Sunday, January 24, 2010

Now I Get It

I know I was a smart kid. Not the smartest, certainly, but I do remember that I scored points on national, separate-the-useless-from-the-dangerous tests, before the ravages of adolescence got to me, and then my lifestyle finished the job.

I knew some smart people and talked to them without making an ass of myself; also with an eye toward getting out of a discussion before the half-remembered developmental history, the brazenly subjunctive sentence structure, and the imprecise vocabulary would have revealed me, in one false comment or imprecise wisecrack, as a fraud.

But I was—a pretender who played well but occasionally stayed just a tad to long, or who waded out a bit too far, or worst of all, laughed at precisely the wrong time, by scant seconds.

So, I’ve been stupid, and I know it. And I’ve been dense, on occasion, really dense on others.

Since a week or so, I have been telling people that (Cablevision’s) Optimum Online is cutting me off, that I can’t be reached at any more. I can be reached, at

People have answered me at the Optimum address, which is not Optimum, but, but I was supposed to know that.

So I, again, tell them that Cablevision’s Optimum Online is cutting me off. Don’t e-mail me at the address. They fire back, “What happened with you and Optimum?” posing this question in an e-mail to the Optimum address,

I’m panicking, because I don’t know when Cablevision’s Optimum Online will pull the plug, and I’m saying I won’t have an address any more, probably in minutes, maybe in seconds. I won’t get these messages unless you send them to the address,

I talked to a bunch of Optimum Online people at Cablevison before I realized what they where saying. They were very patient, before passing me along to the next voice who asked the same questions with the same patience. I did this five whole times before I got it. By that time, I was shameless. I said, “…but I had a stroke. I don’t know what you’re saying…” I was trying to buy a weekend to notify everyone I’ve e-mailed e-mails to for years (I know, I know).

Here’s what happened.

Back in 199?, when we were newer to this, I acquired an e-mail address from Newsday, then an e-mail address from Yahoo, because the e-mail address from Newsday didn’t always work so well.

Then, I think much later, an Optimum truck hit my neighborhood. I got an e-mail address from Optimum, because I had Cablevision, which owned Optimum; I figured I was always going to have Cablevision, therefore Optimum, and as it worked out, I used the Cablevision Optimum optonline e-mail most often.
I began to believe it was my address, no one else’s.

A couple of years ago, Marist College, my Alma Mater, sent an unusual mailing, telling all graduates that they could have free e-mail for life. I paid little attention to it, because I already had e-mail addresses to spare. But I thought it was nice of them to do that. And, when I went to work for two other newspapers, I used for one and Marist for the other, just for goofs.

Two years ago, I had a stroke. I was asleep for three months, half awake for another, and mostly awake for another, during the end of which time I found that I was not going to stay wherever I was for the rest of my life. I was going to go to Susan’s, to sleep in the living room. Asked about this, I cried, because I thought I was going to stay where I was.

My son, Jed, lived in my house for about 6 months, paying the Cablevision bill, because he wanted a lot more out of the TV than I did. After that, he moved to Florida, and the house was empty. My Cablevision was turned off.

Susan took over my bills, while I learned English.

Among the bills was my mother’s Cablevision bill, which came to my address, and was forwarded to Susan’s house. She paid it, because I had paid it.

About 9 months ago, I tried the computer for the third time, and learned to type, weirdly, at first, but learned. I also suddenly remembered my e-mail address, an address, which still existed, but not because it was my address, as I stupidly thought.

In October, Doe died. My Mom. With her house being empty, and my not making any money, it seemed wasteful to be paying Cablevision ( So, Susan, with my approval, cancelled Doe’s Cablevision ( Now, I had no connection with Cablevision.

We got a refund on Doe’s Cablevision on a recent Wednesday. On Thursday, I couldn’t get into my e-mail box. I didn’t put two-and-two together until I called the Cablevision number and kept having to say the same thing to employee after employee. I thought they were crazy, but it turns out, why should they give me an Optimum Online mailbox for free when they can charge me $29.00 for it.

“What does the homeowner who owns your house pay?”

“She has Verizon, I think. Why?”

“Well, do you want the Cablevision service?” each one said.

“For $29.00 a month?”


“Why would I want that?”

That’s when they passed me to another employee. I wasn’t getting it.

I thought of Marist. I had used Marist as an e-mail box for the readers of Neighbor Newspapers. Why not use them for all my e-mail?

“I see.” I said. “I can pay you $29.00 a month for my e-mail box, which is all I use, or, I can use the e-mailbox at Marist, and not pay anything.”

No comment.

“Let’s see, pay Cablevision $29.00 a month for Optimum Online, or pay Marist nothing.”

No comment.

One of us hung up.


  1. you ALWAYS make me laugh.
    will take time to write another story, so you can digest the chunk i just sent to Marist :)'
    But, please know, Im always thinking of you two,( Susan and yourself) making the best of this new situation..
    I am hoping SHE is the lovely lady I met at Mulcahys last year at your benefit in June.. She was so lovely & caring.. and we were all such strangers.
    I STILL have that ticket stuck in my bedroom mirror.. along with old pics of me, and Mickeys baby pics.. its like a beloved concert ticket to me ;)
    Stopping now before I go on a tear.. will "talk" soon"..
    be well.. and as always, God bless you. :)

  2. Ed:
    I just happened to google you and found your blog. I'm so thrilled to read your stories again. My condolences on the loss of your beloved mother. Best wishes on your recovery.

  3. Thought you'd appreciate this.