A Ballet on Bubble Wrap?

A ballet on bubble wrap?
I know—it sounds like crap.
But when it  actually came to pass

ballet

It wasn’t half bad
And so I felt a bit crass
For presuming it would be pathetic,  sad.

ballet1

There are other kinds of packing material
which I’ll now address in a manner serial.

It was better than a dance on packing  peanuts,
which I like to refer to as “albino  Cheetohs.”
Granted the dancers were anorexic  she-nuts,
But in their tutus they looked pretty  neat-o.

ballet2

There’s also that stuff called  excelsior
which looks like dried whole wheat  pasta
or the shorn hair of a girl named  Elinor
or the dreadlocks of a notable Rasta.

ballet3

The choreographer was a Dutchman who’s  afraid of flying,
a guy by the name of Kylián.
The chances I’ll check out his work  again—I’m not lying—
are approximately one in a  myllián.

Dinner With the Footnotes

My wife’s phone gave off a strange sound and, after she’d looked down at its screen, she said “Oh no,” and not in a cheerful way.

“What’s the matter?” I asked.

“It’s Pam Footnote,” she said as she picked up her mobile device, the better to see the full text of the message that lay concealed beneath the placid green screen.  “They want to have us over for dinner.”

I groaned, inwardly and outwardly.  “I thought we were done with them,” I said, recalling my Reverse Triangular Strategem for Getting Two Annoying Couples Out of Your Life With One Fell Stroke; I had invited them to dinner with our most liberal friends, hoping that the latter twosome’s strident political approach to all issues great and small would cause them to permanently break off our friendship, and that the former’s indifference to anything other than conspicuous consumption–golf, decorating, travel, etc.–would constitute a bridge too far for the leftie couple.

“Your brilliant idea completely backfired,” my wife said, and with more than a little smug satisfaction.  “Both couples left congratulating themselves on how tolerant they were, and how they’d made friends of people who were totally at the opposite end of the spectrum from them.”

“It was worth a shot,” I said, as I stuck my nose back into my glass of Malbec, hoping the vapors would send me to a place far, far away, where scents would overrule sense and the irrational would ride astride the rational mind like a child on a supermarket mechanical horse.  “So, do we have to accept?”

“I can hardly say no,” my wife said.  “I saw her in the grocery store the other day and let slip . . .”

“The dogs of war?” I asked, reverting to Shakespeare, the last grip I had on Western Civ before I fell asleep.

“No, silly, that we were in town for the weekend and didn’t have any plans.”

“You know, if this were a World War II movie, I would have you prosecuted for treason, and maybe even shave your head.”

“Like Sinead O’Connor?”

“A little.  That’s how they punished the French women for sleeping with Nazis.”

“The Footnotes aren’t that bad,” she said as she tapped a reply to the distaff half of the couple.

“History has yet to hand down its judgment,” I said as I finished my wine and toddled–as if I were the City of Chicago–off to bed.

I should provide some backstory, as they say in Hollywood.  The Footnotes–Pam and Dave–go by a different surname, which shall remain undisclosed for fear of libel claims and social retribution.  We gave them their nomme de whatever after sitting through too many dinner and cocktail parties with them, and enduring their dreadful conversation.  They are a mutual perpetual emendation machine, hitting on two cylinders at all times to refine, improve, expand or correct each other’s bland and boring statements.  If Dave says they joined the Woronoco Country Club in 2002, Pam immediately jumps in to say no, it was 2003, that was the year her mother died, she remembers it well.  If Pam says their favorite restaurant Estella’s is at the corner of Clarendon and Newbury Streets in Boston, Dave swoops in like a red-tailed hawk on a field mouse to insist that Dartmouth is the cross-street, don’t you remember, that’s where that parking lot is located.

“Oh yes,” Pam will say, and they’re off, pulling each other further into the Labyrinth like Hansel and Gretel off to find the Minotaur.  A private conversation in a nearly-private language ensues while everyone else sips their drinks, too polite to change the subject, too embarrassed to try and direct them back to the main path of the evening’s discourse.  After awhile the Footnotes emerge back into the sunlight, like cheerful kittens kept in the basement overnight, and blurt out “So how’s work going?” to the first male who catches their eye, or “What’s new with Chloe/Caitlin/Chelsea?” to the first female.  By then the rest of the crowd is too deep in their cups to say anything other than “Fine.”

