SOUND LIKE A PRO ON SUPER BOWL SUNDAY

superbowl

What are your plans this Sunday, 2/2? Chances are good you’ll be with friends and family watching Super Bowl XLVIII. Now try to figure out what that roman numeral amounts to in our numerical system…48. I was fooled by that one as it looked like 68 to me before understanding more about roman numerals. Food is a big part of Super Bowl parties as many of us have witnessed first hand. It would be easy to put on 3-5 lbs. in one day which makes it tough on those with dieting in their New Year’s Resolution. Superbowl Sunday is the second largest day for U.S. food consumption, after Thanksgiving. It is also among the most watched sporting events in the world, almost all being North American audiences, and is second to soccer’s UEFA Champion League Final as the most watched annual sporting event worldwide…really soccer? It is also Las Vegas’s biggest payday in regards to betting. Last year Las Vegas Sportsbooks reported $98,936,798 was wagered on the game. It will easily surpass $100 million this year. That amount represents only 1.5% of the money wagered legally, bets by people over 21 and physically present in the state of Nevada. The real action comes from office pools, bookies, bets made at SuperBowl parties and other so called illegal betting. It is estimated that over 10 billion dollars is risked on Super Bowl Sunday by more than 200 million people around the world.  I think we all have seen the ” buy-a-square” pools at work or at the party….10-rows across and 10-rows down. All you have to do is buy a square for $2, $5, $10, $20, $100, well that’s my limit, I’m sure you could find $1,000 squares somewhere in 90210. A firm tallied 15,000 NFL games to find out what the most winning numbers are. It isn’t much of a surprise if your familiar with football scoring. The best square to get on the board is 0,7 which wins 8% of the time. The 4,7 square is the second best square with a 7% chance of winning. The single best numbers are 7 or 0. The worst square to end up with is 2,2 followed by 5,9. The number 2 is the worst number. Since the pool square game is 100% luck of the draw all you can do is hope for a 0,7 box…I’m sure my wife will get it, which at least keeps the money in the household. This year the NFL is worried about possible sub-freezing temperatures in New Jersey on game day. I personally think the game should be played in a moderate to warm climate every year and the NFL agrees. This is the first Superbowl to be played outdoors in a cold weather location. It’s also the first Superbowl in decades not to sell out…I think a warm fire and a big TV set is the more popular choice and a lot cheaper. The NFL prefers warmer climates such as Miami (10-superbowls held), New Orleans (also 10), and Los Angeles (7). One interesting note is that no team has ever played the Super Bowl in its home stadium. This year it’s the Denver Broncos vs. the Seattle Seahawks and Denver is favored to win by 2.5 pts. (can change by kick-off) and the over/under for total points scored in the game is 47 points. Craig’s tip of the day is take the over. On the darker side of Super Bowl it is also the single largest human trafficking incident in the United States. According to Forbes, 10,000 prostitutes were brought to Miami for the 2010 Super Bowl. Super Bowl Sunday has turned into an unofficial national holiday and even those with no interest in football can enjoy the popular half-time shows. Carol and I will be at a good friend’s house to enjoy the food, friends, and football. One trivia fact that I could not find is the number of people taking a sick day the following Monday.

