Gone, But Not Forgotten

Over the past few days, I’ve found myself reminiscing about my youth.   Specifically about events, cultural trappings, and social trends which I experienced while growing up in the 50s and 60s.  Without giving it much thought, I began to make a mental checklist of commonplace happenings from those days which, like the dinosaurs of old, have now long since become extinct.

Here’s a tribute to just a few of my memories of things which, to my way of thinking, have unfortunately evolved from the ordinary to the obsolete.

  • milkmanThe Milk Man:  Three times per week, in the early hours of the morning, the milk man delivered fresh bottles of milk to our front porch.  We would place the empty bottles there for him to pick up and if we needed eggs or butter, we’d leave a note stuck in the top of one of the empty bottles and he’d leave those items as well.
  • Doctors/House Calls:  Imagine being sick, calling your doctor’s office, and being told that the doctor would be out to see you at your house later that day.  Remarkable, but true. Now, I deem myself honored if my doctor even momentarily sticks his head through the examining room door as one of his Physician’s Assistants or Nurse Practitioners pokes and probes me.
  • Two Television Channels:  I grew up in a town of 250,000 people in which there were only two television channels available for viewing.  There was Channel 2 (CBS) from my hometown and Channel 12 (NBC) from a neighboring city.  About the time I entered Junior High School, Channel 8 (ABC) began to broadcast from another nearby town.  I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the selection and the quality of shows to watch on those three channels far exceeded what is available on the 200+ channels that I have access to today.
  • test-patternNo TV after midnight:  In the pre-cable television era, local stations ended their daily programming schedule a little after midnight with a 15-30 minute newscast quickly followed by the playing of the National Anthem and then static as the transmitter was shutdown.  Transmissions would resume the next day at either 5 or 6 a.m. with the broadcasting of a test pattern for a few minutes before regular programming began.  I have no idea what insomniacs and workers on the 3rd shift did with themselves during the intervening hours.  Nor why many test patterns included the portrait of an Indian chief.
  • Men in Hats:  When I was a youngster, most men wore hats when they were out and about.  Need proof?  Check out any crime or detective movie made in the 40s and 50s.  You’ll see men in hats everywhere.  My father, apparently an unwitting creature of fashion, wore a hat to work everyday for years.  This fashion trend came to a screeching halt in the early 60s when John F. Kennedy became President of the United States.  Kennedy simply didn’t wear hats.  Within a few years, much to the disdain of hat makers everywhere, neither did most other men.
  • $0.10 per Gallon Gasoline:  Through most of my childhood and right through my teen years, the price of gasoline never rose above $0.50 per gallon.  When I began to drive and pay for gas out of my own pocket, it was typically $0.35 to $0.40 per gallon.  But I remember one warm summer afternoon when I was at my grandfather’s house.  We hastily beat a trail across town in his Chevy because he’d heard a rumor of a service station that was selling gas for $0.10 per gallon.  It was simply too good of a bargain to pass up! 
  • attendant-cleaning-windowsFull Service Gas Stations:  I recognize that there are still a few gas stations around with signs over one row of pumps which says, “Full Service“.  Generally this means that some scruffy, totally uninterested guy will meander out to your car and begrudgingly pump gas for you.  The full service stations I remember featured attendants decked out in clean uniforms who would rush out to your car with smiles on their faces, check your engine oil level, check the air pressure in your tires, and wash your windshield, all in the time that it took them to fill up your gas tank.  Imagine that!
  • Tube Checkers:  Before the advent of transistors and integrated circuits, all televisions and radios utilized electron tubes.  If you’ve never seen one, imagine a glass test tube filled with glowing wires.  These tubes didn’t last forever and periodically one’s TV would cease to work properly.  The solution was to take the cover off of the back of the television set, pull out all of the tubes, and trek down to the local drug store.  There in the back of the store could be found the ubiquitous Tube Checker.   One at a time, you would plug your tubes into the appropriate socket and press the “Check” button.  Bad tubes would be identified by a meter located on the device’s panel.  Replacement tubes were stored in a cabinet underneath the tube checker.  You’d then rush home and plug the tubes, including any replacements, back into their respective sockets in time to watch the next episode of The Lone Ranger or The Ed Sullivan Show.
  • sodajerk2Soda Fountains:  While you were checking your TV tubes at the local drug store, you could have also strolled over to the soda fountain.  Most drug stores had one.  It could be found behind a low counter fronted with 10 or 15 revolving stools where you could sit and enjoy a soft drink, a milkshake made with real ice cream, a grilled cheese sandwich, a hamburger, or even the “Blue Plate Special” (whatever that might happen to be on that particular day.)
  • Paper Boys:  Way back when, newspapers were not delivered by shadowy chain smoking figures speeding through neighborhoods in battered minivans.  The papers, both morning and afternoon editions, were routinely delivered by young boys who rode their bicycles while tossing the papers from large baskets mounted to their bike’s handle bars.  Good paper boys could land a rolled up newspaper squarely on your front porch Welcome mat.  These were the guys who ended up being the quarterback of the high school team a few years later.  The others were more likely to deposit the paper behind a bush or in the gutter over the front door.  Years later, they could be found chain smoking while driving battered minivans.
  • Top 40 AM Radio Stations:   Today, AM radio seems to be universally populated with News talk or Sports talk stations.  Back in the 60s however, music programming was still ruling the airwaves.  There were of course stations playing all types of music, but I migrated to those stations with playlists featuring the ever changing pop and rock “Top 40 Hits”.  Now that I think about it, the demise of these stations and the migration to FM music broadcasts wasn’t such a bad thing.  The quality of FM stereo broadcasting far exceeds the static-filled monaural tones broadcast by the typical AM station.  Plus, today’s music stations aren’t quite as likely to play the current #1 hit at the top of each hour, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

