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OFF THE CUFF , 1998

 

by Syd Benowitz

P. T. Barnum said there wassyd
a sucker born every minute - an understatement to be sure, but a sound observation nevertheless.
I’m certain I more than qualify for the designa?? on, not that I’m proud
of it. Many years ago while
shopping in the local Boston
Store, I chanced upon
“A ONCE IN A LIFETIME EXTRA SPECIAL
SALE” on corduroy shirts - below
cost at $5.00 each. Of course I
had to take advantage of this great
bargain - a deal you couldn’t refuse
- and I fought my way through the
crowd of other idiots and bought a
grey corduroy shirt.
Almost every shirt I buy
needs to have the sleeves shortened,
and my new purchase was no
excep?? on. I brought it to the tailor
for the required circumcision. Even
though the altera?? on cost more
than the garment, I felt I had made
a wise investment since in four or
fi ve years I might need another
shirt.
The following week I picked
up my corduroy bargain and tried
it on for size. I immediately no-
?? ced that the right cuff bu?? oned
on the inside instead of the outside
of the sleeve. Apparently the tailor
had made a mistake. I returned to
the shop and said “Sam, you really
screwed up - you put this cuff on
backwards - but there’s no rush -
this is a heavy shirt and winter is six
months away.” Sam examined the
shirt and said “Syd, it’s impossible
to sew this cuff on any other way.
The problem is that you bought
a shirt with two le?? sleeves.” I
thought he had gone beserk, but
a?? er careful examina?? on I realized
he was right. I couldn’t return
it, especially a?? er the mu?? la?? on.
But I had a great idea. “Sam,” I said,
“how about making this into a short
sleeve shirt? That way the problem
will be solved.”
“It’s your money - I’ll do it.”
“Okay,” he reluctantly replied. The next week I returned
to the tailor shop for my customized
garment. I now had seventeen
dollars invested but at least it was
wearable. I proudly showed it to my
wife who immediately exclaimed,
“Whoever heard of a winter shirt
with short sleeves? Maybe you
should get your overcoat altered to
match - and while you’re at it cut
the fi ngers off your gloves. If you
keep ge?? ng these bargains we’ll
end up in the poor house, or at the
very least, you’ll lose your shirt!”
Well I didn’t lose it, I never
wore it, and very soon gave it away.
I s?? ll feel my solu?? on was logical,
albeit imprac?? cal. But hey, nobody
is perfect, and I s?? ll have a few
good ideas up my sleeve!

What is a Memoir?

by Geoff Carr

In days of yore there was a man named Syd Benowitz. There exists a great personal history written by him as a member of the NOVEL APPROACH TO MEMOIR class. Today you will be introduced to onegoeff of his memorable parables.
Some memoirs areserious,
some sad. Others are written as childhood experiences-first days of school, the birth of a foal,
or a puppy or a sibling. Special moments like the wedding of a child or buying the perfect dress. What grandparenthood
means to you. Silly moments like losing your house key and the mental gymnastics used to
find it. Is there any reader or writer who hasn’t had this problem? Doesn’t this remind
you of your life? The examples are endless.
In the MEMOIR class you will meet people willing to share experiences. The more you hear or read, the more you realize how much we share feelings and memories.
The more we do this, the more we come to understand that we may not be as unique as we thought we were. Maybe you will find yourself!
Now read Syd’s 15-year-old memoir.