My Secret Identity
What's in a Name ?

I think I may have been about fifteen when Fo decided it was time to impart to me some of his wisdom on the subject of “girls”.   By this time we had already taken several trips on the North Shore interurban to visit the famous Empress Burlesque Theater in Milwaukee and Minsky’s Burlesque in Chicago.  Of course we were both too young to purchase tickets legally.  Here Fo taught me to walk straight up to the ticket booth with a perfectly straight face and say “One, please” whereupon she took my money and issued the ticket. Fo seemed to be pleased with my progress and we were very proud of ourselves for "outwitting" her.

Learning from the Master

I apologize for the digression, but it is to point out that I knew something “about” girls.  However, knowing about them and actually talking to them were for me two entirely different things!   It is at this point Fo decided to give me some on-the-job training.  We went to Cudahy (a suburb of Milwaukee known for its storied abundance of friendly girls).  Before we started our scouting expedition, Fo admonished me that under no circumstances was I to reveal my real name to any girls we might meet and that I should, if asked, give a false name. 

We spent almost an hour in a futile search in this so-called “Land of Plenty” before coming upon a couple of young ladies.  Of course I was covertly observing every move, gesture, facial expression and utterance of my mentor in order to preserve my appearance of sophistication.   When one of the young ladies asked my name…I became completely flustered as I had forgotten to come up with an alias so I told her the only name I could think of at the moment and gave her Fo’s real name.  He looked at me in horror and disbelief!  “IDIOT,” he screamed and threw up his arms in exasperation as the girls turned and left us arguing in the street.

I think it might have been at this point when Fo came to the conclusion that any further efforts at my instruction might be more of a challenge than he was equipped to handle.