Believe it or not, there are many more memories captured on my list, but I think I’ll save them.  Maybe someday I’ll write a “Gone, But Not Forgotten – Part Deux“.

OM

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Miss McGillicuddy and Me

As I was driving home from church this morning, my thoughts turned to the car which I was driving.  It’s my wife’s car actually, but I always drive it when both of us go anywhere in it.  For the past 34 years, I’ve been the designated family chauffeur; self-appointed actually.  The car that I was driving this morning is getting to be a little long in the tooth, as the saying goes.  It has accumulated somewhere over 208,000 miles, but it remains in immaculate physical and mechanical condition.
220px-Energizer_Bunny
It’s a 1999 Toyota Avalon.  I wish Detroit built cars like the good folks over at Toyota, even like they did way back in 1999.  This thing is a veritable Energizer Bunny.  It just keeps going and going!

My wife and I have always been very conscientious about having regular routine maintenance done on all of our automobiles.  I don’t know if it’s the result of that level of preventive maintenance diligence or just dumb blind luck; but whatever the reason, we’ve never had to have any major repairs made to this particular car in all of the 14 years that we’ve been driving it.

I know that our automotive bliss could all come to an abrupt end tomorrow, but at the moment, the Avalon shows every sign of being able to continue to provide reliable, trouble-free transportation for another 100,000 miles or more.

It was at that moment in my thinking that I suddenly thought to myself, “Oh wow!  I’m about to turn into Miss McGillicuddy!

When I was about eight years old, Miss McGillicuddy lived down the street.  She was a very pleasant lady.  I  suppose that she was somewhere in her 70s, but at my young age I couldn’t be relied on to tell the difference between an 80 year-old and someone who was closer to 60.  The point remains that as far as I was concerned, Miss McGillicuddy was ancient; very nice, but ancient.
1940 DeSoto
Miss McGillicuddy also drove a DeSoto, circa 1940.  The car always looked as if she had just driven it out of the showroom.  I doubt seriously if anyone had ever sat in the back seat; maybe not even the passenger seat.  Miss McGillicuddy never gave the appearance of being much of a social animal.  The tires on her DeSoto were probably still inflated with original, unadulterated 1940 air!

I remember seeing Miss McGillicuddy cruising through our neighborhood on summer afternoons at a blinding 10 to 15 miles per hour.  If we were in a rambunctious mood, we could easily keep up with her on our bikes.  As far as I know, she only drove her DeSoto on weekly trips to the A&P and to church and back on Sunday mornings.  The rest of the time, it sat immobile in her carport.

Now I recognize that, by comparison, our Avalon is only 14 years old, but the fact remains that our objective is to be driving this car for many years to come.  You don’t just turn a good automobile like that out to pasture; or out to the local CarMax.

As such, I find myself wondering if there’s some young whippersnapper who, when observing me driving the Avalon out of the neighborhood, thinks that he could keep up with me on his bicycle; even the one with 12 gears.

I’ve got to tell you, he’d be in for a big surprise.  In some ways, I’ll never be Miss McGillicuddy!