In short, they are a walking illustration of Noel Coward’s gibe about footnotes: “Having to read footnotes resembles having to go downstairs to answer the door while in the midst of making love,” and so we thusly christened them.  In fact, I have often wondered what love-making might be like at Chez Pam et Dave:

Pam:  (. . .) What are you doing?

Dave:  But . . . you like that.

Pam:  Since when?

Dave:  Don’t you remember?  That time in Bermuda, right before we were married?

Pam:  At the little inn that was once a provincial courthouse?

Dave:  Right.

Pam:  No, that was the time we went down with the Palmers, we didn’t have sex that vacation.

When the night for the Dreaded Encounter came, I steeled myself ahead of time with a rye on the rocks, like some character out of a John O’Hara short story.

“You’re drinking before we go?” my wife asked.

“It’s the only way I’m going to get through the evening.”

“Just let them talk, eventually they’ll wear themselves out.”

“Easy for you to say,” I said.  “You can always go fuss in the kitchen over the pre-fabricated Trader Joe’s hors d’oeuvres you bring.”

With the ground rules thus established, we found ourselves soon enough on the Footnotes’ doorstep and, after the obligatory exchange of air-kisses, made our way into their overheated living room, whose walls are covered with the sort of conventional prints a conventional New England couple inherits from their conventional parents when they suffer the end to which we are all headed by nature, not convention: sail boats, a Cape Cod sunset, one vaguely experimental painting purchased on a madcap weekend in New York and, off to the side, the poorly executed work of a relative whose sense of perspective could trigger an LSD flashback.


The kids

“How have you two been, it’s been ages!” my wife asked with an air of conviviality that, God love her, sounded sincere.

“Oh, puttering along,” Pam said, and I hoped Dave wasn’t going to make some stupid pun about golf, a subject that always sets off my narcolepsy.  “Have you two taken any vacation lately?”

On my scale of Universal Weights and Measures of Boredom, the surest sign that two couples have nothing left to say to each other is when one side asks the other this question, but that may just be me.  My wife pounced on it like a duck on a June bug, as they say where I come from.

“We went to Saratoga Springs last summer to see ballet,” she said, and we were off to the races.

“Oh, I love dance!” Pam said.  “I wish Dave would take me.”

“I took you once,” her worse half said.

“No you didn’t!” Pam countered, with mock outrage.

“Yes I did, that time with the Nugents.”

“When?”

“At that big auditorium.”

“The Convention Center?”

“Not the new one, the old one, on Boylston Street.”

“That wasn’t ballet, that was some Chinese cultural thing.”

“You said ‘dance.’  There were dancers on stage.”

“You had to go because of work, it was free, so that doesn’t count.”

I stared down into my drink and, seeing that it was both half-full and half-empty, got up to refresh it in the kitchen.  I figured by the time I got back the Footnotes would have reached the intermission of the long-forgotten event, and we might have a chance to get things back on track.

Sure enough, when I returned the Footnotes had stopped for re-fueling, and had turned over the conversational driving to my wife.

“How are the kids?” she asked innocently, perhaps thinking that it would be hard for any couple to disagree as to the basic facts of their children’s existence.

“Oh, Jeremy’s fine but he quit his job at the consulting firm and is working on an ‘app’–whatever that is.”

Risky life decisions by offspring–while rich fodder for conversation among our other friends–struck me as a cue for infinite regression on the Footnotes’ part, so I quickly interjected with something less sensitive, and more quantifiable.

“Where’s he living now?” I asked.

“In South Boston,” the husband said.

“It’s not South Boston where he lives, it’s something else,” Pam corrected him.  “The South End . . .”

“That’s not the South End,” Dave said.  “The South End is way the hell over on the other side of the Turnpike.”

“Well, it’s the Seaport, or the Innovation District, or the Waterfront or something, but it’s definitely not South Boston.”

“South Boston is trendy now, they should stop trying to name it something else,” Dave said in a voice devoid of defensiveness.  That’s how the Footnotes are; never contentious, always dry, academic, just-the-facts-ma’am, the Joe Fridays of social chit-chat.

“Well, I think he calls it something else.  Fort Point Channel?”

I looked at my watch, and I didn’t try to hide it.  I felt as if we were trapped inside an encyclopedia, and were only halfway through the volume with Aa-As on the spine.

“What’s that I smell from the kitchen?” I interjected.  No one’s ever actually died of starvation at the Footnotes, but I didn’t want to take a chance.

“I’m making noisettes du porc au pruneaux,” Pam said.

“Sounds yummy!” my wife said.  “What’s that?”  I’m the Francophile in the family.


Yum!

