old friend and passing the time.
    My thoughts are with you.

  39. TE

    Great night out! Are you sure you don’t live in some rural Mississippi town? Oh right! We don’t have a deli.

    And I feel for you, too. My dad died on Memorial day weekend ’01. We buried him the day before Bush and Clinton brought the WTC down. My “go to” guy was gone.

    I’d love to tell you it gets better after a few years, but I’d be lying. Sorry!


    Kindergarten friends are the best. I love that ya’ll played with spot removers in the store.

  41. Lynn

    Hi Neil.
    Reading you this morning and wishing you well.
    Glad you had a fun night.

  42. treespotter

    sometimes i forgot how good you really are.

    and uh, you know, so many friends and none of you lot care to help neil spot the jacket? what shame!!

    Sorry i can’t help, never even seen MI2. What does Anthony Hopkins do?

  43. 2nd Pearl Past the Post

    Sounds like my idea of a wild night out. But your forgot the kosher sours gummy worms.

    Would a breast post help? No scents, no sense. it’s a good thing.

    Not mine of course.

  44. NSC

    Tom Cruise is like 5’7″ so unless the jacket is about that size Tom didn’t wear it.

  45. Dana

    Having a friend like that is the greatest. I miss mine–she lives in London. My son and I like to hit the magazine rack while waiting, too (they wisely placed it right next to the pharm.). We read Mad and laugh at the stupidity, and he likes to find the Dr. Phil in Oprah Magazine and loudly proclaim how Dr. Phil is an idiot and he hates him sooo much.

    Re: the asses: You’ve really ruined it for me, Neil, giving away the answer. My women friends and neighbors are Jewish and now I will not be able to stop staring and they will think I’m even stranger than I really am. Even my doctor! I’ll have to put off the appointments for a while.

  46. Lux Lisbon

    What a great story! (even though it made me home sick for denver and my BFF)

  47. communicatrix

    Wait–does Barry smell like a woman? Did I miss something here?

    BTW, that store is FANTASTIC!!!! The communicatrix gets many of her chic, high-priced items from there, gently used. Apparently, some chick on Party of Five and Without a Trace and I wear the same size.

  48. Sarcomical

    whoa. after a night of bleh like that you totally should have made brownies together. that would have tied it all up nicely.

  49. better safe than sorry

    haven’t seen MI2, so i can’t help you there.
    try not to stress out about your dad’s anniversary coming up, he wouldn’t be happy if he knew how you were feeling and your mom probably wouldn’t be happy about it either. if you’re not ready to leave the links, then i hope you’re at least reading what you wrote. everything i’ve ever read that you’ve written about your dad has been amazing, that’s something that he would be so proud of and that’s what i think you should be thinking of.

  50. ElizaF

    My husband reckons that women start to smell like wet washed dogs if they sit in front of open fires for too long. So if you have ever smelled Sophia in front of an open fire, then borrow a dog, give it a wash and breathe in the nostalgia. 🙂 E.

  51. mckay

    i can relate to the viscountess’s comment. my aunt was in a party scene of the original It’s a Wonderful LIfe, and i can never see her in it. i’ve had her pointed out to me, but i don’t remember where. i feel like my family was pulling my leg. oy.

    what’s the name of the costume resale shop? i’d love to spend the day up in LA and visiting that place.

    nice tweed. very english looking. pip pip.

  52. deannie

    ahh, Neil, I extend my sympathies to you for the loss of your father. I had noticed actually about the vanishing archival links and wondered.

    How wonderful that Barry was in town. I have actually done just these sorts of things…it is also fun for us girlz to stand in the makeup aisle and review the latest weird eye shadows and other potions for wrinkles, etc. Have you ever tried to count how many familiar products are ‘New and Improved’?


  53. Caitlinator

    Sometimes those nights are the absolute best, particularly when you most need a good friend.

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