eyes peer up at tiny umbrella

You know that crazy uncle who tells weird, rambling tales and says, “I’ve got so many stories from those days I could fill a book”? What if he went ahead and made it happen?

While watching the LA Kings playoff game I discovered one of those jarring, incoherent, often local ads with zero production value that you see during big sporting events. It was an ad for a book called It Never Rained in the Bronx by Steven Chanzes. I was mystified by the ad, because unless you’re a Grisham or a Baldacci, books aren’t advertised on TV, especially not during playoff games.

I went to the site and OMG it’s just the most wonderful thing. It’s this old Jewish guy living in Florida runs a blog (inexplicably archived in a series of individual PDFs) where he writes about everything from how his stomach flu ruined his cruise vacation to his quest to find a publisher. He signs all his “Blogs” with “Happy Writing.” It’s all there to promote his book.

My favorite story is how he met a supporting cast member from Laverne & Shirley, Eddie Mekka, whom he’d hired to perform the role of Italian Stereotype in his TV ad.

I was on the phone with him for no more than 5 seconds and I felt that I had known him all my life. What a nice fellow. No airs about him.  Just a regular everyday guy. We were on the phone for close to 30 minutes and we were into our goodbyes when I said to Eddie, “Would you mind saying a brief hello to my wife?” He said certainly. I gave the phone to my wife Joy. She had it on speakerphone so I could not only hear her but Eddie as well. What happened next was very funny, so funny that I wish I would have had the presence of mind to record it. My wife and Eddie started singing the song from the opening of the Laverne and Shirley show. ”Schlemiel, Schlemozel, Ossenfeffer Incorporated, etc., etc.” Joy still hasn’t come off of cloud nine.

What a classic crazy uncle story. I bet Joy is a really nice lady who gives Steven a good smack once in a while for his off-color humor at the dinner table.

And it’s all just so self-depracating. How can you not love this guy? Here’s more copy from his book’s site:

Then I checked out the Amazon page.

Life is a Collection of Memories. Without memories there is no life. These are my memories of growing up in The Bronx and later spending my adulthood in Florida where I still live.

Hilarious adventures of the author, his friends and family. Over 440 pages and 70 stories designed to make you laugh, laugh, laugh and then laugh some more. All stories are true and depicted just as they happened.

Read about the author’s Granma and what happened when they went to the nightclub in the Carillon hotel on Miami Beach; a 69 year old Granma with her 25 year old grandson. Except everyone in attendance that night thought the grandson was a gigolo and Granma made sure that everyone wasn’t disappointed as she gave them a fantastic show that evening, much better than the one on the stage.

The story Swollen Cheeks will have you rolling in the aisles. It’s about Leroy who used to pay nightly visits to the author at his place of work and would usually have a cup of coffee with him. Not anymore. Leroy probably never had another cup of coffee after the last time he had one at the author’s work place. After you read this story you might never drink another cup of coffee again either.

There were unforgettable characters like James “Burnell” Bell, a former motorcycle policeman in Boulder, Colorado who lost his job because one day an individual asked Jim to follow him on his motorcycle because the individual thought his odometer wasn’t working properly. And it wasn’t. The fellow said to Jim, “Officer, my odometer says I’m going 30 miles per hour. How fast am I really going?” Jim said, “You’re doing 35 and this is a 30 mile per hour zone. Pull over.” The fellow pulled over and Jim gave him a speeding ticket. It was the last ticket that Jim ever gave anyone as he was immediately suspended, came to Florida and was involved in one calamnity after another.

Then there was the story of the Viet Nam war where the Selective Service System requested my ass to go to Viet Nam. I figured that since the rest of my body wasn’t going to Viet Nam, then my ass could also stay home….and it did. But the story of how I managed to escape Uncle Sam’s services is a very funny read.

My friend Paul and I used to have a philosophy which said, “Just because you’re poor (and we were) doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat….. well.” And we did with no money for a period of about 30 days in the fanciest and priciest restaurants in New York until one evening we were given an offer we couldn’t refuse. It’s funny now but I assure you it wasn’t funny then.

Then there was the time that I was having a tough go in life. So much so that I decided to enlist in the army with my friend Allan. It sounded great. I was married and had one son. The army would let me live off base with my family. My wife thought it was a good idea too. But then I gave it some thought and decided not to enlist. Of course I didn’t tell Allan as I didn’t want to ruin his good time. He had a very memorable experience in the army for all of three weeks.

And what book would be complete without a chapter or two devoted to sex. Here there are four chapters devoted to very pleasurable times, but not nearly what you would think them to be. Sex was very different in the 50′s and 60′s for young men. For sure it was different for the author. And in keeping with the tradition of this book it was funny, funny, funny.

Then there was the time that I was having a tough time finding a decent job, you know, one that pays a liveable wage. I wasn’t deterred. I had a family and nothing was going to stop me from making a living. I just didn’t know what kind of living so I did what I thought was the proper thing to do. I opened up an Employment Agency. Now all day long I’d listen to people who needed a job. I didn’t want to give them my secret because I didn’t need competition in the Employment Agency business.

The book has it all. This fuggin’ guy. This fuggin’ book. I hope he sells a ton of copies. Buy it. What do you have to lose with this money-back guarantee?

A Laugh a Minute…..Possibly Every 30 Seconds. Money Back Guarantee. If you’re not happy and delighted with this book, return it within 10 days and your money will be cheerfully refunded….well, I don’t know if it will be cheerfully refunded, but it will be refunded. GUARANTEED!!!

  • tom

     that 2nd link is … well not the book. afaik

    • Anonymous

      Oh god, thanks, fixed.

      • tom

        I JUST got the book, Literately because of everything above. We will see, I hope I have not got my hopes up.

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