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A SMELL TO REMEMBER

kids ditto            ditto

If you have ever seen the movie, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, there is a scene in the beginning of the movie where the teacher, Mr. Hand, kicks Jeff Spicoli out of his class for arriving late the first day. He then passes out to the students the course outline on a piece of paper. Upon receiving his or her paper the whole class lifts the paper up to their noses and takes a big whiff. Why? If you went to elementary school thru high school in the 60’s and 70’s you would know the answer. Those that don’t understand probably started school in the 80’s or after and would have no clue. The answer is in the smell. Photocopying machines as we know them today were not in existence for the general public. They were still in the developmental stage and very expensive to own. Schools, churches and other public buildings relied on the Ditto Machine, which was the King of all childhood smells. It was also known as a Spirit Duplicator as alchohol was a major component of the solvents used as ink. The teacher would have to create one master copy of what was to be copied on a smooth waxy piece of paper that attached to the ditto machine and then it was heavily inked. Purple ink was the color of choice because it stood out the best on white paper. The ditto machine was hand cranked, no electricity needed, and copies from the master were cranked out one by one. When they got to class they were still slightly wet and had a smell so unique that it is a smell memory that lasts forever. The first thing each student would do is hold up the paper and give it a good sniff. It wasn’t a good smell or a bad smell, just a unique smell that you had never known before. The closest thing I could compare it to would be a mixture of ammonia and gasoline. We learned later that the solvent used for dittos were toxic substances that could cause a host of medical problems…and we were putting it right up to our noses and sniffing with deep breaths. In fact a teachers assistant was sent to the hospital after being in the ditto machine room for half a day with poor ventilation…straight methanol going to the brain. The teachers assistants were just fellow students who became very popular if they were dittoing tests as just a few extra tests printed out and given to the right students could be a great study aid. Copy machines now are so common it is hard to remember them not being a part of our daily lives. They can print in color, two sided, collated, stapled and be done in seconds. It is common to have one or more at home…heck they give them away if you buy a computer. Copying at home used to be done with Carbon Paper which is another story. The smell of ditto paper is remembered by all who experienced it…one of only a few smells that jogs your memory like cut grass, home baked goods, napalm in the morning, or driving by a cattle stockyard for the first time.

WOULD YOU HELP ME MOVE?

moving

Hey good friend, “I’m going to be moving this weekend. Can you come over and help me out? We’ll have some pizza and beers, it will be a good time”. My first response is “Hell No”, and my second response is “No F—ing way”. Move has become a four letter word, much the same as the F-word and S-word. The first big move in many of our lives is the move away from home to college when you are 18. You are actually so excited about leaving the nest that the you look forward to packing. That is the most excited you will get about moving until they move you in your final resting place. In college you can bounce from dorm to apartment to rented house as often as needed and it can be accomplished in one day. It’s a little tougher this time because Mama and Papa Bear aren’t there to help and you’ve actually acquired a few items such as a stereo and a guitar…well that’s about it. Your first move out of the dormitory also requires that you have a bed to sleep in, where do you get one of those? Oh, you buy someone else’s old mattress, box springs , and frame, no problem until you have to move it. This now takes two people and you have officially entered the world of having to ask for help to move. It also means you have to reciprocate when your friend has to move. This begins the cycle of asking friends to help you move  and in return you help them. The odd equation in this age old formula is when someone asks you to help them move and they never helped you, do you owe this person a courtesy move? The devil on one shoulder is telling you to run, get away from this situation, while the angel on the other shoulder says to help your neighbor. My answer was that if it is a good looking girl you should say yes to helping , yes to a good friend, and no to all other requests. I had a Ford Econoline van in college and I might as well have put a Starving Students Moving sign on the sides. I was asked by every Tom, Dick , & Harry if they could use my van to move and I originally said yes. Bad mistake, the van would come back with an empty gas tank and scrape marks from dragging furniture in it. Some upgraded their pleas with the promise of a case of beer, or even to fill the gas tank . It sounded good but I should have gotten payment upfront as when they were done the van came back empty of gas and maybe a warm case of beer in the back with a six-pack missing. By my Junior year I had switched from a van to a  VW beetle. The next big move comes after college when you move into an apartment with a roommate or by yourself. All of a sudden you need things like a couch, lights, TV set, table to eat on and other neccessities. Time to either ask a group of friends for help, knowing there will be the required payback, or taking the next step of renting a U-Haul van or truck which only requires one person to help and one payback. It’s worth the $75.00 to rent a truck for the day. You spend a full day moving and it is this move that makes you fully realize that moving sucks and it will continue to suck. Each time as you acquire more, you have more to move. Then marriage comes along and moving takes on a whole new meaning. It’s not cool to ask friends anymore, but it is OK to have family and in-laws help. This may be your last move of hauling your stuff around in private cars and rented trucks, for now you are actually considering hiring a moving company. Man, the price sure went up from a case of beer to hundreds of dollars if not more. By the time kids enter the picture you are obliged to get a moving company…it would be very difficult to look in a friends eyes and ask for help. You’ve got a full house of furniture and the person would have to be a saint, plus you would now have someone with an IOU outstanding to help that person move their entire house…too much to ask. The only positive is that you are generally moving from a smaller house to a bigger one to accommodate the children and thus have plenty of room to store stuff. As the family grows so does the house until that fateful day when your last chickling leaves the house for good. It is time to “downsize” which means getting rid of a lot of stuff that you have accumulated over the past 30 or so years so you can fit in the new smaller house…the first time you have gone smaller. This move is the king hassle of all moves…you just hire a moving company and don’t even think of asking friends or family to help. But first, you have to get rid of a ton of crap, stuff that just accumulated without any notice. We first asked the kids if they wanted any of our furniture which got a small response as they have their own tastes and maybe don’t want the cowboy lamp they grew up with anymore. We had two garage sales and went to the Salvation Army 15-times to get rid of it all and still our new garage is loaded with more crap that we should have but didn’t get rid of. I actually do not miss anything that we got rid off including my antique beer signs that I had been moving around for 20-years and never put up once. We are almost completely moved into our new house and the only thing I miss is the sound of children…it can be terribly quiet without them. I’m sure I’ll get used to it, they now have their own lives and moves to make, and so the cycle continues. It’s their turn to learn the true meaning of “Can you you help us move?”.

