CLASSIC LUNACY – “APOLOGIES” From June 13, 2014

FROM JUNE 13, 2014

 

I have a dad. But I am a dad, too. And this is Father’s Day.

This week’s “Father’s Day” Lunar Report deals with my dad. I guess this Lunacy should deal with the poor child who has had to wish me a happy Father’s Day every year since the mid-80’s.

I differ a bit from my dad. He was rarely apologetic.   Well, he was regretful, I think – when he did things that maybe harmed at the time those he loved.   But in his life patterns?   He was apologetic to no one.   He was who he was.   And I admire his neglect of apologies when it came to the life that he chose.

But me? I’m a wimp. I readily acknowledge that.  In my mind, apologies are due.

To my son – I apologize for the time when you were just a toddler, and when I asked my best friend to baby sit you.  When I returned home that afternoon, the vision of you walking around the house with your diaper around your knees as you carried yet another beer to your fast asleep babysitter still haunts me.

I apologize for the time I asked you, after attending a Carolina basketball game, to steal toilet paper from the arena’s bathroom because we were broke and out of TP at home.

I apologize for my “sex talk” with you.   I tried to tell you some valuable stuff.   You just looked at me, rolled your eyes and said, “Oh, Dad!”   My wimpy self scratched the back of my head, looked down at the floor and responded, “Well, okay.   Just promise me that when you feel like pulling your pants down, you call me first!”

I apologize for the times you came home from school and found me asleep on the sofa with Court TV on the tube.   I really am sorry that those times I could not answer your “so what’s up with OJ?” questions.

I apologize for all of those cheeseburger steaks and green peas.   That was your dad’s easy way out.   But, damn! You slammed down every bite!

I apologize for serving for desert what you called “ghetto cookies.”   But cinnamon toast is damned tasty.

Look, I have many more apologies I could list here.   Deeper and more meaningful ones.   But all I can seem to think about right now is that my only child and his wife have four children of their own.   That could possibly mean that they will one day have FOUR times the apologies that I have right now.   Damn.   Really, son.   I am so sorry about that sex talk screw up!

My two favorite adults!

There really are many apologies that I could I make. But they are all so pallid when lined up next to all of my moments of gratitude.   Thank you, child – and your wife and my granddaughter and grandsons – for defining for me, in the most elaborate of ways, what old-man pride is all about.

“Beautiful!”

“Magruder!”

“Seth-Man!” Or “Little Paul!”

Ha! “Sweet-P!”

CLASSIC LUNACY – “DELIVERY ROOM” From February 13, 2012

FROM FEBRUARY 13, 2012

The kid’s name is Princeton Jordan Moon. Some in his family call him PJ. Others call him Prince.    I think his mom prefers that we say, “Princeton” when referring to her youngest child.

I call him “Sweet-P.”

Just a few years ago, Sweet-P was born. He entered his world in one of the most raucous ways imaginable. His mom, my daughter-in-law, was in labor for nearly 14 hours before he finally came to her on February 9. And my son and his wife’s mom were by her side for every minute of that stressful adventure. But there was other stuff going on during that laborious day – stuff that was even more stressful than giving birth.

I wrote about Sweet-P’s birthday shortly after he was born. That was five years ago. I thought I would take the occasion of my youngest grandchild’s birthday to share that Lunacy again:

Here are the most important facts and occurrences of the night of Wednesday, February 8, 2012. My son’s wife had been in painful labor for nearly nine hours when the main event of the evening began. If you don’t know my family, then it’s not what you think. If you do know my family, it’s exactly what you think.

At nine o’clock that night, the only ones in that Mooresville, North Carolina hospital room were my son, of course his wife, and his wife’s wonderful mom. It really was a long, painful and stressful day for my daughter-in-law. And for the other two there. The anticipation, the discomfort, the anxiety and apprehension must have been brutal for those three. But the process was about to begin. And it did.

At precisely 9:05 PM Eastern Time. That’s when all hell broke loose. There was pain. There was jubilation. There was a certain degree of ease and relaxation. Then more pain. More jubilation. More angst. More joy.

It was a two-hour ride on the Myrtle Beach Swamp Fox. An unrelenting roller coaster. Energetic panic, screaming, yelling and God’s name taken in vain. It all came from that room during those two hours that night. It was so bad that the hospital staff became a bit panicky themselves and quickly, yet professionally, entered that room to see what was troubling the mother-to-be.

