I hope you like potato salad



From the Broadway squad, there was Jeffrey Miloro. The thing I remember most about him was the fact that he almost always was smiling. He had a thick mustache and deeply dimpled cheeks. He loved to play Dungeons and Dragons. We spent many hours in his basement playing D&D. Though, I don't think any of us knew the actual rules. We sort of made it up as we went along. Vince would play because everyone else is playing. He actually hated Dungeons and Dragons. I, on the other hand, loved it because it fed my imagination. Stories of dragons, wizards, and trolls never got old for me. Even now, at this grand age, I still prefer fantasy to regular fiction. Jeff had the nicest house out of all of us, which is why we probably always gathered there. Another bonus was his mom made sweets. Cookies seemed to be her specialty. She'd make a mile-high-pile on the table or scatter them around like pirates booty. But, instead of doubloons there were golden sweet treats. My goodness, she was a master baker. Even with that cigarette hanging out the side of her mouth, she could work the dough. I think she may have even been part Keebler elf.


Jeff's father looked like Elvis Costello. He had the same hairline and thick-framed black glasses. They look so much alike that I thought his dad could have been Elvis Costello's doppelganger. With all the billions of people in the world, we're bound to look exactly like somebody else. I mean, how many DNA combinations can there be? I don't think it's infinite. At some point, things have to repeat. Apparently, my doppelganger is a guy by the name of Jose Clausell. He is a house music producer and DJ. Once in a while, if you get the angle right, you'll find a picture of him that looks exactly like me. One year when I was walking along the beach, I heard a man shouting "Joe! Hey Joe!" from behind me. Of course, I ignored him because I didn't know who the hell he was. Eventually he caught up to me. He thought that I was Jose Clausell.


I am not sure if Jeff had a doppelganger. I thought he looked like a nerdy Tom Selleck. I think that was mostly because of his mustache. Besides his obvious stash, the most noticeable thing about him was his very kind heart. He was the type of person that would go the extra mile for you. If you told him a secret, you knew that you could trust him to keep it. He had a way of lifting spirits. Yes he was but that was part of his charm.


Looking back on some of the days I spent with Jeff, I now realize that maybe I might have been a bit foolish. Jeff lived on the side of the dividing bridge that was mostly poor white immigrants from Eastern European countries and their descendants. Every so often, Jeff and I will go out on nightly adventures in his neighborhood. I remember once we even played hide and seek at night. I should have known better, but at 18, I really didn't have the capacity to think beyond the moment. Nothing happened to us. Maybe we were lucky. His area was just as bad as mine but in different ways.


On my side of the bridge, things happened all the time. One late night my brothers and I went to the convenience store for my mother. Do you want us to buy 1 dollar's worth of potato salad. On the way back from the convenience store, we notice a gang of youth sitting on the church steps. They saw us, pointed, and then got up to follow us. When they had crossed the street onto our side, I thought we would be done for. Brian is autistic, and if you didn't know him, you would assume he was mentally disabled. Many so-called experts tried to convince my mother to place him in special needs schools. She always refused. Because of Brian's appearance, Hassan and I assumed that the bad kids were coming to pick on him. We both looked at each other and made a silent agreement to take a stand and protect our brother.


We told Brian to run, and he bolted like a young colt. One of the young men pulled a ski mask down over his face another pulled a stocking. Hassan and I could feel death was near. We were ready for it. Suddenly, the guy in the ski mask snatched our bag and the whole group ran. We could still see Brian escaping off into the distance. For a brief second, it look like those assholes were chasing him. After a short moment, we could tell that their real goal was to terrorize us then steal our bag. Right away, Hassan screamed at the top of his lungs, "I hope you like potato salad ."It was the most hilarious thing I had heard in my life. In that one sentence, he had called them all kinds of idiots just by the tone of his voice.


(Yeah I know. The photo is unrelated.)

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