DADS + YOUTH SPORTS = COMBUSTION

yelling dad         kids soccer

Between the ages of 6-15 my three kids played an average of two sports per child. That includes Little League Baseball, AYSO soccer, YMCA basketball, and various travel teams. That amounts to approximately 60-teams total that one of my kids was on over a 19-year span. And guess what, I didn’t learn a thing about being a good parent in the stands over those two decades. My sister-in-law said most astutely, Dads can suck the fun out of anything. Looking back I could kick myself for thinking the game or my kids level of play was so important that I would occasional yell from the stands or talk down on my kids after the game…what a shame on me. Unfortunately, I wasn’t alone. In those two decades I saw more pyscho-dads than I care to count. There is a gene in men that makes us go beserk when we feel our child isn’t being treated right by the coach, which is often just another dad. Little League Baseball was the worst as parents felt like they knew more than they did and would constantly yell their opinions at the kids and their coaches. What dad didn’t want their kid to play shortstop and bat clean-up…probably the rationale ones. It tapers off in AYSO soccer because parents in LA don’t know enough about soccer to know what they’re yelling at. How many times was your kid on a team that was coached by a dad that played their own son or daughter wherever the the dad wanted him to play even though his talent level was just average or below? If you could sit up in the stands and listen to the bickering of unsatisfied parents it would be overwhelming. We had two games I can remember where fights broke out between the parents which I’m sure embarrassed the hell out of their children. You can find psycho-parents at any level, even cute little 7-year old girls playing soccer would have a group of parents getting way too emotional…7 years old! I guess they had good reason because all of those kids were going to one day turn pro, how about zero. Moms for the most part are much more stable at their kids sporting events. I guess  that they just love their kids for who they are and come to support their child. Not dads, we want to make-up for any shortcomings we had in our earlier lives and take it out on our children. I could go out to a Little League game today and it would be the same thing. You don’t realize how foolish you’ve been until your children have grown-up and you have become that much wiser about what is important. Here are some of my least favorite moments in kids sports:

1) In a tee-ball game with kids 6 & 7 years old the two opposing coaches met at the pitchers mound and physically fought. This was the first experience playing on a baseball team for these kids and it had to be scary watching their coaches (dads) in  physical contact…screw baseball lets go back to playing video games. 2) The dad that would get right behind the backstop with his fingers clinching the fencing and yell at his kid to RELAX while he was up at bat. That must be a new relaxation technique, it didn’t work. 3) The dad who got kicked out of a game for being too loud in the stands. He then began yelling from the parking lot 100-yards away while holding a pair of binoculars…classic. 4) Perhaps my favorite was at a soccer game game when one of the dads actually brought a bullhorn to the game to yell instructions to his kid…very subtle. 5) Any parent who would yell at the opposing team and call a kid an ” Easy Out” thus shattering any confidence the poor kid had left. 6) The dad who yelled at his kid for striking out 3-times and telling him in front of everyone that he would be sleeping in the garage that night. 7) All the coaches who yelled at their pitchers “Just throw strikes ” , no shit Sherlock, I thought I would just continue to walk batters until everyone yells at me. I could go on and on but the more I write the more upsetting it gets. I was told once by an older gentleman that a child should never be criticized in front of others, it just hurts the child and causes embarrassment and if you do have criticism, limit it to one point or you will lose the child’s attention because after that the child feels as there being scolded. I also have numerous memories of fun and laughter and feeling pride when my children were happy with themselves, these are the memories I enjoy. Even leaving work early to coach the kids was worth every minute of it. We just need to eliminate the fun sucking dad gene.

