Wednesday, June 27, 2007
3WW XLII


Welcome to Three Word Wednesday. Each week, I will post three (or more) random words. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write something using all of those words. It can be a few lines, a story, a poem, anything. I'll also attempt to write something using the same three words.

Leave a comment if you participate. Many fun and interesting people might visit your blog.

This week's words are:
Envelope
Negligible
Resent


envelope conceals paper folded
carefully chosen words penned
addressed, stamped, postmarked
fate is sealed

parcel ripped open carelessly
heart torn asunder instantly
words in red ignored
handle with care

resent not the messenger
the adage surely shant apply
when messenger and author
are the same

amid the ruins, one soul remains
feeling unloved, negligible
pen outduels sword
yet again

"Who needs a knife, when you can take someone's life, with paper and pen..."

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Monday, June 25, 2007
When you can't fight it, you can't fight it
Bachelor Tip of the Day: You do not make chocolate milk by mixing milk and Hershey's cocoa powder. Despite however logical it may sound, it does not work.

Addendum: When it says "unsweetened" on the Hershey's can, they mean it.


I hung out at Little Joe's last Sunday night with him and Wolfgang. We shot pool for a bit and may or may not have been making small non-monetary wagers on the games.

Little Joe is the last person I personally know who still connected to the internet at 28800 bits per second. He has only been off dial-up for a couple of weeks now, and therefore is just discovering that empire of time-wasting delights known as YouTube. (MySpace would also fit there, but he has not yet discovered that. Although I should tell him about it so I can be #1 on his top eight!)

LJ informed us that his YouTube adventures included downloading music videos from the 80's along with General Hospital clips from the 90's. Well, I saw nothing wrong with either of those. Both seem completely normal to me.

As Wolfgang and I began our first game of 8-ball, LJ said he was going to put on some music and disappeared into the next room. A few seconds later, I heard the familiar opening bars of an 80's power ballad blaring from the computer speakers. I couldn't quite place the song until I heard the opening lyrics...

Girl you're looking fine tonight...

LJ reentered the room.

"The Jeff Healey Band?" I might have snickered as I said it.

"Yeah," LJ had a what's-wrong-with-that tone. "You don't like that song?" He spoke with an innocence rarely found in a 35-year-old man.

"No, it's fine. I just... wasn't expecting it, I guess."

"Well, what's your favorite 80's song?"

I was thinking maybe something like Sweet Child O' Mine or Tainted Love, but instead replied nonchalantly, "I don't know."

"I was trying to think of mine today," LJ revealed. "I think mine would be Can't Fight This Feeling."

(pause for effect)

OK. There's nothing wrong with that song. I have it on my iPod. But if you're a guy, even if that is your favorite song, there's no need to share that with anyone else. Especially not with other guys when there are no easily accessible exits.

Meanwhile, Wolfgang seemed oblivious to the whole conversation. Either he wasn't familiar with the song or he was just trying to block out these disturbing pool room confessions.

After the Jeff Healey Band was done, Kokomo came on. So I'm thinking, alright, the Beach Boys, much better. Their music fits most any situation. They sing about surfing and girls and woodies. Nothing can be manlier than that. Then comes song number three...

Oceans apart, day after day, and I slowly go insane...

Can you name that tune? That's right, Richard Marx and Right Here Waiting.

Now again, nothing wrong with the song. I have the cassette single. It was even kinda hard not to sing along. And this would have been a perfect playlist if you had a girl over or something, and... Ronald Reagan was still President. It's just not the kind of music you blast while hanging with the boys.

Nevertheless, there we were, three 29 to 35 year old single males, shooting pool while listening to the flowing melodies of Richard Marx. Is it just me, or is there something fundamentally wrong with that scene?

By this time, I'm thinking, if Wind Beneath My Wings comes on, I'm out! I mean, if you're gonna play 80's ballads all night, at least give me some Tommy Page or Nicole Richie's dad or something.

I should insert here that the music was really loud. You could hear it all over the house. LJ must have had the computer speakers turned up as loud as they would go. Finally, after about the fifth or sixth consecutive slow song, Centerfold came on. Never in my life had I been so relieved to hear the J. Geils Band.

So went another evening hanging with Wolfgang and Little Joe. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to burn this Roxette CD onto my iTunes.

"Lift you up when you're feeling down, make your whole world turn around. I'll give my heart and soul to you, to let you know this love is true..."

