My Wife is THE Boss

As Valentine’s Day fast approaches, the 27th anniversary of my marriage to the Beautiful AP is at hand. We married on Valentine’s Day so I wouldn’t forget what date our wedded bliss began. That date was AP’s idea.

Make no mistake about it, the Beautiful AP saved my life.

I was about 40 years old, losing my teaching job of 18 years, in debt up to Wilt Chamberlain’s eyeballs, paying child support and the mortgage on my first house and sending (who I hoped would be) my soon-to-be ex-wife to graduate school to become a librarian and taking the kids on weekends so they could be with me and also enjoy working with me in the theatre company I half-owned and I was depressed.

We were sitting on the beach at Cape May, New Jersey, and I was lamenting everything. I am an excellent lamenter.

“How can I get out from under all this debt? How can I send my kids to a private high school and then college? I do not want them to have to pay back college loans; I don’t want them to start their adult lives in debt. I don’t know where I can get all this money I need.”

Although I was not married to AP at that time, I knew we would get married as soon as my first wife and I could settle our almost six years of divorce discussions. As anyone knows who has gotten a divorce, the old song “Our Love is Here to Stay” must be rewritten as “My Former Love is Here to Slay” because divorce is a killing business.

But AP came in to save me. “Scobe, you are going to become a famous writer. You are going to take this gambling study you’ve been doing and make something big out of it. The kids will be totally taken care of and you’ll get out of debt. You’ll see, you are not down as much as looking up at where you will be going.”

She was right. In every way I was headed up. In every way.

And so it was that the Beautiful AP and I got married on Valentine’s Day once my now ex-wife had met a man she wanted to marry (I love that man!), moved to Texas in lightning-like fashion, so I now had custody of the kids, and all was right with the world. We paid the tuitions for high school and college; my debt was paid off; 35 books were published; television shows were written; consulting boomed; I did a lot of radio; I did a lot of television and I was free and clear and happy as could be.

And soon after our marriage I allowed the Beautiful AP to become the boss of my whole life. She deserved that much, did she not?

She is now in charge of everything. I watch her happily dusting, vacuuming the house and washing the floors and cleaning the bathrooms in her delightful manner. I see her scampering to do the laundry and to take the clothes out of the dryer and fold them and put them neatly away in our closets and cabinets. Our bathrooms are spotless. She is totally in charge

The whole house is hers! She deserves this power. She saved my life and now she runs everything. A woman in command is a wonder to behold.

When I sit in my recliner for hours and watch her exercise her authority over the whole house, I am in a state of joy. All women would enjoy such empowerment. Too many husbands do not allow their wives to have such strength in life as I do with the Beautiful AP. She even works a full-time job that she loves.

For our anniversary I bought some slippers for myself; wrapped up the box and gave them to her so that she could now joyously slip them on my feet when I call for them. I have stocked the refrigerator with grapes for her to bring to me and feed them to me—one at a time—as I enjoy an endless stream of movies.

I bought her an easy-to-use snow blower so she can make sure our property is clear after a storm. She’s even promised me that she would clean the garage.

What a woman!

Happy 27th anniversary to my Beautiful AP

(Do not, under any circumstances, let the Beautiful AP read this article.)


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Teachers: The Great and the God-Awful

Most of us probably remember the teachers who were bad or so awful that calling them “bad” would be a compliment. I had a nun in third grade who called me up to the front of the class to cut my tongue out of my mouth for talking. I really thought this was about to happen so I gave it some logical thought, If I just put my tongue out a little she won’t be able to stop me from speaking in the future. It will be just a little snip. I was actually more worried about telling my parents I had been punished. (Oh, by the way, she did not cut any part of my tongue but as a kid I didn’t doubt she meant business.)

I had one biology teacher at St. John’s Prep who never hesitated to throw his heavy textbook at one or another of our student’s head for misbehaving according to his definition. Sometimes he hit them with that ponderous tome, once breaking a kid’s nose. He’d call us “monkeys” and say that “Your parents are monkeys too.”

I was always able to duck in time and was never wounded.

