Sal’s first real awareness that Jack Murphy could be as zany as he occurred in November of his first year at Holy Trinity. He knew Sal loved the opera so he decided to treat him to dinner in New York for his 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 the two clerics 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 Sal 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 Sal 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.La Greca from Rome had to wait on line.”With those startling words he ushered Sal into the restaurant where the owner was rushing to greet him
. Now Sal spoke Italian well, but Signor Asti would immediately know that he was not native born Italian. He greeted Sal with a flurry of Italian, and thinking quickly on his feet Sal answered in English with a very heavy Italian accent.”Signore. Asti when I am in America I only speak English.” He embraced Sal, and led him to the finest table in the front of the room. When the restaurant was completely filled Mr Asti announced what a privilege it was to have Dr.La Greca from Rome in attendance. He motioned for Sal to rise and be greeted by the adoring crowd. Sal unwittingly was forced to stand and wave to a standing ovation .
Breathing a sigh of relief Sal was now hopeful that there would be no further notice of him, but almost immediately a soprano and a tenor dedicated the next aria to Dr La Greca. By this time Sal was in full blown terror mode with the fear that he would be discovered as a fraud. Meanwhile Jack was sipping his drink and savoring the coup he had successfully employed. Sal leaned over and asked Jack” 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.”