BAN THE SPROUTS; SAVE THE CHILDREN

I strayed from my usual dinner of Salsa a la Triscuit the other night and had something called Brussel sprouts. I imagined them to be about as tasty as wet cardboard would be if you added a dash of cumin. They also had a negative effect on my digestive system and consequently the environment but that’s not what this is about.

This is about a nightmare I had concerning Jimmy Wolinski the same night I ate the sprouts. Coincidence? Jimmy was a friend of mine when we attended Deerfield High School on the north side of Chicago. Jimmy was a good kid and the first to suggest that we play a game of touch football instead of tackling our biology homework. It should come as no surprise that you will not be reading about Jimmy discovering a cure for cancer or even an ergonomically correct beer glass anytime soon. Jimmy now teaches gym at the very same high school that he attended and I can say with confidence that his students will never have a better mentor on the proper way to climb a rope (an exercise that comes in handy should you ever need to scale a prison wall) or how to serve shuttlecock in badminton and still look cool. However…

In my dream, Jimmy was called into service to teach trigonometry in addition to his torturous gym instructor duties, which include blowing the whistle and carrying a clipboard. Let me be clear: Jimmy MUST NOT teach trigonometry. Jimmy’s highest math class was a paint-by-numbers pre-introduction to junior remedial algebra. I know because I sat right next to him. I would be willing to bet my Cubs footsie pajamas that Jimmy thinks trigonometry is a breathing procedure where a tube is placed in the neck.

I’m painfully aware that the current economy is forcing workers to double and sometimes triple up on duties as a result of lay-offs and as distressing as this is, the thought of Jimmy going anywhere near a classroom where they have actual books and instruments of higher learning is mind-numbing.

Teachers need to stick to what they know and I certainly wouldn’t want a trig teacher telling me how to put someone in a full nelson or how to do backflips. I need Jimmy for that. Here’s what some of his former gym students have said about him.

“His gym shoes were always really white!”.” 

(Steve Kelly)

“Mr. Wolinski taught me one of the most valuable lessons in life; never eat an entire pizza before doing somersaults.”

(David Ives)

“That man could really blow a whistle.”

(Hunter Lessner)

“Thanks Mr. W. for the valuable lesson about the jockstrap and the hockey stick.”

 (Dan “The Soprano” Lindquist)

Jimmy’s a great physical education teacher and the master of the wet towel snap to the buttocks, but teaching trig? 

“Okay, Kids, settle down. My name is Mr. Wolinski and if you don’t behave, I’ll blow my whistle. Today, we’ll be discussing the Pytha…that theory thingamabob that says that 2 sides of a triangle equal…no, wait a minute…I mean when you add up three sides then subtract the short…no, wait. Ah heck, anybody want to go outside and play kickball?”

Hey, dreams can come true and if this one materializes, the kids in Deerfield are in a world of hurt! I’m planning on doing my part. There will be no more Brussel sprouts on my menu, ever again. As much as my mouth salivates for the taste of soggy pizza boxes, I’m giving them up and I suggest you do the same. I say keep Jimmy in the locker room and out of the classroom. Our children deserve at least that.

THE SELF-HELP GURU

I was driving to work the other day not feeling that great about myself. I needed to work out the serious funk I was in before my radio program started at 6 AM, but how? I needed a self-help book, and fast! Then I had an ephinany: I would write that self-help book myself. After all, who better to write a self-help book than a person in dire need of self-help?

I was sitting at a red light, pounding the steering wheel, telling myself that I really didn’t suck as much as I thought I did. After a few minutes of just sitting there, watching the light turn green about 10 times, I felt better. My shoulders began to straighten up. My chest puffed out and before the next red light, I realized I was actually smiling! I finally came to the conclusion that I wasn’t the miserable failure I thought I was. My friend, Jim is! Jim’s always smiling and bragging about how his life is going. He beams with pride when he tells you he’s in finance. And, if by ‘finance’ he means selling Covid masks at the train station, yeah, I guess he’s the man.

e says I kept on repeating over and over, at the top of my lungs, “I’m not as bad as dumb old Jim! I’m not as bad as dumb old Jim!” And it worked. By the time I got to the radio station I was fully cognizant of the fact that I was making a complete ass of myself in traffic and could have easily been arrested for disturbing the peace. But I also felt great. Why? Because I was better than dumb old Jim, that’s why? And if I was better than Jim, who knows, maybe I was even better than someone else and from there, hopefully the list would grow like weeds on my freshly planted Pacasandra.