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Three Word Wendesday XLI


Welcome to Three Word Wednesday. Each week, I will post three (or more) random words. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write something using all of those words. It can be a few lines, a story, a poem, anything. I'll also attempt to write something using the same three words.

Leave a comment if you participate. Many fun and interesting people might visit your blog.

This week's words are:
Reach
Heavily
Cheek


When I was ten or eleven, or maybe nine, sometime in that blissful stage of life after you've learned to ride a bike without training wheels but before you begin to like girls, I went home from school one afternoon with Jimmy Hardin. Jimmy and I were not especially good friends, but back then friends were often chosen simply by who was in your class that particular year.

We spent the early part of the afternooon doing normal things, tossing the football around, making paper airplanes and setting them on fire just before we threw them. Well, normal for us anyway.

His mother had called us in to get ready for supper, and I was in the bathroom washing my hands when Jimmy's dad came thru the front door, yelling.

"Jimmy!! Where you at? Why ain't this yard been cut?"

I quickly turned off the water and peeked around the edge of the doorway to see a large man in a dirty-looking flannel shirt lumbering thru the living room. He walked heavily, taking long, deliberate steps which could be felt across every inch of the small wood frame house.

"Leave him be, Ray. The boy's got company," Jimmy's mother spoke in defense of her son, but I bet she wished she hadn't. Before she had time to shut her mouth, the man brought his right arm around and delivered a crushing blow to her cheek with the back of his hand.

"Don't back talk me, woman!" It was the first time I had ever seen a man strike a woman. I was too scared to breathe.

"Stop it, Daddy!" Jimmy came out of his room nearly crying and ran towards the man with his fists balled tightly. Before he could reach his destination, however, he was easily swatted aside by the man's huge arm. It sent Jimmy about eight feet across the room sprawling to the floor. He appeared unhurt, at least physically.

"Don't you hit him!" Jimmy's mother yelled as she grabbed the boy under his shoulders and pulled him to his feet. "Dammit, Ray, you've been drinking again. Get out of here!" She then came towards the bathroom where I was now crouching and trembling. "Get your things together, son. I'm gonna drive you home." I expected her to be crying, but she wasn't.

"You ain't going nowhere till I get my supper!" the man yelled. He was stumbling badly now and luckily was in no shape to stop anyone from going anywhere.

In the car on the way home, Jimmy didn't say a word, except to tell me bye when we got to my house. I think he was embarrassed. His mother apologized several times for her husband's behavior and asked that I not mention what had happened to my parents. She was nice to me, so I did as she asked.

Over the next year or two, word got around at school that Jimmy tried to run away from home a couple of times. Most of the kids joked about it and made fun of him. But I never did.

"Sticks and stones didnt break any bones, bet we never left well enough alone. Then one day he ran away from home, you see..."

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Keep it between the lines
He would keep an unseen, steady hand on the steering wheel as the seven-year-old in his lap alternated between touching the pedals and looking out the windshield. The boy would ask to drive wherever they went. He would acquiesce to every third or fourth request. And when he did, the boy was on top of the world.

The rest of the time the boy would sit in the backseat and pretend his father was Mario Andretti, and the other cars his competitors. Every stop for gas or at a store was a pit stop. On his knees in the backseat, looking out the rear window, the boy would announce the race play-by-play, keeping an eye on the second place car.

"Don't let him pass you, Daddy!"

Almost overnight, seven turned fourteen, and one day he let the boy drive his old baby blue Chevrolet truck around their backyard. It was a stick with no power steering and the boy didn't know how to get it out of first gear. The ride was bumpy, but the boy was on top of the world.

Some days he would take the family car out to the new four-lane that was still under construction, and let the boy drive the stretches of blacktop from one barricade to the next. Slowly but surely, he could see the boy improving.

Then came fifteen and it was time. The two of them climbed into the family car. And as the boy cautiously pulled onto the two-lane road in front of their house, he sat in the passenger seat, offering advice. Telling the boy to line up the hood ornament with the edge of the road. Cautioning him if he got across the center line or too close to the mailboxes.

The boy was a bundle of nerves, not wanting to make a mistake, forever seeking his father's approval. His hands were shaking slightly as he concentrated only on keeping it between the lines. It seemed the hardest thing for the boy to learn was to use his right foot for both the gas and brake pedals. That one would take a little while.

Meanwhile, sitting in the passenger's seat, he would press his foot into the floorboard time and again in search of a brake pedal that wasn't there. Somewhere amidst the pride and nervousness he felt, he thought about how they would only go thru this once. This rite of passage.

