“Lesson Number One: Don’t Underestimate The Other Guy’s Greed.”

In preparation for an upcoming trip, Justin wanted to make sure that he brought his wallet with him. I knew that he had A LOT of cash in his special drawer, so I said “Justin, go get all of your money and we can count it and put it in your wallet.” He thought that was a fantastic idea and off he went to collect his money from his dresser.

After a few moments, I watched as Justin re-entered the living room. He walked into the kitchen and looked around. Then, he saw MY wallet on the counter and then proceed to open it and pull money out.

“Whoa…whoa…whoa….Justin! What are you doing?” I asked.

He said, “I’m getting my money like you said.”

I quickly pointed out that the money in my wallet was mine. In all seriousness, he looked up at me and said, “Daddy, I’m going to take this money. You need to go and get some more.”

Part of me was ready to explain the concept of money to him like we were in “Scarface” – “In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women.”

Here’s the really sad part of this story…after I convinced him to leave my money in my wallet, we sat down to count his money – and he STILL had more money in his wallet than I did!

Daddy Star-Maker

I have often wondered if Justin understands what I do for a living. Explaining that I represent actors should be very simple. But the truth is, no two days are alike. While there are a number of things that are consistent, each day is vastly different. I could spend one day on the phone with casting directors pitching my clients. I could be buried in negotiations and contracts the next day. Another day could be spent on set with a client or in pitch meetings at a studio. Due to the variety of tasks I need to accomplish in any given day, I’ve wondered if Justin is old enough to understand (and if he could possibly explain it to me!)

This morning, I got my answer.

While taking Justin into school, he pulled me over to the play structure so that he could climb the rock wall. As I watched him, a little girl approached me. She could not have been more than six or seven. Politely, she asked, “Are you Justin’s daddy?”

“I am.” I answered.

“Do you make movie stars?” she asked. “Justin says that you make movie stars.”

My jaw hit the floor. I was completely taken by surprise and I tried to answer this little girl as best as I could. “Um….well, I represent actors and actresses and it’s my job to get them into television shows and movies.” It became crystal clear that Justin had been understanding some of my phone conversations in the car and my discussions at home…so, he kinda understood what I did.

With complete confidence, she stood before me. “Well, my name is (blank). I am an actress and I can sing and dance and play the piano.” (Once again, she was either six or seven.)

The gods smiled upon me and saved me from having to explain to her that I don’t represent children. Before she was able to utter another word, the teachers announced that it was time for the children to get into their lines and get ready to go to their classrooms. I told this little girl that it was nice to meet her and then I grabbed Justin by the backpack and bolted over to his classroom’s line.

As I got back into my car to leave, there were several questions swirling around my head: How much did Justin know? How many of my work conversations had he shared with his friends? I’ve used some pretty “colorful” language while dealing with certain people. There is one person I commonly refer to as “Fuck-Nuts.” And recently, we were in the car and I told a business affairs exec that their offer was so low that my client would be better paid if he chose to blow donkey dicks in a sideshow act. (After that call, I turned to Justin and told him that I meant that the client was “blowing up balloon animals.”) Had he used any of those words with anyone at school?


Did he tell this little girl what I did because he liked her? Did he just use me as his wing-man? I once had a senior agent demand that I represent an “actress” he met at a strip club one night (in lieu of paying her for his lap dances) and I had no choice…because he was a senior agent. Is my son going to make the same request some day?

Maybe I should have followed my father into dentistry.

There’s Never an Oompa-Loompa Around When You Really Need One

Earlier this week, Justin came home with a note from his teacher asking for each of the children in the class to bring in an “Apple” item at the end of the week. It could be anything from apple slices to apple juice to dried apples. (I suggested Apple Beer! What’s funnier than a room full of drunken kindergarteners!?!?) These choices were too simple for my son! Instead, he informed us that he wanted “an apple cake with white frosting, sprinkles and a worm coming out of it.”

I thought “Why not?” He had something specific in mind and there was no real reason why we could not oblige. However, (after further thought) I realized that this was about to become MY homework assignment due to lack of time, Justin’s waning interest, and GWE’s travel schedule. After some intense negotiations with Justin, we settled on something a little easier…or so I thought.

Justin liked the idea of Caramel Apples with Gummy Worms. The plan was to use the apples from MOGWE’s garden, dip them into caramel, and then stick multi-colored gummy worms all over them. Easy, right? Nope.

Did you know that caramel dip doesn’t work when making caramel apples? It’s not thick enough. So, after a second trip to the grocery store, I picked up caramel candies. According to the instructions, you are supposed to put 28 candies and a ¼ cup of water into a crock pot for an hour to an hour and a half (for 8 apples), wait until thick & syrupy, and then dip! I tripled the recipe to make sure I had enough, but I forgot to take into consideration that I would need to triple the time it would take to cook. I turned the crock pot on at 7:30pm. By 10:30pm, I still had a pot of brown, sweet soup. Uh-oh!

11:00pm – brown soup…

11:30pm – brown soup….

12:00am – brown soup…

12:30am – brown soup…

1:15am – A MIRACLE OCCURRED! After nearly six hours of heating and cooling the caramel, it was finally thick enough for the apples to be dipped in.

Then, problem number 2 arose…the gummy worms were too heavy for the caramel to hold them in place. Solution: I jammed each one onto the stick so it looked like they were coming out of the bottom of the apples. (I get my best ideas at 1am!)

At 1:30am, the caramel…the apples…the gummy worms…and I – went to bed!

