Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Yesterday I was 30 ... Really!

My birthday is Thursday.

I'm not telling you this so you'll run out and buy me a gift. It's just a simple statement of fact. On March 1st ... I'll be older (whoopee).

Of course ... if you insist on buying me something ... I've made it easy.

I registered at SunTrust Bank. It's convenient (I'm sure there is one close to you), simple (they printed special deposit slips with my name on it), and ... they include shipping and handling.

But don't feel any pressure to help me celebrate. I plan to try to forget Thursday.

Debbie tried to cheer me up because she still loves birthdays ... "So ... Joel ... what do you want to do for your birthday?"


"No ... really."


"Come on ... let's celebrate."

"I'd rather not."

"Just think about all the wonderful things about life and all the wonderful things that God has given us and all the wonderful reasons to be happy and all the wonderful friends we have and all the wonderful ..."

"Excuse me ... isn't there a wonderful church service you have to go to?"

Bah humbug.

Birthdays are only fun when you're just turning 21 and you wake up in Vegas or you celebrate your very first birthday and have cake smeared all over your diaper and have no clue what's going on.

Not when you're my age.

No ... birthdays just mean that you are one year closer to the end. Know what people say when they get to be my age? "Yesterday ... I was 30 ... really!" or "Make that a half a glass of scotch." or "Can you read this card for me?"

I was thinking today that I will be the same age on Thursday that my dad was when my daughter Nicole was only 6 years. I thought he was really old then. He turned 90 this year.

I'm not sure what that means ... but I'm depressed just the same.

Someone ... please drive to Sun Trust ... before it's too late!

Monday, February 27, 2012

And the Winner Is ... WHO?

I'm back!

I know what you're saying ... "I didn't even know you were gone." Well ... I was. But I decided to write my novel and be a part time blogger as well.

Those of you that missed me ... for a whole week ... I missed you too. Those that didn't ... have excellent taste.


Just like millions of others ... I watched the Academy Awards Show last night with Billy Crystal and a cast of thousands.

Here are some random thoughts:

1. What the hell is The Artist?

From what I saw, it was a bunch of French people looking pretty smug in a black and white movie with no sound and no plot.

He won best actor and screamed something in French as he left the stage. I think the translation was "Stupid Americans! This movie cost 300 euros and had no script. I hope all of you visit Paris so we can continue to ignore you!"

2. When is Angelina going to eat a full meal?

Looking like a concentration camp resident, Angelina seductively showed a white leg bone to the crowd of admirers last night. The tattoo on her left arm belonged on the scanner at Publix.

Brad ... what's the deal?

3. Where's the bisquick when you need it?

Sacha Baron Cohen as "The Dictator" spilled ashes of recently departed North Korean dictator Lim Jong-il all over Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet.

Okay ... so it was really bisquick. And Cohen is just a poor misunderstood Jewish boy ... and ... well let's go back to the bisquick.

4. Did you see what I saw?

Enough said! 

5. Was there a movie of the year?

Yes. And it didn't win. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Buddy and Max

Well ... I reached a writer's block already (it's been at least 15 minutes of trying to write the next great novel). Part of this has been sitting in my computer for years ... tell me what you think. 
Buddy Rosen and Max Campbell loved to race down the beach on their bikes ... baseball cards clipped to the spokes, ball caps backward on their flattops, bats slung on the side with saddlebags. They were the coolest bikers on earth.

They had check points. The Esso Station stop was first. Two root beers and two bags of sweet tarts would hold them over for a half hour until they reached the A & P. There they met Petey Mc Cabe, part‑time bag boy and full time pal, in the parking lot for a cigarette. Petey seemed to always have access to single cigs. Sometimes Buddy stole a couple from his dad, Abe, when he got too drunk to tell, but he was always afraid he'd get caught. 
Abe could get pretty nasty.