In seventh grade at Our Lady of Angels grammar school, I was taught by a Franciscan Brother Lucian, a red-faced, six-foot five mega-monster who would bring a misbehaving kid to the front of the class and wallop him. He did this in a unique way, holding one hand against the student’s check and walloping the other side of the kid’s face with his other massive hand. No one wanted to get hit by Brother Lucian. It was devastating and such walloping even made some of the tough kids cry.

He’d also fake a slap and if the kid flinched, “Well now sonny, you get two slaps for flinching.” The side of the face that was slapped usually had a big, red imprint of Lucian’s hand on it. That imprint would last almost all day.

He once brought me up to the front of the room and I was thinking quickly about what I could have done to merit this guy’s animosity. He laughed at me when I was standing trembling before him; he was looking down his high body at the small kid before him. “You did nothing wrong except fake me out in the basketball game last night.” He laughed. “Don’t do that again Scoblete. Now go sit down.”

Brother Lucian coached our seventh-grade basketball team. I was on that team but I never got to play. I just sat on the bench. I didn’t know what the hell that guy had against me but he evidently had something. I was the best player on the team.

The following year in eighth grade I not only started on a team that went undefeated, even beating Lew Alcindor’s team St. Jude in the LaSalle Christmas Tournament but I dominated every game along with our awesome center Pat Heelan. (Alcindor changed his name to Kareem Abdul Jabbar and became one of the greatest players in NBA history.) That year I received several basketball scholarships to Catholic high schools in New York City. I was one of the best players in the city at that time. [You can read the full story of “The Real Dream Team” in my book Confessions of a Wayward Catholic.]

Fortunately, those abhorrent, angry, abusive teachers I had weren’t the ones to leave an indelible mark on my life. Instead, there were three others who gave me the tools and encouragement to equip me for success. They all taught at Our Lady of Angels grammar school in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

In fifth grade I hated my teacher, Sister Patricia Michael of the Sisters of Charity, who seemed to have a real hatred of me too. “Francis, this essay is awful. You make statements you can’t prove. You keep writing this poorly and you’ll work as a garbage man – and be lucky to get that job.”

Every time I handed in something I wrote she would keep me after school to show me where I went wrong. “Francis, no one can be a good writer who doesn’t prove his case to the reader. I don’t want these statements unless you can back them up. You say here that Lincoln made very anti-Negro statements in some of his speeches but you do not quote any line from a speech. Where is your proof?”

And sometimes she would hit my hand with the strap if it looked as if I were daydreaming. She didn’t hit too hard – nothing like Brother Lucian.

In sixth grade I had Franciscan Brother Jonathan. He was a young man but a kind guy who never once hit a student. He was delighted by my writing and told me that “Francis, you will become a professional writer someday. Never give up writing. Just keep practicing.”

He knew a lot about theatre and never stopped praising the performance arts. We actually got to read real plays with real meaning. He would often be told by his superiors not to have his students read “adult” literature. He finally left the brotherhood, married a former nun, and pursued his love of theatre.

My third great teacher was Brother Barnabas, who demanded that I achieve an average of 90 or I would not be allowed to play on the basketball team. In those days you were seated according to your academic performance: the top students in the front of the class and the failures in the back. “You are too smart to be sitting in the back of the class with the idiots. You’d better get those grades up or you will remain a nobody.”

Barnabas was the coach of the eight-grade basketball team and I really wanted to be on that team so I brought my A-game to my academic life.

He also once told me, “Scoblete, you are going to be the guy to guard the best player on the other team. I expect you to shut down these great players. And kid, you are going to be the guy who will take the last shot in a close game and dribble to stall for time.”

I was even one of the three players guarding Lew Alcindor from the front, conveniently stepping on his feet as often as I could get away with. Alcindor was 6’10” at the time! I was 5’7”!

So my three elementary teachers put thoughts in my head. Thanks to Barnabas I was never afraid to put myself on the line. My father also had that philosophy and it stuck.

Jonathan was right, I did become a professional writer. He had seen a talent in me and told me about it. He also got me to love theatre. In 1978 I started my own theatre company with a fellow teacher. We worked the boards for a dozen years. I enjoyed performing before audiences. I considered teaching a performance before an audience – an audience that didn’t pay to get in and some who really didn’t want to be there (toughest audience in the world!).

