I’ve been given the lucky number 7 by Laurie B. and I’m supposed to share 7 things you probably don’t know about me. I normally do not participate in this sort of activity, but Laurie told me if I did not, I might wake up as a beach crab or something equally unpleasant tomorrow morning. Given no choice, I offer the following:
1. I was the youngest by 7 and 9 years respectively of two older sisters. I was the favored one of my parents, a.k.a. spoiled brat, and I took advantage of that fact as often as possible growing up. My oldest sister walked out of the family’s life in 1975, never to be seen or heard from again. My youngest older sister stopped talking to me in 1996 for some unknown reason, and we never spoke another word to one another again, although I made several attempts to do so. She died last year. I wish I had a third older sister who today loved me and was part of a mutual admiration society, so I wouldn’t feel so guilty;
2. In my freshman year of college, I was standing on a Louisville Kentucky street corner one evening with two buddies and was arrested for loitering. We were told to get into the police car, and when I said to the officer “we all have money in our pocket, so how can we be loitering?”, I was labeled the gang leader and put in a separate cell. One of my jailbird friends called his lawyer father in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and later we were instructed to plead guilty at the next day’s hearing and we would get off with a suspended sentence which would be expunged one year later if we stayed out of trouble. We all follwed legal advice and afterwards I immediately was sorry I did so. It was the last time I ever remained quiet about something not true;
3. One my most favorite adult things to do is to visit any very old bar that has “tavern” or “saloon” in its name, order a cold draft, and soak in the atmosphere. If any of those walls could talk, oh what great stories could be told;
4. My youngest sister taught me how to dance with young ladies, both slow and fast dances. As a teenager I spent the better part of most weekdays riding public transportation to downtown Philadelphia to take my position as a semi-regular on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. I have loved to dance all my life and my wife and her then 56 year old husband won a “twist” contest at a raucously fun wedding;
5. After spending nearly 25 years as a civil servant, my wife asked me one day if I had a choice what I would really love to do, I answered “be a talk-radio host”. For nearly a year she encouraged me to visit a local radio & TV school and after finally doing so, wound up enrolling in a 300 hour course. I graduated, received my FCC license, quit my job, and for nearly five years thereafter, I kept pinching myself for living the dream. I finished my fantasy gig as a Monday-Friday 6-9 AM morning talk show host with my radio name included in the show’s title. Moving out of that area it became impossable to ever again find an opening in a much larger radio market. I never worked so hard, made so little money, and enjoyed myself so much than when I was doing live radio. I will forever be grateful to my wife who nudged and helped me along that wonderful
6. I studied “German I” during the last three years in high school and the first two years in college. I never passed the course. I never once considered switching languages, because I kept believing that if I heard it over and over again, it would stick. It never did. At the last awards assembly I attended in high school, I was surprised to hear my name called over the microphone to come up on stage to receive a “special” award. Apparently no one in the history of the high school managed to fail a single course for three years in a row, so a special certificate had been designed to honor this lack of achievement. It’s a wonder I did not grow up to be paranoid…”you’re not paranoid Alan!” “Oh yes I am Alan!” “not”, “am”;
7. I can talk like Donald Duck, much to the past delight of my granddaughters and to countless other babies and young children I have tried to entertain over the years. And to my constant surprise, as much as babies like my Donald Duck, the opposite is true for most adults. So for others who aspire to mimic Walt Disney characters, I advise you to do so judiciously.