Maybe you have a Jim in your life as well. And, truth be told, you hate him. For example, if you were being honest with yourself, you know without a doubt that you’d derive a great deal of pleasure if he ever tried to photocopy his pockmarked butt in the office and the glass on the copier broke! That would be the highlight of your week and it’s perfectly alright to admit that., Why? Because Jim is an idiot.

Have you truthfully never felt that your life isn’t progressing as you thought it might? Is it taking a little longer to reach your goals? Do you feel that everybody else you talk to is doing better than you? Everybody else seems happier than you? Gosh, from the way some people make it sound, their sheets don’t even wrinkle when they sleep on them. They never drop any toast crumbs on the floor and they can get out of the house every morning in fifteen minutes, completely bathed and sparkling from head to toe. I’m here to tell you that THEY’RE MISERABLE. There, now don’t you feel better?

Yes indeed, I’m writing that book! C’mon, anybody can write a book about how to feel good when they’re already feeling good. What’s the challenge in that? The world needs to hear from someone whose emotional swings are as vast as theirs. 

Here’s a little-known fact about the ‘happy’ people who author books about how to improve yourself. Oh sure, they’re nattily attired and beam confidence on their book jacket covers but the reality is, they’re the ones you’ll find closing piano bars in Manhattan at 4 AM with a stirring rendition of Red River Valley using a swizzle stick as a microphone as the waitresses push them out the door!

So, until my book entitled, Bob’s Self-Help Guide to Self-Help, comes out, keep this important fact in mind: The people who seem the happiest are always the ones who can’t wait to get home, lock the door and play hide and seek with their cat. I’m talking to you…Jim!

ROOTING FOR CARLI

I recently ran into my friend Carli, whom I had not seen for several years. If memory serves correctly, it was probably around the time that Donald Trump glided down that escalator and exclaimed, “I’m running for President, homies!” Keeping in touch is not my strong suit.

Carli looked and felt great. She told me that she had dropped a ton of weight during the last couple of years all due to an earthshattering new diet program called ‘Putting the Fork Down. (PFD).

She looked fantastic and told me that she can now jump in a swimming pool without fear of totally emptying it. However, it turns out that she’s also lost several of her thin friends and couldn’t figure out why. Carli, I’m sorry to have to be the one to tell you but your ‘friends’ have been using you and it stinks! You have my permission right now to go spike their Latte Frappuccino with that stuff that floats when you open a can of broth.

Wouldn’t a staunch friend be thrilled that someone in their circle would be able to accomplish such a feat? Carli, these people are not your friends and they no longer have any use for you because now you look better than they do. What good are you to them now? You’re a threat to all of them. Well, maybe not Bridgette. She’s a walking, talking Barbie Doll. They were using you as an accessory to make them look better, but that accessory no longer works for them. These so-called friends are nothing but disingenuous predators. I told her that I know the type and exactly how they behave because I used to be shallow and insecure once myself. She nodded in agreement and said she remembered. Sometimes Carli can be a real jerk.

The shallow person will start out by paying you a few obligatory compliments, but before you can say ‘transparent sleazeball’ the conversation immediately turns back to them.

Example:

 “Carli, it’s amazing how the sagging skin from your matronly arms doesn’t drag on the ground anymore. OH, MY GAWD, YOU HAVEN’T SEEN MY NAILS! TAKE A LOOK AT THEM! I love the woman who did them and I didn’t pay full price because, it was like, my boyfriend changed the muffler on her father’s car and it was like, OH MY GAWD, for sure, let’s do it. By the way, how do you like MY SHOES?”