“It’s a six-day bicycle race in France,” I said.

“Oo, you’re bad!” Pam said to me, then to my wife, “It’s pork with prunes.”  To my shock and surprise, the next words out of Dave’s mouth didn’t include a correction.

“We tried it when we took a tour of the Loire Valley in 2005,” he said.

“It wasn’t 2005,” Pam replied, “that was the summer right before Jeremy graduated from college, so it would have been 2004.”

“It wasn’t 2004, I would remember.  That’s the year the Red Sox won the World Series for the first time in 86 years.”

I was tempted to jump in with some sports talk and break the mind-forg’d manacles that always seemed to lock up the Footnotes’ talk, but I hesitated and was lost.

“It had to be 2004, he graduated from high school in 2000, so . . .”

“You’re forgetting,” Dave said, gently reminding her.  “He got that F in biology on his junior year abroad, so he didn’t graduate until 2005.”

Pam was, for just a moment, speechless; there it was, out in the open, for all to see, like an upchucked chipmunk from their cat Mitzi on the rug in front of us.  The shame, the embarrassment that our children can cause us, we who like to present a placid exterior to our social equals, betters and inferiors.  I could detect in her face the hot flush of blood rushing to her cheeks.  It took her a moment, but–like the dinner party trouper she was–she shook off the blow and in a second had her wits about her again.

“It wasn’t biology,” she said finally.  “It was organic chemistry.”

Gritty City Creates Knowledge Zone, But Some Feel Left Out

WORCESTER, Mass.  This gritty central Massachusetts city is known to some as the Industrial Abrasives Capital of the World, and to others for its numerous railroad car diners.  What it is not known for, to the dismay of many, is its educational and cultural attractions.

worcester
Miss Worcester Diner

“We’re sort of a country cousin to Boston,” notes civic leader Emil Niland, and even though Worcester is the second largest city in New England, it is the Rodney Dangerfield of the region, getting less respect than Hartford, Connecticut and even Providence, Rhode Island.

worcester1
Historic scenes of picturesque decay

 

But a new generation of boosters is out to change that by creating a multi-pod “Knowledge Zone” around the city in recognition of the many institutions of higher learning located here, including Clark University, Holy Cross College, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Assumption College and UMass Medical School.  “People need to know we’re a world class intellectual center,” says Niland, before excusing himself to yell at his daughter.  “Karen, take that pigeon out of your mouth, you don’t know where it’s been!”

But some are feeling slighted by the designation, and even a bit miffed.   “If they’re in the Knowledge Zone, what are we–the Ignorance Zone?” asks Richie Stevens, a carpenter, as he downs a shot of ginger brandy and sips a Narragansett beer chaser.  “Those guys can kiss my ass and call it a love story for all I care.”

worcester2
Worcester pigeons visit Boston to look resentfully at swans.

 

Town-gown tensions between students and academics on the one hand and blue-collar residents on the other, tend to remain submerged beneath the surface of everyday life until a minor incident at a neighborhood bar located near a campus flares up.  “You get a lot of New Yorkers here who couldn’t get into Tufts or Brandeis,” notes Brian Padraic “Smitty” Moynihan, proprietor of Moynihan’s Tavern in the tough Main South district.  “They’re insecure, and all hell will break loose when they make some condescending crack about an industrious yeoman carpenter like Richie here,” he says, and it is clear that he is kidding about his patron’s work ethic.

What makes matters worse is that Moynihan, Stevens and the other customers in the bar are fictional characters in a play–“Breakfast at Moynihan’s”–by this reporter, and thus are ineligible to vote out members of the City Council who approved the Knowledge Zone concept.  “It’s not fair and it’s not right,” says a long-time patron known to one and all only as “McNiff.”  “My grandparents came here from Ireland long before a lot of your Johnny-come-latelys,” he says with a trace of bitterness as others nod their heads in agreement.  “Just because they live in a prose world doesn’t mean they’re better than us.”

My GPS Cats

          Using tiny satellite tracking harnesses, the Cat Tracker Project has enrolled more than 500 cats in a program that will outfit them with Global Positioning System devices.

          The Boston Globe
Rocco
“Is Okie lost–again?”

 

I was pretty excited to be chosen to test drive CatTrack, the state-of-the-art global positioning system for cats. It would mean an end–finally!–to stupid arguments with my housemate Okie, who is to feline intelligence what the Marianas Trench is to the Pacific Ocean; the lowest depth, the nadir, the perigee, the bottom of the bottom.
Okie
“I am not dumb. Just–directionally challenged.”