The boy would learn to drive, and then he'd be one step closer to being a man, to college, to marriage, to moving away, to real life. It took all he had sometimes not to reach over and grab the wheel.

Miles passed and almost without notice, the advice and words of caution grew less frequent. Full of pride, he looked over at the boy, smiled and said, "That's it, son. You're driving!"

Palms drenched with sweat and eyes never leaving the road, I was on top of the world.

"He'd say a little slower son, you're doing just fine. Just a dirt road with trash on each side, but I was Mario Andretti when Daddy let me drive..."

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Saturday, June 16, 2007
Thundershowerphobia
I wrote this as a writing exercise. Given the topic of "flying" and limiting myself to 15 minutes...

My father instilled in me a great sense of respect--er, fear--of certain things. Some of which might seem irrational to some people, such as fear of electrocution if I showered while it was thundering outside. I literally used to stand at the back of the tub to lather up. Then I would move forward and rinse off as quickly as possible, thus minimizing my time beneath the water flow as well as, I believed, my risk of being electrocuted.

There was a healthy fear of tornadoes learned as well. If a tornado warning was issued for our county--or even if there was only a tornado watch that Dad thought should be a warning, and was sure the National Weather Service had somehow overlooked the F5 bearing down on our town--we would have to leave the house, get in the car, and ride around until the threat had passed.

To this day, I've never understood how being in a three thousand pound car was safer than being inside a three bedroom, brick home. But, father knows best.

I was also instilled with a healthy fear of flying, or so I thought. Dad would not and will not get on a plane. He almost died nine years ago and his last words to Mom before ER workers temporarily paralyzed him were, "Don't let them put me in a helicopter."

They didn't. They transported him in an ambulance. And when I first got in to see him he had a tube down his throat and couldn't talk, but he kept making a circular motion with his finger. We finally got him a pen and pad and he scribbled, "helicopter?"

So it's probably no wonder that when I planned my first flight nearly two years ago, I was more than a bit anxious. But why? Because I had always been conditioned to be?

Turns out most of my anxiety had to do with figuring out where to park, where to take my luggage, how to fill out the luggage tag and attach it to my suitcase, finding my gate, and other airport-y things.

Once I was seated in 16-C and the plane began to taxi towards takeoff, I felt a strange peace come over me. It was as if the planets had aligned. Nerves had completely settled. Worries had disappeared.

And at that moment I knew, that for the rest of my life I would be able to shower fearlessly, even when it was thundering outside.

"Give me a ticket for an aeroplane. Ain't got time to take a fast train. Lonely days are gone. I'm-a goin' home. My baby just wrote me a letter..."

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007
3WW #40


Welcome to Three Word Wednesday. Each week, I will post three (or more) random words. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write something using all of those words. It can be a few lines, a story, a poem, anything. I'll also attempt to write something using the same three words.

Leave a comment if you participate. Many fun and interesting people might visit your blog.

For the first time ever, I am trying four words instead of three. It's a very exciting milestone for 3WW :) This week's words are:
Magic
Repeatedly
Forty
Admit


"Admit it! That box has a false door!"

"Sir, please be seated. As you can see, this is a simple, completely empty wooden box."

"There's no such thing as magic! Only trickery! You're a fraud! I want my money back!"

Forty years as a magician and the Great Vendini had never experienced such a rude, disruptive heckler. He tried to be the consummate professional and ignore the disturbance, but the man persisted.

"Fraud! Fraud! Fraud!" the man yelled repeatedly, stomping his foot on the stage, arms flailing. He would look at Vendini then back at the audience as if to garner support. He was a short, pudgy fellow, probably all of five-foot-two, and bore a striking resemblance to Danny DeVito.

Where was security? A buzz began to spread across the crowd. People were growing restless and uneasy. The Great Vendini was losing his audience. Then the aging magician remembered that most basic of all magic tricks and quickly pulled a rabbit out of his hat. Well, figuratively, at least.

"Ladies and gentlemen! For my next trick, I will attempt to saw Danny DeVito here in half."

The buzz of the crowd quickly changed to laughter.

"Please come, sir," The Great Vendini continued, moving his hand in a welcoming gesture towards the large black box. The heckler now stood silent and frozen on the stage, looking a tad fearful and more than slightly embarrassed.

"You will, of course, forgive me if I fail. After all, I am a bit of a fraud."

The crowd erupted in laughter. And when security arrived on stage, most in attendance thought it was all part of the act. As the unruly, now red-faced spectator was being lead away, the old magician spoke.

