Paul Mantee

I don’t like Adele anymore. Primarily because she hates me and has from the beginning, no matter how I try to accommodate her. In case you haven’t guessed, Adele is my new Windows 7 computer. She’s a Dell (Adele, get it?). I’ve whimpered and stomped, and begged and banged my head against the keyboard and still she refuses to give an inch.

I speak to her in the only English I know and she responds in a language beyond my understanding. For example, Translate that. And yesterday she tersely informed me that I’d exceeded the time allotted for my confirmation attempts.

I asked her for one small favor and she’s punishing me for it. I’m attempting to purchase a CD from eBay: Louis Prima and Keely Smith in “The Greatest Show at Tahoe,” recorded in the fifties. I was very much alive during that era, as were many, probably, who are reading these words. Adele keeps asking me for my username and password. I can’t remember the last time I used eBay for anything so it’s only natural that I keep submitting the wrong “case sensitive” information. I’ve lost passwords before, primarily because my precious account has been hacked into again and again, as if I harbor atomic secrets. I’ve replaced them with all my old addresses and phone numbers, which I have no trouble remembering, including that of my grandmother with whom I lived for five years after my parents divorced in 1937 and who spoiled me with the best breakfasts in a city famous for food (if you consider hand-sectioned fresh grapefruit chunks with all the ugly white stuff cut off, two fried eggs and a pair of loin lamb chops with diced potatoes fried with onions in equal parts butter and olive oil) and that of my cousin Junior who lived right across the street on Beach in San Francisco, between Scott and Divisadero, and used to sit on my chest and hit me, obviously unaware that one day I’d become a minor movie star. That’s my username and password, and I’m sticking to it.

Adele tries to be helpful by insisting she can replace my password for me, but honestly, who can replace that flavor. And I know she’ll issue me a series of number, letters and dots I’ll never remember, then inform me that I’ve exceeded the maximum time for confirmation attempts, especially since my bout with brain surgery last February. Consider and stick that group in your memory bank. And in what safe place, pray tell, do I file my new password? I’m recovering nicely, thanks for asking, but if I keep hitting my head in frustration against my keyboard, I’m done for and so are all my passwords, and Adele can kiss my forgetful behind goodbye.

Louis and Keely-Louis Prima, that is, and the stoically sexy Keely Smith-rhythmically backed by the hot tenor sax of Sam Butera and The Witnesses. Anyone besides eBay and me go back that far? “The Greatest Show in Tahoe,” for cryin’ out loud. Hey, the fifties are only yesterday, just ‘round the musical bend and back to where the good stuff lives; however, I can remember past that to breakfast in bed with the Sunday funnies in the late thirties, served by the sweetest roundest grandmother in the world who was always damp from the kitchen, and smelled of fresh garlic and face powder.

But hey, listen up, eBay, my head is all out of passwords; please just throw the damn CD in an envelope and shoot it off to Malibu, 90265, they know me at the post office.

I’m at the point where I’d like to re-live the fifties, back when Louis and Keely existed and home computers did not, and a swinging time was had by some of us. I’ll send you the lousy ten bucks plus a chit for a double anything at the bar at Guido’s and I swear I’ll never ask Adele for another thing as long as we continue to live side by side in parallel universes, and I can resist divorcing her off the end of the Malibu Pier. Promise.