Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Manny - The Kid Down The Block

I should have realized how many of you would respond so positively to Manny and his memorable take on the art of blogging. Each comment I read made me remember another Manny moment.

I met Manny when he was 12. He lived down the block with his parents and his grandmother. Although my son was a few years older than him they were fast friends, Jeffrey was a big brother to many of the kids on the block.

The doorbell rang late one Sunday evening. I opened the door and Manny jumped back as though he’d been pushed.

“Oh! Hey! Jeffrey’s Mom. I’m sorry”

“What are you sorry for?”

“Uh, I shouldn’t bother you. I need Jeffrey”

I explained that Jeffrey wasn’t home but that it wasn’t a bother. He told me his name was Manny and that he lived down the block. I knew his grandmother a bit and Jeffrey mentioned him often.

I asked several times what he needed and finally …

“The 24 hour store is closed. Is that fuckin’ incredible! How can you be a 24 hour store and be closed?”

And so Manny became famous for “fuckin’ incredible” – it spread like wildfire throughout the family. We are like monkeys with a new toy.

Manny had a rough time growing up. His grandmother was the one consistent loving force in his life; his parents were just too young and too troubled. Yet Manny thrived because he has a light around him. He is a genuine soul with an open heart and a wonderful sense of right and fair play.

Manny and me! We have had our fair share of adventures. Manny helped me rescue the stray cats in the neighborhood. He was the first one to arrive the day I got caught on a fence. There I was half over the fence with my pants caught on a rusted nail. I had a screaming kitten in one hand and I was struggling to release myself without falling.

“Yo! Di! (it had taken forever to get Manny to call me something other than Mrs. …) what are you doing?”

“I’m stuck Manny”

“Are you OK?”

“Well no, no I’m not, I’m stuck Manny”

“Jeff, Jeff, come here! Your mother, she’s stuck on a fence, it’s fuckin’ incredible”

“Manny!! Don’t call anyone, just come help me”

Oh yeah! That would be easier”

After that Manny never let me go on “rescue missions” alone. He decided I couldn’t be trusted to be careful.

Manny worked for me for a short time. While I think, no – I know, that Manny is smart; he didn’t always share my opinion.

“You’re just giving me a job because you feel bad for me”

“No, I need help Manny”

“But I’m no good in an office”

“I’ll decide that, I haven’t even told you what I need you to do”

“Offices are scary places Di”

“Manny, offices are places where people act like they know more than they really do. Half the time I’m not sure what the fuck I should do; clients scream at me, I say I’m sorry all day long, I make it up as I go along and do the best I can. You can do that”

Manny was fine. Clients loved him. He never cursed on the phone or in front of “those ladies who work up front”. More than I can say for me.

Eventually Manny realized he was smart and went back to school.

This Sunday he told me about his wonderful new job. He is also still mentoring at risk kids through a local sports league. He’s been doing that for over 10 years.

Manny said I could write whatever I want about him as long as I didn’t get mushy.

No mush Manny – all I can say is – you’re fuckin’ incredible.


Melli said...

The word is offensive to me. But the heart of Manny isn't. :)

Reb said...

Good for Manny! No mush here either ;)

Jeni said...

And, you know what Dianne, you are so right that Manny is effing incredible! Doesn't it just do your old heart a world of good when you see someone you knew all along was very capable, go get the trimmings to prove it to the rest of the world that they are smart and do have a "can do" attitude too!
Loved this story and give Manny a big pat on the back -even a hug too -from an old lady in Pennsylvania who was really happy to read a tale with a happy ending to it!

Cloudia said...

Oh thank you for this incredible post!! You and Manny touched my heart. I am your fan for life. . . and Manny's! aloha, Di ;-)

Dianne said...

melli - I'm sorry you find the word offensive, I personally love the word - the power of words is in their context, not their reputation - I am glad you like Manny - he's a good guy

reb - we're the anti-mush ;)

jeni - I gave Manny the link to "his post" so I hope he'll be reading your comment himself :)
and you're not old!!

cloudia - thanks!! fans/friends are good for life

Sylvia K said...