GOOD DAY SUNSHINE

sunshine

While I was cruising Pasadena doing errands on a Saturday morning the radio was on and a funny discussion started between the two disc jockeys. One asked the other, How long does it take the Sun’s light to reach Earth? The other disc jockey had no clue so they brought in other employees at the station and randomly asked the same question…How long does it take sunlight to reach us here on Earth? The answers ranged from instantaneous to 24-hours, a big gap. I personally had no idea and my guess was way off. I will wager that your guess will not be within 50% either way of the correct answer. It’s an important question because what if a gigantic meteor hurtling through space collided with the sun and sent the sun off orbit , or even worse broke up the sun into thousands of smaller pieces, wouldn’t you want to know how long you had to go get a sweater. I mean it would definitely get colder and darker too. This is the type of thing I lay awake at night worrying about. Sure the sun has been coming up each morning for tens of thousands of years, but I have a hunch that the time is near and I want to prepare everyone to have their warm clothes ready and batteries for your flashlights. I’m sure that will cover you in a world without light or warmth, scientists may disagree. I keep a flashlight by my bed and a jacket in a nearby closet just in case…so I’m good to go. Ok, I put the correct answer at the bottom of the page. If your guess without going to google or any other reference is within 50% either way of the correct answer you win a pair of batteries so you can survive without sunlight also. I’ll meet you at the 7/11 convenience store where we can live off slurpees and microwave burritos.

ANSWER: 8-minutes & 20-seconds

SOFTBALL IS A BRUTAL SPORT

softball2       Softball1

I have had two serious injuries in my adult life and both came from playing softball. Both times I was playing in leagues that were clearly over my head in regards to talent. When I turned 40 I wanted to get back in some type of organized team activity that would hopefully give me some exercise and also be an alternative to work. I looked up local softball teams in my area. The teams were ranked A,B,C with A being the most competitive…you know the high-school never ended, this is the World Series, don’t make a mistake or you’ll get yelled at, slide head-first, I’m going to beat my wife if we lose type players. I put myself in the level B league which was open to all ages but the majority of the players were 25-35. After attending a few practices I thought I was at the right level, some of the players were worse, a few better, and the rest of us about the same. But after a few more practices I started to feel out of place due to being older and maybe a bit below the others in terms of intensity. This was supposed to be exercise to get my mind off work and have some fun. I noticed some of the younger players sliding into 2nd and 3rd which immediately caught my attention as sliding was my cut-off line in terms of how far I was willing to sacrifice my body. A few others came to practice in full baseball uniforms which tips me off they might be semi-psycho. Then when the team captain posted a roster of those who had made the team, I didn’t even know these were try-outs, and watched those who had been cut walk off with their heads down I realized I had joined a Twilight Zone team…I mean, who gets cut from a city softball league? I fortunately made the cut, which later I would change to unfortunately, and tried to fit in. Didn’t happen. Practices got extremely intense after the cut and the team captain turned his ugly cheek and became a Billy Martin wanna-be. The first game rolled around and you would have thought it was Opening Day at Dodger Stadium. The manager came in a full major league uniform, took roll call, and benched anyone who was not there exactly 30-minutes from the game. He put me on 3rd base since I had an arm but no mobility outside 2-3 steps. We were in the field first and I made one play on an easy grounder. The manager was constantly screaming at our players where to position themselves and where the next play was…this wasn’t what I had signed up for. Then it happened at my first at bat. I hit a hard liner to first which was caught and I felt a pain in my lower back. It hurt and I was afraid I had really screwed something up. I played a few more innings and then my whole back stiffened up and I came out of the game. That night my lower back and left leg felt like a blow torch was turned on them. It was so bad that I didn’t sleep more than 2-hours and limped in to work the next day and straight to the doctors afterwards. Diagnosis – Herniated disk. My B league career consisted of one put out in the field and 0-for-1 at the plate for a .000 average. Game over, I was laid up for 6-months and ended up having back surgery. STRIKE 1.

