Saturday, January 24, 2009



As was the case last week, my Saturday morning officiating experience was enjoyable. The word, wholesome comes to mind. The boys, coaches and parents were a referee’s dream. The day would have been perfect if only I could wrap my brain around that whole growing wiser with age thing. The game came to a stop when the ball lodged itself between the rim and the backboard. My partner Gino, at least ten years my junior, offered to hop up and tip the ball loose – even though I was standing right under the basket. It was a fourth grade game and the rim was only set at nine feet. “What, you think I’m too old to jump nine feet, Gino?”

“I didn’t say that, Bill.”

“I don’t think you can jump nine feet.” wisecracked one of the coaches.

“Yeah, let’s see you do it, ref.” shouted somebody’s grandmother from the stands.

Never one to turn down a challenge, I took a couple of steps back and leapt higher than I’ve leapt in years. Now a smart guy would have just tipped the ball loose. But I have never been much good at being a smart guy. And I had something to prove to the coach and the loud mouth in the stands. I oafishly grabbed hold of the ball and dropped it awkwardly through the hoop, executing something that could be defined in certain circles as a slam dunk. The kids cheered and I felt good.

I do not feel good right now. In the three hours that have passed since the last game ended I have gone through at least half of a tube of Ben Gay. It seems that I’ve somehow tweaked my foot, and my ankle, and my knee, and my lower back, and my neck and the upper portion of my right ear. If I had it to do over again, I’d have – hung on the rim a little bit after dunking the ball.


Today I’m pleased to offer more proof that this is the year of the seemingly impossible dream. Now the garage sale is officially over and the elementary school principal who lives around the corner has dragged off the last rickety piece of exercise equipment, there is indeed measurably less junk in our garage than there was last night. The good news doesn’t stop there; my wife pulled in the tidy sum of a hundred and thirty five bucks. There is, however, a mysterious pair of size nine bowling shoes in the garage, a pair of beige shoes that were unquestionably not in the garage before the sale. Your guess is as good as mine.


There was no screaming and there were no kitchen fires. The micro waved burritos were bland but they were supposed to be bland. Barit, my eight year-old, was kind enough to point out that you’re supposed to let the hard boiled eggs cool before cracking them. My wife is scheduled to waitresses again tomorrow night. Fueled by Friday night’s success, I’ve taken a courageous gastronomic leap forward, declaring tomorrow evening Taco Night. Tacos can’t be too difficult, can they? I’ll report back with the results of one man’s daring culinary journey.


My vast army of twelve readers is made up of some interesting characters. Clif the Lawyer is one of them. We met when I was hosting educational TV programming at Educational Management group. Clif was my technical director. We had more than our share of laughs creating cheesy educational programming in which I had the opportunity to portray historical and literary figures like George Washington, Sam Houston, Edgar Allen Poe and Paul Bunyan. As was the case with Anders Oglethorpe, Clif and I teamed up in the industrial basketball leagues. He was a crafty left handed post player with a nice hook shot.

Clif’s done a lot of things in his life. He’s a bit of a jack of all trades. As his handle implies he’s a bar certified lawyer. He’s taught law and audio engineering at ASU and the Tempe Conservatory and he’s produced his own music. Clif worked an audio engineer for some of the biggest names in Hollywood.

His wildest story involved the legendarily out of control music producer, Phil Specter. Clif was running the board and the recording session had been going on nonstop for a couple of days. True to his reputation, Specter was consuming various mind-altering substances and brandishing guns. Specter sent the lawyer out to pick up Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. The raging maniac summarily consumed his heaping plate and proceeded to throw up all over the control boards. And Clif the lawyer was given the privilege of cleaning up the psychotic genius’s mess.

Soon after, Clif decided to move back to Arizona. California’s loss was Arizona’s gain. Thanks for reading, Clif the Lawyer…


A good portion of this posting was composed with my three youngest daughters in the room climbing on my lap, chasing each other in circles, jumping on the bed, playing Mario Brothers on Nintendo D.S. and generally doing the things kids do. I suppose after writing my short story collection at the public library, writing with three wound up kids running around is a breeze.


RealRaiderNation said...

Sorry, I haven't been able to comment on the blog. I've have home insurance problems, work problems, and or course, flying dragon problems. With the dragons, I stopped believing and they disappeared. With the other two, if I do that, a whole lot of people will disappear. (Hmmm?) Anyway, good post about round ball. I won't cheer for the Cardinals because of religious differences, but it wouldn't bother me if they won. Keep writing, oh crap, dragons are back. Later.


Clif the Lawyer said...

Thanks for the mention. I was only a lowly runner at Ocean Way Recording but it is true I helped clean up Phil Spector's vomit shortly after delivering an order from Roscoe's.

#167 Dad said...

Sorry about the dragons, Jackie. Truth be known that song gets me all teary eyed. It's good to know you're still reading. I'll have to do a post about the night you killed with Purple Rain at Seymore Hamms.

#167 Dad said...

Clif the Lawyer,
There are plenty of great Clif the Lawyer tales but the crazy Phil story is my favorite. And you were a heck of a good tricky left handed post player. When's the last time you played hoops?

GJ MR. CHICAGO said...

I must say that this is some really great stuff man! I can relate to almost all of it! I have four children ages 19,17,12,10. After two jobs for ten years, I am finally able to actually look at myself in the mirror again-and oh how I have aged! It is people like you an me that are the real backbone of society. Keep it up! YOU ROCK! :)