And I fuckin' love Manny! Such a great chapter in your life and his! Thanks for all the things you share, the good, the bad and the indifferent. People like you are what has made blogging a true life saver for me.

Hilary said...

You and Reb can be anti-mush. After reading about Manny, I find it hard not to be Auntie Mush. What a great post. Manny is wonderful and so are you.

Linda Reeder said...

I love this post! I love your story telling! I love Manny!

But I still can't say "F----n".

Mrs. C said...

I'm glad Manny went back to school. I enjoyed reading his story and how you had such a positive effect on him. God put you in his life to make a difference. :]

Anonymous said...

His grandmother was the one consistent loving force in his life; his parents were just too young and too troubled.

I beg to differ with this statement Di. Though you never use the phrase loving force in reference to yourself, please re-read what you wrote and tell me if Manny's grandma was the only one to fit that description. Fucking incredible, you are..

Travis said...

Thanks for helping to give Manny the encouragement to stay on the path to become the person he is.

No mush...just truth.

the walking man said...

Way da go Manny!!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Manny sounds like such a WONDERFUL Spirit! And how lovely that your friendship goes back so far...I LOVE that! And here he is, a man!
I see why you say he is 'fuckin' incredible'....! And I'm sure we haven't really heard the half of it! I love that he long as you don't get mushy.....LOL!

tt said...

Manny is a shinny-sparkle in your life. We all need shiney-sparkle memories to put a smile on our faces when it gets tough out there. You my dear one, have many shiney-sparkle memories that you used as warm blankets.
Warm 'em!
fuckin' incredible Manny....he's a keeper.
Luv ya!

Ivanhoe said...

That means that mushy is allowed in comments, right? He did not mention comments ;o)
Awwww...what a sweet guy! Fuckin' incredible :o)

Dianne said...

sylvia - thank you!! that means a lot to me

hilary - I say no mush but I'm a fraud! I'm mush on the inside - as I'm sure is Reb - but don't tell her I said so ;)

linda r - lolololololol
you said it!! you just didn't spell it ;)

mrs c - thank you! Seeing Manny again after such a long time made a difference for me --- there's those mysterious ways again ;)

spartacus - well yeah OK - maybe I had a little something to do with it ...
thanks sparty ;)

travis - thank you! he made me feel useful at a time when I'm feeling anything but ...

mark - Manny would love you!!

oldoldlady of the hills - and in keeping with not getting mushy I have threatened to kill him if he doesn't visit more often ;)

tt - I need to be better at remembering that don't I!?
thanks for being someone who reminds me
love ya too!! and your little "tts" hehehehehehehehe

Cherie said...

That'a great! :)

Micky-T said...

What a sweet mushy story!

Raven said...

Awwww.... this just made me happy. Beautiful post. Manny sounds wonderful and it sounds like you have been a precious light in his life as he in yours.

Daryl said...

No. YOU are fucking incredible.

And here's a new one for you. Next time something happens matter how big or small .. you say this:

Its a fucking disaster.

My friend Boychick says this all the time and everytime he does I totally LMAO ...

Sparkling Red said...

Yay! Go Manny! Please thank him on my behalf for mentoring the at-risk kids. The benefits of that kind of work are immeasurable.

Akelamalu said...

Manny sounds like one of life's GOOD guys. :)

Richard said...


Natalie said...

Yay Manny! He sounds like Deano if he were from Brooklyn. And your description of an office exactly how Dean puts it too. I loved that he helped with the rescues, of course that pulled at my heartstrings.

holly said...

this is a totally fantastic story.

and i have decided now that we need more swearing in our house. i'm going to allow the kids to make this air blue, baby.

their father already does, and he has a phd.