"Ladies and gentleman, a round of applause please for Danny DeVito!"

"Mr. Wizard can't perform no god-like hocus-pocus. So don't sit back, kick back, and watch the world get bushwhacked. News at ten, your neighborhood is under attack..."

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007
The gravitational pull of H2O
Blogging away while wondering if the Runner's World magazine I bought at Wal-Mart Sunday night somehow cancels out the Soap Opera Weekly I also purchased...

I am convinced that in the summertime, heat mixes with water causing a chemical reaction which actually gives the water a stronger gravitational pull than that of the land it divides.

Now you won't find this in any standard textbook and there's no Pythagorean Theorem or anything like that for it, but I am persuaded that it is true. (I hope to get my theory added to the Wikipedia entry for "water" soon.) Evidence can be seen in the hordes of people found at lakes, rivers, pools, beaches, water parks, swimming holes, and the like.

And so, I am drawn to the water. Saturday, I went over to my sister's to swim in her above ground pool. And by swim, I mean, lie on a float and allow the sun to deflower my tender, milky white skin.

The deck they are building alongside the pool is about half finished. And that's a good thing, because at first my sister's husband would back his truck up to the edge of the pool so that they could get in and out. I don't want to jinx anything, but we're hoping they'll make the 2008 You Might Be A Redneck If... calendar.

Little Joe, Wolfgang, and I made another trip to Kinlock on Sunday. I don't really understand the appeal of Kinlock to Wolfgang. He can't swim and he won't jump off the rocks. The odd thing is, more times than not, it's his idea to go to Kinlock.

Sunday, he slid down the falls one time, climbed out and sat on a rock for the rest of the time we were there. He seems to enjoy it though. I think the transition to senility will be a smooth one for him.

The two of them are going to New York later this year. Wolfgang was telling me about the place they'll be staying. Apparently, they have to share a bathroom with other guests. Sounds like maybe a hostel to me, but they never called it that. LJ overheard us.

LJ: "I told you Bone wouldn't like that idea at all."
WG: "What do you mean? He didn't say he didn't like it."
LJ: "Did you not see that fear of death look on his face when you told him we'd be sharing a shower with other people?"

True, that situation doesn't really mesh well with my Lysol-spraying, Vitamin C-taking, germophobic lifestyle. I just found it amusing that LJ knew that and wondered how and when picked up on that part of my personality.

I also discovered that LJ has an even worse agedar than I do. While Wolfgang and I were surmising the age of one of the girls there Sunday, LJ overheard us and stated disgustedly, "She's twelve!"

The girl had a tattoo on her lower back and later we saw her smoking a cigarette. So that would have to make her at least, what, fourteen? Pfft. Shows what you know, LJ. Still, I'm unsure if the tramp stamp cigarette defense would hold up in court.

In other Bachelors Gone Wild news, Sunday night at Wal-Mart I came across something in frozen foods that made me wonder if I hadn't slipped on the newly waxed floor, cracked my head open, and ascended to the heavens above: Patio burritos... 33 cents each! Oh my heavens! I got three! I like to melt a slice of American cheese on top of mine in the microwave.

Meanwhile, the water continues to beckon. Jamie called last night to see if I wanted to go to the city pool with her tonight. And Wolfgang, Little Joe, and I are planning a trip to the beach next month.

Ah yes, the ocean. The strongest gravitational pull of all.

"It's two bare feet on the dashboard, young love in an old Ford. Cheap Shades and a tattoo and a Yoo-Hoo bottle on the floorboard..."

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Friday, June 08, 2007
Ten years ago Tuesday...
Ten years ago this past Tuesday, I got down on my knees and asked someone I loved if she would share her life with me.

She was sitting in the floor of my bedroom, working on a jigsaw puzzle. And had been mostly oblivious when I pushed play on a cassette I had cued up to the beginning of "our" song.

When I knelt down, she looked up from what she was doing. Before I could utter words, she saw the tiny red box in my trembling hand. Her tears preceded her answer.

I wrote this a couple of years after we broke up, long before I even knew what a blog was. It's raw and unedited and just as I wrote it then.

Oh, and we never finished the puzzle.


-----------------------

Even though people may think about dying, they always think they have more days left to live. And even though in the back of their minds, people know life has to end somewhere, they act and live as if it just goes on and on. That's how it was for me with Lily. I never thought for one moment that we would ever not be together.

It was just like life. I would wake up and Lily would be in my life. I would go to sleep and Lily would be in my life. In the back of your mind, you know that either you will marry this person or you will have to say good-bye, but I never thought which of those two ends we would come to.