My account of things here is second hand, so I am taking some fictional liberty. The night nurse, upon hearing the screaming and yelling, burst into the room.

“My God, is everything okay here?”

“He was all over his freakin’ back!” my son explained.

“Who?” the nurse asked. “Has the doctor been here? Is your new son here? Coach Sandusky’s not a family member, is he?”

“We’re getting screwed,” my son replied.

“Look, there’s no need to file a malpractice claim, sir,” the nurse seemed to beg. “We’re doing our best here.”

“Oh man, he traveled!” said my son.

Nurse: “Well, yes sir. The doctor does live in Gastonia.”

Son: “He was hacked!”

Nurse: “Well, we did have to call him away from a cocktail party in Statesville. ”

Son: “What are you doing, Roy?”

Nurse: “Actually, the doctor’s name is Ervin.”

Son: “What the hell are you talking about?”

Nurse: “Look. Your doctor’s name is Ervin. He was at a cocktail party in Statesville, but he is traveling here as we speak, and he is not hacked. He is a professional. He would never show up for a delivery hacked.”

Son: “What?”

“Everything will be just fine,” the nurse said. “Just relax and breath. ALL of you.”

“How in the hell could you miss that shot?” my son asked.

“Sir, we keep immaculate records here,” the nurse responded. “I assure you, no shots have been missed.”

“Are you kidding me?”

“No sir.”

“That last second crap just pisses me off!”

“Look, we are prepared here,” the nurse said. “We leave nothing to the last second.”

“Damn,” my son replied.

“There is no need to curse, sir.”

“What? Uh… what? Oh, never mind. So what’s up with my wife and our baby?”

“Well, sir, I’ve been trying to explain, and….”

“Explain what? When?”

“Sir,” the nurse said, “For the past two hours I have been trying to explain what’s going on and I just don’t…”

“Look, lady, I’ve been beside myself for the past two hours. Do you have any idea how stressful things have been for me and the wife?”

“Well, sir, yes I do. That’s why I have been in and out of this room all night, trying to explain to you that everything is under control, and that you have nothing to worry about. We are doing all that we…”

My son interrupted. “See, here’s where you screwed up, lady. You never, EVER, try to explain ANYTHING to me while the wife, mother-in-law and I are watching a Carolina-Dook game on television! UNDERSTAND?”

“Uh, yes sir. I do now.”

CLASSIC LUNACY – “CULTURE OF FAILURE” From May 22, 2014

FROM MAY 22, 2014
Our society – our very own culture – thrives on failure.

Our heroes. The very people we hold in such high esteem are incredible failures. All of them! Highly paid professionals, like doctors, our athletes, our Hollywood stars – all of them – are failing. Even the best and most respected of them.

 

 

Most of the really great actors make, what?  One film a year?  It takes, roughly estimating, three months to shoot one.   So, for nine months a year, our Hollywood heroes are like 20% of the rest of us – unemployed!

How about NFL quarterback greats? DonMeredith, Joe Namath, Terry Bradshaw, and Johnny Unitas?   They each completed only around 50% of every pass they threw.   They failed half the time.   Even the all-time NFL leader, Chad Pennington failed 30% of the time.   I don’t know about your job, but if I fail just 5% of the time, I am an unemployed actor!

Artis Gilmore, my hometown favorite NBA tall guy (he played college ball at Jacksonville University when I was in high school in that town!) is the all time field goal percentage leader in the NBA. Even worse than Chad Pennington, Artis failed slightly more than 30% of the time that incredibly tall guy shot the ball.

 

 

And Major League Baseball? Come on! Over 60% of the time, Ty Cobb failed to get a hit! Ty freakin’ Cobb!

 

 

And doctors?   Our most coveted profession.   We all believe with all of our hearts that OUR doctor is the very best. Well, I heard this years ago somewhere, so I won’t take credit for thinking of this myself.   But have you ever realized that 50% of all doctors finished in the BOTTOM HALF of their class?

 

 

 

Man.   We are all doomed!

Still.  Suddenly I’m liking my own success rate!

CLASSIC LUNACY – “THE WEINER HEARINGS” From June 13, 2011

FROM JUNE 13, 2011

 

What can be more bizarre than a United States congressman named Weiner, sending photos of his… well… you know…. over the Internet?

 

 

Yeah, the toe-tapping Republican senator was bizarre, but his name wasn’t Stahl, or Tap or anything like that.  And, yeah, one of our presidents did receive oral favors and such from a White House intern, but his name wasn’t Hav-A-Tampa.  So that wasn’t all that bizarre.