OM

Images from Wikipedia and OldCarBrochures.org

“To Sleep, Perchance to Dream”

“Ay, There’s the Rub”

Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”  I’m of the opinion that Poor Richard, aka Benjamin  Franklin, was on to something when he published this proverb way back in 1735.
Yawning
I’ve always been a big fan of catching my fair share of the recommended daily allotment of 40 winks per night.  Likewise, I’m a big believer in hitting the sack when I find my eyelids getting heavy, regardless of the hour.  No social convention is going to inhibit me from surrendering to the sheets simply because it happens to be 8:30 p.m. or earlier.  I often refer to this practice as “sleep with honor.

I have to admit that I’m still waiting to acquire Poor Richard’s stipulated wealth and wisdom, but one out of three isn’t all bad and I still have a few years left to continue with the experiment.

Recently, I came across an interesting article in the January/February issue of Discover magazine regarding sleep.  It piqued my interest not just because I’m so fond of the practice of snoozing, but because for many years, I worked in manufacturing management.

What, you might be thinking, does manufacturing have to do with sleep?  Quite a lot it turns out, if the schedule that you require your employees to work has an impact on their ability to get enough of it.
shift work
The 24 hour/7 day per week manufacturing operations which I managed over the years, utilized a number of different shift schedules.  One feature common to all of them was the use of rotating shifts.

The most common schedule involved 12 hour shifts with a 3 day on, 4 day off cycle followed by a 4 day on, 3 day off cycle.  This schedule required those working on it to rotate between days and nights, as well.

The most bizarre schedule I ever managed involved three traditional 8 hour shifts with the addition of a fourth crew which, over a seven day period, was required to rotate through the regular 1st, 2nd, and 3rd shifts in order to allow those crews to have 2 days off.  That schedule was both bizarre and brutal.  It was a scheme worthy of Tomas de Torquemada, Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition.

So back to the Discover article.  It highlighted recent research which indicates that work and/or lifestyle schedules which disrupt the more typical night time sleep cycle may be hazardous to one’s health.   An increased incidence of diabetes, obesity, some forms of cancer, and even Alzheimer’s disease have been shown to occur when normal sleep patterns are consistently disrupted.

Thankfully, it’s been a while since I’ve been involved with rotating work schedules, but I’m confident that they are still commonplace in manufacturing operations.
snakeoil
I wonder if employers are still able to engage consultants who can be called upon to proselytize to their employees regarding the benefits of working on those schedules?

Sweet dreams.

Life on the Back Side of the Power Curve

I have a clear recollection that when I was a young man, I’m talking about when I was in my twenties, the year 2012 held a very special significance for me.

No, it wasn’t due to the Mayan calendar grinding to its endpoint and purportedly bringing doom and gloom upon us.  When I was in my twenties, only a few cultural anthropologists were even aware that the Mayans had a calendar.
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No, the significance that 2012 held for me was due to that year being a benchmark of sorts for me.  It was the year in which I would become sixty years old.

Now as anyone who either is, or has been, twenty will tell you; sixty is very much older by comparison.  Just do the math.  At the age of twenty, the average Joe has only lived a third, or perhaps just a quarter of their lives.  They’re just getting warmed up, so to speak.  They likely feel like they haven’t even hit their stride yet.
image

By way of comparison, let the age of forty catch up with you and the statistics suddenly seem to be working against you.

Without any warning at all, you find that for all intents and purposes, you’re about halfway through the Big Show.  Intermission has already come and gone, so to speak.

This state of mind is what a good friend of mine always referred to as being on the “back side of the power curve.

As I contemplated the philosophical construct of life’s “power curve”, I came to understand that it is the chronological equivalent of the geographical continental divide.  Depending on which direction you’re heading, it’s all up hill for a while until you, perhaps without realizing it, crest the top and find that everything is going downhill!

I also recognized that there are multiple power curves which any of us can suddenly find ourselves on the “backside of.”

For example, athletes can wake up one morning and cruelly find themselves on the backside of their sporting-life power curves while still only in their mid-twenties.   By the same token, a fifty year old trundling along on a generic corporate career path can unexpectedly find himself being displaced by some young, fire-in-the-belly type just out of college.
image

So all those years ago, my twenty year old self peered into the dim, somewhat out of focus future and wondered what it was going to be like to wake up in 2012; to suddenly find himself sixty years old and having lived about eighty percent of his life.

