August 09, 2017

Jerry's Ink


I don't know about you, but this has been the fastest summer of my life. Count to 20 and poof! August will be over. That's roughly how many days we have left.

The days are dwindling down to a precious few.

What a weird summer. It never seemed to get off the ground. It feels like yesterday it was June and tomorrow it will be September. In the end the only creatures that seemed to get everything they wanted this summer were the bees, and the ticks (some of whom were the size of tarantulas) who feasted on us.

I'm trying to be as positive as I can be about this, so let me point out the good news is that, in 20 days or so, we'll be rid of the rude, crude August people and we won't be seeing them around these parts for the next 11 months.

And let's talk about millennials and their frigging cell phones.

This was the year of the millennials.

Did you ever try to get a cup of coffee at a Golden Pear restaurant this summer? The place was packed with millennials – hundreds of them – the young men boasting, "Look at this beautiful, artistic photo of a sesame bagel I just took with my phone."

And then there were the millennial women showing off their new tattoos. I guess it's only people my age who don't find a giant blood-red and deep purple floral arrangement tattoo stretching from shoulder to shoulder on the bare back of a twenty-five-year-old woman, sexy.

There must have been a million millennials in The Hamptons this year.

One morning, sitting at the Golden Pear with my coffee and blueberry scone, I took a picture of the hundreds of them – all pushing each other at the counter, all trying to get their hands on the same single carton of almond milk (God forbid they should drink milk from a cow, yuck). I sent the picture to my wife, the beautiful Judy Licht, with a note that said, "My God, didn't anyone practice birth control 25 years ago?"

And yes, September out here is a great month; warm enough for the beach with cool, comfortable nights.

But who am I kidding? Summer is over and on the night of Labor Day I will, as I have every Labor Day since I was a kid, go to sleep with that sinking feeling that the summer is over and tomorrow I will have to go back to school again and once again fail geometry.



If you drive a Mercedes and you bought it in Southampton, you will be shocked to learn that Jeff Smith (Smitty) will be leaving Mercedes-Benz of Southampton after 17 years.

What a disaster. No one knows the inside of a Mercedes better than Smitty. No one ran a service department anywhere in the country better than Smitty.

Salesmen come and salesmen go, but Smitty was the reason people went back to Mercedes of Southampton again and again.

If you were a friend you became his customer. If you were his customer you became a friend. Smitty was the hero of one of the most embarrassing moments of my life, and he was kind enough to keep my stupidity a secret until I wrote and outed myself.

It happened in 2003. I was driving a new Mercedes convertible that I bought from Country Import Motors.

For a few days I heard this chirping sound as I drove my car with the top down. At first I thought it was on the left side of the car, then the next day I thought it was on the right side. I made an appointment to see Smitty, because I always felt he was sort of a saint/mechanic. He listened. He had patience. He's been the best service person I've ever dealt with.

"Smitty, I have a terrible annoying sound coming from under the car."

"What's it sound like?" he asked.

"It sounds squeaky, like a chirping bird or a cricket or some insect sound. It's annoying as hell."

"Open your hood," he ordered, much the way my dentist tells me to open my mouth.

"Step on the gas."

I did.

"I don't hear anything," he reported.

"Smitty, I'm telling you I only hear it when I'm on the road," I replied.

Smitty got down and crawled under the car and told me to step on the gas. Then, knowing me, he quickly added, "Don't put it in gear."

He crawled out from under the car and said, "I don't hear a thing."

"I only hear it when I'm driving. It's the most annoying squeaking sound," I moaned. So, reluctantly, because he had more cars to watch over than he had minutes in the day, Smitty jumped into my convertible and we drove. He went on Route 27 and said, "I don't hear a thing."

"I don't hear it when I'm on a main road," I answered. "It sounds like air rushing through a hole."

So Smitty turned onto a Southampton road and suddenly we heard the sound.

"That's it," I said. "That's the sound that's driving me nuts." With that, the sound stopped.

"It comes and goes," I said. After a while the chirping sound came back and then it was gone again. Smitty smiled.

"Watch, when we get down the road it will come back again," he announced.

Sure enough, the sound came back again. "Now watch, it will stop," he said, and sure enough it stopped. "What a great mechanic," I thought to myself.

"What is it?" I asked.

"Jerry," he said in a kindly voice, "what you're hearing is the sound of birds and crickets. Watch."

With that, we passed a clump of trees and hedges, and sure enough, that was the sound.

"It can't be," I said.

"Watch," he said and turned off the motor. "Hear that? It's the same sound, and your car isn't running." He gave me that "some people shouldn't own a convertible" look and I spent the rest of the drive saying, "Oh, I get it. The sound of crickets, insects, and birds that I heard coming from the car was actually the sound of crickets, insects, and birds."

Then I begged him not to tell Judy that she was married to a fool.

We're all going to miss Smitty.

If you wish to comment on "Jerry's Ink" please send your message to jerry@dfjp.com.

  1. print email
    Where Have All The Flowers Gone
    August 10, 2017 | 01:12 AM

    Jerry ... Just FYI in case you and Ron are wondering where all the "Jerry's Ink" INDY commentators have gone here. The answer is to your INDY postings on Facebook - where "The Rules" are more flexible; the comments more personal and fun; and the interaction with you a brand new dynamic altogether. Best, Bill

    Bill Crandall
  2. print email
    Chirp, Chirp, Chirp!
    August 17, 2017 | 12:52 PM

    Sorry, Jerry couldn't resist,Tee Hee

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