My Calderon Years, Part 2

By on Sep 13, 2011 in Essays

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My Calderon Years graphic

This really sent me ballistic. What was I, a sucker for a bunch of shabby newspaper writers? There was no Internet at the time, so those stooges in the print media had a lot more power than they do now. All I could immediately do was to respond in a letter, using extremely florid language, instructing them what they could do with their paper.
I filed a complaint with the Quebec Press Council, to which the Gazette was forced to respond, and they said they never meant any offense, which was the first time they offered any explanation for their asshole behavior. I sent a letter to their twerp editor reminding him that I was a nephew of Saul Bellow, who was born in Montreal and who had just recently won the Nobel Prize for literature, and who was like a god to them — and I was his nephew and a longtime commercial resident of Ste. Catherine Street. Finally, I started going on stage and referring to various anatomical aspects of Iona Monahan and Beverly Mitchell in the coarsest possible terms. I went so far as to write, “The way I see it, I could go down to the Gazette building with 20-30 Hell’s Angels and trash the whole building, and the judge would let me walk,” which, because of the conditional wording I employed, does not exactly constitute a legal threat, but it was still enough to get me arrested.
I wanted to get arrested. Then the whole affair would have hit the papers all over again, only coast-to-coast, probably. Then it would have been minutely scrutinized and analyzed, how the Gazette wrote such an incendiary article about a nephew of Saul Bellow. The Gazette had no desire to reopen the affair, and for good reason. In all the years I had been reading that piece of garbage, they had never before done such a butcher job on anybody. But as skeletal Morris Schwartzwald had so contemptuously put it, summoning up as much loathing and vitriol from his emaciated corpse of a body, trembling like the leaf on a dead tree, “You, you are special!”
I later found out that upon receipt of this charming missive, the Gazette management enhanced the security procedures of their premises. Still, they did not contact the authorities.
I got a call from High Society Magazine in New York. They had heard about my fashion show starring comedy and strippers, and they wanted to shoot a pictorial feature in my boutique. They sent porn star Annie Ample and a photographer, and I got a three-page full color feature of me bare-assed with Annie. I put it about that the next issue would feature an article written by me describing a sexual encounter between me, Beverly Mitchell and Iona Monahan underneath the merry-go-round at Montreal’s amusement park. How’s that for class?
The Gazette went berserk and called High Society, pleading with them not to run the article, to which High Society responded that they didn’t even know what the hell the Gazette was talking about. Nevertheless, the impact was unmistakable. The Gazette took Beverly Mitchell off covering feature stories for a long time, although they eventually reinstated her. She never bothered me again, that’s for sure. The only loser was Mark Breslin, of Yuk Yuks’ Komedy Kabaret. The Gazette refused to cover the club or to review any of its acts after that. Breslin had to close shop and go back to Toronto.
A few months later, a French designer in Paris used my comedy format for his fashion show. I don’t know whether he had heard about my show, or whether it was just a case of great minds thinking alike, but it’s not often that an American beats the French to a fashion concept.
So, what were these broken-down pieces of s**t like Morris and Louie going to do to me that hadn’t been played on me before? They could curse me out all they wanted, but they still had to train me!
But for anybody who thinks that fashion is just dreary little sketches in a notepad, drinking champagne and eating little sandwiches with the crust cut off, let these stories be a lesson to you!

Look for part three in the next issue.

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Dean Borok, a nephew of Saul Bellow, is the winner of the 2009 New York Magazine political fictions literary competition with his award winning short story "A Wall Street Christmas Carol". He operates an experimental comedy web site at