Sunday Stealing: Storyworth


The Sunday Stealing this week is by Storyworth.


1. Did you ever have a commercial you really liked?

I used to watch the Super Bowl ads fairly religiously. Someone put together the 25 best ones, and I remember liking 1, 2, and 7.


    2. How did you learn to ride a bicycle?

I have no idea. When I was 16, I rode someone else’s bicycle from Binghamton’s First Ward to the South Side. I was crossing the bridge from Riverside Drive, gaining on my friend Carol, but I couldn’t stop. So I put my foot down, tumbled, and severely scraped my left arm, a wound I had for another three and a half decades.  I had never had a bicycle with hand brakes, having always stopped by essentially trying to pedal backward.


    3. How did you celebrate your 21st birthday?
It was a Thursday, and I was a political science major in college. Six days earlier, a “grand jury in Washington, D.C., indicted several former aides of President Richard Nixon, who became known as the “Watergate Seven”—H. R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, John N. Mitchell, Charles Colson, Gordon C. Strachan, Robert Mardian, and Kenneth Parkinson—for conspiring to hinder the Watergate investigation. The grand jury secretly named Nixon as an unindicted co-conspirator.”

There is no doubt that Watergate was the source of gleeful conversation since the first three in particular were contemptible sorts.


    4. What fascinated you as a child?

The World Almanac. I received it every year from when I was 10 to 60. The longest rivers, the most significant cities, and the sheer number of Canadians in the list of Famous Personalities, folks like Lorne Greene of Bonanza.


    5. What was one of your favorite playground games?

I always liked slides and still do.


    6. What things matter most to you in life?
Survival of the species, justice, equality.
Time travel?
    7. If you had to go back in time and start a brand new career, what would it be?

I’m not sure that I would. Maybe I would have become a librarian sooner. Conversely, my experience working at FantaCo, a small business, was extremely useful in being a small business librarian.


    8. What do people get wrong about you?

They think I’m an extrovert. I have written about this a lot, most recently here.


    9. Do you believe that people can change? Why or why not?

Most people can change because the species would not have survived this long.


    10. What is some of the best advice your mother ever gave you?

My mother was not great with useful advice. It tended to be a lot of platitudes. To be fair, she might have agreed with that assessment if asked.


    11. If you could see into the future, what would you want to find out?



    12. How has your life turned out differently than you imagined it would?

Occasionally, I was directed to make a plan in work and non-employment situations. What do you see yourself doing in five years? Except for retiring, this has never been at all useful or correct.


    13. What is the longest project you have ever worked on?

Quite possibly, this blog. 18 years, four months. Unless you consider owning a house a “project.”


    14. What have been some of your favorite restaurants through the years?

Little Caesar’s in Binghamton, NY. Lombardo’s in Albany. The former is still operating.


    15. What is one of the best shows you’ve ever been to?
The reunion show of The Temptations and the Stop Making Sense tour of Talking Heads.

The backpack as organizational tool

A place for my keys

backpackBack many years ago when I was working full time, through June 2019, I used my backpack a great deal. It was a blue L. L. Bean item, which I kept until it started slowly deteriorating. At that point, my wife got me a new one, discounted because of credit for buying the original one.

I used it almost every weekday, most Sundays, and occasional Saturdays. In bicycle-riding weather, it contained my bike lock. My bus pass resided there, as did my keys; the latter was because, on two occasions, my keys fell out of my pocket and I didn’t notice. I backtracked hours later and, amazingly, found them! Sometimes, my wallet’s in there for a similar reason.

Even after retiring, this system worked well. But then COVID hit. I just didn’t go anywhere. Well, except that stretch in August to October of 2020 when I was working the Census, and I was getting around via a combination of my bike and the Capital District Transportation Authority. I kept my Census valise in my backpack when traveling.

Out of the habit

The result is that I would misplace my wallet and especially my keys somewhere in the house. Heck, I lost my keys for three full months in 2021. While I had another front door key, I didn’t have one for the shed, where my bicycle is kept. My wife had one but that didn’t help when I wanted to ride during the day.

Then, finally, I found my keys, which meant I could go to the shed. Nuts; only part of my bicycle lock was in there. But I vaguely, but accurately remembered that the other section was, for some reason, by the living room stereo.

Now, where’s the backpack? I didn’t know for a bit. Carrying the bike lock in a bag around my shoulder was inadequate. I finally found the backpack, stuck in the corner of the office, put there in order to try to tidy up the room.

I cannot explain the thrill, the joy of being able to ride my bike to the store, lock it up, pull out a mask (an addition to the backpack accouterment), buy some milk and cottage cheese, then ride home. It’s so damn…NORMAL. Joy I can find in the most mundane of tasks when it feels like the old times of 2019.

For the need of money, it seems

What’s that about?

moneyThis happened, six or seven years ago. I was riding on my Trek bicycle that I had purchased a few months earlier. I happened to stop outside of my current church.

A person who I did not know told me that I ought not to have had the bike I owned because I was “too fat and poor.” Yow.

I was too stunned to come up with a treppenwitz response. I’ll own the fat part. But poor? What’s that about? Underpaid, yes. Did he think that because I was overweight, I must also be impoverished? Is there a racial component? I dunno.