 

A few summers back Okie was gone from Memorial Day until late in August, and not because he has a summer house on the Cape. He was hopelessly lost, not “cheating” on our owners the way some cats do in order to get a second crack at the Purina Cat Chow every day. No, Okie returned several pounds lighter and even more confused than he was when he left, if that’s possible, the result of wandering dazed in the woods behind our house during the hottest months of the year. When the Nobel Prize Committee calls, he knows it ain’t for him.

But with GPS to guide us on our way, I’m hoping that my days of chasing after the Oak-man, trying to herd him home like a sheepdog, are over. God knows it’s only going to get worse; he’s 63 in cat years, and the grey matter he’s lost over the years in late-night fights with fisher cats–among other local predators–ain’t coming back.

gps1
Fisher cat–not a household pet.

 

While I’m thinking these thoughts I watch Okie amble up, all innocent barefoot cat with cheeks of grey. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, poor sap, so I’ve had to serve as his tour guide over hill and dale lo these seven years we’ve been living together.

“How they hangin’ Oak?” I call out.

“Nothin’ much,” he replies. He has a stock assortment of come-backs, which don’t always fit the greeting.

“You want to go chase chipmunks?” I ask.

“Sure,” he says. “Although–”

“Yes?”

“I don’t want to get lost again.”

“I know buddy,” I say. “But not to worry, I’ve got GPS.”

His face clouds over. “I am so sorry to hear that. Is there anything you can do for it?”

“It’s not a disease you nutball, it stands for ‘global positioning system.’”

“Oh,” he says, and I can tell he’s not quite comprehending. “Do we even have a globe anymore? I mean, the kids moved out, and I thought mom gave a lot of that stuff away.”

“Not a globe, the globe–the one you’re standing on!”

He looked down at his feet, to make sure he wasn’t missing anything. “Yep–it’s right here,” he said.

“It had better be–I don’t know where else we’d put it,” I said, shaking my head. “C’mon, I’ll show you how it works. You punch it what you’re looking for . . .”

“Chipmunks!”

“And we see what comes up.”

A voice with a vaguely British accent came on–I guess the units were originally made for Range Rovers–and began to speak: “Proceed twenty steps to the stone fence, then turn RIGHT to enter the motorway.”

“Do we have a motorway?” Okie asked, clueless as usual.

“I think the nice English lady in the little box means our driveway.”

We low-tailed it down to the asphalt circle that connected our front walk to the street, then began to poke our noses into one of those “dry” New England stone fences Puritan women ordered their men to build to keep their minds off of sex.

“Well look what we have here,” I said with a note of feigned Kumbaya pacifism in my voice.

“What?”

gps

“It’s Chip and Dale!”

“REALLY?” Okie asked. “I love those guys!”

“No not really, you dubo–figuratively.” Unlike me, the Oakmeister does not peruse the many tomes on aesthetic philosophy that the elder male human in the house keeps as vestiges of his undergraduate days. “I’m not wasting my time chasing cartoon characters.”

We crept along, cat-like–actually, it wasn’t just cat-like, we were genuine flesh-and-blood cats–until we were positioned just outside a likely chipmunk cave.

“Now would you please proceed in a stealthy fashion?” I asked, and plaintively I might add.

“You want stealth, huh?”

“Right–and silence.”

“Okay,” he said. Duh.

We each took a position on the opposite sides of the crack through which we expected, any minute, a chipmunk to pop its head. I held my breath–I made Oakie hold his own. After what seemed like an hour, we saw a furry little head peak out to see if the coast was clear. I gave Oak a glance and for once, he seemed to “get it”–the whole predator/prey thing–right away. I silently mouthed “One . . . two . . . three”–when the silence was broken by . . .

“Arriving at–destination. Chipmunk hollow on RIGHT.”

The damn GPS! The chipmunk scurried back into the hole as if he’d been sucked by a vacuum cleaner.

“Damn it to hell!” I squealed.

“Better watch it–mom will hear you.”

“What’s she going to do–send me to Blessing of the Animals Day?”

Available in print and Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collection “Cats Say the Darndest Things.”

Barkley Takes Baby Steps on Road Back From Gambling

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama.  The revelation by two-time Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley that he’s lost more than $10 million gambling over the years has led to an outpouring of support in his hometown, where locals point to the good he’s done for numerous charities.

barkley
Barkley: “I’ll bet you six to one I can lick this thing.”