Carli’s ‘friends’ didn’t seem to mind when she scored higher on her SAT’S. They also seemed legitimately happy for her when she won that essay contest with a marvelous entry entitled, “Yes, I’m a virgin, but nothing’s permanent.” Why didn’t those accomplishments bother them? Because they’re shallow, that’s why. Things like high scores don’t matter to these people. You can’t see SAT scores. Perfectly applied makeup and no visible tan lines are what matter most to them.

Today, Carli can perform the near-impossible task of waltzing right by the KFC on Main Street without breaking a sweat. I’m rooting for you, girl. Keep me posted on your progress and don’t give in. And if you’re ever in the mood for a little fun, remember these important words: revenge is a dish best served with the fat from chicken broth. 

TAKE MY GUY CARD…PLEASE

T

I’m asking you not to judge, but I made a trade recently.  I traded in my Guy Card for a nifty, made in the U.S.A. exfoliating mitt, and obviously, the two are mutually exclusive.

It all started a few weeks ago when I bought some super-duper self-tanning cream that was supposed to be blotch and streak-free. Except for a few blotches and some hardly noticeable streaks that run down the middle of both of my legs, it worked as advertised.  Maybe I should have read the instructions a little closer. In the microscopic print, (viewed best through a high-powered, NASA-approved telescope) it said to ‘use after exfoliating skin thoroughly.’  Oops…missed that part. Much to my surprise, my wife then presented me with my very own exfoliating mitt (free from Job Lots this week with any $5.00, non-sale item purchase.)

Full disclosure: I had to look up the word ‘exfoliate.’ I knew it had something to do with the skin but, beyond that, no clue. Now, however, after doing some extensive research, I know that it involves rubbing an abrasive, granular substance against one’s skin until the first layer of bone begins to show through.

 Giving up my guy card is not an easy thing for any man to part with so I thought for a quick minute about how I might be able to hang onto it. I figured that if I exfoliated using grade 4 sandpaper in the shower,  the water would wash the blood down the drain.  I think it was right around then that I had a rare moment of clarity.  What was I thinking?  What’s wrong with me? I  suddenly realized that it takes a real man to admit that he exfoliates, damnit!  Truth be told, I did think for a hot minute about searching online to see if there was a 12-step program for men like me. “Hello, my name is Bob and I exfoliate.”  But, now  I’m confident and I’m proud. I feel free. After all,  I’m about to do what very few men would even think of doing, much less talk openly about it. Start the water baby, I’m ready!

As I stepped in the shower and strapped that beautiful mitt to my hand, I rubbed that thing up and down my legs with such passion and purpose, I actually thought that I might be just mere moments away from a mild orgasm and I owe it all to my new handy dandy exfoliating mitt. Seriously, I’d love to exfoliate every minute of every day were it not for my fear of going blind.  Give me back that Guy Card. On second thought, gold plate it first. I’m a man, damnit and I exfoliate! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a mani-pedi to schedule.

WRONG SIDE, WRONG TIME

There are certain things in life you just don’t do. 

1)  Never change the seating arrangement in your dining room

2)  Never wash and rinse three kitchen utensils at the same time.

3)  Never sleep on your spouse’s side of the bed.

Michele and I spent the weekend at the gorgeous Poetry Ridge Bed and Breakfast in Greenfield, Massachusetts. After getting settled in our room, I did the unthinkable: I fell asleep on HER SIDE OF THE BED! Michele even brought it to my attention before I fell asleep. She tried to warn me. I told her I had no intention of sleeping there, I was just resting. I think my exact words were, “I have no….zzzzzzzzzzz.”

When I woke up in the morning, it was too late. The damage had been done. The only thing I could do was hope for the best and that maybe the Gods were forgiving realizing that I made a stupid mistake. Well, guess what? The Gods were not amused. In fact,  they were out to make an example of me.

Within five minutes of awakening, I fell in the shower, pulling the shower curtain down with me. By the way, I’m absolutely positive the guests in the next room were thrilled with the colorful language I summoned up, at full volume, from my days in the Navy.