This happened last summer. I went to a Friends of the Albany Public Library book discussion by an author. During the Q & A, I asked what I thought were some cogent questions. Afterward, I pulled out a $20 bill to buy his first book. He asked if I sure I could afford it. He then also gave me his third book for nothing.

Also last summer, my wife went to see our financial planner. It’s REALLY boring stuff for me. He sounds like the adults on any Charlie Brown TV special, and I’ve told him so. Still, what he said was that we had a 99% of having a “successful” retirement, based on the money that we – mostly my wife – have saved.

I actually had some extra money in my checking account because I started collecting Social Security a few months before I retired. The teller at my bank recommended I talk to one of their financial people. As it turns out, after meeting two different people, unless I had $15,000 to invest – I did not – the best rate I could get was 0.1% interest.

The next day, I took out $5000 and put it into a 9-month CD at my credit union at 2.13%, not great, but it’s something. I guess I’m NOT “too poor” to buy that book or even that bicycle. So THERE.

Reasons not to ride your bicycle

The medication I was taking when I was ill was codeine based, with a warning not to operate heavy machinery.

no-bike-ridingWhether or not I ride my bicycle to work, or to church, or around the neighborhood, depends on a number of factors that you can imagine: too cold, too rainy, too slippery.

However, as spring arrived, I had some situations that I had not experienced before. I should note that my bike resides in the shed in the back of the property.

  • The walkway was a sheet of ice in the alleyway that separates our house and the next door neighbor’s. I managed NOT to fall down all winter, compared with the two spills I suffered the previous year, and I didn’t want to chance anything.
  • The ground was frozen around the gate between the backyard and the alleyway, and I just couldn’t open it. It had rained heavily, then got very cold.

  • The medication I was taking when I was ill was codeine based, with a warning not to operate heavy machinery. I was loopy enough that I decided not to operate light machinery either.

  • There was a skunk in the backyard, near the back porch, sniffing and burrowing. Nah…

Then there was the time I probably SHOULDN’T have ridden. I was feeding one of the cats at one of the dishes to the right of the refrigerator, as usual. I stood up and banged my head on the footing of the folded up ironing board. Those of you who think I do not curse would have been proven wrong that morning.

I was seeing stars, and had developed a huge lump; to boot, my head was bleeding. Somehow, I lost about 20 minutes, which made me late for work. So I hopped on my bike and rode about four blocks before I realized I was unfocused and needed to stop. Fortunately, a CDTA bus came by. I put the bike on the conveyance and continued to the office.

It wasn’t until I got home that night that I realized that I had cut my head on the jagged footing. My wife and daughter insisted that the ironing board has ALWAYS been there, to the right of the refrigerator. I wouldn’t know since I never use it. That’s why God invented permanent press. But the cat dish must have been further to the left.

There is a photo of me at work, with a used Rite-Aid bag full of ice, covered by a couple more plastic layers, on my head. The bags were held in place by my headphones. It is a stupid-looking picture.

Recovery of Leslie Green, post bike accident

One surgery that IS scheduled is to remove the metal hardware from Leslie’s left arm/wrist on October 1 as an outpatient.

lesliesbikeOne of the many things I’d been planning to write about has been the recovery of my sister Leslie. She wrote this on Facebook on September 30, and I have purloined some of it. OK, all of it.

“As many of you know, I was in a serious bicycle crash on June 4th and was in the hospital until July 4th. I was riding downhill, was only a block left to my destination, avoided traffic, lost control, hit the curb, and flew over handlebars to face plant into a hillside. Certainly not one of the most gracious things I have ever done!”

Yes, I visited the crash site the week I was out in San Diego the week after she got out of the hospital. Her friends found some eyewitnesses who thought she wouldn’t survive. Go ahead and click to read more legal advice for personal injury cases.

“I broke my nose, left arm/wrist, and the surgeons had quite a task of putting together the pieces. (ME). They did a great job and are amazed at how quickly and well I am healing!”

Yes, even in week two, she was almost unrecognizable, but a month later, she started looking like herself.

“I give thanks to God for healing and keeping me. I thank all of those who showed the outpouring of love, support and prayers. It has been amazing. Especially from my kid!”

Her daughter Rebecca Jade and her many friends, especially a tigress named Leilani (hope I spelled her name correctly!) were great, even by the time I got there. Also, thanks again to my friend Carol from Texas, who was able to visit my sister a month before I was.

“When I am thankful for the medical team, and thankful for purchasing a bicycle accident two days before the ordeal. It truly was a ‘helmet of salvation’ and helped save my life, and to the Easton personal injury lawyer that is helping me with the case”

Without the helmet, she had about a zero percent chance of avoiding severe brain damage or, most probably, death. Not so incidentally, when I got back to Albany, I bought a new helmet, one that fit my large head better.

“I feel ok and am doing ok, thanks be to God.

“There are a couple of surgeries I may need, but MDs want to wait and see, as I may heal without surgery. Time will tell.

“One surgery that IS scheduled is to remove the metal hardware from my left arm/wrist. It’s on October 1 as an outpatient. It will be so nice to have an increased range of motion again!”

That’s today! She has, if memory is correct, three metal rods in her wrist area. Not incidentally, Leslie is left-handed so this will be extremely beneficial.

“Please keep me in prayer for a successful surgery and healing, which I trust it will be.

“Thanks for all your love, prayers, and support. It means a lot.”

Spare a good thought for Leslie today, if you would.

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