Fast forwarding to the present, if my sixty year old self could have had the opportunity to speak with my twenty year old self, I would have told him, “Get over it.  Life is great!

What my younger self had failed to grasp was that in those intervening years, our  perception, understanding, and acceptance of life and all that it entails would change significantly.   I would explain to my twenty year old self that during our years between the ages of twenty and sixty, we were going to continue to grow and mature in terms of our awareness, understanding, and acceptance of all things related to life and mortality.

In a week or so, I’m going to turn sixty-one.  The reality of having now lived a significant percentage of my life doesn’t even register on my radar anymore.

To a large extent this is due to my faith, but also because life itself has done a really good job of preparing me to be able to roll with the punches that we all encounter here on the backside of the power curve.

What Would Christmas Be Without A Tangerine?

tangerines
Is there one thing, a single item, that is inexorably linked in your mind with Christmas?

There is in mine. Each year during the first or second week of December, I find myself beginning to think about tangerines and navel oranges.

The root cause of this culinary anomaly can be attributed to my grandfather. He was a man of tradition, as well as a great lover of the Christmas season and all that it entailed.

Looking back on my youth, I think he was always at his happiest during the weeks leading up to Christmas and especially on Christmas day itself. I’m confident that he enjoyed playing with our presents as much as my brother and I did.
Santa
Granddad thoroughly delighted in everything associated with Christmas from playing Santa Claus, to hiding presents, to surprising his two grandsons with that one gift that each of them most yearned for, and to ensuring that every Christmas our kitchen was stocked with a large box of fresh Florida tangerines and navel oranges.

There was never any fanfare or explanation as to why the citrus turned up each Christmas, it just happened; and with clockwork regularity.

I suppose my grandfather must have been a closet tangerine/navel orange junkie who just wanted to make sure that he had a ready supply available in the event that he was overcome with the urge to ingest a little vitamin C.

Whatever the explanation, to this day I associate Christmas with those two fruits and can’t imagine a Christmas without them.
NavelOrangesSmall
Over the years, my personal preference has shifted to navel oranges, mainly due to their lack of seeds and the ease with which they can be eaten. I suppose that I’m a bit of a neat-freak. But let me stumble across a tangerine and immediately I think of Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and manger scenes; as well as my grandfather.

If you don’t mind, I think I’ll run downstairs and peel myself an orange right now! I could use an additional dose of that ol’ time Christmas spirit! This one’s for you Granddad!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Remembering the Reason for the Season

rockwell-christmas
This Christmas promises to be the most unique that I have probably ever experienced.  A number of unrelated circumstances have chosen to come together to make that a very real likelihood.  Perhaps, this scenario was what the Mayan calendar and all of the other prognosticators were attempting to predict, rather than the full-blown end of the world as we know it.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve typically been on vacation for the last two weeks of December which enabled me to spend the Christmas and New Year’s holidays in close proximity with my family; enjoying every minute of it I might add. That run apparently will come to an end over the next few days.
currier-and-ives-card
In no particular order, here are the reasons that I will not be experiencing a classic Currier & Ives Christmas this year.

I’ve recently taken a new job.  Coming after a far too-long period of under-employment, this is generally very welcomed news.  But the reality is that as a new employee, I have no vacation to speak of, thereby making it necessary for me to be at work on both Christmas Eve, as well as the rest of the week beginning the day after Christmas.

Both of my sons have finally graduated from college and have moved out of state.  Very far out of state unfortunately.  The distances involved and their work schedules are also conspiring against the traditional family gathering this holiday season.

My wife is out of state at her parent’s house, where I normally would have been spending the next few days.  She’s there not only to celebrate Christmas with her parents and sisters, but also to help provide care for a seriously ill family member. Clearly she is exactly where she needs to be.

The bottom line is that I’m minding the store back at the family homestead and will probably be celebrating Christmas Day alone.

I guess that it would be possible for me to be a bit down-in-the-mouth over this situation, but I really don’t find myself in that state of mind.  First of all, I’m very thankful for the new job and I’m enjoying working there.  I’m very proud of both of my sons, their accomplishments during their college years, and their efforts at beginning their working careers.  Likewise, I’m very pleased that my spouse will be able to spend Christmas with her family and provide care and support during a trying time for them all.
christian_merry_christmas_card-p137889250067426497en8s4_328
I will occupy my time enjoying the day off, being thankful for all that I have, and remembering that the reason we celebrate Christmas day is that it marks the birth of Jesus Christ.  At the end of the day, all the rest of the holiday hoopla is nothing more than wrapping paper and eggnog by comparison.