Saturdays were usually pick‑up game days. And when they didn't have enough players, they would have batting practice. Baseball ... it was the only game worth playing. There was no other. The basketball courts got a workout from the high school kids, but none of the 10 year old beachers would even consider it. 
On this Saturday, it was just Max and Buddy. Petey was out of town with his family, the Haskell twins both had chicken pox, Billy Murphy and Patrick Callahan were cleaning up old man Shindler's garage for extra spending money, Fatty Hooperman went to the zoo with his sister and Sticks Sticklehauser, the skinniest kid in the third grade, had a leg cast that looked more like a sock on a toothpick.

" Hey Max, the first one to the point gets the beer." Buddy yelled and pointed to the rock jetty that everybody called the point as they rode side by side on the beach road.

“ And the sweet tarts? " Asked Max.

" Max ... look over there." Buddy pointed over Max's shoulder and as he looked in that direction he pedaled faster ... past Max.

" Cheater!"

" Oh ... I'll let you catch up, cry baby."

They both slowed to even up. Buddy counted down, " On your marks, get set...

... Go!"

The wind blew through their ears as the spokes clicked loudly with each rotation until they were just blurs. A hundred miles an hour...maybe 150...nobody could catch them. "Faster," Buddy thought. " I've got to get some extra speed." He tried ... but couldn't beat Max as he saw the point come closer.

Max skidded to a stop and dropped his bike as he leapt in the air shouting, "All right! Campbell leaves Rosen in the dust and the crowd goes wild. "

Buddy couldn't stand to lose. " Jerk. I can beat you any time."

" Don't be a sore loser, Buddy. "

" Forget it. " Buddy spun his bike toward Franklin Field leaving Max behind to catch up. His heart was racing. Competition was so much a part of his makeup.
By the time they reached the field, Buddy's anger was gone. Max understood Buddy. They had been friends ever since Max had moved to John's Pass over three years ago. He knew Buddy’s tantrums and how Buddy's dad acted when he drank. Max had seen him in action.

" You wanna catch? " Buddy asked as he took the mound.

" Sure. Burn it in there ... Koufax."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

So Long ... Good Friends

To my loyal readers ...

I have decided to take a break from I Was Born Very Young. Over the next few months I will  concentrate on finishing at least one version of my 15 unfinished novels. This has always been a goal that eluded me over the years.

I may do an update from time to time ... just to let you know I'm still kicking. Or ... I'll get really bored with the novel and be right back within 24 hours.

Thanks for your loyalty,


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Want a (face) Lift?

If you want to start the day with uplifting stories of "health and harmony and beauty" ... open the Tampa Bay Times today and read the Personal Best section.

Actually, the stories are okay ... but the ads are really worth a read. After reading the ads ... you might never get out of bed.

Here are just a few ... and I took out the run of the mill Vein repairs, face lifts, skin peels and ultrasound pictures:

NARCOLEPSY If you have narcolepsy with or without cataplexy (what the hell is that?) you may be eligible for a clinical study.

Dry Mouth? Get oral rinses. (Really???)

Erectile dysfunction ... premature ejaculation .... surprise her for Valentine's Day (She's not surprised already?).

TOENAIL FUNGUS? Just walk in and walk out.

(This was my favorite ... and it came with this very picture in the ad!)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

NOW he hears

Deb looked at me and just shook her head. "Okay. Listen to this message that your dad left."

"Hello .... hello ... this is Joel's dad.  Is he home? I would very much like to speak with him. Thank you."

Joel's dad ??? I better tell him that we had to let the butler go ... I guess you could chalk this up to the after-effects of the anesthesia ... but that might be giving the sedative too much credit. Sammy is pretty lucid now (for Sammy).

He's back in Menorah Manor now ... by the way ... and happy as a clam in his chair with the big headphones. Everyone is spoiling him rotten and he has his usual string of terrible jokes for everyone who listens.

One of his "girl" friends told us the other day, "We love Sam. You know .... he's the only one who actually still speaks when we have dinner. The other men just sit there." NOW I understand.

Today, he had an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon who did the hip surgery. I met him in the office. He was in a wheelchair with these super tight pants on ... the zipper was stretched to the max and the top button was broken.

