When the sun's coming up over the Bronx in the morning there's just one thing that can whip my appetite into fifth gear faster than the smell of bacon sizzling in the frying pan and that’s a fresh copy of the New York Post. Just the sight of newsprint covered with smelly ink so damp it soils the hands like finger paint sets my heart racing, and why? It's a scandal sheet. Well come on, admit it! You enjoy a little schadenfreude pastry with your coffee just like I do. Especially when architects are somehow involved.
For those of you who live outside New York, let me put it this way: the editors at the Post hate almost everyone. Check out these covers. No ethical, criminal, or drug-related bungling is beneath their notice nor will it be tolerated. Hey, I’m not the only New Yorker tempted to toss a bucket of recyclable pop bottles down the trash chute who's thought, “Uh oh, if I'm caught how will this play in the Post?”
Where despicable behavior by architects is concerned the Post hasn't had much to say about us, not since architect Peter Cook's affair with a teenaged office assistant (whom he recruited for his firm after noticing her talent as a toystore clerk) led to his divorce from Christie Brinkley. How could he think he would get away with it?
So this item from the Post's June 30th edition made my day:
A hard-driving Russian madam ran a high-end ring that boasted some of the most accomplished working girls in the city -- including a geometry teacher, a military surgeon and an Olympic athlete, authorities charged yesterday.
Most of the clients were wealthy but low-profile businessmen and
professionals, such as architects and doctors; celebrities were avoided to
keep the business low-key.
Jalovian advertised her prostitutes on an erotic Web site and charged
between $800 and $1,000 for sexual romps at apartments she rented in
Manhattan, where she regularly traveled to collect the cash, the feds said.
I was glowing from the hilarious juxtaposition of the terms, “sexual romp”, “wealthy”, and “architects”–four words which I imagine in the history of our profession have never appeared within two adjacent sentences. The word “architect” as you may know, was coined by someone who was trying to think of a synonym for “lonely and underpaid.”
Then I noticed a letter from the AIA Trust in my mailbox.
These seem appear as frequently as Land’s End catalogs, and that's about six times a week. And for some reason I always open them. Why? Well, because I harbor a fantasy that someday the Trust will send me a big fat refund check for all those services the Institute offers which I've never used, because they were, well, of no use. I've been a member since 1986, so by my reckoning the AIA owes me tens of thousands of dollars by now. But unfailingly mail from the Trust consists of offers for insurance or retirement plans.
This particular come-on was for disability insurance.
Now, I’m not sure what it was that made me check out the application for this plan on this particular day. Could it have been because I wondered whether I would be covered if a Russian mobster beat me silly and shoved me into the newsroom of the Post for asking Madam Jalovian how many hours of AIA continuing ed come with the $800 romp, and whether a box lunch was included? Umm. Possibly. My mind works in mysterious ways.
Whatever the reason, I looked at the form. Of course there is the usual medical stuff which will make the word REJECT explode onto the top of a disability insurance application faster than you could drop it in the mailbox.
Here's a sampling of the maladies they say aremost likely to affect our ilk: mental or nervous disorder, emotional conditions, unexplained weight loss, psychiatric care or psychotherapeutic treatment, counseling, treatment or hospitalization for the use of alcohol or drugs, fainting spells, convulsions, mental or nervous disorder.
But let's face it, they've missed many of the worst injuries: Aeron chair butt, BIM seminar announcement fatigue, CAD elbow wards, spec-related delerium tremens, client-care knee injury, and Sweets catalog sciatica, and I can think of a few others unprintable here.
And, then there were these other things, and almost every architect I know does at least two or three of them, the rodeo riding in particular:
During the last two years, have you participated in, or do you plan to participate in, aircraft flying other than as a passenger, scuba diving, ultralight flying, ballooning, parachuting, mountaineering, rodeo riding, hang gliding, parasailing, bungee jumping, or any type of organized motorcycle racing?
I did not make up that list, by the way. Now, did you notice that sexual romping with prostitutes at $800 to $1000 per session is not mentioned anywhere? Ah, that's because their actuaries know our kind only too well. Isn't our moral fiber is much to stern for such stuff, correct? I should say so.
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