When I told Errol and Mary, the owners, what I had done their faces became ashen, and they slowly backed away and wished me luck. Actually, I thought breakfast was going quite well, that is until I mistook the cayenne pepper for cinnamon. In fairness, those little plastic bottles look awfully similar and if you can’t read, like me, they can be tough to tell apart. As it turned out we were only getting started.

As the day progressed, I, in the following order, tripped on the carpet and in the process fell on their prized Golden Retriever, Misty. I got a speeding ticket on the turnpike and I suppose I didn’t help my cause by asking him, “Hey, is it the law for you guys to wear sunglasses 24/7?” I spilled a beer at dinner, dropped my wallet in the toilet and was called an ‘ungrateful American’ by a legless veteran wrapped in blankets on the street corner for only giving him a dollar. Why did all this happen? It happened because I threw caution to the wind and fell asleep on my wife’s side of the bed. 

We have since received a phone call from Errol and he gave us some great news.  First of all, the cayenne pepper has been removed from the breakfast table and the best news of all is that they have now put up signs in all the rooms stating, “Please sleep on the side of the bed you are accustomed to sleeping on. Our dog wants to live a long and healthy life. Thank you, The Management.”

MEMO TO STAFF: TIME TO COME CLEAN

Good morning, everyone. Thank you all most for being the truly dedicated professionals that you are.

I find myself forced to bring up an uncomfortable subject, one that I thought would never have to be mentioned ever again to anyone over the age of 10, but, sadly,  I was wrong.

The subject is bathing, and it’s something that we all need to strictly adhere to and stay on top of, especially now that we are all happily back together in our 7AM to 6PM home away from home known as our cubicle farm.

Since our return, I’ve noticed a good portion of your desk plants have wilted and many more look like they’re not far behind.  Some even appear to be trying to wiggle their little pots to the edge of the desks in an apparent attempt to make that long three-foot fall to the hard linoleum floor beneath, thus finding their eternal peace. Nobody wants a mass planticide. The optics are horrible. We’re all adults here so I’m puzzled as to how one is not aware that they’re taking on the aromatic similarity of a well-stocked compost pile?

 It’s also critically important to bring up the inherent danger one puts oneself in when attempting to mask the repugnant aroma caused by what we’ll just call, ‘bathing shyness.’ The pandemic has brought us many hardships but forgetting how to properly cleanse our bodies should not be one of them.  And, please know that anyone, even those with compromised olfactory senses can easily detect when someone tries the old excess deodorant cover-up (E.D.C.).  Not only does this little trick not solve the problem, but it also presents the real possibility of spontaneous combustion. I’m pretty sure I saw that on the Science channel one time.   To make matters worse, you might spontaneously combust before you’ve finished that big proposal you’re working on. Nobody needs that.

For your convenience, posted in both the Lad’s and Lassie’s rooms,  you’ll see a pictorial, frame-by-frame description depicting the proper way to bathe. Feel free to make a copy. I’ve also had what I consider to be an excellent idea of how to make the bathing process more tolerable for you. I ran it by those heartless, unemotional robot bastards in both HR as well as  Legal. As a result of those soul-sucking conversations, I have started drinking again.  However, leaders weren’t made to follow, so, with that, you will oeweverr, if you’ll keep this find a list posted in the breakroom of the employees who are willing to make arrangements to bathe with you if doing so would make you more comfortable. We’re a team here people. Let’s work together.

So, team, let’s all lather up and give it the old rub a Dub dub. Your co-workers as well as the office plants thank you.

***********************

SEARCHING FOR SNOWBALL

There have been a ton of books written on what happens to our beloved pets when they pass on. The bottom line is that all good pets go to Pet Heaven where they chase imaginary flies, fertilize perfectly manicured lawns at will and lick their privates while waiting for us to join them in the afterlife. The bad ones that routinely devoured mailmen, manuscripts and Manolo Blahniks go to a place called Pet Purgatory where they atone for their sins by watching on television the other good departed pets having sex on white, puffy clouds all while being fed grapes by Rin Tin Tin.

