Eons ago, I carpooled with SHMEE, KURUDAVE and MERMAID102. Our greatest highlight, (we led dull lives), occurred driving home at 4:AM. At a red light, on the outskirts of Atlantic City, we pulled up next to a friend who was one of our supervisors from work, (TOMD). We honked and with big smiles, waved to him. Uncustomarily, he shrugged and zoomed off nanoseconds before the light turned green.
The next day, in the back-of-the-house, the whole carpool team crossed paths with TOMD. SHMEE said, "Why were you in such a hurry last night when we saw you on the White Horse Pike?" TOMD huffed, "Because I was embarrassed that you caught me picking my nose." MERMAID102 said, "Genius, we didn't see you picking your nose." We roared in laughter. Even twenty years later, we still get a chuckle at TOMD's expense.
I guess it's human nature to be entertained, see humor or get some sense of satisfaction from the misfortune and shame of others. Long ago it was true when spectators filled the Roman Coliseum to watch gladiators get mauled by lions and today, that's why soap operas and TV shows like Jerry Springer's, are so popular. Even if a close male friend got hit in the groin, slipped on ice, farted out loud at an inopportune moment or crushed his thumb with a hammer, we wouldn't really laugh because it was funny...we'd laugh, because we were glad it didn't happen to us.
Yesterday, was a beautiful morning. For the first time this year, I enjoyed the newspaper and my coffee on my backyard deck. I wasn't out there too long when a bird, on a lark, crapped on my head. A flood of horrible memories rushed through my defiled noggin but when I came back to reality, I realized that without anybody pointing a mocking finger at me, getting dirtied wasn't such a catastrophe. I mulled this epiphany while washing up. That's when I concluded that birds have a history of dropping things on my head.
On the grounds at Camp Tioga, in Lake Como Pennsylvania, (1973), a girl (a fellow counselor), and I were limited in how we could show affection towards one another.
|NOT FAR FROM THE NEW YORK BORDER AND SUCH MEGALOPOLISES AS HANCOCK AND ROSCOE, RURAL LAKE COMO WAS HIDDEN IN THE MOST NORTHEAST TIP OF THE KEYSTONE STATE.|
Our big opportunity to express our fondness would be delayed until Saturday night when a big group of Tioga staff, went to the Poyntelle Inn, in tiny, rustic Poyntelle Pennsylania, (smaller than most dots on the map, but they do have their own zip code, 18454).
|THE PRIDE OF WAYNE COUNTY, THE POYNTELLE INN (2008), LOOKS LIKE THEY DID A MAJOR REFURBISHING JOB SINCE I WAS THERE.|
If that wasn't enough of a buzz-kill, the girl laughed in my face. In retrospect, I should have laughed too. I regreted it because she probably would have helped me clean up so we could return to more romantic matters. Instead, I got insulted and immaturely rushed back inside to tend to the mess. She didn't follow, the magic we had was lost and I was unhappy about my reaction...forever.
|I LET MY VANITY GET IN THE WAY OF A GOOD TIME. BUT SOME PEOPLE GLORIFY GETTING POOPED ON AND BUY SHIRTS TO ADVERTISE THEIR STRANGENESS.|
|BILLBOB, NO STRANGER TO MACAW EXCREMENT, WAS KIND ENOUGH TO SHARE THIS PHOTO. UNDER THE DUSTCOVER, THE REAL NAME OF THE BOOK IS, " SHITTING ON HUMANS FOR DODO'S."|
The times were far more innocent in 1963. The Kennedy assassination caught us off guard and our first steps into Vietnam felt noble. So when Alfred Hitchcock's, "THE BIRDS," debuted, we all bought into the notion that mother nature could rise-up against humanity for ecologically despoiling the planet.
If you don't mind getting laughed at, park your Thunderbird under power lines where whippoorwills perch.
|THE EVER-PATRIOTIC SHMEE, SENT ME THIS PHOTO FROM BEAUTIFUL DOWNTOWN BURBANK. HE CLAIMS THAT THE RED, WHITE AND BLUE THEME WAS CAUSED BY CARDINALS, DOVES AND BLUE JAYS.|
Back in the late-eighties, my wife and I met-up with friends (a couple, the Bickerson's), from New York, during their weekend in Cape May, (NJ). On the beach, the woman was nauseated when a gull crapped on her blanket. While angrily holding her tuna sandwich skyward, she called them flying rats as she cursed like a longshoreman. Then one of the mad, dive-bombing marauders, snatched her lunch out of her hand while taking a nip out of her palm.
