Monday, July 14, 2008


Its July 14th, so HAPPY BASTILLE DAY to all my French friends.

Actually, I don't think I have any French friends. The more I think about it, my exposure to those snooty S. O. B. S. when I was on the French Riviera and in Paris was insulting. And their equally offensive cousins that I have encountered throughout Quebec are just as bad. So, in the name of making good "copy," I LIED about caring for their big holiday.

Other than "A TALE OF TWO CITIES," I couldn't give a rat's pa-toot about their independence day. Beyond my personal tussles with them, let's consider the French on the international stage. Remember, they talk a big game but in terms of winning their own wars, since 1789, they have an intensely putrid batting average. Plus their "no-fly" zones...beheading instruments, personal hygiene habits etc. are all ghastly.

I'm sorry I lied about Bastille Day. I hate to lie especially to my peeps. But lying is a sort of mental bugaboo that has WRONGLY plagued me since all started when my dad inadvertently lead me astray.

The New York Mets, in their infancy, were the epitome of pitiful. At the same time the cursed cross-town rivals, the New York Junkees were baseball's royalty and in the midst of a dynasty. Perhaps I was a little too ardent in my fan-hood but when I was about ten, I was the kid who'd argue for hours that Ron Swoboda was greater than Mickey Mantle and that "Fat" Jack Fisher was a million times better than Whitey Ford.

                                                            "FAT" JACK FISHER

My dad understood my frustration and perhaps thought he could lift my spirits by telling me that the Mets had traded five scrubeenies, a fungo bat and a left-handed catchers mitt in exchange for popular slugger *** Rocky Colavito. Maybe dad was wrong or maybe he said it was a rumor and I misinterpreted it. In any case, I was overjoyed and excitedly told the world how this move would catapult the lowly Mets to super-stardom.
                                                               ROCKY COLAVITO
When the deal didn't happen, my friends called me a liar. The humiliation I felt was crushing. Time passed and my friends forgot about it but I was scarred for life. To avoid being publicly ridiculed like that again, I learned a valuable check my sources. Still, years later, even with the most reliable source...myself...I got burned again.

The Staten Island Zoo...for the uninitiated, is in Staten Island. Unlike the great zoos across the country, the Staten Island Zoo is famous for...nothing! Nevertheless, I visited there three times; twice with day camp in 1967 and 1968...and again around 1974 while in college.

That first trip in '67 was highlighted in the reptile house. On display, in a series of small cases were lizards, frogs and snakes. In that array, the most striking, to twelve-year old me was...a two-headed baby turtle.
                                FILE PHOTO-NOT THE SAME-TURTLE I SAW...I SWEAR !
A year goes by and my camp is having another Staten Island Zoo outing. The kids in my group were all different, so I told them about the two-headed turtle. They didn't believe me so I confidently led them to the exact spot. Only the two-headed turtle case was EMPTY. 

I was called a liar and was embarrassed. Luckily for me, later,that afternoon an older bully (nicknamed Gestapo Harry) decided to torment the orangutan. For all his trouble, the great ape peed on him...his humiliation was far worse than mine and thus deflected the unwanted attention off me.

The third time I went to that zoo was a boring afternoon with a boring girlfriend. I took her to the room where the two-headed turtle had been and told her my story. It was annoying that she doubted me. A zookeeper making his rounds came by.  I told him my circumstance in the hope of being vindicated. He said two-headed turtles are not that uncommon.  But due to inherent health issues, they don't enjoy a full life span.

For a brief moment, the girl not only believed me but was impressed...unfortunately though...she totally didn't believe that Gestapo Harry got peed the French say; c'est la vie, (okay, so at least they're catch-phrases are good for something).

Now that you know my sensitivity in the truthfulness department, I feel obligated to tell you, that on the computer news yesterday...from Amherst New York...wherever that is...a two-headed snake was born. The segment included video of the beast and claimed that a two-headed snake is a one-in-a-million shot. Please check it out quickly before they stop showing it...because if you don't, whatever psychological progress I've made in 40 years in regards to my credibility will be shattered.

***Editors note - On three occasions, I worked (pro bono) at WFPG-AM 1450 radio in Atlantic City as a substitute on-air sports talk personalty. The last time, (before the station changed its "All-Talk" format to "Easy Listening Rock" in 1994), I interviewed six-time major league All-Star Rocky Colavito.

It crossed my mind to mention the predicament I was put in...when at nine years-old, I mistakenly advertised to my friends that he had been traded to the New York Mets...but I chickened-out. In retrospect, I should have. It would have been a cute story-line to pursue...I swear, it really, really happened...I'm not making it all up, I got gotta believe me, I have a cassette of that show...I just can't put my finger on it, but I can produce three friends who listened to it live...if not, I can...

No comments: