January 23, 2011

Checking in with wandering Warren Zaretsky, class of 1960

My classmate Warren Zaretsky is one of my favorite people. You have to know him to understand his offbeat sense of humor. If your sense of humor is limited, you may consider Warren over the top, obnoxious, irreverent and at times obscene. I am a big fan of George Carlin, Lewis Black, Susan Silverman and Robin Williams. Like Warren, their edginess is a comedic buffet with wisdom between the lines.

Warren retired a year or so ago and we have shared many emails as he roams the globe looking for a suitable, inexpensive place to hang his hat. The photos he sends are worthy of a coffee table book.

He is back in New York City for awhile, figuring out where next to visit. The following are two of his emails and a postscript.

Written in July 2010:

I've spent most of my 67 years wandering, creating and absorbing experiences -- east coast, west coast, three business careers, more than 30 countries, two marriages, a potpourri of multi-cultural amorous adventures of varying duration, two known children, three grandkids, a wonderful 89 year-old Mother, two loving sisters, a supportive and best-friend kind of cousin, a handful of close friends, and a comfortable bank account. The bank account buys continued freedom to wander. The accumulated material possessions have been kept minimal and are expendable.

If I go quickly with my boots on, it's been fun. If I linger a bit, I have my stock of memories to replay until I pull the plug. In the end, other than perhaps a few warm moments during visiting hours, all you've got is a silly backless hospital gown and your memories. So, to all I've encountered in my wanderings, I say thanks for the memories.

On Jan. 5, 2011 he wrote:

I leave tomorrow heading back to NY. Though San Miguel de Allende is a charming, historic and quaint Mexican town, it is as I thought it would be -- too many gringos. Why leave the US to be with the same Americans you don't care about hanging out with when you're there in the US?

I think mainly just because it's cheaper, and if you have little or no money, you can have other people around you who are even poorer than you, that you can look down on and feel superior to... so it makes you feel better about being not sooo poor and not at the bottom. To be sure, there are also a few wealthy folk and celebs with million dollar mansions who spend a few weeks a year, but what does that mean for the price of frijoles?

Also, why live someplace that's a six or seven hour drive to the nearest beach or horse race track?

Lastly, I enjoy seeing antiquity and history, but I don't want to live in history; to me "quaint" is nice to visit, but it's mostly just another word for old, non-functioning, inconvenient and dirty.

Just a few days ago, at age 67, I had my first Colonoscopy. The procedure itself, since it's done under anesthetic, was a non-event; not even worthy of a "Kodak moment" and certainly the video wouldn't get a top-10 listing in TV Guide.

The prior day's preparation, however, is a vile and torturous experience. Drinking two liters of something called "MoviPrep" would have turned John McCain into a blabbering traitor... and I'd have rather they inserted a dozen dung beetles up my ass.

In the end, I was hoping I could look at the positive side and learn some profound life-lessons from having been totally cleared of 68 years of accumulated crap, but I just couldn't get my head into it.

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