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By Amy Phillips Penn

“This world here, this is George’s sanctuary. If Susan comes into contact with this world,
his worlds collide! Anybody knows…You gotta keep your worlds apart!”
— Seinfeld


Seinfeld may define itself as writing scripts about “nothing,” but Seinfeld’s “nothing” is a very splendored multi-layered “something.”

I hosted a dinner party for a few of my nearest and dearest at Elaine’s.

I invited some friends and a relative or two, and sat back and relaxed. My friends always liked each other.

Dinner usually ended with their exchanging intentions of getting together, outside my arena, which didn’t usually actualize. How do I know? They did the same shtick each time.

This evening got off to an explosive start and escalated into all but hurling pennies when the bill was divided.

I introduced my friend Amanda to Henry, who was a plastic surgeon.

They both had homes in Westhampton, and I thought they would soon be bff’s or something sexier than that.

“Amanda, I’d like you to meet Henry. He’s best friends with Larry Lane,” I added, confident that this would bond them forever.

“Larry Lane is an asshole,” shouted Amanda.

I was dumbfounded. My worlds had collided.

Every discussion they had after that was hostile. Even when one of them tried to make nice, the other one reacted offensively or defensively.

Something had to give.

Thank heavens my friends Don and Jackie arrived from the suburbs.

It was the year before the second George W. Bush election, and if any New Yorker wants their worlds to collide, splinter, and need a Xanax lift, please pass the politics.

“I’m sure that no one at this table is for Bush,” Jackie said, claiming center stage.

It skidded and stuttered downhill from there.

At the end of the evening, it was time to finally embrace relief or so I thought. One couple left early and headed back to Westchester. They left cash on the table, smiled, offered their kiss-kiss goodbyes and moved on.

Then, the dormant volcano bubbled up again — they had eaten more than anyone else, and had left less money than everyone else.

Separating a check is never a big laugh when anyone feels royally s-c-r-e-w-e-d, so after a lot of shuffling of crisp crescendoing bills and change lined up like poker chips, the matter was settled…sort of.

The next morning Amanda called to apologize. She said that she had had too much to drink.


The Russian judge gave the dinner a ‘minus one’ and life went on.

I vowed never to merge any of my friends together again, unless they had proved to be consistently sane after several decades.

In theory, I love to introduce my friends. I’m proud of them and usually they do me proud.

You just never know when you’re going to mix a lethal people cocktail.

Years ago, I was flying down south for what always proved to be a fabulous weekend of riding, great food and fun, and new friends.

We were in a private plane that seated nine

Our destination was a plantation that was home to endangered African wildlife (and a few chosen humans).

Our host was telling us about a kudu with hemorrhoids (I kid you not) and how they had to anesthetize the antelope with a dart gun.

“Sounds like something they would have used at Jones town,” theorized my date.

“My wife died in Jonestown,” replied a handsome new guest.


Mergers, collision, and faux pas, oh my! Quel horreur!


“I don’t think that I’ve ever been to an appointment in my life where I wanted the other guy to show up.” — George Costanza, Seinfeld


Do you dare to challenge your world to collide, or do you prefer to stay nestled in your own lane and signal ahead?

Be brave and remember… all roads lead to Rome.

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