My next attempt at softball came when I turned 50. After 10-years I thought I was ready for softball again and joined my church team. The team was made up of all ages from 16-50…my 50 being the oldest. But heck I had God on my side this time, what could go wrong. Even the players were nice, no one thought the world would end if we lost. There wasn’t even a team psycho…all was good. In the first game I played 3rd base again and made a double play and went 2-for-3 hitting. I actually felt good about the way I played. The second game was different, I played like a spaz on LSD. I had gotten to the game late and didn’t do my stretching and I felt it. I missed an easy roller to third for one error, then made a throwing error for my second error in one inning. The guys on the team were so nice they didn’t even raz me about my poor play, maybe I could make it up at my first at bat…Dead Wrong! I swung at the first pitch which was a grounder to short and took one step towards first base when the pain and agony of softball hit me again. My left leg & foot felt like a sniper had shot me from behind and I dropped about 5-feet from home and just laid there while everyone wondered what happened to the old man. I just groveled in the dirt until teammates could help me off. I was in serious pain, torn achilles tendon, STRIKE 2.

I just recently joined another softball team, this time a 50+ league, which at 59 makes me one of the younger players. When I saw the first practice with 50-70 year olds catching and throwing I thought I would be the Derek Jeter of this team. Did I look that geriatric when I played now? Is this the softball graveyard where old players go to die? I discovered that I had contracted polio of the legs and couldn’t run fast anymore, couldn’t run semi-fast, or even anything with fast in the title. My arm and bat still work and I enjoy the companionship of being on a team, this may work out. I was surprised to find that even with a 50+ team there is still one asshole  who thinks each softball game is Game 7 of the World Series. I guess it’s a requirement for every softball league, one asshole per team. But on this team no one pays attention to the jerk, just not worth it. We are out here to have fun, be part of a team , and play baseball. I have been a little sore using new muscles again but have been healthy overall. This may be the team I was meant for…and I hope to avoid STRIKE 3.

CORNER OF GLENDON AND WILSHIRE

marilyn

Wilshire Blvd. in Westwood is a long strip of huge skyscrapers, office buildings, and upscale luxury condominiums. Construction in this stretch is constant as  more and bigger buildings get higher and more expensive. The corner of Wilshire and Westwood is considered the busiest intersection in Los Angeles. About 4-blocks east of this intersection is the corner of Glendon and Wilshire. It looks like every other corner along Wilshire Blvd. with  massive office buildings on each corner . But directly behind the building on the northeast corner is Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #731, the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, or Cemetery to the Stars. The contrast of shiny marble, concrete,and glass buildings to this peaceful, green, and quiet cemetery is overwhelming. Not even one block off Wilshire Blvd. this cemetery is home to Marilyn Monroe’s crypt where Joe Dimaggio had a single red rose delivered daily. Marilyn is the headliner of this star-studded resting place. Recently, 2009, a widow sold her husbands crypt directly above Marilyn’s for $4.6 million on e-bay. I guess when your laid to rest for eternity it doesn’t mean your wife can’t make a few million by having you moved to a cheaper grave. For some reason it doesn’t sound kosher, but apparantly she needed the money and figured her husband wouldn’t care if he was buried in the backyard. The crypt on one side of Marilyn was purchased by Hugh Hefner…perfect. I was introduced to this peaceful place by Anita Lian who was a client and worked on Wilshire Blvd. We took a stroll before lunch and I was in disbelief that after being in LA for 40-years I had never even heard of this place…I guess it’s something you don’t advertise. On my first visit I visited the grave of Bob Crane of Hogan’s Heroes fame. I loved the show as a kid but had learned that Bob was a kinky sex junkie and died in a bizarre murder. As I was telling Anita the story she asked me to step off his grave, it was disrespectful to talk trash about someone while standing on his tombstone. I still chuckle to myself that I would bag on a guy while standing 6-feet above him. I’m waiting for Bob’s ghost to pay me a visit, that’s a freaky thought. On my second and last visit I took two of my managers, Marilyn Rangel and Rich Waisfisz. Marilyn was the head boss and she nor Rich had ever been to this site. Rich and I were strolling peacefully looking at the markers when we heard a screach of epic proportions…Rich & Craig, I want to go now. Marilyn had decided we should leave and rather than walking over to us she just screamed it out as all heads turned to her and  birds flew out of the trees… all tranquility was lost. Didn’t bother Marilyn in the least. If your in the Westwood area I recommend taking the time to check this out. You feel as though you’ve gone back in time. There are markers from the early 1900’s as well as Farrah Fawcett and everyone in between. It is Hollywood’s great resting place, unless your wife decides to sell your space…there has gotta be something wrong about that…e-bay no less.

