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The Audience

Who Would Enjoy “Just Lassen to Me!”?

“Just Lassen to Me!” appeals to a broad audience:

  • North American immigrants and survivors of war and regime change: Johnny Simkovits was a staunch capitalist and determined survivor. He fought for both Axis and Allies sides in World War II, escaped Soviet Communism, and immigrated with his homeland wife to the young and free land of Canada. There, he built his dream and amassed a fortune by his own means.

 

  • Entrepreneurs and business owners: Johnny arrived in Canada with his new bride and a handful of dollars. For 30 years, he used his enterprising optimism, gregarious charm, and dogged determination to build a business and amass property. Street smart, Johnny wheeled and dealt by questionable means. A consummate entertainer and lady’s man, there was hardly a nighttime vice that Johnny didn’t like. His “live for today” ways propelled his rat pack world.

 

  • Privileged elites who consider dubious tax shelters and offshore money havens: Johnny built a business and raised his Canadian family through a troubling time: the rise of the Quebec separation movement. He worked to shelter his sons from the angst of that growing socialist tide, and to shelter his assets from Canadian and Quebec taxmen. He built a hidden offshore empire while asserting to his prep-school sons, “You need to protect yourself because anything could happen to the government.”

 

  • Children of troubled immigrant families or family businesses: Johnny’s Canadian-born boys, Steve and Harvy, were steeped in their parents’ Eastern European heritage and tradition, although they wanted to be just regular Canadian boys. They grew up in their father’s successful survivor shadow but took polar-opposite directions to gain their dad’s attention and affection. Johnny told his boys, “Someday, all that I have will be yours,” but he unconsciously promoted their dependency and feuding.

 

  • Children who have suffered from a traumatic history or have witnessed domestic abuse: Johnny’s wife, Anna, survived WWII by hiding in Budapest, Hungary with her Jewish family. After WWII, she met her true love and came with him to Canada. Throughout their marriage, Johnny deserted her multiple times for other women, but Anna longed to have him back. She shared her scarring stories of war survival, family feuding, and spousal neglect and abuse with her teen sons—family secrets that perhaps would have been better left untold. The elder, Steve, and younger, Harvy, chose different paths to prove their worthiness to their unavailable father. Yearning to be his father’s loyal confident, Harvy became his unwitting accomplice.

 

  • Those who serve families in conflict or family businesses: Harvy, a bright MIT engineer and Harvard business school student, was groomed from youth to learn his father’s business ropes and nighttime habits. Unscrupulous (or perhaps naïve) advisors supported Johnny’s dishonest ways. Harvy struggled with his conscience to reconcile his father’s dubious business practices, his nighttime temptations, and the sometimes shady professionals that surrounded his dad.

 

  • Travel bugs, history buffs, and food gourmands: Fascist Hungary during WWII, communist and post-communist Czechoslovakia, and the French separatist movement in Quebec serve as backdrops to Harvy’s tale. He grew up immersed in the rich foods of Eastern Europe and the traditions of the Slovak-Hungarian culture, both in North America and while traveling with his family to Europe. The satisfying food, colorful voyages, and his family’s vibrant history helped Harvy to survive his family’s troubles, as long as the good times masked the traumas that laid below the surface.

 

  • Anyone who enjoys an entertaining, psychological thriller: Johnny chose his second son to inherit his illicit wealth. Harvy faced and struggled with ethical, legal, and moral dilemmas to repudiate, rectify and reconcile his bestowed financial birthright. Harvy wrangled with that legacy that pitted him against his mother and brother to gain his father‘s affection and furtive fortunes. He tried to do what he thought right to make up for his father’s finagling, but Johnny took an insidious and ironic toll that lingered through his son’s lifetime. This is Harvy’s story of working to survive his survivor father.