I couldn’t wait to get to work last Wednesday and tell the lads the news. Put my lunch box in the locker and sat there till they all arrived and said, cat-and-canary like, that I had just found out that, according to my DNA test, I was distantly related to Larry Fine.

“On Ma’s side, to be exact,” I added.

“Who the hell is Larry Fine?” asked Mickey Conlan, stowing his jacket.

“Anybody? Anybody? Sure, somebody must know,” I said.

No one said a thing. Davey O’Donnell scratched his head and looked like he was thinking.

“He was only one of the Three Stooges!” I exclaimed. “The Three Stooges!”

“No,” said Davey, now wide-eyed. “The real Three Stooges?”

“Yes,” said I. “He was the curly-headed Stooge. Remember? Big forehead. You had your Moe Howard, your Curly Howard, your Shemp Howard, your Curly Joe, and your Larry Fine.”

“And we musn’t be forgetting Joe Besser, who took over when Shemp died of a heart attack,” said Jerry Porter, sorting his tools. “Patrick, in my book you are royalty!”

(I had never heard of Joe Besser up to that point, but I Googled him when I got home. Jerry was right, sure enough.)

“No wonder you are so funny!” said Kevin McArdle.

“You think so?”

“You’re a natural, Patrick, you know, with your witty comments.”

“But growing up, the three of us boys used to do all of those Stooges routines. Nearly killed each other with a pot one time! It really hurts, you know!” I said, patting the top of my head for effect.

“I’ve seen you three boys together after tying one on, and you are a hysterical lot,” said Davey, adjusting his goggles.

“Sure enough,” said Kevin. “Danny plays a good bully-type, you know, like Moe. And Sean has that face like rubber. Goes to show, it’s in the genes, I guess.”

“But, Patrick, those Stooges weren’t Irish, were they?” asked Davey.

“No,” said Jerry. “They were Jewish. Vaudeville, you know. It wasn’t all George M. Cohan, lads.”

“Now there was a talented man, God rest his soul,” said Kevin, crossing himself.

“He’s been gone going on 80 years, Kevin,” said Jerry.

“Still and all—,” said Kevin, snapping his lock shut.

I felt I was losing them, so I said, “But we’re every one of us a son of Adam, aren’t we?”

“Amen to that,” said Davey.

“But I’m wondering, why did you do that DNA kit thing anyway, Patrick?” asked Jerry.

“My daughter Meg gave it me for my 60th birthday, so I spit in a cup and what do you know?”

“But why was she interested in DNA anyway?”

“Well, Meg and her fiancé, Sathish, wanted to find out if they had any old blood in common?”

“Sathish, you say?”

“Yes. He’s at Harvard.”

“Well, la di dah,” said Mickey.

There was a moment of silence.

“And?” said Jerry.

“And—yes. They’re both 15% Spanish!”

Everyone started to laugh and go Nyuk nyuk nyuk and snap their fingers and hit each other over the head.

Oh, it was a grand morning!

3 thoughts on “Shop Talk by Paul Lamar

  1. Great! have to admit i knew who larry fine was before your story cleverly revealed his identity. and Besser, that is great detail. Three Stooges one gender defying act, 100% of men like, 100% of women hate.

Leave a Reply