Dianne said...

cherie - thanks Lady :)

micky - don't say the M word ;)

raven - I love that it made you happy!! thanks for telling me so

daryl - my son has one that kills me - and I find myself saying it before I realize
he looks around and shakes his head and says - "mad chaos, it's all mad chaos"

sparkling - he's so good with the kids, they all adore him

akelamalu - yes he is! thanks :)

richard - only you can make sweet sound macho and not mushy :)

natalie - you and your heartstrings - I love them
and I know I love Deano - hugs to all from the Mi/Si/Di comedy trio

holly - swearing lessens stress, opens the air to genuine conversation and is overall just so fucking satisfying. The f word is also an excellent form of punctuation and accentuation. i.e., - which is more descriptive
he's an idiot - or - he is a fucking idiot
you're a good Mama - hehehehehehehehe

Pagan Sphinx said...

Doesn't everybody swear at home? The trick is partly in the timing and delivery of profanity. There's a time and a place, I always taught my kids.

Oh, Di, Di. No mush? Then how come I got all warm-hearted, huh? Fabulous post about a good person.

By the way, I have something for you at the pagan sphinx blog. :-)

Shelly said...

Oh how I loved this post. You can tell me a Manny story every day if you want to ;)

Bhavesh Chhatbar said...

The fork goddess is quite an art!

Anonymous said...

I'm over from The Pagan Sphinx and all I can say is, "fuckin' incredible"!! I'll be back!

Tammy said...

Manny sounds like an amazing person! :o)

Dianne said...

pagan - timing and delivery - oh yes! and context - we seem to have lost the art of context - I blame the media and Bush hehehehe
my son used to say - I'm just cussing, I'm not cussing AT anyone - there's a difference

shelly - I will tell more - thanks!!

bhavesh - she tries, she tries - it ain't easy being a goddess ;)

thornesworld - thank you!! pagan is the best - my soul sister :)
so glad you came by

tammy - he is, thank you :)

Anonymous said...

Fucking fabulous (said in a good plummy English accent) is what this post is, as are you friend. As for Manny, yes, he's fuckin' incredible.

Casdok said...

What a great story. Very encouraging :)

Askew To You said...

Manny sounds wonderful! Thank you for sharing your story.

Fuck is my favorite word.:D

Bond said...

heck i left a comment here yesterday and I thought it was funny, but I can't remember it

I will say I thought the same as Spartacus...that you were certainly - along with his grandmother - a rock solid constant in his life

Jackie said...

Does Manny know he now has a fan club of complete strangers on the internet from all over the world?!

Ron said...

Ok...I haven't read through all the comments, so I don't know whether 10 readers have already said this but...

...this story is fuckin' incredible!!!!!

OMG...not only did I laugh my ass off, but I found it so incredibly touching, Diane!

Having lived in NYC, there is something so wonderfully raw and beautiful how people express themselves. They just SAY IT and don't give a fuck - and I LOVE that.

I always say to people who find NYC very harsh and cold, "Your're not looking close enough, because beneath the rough exterior, lies a beautiful warm heart!"

Even though I live in Philly, I will always love NYC more...ALWAYS!

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story, dear lady!

I LOVE the way you write!


Dianne said...

rob - I love when you talk good plummy English ;)

casdock - thanks :)

askew - it is a good solid word ;)

bond - you left a funny on the previous post - that must be what you remember
and thanks sweetie :)

jackie - he does!! he still can't believe I wrote about him

ron - you are so good for my ego and my heart - thanks :)

Farmer*swife said...

What a great story! What an impact you made....and his grandma....

And, now he's working with at risk kids. Too wonderful.

Matt-Man said...

Everyone should have their own Manny around. Cheers Di!!

Dianne said...

farmers wife - it is wonderful! thanks :)

matt-man - they should :)
you and Manny would love hanging out, I just know it

bobbie said...

Manny does sound fuckin' incredible. As do you and your wonderful son. I'd like to live in your neighborhood, Di.

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