by Tracy Newman
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ImageA few years ago, my sister Laraine and I were having lunch on Larchmont at one of my favorite sushi restaurants, redundantly called California Roll and Sushi Fish. (My sister is Laraine Newman, of SNL fame and a regular contributor to this website.) My seat was facing out toward the other tables and Laraine was facing me. We had ordered and were both very hungry.

Sitting alone against the opposite wall, beyond Laraine, was a young, slender, beautiful Asian woman. I couldn’t look at my sister without seeing her too. Her clothes were perfect, her hair and make-up were perfect. She was perfect. Her sashimi arrived. She slowly poured soy sauce into the little soy sauce dish, slowly picked up her chopsticks, slowly pinched off a tiny bit of wasabi, slowly mixed it with the soy sauce, slowly picked up a piece of fish, slowly dragged it back and forth through the soy sauce, and ever so slowly lifted it to her mouth. Then she actually put the chopsticks down, stared straight ahead and slowly chewed. You get the idea. She was a perfect eater. She’s not likely to ever choke on her food.

ImageLaraine was in the middle of telling me something when our yummy looking spicy tataki rolls arrived. Laraine descended upon the largest section with her fingers and stuffed the whole thing in her mouth. She was chewing, talking and gesturing with enviable abandon.

The juxtaposition of these two eaters – Laraine and the perfect Asian lady, spawned the following lyric. Forgive me for saying in the song that I’m dining alone. There’s a limit to what I can say about my sister, whom I love very much. The song is called “Wolfer.”



WOLFER (9/21/05) Tracy Newman

I’m having lunch by myself
At this California Sushi House
Using chopsticks to mix wasabi in soy
And slowly put the fish in my mouth

But all I can think of is wolfing
As I casually leaf through a catalogue
My hands are shaking from trying to
hide my desire to eat like a dog

This restraint is typical of me
I don’t like to show any need

Wolfer, I never wolf
No one has ever seen me
Wolfing, not even myself
I don’t like to see that in me

Most men rip into their food
Like gluttonous medieval kings
In fact, my sister does too
So it isn’t a gender thing

And none of the wolfers in my life
Are known for tolerance or tact
They’re not afraid to fly into a rage
And can cry at the drop of a hat

Whereas I maintain an even keel
So nobody knows how I feel

Wolfer, I never wolf
No one has ever seen me
Wolfing, not even myself
I don’t seem to have it in me

But I’m beginning to see how you
wolfers out there have it made –
You let off steam then get on with your day

I take the last sip of my tea
I loosen my belt a good notch
I’m noticing stains on my shirt
I’m brushing rice off my crotch

So, you can hide all of your hunger
And still be surrounded by crumbs
Watching me eat is a five minute lesson
called “hiding your feelings is dumb”

And we know it causes lots of stress
My digestive system’s a mess

Wolfer, I wanna wolf
It seems like the best thing to be
Wolfing, all over the place
Oh, where is the wolfer in me?

Wolfer, we all wanna wolf
But what kind of world would it be
With only wolfers roaming the earth
Don’t we need some non-wolfers
Like me?



#3 Dave M 2011-03-24 14:50
What a great song, Tracy! Now your catchy hook is a tape loop my head.

You know, I never had Laraine pegged as a wolfer. Man, you think you know a person...

Love the pix of both of you, too!

#2 susAN DEMERS 2011-01-09 12:20
#1 Laraine Newman 2011-01-06 12:45
This is a total stranger writing to say that I've observed your sister eating in restaurants and she's a perfect lady. She doesn't remotely resemble the boorish picture you paint in your lyrics and I'm certain you used photoshop to arrange this ghastly picture of her. Besides, that tataki roll wasn't as good as you said it would be.


someone who isn't your sister but is insisting that your sister is a dainty eater

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