"The Boy From New York City" - Episode 2

Written by Vinny "Bond" Marini Friday, September 17, 2010

When we last left our intrepid New Yorker, THE COUCH, he was living with his girlfriend , his second roommate, and his roommate’s girlfriend in the bedroom plus loft on 22nd Street in Manhattan.

Chicken Fingers, Fries and Large Drink


When we last left our intrepid New Yorker, THE COUCH, he was living with his girlfriend , his second roommate, and his roommate’s girlfriend in the bedroom plus loft on 22nd Street in Manhattan.

At this time, he was working on 6th Avenue and 56th Street in a big time advertising agency, running the Print Production department. It was a wild place to work in those days.

His boss was a workaholic/alcoholic who engulfed all around him to partake as he did.

THE COUCH, was one of those swept up in this whirlwind of creativity, debauchery and fogginess. Many work days began at 10:00 am or so. Upon arrival at work, he would go through all of the jobs that had been produced by his vendors during the evening hours…

THE COUCH NOTE: To try and explain better what our young hero actually did in the advertising agency, we will take a short journey away from our story for a bit.

The clients needed advertising (DOH), and this agency did TV, radio and print ads (ya know newspaper and magazine ads).

Well the creative department (art director and copywriting team) would develop an ad. The media people would decide where these ads would run.

Our young, struggling production hero would then have to figure out how many sizes of the ad were needed to fit all the publications (sometimes you could use the same size for multiple books), get the typography set (at that time done outside by a Type Shop) and then have the film (not film like a camera uses, but negative film- one for each of the four printing colors – black, cyan, magenta and yellow) produced by a “color separation house”

OK, how many of you have fallen off THE COUCH, your head about to explode?

Cutting to the chase (what the hell does that mean anyway???) our hero had to spec the type (decide what sizes were needed, what line lengths etc...) then color approve the proofs made from the film before it went to the publication…

So, when we arrive at work, go through the proofs, mark them up for color correction and then route them through the agency by a “traffic” person, getting comments and approvals from the other departments.

Then work on calling the publications, getting extensions where needed and other various mundane chores…except for some display items, print production does not have much creative input in the general agency setting.

At around 2:00 pm, a number of people would go out to lunch… Now lunch then included drinks…plural…times 4 …

Back to work around 4:30 or so, and at this time the salesman that THE COUCH, dealt with would begin wandering in to pick up their shop’s workload for the evening. On any given day, that would mean 4 – 7 sales people.

As each of these people walked in they would stop at the soda machine right inside the door to our floor. They would insert a quarter and press one of the two buttons that had no markings on them. Out would slide a can of beer…and then another. One for themselves and the other for our young professional.

As they walked into his office, they place a can in front of him and pop open theirs. THE COUCH, would slide open his bottom drawer and slide out the bottle of Jack Daniels and the cups he kept there.

Over the next 3 hours, work would get done, jokes would be told, competing sales people would bust each others chops…but always the work got done...well.

Sometime after 8 pm or so, all the sales people gone, it was time to move back across the street where our boss, and other members of his “group” had dinner and drank until midnight or so…then find a limo that was waiting for it’s evening fare to get done with dinner, slip the driver a ten dollar bill and get driven home.

This happened, for some, five nights a week...THE COUCH was there many nights in the beginning, but it changed later on...but we got the work done and we did it well.

We were voted the “Hot Shop” by Ad Age that year!

THE COUCH, also began a softball team at the agency and found a field for us to play on underneath the 59th Street Bridge (yup just like the song) on the Manhattan side. Every Monday, we would leave early and all walk across town to the field and play a team on our schedule. We were the envy of the advertising softball league because most teams needed to go way uptown to Randall’s Island to play.

After the game, off to one of the joints along First Avenue for dinner and beers.

Well, THE COUCH developed an alter-ego named Babe Stengle who did a weekly report on the games. Only a few people knew who The Babe was at first.

At the end of the season, we held a banquet where The Babe gave out awards. Our young coach had a cool rubber mask, added stuffing to his clothes and gloves and a wig TO COMPLETE THE ILLUSION.

Well, the drinks flowed pretty well that night and at about 11:30, THE COUCH, feeling no pain, went back across the street to get some things he had forgotten.

In the studio (where the creative assistants sat) were the two big bosses bent over a table looking at mock-ups for a pitch the next morning to a large camera company..

THE COUCH, moves between them and slobbers “Tha’s da wrong type font” and then staggers away.

Because of the big presentation we were in at 9 the next morning. A few minutes after sitting at my desk, wondering where those last few brain cells had gone, when one of the two bosses sticks his head in, looks me in the eye and says:

“DON'T ever come back to the office like that again…and you were correct, it was the wrong font…thanks.”

And walks out. Side note—they never got the account.