"Dad ... are these the pants we got you?"

"Oh no Joel. These are my old pants. See? I have lost so much weight that they fit now."

"Hmmm. I see that."

Once in the exam room, the nurses double teamed him in the wheelchair to take out his sutures. One pulled down his pants while the other had him leaned against her to the side while she held him next to her.

"Ahhhh ..." he said (as I watched red faced), "Blow in my ear and I'll follow you anywhere."

"What did he say?" The nurse who had him in the sleeper hold asked.

I jumped in, "I think he said, 'I can't hear ... I can't follow.'"

"That's not what I said (NOW he hears)! I said 'blow in my ear and I'll follow you anywhere'". Then ... he put his hand around her waist and squeezed.

She laughed and held him close. I guess 90 has it's privileges ... sometimes.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

He's Better ... or Worse

"They won't even give me some damn water."

Sammy was not happy with the nurses last night. He calls them 'the help'. As in ... "the help at Menorah Manor is much better than these people." He grumbled about his water for an hour. Finally, when the nurse came in, she said he can't drink water. Believe it or not ... the consistency of water chokes him.

He argued with her until she gave him a little sip from a Styrofoam cup. He started violently choking. She put his cup down as he coughed up something that was indescribable into a towel.

"You see," he said, "I told you I could drink it!"

Today, they transferred him to a regular patient room and out of ICU. I'm not sure if it was for the fact that he was stronger or that the nurses couldn't take it any more. He stood up and walked on his new hip for a few minutes and sat in a chair. He told me how incredible he was (not felt ... was).

We also had our weekly discussion about my job as in ... "What  kinds of things do you do at work?" He doesn't really pay attention (what else is new?). He just likes to talk. He always interrupts. It could be because he's deaf ... or it could be that he really doesn't care about the answer.

"You work by yourself?"

"No dad I have others who I work with."

"I saw your office and you're alone."

"Well ... they don't work right next to my desk ..."

"Is there a board?"

"Yes ... we have 50 ..."

"What do they do?"

"They set policy and ..."

"Are they specialized?"

"What do you mean?"

"When you hire them, do they all have special jobs?"

"They don't work for me they are volunteers ..."


"Why are they volunteers?"

"How many?"

"How many Board members?"


"They are all volunteers."

"Your people?"

"My ... people???"

"What's the matter with you Joel? Can't you hear me?"

Yes ... he's feeling MUCH better.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Squirrel Talk

Sammy is out of surgery ... passed with flying colors according to the surgeon. He had a partial hip replacement and should be on his feet tomorrow. Yes ... at 90 he is still (literally) kicking. The next few moths will be critical to total recovery. 

Earlier today, he was more disjointed than usual. Talking incessantly, he almost drove me and everyone else on the patient floor insane.

Here are a few gems:

"Joel ... Do you know what the colors of the day are for automobiles? I like grey. Grey cars are my favorite. You don't know? Why not?"

"Does Debbie wear black? It's my favorite color."

"Nobody tells me what's happening (this was after 36 hours of nurses, techs, doctors telling him lots of information). "

 "Do you ever try to figure out why people take different names? ( I suppose he wondered why people don't share the same name)."

"Squirrels talk. They do ... Joel (I think he noticed my look of disbelief). One day I was sitting by myself at Menorah Manor outside and I heard a conversation in the bushes. It had to be squirrels."

" Do you think of ideas when you are in a hotel room (like his hospital room apparently)? I love ideas."

"Joel ... I think you should invest in advertising stocks." (What???)

"After people talk to me for only a few minutes ... they love me ... really love me."  


Debbie came this afternoon and Sammy offered her a drink. "Thanks Sammy (laughing) I'll have a bottle of wine."

"Okay"' Sammy said.

"Sammy I was just kidding about the drink."

"Drink? I can't have anything before surgery."  

Ballad of the Big Prostate

Here’s a little country tune I wrote just yesterday to commemorate a dark day in my history. I don’t have a tune but realized you can use an...