I would like to thank Justin’s kindergarten class for giving me a new “transferable skill.” I can now make caramel apples! All I need is the ability to guess your age/weight or make funnel cakes and my transformation into a “Carny” will be complete.

Interesting fact #1: Fresh apples float because 25 percent of their volume is air.

Interesting fact #2: Johnny Appleseed’s real name was John Chapman. And, the only surviving tree planted by Johnny Appleseed is on the farm of Richard and Phyllis Algeo of Nova, Ohio. It is named “Rambo.”

Interesting fact #3: I will never make Caramel Apples ever again!!!!

The Word of the Day: Inappropriate

Some people have been known to sniff glue. Justin misunderstood and decided to “Sniff Blue.” (Relax, it’s just aerosol from the blue spray paint.)

A few weeks ago, Justin announced that he had been thinking about names for our “Man Cave” (grunt…grunt…grunt). The two leading contenders were:

“Girls Don’t Come In Here. Boys Only. Man Cave.”

And the longer:

“Girls Don’t Come in this Shed Because It’s Only for Boys.”

On our way to school this morning, Justin announced that had been thinking of a new name!

“Daddy? I have a new name for the shed.” Justin said.

“What do you want to call it?” I asked, in anticipation of his great mind at work.

“Okay daddy….how about the ‘Man-Boy Cave?’ I was quiet for a moment.

(Oh, great….the last thing I wanted was to have my 5 ½ year old son telling people that we have a place in the backyard that we built called the “Man-Boy Cave.” It either evokes the imagery of Michael Jackson bringing young boys to “Neverland Ranch” or gives the broad impression that something very weird was going on in there. Neither of which are accurate! And, just to clarify, I only told him to ‘put the lotion in the basket’ once after we applied wood sealant to the desk without wearing gloves!)

“Well, Justin….I like that you’re thinking of names, but that one may be a little inappropriate.” I answered cautiously.

“What does ‘inappropriate’ mean?” he asked.

“Inappropriate means that the name isn’t a good representation of what the shed is becoming. It doesn’t fit.”

“What does ‘representation’ mean?” he inquired.

“Well….representation is…” I gave up. “Justin, I love you, but think of another name.”

He sat quietly for a few moments and I could see him thinking.

Finally, he said, “You’re right daddy. ‘Man-Boy Cave’ doesn’t fit because it’s too long. How about just “Man Cave” (grunt…grunt…grunt!)

Relieved, I said, “I think that’s a great name. Good job!”


My Little Loan Shark, Pt 2

Yesterday morning, I took a financial loan (with a high interest rate) from my son.

Last night at 8:00pm, I walked into my house and found my son standing in the doorway. Clearly, he had been waiting for me. “Daddy, I’ve been looking for you.” he said, with a serious expression on his face. I did not have his money.

Luckily, GWE did. I quickly pulled two dollars out of my wallet and I grabbed a ten dollar bill out of her purse and handed all of it to Justin. (As you can see from the picture above, he was clearly satisfied.)

Now, I owe GWE ten dollars. This is such a vicious cycle.

My Little Loan Shark

I have been given 12 hours to pay back my five year old (with interest) or he has threatened to “take me to zero.” I don’t know what that means, but it does not sound good.

While getting ready to leave the house this morning, I noticed that the diaper bag was already gone. Normally, this would not have been an issue. But, since my wallet was still in the outside pouch from last night’s outing, I had a sinking feeling that GWE took the bag with her not realizing that she also had my identification, credit cards, and cash. I immediately called her to see if she had the diaper bag. She did. Luckily, she had planned on being near my office today, so she could drop it off. Problem solved, kinda.

I then loaded Garrett and Justin into the car and seat-belted them in. I turned the ignition on, looked at my dashboard, and had a minor heart attack. No gas. I had less than a ¼ of a tank and needed to get from Northridge to Encino to take the kids to school and then from Encino all the way into Santa Monica for work and then all the way back home to Northridge again….and I still had no wallet. Out of frustration, I turned around to look at the kids and my luck changed….

Sitting in between Justin and Garrett was a crumpled, ten dollar bill that Grandpa Bob had given to Justin less than a week earlier for his pre-school graduation. I looked at the money and then I looked into the face of my sweet, innocent, child.

“Justin, can I borrow your $10.00 bill?” I asked kindly.

“No.” he responded.

“Please, Justin. I really need to borrow it for gas.”

“Where is your money, daddy?” he asked.

“Well, mommy accidentally took my wallet because it was in the diaper bag and I really need a few dollars for gas.” I explained.

“Why do we need gas? Where are we going?” At that point, I knew I was screwed. How do you tell a five year old that you need to borrow his money (money that he doesn’t want to give you) to take him to a place that he doesn’t want to go?? (School!)

“Buddy, I love you and I promise to give you a crisp, unwrinkled $10 bill tonight. But right now, I need your money.” At this point, I wasn’t really asking. I was sliding it out of his hand as we continued to talk.

Tears began to form and I felt like crap about this, but gasoline is gasoline.

After a few minutes, Justin asked, “Can I call mommy?” I dialed mommy and handed Justin the phone. She picked up on the third ring.

“Mommy? Daddy took my ten dollars and he said that you took his wallet and now he is going to use my ten dollars for gasoline. Why did you take his wallet?” She paused and explained that it was an accident. She then encouraged Justin to ask for interest on my ten dollar loan. “Tell him that you want eleven dollars,” she said.

“Daddy, I want twelve dollars!!” he demanded.

“WHAT?!?! A 20% vig!?!?!?!” I was outraged, but really needed the cash.

“Fine, buddy. You win.”