Even when I decided to propose to Lily, I cannot explain it, but I never thought a whole lot about being married. That is not the best way to word it, for I did want to marry her someday, but I do not know how else to say it.

After we were allowed to see each other freely, our relationship quickly began having its ups and downs. There were still plenty of fun times, but I do not think many of them were ever as wonderful as the days when we could not see each other.

More than anything, there are moments in time, places and things that I remember about Lily. One strange thing that I discovered is that when you use a payphone somewhere, then whenever you pass that phone again, you always remember the time when you used it, what you used it for, and even a bit of how you felt when you used it. I suppose that is an observation that seems to come from nowhere. But I think that it is true.

It is like a song. There are certain songs that when you hear them, you remember a particular time you heard them, what you were doing, who you were with, and how you felt. And for a brief moment, a song or a payphone can bring back a past feeling. They can make you happy when you are feeling sad. Or they can bring back a melancholy feeling and make you lonely.

Sometimes I think we live our lives either yearning for the past and something that we can never recreate, or longing for the future and something that we never quite attain. And some people will say that we should only live today.

But I think that today is only yesterday's future and tomorrow's past. And life is only made up of all the days of our past and our future. And we mainly yearn for the bigger part of it. The young long for the future, and the old for the past. And I do not think that remembering, or thinking about, or longing for anything or anytime that made you happy could ever be wrong.

If I was the horrible one in the last months of our relationship, it was Lily that was more difficult in the early days. I remember she would be very moody and sometimes jealous and sometimes just hard to get along with. But unlike my actions, most of this probably could be blamed on immaturity, since she was only seventeen or eighteen during these times.

I would have given anything for her just to be happy, and for us not to ever have any problems or difficult times. It was my reasoning at that time that she was somewhat insecure and that the way to solve all our problems would be to buy her a diamond ring and ask her to marry me.

Another reason I proposed is because of something one of my aunt's had said one evening when we were all at my parents' house. She probably said it in passing, but she had always been my favorite aunt. The subject of Lily came up, and my aunt said, "You know, she'd make you a good wife." Or something to that effect. It was something that always stuck with me.

Sometimes people say things in passing, but the affect they have on the listener is great. Another time I remember talking with someone I greatly respected. I was talking about being unhappy with my job. And he said something to the effect of "well there are always people who will hire you" or "you can always find work." And soon afterward, I quit my job. And it was not easy to find work.

Lily and I had been together for two years now, and although my rational side told me to wait a little longer till she got along in college, my emotional side decided to propose.

I remember I was supposed to see Lily the day that I purchased her ring. I had my heart set on a heart-shaped diamond solitaire. The size really did not matter too much, except for the fact that she had a small, petite hand, and I had been told once by a jeweler that a very large ring would not look right on her hand.

I had to call at least three or four places before I found a jewelry store that had a heart-shaped solitaire, and the store that did only had one. So I decided to take what they had. It was my only choice, other than to wait.

I went to look at the ring and it was really beautiful, and I was sure Lily would think so too. I just remember thinking how happy this would make her and that all our problems would be solved and that we would be in love forever. I was so happy.

After purchasing the ring, I had to decide how I was going to propose. I remember once when I was at her house, I showed her mother the ring. She liked it and said she was sure Lily would like it as well.

Even though her parents had not agreed with our relationship at first, they had accepted it by now and I always thought well of her mother, and I think she thought well of me. Although we never really talked about it that much. I do not think I showed anyone else the ring ever, even my parents did not see it I do not think, before I gave it to Lily.

Looking back, I think that it felt like we were engaged from the first time we were together. We would always talk about forever, and I never thought about dating another girl and I am sure she never thought of being with someone else either. For although there are many things I do not know or understand about Lily, even to this day, I do know that she loves with all that she has, and that I could trust her always. That is something that is hard to find.

She loved the way that one should love, with all her heart, and all her being. And even though she has faults like everyone does, her love is true and strong and precious and should be treasured more than all the money and gold and diamonds in the universe. I know this now, sadly, looking back.

I knew that she would be surprised that I had decided to propose to her, for we never really went shopping for a ring. And although we would write in cards and letters about how we would love each other forever, there was nothing to indicate that I was about to propose. The proposal was original I guess, if quite simple.

I knew that it would not matter. For even though every girl says that she wants a boy to surprise her like no one has ever been surprised before, most of the good ones are completely happy no matter how they receive it.

