Friday, July 08, 2005

Delino: Behind the Laughter

As many of you know, before I received the Small, Speedy, Early 90's Black Players Fellowship for this summer, I worked on the blog created by the previous winner, my brother Dan. I was his assistant in every meaning of the word and I just wanted to share with you, my loyal readers, what this experience was truly like. You all only see Dan's brilliant finished products, you don't see the blood, sweat, and tears (all of which used to be mine) that actually go into each and every post. Now that my position has been outsourced, I feel that it is time for you to hear my secrets.

This is a sampling of some of the duties I had to perform for Dan, along with some of Dan's peculiar habits that he probably didn't want you to know about :

To begin with, I had to bring Dan printed out copies of all the blogs (including Delino) twice a day, once over breakfast at noon, and once before bed at 2 AM. This schedule was strict and if I was even a minute late, my salary of 10 of Dan's jokes a day would be cut in half.

Then there was the issue of feeding the great blogger. This task was expensive, but relatively straightforward while we were in New Haven. But on vacation, either home in New York or around the country or the world, things were much more difficult. You see Dan took his lunches from 5 places, all in New Haven: the Doodle, Ivy Noodle, Gourmet Heaven, Bulldog Burrito, and the Burrito Cart. No substitutes. Thus, every afternoon, I would get him a sampling of his favorite dish from each restaurant and he would choose his favorite and throw away the rest while I salivated at the prospect of eating a few scraps of leftover dining hall food. For dinner, Dan kept things simple, only requesting a steak from Central Steakhouse and some broccoli rabe. I would only get to eat if the broccoli rabe was too garlicky. As you can imagine I racked up quite a few miles on Metro North, but it was all worth it for me when Dan wrote that Jay Leno post!

Dan also had the habit of asking me to laugh at every single thing he said. This was usually pretty easy, as Dan is the original funnyman after all, but things could get awkward, such as the time when he told me that he had spent all of his money investing in Bulldog Burrito. He said that owner Jason Congdon had a worldwide business model that would make his company the next Mexicali Grille. After that failure, my salary was cut altogether and I couldn't laugh for a week.

As you can see, it was never easy being Dan's assistant. Although Hu Jintao has been working hard to try to follow in my footsteps, he constantly sends me e-mails wondering why Dan is so picky. I just tell him an old Confucian proverb: "If you can't laugh at genius, you might as well laugh with genius." Meanwhile, over at Marquis I have my own assistant, but I treat her a little bit better than Dan treated me. I pay her 20 of Dan's jokes per week.

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