Here is a partial list of those put to rest at Westwood Village cemetery; Eddie Albert, Ray Bradbury, Truman Capote, James Coburn, Rodney Dangerfield, Marvin Davis, Richard Dawson ( another Hogan’s Heroes alumni), Peter Falk, Merv Griffin, Armad Hammer (his family tomb is the size of guest house), Janis Joplin, Gene Kelly, Don Knotts, Peter Lawford, Jack Lemmon & Walter Matthau (original Odd Couple), Dean Martin, Natalie Wood (Wagner did it), Roy Orbison, Carroll O’Connor, Donna Reed, George C. Scott, Mel Tome, Burt Lancaster, Carl Wilson (Beach Boy), Darryl F. Zanuck and Frank Zappa. That is just some of the A-listers, there are hundreds more. When I go I don’t want to be buried there as I know my wife would move me to the backyard also if someone offered $46.00.

SURVIVING FAMILY SNOW SKI TRIPS

ski fall       family snowboarding

“Next year I’m just going to stand in a cold shower and rip up $100 bills”. This is the best summation of my overall skiing experiences. Skiing with the family has been an up and down experience throughout the years, mostly down. When the kids were small I played the role of a pack mule carrying the gear and clothes to the lodge and back. We would generally go to Mammoth Mountain each year with the family and stay in a rented condo. I always wondered how such a serene landscape with the mountains and white snow could transform into an endurance test. After getting the whole family to the main lodge it was my job to get all the kids equipment from the car to the slopes. Each of my three kids had one set of skis (snowboards later), poles, and boots which I was responsible for plus my own equipment. Carol, my wife, handled all the ski clothing which we had invested hundreds of dollars in and used about half of. We would rent a locker and I would then put ski boots on three children and myself and make our way to the hill with the kids bundled up for the bitter cold. After getting them on the bunny hill I was spent, but it was just beginning. It rarely turned out to be bitter cold and the kids soon started to overheat from the abundance of down clothing. My oldest son, Bryan, came close to passing out from dehydration until we laid him down in the snow and pealed off 10-layers of clothing. We ended up taking off layers upon layers from each child and had to rent a second locker to store extra clothes. They each took one day of ski school so they could get up and down the easy slopes while I skied behind them. Carol is not a skier, nor a mountain lover, nor a snow lover, after shattering her elbow on ice earlier in our marriage. We were leaving Mammoth and someone suggested we take one last picture after Carol had already changed into her loafers. The second she stepped out of the car onto the ice her leather heals didn’t offer any traction and she was on her butt wincing in pain after breaking her fall with her elbow. We then drove the 5-hours home before getting her to an ER…great trip. As the kids grew they all changed to snowboarding and were able to walk much easier in the boots and carry their own boards. We also started renting a condo that allowed you to ski to the slopes, wished I had known that trick earlier. We had become fairly proficient in skiing and decided to spend New Year’s on the slopes…big mistake. Mammoth had terrible conditions with heavy snowfall, freezing temperatures and severe winds…the perfect storm. I almost lost my dad on that trip. He was helping to shovel out the car and began experiencing chest pains due to exertion and thin air. We got him to lay down inside and continued to dig for another 2-hours. Next tip I learned, park your car underneath cover overnight so you don’t wake up to one big hill of snow where your car used to be. The kids insisted on going up to the slopes where I learned what freezing to death would be like. Each trip up the chairlift was absolutely agonizing with winds freezing your face and any skin that was exposed. You would tell God that if you just made it down the hill uninjured and into the hut you would go to church every Sunday for the rest of your life…it was that cold. The kids soon joined their mom inside the lodge and I thought it would be a good time to get some runs in by myself. I felt like Survival Man enduring the elements and when the chair-lift would stop due to high wind or someone falling off at the top it became unbearable. I wanted to cry but the tears would form to ice before reaching my cheek. If I had a flare-gun I would have used it. I made my way down the easiest way possible and into the lodge where it took close to an hour to warm up. I had spent over $300 in ski tickets and the kids had a total of 2-runs each and I had three…great investment. So we stayed in the lodge and spent over $100 on food and beverages which would have cost about $35 in the city, another great day. As the years went by we stuck to spring skiing and with the kids getting older and more independent we actually had some fun years where I could go off on my own and get some good , long runs in.