Lily was no different. She was as happy I guess as I ever saw her that night. We called friends, went to see friends, called our families, and celebrated our love.

From that high, I guess we had no where to go but down.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007
3 Word Wednesday #39


Welcome to Three Word Wednesday. Each week, I will post three (or more) random words. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write something using all of those words. It can be a few lines, a story, a poem, anything. I'll also attempt to write something using the same three words.

Leave a comment if you participate. Many fun and interesting people might visit your blog.

This week's words are:
Endless
Ought
Shadow


As he felt his pursuers drawing nearer, Grahme bore down and concentrated. He had to guide his sleek, red speedboat swiftly across the choppy waters. Safety awaited on the other shore. He just hoped he didn't see anymore of those giant mutant ducks. Those things were scary!

About halfway across now, Grahme knew he could make it, but it would be close. He would just run the boat aground. There would be no time to worry about trying not to damage it.

Suddenly, a dark, perilous shadow moved across the waters. What was it? A huge storm approaching? Another killer pterodactyl?

"Grahme?"

No. Worse. He turned to see the keeper of his fate towering above him.

"Time to get out. You've been in there over an hour. You ought to be plenty clean by now."

Grahme didn't resist, knowing he would live to fight another day in this endless battle of good versus evil.

He parked his boat on the side of the tub and reached for the towel. As he emerged from the water, he caught a glimpse of the duck. It appeared so harmless and innocent lying there. Almost friendly, even.

But Grahme knew better.

"I love little baby ducks, old pickup trucks, slow moving trains, and rain..."

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Monday, June 04, 2007
Will Neuter For Plinko Chips
When I was but a boy of eight or nine, probably up until the time I was twelve or thirteen, I was not overly fond of school. There may have been a few times when I even feigned sickness in an attempt to get Mom to let me stay home.

Home meant bed and snacks and television. The Bozo Show. The Price is Right at 10. Family Feud with Richard Dawson at 11. And then Ryan's Hope kicking off the ABC soap block at 11:30.

Bozo died. (I'm sorry kids, but it's true.) Richard Dawson left Family Feud. And Ryan's Hope went off the air in 1989. Only one has endured: Bob Barker and The Price Is Right.

The man and the show are as inseparable as a maestro and his baton. Bob Barker is an American icon. Long before there was Vanna White, there were Barker's beauties. He single-handedly introduced "plinko" into the American vernacular for crying out loud. And who among us hasn't wished to hear our name uttered before that most famous of phrases, "Come on down, you're the next contestant on The Price Is Right!"

Barker was the first popular game show host to let his hair go gray. Leading by example, he taught us to pick and choose our battles and causes close to our heart. He didn't try to solve all the world's problems, instead choosing to focus on controlling the pet population.

Around our house, if you were home at 10 in the morning, you watched The Price Is Right. That's just what you did. It seems like there would always be some college student on there from San Diego or USC. And the cars they'd give away would have California tags. And I'd think about California and what a sunny, exciting, exotic place it must be.

Even though I haven't had the chance to watch the show much in recent years, there was always something very comforting knowing that it was still on every Monday thru Friday. Knowing that people were still playing Hole-In-One, The Range Game, Three Strikes, and Cliff Hangers, and spinning the big wheel.

Barker began hosting The Price Is Right September 4, 1972, five months and eight days before a certain blogger you know made his grand entrance into the world kicking and screaming.

For my entire life, Bob Barker and The Price Is Right have been on TV. But now, like everything else, that too is coming to an end. Barker has announced his retirement and his last episode is scheduled to air June 15. So pardon me if I wax nostalgic. It feels like part of my childhood is being lost.

The show will go on, but don't think for a second that it will ever be the same. Barker effortlessly commanded the audience and controlled the show skillfully and smoothly. He became as important to the show as the big wheel, yet never in a way that was over-bearing or took away from the game itself.

I predict that after awhile, ratings will inevitably drop. They'll probably change hosts again. At some point, they'll try to boost interest by altering the rules of the game, or maybe giving the set a snazzier look.

That's one of the things I found so endearing about The Price Is Right, though. The set and colors have changed so little over the years. Sure, it may look a little dated, but again it's sort of comforting.

I hate change, but everything changes. And after June 15, something that has existed as long as I've been alive will be gone. There'll be a new host and the show will go on, but to me, the price will never be exactly right again.

And for Bob's sake, people, have your pets spayed or neutered.

"And in the streets the children screamed, the lovers cried, and the poets dreamed. But not a word was spoken. The church bells all were broken..."

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