Posts Tagged ‘Knickerbocker Field Club’

There’s No ‘Fun’ in Funeral

November 14, 2018

Only In A Pinch

Just recently, I had a foreshadowing of what’s coming down the pike for me.  Lebasi sent me an article about the death of a namesake of mine — one Neil Stein who had been a well-known restaurateur in Philadelphia who died about two weeks ago.  As luck would have it, one of my early blogs was about this very man.

Ordinarily, I spend a fair amount of time thinking about how it’s all going to end for me.  To be more precise, not the death part but rather the business that comes after; you know, the “celebration” of my life.  Now with this other Neil Stein’s passing, I’m even more concerned with what the turnout will be at my last party.

I’ve had this discussion with some of my friend(s) and we more or less agree that, unless you’re someone really famous, attendance will certainly be sparser as you live longer.  One of life’s/death’s ironies.  Go early — lots of people; hang on and it’s just a smattering of people who you haven’t out-lived.  Sad.

But good news! I’ve found that there are outfits that provide paid mourners to help beef up attendance at funerals. Yet another instance of Yankee ingenuity or “building a better mousetrap” or something like that. (By the way, that ‘mousetrap’ thing reminds me that I’m not quite through with the Miata vs. Mice ballgame taking place in my barn. Stay tuned).  Additionally, a while back my friend, Retep#2, passed along an article that he had come across that reported a trend in China where strippers are hired to help in mourning the loss of a loved one. The presence of the strippers has the twofold benefit of increasing attendance while at the same time entertaining mourners. Yet another case of Chinese ingenuity.

I haven’t priced any of these options yet because I think I have an ace in the hole.  You see, my tennis club, the Knickerbocker Field Club, (a misnomer if there is ever was one — the closest thing to a “field” at the Knick is a guy named ‘Rosenfield’ who plays there sometimes) is currently the repository of many of my social connections. So for a thousand bucks a year, I have a community of people who might show up for my final match. Although most are not real friends, as of now, I don’t think I’m feuding with any of them. To ensure their presence at the last hurrah, it’s best to keep it that way. To that end, I suppose I ought to make some adjustments.  Be a little fairer with my line calls; go easy on the foot faults; make sure I kick in more than my share of balls. In other words, try to be nicer than I really am.  Jeez . . . this is going to be so much harder than I thought.  I wonder . . .  how many semi-professional mourners would a thousand dollars get me?




Double Fault

August 15, 2017

Once you reach a certain age, you begin to wonder how you’ll be looked back upon.  If I haven’t reached that age, I’m certainly getting closer.  So whenever there’s a funeral, memorial service or other recognition of a life passed, I pay attention.

I came across the sign shown above this past weekend in Gardiner, the small town where my house upstate is located.  It was posted outside a building that houses the town’s volunteer fire department. My son, Essej, and my daughter-in-law, Fets who were staying with me had also noticed the sign. They both thought that it may have simply been an acknowledgment of Mr. Becker’s retirement. While I may not be wiser than they are, I’m older and more experienced. To me, it seemed pretty obvious that the notice was a public obituary. For Al and his family’s sake, I hope I’m wrong. .. but I don’t think so.

Unlike Mr. Becker, I don’t belong to any volunteer service organizations. In fact, the only organization I do belong to is my tennis club—The Knickerbocker Field Club.  Apart from a great place to play tennis, I see the club as playing a very important part in any public recognition of my having existed. (This is euphemistic to a fault; and for good reason–my kids read this and I don’t want them to be alarmed. Or to prematurely start the fight over the estate, for that matter.)

At the “Knick”, I have some very good friends, some almost-very good friends, some just friends and a host of acquaintances. And hardly any enemies. So I think I can count on a reasonable representation from the club at a way-in-the-future appropriate time.

But what’s missing  at the “Knick” is a way to make public, important events and happenings. True, we have an e-newsletter.  But it’s only published weekly and often goes into spam folders. What’s needed, I think, is a large sign board a la the Gardiner volunteer fire department which would alert members of significant announcements.

I know that one way or another, at some point I will no longer be playing at the club. When that happens, I’d like some recognition of my connection and time there. I think a large sign announcing my departure would be the perfect way to highlight that event. And, I have a few suggestions of how I’d like the display to read.

“Long time member, Neil Stein, has hit his final winner at the “Knick”.

“……….  has served his final ace…..”

“……..  has given his final bad call….”


“Long time member, Neil Stein, has double faulted for the final time.”

I really, really like that last one a lot.  And as long as I’m fantasizing, why not see if there’s someone who wants to do a documentary about my time at the club. Maybe Martin Scorsese, for example.  Call it, The Last Faults. Or even more poetically, The Last Faltz.