New Heathens
18Dec/10Off

Mr. Fabulous

Yes Virginia, there is a Matty Claus. Devoted readers of this blog (mom) know my raves about the great Matt Popola, bossman at Paddy's Service Station in Newark, NJ and automotive patron saint to journalists in the greater New York region. The man is a mechanical genius. He single-handedly built my infamous ride, The Frankenraisin, and continues to be the sole reason that twice-totaled, three-colored, 12-year-old Chevy Cavalier still runs.

Matt is also one of the most outstanding dudes on the planet. Check out the jacket he gave me for Christmas. This is the back.

Now, check out the name embroidered on the front.

The nickname came about from when I would call up to schedule something like an oil change and the conversations would go like this. Matt: "Hello, Paddys." Me: "Hi, is Matt there?" Matt: "Who's this?" Me: "Nate Schweber." Matt: "When you call here you need to say, 'It's the fabulous Nate Schweber.'"

Sure, there are a some places out there where my name is mud, but at Paddy's in Newark on the corner of Van Buren and Delancey my name is "Mr. Fabulous."

Of course I met Matty Po. through one of my greatest and most bewildering friends, Mark J. Bonamo, the "gangsta'-nerd" himself. Bonamo's Paddy's nickname is "Paperboy," not, as many suspect, because he writes for newspapers. It's because his car gets so stuffed full of old newspapers it's like the recycling version of a clownmobile. (You can imagine the dude's apartment sometimes.)

Here's the front of Bonamo's jacket.

These jackets are a big deal! They're a major honor! Not just anyone gets a Paddy's jacket. Bonamo and I are like made-men. And not only is the jacket the coolest looking thing I own, it's also the warmest.

After he presented us with the jackets at the garage last night Matt, who is a ballistics expert, told us they're bulletproof too.

Then he leaned in to me and said in a quiet voice, "Let Bonamo find that out first."

Matt, can't thank you enough, sir. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

And as someone who knows much of the behind-the-scenes at Paddy's Service Station, I'll always laugh when I read on the back of the jacket, "Service With A Smile Since 1934." The quotation marks are Matt's, not mine.

Hey, Happy Birthday Keith Richards!

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