Monday, February 2, 2009

Hard to Make Up

I've been riding the LIRR as a daily commuter now for 16 years. I use a monthly ticket, which requires the conductor to punch the appropriate gender, M or F. (My oldest daughter, when she was first commuting, thought it had something to do with Monday through Friday. We love her a lot.)

Today, being the first use of the February ticket, required the conductor to make the call. Despite hardly being her first day on the job, she blew it. I guess it had to happen eventually. When I saw her pulling the ticket back and writing on it I knew what she had done and offered to dress differently, if needed. She smiled and said it wouldn't be necessary.

So, it is this dual-punched gender ticket I'm now staring at in the doctor's waiting room as I look through my billfold. It's an appointment with an ophthalmologist, for a routine eye exam that I felt should be acceded to since the last one was over three years ago, I'm now over 60, and I do stuff like this more than half my waking hours. And also read.

It then occurred to me, that I've got a story to tell this doctor, who I've been seeing since sometime shortly after president Ford famously told NYC to "Drop Dead." Or, at least, that's what the Daily News said he said.

I used to work with a fellow who was a pretty good tennis player. Not playing the game myself, I took his word for it. He told me his father was really good, and still played and gave lessons. When he was growing up he lived in Manhasset and the father would play Bobby Riggs and Dr. Richard Raskin at various North Shore homes. Times were good.

In time, Dr. Richard Raskin, an ophthalmologist, famously became Dr. Renee Richards, via a sex-change operation. The players still met and played tennis for as long as Ed Kujan remained in Manhasset.

Not too long ago I met my friend's father and immediately asked him, "Ed, who gave you the toughest time, Dr. Richards as a man, or a woman? Ed firmly replied, "Both."

This is essence of the story I told my ophthalmologist this afternoon. He laughed like hell, said he grew up in Manhasset, and played Bobby Riggs Jr. a few times as a teenager.

I have no idea what the hell any of this means, but if they ever punch my ticket wrong again I'll think it's time for an eye exam.


  1. sounds like a Seinfeld episode without the anti-dentite...A neighbor and I took the train on Monday and had that converstation about the conductor's dilemma when they see someone (like yourself i guess) that can't be distinguished from a gender perspective...A neighbor of mine as a child used the opthamolgy services of Dr. Richards, and from what I hear, he/she was very good...Chuckster loves tennis