Best wishes to you for a very Merry Christmas, wherever you happen to find yourself this holiday season!

It’s High Time for Overtime

Mcdonalds
The first real job that I ever held was working for McDonald’s during the summer before I began high school.  My memory is admittedly a bit rusty, but as I recall, I was paid the princely sum of $1.10 per hour for my labors at making milk shakes and taking orders from customers at the walk-up windows.  This was before McDonald’s provided a place for its patrons to sit and eat.  When, half way through the summer, the manager gave me a $0.05 per hour raise; I thought I had really arrived!

This job, and various summer jobs like it, were my only opportunities to ever receive overtime pay for my work.  Immediately after completing college, I entered the work force in a management position which excluded me from being paid at a rate of “time and a half” for the hours I put in.
stressed_employee
Every position I held for the next 34 years was categorized as Exempt by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which meant, among other things, that employers didn’t have to compensate me for overtime.  I will quickly add that the FLSA didn’t preclude my working over eight hours in a day or forty hours in a week, it just implied that I was already being adequately compensated for any hours worked above and beyond.

Anyway, fast forward 34 years.  In late 2007, I found myself in a state of unexpected and unwanted early retirement; this generation’s version of the gold watch which many of our fathers and grandfathers received at the end of their working careers.

For the next five years, I took just about any (and every) job I could find.  If you’ve been keeping up with current events, you will recall that the employment landscape during that period was roughly equivalent to the Gobi Desert, a cold, empty, and forbidding place.

The jobs that I found ranged from window washer, to carpet tile remover, to courier, to elementary school art work framer.   Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately depending on one’s perspective, none of these jobs required that I work overtime; that is over eight hours in a day or forty hours in one week.  It will also come as no surprise that none of these positions were very well compensated.  They simply provided enough in wages to allow for the occasional cup of tea, or in my case the occasional glass of sweet iced tea.  You might say that a cup of tea isn’t really my cup of tea, as the saying goes.

Fortunately, my sojourn across the employment desert ended about a month ago.  I now have a job which provides me with full time employment, very nice working conditions, and the eligibility to receive overtime pay.  My old nemesis, the FLSA, now recognizes me as Nonexempt.  Hallelujah!
ot
I worked this past Saturday, after already putting in a full week of eight-hour days.  You guessed it, Saturday’s hours were classified as “more than forty hours in a work week“. Overtime!  The Mother Lode!

I think I’ll go have myself a big glass of sweet iced tea.

Simple Fare for a Friday Evening

As I was driving home from work this evening, it suddenly dawned on me that I was going to be on my own for dinner. My spouse is visiting her family this weekend and my work schedule kept me from joining her, so I found myself in the position of having to come up with something appropriate to fill the gullet.

I recalled that some of the homemade chili which I had whipped up earlier in the week was still in the refrigerator awaiting ingestion, but somehow that just didn’t appeal. Everything else that I could think of was still in a rock-hard frozen state and I wasn’t really warming up to the alternative of having to thaw something out. Pun intended.
Sub
My culinary quandary was short-lived as I rapidly came to the conclusion that this was going to be “Sub Night in the Big City!”

My current Sub sandwich of choice is the “Vito” which can only be obtained from your friendly neighborhood Jimmy John’s, home of the world’s greatest gourmet sandwiches since 1983. Or so their slogan states.

The Vito, in my humble opinion, is handcrafted with the perfect blend of genoa salami, provolone, capicola, onion, lettuce, and tomato; which is then topped off with a tasty Italian vinaigrette. Special thanks to the Jimmy John’s web site for that rundown on the ingredients.
Chips
When ordering a sub sandwich, I always go for the combo. This, as every fast food aficionado knows, includes chips and a drink which together provide a harmonious balance to one’s meal.

Jimmy John’s chips are simply outstanding. They are the kettle style of chips which provide your mouth and teeth with a real workout of munchy goodness; as long as one avoids breaking a tooth in the process. As far as I’m concerned, the only chips worth eating are the BBQ variety. Enough said.
Ale
After arriving home with my combo meal in hand, I remembered that there as an alternative beverage in the `fridge which actually would pair much better with my Vito than the Cherry Coke I had initially opted for.

My youngest son recently moved out of state. While in the process of moving, he had failed to take along a bottle of St. Bernadus Belgian Abbey Ale which he had purchased shortly before his departure.

