THE BLUE SUIT
Leader Herald Editor Josh Resnek and the mayor’s Blue Suit share stories about Everett and their own lives.
Did you ever lose all your money?” I asked the Blue Suit.
“No,” he answered. “I can’t say that I have. I’ve been taken care of, if you know what I mean,” he added.
“I get it,” I said.
“I was always taken care of by my parents,” I pointed out.
“I never had to worry about anything when I was growing up. I always wanted to do what I wanted to do and my father was OK with that as long as I educated myself. My father and mother believed being smart, above all, was better than being rich or being famous. I was lucky, my father , my uncles, my grandfather – everyone had money and college degrees, businesses of their own and real estate.”
“I wish it had been like that for me,” said the Blue Suit.
“I was born in a sweat shop in Alabama. I was stitched together on a clothing mass production line by a woman making $4.00 an hour. I was put together without much concern for perfection or anything like that – but I was lucky – I turned out OK – a nicely fitted, well put together machine made suit that sold for about $200,” said the Blue Suit.
“The day Carlo bought me off the rack changed my life. I think I changed his life. He doesn’t let me know, but he really likes me. How else can I explain how he has worn me for so many years to so many events?”
We shared a few moments of silence inside my car. We ate sub sandwiches I bought from Chris at Everett Square Deli. Chris’ subs – and pizza – are extraordinary. Each sub is like swollen, tasty treat. The Blue Suit ordered two – a meatball sub with extra sauce and an Italian with everything.
We ate the subs parked in the Walgreen’s parking lot on Broadway.
“Did you ever lose all your money, Josh?” the Blue Suit asked in between bites
“Yes I did,” I answered. “I went up like a rocket ship and then I went down like a ton of lead. Going down was real bad. A lot of people liked hanging around me when I was heading upward. No one wanted to be near me when I headed in the other direction.”
“No kidding,” the Blue Suit said.
“Didn’t you know that before you went broke?”
“Not really,”I answered.
“I learned some hard facts of life when I went down. Going down, losing everything when you’re 40 is a very intense situation to find yourself in. It’s hard to imagine now, but losing everything made me a better person, a much stronger person. My young sons watched me go down. They watched me come back. Coming back is everything. Coming back from the abyss is what separates the men from the boys,” I said to the Blue Suit.
“How do you mean?” he asked me.
“I have known many people who have gone down and stayed down. They didn’t come back. They live in the past. There was no
coming back for those people,” I said.
“Yeah. I think I know what you mean,” the Blue Suit said.
At that instant, as he was trying to gobble down a huge bit of the meatball sub, a meatball fell out of the sub roll onto his pants.
“Look at that,” I said, as the Blue Suit tried to clean up with napkins.
“And you needed extra sauce. What is wrong with you?” I asked.
“Back off,” he said to me.
Red sauce was all over his pants and his jacket. He grabbed the meatball. He stuffed it into his mouth. With an unintelligible effort, he told me to mind my own business.
“I’ll eat what I want. I’ll make a mess if I please. Who cares anyway!”
‘What was it like having no money?” the Blue Suit asked me.
“It was like torture,” I replied. “In this society it doesn’t get much worse, except maybe losing your marbles and having a nervous breakdown.”
“Did you ever have a nervous breakdown, Josh?” he asked me.
“Not to my knowledge,” I answered.
We both laughed.
”Have you ever owed any money to the IRS or the state?” he asked me.
“Are you serious?” I answered.
“Just about all my life! I don’t owe anything today, but hey, who hasn’t owed tax money in their business lives?” I asked the Blue Suit.
“You’ve got a point about that,” he replied.
I told the Blue Suit a quick story.
“I had lost everything – property, paintings, rugs, furniture – everything but my books and a futon and couch I bought at a Salvation Army store for $50. That was the most uncomfortable couch in the history of couches,” I recalled.
“About the only things I had left were a telephone, which I could barely afford to keep in service, and an old Volvo station wagon. It was a lovely car, about 15 tears old with no dents or scratches. There was no way of knowing I was a guy who lost all my money driving around in that Volvo.”
I went on.
“Anyway, I was driving down Route 1 thinking about my life, about losing all my property, my money and wondering how I was going to move forward. It was the early fall of 1992. My father had died the year before. My mother was still alive. I could have gone home but at 42, it is bit late to go home.”
“Suddenly, my Volvo trembled. I was right next to the old batting cages where the big dinosaur presided for about 35 years where there is a huge development today. The car trembled. All the lights went on on the dashboard. My steering wheel seemed to lock. It took all my strength to steer the car off the road.”
“My Volvo was dead. The engine had frozen. I got out of the car. I removed the license plates. I ran back to the law office I was living in on Broadway in Chelsea. When I got up to my suite, I sat down on my futon and I called my mother.
“Mum, my car just died. I don’t have a car anymore,” I said to her.
With a typical Resnek response, she said to me: “Well what are you going to do now? You don’t have any money?”
“What am I going to do, Mum? I’m coming out to see you and get some money to buy a car, that’s what I’m going to do!”
“OK,” she said.
She gave me a credit card and told me to go out and to buy a car.
She gave me a $600 budget.
I bought an old Chevy at a used car lot.
It was one of the most ugly cars ever created by General Motors.
Boy did it feel good driving that car out of the lot!