[Note: To increase the humorous quotient for this column portions may contain fictionalization and/or exaggerations.]
When we entered grade school in Scranton Pa., our fist life lesson was to realize that since we were too young to buy an Irish Sweepstakes ticket, it would be futile to pray to the "Lotto God" for a winning ticket. Hence we encountered our fist experience with the advice: "Get a good lawyer!" We did and his first question was: "Why do you want a winning ticket?"
"So that we can have money and afford to travel around the world, meet celebrities, and have interesting and enjoyable experiences," we replied. "Well then, you should address prayers to the creator of the universe, asking for those items. The lotto god gets more prayers than there are lottery prizes and he has to disappoint many supplicants. However if you ask directly for what you want, perhaps he isn't being overwhelmed with similar prayers and can grant your request." We took his advice and started to pray as per his clever wording and the payoffs started immediately.
In grade school, one of the nuns told us that in the United States of American anyone present in the class room (she didn't exempt the girls even back then) could become President of the United States and if that happened in first or second grade (which we think it did) then one of the students in the room was Joseph Biden and the point was well taken. We noted that particular moment when it happened because we had a odd premonition that some time in the future we would have a need to write about it.
As a kid, we noted that to have an adventurous, glamorous,
and exciting life, we could help the creator of the universe grant our prayers
by preparing for a career as a writer and or columnist.
The lawyer was right, of course, because we didn't want a bundle of money and the responsibility of accurate tax records and the need to hire accountants, we just wanted to cross a bunch of things off our bucket list, such as: working on a ship, flying in the Goodyear blimp, attending the Oscars, having a celebrity (Paul Newman as it turned out) ask for our autograph, a flight in a B-17 G WWII bomber, having a drink (diet Pepsi) in Hemingway's favorite bar in Paris, living out scenes from our favorite movies come to life, a trip to Australia, and so on and so forth.
Once, while shopping in Beverly Hills on Christmas Eve, a fellow, attired in white pants, a blue blazer, and a yachting cap, got out of a Rolls Royce, stopped at the adjacent parking meter and, after fumbling though his pants for coins, turned to us and asked if he could borrow a quarter. To us, it was Fred C. Dobbs asking: "Say, mister, could you stake a fellow American to a meal?"
While trading banter with the South Lake Tahoe Police Department's watch commander, we heard the fellow tell a story about how, in his rookie days, on one of his first calls, he had investigated the sudden death of a local resident. He elaborated how and why he had suspicions that the dead man might actually have been the fellow who, while serving as the Chief of Police for San Francisco, had disappeared. It took us almost forty years to put that news tip into use, but we may have been the first blogger to make a reference to the case of Chief Biggie who vanished in 1908 from a police launch which was crossing the San Francisco Bay.
After becoming determined to go see the endurance race at Sebring, in the Sixties, we realized as the week of the race began, that unless someone called us out of the blue and offered us a ride from Scranton to Florida and the race in particular, that item was predestined to remain on our Bucket List a bit longer. At 1 p.m., someone who knew how to reach us while we were at our Aunt Dorothy's house, placed just such a call. We sold a photo to Sports Car Graphic that was used in their picture page report on the race.
Watching weekly episodes of "the Twilight Zone," when they were fresh out of the box, it never occurred to us that some day we would be chatting about a problem with a story idea and that one of the guys who wrote episodes for that famous TV series would ask us if he could use the fictional story premise we had just outlined. We said "Yeah" and added a stipulation that one of the characters in the story should share our name.
Then there was the time we went to the Forum and when we got to the "Today's event tickets" window, we said it would be OK if the sales clerk put us in the front row . . . and she did!
Collecting a series of memories that rival the product of a very vivid imagination is fine if you intend on writing an autobiography or even a fictionalized version of your struggles coping with life, but is it a valid way to become qualified to write political punditry?
Are we trying to join the ranks of the fictional characters Harry Street (as played by Gregory Peck), Sal Paradise, and Raoul Duke?
Does a vast array of interesting moments qualify a person to make predictions about the restoration of the Bush Dynasty being inevitable?
Years ago when we were reading Albert Camus' "the Rebel" for the first time, we thought we saw a passage that made the assertion that society usually disarms serious rebels by making them an integral part of the Establishment.
Waylon Jennings had one obscure song about the incongruity
of being a cowboy with a briefcase. Was
the song writer an uncontrollable free spirit or was he a corporate entity that
owned buses and trucks and other things that made loud noises and had business
obligations that couldn't be shirked?