If you have ever read any of these fine literary tomes, you’ll easily spot one common thread: all the people giving testimonials on how their late furry friends have given them a sign from the afterlife, all inhale inordinate amounts of Magic Marker fumes.

Michele and I have never been sent anything even resembling a sign that our past brood is all right and loving the great beyond and, for the record, you couldn’t find better pet parents than we were. Little urns, complete with names and dates, cover our mantle and we acknowledge them every morning. Do we get one tiny sign? No, we don’t. Why? Because we clearly don’t sniff enough Magic Markers!

Just how badly do people want to believe that they’re actually getting messages from their deceased pets? Do they want to believe so much that they take any minuscule thing as a sign? I’m a religious viewer of the Animal Planet and, truth be told, I also sport a nifty little ankle tattoo of Flipper, so I think I qualify as an expert.

Here’s what Mary P. had to say about her communications with her recently departed Siamese feline Fluffy.

“I was sitting there all alone, just drinking a jug of wine when all of a sudden, I heard this distant meow. I looked all around and didn’t see anything. Just then, a leaf blew in through the window and I knew it must have been Fluffy telling me that she’s doing well and misses me.” What? A leaf that managed to blow in through the living room window must have been a message from her deceased cat? How much wine did Mary have anyway?

Susan from Olympia, Washington had this to say.

“I cried myself to sleep for months, missing Mr. Fartypants so much. I often called his name hoping he would send me a sign that he was okay. Then, one night while I was taking my bath, the candle by the side of the tub just went out all by itself. I thought for sure it was a message that he was doing fine. Seconds later, I began to pick up what I thought was the scent of his wet fur as I remember it from giving him his semi-annual bath. However, my joy quickly turned to disappointment when I realized that it was only a pile of damp, moldy towels balled up in the corner. Just then, it happened: a sure sign had arrived. A bird came crashing into the window and I’m positive it was Mr. Fartypants telling me that he still loves me. I’m sure of it. He just wanted to tell me that he’s fine and that he’s forgiven me for those rare occasions when I fed him cut up Slim Jim’s telling him instead it was a new Alpo flavor.” It’s hard to dispute the story that Susan tells because, honestly, what could say “I love you,” more from a deceased pet than having a bird come crashing into your bathroom window?  It’s fairly obvious that Susan has cornered the market on Magic Markers but I also wondered aloud if she had been sharing a jug with Mary as well? As I’m sure we all know by now, wine and Magic Markers DO NOT MIX!

Can we be the only ones who have never gotten any kind of sign?  C’mon guys, show us something here. Make the lights flicker or put a little cat head indentation on our pillows, anything. We really want to know that you’re doing well in Pet Heaven. Hey, wait a minute (cue Twilight Zone theme).  I’m hearing something. Is that the faucet dripping? It’s never dripped before. OH MY GOD!!!  Can it be? Yes, I hear it. I love you, too! Thank you. I love you. What’s that? You’re happy because you get to eat delicious heavenly mice and all the grass is really catnip? I’m so happy! I love you guys!  We both miss you so much!  Thanks for the message. We love you!  Wait. You’re starting to fade. I can’t hear…Wait! Please don’t go. Just hang on and let me get a fresh marker! 

CAUTION: SERIOUS NAKED PEOPLE AHEAD

Protesting never seems to go out of style.  Every time we step out the door, we find well-intentioned people protesting worthy things like our dependence on foreign oil, unhealthy workplace conditions, and airlines not allowing poorly behaved children to be stowed in the overhead compartment. All worthy causes, I think you’ll agree. 

The question is how can we tell the difference between someone who is really serious about his cause from someone who just wants to get out of the house for a while? The answer is simple: The serious ones always GET NAKED! If you truly want to convince others that you’re serious and they should listen to your message, you have to remove your clothing. There’s no other way. Step out of those BVDs and start shaking your placard.