His loss, as the saying goes, was to prove to be my gain!

I’m sure that St. Bernadus would agree that his delightful brew is the perfect malt beverage to enjoy along with a Jimmy John’s Vito.

I’m also quite confident that the good Saint would have recognized a father’s obligation to purge the refrigerator of rogue bottles of malt beverages from time to time! For reasons of maintaining a sanitary environment within the refrigerator, if nothing else!

Cheers!

 

The New and Improved Grid Lock is Here!

AtlantaTraffic
Those of us who live within the confines of greater metropolitan Atlanta know, as do all residents of large cities, that traffic is a royal pain in the betoot!

Metro-Atlanta is somewhat unique among the U.S.’s large areas of urban sprawl in that there are no geographical features which confine or restrict its growth. There are no rivers, oceans, lakes, or mountain ranges to box it in; even if only in one direction. Atlanta simply keeps growing in all directions, much like a gallon of milk inadvertently spilled on the kitchen floor.

Look out Alabama, South Carolina, and Tennessee! Florida is still relatively safe.

Anyway, back to the topic of traffic. Atlanta traffic isn’t the worst I’ve ever driven in, I still maintain that Boston holds that honor, but metro-Atlanta traffic has got to be in the “Bottom 10” of locales in which to enjoy a casual afternoon drive.

This evening on my way home from work, I witnessed a traffic phenomena which I had never observed before. I was cruising along one of our many major three-lane arteries during the early rush hour when I was halted by a traffic light which had just turned red.
gridlock
No one stomped on their gas pedals to rush through the intersection in that anything goes five second period immediately after the light has turned red. That in itself was a remarkably rare event, but it’s not the phenomena to which I’m referring.

Sitting at the red light, I was the second car in line in the middle lane. When the lights turned green, none of the the cars in any of the three lanes began to progress through the intersection. It was as if time, and traffic along with it, had frozen.

I looked up to re-confirm that the lights were green. They were, but due to the fact that no car in any of the three lanes was moving, there was a moment of mental confusion reinforced by the fact that none of the drivers in any of the lines were sitting on their car’s horns in a “polite” attempt to stir the lead cars into belated action.

Finally, after a good eight to ten second delay, one lane began to move out followed quickly by the other two.

It was in that moment that insight flashed through my mind and I realized I had just observed, what may have been, the first ever case of “Text-Lock“; a gridlock-like condition which I will define as:

The inability of traffic to flow freely due to the drivers of multiple immobile vehicles being simultaneously engrossed in the act of sending text messages on their cell phones.

TextingBriefly, I and my car had been completely encircled by drivers totally absorbed in the act of sending messages of highly questionable merit to equally uninterested friends and/or family members.

At least they weren’t attempting to do so while we were all in motion. I always try to find the good in every situation.

“And the Envelope, Please . . . . “

PTI
I was just watching Pardon the Interruption, the ESPN sports show featuring the opinions and views of sports writers Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon on just about every important sports story of the day.

I’ve channel surfed past this show countless times as I searched for something worth watching during those nebulous minutes which are wedged in between the end of the work day and TV-land’s mythical “prime time”.

Momentary pauses to watch the program for a few seconds have, over time, grown into longer and more frequent viewings.  Along the way, I’ve come to recognize that Pardon the Interruption may well be an acquired taste.  It has only been within the past few months that I’ve come to truly appreciate the show’s worthiness as an entertaining source of sports information and topical updates.
Texas A M Johnny Football 1
One of the highlights of this evening’s program were the back-to-back interviews with Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel (aka Johnny Football) and Notre Dame’s Mantei Te’o, two of the leading candidates for this season’s Heisman trophy, presented annually to the most outstanding player in collegiate football.
Mantei
It was so refreshing to watch two such unassuming young men represent themselves, as well as their teams, with genuine humbleness and gratitude for the opportunity.  They both demonstrated understated dignity during their respective interviews, a trait totally lost on far too many of today’s predominant college and professional athletes.

I don’t really have a favorite in this year’s Heisman Trophy race; I rarely do.  But I rest assured that either of these young men will be worthy recipients if the award happens to come their way on Saturday night.  On second thought, I hope that the nod goes to the senior, Mantei Te’o.  As a freshman, Manziel has three more opportunities to pick one up.

In the meantime, I applaud Kornheiser and Wilbon for their interviews of these two young men.