I was standing in the shower the other morning, still laughing at Letterman clip. The video — an exploding car filmed over the iconic Dick Van Dyke theme song — had me, after eight hours of sleep, still chuckling.

“Da, da, dada da da da da, da da da, da da da…..” How many years had that simple tune, punctuated at the end as Rob Petrie tripped (later by-stepped) over the ottoman—how long has that peppered my life?

For that matter, how many years have I replayed classics from my life, fulfilling myself time and time again with remembrance of moments and antics past? (It matters not).

These are indeed, the dog days of summer. Eli’s now here; Lucy’s out there. The reunion’s come and gone, I’m not doing a show…and even the thought Carrie and I had about a long weekend in Gettysburg —well it just didn’t happen. So I sit…this lazy morning…smiling again at the canvas of my past, at the quintessential memories …

How’s this for a Top Ten?

Number 10— The Big Boy Eating Contest with Bruce Cutler. It was the late ‘60s at Fairmount Circle Manners. I beat him 6-5 and when it was over, sitting downstairs in adjacent stalls, a contrite Cut shared that when I ate the first one in three or four bites he knew it psyched him out. After that, he said, he knew I was just keeping paced –that he never would catch me. (FYI: but for the thick sauce I may have hit double figures).

Number 9 — Sitting in the ‘HK conference room in ’93—Stuart, Bobby and me. Invariably Snyder’d be sitting at the table’s apex, door always open, eyeing the traffic. “Hey,” he’d announce, to whomever walked buy, “I’m Bob—one of the Boomer Boys”.

Number 8— Taking Michael to the Smokey Mountain Softball Classic was a special time. As travelling secretary in ’86 for Non Ferrous, I was permitted to bring him on one trip that season. We hit Tennessee. Well I
remember my son staring eyes-wide-open as, after the Friday night games ended past midnight, the more “active” players competitively drove golf balls through the narrow confines of the Holiday Inn’s second floor.

Number 7 — A Friday in the 80’s. Slammed at work I’d lost a contact and called the eye doctor seeking replacement. No stranger it his office, I was one of five in the family then under his care. He refused. I needed an appointment, I was told. Enraged, taking the “first available” appointment, I drove right over. Ten minutes it took; ten minutes to just smile at me, write on my chart, and hand me a lens. Ten minutes (thought I) for nonsense.

“I want my chart,” I declared, quite civilly. “I’m not coming back.”
“We can’t give it to you,” I was told. “We only release records to a doctor.” So I gave them Arthur’s address. Fuck ‘em.

Number 6 – Softball field by Morrill and Lincoln Towers, OSU. Wieder appeals the runner after they carry him out on a stretcher. It’s a story told often, but for those who eye-witnessed, never too often. (Note to my children and my children’s children: NEVER stop telling this story. I saw it– from the break in the runner’s leg to Wido’s step back off the rubber to the ump’s reluctant thumb up. May the word go forth that in that singular instant our friend Alan bought a ticket to both heaven and hell.

Number 5 — For a warm, fuzzy feeling, nothing beat that Saturday afternoon ‘round the pool at Paradise Island. Core friends we were: Fenton, Snyder, Treinish, Codgie, Kraut, Fischer, Grafchek et moi. There in two glorious hours we opened up with a candor we’d seldom shared en masse. It was a confluence of time and treasure that would never come again. (Ed. Note: only seven hit the pool that day. One of us “must have been sleeping”, or so he said).

Number 4 — Menorah Park, circa 2004: a moment cemented in Hal’s
memory, Margie’s and mine. It was the day I threw Ed Turner out of the
room. Let me set the stage: These were the days when governments
were just beginning to put things on line. And so it was that in the months
prior, H had discovered that our ailing Mom’s husband had deeded the
property out of his name, (where it stood by the handshake agreement with
Elaine’s heirs), and into his son’s. The discussion, needless to say, got
heated. How heated you ask? Well, picture me in the Jackie Gleason
role as Ralph Kramden and that putz Turner as Art Carney’s Ed Norton. “GET OUT”, I roared, waving at the door. “GET OUT!” I repeated. (Hal, who has nothing nice to say about Turner, later said I was out of control. Margie herself slid to the hallway. Me? I was rather proud of my outburst and…frankly…let’s face it: so was H).