There was a bike rally in San Diego recently protesting something. If memory serves correctly, it was a group protesting another group’s right to protest because the first group had already protested about that very same thing last week. In protesting parlance this is known as ‘having too much time on your hands.’ Anyway, they were obviously serious protesters because they were riding bikes…naked. Riding a bike naked? Have you seen some of those seats recently? One good bump and you can introduce yourself to Mr. Hurt. One little slip through the crack and you’ll be rendered a soprano faster than you can say, “What am I protesting anyway?”

In a recent survey, 75% of protesters actually admitted to not being absolutely sure of the cause they were asked to protest but they heard that hot dogs would be served at the rally so they went along. This reminds me of my neighbor from a few years ago, Leo, who asked me if I would be willing to put a ‘Stop Covid, Wear a Mask’ sign in my front yard. I actually considered it for a moment thinking it may hide some of the crabgrass but then, in trying to ascertain how serious he was, I asked him if he would be willing to get naked for Covid. He froze in his tracks, turned around slowly, tripping over his jaw and scampered across the street. Well, well, well, could it be that Leo was long on verbiage but short of, um, appendage. You see, it’s hard to trust a message from someone who is fully clothed.

One of the main concerns I have is that it’s always the people you would prefer to see in a head-to-toe parka that strip for their cause. It’s the nude beach principle all over again. Where are all the people you would like to see au natural? They’re at home…fully clothed, not protesting. Don’t good-looking people have causes that they are willing to strip down for? Aren’t they willing to become one with nature for the right of hard-working tax-paying citizens to be able to ride the bus for a decent fare? Hey, wait just a minute. I think I’ve got it. If only we can convince more sculpted bodies to get involved in causes, more people would show up observing the protests and more hot dogs would be sold, thereby making more money for the vendors and jumpstarting the sluggish economy. So, the equation would look like this:  Attractive naked people (protesters) + rallies + vendors (hot dogs + beer) = healthy economy.

Trust me, it’s a win-win. People would spend money; the economy would rebound and we would become more confident and relaxed as a nation.

And believe me, that’s a VERY good thing. Now pass me one of those dogs! 

I’M SORRY, KENNY. I’VE STRAYED

I need to get this off my chest. I can’t live with the guilt I have in my wilting brain any longer. I cheated.

A few weeks ago, Michele and I were in the mall wondering where everybody went and also if the people working in kiosks ever longed for the privacy afforded the employees of, you know, an actual store.

While my wife was about to make her way into something called CandleRama I decided to take a little stroll. I came across a barbershop that was offering ten-dollar haircuts. I bit my lower lip in anticipation and gave serious thought to allowing myself to be seduced. Never having been known for willpower, I gave into temptation and sat down in the chair. A well-groomed gentleman by the name of Antonio reached down and grabbed a pair of scissors out of his holster and gave them a few spins, much like Wyatt Earp did when he was taunting some drunk horse thief in the wild west.

My brain was working overtime with thoughts of the guilt I’d be riddled with if I actually went through with this. It was then that I could feel his strong, yet soft hands on my neck as he placed the smock around me. The mist from his water bottle floated gently onto my waiting hair. All feelings of right or wrong had vanished as I sensed that by the end of this all I would really want to do is light up a cigarette. He then firmly spun the chair around, looked me in the eyes and asked, “What do you like?” I swallowed hard and answered, “Um, baseball?”  In retrospect, he was probably asking how I wear my hair, but c’mon, I was nervous. This was my first time.

Things then started to go south in a hurry. What, at first seemed like a fun idea, turned into a disaster. I hated myself and I knew then that there was no way I was going to be able to just immerse myself in the moment and relax. Antonio may have talked a good game but he didn’t have the nimble fingers and the expertise that Kenny has. Truth be told, he dropped the scissors a total of four times and ended up switching to sheers, which he was also totally ill-equipped for. After he cut his index finger and began a tirade of very colorful language, mostly in Spanish, the mood was totally ruined. There was no getting it back. Yuk! I felt dirty. I was looking for emergency exits but if I bolted at that moment, I would have resembled the ‘Before” picture on one of those Flo bee commercials. Also, I would still have that stupid smock snapped around my neck. I was trapped. I had no choice but to let him finish but I knew in my heart that the second he was done, I’d race out of there and never look back. I’ll get my kicks in other areas of life, not this…just too risky.  On the ‘mistake’ scale, this might rival the time in the Navy when I told a Marine that he had better pull his head out of his butt and start shining up those brass buttons. That didn’t end well, kids.