If she wasn't pissed-off enough, Mrs. Bickerson went into utter hysterics when I exploded in laughter as she over-reacted to the smallest iota of blood peeking through the microscopic break in her skin. I started laughing louder and my wife Sue turned away to hide her bursting grin when her lunatic husband started fanning her "wound" at a hyper-fast speed with his hands, as if to cool it off. Mrs. B. squealed in misery as she voiced her irrational fear of death from her, "already festering disease." Her husband took his cue and ran for the first aid kit in his car. Somehow, with help of Neosporin and gauze, he ended their comedy skit by talking her down from her prediction of bubonic plague and an unnecessary trip to the emergency room.
I'm not germophobic but under a similar circumstance, I had a brush with a bird-related death. In mid-May 1997, South Jersey had a freak, ninety-two degree day. My wife and I decided to take my three-year old son Andrew to the Cape May County Zoo. We sweltered so badly when we got there that we changed our plan and went to nearby Stone Harbor, for a stroll on the beach.
Sue had been brought up in a beach community, (the Rockaways, in New York). She knew a lot of entertaining tricks that made Andrew's first exposure to the shore, fun. One of those ideas was to dig for sand crabs.
|HIPPOIDS ARE MORE COMMONLY CALLED SAND CRABS, RANINIDS OR GHOST CRABS. THEY ARE OVAL IN SHAPE, HAVE NO CLAWS AND ARE ABOUT THE SIZE OF MY THUMBNAIL. THEY CAN BE FOUND BURROWING THROUGH THE MOIST SAND OF BEACHES AROUND THE WORLD.|
The sand crab hunt delighted Andrew. But we were unprepared. So the excavating was done with the omnipresent, large, clam shells that littered the beach.
|BROKEN VERSIONS OF CLAM SHELLS LIKE THESE ARE EVERYWHERE. THEY ARE BIGGER, HEAVIER AND STURDIER THAN THE OTHER SEASHELLS, WHICH MAKES THEM DEAL DIGGING TOOLS.|
The summer season was still more than a month away, so I was lucky to have parked in the first spot on the beach block. The only thing standing in the way of me completing my mission was a flock of seagulls. They were all competing for the same edible prize, on the small piece of pavement between the end of the beach and my car. When I got too close, the shore birds scattered. I opened the diaper bag and retrieved some bandages. On my way back, I was crossing the street when all of a sudden, there was a loud crash, like a smashed dinner platter, right behind me.
|SEAGULLS, OUT OF REVENGE OR HUNGER, ARE CLEVER ENOUGH TO TAKE LIVE SHELLFISH IN THEIR TALONS, FLY HIGH AND DROP THEM ON A HARD SURFACE, (LIKE MY HEAD), IN ORDER TO BREAK IT OPEN TO EXPOSE THE MEAT.|
Jerry Seinfeld once joked, "There's no such thing as bad pizza." It sounds funny as part of his schtick but we all now, there IS such a thing as bad pizza. Just like I might have once said that there is no such thing as bad clams but we now know they can be lethal when taken internally or when they plunk you in the head.
|ALWAYS REMEMBER, WHETHER IT'S BIRD CRAP, A SHELLFISH PROJECTILE, A GOLF BALL OR SPACE JUNK...WHEN SOMETHING HEINOUS FALLS ON YOUR HEAD...IT'S REALLY FALLING ON YOUR HAIR. WHEN SOMETHING TERRIBLE FALLS ON MY HEAD...IT FALLS ON MY HEAD !|
So please, please, please if you take just two things from this column please remember how great "good," clams...any style...are to eat.
|RIGHT AFTER I PUBLISH THIS ARTICLE, I'M GOING TO RUN OUT AND GET A DOZEN, RAW QUAHOGS ON THE HALF SHELL.|
The other thing to bear in mind is, when you see someone split their pants, pee themselves or accidentally eat a bug...chalk it up to human nature and laugh your ass off. Unless what you're watching is happening to me...because I doubt...even at this age that I have the maturity to handle being mocked.