The next faze came when my youngest son was about 14 and wanted to go to Mt. High for day trips and needed a driver. Mt. High is like Magic Mountain but with snow. 95% of the crowd are young snowboarders, high, careless, thoughtless, brainless, and raunchy. I tried to take my skis the first time we went but after hitting the ice they called man-made snow I could feel the pain all the way to my teeth. It was like hitting cement and as I laid there snowboarders just wizzed by the old man withering in pain…no chance of them stopping to help. I gave up on day skiing and just sat in the lodge while my son and friends snowboarded. One fateful trip after Christmas I was put in charge of watching my son’s new snowboard that cost close to $400 and his buddie’s while they went in to get something to eat. I was about 10-feet away from the snowboards I was in charge of…no problem, so I thought. I turned my back to see a kid tumbling down the hill in one big snowball and when I turned back the snowboard was gone. Anxiety rushed thru me. I was in charge off one thing, watching the snowboards, and I failed. I frantically tried to chase down the thief but they were gone in 60-seconds. I even went to security to see if we could see the thief on video but the guy on duty had witnessed so many thefts of snowboards that he really didn’t give a shit about mine. As my son returned I explained that the new snowboard he had just gotten for Christmas was gone. I really felt like a low-life, what could I say. Needless to say it was a long ride home and to this day I have never been back to Mt. High. Freezing temperatures, insane costs, special clothing, snow chains, broken elbows, and long lines finally broke me. I realized I am a beach person, not a mountain man. I would still love the chance to ski at some exotic location like the Alps but that is far down my bucket list after sticking a fish hook in my eye.

GERMS ARE YOUR FRIEND

germ

It appears to me that in the past decade people have become more germaphobic, insistently  washing their hands and not touching any unclean items. People using paper towels to touch door knobs, avoiding hand-shakes, brushing teeth more than three times per day, and avoiding public bathrooms are in my opinion going way too far to avoid my friend, the germ. Germaphobics are doing everything possible to avoid the common germ when we in fact should be embracing them. People think they can keep from getting sick by avoiding germs at any cost. These people usually get yearly flu shots, wear protective sterile latex gloves, and even the extreme will wear those protective paper face masks during flu season. Those masks always make me think that an end-of-the-world virus has broken out…I’ve seen too many movies. I have been fortunate in that besides getting a cold once-a-year I never have been sick with the flu or any other virus. It’s not that I’m in great shape as I’m constantly reminded when I look in the mirror. There is nothing supernatural about me, I just go by a opposite theory of germaphobes. My theory is this: let certain amounts of germs enter your body throughout your life and you will build up antibodies that will fight off future germs or diseases. I learned this from a taxi driver in Vegas, not a great source, but it made sense. Just as the flu shot puts a small amount of the flu virus into your body to help your defense system build antibodies to fight off future flu bugs, letting small amounts of germs in your body has the same effect on fighting off future viruses. This is called the GIT, germ ingestive theory. You occassionally eat some food off the ground, don’t wash your hands before eating, never avoid touching anything such as sink handles, eat some food which has expired fairly recently, and come in contact with sick people. It is also known as the LAZY theory because you basically cut out all the steps that germaphobes go through, it’s just easier. I have no medical facts to back me up, just a rambling, slightly incoherent, taxi driver from Las Vegas who thinks that the great majority of humankind will be destroyed by 2015 due to a new strain of virus. The only survivors will be cockroaches and people from the 3rd world as they have built up defense systems that can handle germ invasion. I tipped the taxi driver and began my life of seeing germs as my savior from mass destruction, well at least from getting sick.