Joe and Chelo S. were long-time residents of Chicagoland who moved to the northern suburbs of Atlanta to be with their daughter Debbie and son-in-law Sid. That’s how we met them... for Debbie and Sid were (and are) friends of ours.
We would see Joe and Chelo a few times a week, at Shabbat services and at dinner after Thursday evening Minyan... and at the occasional Big Event, like the storybook wedding of their grandson Adam in Malibu, on a cliff overlooking the Pacific.
A lovely couple, they were... and Joe had an interesting backstory, for he had had a long career in a line of work that most of us Penile-Americans would consider a Dream Job.
Joe, you see, worked for Playboy Magazine. He was the guy who prepared the printing plates... which meant that, months in advance, he saw every picture that appeared in that Venerable Periodical, as well as those that didn’t.
Joe know all the secrets. He knew that Miss March had a strawberry birthmark on the left cheek of her ass, and that Miss September had a tuft of pubic hair sticking out of the crotch of her bikini. All of these minor defects were, of course, artfully airbrushed away before the rest of us Lowly Mortals got to gaze raptly upon the finished product.
And he got to make the occasional visit over at the Mansion. Icing on the cake.
Alas, Joe is no longer with us, having suffered a stroke a few years back that sent him to a different sort of mansion... the kind that floats in the sky. But we all remember him fondly, and I think of him with just a tinge of envy whenever I walk past a newsstand.