My family was poor when I was graduating high school. I was lucky that I had a scholarship that paid my St. John’s high school tuition. Would I go to college? No one in my extended family, all of us from working-class parents, had gone to college. If I did, I would be the first.

I didn’t even know what the SAT exam was; just that one of the priests at the high school told me, “Scoblete, you are taking an exam tomorrow. Get a good night’s sleep. Bring a pencil.”

I applied to Ithaca College because it had a special program for 12 students called Triplum where you would major in three subjects, literature, history and philosophy. If I could get into that honors program a scholarship was possible.

My parents had no money, so I had to get a scholarship or go into the navy. I also knew that even if I got a scholarship I’d have to work, maybe full time, to send money home to my parents. But first things first: that scholarship.

On the entrance test you were given a topic and the honors committee would read your essay and let you know if you made the program and whether you’d be one of the three to get a free ride at the college.

I knew that if I didn’t get a scholarship I’d never make it to college. I journeyed to Ithaca, took the test, journeyed back home to Brooklyn and waited. Several days later I received my results. Yes, I had made Triplum and, yes, I did get the scholarship. I would become a college student.

That September I went to college and on the first day of the first Triplum seminar the professor said, “We had a remarkable essay handed in for entrance into the program. It had everything an essay should have; strong statements of opinion and facts to back up those opinions. I was quite impressed by it.”

I looked around the conference table at the members of the seminar. They all looked so intelligent. Which of them had written such a great essay?

“Mr. Frank Scoblete [holy shit!], you should be applauded for such a fine example of writing. You should be proud of yourself and you absolutely deserve the scholarship to our college. Keep up this good work.”

At that time I was so Brooklyn-born, that I used “yous” as the plural of you. I said “terlet” instead of toilet. When I first opened my mouth at the seminars I would get looks and some of the students would snicker at me. It didn’t matter. I was in college on a free ride!

On the winter break I went back to the convent of Our Lady of Angels. I asked to speak to Sister Patricia Michael. She met me in the lobby.

“I don’t know if you remember me,” I started.

“Oh, yes, I do, Francis,” she said.

I then told her how grateful I was that she took the time to teach me how to write a proper essay. I told her about Brother Jonathan liking my writing and then I told her about the scholarship based on writing a single essay and how it was considered an excellent essay.

I then told her that I had done this because of her. She had taken the time to develop my talent. I thanked her.

She cried.


[Read Frank’s book Confessions of a Wayward Catholic! Available on, on Kindle and other electronic media, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.]

Free College is an Awful Idea

Some politicians (and student advocates) are proposing that we send people to college for free.

Dumb idea.

Aside from the obvious fact that it would cost a fortune and probably add to our almost $20,000,000,000,000 debt (did I get enough zeros in that? the number is so big I can’t comprehend it) it would probably add even more non-college-ready-students to the “how can such an idiot be in college?” ranks.

I am coming to the conclusion that we should eliminate about 50 percent of the college students from the college ranks. But what should we do with all those people?

Here is my plan (it does have some bugs I will admit):

*Anyone who serves four years in the armed forces gets four years of free college

*Anyone who serves five years in the military gets four years of free college and one free year in a master’s program

*Anyone who serves eight years in the armed forces gets four years of free college and one free year in a master’s degree program and three years in a PhD program

Who pays for all of this? The military through a (sort of) Medicare-type deduction from a soldier’s pay – maybe make it 50-50 with a government hand out.

I dismiss the idea that we would be dealing with individuals of more advanced ages in the general college population. Education at the highest levels should not be age specific. In fact, we could use more adults on our college campuses.

Now, we would have to come up with plans for married individuals and such but I think these plans could be easily worked out. Remember, we are having children later in life and we are living far longer than ever before. Going to college in one’s late 20’s or early 30’s is not a big deal anymore.

This plan would prevent those “I can’t believe that girl is in college” problem and probably cut enrollments quite a lot. When our members of the armed forces are ready to enter college they would actually be ready to enter college, having experienced the real world.

Rather than prattle on, that is my tentative plan. Could that work better than the absurd idea of sending everyone to college for “free”? Probably.

[Read my new book Confessions of a Wayward Catholic!]