I mustered all the courage I could and walked into see Kenny at The NY Hair Group. I didn’t know how he was going to react, but I was pretty sure he was going to be waving that little whisk broom in front of me and, in no uncertain terms, inform me that my hair belonged to him, and him alone. I broke down, asked for a tissue, then forgiveness.

After accepting my apologies and obviously feeling more in control now, his cockiness started to show. “Who takes care of your hair, Bob?” he asked. “Only you, Kenny. I promise,” was my response. He had the upper hand now and was thoroughly enjoying watching me squirm. He was pouring it on, but I had it coming. “Bob, when you put your hair in the hands of a total stranger, it may seem exciting for a fleeting moment but it’s something that you’ll live with for the rest of your life.” I nodded in agreement and felt I should be happy that all I got was a lecture. He could have made a ‘slip’ with his scissors and cut off a portion of my ear but instead, he acted like the semi-mature barber he is and just splashed a little talcum in my eyeballs. Message received, loud and clear.

Kenny, I’m sorry. From now on, you’re the only cutter for me. I won’t even drive by other shops that have the little red, white, and blue poles outside. Thanks for not cutting my ear off and, one other thing: sorry about the lousy tips. 

COME ON IN, THE WATER’S…UM, FREEZING, ACTUALLY!

If you have been following the goings-on of the Hudson Valley chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, you already know that the dead of winter brings another round of the Subzero Heroes Ice Jump at Berean Lake in Highland, NY. Who in the world would do this, anyway?  Deeply disturbed individuals, no doubt, but also people who hate Alzheimer’s a lot more than the freezing water.

During my illustrious career, I’ve been peed on by a circus elephant (which is only slightly preferable to being stepped on by a circus elephant), I’ve been body-slammed by a professional wrestler who called himself The Masked Assassin and I’ve had my head shaved in a bar following a stupid football bet. But, this thing is REALLY NUTS!  Count me in, however, because after witnessing firsthand how Alzheimer’s strips away one’s pride and sense of self and so whittles away at the brain that eventually one forgets how to eat or even swallow, I’m for anything that can raise awareness, even if that involves a little shrinkage.

When my father-in-law, Salvatore, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he was given a clock by the technician and told to move the hands to show the Three O’clock position. Frustrated at not being able to do so, he felt the need to urinate in her flowerpot, thus effectively ending the life of four innocent African Violets who just happened to be in the wrong pot at the wrong time.

The date is Saturday, March 12th and all the information is at http://www.subzeroheroes.org. This, being the 11th year of the jump, word has spread dramatically and consequently has grown into a major fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association. Here’s an exclamation point as to the importance of all this: Every 64 seconds, someone in this country is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.  I’m sure that Sal who passed from the ravages of this disease 11 years ago, will be viewing this spectacle from his luxury box in the sky saying, “Get some clothes on, you morons!”

I should mention that you don’t actually have to ‘take the leap,’ to assist. You may choose to stay nice and warm on the shore and volunteer. The word we use to describe this group of people is ’Sissies.” No, wait, I’m sorry…I meant ’Sidekicks.’ Yes, that’s it.  In the ice-jumping vernacular, “Heroes” are the jumpers and ’Sidekicks’ are known as the sane ones.

I’m often asked if there are any special routines I have or things I do to prepare my body for the shock of being blasted by the frigid waters. Other than sleeping in the fridge every other night the week leading up to the jump, nothing.

Remember the date: Saturday, March 12th at Berean Lake in Highland, NY. Again, get all the information on how you can get involved and help us find the 1st Alzheimer’s survivor at http://www.subzeroheroes.org. Salvatore gave me some sage advice before Alzheimer’s completely ravaged his brain and that was, “If you’re going to do something, try not to screw it up. Now get a haircut!” See you at the lake.