No subject could be more taboo in this time of crisis -- be that the "Attack on America," "America Under Attack" or "America Unites," depending on your network affiliation -- than humor itself (although isn't it strange how much we're seeing Colin Powell laugh?). Even my funniest friends, a motley crew of hairdressers and bartenders who top-shelf our morning bile, had a hard time in our Tuesday assembly trying to make light of the tumbling towers and the grand asbestos chase down the surrounding New York gridlock. "Here comes the Asian lady!" we half cackled, reaching for the nearest noon libation to raise in tasteless drinking-game camaraderie, the CNN-repeated image of the blond-bobbed red suit crouching behind a car becoming yet another desensitized reason to drink early.
Obviously, it's a shame. Obviously, we're alcoholics.
Thankfully, Tabu itself is always -- obviously -- around for a splash of spirited ribbing, and not really taboo at all. On Friday night the ornate watering hole, oft-referenced herein, hosted another of its open-bar, upstairs-VIP parties in honor of something stylish. Not sure what, but something. America, maybe, judging from the Betsy Ross mimeographs taped along the half-walls (minus the Perry Ellis).
By now Tabu and I are like sparring cousins. We snip at each other at the dinner table, then sneak out back an hour later for a joint and a bump and to tell each other how great we look.
"Last time I saw you I was a big whore!" I slur to promotion chanteuse Amy Stanton, referencing a recent shirtless-slut appearance at The Sheraton Four Points swimming pool downtown, which has become the new, straight Parliament House. Two daiquiris and two ex-boyfriends later, there surely were hands down my trunks.
"I don't even know why you bother wearing clothes!" blisters Amy, hawking for just how long it will be before I lose them tonight.
Don't count on it. Jim Faherty is in the house, peddling his Baraka edibles like Ronald McDonald on a late-night bourbon bender, and I think I might have made out with him before. As we all know by now, Jim's a bit dry under the heating lamp lately, having been indicted for some scam involving a friend, a McDonald's Monopoly game piece, and, well, a million dollars. It all came to light on a Tuesday morning, but was swiftly -- and for him, thankfully -- buried beneath Trade Center rubble and Asian-lady drinking games.
"I want to make fun of you in my column," I proffer, still fully clothed. "There's nothing funny going on this week but you."
That is, as long as I don't disrobe.
Jim, the salt-n-pepper good sport that he is, jumps at the chance. The ubiquitous Hamburglar has a fairly good sense of irony anyway, although perhaps he might want to consult a lawyer prior to one of my liquored languorous tongue-lashings. OK, maybe he has. He's not returning my calls since I walked away, obviously wanting some fries with my shake.
Before I did, however, he consented to be interviewed in true Faherty fashion with an "I'm tired of this shit. I'd love to." Promising that we'd talk later, I suggested some McRepartee to which he might eventually want to reply, "No comment." And since he said I could, I'll just fill in the blanks.
"So, say the Hamburglar and two Fry Guys are walking past a hotel on Park Place. Would you advise them to wobble further up the road (past the Asian lady behind the car, of course) to a more scenic million-dollar lodging on Board-walk?"
"No comment," he would have replied.
"What's the exact distance between passing 'Go' and going 'straight to jail'?"
"And just how much would you pay for a 'Get out of jail free!' card? Would you sell your soul to the Burger King?"
"No comment," and so on. Journalism is especially fun when it doesn't really happen. Which, I suppose, is what Jim's purporting anyway: that nothing really happened. He was trading the suspicious game piece in for a friend. He never saw a penny. He's still flipping burgers.
Anyway, what has really happened this week is a huge suspension of pop disbelief, with everything from the Emmys to Sunday football falling beneath the sensitive hairline of Peter Jennings' war commentary. Of course, for me, that meant more time to immerse myself in martyred sadness, eventually culminating in another worthless attempt at resuscitating my thrice-dead relationship with my own emotionally waxed likeness of John Wayne. I'm still pushing the elevator-up button on the toppled World Trade towers, predictably, uttering nonsensical "I'll always love you's" while he crafts rote expressions of indifference. Somebody has to make all of this funny. Somebody has to remove his clothes.
And even in the absence of the Asian lady, this American tragedy is always desperate for an excuse to drink.