Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Department of amplification

A couple of weeks ago I wrote on this blog that the only time I had ever been fired from a job was at a recording studio in New York more than a half-century ago. Not true. I forgot. This morning I remembered another gig from which I was also bounced. It goes something like this.

A quarter-century (or so) ago, I worked for a presti-di-ji-ja---oh, hell, magician---by the name of Richard J. Potash (aka: Ricky Jay) at something called the Mulholland Library of Conjuring and the Allied Arts in Los Angeles (a snooty way of saying "Magic Museum"). He hired me as an assistant librarian at the place solely because I happened to know who the mid-19th century professional French farteur, Le Petomane, was. No other reason. Whether I could type or spell was not even a consideration.

I could probably fill a book with (mostly) negative recollections about the year or so I was in Potash's employ. One particlar remembrance I have is of a CBS summertime (lowest viewership expected) TV not-so-special in which he, ahem, starred. His tarsome forte was doing tricks by throwing playing cards at things. The show was shot at some restored film theater in the wilds of Orange County. All I can actually recall about the affair is that the later videotaped punch-ins for botched tricks must have cost nearly as much as the actual production itself.

Basically, I was canned as the result of doing my job properly---Potash eventually won some kind of major award as the result of my actions---which pissed him off no end. The incident happened to mark one of the few times in my life when I responded with a comeback of which I still remain somewhat proud. No l'espirit de l'escalier for me. I said to him, "May you die of cancer without me." I then turned on my heels and (I can only call it) flounced out of his office. I still have no idea of from where my response cameth. Alas, if what I meant by my outburst was a curse upon the life of the near-morbidly obese Potash, it seems not to have worked. It appears that there is a new documentary about/with him of one sort or another. Twelve viewers on IMDB have, so far, awarded it a 3.3 stars rating out of a possible 10. Thus, perhaps, giving his good buddy, playwright David Mamet (The Anarchist, Phil Spector, etc), a run for Potash's money in the recent boxoffice-bombs sweepstakes.

I forget but I never forgive.

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