False Alarms

During the spring of 1970, my final year in jail- I mean, high school, our beloved principal got even with all the aggravation my fellow schoolmates and I had ever foisted upon him. One day unexpectedly the fire alarm went off in the school building but instead of being told to do the normal drill we were instructed by loudspeakers blasting in all rooms as well as the corridors to head in proper formation to the lower level school auditorium. We were also told that we were under an air raid alert for possible nuclear bombs attacking the United States.
Continue reading “False Alarms”

First Dates

By Larry Teren

As I got past the teenage years, my father stopped trying to do me favors; well- for the most part.  Once in my very early twenties he suggested I make a date to take out the sister-in-law of a younger friend of his. I emphatically explained to him that I did not call up girls on blind dates. I first had to, you know, see what they looked like. Not that I had Errol Flynn looks but I had to protect my fragile ego.

Dad pushed the issue. He was even willing to lend me his car on a Saturday night. Huh? The only time I got his gold colored 1970 Chevrolet was when I would first drive Ma to the Mayflower Supermarket to let her shop for food. Then, and only then, could I use the car afterward. Of course, with the deliberateness of the method Ma employed while out shopping in a large grocery store, it meant that I could expect to have the car to myself no earlier than 9pm.
Continue reading “First Dates”

Bicycle of Life

The 1950s had our family living on Chicago’s West Side on a street with apartment buildings and two-flat brownstones. When I outgrew a tricycle, dad bought me a 20 inch red colored bike with training wheels. The wheels were a crutch to give me the confidence to race up and down the sidewalk on the 4400 block of Jackson Boulevard. My first taste of freedom- moving about on my block without a parent or responsible older person by my side.
Continue reading “Bicycle of Life”

Cheater’s Proof

It was tough being a kid. I was taught a whole litany of golden rules such as: don’t lie, cheat or steal. Along with that came a caveat: “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never harm me”. This was told to impress on me to be a good person but if provoked to avoid fisticuffs and just go about calling each other names. I guess this way you could go home to fight another day.

Of course, being a kid, I hardly paid attention. I considered it a challenge to figure out a way to cheat in playing a board game and not get caught. After all, the purpose was to win, right? And I was going up quite often against a couple of siblings- fair game- who should be held nameless when it came time to playing Monopoly, Sorry and all the other ruthless challenges involving the roll of the dice.
Continue reading “Cheater’s Proof”

It Snow Good

Snow can be either good or bad depending on what you do for a living. If you run a ski slope, snow is fantastic. If you try to get around in your car in order to make a living or shop for food, snow stinks.

A few days ago, the Chicagoland area was inundated with allegedly its third highest snowfall ever recorded with more than 17 inches. Like all the local baby boomers, I think I was around for number one and two as well.
Continue reading “It Snow Good”

Egypt Revisited

Watching and hearing what is going on in the news regarding Egypt gave me pause to revisit the past. My senior year in high school started in the fall of 1969 and I graduated in June, 1970. We had a small class of 48 split into two home room divisions. So when a newbie joined us in the middle of the school year it was cause for excitement.

Mauro (we’ll call him that) was tall and wide and had a scowl. He looked like a nose tackle for the Chicago Bears. It was not his fault- that’s the way he was crafted. His attitude was totally the opposite. He was fun loving even if he did look like Oddjob, the hat-tossing foe of James Bond in Goldfinger. He also had a deadpan sense of humor so you couldn’t always tell if he was trying to be funny or telling the truth.
Continue reading “Egypt Revisited”

Warning: Hospital Bills Can Be Hazardous To Your Health

Not too long ago I was eating a heavy supper at 5:00pm. Being a quick eater, I was sitting in the living room trying to stay awake while reading a book at 5:45pm. As usual, I started to doze off and could not fight it but kept to as much of a sitting position as possible on the sectional sofa. An hour later around 7:00pm I awoke feeling a heavy pain in my stomach and chest area. I attributed it to not allowing the food to digest properly.

I endured the pain laying in bed and reading, eventually falling asleep for the night. The next morning I felt much better. However, that evening the pain came back with a vengeance and lingered over the next couple of days. I informed my doctor who recommended that I come in for an examination. His probing hands confirmed that there must be something wrong but it was not what he initially thought as the pain was centered elsewhere. He therefore recommended a cat scan- two, in fact. I found out later that it was common to do the two as they are very much linked.
Continue reading “Warning: Hospital Bills Can Be Hazardous To Your Health”

Jerry Seinfeld? Ha!

A friend of mine is a former stand-up comic as well as a stand-up guy. A family man, low maintenance in personality and as I said, an all-around good guy. Except we disagree on one thing. He thinks Jerry Seinfeld is the greatest comedian of our time. I disagree. He may be the greatest straight man, but not comedian.
Continue reading “Jerry Seinfeld? Ha!”

You’re Fired!

By Larry Teren

Getting tossed from a job happens to everyone at one time or another unless you’ve always worked for the family business. I’ve had the inglorious event occur twice to me. The first time was my own fault. Aw, what the heck- the second was, too.

The first time was in 1975 when I was about a year out of college and had already tried a couple of career paths that were not my true calling. I took a job just to get one so that I could build a resume. I was at that age where it was the main purpose in getting a job. I had no thought of being enslaved to an employer for many years.
Continue reading “You’re Fired!”