Gotta Love Joisey

Posted on May 10, 2011


I’ve had several messages from the universe lately. Some people get messages from the universe about saving countries or leading their people to freedom or fighting for human rights.  I’m not one of those people. Because I grew up in Phiadelphia, I get messages about New Jersey. I spent a lot of time at the Jersey Shore, walking the boardwalk with my friends, crushing on boys, experienceing the kind of Bad Hair only the unique combination of a strong ocean breeze and stronger humidity can create, and mostly doing things my parents would have been appalled to to know about.  But I won’t write about any of that.  Instead, I’ll write the absolutely true story about the debt I owe to Vinny the Committeeman.

Some years ago, Then Husband and I bought an old triplex in Ocean City, NJ. When his parents sold their house outside Philly, they moved onto the first floor of our triplex.  We rented the other two floors.  The second floor was rented by the week.  The top floor was rented for the season.

One day we got a phone call from Then Father-in-law, complaining about the boys who were renting the top floor.  They were rowdy and obnoxious.  They had wild, drunken parties all night. People were constantly coming and going.  Cars were driving up and down the street, honking. Then Father-in-law was agitated beyond belief.  He wouldn’t have been a good candidate for the Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee anyway.  He used to wear a tee shirt that said “Welcome to Ocean City. Now leave.”

TFIL tried being reasonable with the boys.  It did nothing.  Then he threatened them with calling us. It did nothing.  TH called and spoke to them.  It did nothing.  TH and I talked and talked about the problem.  We came to the conclusion that we would have to call an attorney.

TH called his dad back. He apologized that we had been unable to correct the situation. TFIL said not to worry.  The situation was taken care of.  Here’s what he said:

“I didn’t know what to do.  Then I remembered Vinny, the Committeeman.  Vinny always liked me and said if I ever had any kind of problem, I should come to him.”

Note to readers: When I was growing up in Philly, “The Committeman” was a mainstay of local urban politics.  When all else failed, one went to the Democratic Committeeman, hat in hand. (Any resemblance to persons living or dead who might look a lot like Marlon Brando,  isn’t intended. Or else it is.)  On with the story:

“So I went to Vinny.  Vinny told me he would take care of everything. The next day, two gentlemen in fancy suits arrived at the house and went up to the third floor.  They stayed a few minutes and then left.  About an hour later, a car pulled up and someone got out and opened the trunk.  Then things started flying from the windows on the third floor: sheets, towels, clothes, pillows, suitcases, boxes, everything. The guy on the ground was stuffing everything into the car as fast as he could. Then the other guys ran down and got into the car and they all pulled away. I went upstairs and the place was empty.”

TH and I were speechless. TH called one of the boys and said, “My dad has told us you moved out. Since you paid for three months in advance and were only there a little more than one month, we will refund the rest of your money.” The boy sounded like he might cry.  He insisted they wanted absolutely no money back and planned to return to give the place a good cleaning. TH told him that wasn’t necessary.

So, before Vinny of “Jersey Shore,” there was Vinny of the Jersey Shore. And unlike the TV Vinny, ours took care of business.

Posted in: humor, memories, satire