To my friend Harriet Funkstein. Gone too soon.

Harriet spent most of his days wandering around the apartment in his undergarments and chasing the cat with a firepoker. Sprinkles is in the audience today, which should serve as evidence of Harriet’s incompetence and sluggishness.

He was a curiously selfish man. Harriet hardly ever gave to charity, instead choosing to spend his money on lawn ornaments in the shape of rats. While this achieved the desired effect of keeping the neighbours out of the yard, it attracted all sorts of dogs from around the block. Not to mention the odd 7-year-old.

Harriet had a large collection of old plates in the kitchen. Many of them had accrued a thick layer of film before his passing, and, of course, this wasn’t by design. Instead of bothering to wash his dishware, Harriet would often just plop another helping of food on the still dirtied surface and eat anew. At least a layer of food would insulate him from the germs, or so he hoped (when he was sick in the hospital he didn’t seem to think this had any influence on his poor health).

In any event…

He’ll be fondly remembered – by nobody in particular. Which is just the way he wanted it (probably not). Hideoulsy ugly, it would be a surprise if Harriet ever felt the embrace of a woman other than the momentous occasion when he conceived his daughter Annie with some gutter punk on the back of a bus in Philadelphia.

Annie hadn’t spoken to him in 37 years. We literally had to twist her arm to write some sort of commemoration. Mostly because she has a traumatic and irreversible injury to her forearm that she earned falling down the stairs in Harriet’s cluttered apartment. The arm is now inverted and tilted slightly to the left.

Which reminds me…

I once had dinner at Harriet’s. It was an entirely forgettable affair. I noticed a hairline fracture in my teacup and I suggested he replace it with a new one. As it happened, it was just a hair lying fractured in my teacup, and he was just as happy to pick it up like a noodle and slurp it down.

His hygiene produced a level of contempt unrivaled in modern society. One must think back to the day’s before pressurized water and daily bathing to understand such a wretched stench. It was a truly, horribly, inconceivably, depraved experience walking through his living room. The carpet was yellowed (somehow) and damp (unsurprisingly). Don’t get me started on his bathroom.

In loving memory,

Your friend Matt.