 

 

But “Weiner?”  This is material from a really bad 1960’s B-movie. I guess it would have had to be a really bad Science Fiction/Porn B-movie since the Internet and Tweeter weren’t even concepts in the ‘60s.  And we still had community standards back then, I guess.

But you know, it’s a well-known fact that Al Gore invented the Internet.  Do you suppose this whole Weiner thing is a vast left-wing Democratic conspiracy of sorts?  Just why did Al Gore do what he did?  Why did Weiner choose an Al Gore invention to deliver such provocative photos?  Did Gore know what Weiner had in mind when he invented it?  And what’s up with the former vice president’s name?  Did he know when he invented the Internet that his buddy’s body part photos would be distributed to folks who might find them a bit gory?

 

 

And is it true that Weiner nicknamed his – well…you know… thing – “Al?” These are important questions, y’all.  Bizarre?  Yes.   But important.

 

 

Man, they’ve got to hold hearings on this stuff.  We need answers.  Besides.  We’re all going to be stuck at home this summer, fighting global warming heat waves, waiting for our unemployment checks and conserving $5-a-gallon gasoline.  And Oprah’s off the air.  Give us something, y’all!  I would be willing to watch John Boehner cry every morning for six months if I can just tune in every day this summer to the “Weiner Hearings.”

Please.  For the love of God, Congress.  Give us this.

CLASSIC LUNACY – “DADDY, THE DECOUPAGING DEBUTANTE” From June 21, 2011

FROM JUNE 21, 2011

There was a time when we all worried about Daddy.  Well, there were many times.  But this one was different.

I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida during a time when “high society Jacksonville” was important to a lot of folks.  Every year a new batch of young well-off women were honored with parties, wore beautiful and expensive clothing, attended teas and garden luncheons, and the like.  All of that led up to the one evening when they wore their finest and made their debuts as they were presented to Jacksonville society circles.  They were called debutantes.

The local newspapers, The Florida Times Union and The Jacksonville Journal did remarkable jobs of covering the debutante season each year.  Since most of the debs back then attended the same high school that my brother, sister and I did, I read all the deb news in the paper.  And the newspapers would list things about each young woman – you know, goals of world peace, colleges they were going to attend, stuff like that.  They also listed each girl’s hobby.  I would say that 97% of each year’s batch of new debs during that time period listed as their hobbies decoupage.

This is where Daddy comes in.  He didn’t have many hobbies.  He played golf every Tuesday with his long-time buddy, Linky.  But that was more of an excuse to work up a sweat and cool down with a few cold ones.  He was actually a good artist, but he rarely did more than a few mind-numbing “paint by the numbers” things.  He did play a lot of solitaire, too.

 

But at some point, the man set up shop in the dining room.  He spent hours and hours in that room, with tools and supplies spread on the dining table and chairs and dining room floor.  The man was into decoupage.  Big time.

 

He was quite good actually.  Very clean presentations.  Well, there were the occasional decoupaged-over cigar ashes on some of his projects.  But that gave his work a sort of “antique” look to it.

 

He enjoyed it.  And he was good-natured about it all.  Each time one of his children would ask the man, “So, Daddy, are you going to make your debut this year,” he almost always responded the same way.  He would look at us, move his cigar to the side of his mouth, bend his wrist to the limp position, sticking his crooked little pinky finger out in typical high-society fashion, and say with a lisp, “Oh yeth!”

My dad.  The decoupaging debutante.

CLASSIC LUNACY – “THE MEAT OF PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS” From January 30, 2012

FROM JANUARY 30, 2012

 

I’m an issue oriented voter. I really do not care if our president elect is an effective leader or a Democrat or a Republican. All I want is someone who believes in the few things that will make a difference in my life.

 

The issues are what matter to me. It’s because of my devotion to the issues and the ultimate importance of such and even more so to the ultimate importance to me personally, that I need to attend a presidential debate or town hall meeting. Like all neglected voters and constituents, I need to be heard. And I have some meaty things to discuss with the wealthy and privileged caviar consuming party nominees.

Now, I won’t whine and complain because I am unemployed or without health insurance or need a new kitchen. The folks who bring up such gut-wrenching stories as those are pathetic humans filled with self pity and need to get a grip on life and government and politics. No, I won’t go there.

My question will be simple and straight forward. “Sirs, will you sign a pledge, both of you, right here and now, to invest in our infrastructure by building new and improved Biff Burger restaurants in every state across our fine land?

