As far as I know, absolutely nothing significant happened in the world on May 14, 1951, the night (9:46 p.m.) of my earthly debut at St. Joseph’s Infirmary on Eastern Parkway.
It was the week between the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. In keeping with the times, no one remembers the horses that won that year: Count Turf, one of the five horses in the “mutual field”, won the Derby by paying $ 31.20, and Bold , ridden by legendary Eddie Arcaro, won the Preakness.
I did all I could to turn down this day on the calendar. I started washing my hair with a shampoo called “Swagger”. I switched to a new deodorant: “Obsession”. On my way home from work, I’ll take a tour of my neighborhood with the wind whipping my swaggering white locks just to hear the end of any song on the radio from Roy Orbison, The Four Seasons, Huey Lewis and The News, Foreigner, “Ride of the Valkyries” by Wagner, Donna Summer, The Spinners, the Four Seasons (did I mention them yet?), “Bring Him Home” des Misérables, Billy Joel, The B-52’s (“Love Shack “) and even that funky song about setting up your” pitcher “on the cover of the Rolling Stone” … gonna buy five copies for my mom !! ” Sometimes I also do this trying to remember where I live. I always cut my own grass too. OK, so what if it was the neighbors’ yard that I had mowed, they were very grateful and very understanding.
The paradoxes of life still intrigue me. Recently at Kroger I was sent by Cindy (more on her later) to pick out some chicken breasts. I picked up a package labeled “cage free”. To a complete stranger who came by, I said “Ma’am, would you like to watch this?” He says “cage-free”. How human. This hen lived a wonderful, cage-free life until one day they killed her and put her in this box. “Yes, I understand your point,” the woman replied before moving on, I thought rather hastily.
As an aging baby boomer, I am in awe of all the technological advancements we have made. The other night, while enjoying a delicious cocktail of prune juice at the bar, I spotted a ceiling television showing the extremely important weather report. Behind the attractive on-screen “meteorologist” was a display saying the temperature was 74 degrees with a box saying “Feels like: 74 degrees”. How is that possible to know – exactly the same? !! Such a scientific breakthrough is only surpassed by the sophisticated computer in my Buick which, when I have my oil changed, tells me on the dashboard that the “HOOD IS OPEN”. Despite the fact that I can see (even with thick bifocal lenses) that the hood is open, we geezers appreciate this extra help.
When I was a sophomore at Trinity High School and internal bleeding was due to a particularly boring math class one morning, I resolved at that point that the second most important goal in my life was to never get bored (going to paradise “someday” was / is first). Even as a state legislator, I have been true to this solemn vow: after a tedious hour-long (!) Afternoon debate over whether the Kentucky state tree should be the tulip poplar or the coffee tree, I retaliated by introducing a bill designating the magnetic wheel as the state hubcap. Unfortunately, the leadership of the House never saw fit to take this important step.
My aversion to boredom was also taken into account in the marriage proposal I made to my (still) beautiful girlfriend, the aforementioned Cindy. I promised him that “we will probably never be rich, but it will never be boring.” Despite such an anemic offer, she still married me. For 41 years and four kids we’ve been dealing with big and small issues – like when I bought a brand new red convertible sports car for our teenagers without any intervention from their mom (that was a XXXXL problem). Cindy – I love her so much – will do (almost) anything I ask, including singing the chorus to “La Marseillaise” with me during the biannual screening of my all-time favorite movie “Casablanca”.
“To arms, citizens
Train your battalions
Let’s walk, let’s walk!
That one sang unclean
Water our furrows!
So bring the birthday cake, champagne, and Velcro shoes. I thank God and the Blessed Mother for the last 70 years without a cage and I cannot wait for the next 70 years. In the meantime, I intend to take advantage of my new status as a respected gentleman for years. For example, a few weeks ago my brave Cindy had to have surgery on her vocal cords for which there would be no general anesthesia, just local anesthesia. The surgeon told her that she could choose to listen to music on headphones in the operating room. When she couldn’t decide what kind of songs she wanted, I helpfully suggested a CD of my greatest political speeches. “No, I’m afraid it won’t work,” Dr Deadpan said. “Remember, for this operation your wife must be awake.
Bob Heleringer is a Louisville lawyer and Republican who served in the 33rd District Kentucky House from 1980 to 2002. He can be reached at [email protected]