Another time, we were out with one of the brighter traffic people with me on a press approval (where you go to the printer and approve the color of the job while it is printing). This was for signage for a large fast food chain.

It was in the morning and we were done about 11. We got in a cab from downtown Manhattan and gave the driver an address on the east side of town in the 40’s. “Where are we going?”, THE COUCH was asked. “It is almost lunch time.”, was the reply.

When we got to the restaurant, my “protégée” went to the door and turned and said “Not open yet.”

THE COUCH, grinned that grin and walked to the door and knocked. The woman who owned the place broke into a smile and said “WELCOME, and who is your friend?”

After introductions, we went to the bar and she poured us a drink and my friend turned to me and said “So, this is how production people live...I want to do this!”

Over the next year or so, we worked together often and he eventually became head of production for the NY office of one of the largest agencies in the world!

Eventually, we left the job at the agency and went into print sales.

We mentioned the woman we were living with, well she worked at the agency also, and when we started dating, she was not real happy with my schedule, and as I mentioned above, the schedule did slow down, going home more nights then going out....

We would leave together in the morning and just be friendly on the bus to the office, as other employees took that bus often.

At night, she would normally leave before me and the nights when we did not get sucked into the void of the evening, would make my way home soon after.

Now, as we said…all things at home were going pretty well. She was not always happy with the over-indulgence of THE COUCH'S life style, and looking back, we are surprised she lasted as long as she did.

A case in point…The night we were to go to her sister’s birthday dinner and she had to come across the street to drag us out of the bar, stinking drunk. It ruined the evening for her sister, her and all concerned. This is one incident THE COUCH, highly regrets.

There was some great times also…Our friends were getting married up in the Thousand Islands in NY, just across from Canada.

We drove up with my best friend and his wife. It was a fun week, with many fraternity brothers around and great weather.

The night before the wedding, THE COUCH, walked into the gift shop at the resort and spotted a beautiful ring with a Sapphire stone (her favorite gem).

And they were engaged.

We rented speedboats that week and went barreling along the St. Lawrence Seaway. We visited Heart Island. A small island with where Boldt Castle can be found.

Originally designed to be a monument for his wife Louisa, George C. Boldt cancelled construction 4 years after beginning, when his love died suddenly.

Please go HERE to learn more about this tragic story and the history of the island.

The wedding was a blast and THE COUCH was a secondary official photographer and took some great pictures that the bride and groom used in their albums.

Back in the real world again, work consumed both she and THE COUCH. They began planning their wedding (which they were to pay for), and their life together.

Then word came that roommate and his girlfriend were also getting married. Everyone was happy.

One day roommate comes to THE COUCH and says “My fiancés parents are coming to NY to help us plan the wedding; they will be here for 3 weeks.”

THE COUCH had immediate flashbacks to the time with his first roommate’s mother being there and now, it would be even more crowded. The four roommates and the parents staying in the living room!

This can not happen, roommate was told. They have to go to a hotel. Two or three nights, ok…3 weeks, no way.

It was near Christmas and THE COUCH was out at a big supplier party when he got a page from home. Calling home to find out that parents are at the apartment with baggage and are unpacking as we speak!

Our drunken party-goer dashes home to confront roommate and a battle ensues. Roommate and THE COUCH do not talk for a few years, but eventually bury the hatchets and are great friends once again.

This incident caused all concerned to decide to move out of the apartment…and she and THE COUCH end up moving in THE COUCH'S parent’s home.

Mom and Dad are living in NYC 5 days a week, so it is not too bad.

Unfortunately, things do not work out and the relationship ends… semi-badly.

A fore-telling of the ruin of this relationship was the burning down of the hall they had selected for their marriage…

There are a few attempts at reconciliation, something always causes it not to happen and they go their separate ways.

Many years later THE COUCH does a Google and finds out that she now lives with someone "down-under" and through a few emails finds she and her daughter are wonderful and happy.

Now single, THE COUCH experiences the dating scene for the first time in a number of years….

(A few loose springs?)
(My mom reads this!)
(You buying any of this yet?)

(Wait…wrong story…)



The line between fact and fiction is often blurred by the tale and how it is spun...

Originally Published 12/04/06
An Original Work Of Fiction Copyright 2006 - VEMjr

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This is a collection of my works of fiction. They began as an occasional post on my home blog BIG LEATHER COUCH and then evolved into MONDAY MATINEE ON THE COUCH.

I wanted to find a spot for them all to reside and to make it more convenient for anyone wanting to explore the recesses of my brain.

Hopefully, you will find something you like here. Two stories, THE QUEST and HER FATE are unfinished novels.

I have done much work on THE QUEST and hope in the next year to finish it and see if it can be published. HER FATE, on the other hand is much more involved and might never get finished!

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