 

 

Or at least allow Krystal to operate in North Carolina?”*

 

 

*(Biff Burger, one of my favorite fast food chains, went out of business more than 30 years ago. Krystal, my other favorite, is still in business in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. There are none in North Carolina.  Damn!)

CLASSIC LUNACY – “REALLY STUPID AND SPINELESS”

FROM SEPTEMBER 20, 2010

BURNETTE_Carol_phE

This is not Miss Lawrence.

 

Miss Lawrence was my first grade teacher.  I loved that woman.  She looked a little like Carol Burnett – tall, thin, friendly face.  She was encouraging to us youngsters.  She always had good things to say.  Well, most always.

 

 

I was a good little kid.  I was a good first grader, and polite.  Miss Lawrence liked me, too.         I was one of her favorites.

1960nov7weeklyreader

Weekly Reader

One afternoon, we were reading aloud the Weekly Reader or something.  We took turns reading.  Miss Lawrence would call on us, one by one to read a paragraph.  At one point, she said, “David, please read the next paragraph.”  So, naturally I began to read aloud.

Still Carol Burnette

Still not Miss Lawrence.

 

 

She turned her head, looked me squarely in the eyes and said, “Shut up.”  She then turned to the other David in the class, sitting on the opposite side of the room and said, “Please continue.”

 

Not me.

Not me.

Wow.  Talk about hurt feelings.  Add to that the incredible fear I suddenly had.  Miss Lawrence just yelled at one of her prize students.  For the first time.  And all I did was what she told me to do.  So I kept my mouth shut the rest of the day.

Still not me.

Still not me.

At some point that afternoon, I became overcome by the urge to use the bathroom.  I’m not sure if I was just an obedient kid or if I did what I did next because Miss Lawrence had scared the hell out of me.  But I just couldn’t bring myself to ask her if I could use the bathroom.

 

school deskSo, I let the liquid flow, right there in my little school desk seat.  I sat in that puddle for the rest of the day.

HandkerchiefFear and hurt feelings are no match for bodily functions.  Thank God for the freshly pressed white handkerchief my mom placed in my back pocket that day.

CLASSIC LUNACY – “BIRDHOOD”

FROM OCTOBER 25, 2010

Seagull Fatherly Love2My dad gave me more than just fatherly love and guidance.   He also gave me the likelihood of developing disgusting black old-man moles on my body.   He had them.   Now I have them.   They are harmless, and I’ve had them checked out, so don’t worry.   But I have one of those damned things in a very prominent spot on my left shin.   I wouldn’t mind that so much, but the flaky, scaly and extremely white skin the man also gave me makes that mole really stand out visually.   You may think this is too much for you to know about me, but it is important to the rest of the story.

Clearwater-Beach-FloridaYou see, I was in Clearwater Beach, Florida a few years ago with some friends.   We were there on business and took a break to enjoy a sun-filled lunch on a warm patio at the restaurant next door to the hotel.   The four of us sat at a table near the patio bar with a view of the white sand and calm and beautiful water of the Gulf of Mexico.

We were all wearing shorts.   I noticed several pigeons – not seagulls, pigeons – walking around that section of the restaurant.   They were scavenging food scraps from sloppy eaters.   It was a tad troubling.   But I put it out of my mind, crossed my legs under the table and focused on the menu.   A few moments later, I noticed from the corner of my eye one of those pigeons walking toward our table.   I was a bit pidgeonuncomfortable about it, but I continued with the menu.   Then I noticed that same pigeon walking under our table.   I couldn’t figure out why it chose our table.   We had no food yet.   What the hell was he after?   I don’t know.   Maybe the sucker thought it was Cajun blackened humus or something, but the dammed fowl went right for that mole on my left leg.   I was quick to react and very clever in explaining to my friends what was going on.

“That damned pigeon is going for my mole,” I said.