Number 3 — University Heights, Ohio, 1987. Hal and I had just
purchased a $400 television from Snow Brothers (a lot of gelt for the day) and schlepped it 5 miles southwest and up one flight of stairs to surprise our grandmother on her 95th birthday. This would be her first color tv.

“Take it back” said Aunt Helen. “We don’t need your charity.”
“What’s in the box?” asked our grandma.

“You know,” surmised H as we took the box back—unopened, “Next year we should spend more. It’s going to go back anyway, and we’ll get credit for a nicer gift.”

Number 2 — Sometime in my junior year, West Maynard Ave, Columbus, Ohio. My father, so angry that I’d left the phone off the hook, had travelled from his home near Hamilton and Main all the way down to campus, AND after the twenty-some minute ride was so upset…still…that he yanked the phone right out of the wall. I wasn’t there; H was. It still plays.

Number 1 — Undetermined? Not quite. These are my salad days. Even the bad ones. The best, I’m convinced, is yet to come.


  1. bob says:

    I didn’t remember that Codgie had been to Paradise Island. I thought your memory of that trip would be on the flight home during turbulence, Stu asking everyone to name people that had died in air plane mishaps.

  2. Stuart says:


    Don’t you remember Codgie B and Treinish sitting in one row while you and I and Arthur enjoyed the row across?

  3. Mark E says:

    where was I, once again, I was left out…………..typical!

  4. Up From Dysfunction says:


    Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

    NUMBER 2…

    Saturday night, not yet 8. I’m standing up front, checking folks in when Ermine approaches. “Turn around,” he says, guiding my body. Tenderly, he grabs my head and kissing me square in the middle of the cheek. “Carrie’s adorable,” he remarks. “I’m so happy for both of you. Bring her to Columbus.”
    How great it is, I thought, that he really cares about me, and truly gets it.

  5. Mark E says:

    You’re right, but I still have not seen you guys in Columbus………………..invitation is still open

  6. Up From Dysfunction says:

    You’re not wrong.

    Let the word go forth that this writer is willing to drive Brother Bob or Brother Stuart down south.

  7. Aunt Helen says:

    Please don’t go on a weekend when we are scheduled to go shopping.

    Although, it has been a while since I’ve been to Columbus. I’d love to go with you boys.

  8. bob says:

    Just to clarify some points: Mark was asked to go to club med but didn’t go. Probably a good idea since we acted very immature on that trip and Mark is much more mature as we witnessed at this years reunion when he didn’t take part in the survey. Mark invited you and Carrie not Stu and me to Columbus. We already know we are invited anytime.

  9. Up From Dysfunction says:

    My suggestion:

    We all meet for dinner in Mansfield, at an exit off I-71. It’s mid-way.

    Bobby can sit facing the door so he can watch the room. Mark can sit facing in (just in case we can’t hear him). Stuart can be near the kitchen to stir the pot. Me? I’ll bring paper in case there’s another poll taken.

  10. Stuart says:

    Which Mansfield exit? I’d suggest the one closest to the prison where they filmed shawshank. I think they give tours. Bob is right…we wanted you at paradise island.

  11. Mark E says:

    such drama………………..EVERYONE is invited to our house in Cbus for a dinner party. You name the date. Bob for you Salad Nicoise, Stu the biggest lobster I can find in town and Bruce (because you are the only sincere one) Porterhouse steak and twice baked potatoes.
    Seriously, why don’t you all talk about it and plan a trip here.

  12. Up From Dysfunction says:

    Let’s see what we can do.

    FYI, Mark; Bob wants to know if you can put a pole in the middle of your dining room table.

  13. Aunt Helen says:

    I heard that there is a new musical call “Top Hat”. Does anyone know anything about it? Is that true?

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