You’ll have to forgive me if this column isn’t quite up to par. I’m coming off vacation, which is much like an alcoholic binge. Vacations can be quite a lot of fun until they end. Coming back from one is a bit like trying to get over a hangover.
My wife and I were out and about in Cape Cod and the surrounding region where if you don’t like scented candles and cranberries, you might as well stay the hell home. A lobster roll in New England is as ubiquitous and overrated as cheesesteaks and the Rocky statue in Philly. Don’t get me wrong, we had a good time.
One of the highlights of the trip was when a member of our group complained of severe constipation. My wife, upon hearing of her plight, said a “prayer” for her and minutes later the woman was rushing off to the restroom. If pro-biotic yogurt has a market, surely my wife should be able to make a profit on this newfound talent. The recipient of this “blessing” will undoubtedly be thinking of my wife whenever she goes to the loo forever more.
The other big moment of our trip occurred in Provincetown, where I apologized to an automobile. The streets of Provincetown are narrower than a redneck’s mind, and the traffic was quite heavy that morning. I was one of the tourists crowding the street, walking with my back to the flow of traffic when I felt a bump and muttered “excuse me.” It turned out that a very slow moving car had hit me with a slight thump and continued on its way. I was none the worse for the incident and at least proved to be the one with better manners.
Try as one might you can’t get away from the grim realities of the world at large, even on vacation. The horrific downing of a Malaysian airliner convinced me if one wants to extend one’s life, it would be wise to avoid using any form of Malaysian transportation unless the only alternative was a car made by General Motors.
Vladimir Putin and Russia really shouldn’t be blamed. After all, you give missiles to a bunch of nutso Ukrainian rebels and give them a crash (if you’ll pardon the expression) course in how to handle them, what could go wrong? Sort of like when we gave weapons to Osama bin Laden to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. How did that one work out?
I was shocked — simply shocked — that the Israelis and Palestinians are fighting each other again. Had there been a prior cessation in hostilities I hadn’t heard about? You have to feel sorry for our Secretary of State John Kerry. He had this plan ready for approval where both sides would live side by side forever in peace with free falafel on Wednesdays and it all fell apart much like his 2004 presidential bid. My understanding is that both Benjamin Netanyahu and the Hamas leadership balked at the requirement that they learn how to wind surf.
While we were away, our local news was quite interesting. Another local politician’s fundraising for a nonprofit was called into question. This time it was Councilman Kenyatta Johnson who seems to be blaming the problem on poor bookkeeping. This comes on the heels of some of our legislators in Harrisburg encountering the same difficulty and offering the same excuse. I’ve always been suspicious of the word “politician” and “nonprofit” being used in the same sentence. Uncle Nunzi suggests we require accounting courses for anyone seeking elective office in Philadelphia and Harrisburg.
I came across the cover story on Eagles quarterback Nick Foles by Buzz Bissinger in this month’s issue of Philadelphia Magazine. Buzz seems really peeved that Foles and his family refused to grant him an interview. He winds up concluding, after interviewing peripheral figures in the quarterback’s life, that Foles is too polite and self-effacing to become a great quarterback. Charlie Sheen offering advice on the virtues of chastity.
On our last day of vacation, we ate in a restaurant (Abe and Louie’s) located close to the site of the Boston Marathon bombing. Our waitress had been working there at the time of the attack. Moments before the bombs went off, she had walked outside the restaurant to watch the race. When the first bomb went off, she thought it was fireworks, and then the second one exploded about two blocks from where she was standing. In the ensuing chaos, she led some of the frightened people to a safe location, and in the process lost her hearing in one ear. Surgery has restored 65 percent of her hearing, although background noises sometimes now intrude into the foreground. The restaurant was closed for two weeks after the incident when the FBI moved in to investigate the crime scene.
She is a pleasant woman and appears to be in her mid-50s. No longer on any medication to treat the trauma she suffered, she told us she is fully recovered. But a serious look came over her face, and just for a moment her eyes seemed distant, as if she has been transported back to that horrific moment when the bomb exploded and her life changed forever.
And then she was back smiling and asked if we liked our burgers.
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