Friday, June 3, 2016.  This could be my single most favorite word.  Many of you reading this know that.  For those of you that don’t, I will explain.  But I have a confession to make.  As much as I use this use word and have effectively trademarked it for use in every day life (you can use donkey as a noun, verb and everything in between), I am not the originator or creator of the “use of donkey” as a table wine.  The credit is owed to Ryan Philp, whom I shared an office with when we were summer associates at Weil Gotshal in 2002 (after our second year of law school). Ryan sent me an email on May 17th.  No title.  The text:  “[h]ow you feeling donkey?”

[A great lawyer and an even better person, Ryan and I have stayed in touch over the last 14 years.  We didn’t even join the same practice groups, but we had a connection right away and have been close ever since.  I still remember going to his house in Toms River that summer and hanging with his parents, brother and cousins (all great people).  We went to each other’s weddings (and I am sure his family still talks about that Sussberg guy dancing like a donkey the entire night). [An awesome wedding — Jen and I had a blast.]  We got together  6 months ago for dinner and a night out.  He came to see me in the hospital.  He has called to check in and make sure I am doing OK (like so many of my friends and colleagues, for which I am incredibly appreciative).  And wouldn’t know, of all times to call, he called me tonight well after I had started writing this post and determined I would finally give credit where credit is due.   Who doesn’t believe in karma now??]

I was actually inspired to write this post yesterday when my brother sent me the picture below of my adorable nieces, Mia and Violet.


Beautiful right?  My response to the picture (through text) said “[s]o pretty.  By the way, I know those donkeys.  We used to have one!!!”   Truth be told, and as beautiful as these two little girls are, the sick individual I am first noticed the donkeys.  We definitely had one of those.  Partly because of my infatuation with the word donkey; partly because the kids love sitting on them.  I have a pretty good memory.  I pay attention to details.  And wouldn’t you know, when Drew was over today, look what Jen found for him in our basement…


The fact that it was the same color as the ones Mia and Violet were riding was something I did not remember.  But we have had that donkey for a good 7 plus years.  It hurt when Drew took it home today.  That said, I am happy they will have it and I can promise you one thing:  Drew and Alexis (and hopefully my nieces at some point) will ALWYAS think of me when they look at that donkey.  [The reality is the only reason I got comfortable with Drew taking the donkey today is because I know I am going to get it back.]

According to Wikopedia (which at this point you should know is one of my go-to sources):

“The donkey or ass (Equus africanus a sinus) is a domesticated member of the horse family, Equidae. The wild ancestor of the donkey is the African wild ass, Eafricanus. The donkey has been used as a working animal for at least 5,000 years.  There are more than 40 million donkeys in the world, mostly in underdeveloped countries, where they are used principally as draught or pack animals.  Working donkeys are often associated with those living at or below subsistence levels.  Small numbers of donkeys are kept for breeding or as pets in developed countries.

A male donkey or ass is called a jack, a female a jenny or jennet, a young donkey is a foal.  Jack donkeys are often used to mate with female horses to produce mules – the biological “reciprocal” of a mule, from a stallion and jenny as it parents instead is a called a hinny.”

See http: (internal citations omitted).

Did not know until tonight that a female donkey is called a “jenny.”  I feel an even deeper connection.

A donkey, however, is so much more than a domesticated member of the horse family.   You can call almost anyone a donkey.  Someone you dislike, someone you love, someone that is acting like a jack ass.  And it is a much better word to use because it is not a swear word and people may not know that you are using it in an angry vs. loving context.  For example, I think I used donkey to describe a half dozen people today.  The person I spoke to at car insurance agency about coverage for my tires and rims (I was only calling to inquire about my deductible.  But it turned into so much more, including a report of the accident that will raise my insurance whether or not I pay for the damage out of pocket).  She was a donkey.  And I was a donkey too, as I made this very same phone call when I pulled into our beloved housekeeper’s parked car in the street in front of our house.  [I also pulled into our baby-sitter’s car when it was parked in our drive way, but I paid for the damage (to both cars) out of pocket without making this donkey-like phone call).  Steph was donkey (and I told her so) when she took the train to our house tonight, but did not realize that she got on an express train to Harrison that did not stop in Mamaroneck or Larchmont.  And I told Carrie that I would be happy to pick up her kids and shuttle them around to sports tomorrow (post chemo) since her donkey of a husband is playing golf from 7 am – 8 pm in a tournament for third day in a row.  You see, donkey can describe so many different people in so many different ways.  Basta even called me a “little donkey” (when referring to me as a summer associate) in the video that everyone from Kirkland put together for me (which I absolutely love).

Sometimes you can use donkey to describe how you feel (just add an “ish” at the end — “I feel donkeyish today,” like I did for three plus months before that fateful Sunday April 23, 2016).  There are songs about donkeys (you know you know it — 69 Boyz, Let Me Ride That Donkey     ).   You can even have a donkey chair (with two stuffed Eeyore’s care of Marcus).  Below is my chair from the hospital and my new reclining chair in my office at home.  Are you not yet convinced that the donkey is my favorite animal?


Try using donkey in your everyday life.  I promise you will be able to describe any number of people, both positively and negatively, and use the word in happy and angry moments to always lighten the mood.  And then we can all properly thank my good buddy Ryan Philp, who finally is getting the credit that he deserves (that I have robbed him of for years).


Lots of people are wondering how I am doing this week.   I have purposely not written about the week of chemo until the fourth day in a row is over (tomorrow).  Let’s call it the need for a clean sweep (like the Cavs in rounds 1 and 2, but clearly not the Finals).  I did feel pretty good today.  Almost as good as I felt in my yet unwritten “Chapter 2.5 — the 10th Floor” (which is coming soon).  Walked 4 miles (slowly, while watching The Revenant) and did some light weights in the basement.  Treadmill shot below. [In case you are wondering, I am superstitious and always stop on either 18 or 44 seconds.]


I am looking forward to the weekend; it officially starts tomorrow at about 11:30 am…….

8 thoughts on “Donkey”

  1. Seems like you are living the ultimate Donkey Kong game and betting on your emerging with the highest score ever that ends with 18 for long life!!


    1. That is a great number. January 18, 1978 was an important day. And man would I like to play a game of Donkey Kong. Totally forgot about that game. Was one of the best of all time. Watched Jake Sussberg strike out the side today and then crush a single to right. You would have been proud.


  2. I went to high school with Ryan in Toms River! Hi Ryan! Our lives just keep overlapping. So crazy. Mark saw Maureen yesterday on her last day. We are so sad. Hope you are doing great. Love your blog!


    1. It is a small small world. That is amazing. I let Ryan know. By the way, please send my best to Marc. We are so sad about Marueen too. She is awesome. Thanks much for reaching out.


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