The laughter from the other three scared the poor bird away.   But I was relieved.   I have had run-ins with birds before.   Birds hate me.   I don’t know why.   But they do.

miamiYears before Clearwater, about a week after Christmas, I was in Miami for the Blockbuster or Car Quest Bowl or something.   The afternoon before the game, those in our party and I decided to kill some time by going to the matinee at the horse track near the hotel where we were staying.   We parked the car in an almost empty parking lot.   The lot consisted of acres and acres of pavement and tall light poles.   The few cars that were there parking lotwere spread and scattered.  If old ghost towns had parking lots, this one would have qualified.   I was wearing a brand new navy blue golf shirt someone had given me as a Christmas gift the week before.   We were making the long walk through the quiet and empty lot to the main gate at the track, when all of a sudden a single but huge and disgusting splat of seagull waste hit the right shoulder of my brand new navy blue golf shirt.   Seagull_dropping_clamKeep in mind, this was a single seagull, flying over acres and acres of pavement, a half dozen cars, and, from the gull’s perspective, three tiny people.   Yet that seagull found MY shoulder.

Alright, so maybe I haven’t had it as bad as Rod Taylor and Tippy Hedren, but if Hitchcock had known me in 1963, “The Birds” surely would have been a comedy.

CLASSIC LUNACY – “PANIC”

FROM JULY 26, 2010

luncay logoMike Krzyzewski couldn’t do it.  Bob Knight couldn’t do it.  Neither could Adolph Rupp.  Okay, maybe John Wooden could.  But I definitely did.  I made Dean Smith, a Basketball Hall of Fame coach panic.

Dean Smith coached his University of North Carolina basketball team many times against Coach Krzyzewski’s Duke team and several times against Bob Knight’s Indiana team and Adolph Rupp’s Kentucky team.  He coached at least once against John Wooden’s UCLA team.  Coach Smith never coached against me.  Even so…

During basketball games, the man never panicked.  One game during the 1990 NCAA Tournament, with time running out, and Carolina behind by a point to a team it should not have come close to beating, Coach Smith called a timeout.  In the huddle, he just smiled at his players and said, “Won’t it be fun to win this game?”  They did.

In another game, this one played in 1974 and before there was such a thing as the 3-point shot, Carolina was trailing rival Duke by 7 points with only 17 seconds left in the game. Carolina won.  There was no panic.

But years ago, I drove my 20-year-old Monte Carlo to a Chapel Hill, NC liquor store.  I was unshaven and wearing a t-shirt and muddy jeans with holes on both knees. My hair was all over the place from lack of air conditioning in the old car.  I pulled up to the ABC store and into a parking space by the front door right next to a sparkling clean and freshly waxed BMW.  Standing at the driver’s side door of that Beemer, trying to unlock his car was Dean Smith.  In his arms was a rather large bag full of freshly purchased adult beverage.  When I got out of my car, the creaking and metal-popping sound of the door of the “Classic-Carlo” caught Coach Smith’s attention.  He looked right at me.  At first he smiled.  Like he always does to strangers.  Then I looked at him and his bag of liquor, smiled back at him and said what I thought was clever and friendly and folksy.  I thought he would appreciate it.

“Man it looks like I need to go home with you,” I said.

His eyes doubled in size.  He struggled with his keys and tried to politely smile again, but the fear and panic showed way too much to allow his usual honest smile.  Shortly after that he sped away through that parking lot like a Ty Lawson fast break.

I didn’t mean to frighten the man.  I thought he would see the humor.  I guess he thought I was as funny as losing to UCLA that one year.

CLASSIC LUNACY – “YES, MOON”

luncay logoConnie Keller passed away October 21, 2014.  What I feel for her goes way beyond simple humor.  Still, she and I had a rap going.  The following was written about four years ago.

FROM AUGUST 9, 2010 – A dear old friend of mine is going through some pretty tough stuff these days.    She’s in her 80s.   She’s a widow.   She has a bit of the dementia thing going on.   And now she has a cancerous tumor on one of her kidneys.

I saw Connie last weekend.   For the first time in over a year and a half.   She is thin and frail.   But she is still the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen or known.

There was a time when her youngest and most beautiful daughter and I cared for that dear woman.   That time is gone.   But when Connie was here, quite often her daughter would boss me around.   That is her nature.   The daughter would say, “Moon, do this!”   “Moon, do that!”   Her mom would just look at me with those big beautiful eyes and say to me, “Say, ‘yes,’ Moon.”   I would, naturally, look at Connie and say, “Yes Moon,” then do as I was told.   The big and beautiful eyes would always just roll back in her head.

I wasn’t sure how last weekend would go.   I really had some doubt as to whether Connie would even remember me.

Very shortly after we arrived at her new home hundreds of miles away, her youngest daughter told me to do something.   Connie very quickly said, “Say ‘yes,’ Moon.”

She remembered!   So did I.   “Yes Moon,” was my reply.

IMG_0474And.   I got the eye roll.   One more time.