My Trip With Marvin Ming to Atlantic City

15 Nov

from July 24, 2008

I’ve written about my old friend “Marvin Ming” before, chiefly, the time when we tried to set him up with a lesbian by sending her a map and a toy flower. (Look up the blog, I think I called the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. If I didn’t I should have.)

I’ll give you a bit of background before I tell about our trip to Atlantic City.

Marvin (not his real name) was (and most likely still is) a Chinese man who hates Chinese people. This extended mostly toward his mother, but he had problems with all Chinese, including himself. In a nutshell, he didn’t want to be Chinese, he wanted to be……………….. a Klingon. Yes, a Start Trek bumpy-headed Worf. He had a stoic manner and a concept of honor that would have made a rapist out of King Arthur (and if you believe certain Roman legends…) and he took Star Trek’s Lt. Worf as his idol.

For example, he once got rid of his bed and started sleeping on a thin weight-lifting bench in order (and try to hear this in Michael Dorn’s best Klingon growl, low and throaty, as he would say “tribbles”) “to remove temptation.” Now I never asked him which temptation he was referring to. I have an idea or two, and I’m sure you do also, but I never asked. Given his stoic manner and the fact that he lifted weights in his bedroom, the temptation was either girls or masturbation. And since he showed no interest in girls (except the one lesbian) my money was on masturbation.

A curious side-note to that story is the fact that while he hated Chinese people, especially his family, he loved Asian women. All but his mom, whom always seemed to be doing the wrong thing, either bringing shame on the family by playing Bingo, or simply being Chinese.

Marvin tended to smell, and the girls in the store got together to ask him to start using deodorant. Actually, they got together and got me to tell him. Then, as now, I was a sucker for a woman, and I, in the most personally embarrassing moment I have ever had, told Marvin that everyone in the store wanted him to shower because he stunk. I was then treated, and I should have been struck blind, to the sight of Marvin spraying himself with Lysol under his arms and in his crotch.

He had a brother who was marginally more normal. One time his brother owed Marvin some sort of debt, so he brought Marvin into the store where we worked and made him work for him. He sat in the break room and made his brother sweep the hall, lift boxes, whatever Marvin should have done. And his brother was OK with this. In fact, it was so funny that everyone was OK with this, except the boss, who was not OK with this, because OSHA and their insurance were both completely not at all OK with this, and Marvin sent his brother home after only an hour or so. But the debt was cleared.

Marc and I were invited, via Marvin, to a birthday party of a friend of Marvin’s whom we had never met. We went. When we arrived it was his friend and his father, plus us. I sat in the living room and waited for the rest of the guests. When his father brought out the birthday cake I realized there were no other guests. It was his father, Marvin, and two total strangers.

Marc and I actually spent most of the night with the guy’s father, who turned out to be a major league liar. We didn’t know for sure at the time, but I suspected that this guy’s father (Art Lieberman) did not write the old song “It’s Judy’s Turn to Cry” and several episodes of The Twilight Zone. He was full of crap. He them took out his pride and joy, a computer with a trivia program that, even back in the late 80’s was ten years obsolete.

So Marc and I answered every question while Art told us stories.

QUESTION: Who played Ralph Kramdem?
MARC: Jackie Gleason
ART: Let me tell you about Gleason, when I worked for him, yada yada yada, I wrote the episode where Alice gets a job.
ME: Wow. Is the game over?

His son was no better. We went into his room where he was showing “movie props.” He handed us a misshapen lump of metal that he claimed was an original Star Wars lightsaber. It looked like slag from a construction site. If I had a pipe from under my sink and a marker I could make a more convincing prop.

Marvin was impressed.

The highlight of the night was Art showing us his videotape collection. Back when I had tapes, I was proud of my collection. I must have had upwards of 300 tapes. (All categorized, like BIG apes, GIANT dinosaurs, and ants. Yep, that was a category.) But old Art, he had, no joke, an entire room of his house lined wall to ceiling, every wall, with videotapes. This impressed me then. Now it scares me. But looking back, Marc and I were both impressed with the collection. He had seemed to videotape every single thing that had ever been on TV. No wonder his wife was out of the picture.

So what did he pop in the VCR, the moon landing? JFK’s assassination? The first broadcast of The Colgate Comedy Hour? No. He put in a dreadfully blurry copy of The Night of 1,001 Stars. This was a TV special which claimed to have 1,001 stars. I guess, technically, it did, but for every John Wayne there three Horshacks and an Epstein. And the stars did nothing. There was a big stage with a curtain. The host would say “Number 863, Barbara Bel Geddes!” and Barbara Bel Geddes would come through the curtain, smile, bow, and walk off. “And now, star 864, McLean Stevenson!” Smile, bow, walk.

And that pretty much ended the night. We left, and some afterward the family moved to Arizona and that was the end of that.

I’ve been leading up to the story of my trip to Atlantic City with Marvin and his parents, but you’ll have to wait for Part Two.

One Response to “My Trip With Marvin Ming to Atlantic City”


  1. I Remember The Man Who Wrote It All « Mr. Blog's Tepid Ride - July 3, 2010

    […] via a mutual friend, Marvin Ming. If you read either of my previous Marvin Ming blogs (here and here) you already know that this was no ordinary […]


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