My first real awareness that Jack Murphy could be as zany as me occurred in November of his first year at Holy Trinity. He knew I loved the opera so he decided to treat me to dinner in New York for my birthday. The restaurant he chose was famous for having good food and the waitresses and waiters were all opera singers. It was a bitter cold night and dressed in normal suits and ties we were at the end of a very long line to get into the restaurant.
Jack was very impatient and out of the blue he walked past everyone and entered the restaurant. After about five minutes he reappeared and motioned for me to join him. In a whisper he said “take off your overcoat and drape it on your shoulders the way Italians do in Rome. “Knowing that something was off the tracks I asked”Ok lunatic what have you done?” He smiled and said”I merely told the owner that it was embarrassing that the famous Italian heart surgeon Dr.Tagliareni from Rome had to wait on line.”With those startling words he ushered me into the restaurant where the owner was rushing to greet me. Now I speak Italian but Signor Asti will know that I am not native born Italian. He greets me with a flurry of Italian and I answer in English with a very heavy Italian accent.”Mr. Asti when I am in America I only speak English.” He embraced me and led me to the finest table in the front of the room. He then announced what a privilege it was to have me and I am forced to stand and wave to the standing ovation of the crowd.
I am now hopeful that there will be no further notice of me but almost immediately a soprano and a tenor dedicate the next aria to Dr.Tagliareni. By this time I am in full blown terror that I will be discovered as a fraud. Meanwhile jack is sipping his drink and savoring the coup he has successfully employed. I lean over and ask” What happens if someone in this place has a heart attack?”He never missed a beat with his response”Just jump on his or her chest and start pounding away.”