 

“He’s one of our biggest supporters,” says Children’s Hospital CEO Mack Doolin, M.D. “We’re going to stick with him until he gets this thing licked. He just needs to learn how to set limits,” says Doolin, who has counseled others with addictions.

And so Doolin is at Barkley’s side as he enters Leeds Elementary School to participate in “Spring Fling Carnival,” a fund-raiser for its PTO. “It’s a baby step,” says Barkley, “but I’ve got to start out small.”

barkley1
“Shh–don’t tell him. The Fishin’ Hole’s rigged!”

 

Barkley draws a crowd of excited fans as he steps up to the Wheel O’ Fun, where fifty cents entitles a player to a spin for a toy or stuffed animal. “Fifty thousand on the red,” Barkley says before Doolin can intervene. “One ticket at a time, Charles,” he says, and the man known as “The Round Mound of Rebound” during his playing days with the Sixers, Suns and Rockets reluctantly agrees.

“Okay,” Barkley says sheepishly before laying down two quarters and winning a noisemaker that makes an annoying “clackety-clack” sound. “I’m gonna shake this sucker next time somebody asks me an embarrassing question on TV,” Barkley says with a mischievous grin, referring to his frequently incendiary comments that get him in hot water.

He moves on to the Action Figure Fishin’ Hole, where children drop a pole behind a bed sheet and the school’s fourth grade class officers attach a plastic superhero to the hook. “I want one of them Ninja Turtles,” Barkley says. Behind the sheet, Nancy Rouchka, class president, giggles as she picks Kimberly, the Pink Power Ranger, from a cardboard box and puts it on the line. When Barkley sees his girlish prize he explodes at Rouchka, causing Assistant Principal Morris Byrum to come running across the cafeteria.

barkley2

“What’s going on here?” Byrum asks in an excited tone as the class president sobs loudly. “What kinda clip joint you runnin’ here?” Barkley yells at the hapless administrator, before picking him up and tossing him onto the conveyor belt that takes dirty plates back to the dishwasher.

Barkley moves on to the Pez Dispenser Ring Toss, where he decides to try for the Popeye model. “I like that dude ’cause he’s like me–I am what I am.” Barkley plunks down ten dollars for twenty rings, but he soon needs to buy more as he collects Batman, Spiderman and Snoopy–but no Popeye.

barkley3

A half hour later Barkley is down $50 when Doolin again intervenes. “C’mon, Charles–just walk away–okay?” he says as he takes a roll of quarters from the former Dream Team member and leads him out of the building.

Even though he always said he wasn’t a role model, the kids are sad to see him go. “I wanna be as good as him when I grow up,” says third-grader Tyrone Williams. “Not everybody makes it to the NBA,” his dad cautions him.

“Not at basketball,” Tyrone says. “Texas Hold ‘Em!”

Business Group Sues as Secretaries Again Dominate March Madness

INDIANAPOLIS.  Marty Trowbridge is Chief Operating Officer of WidgeTek, a manufacturer with locations throughout the midwest.  “Our business is crucial to customers who buy our stuff,” he says, “whatever it may be.”


Trowbridge:  “There’s somebody dicking around with a bracket sheet right now!”

 

But last week productivity stalled at the manufacturer of fly-wheel hasps and pneumatic flanges, then slipped behind schedule as the NCAA’s Division I men’s basketball tournament began.

“We generally see a drop-off of twenty-five to thirty percent in non-farm productivity once ‘March Madness’ starts,” said Edward Hutchins of the U.S. Department of Labor.  “All of sudden people who don’t give a rat’s ass about Gonzaga are checking scores on-line when they should be filing paper in manila folders or doing other important stuff like that.”


“Your secretary beat you too?”

 

In the past, business groups have held their fire under the assumption that office betting pools helped boost employee morale and ultimately made for a more productive work force–but no more.  Friday the US Chamber of Commerce, the country’s large business group, filed suit against the NCAA in federal court here, alleging that the annual hoops extravaganza hurts American businesses.


“I picked Wisconsin because . . . I think their mascot is cute.”

 

A poll by Fortune Magazine indicates that the change of heart comes after years of losses by CEOs to their secretaries, who use non-traditional handicapping techniques to make their picks, ignoring more sophisticated measures such as strength of schedule, margin of victory and total compensation paid to players.

“I have found that the most reliable predictor of success in the tournament is uniform colors,” says Ilene Grealey, executive secretary to Marvin Kramm of International Auger and Boring Machines.  “A lot of ‘gals’ swear by mascots as the most relevant yardstick, but you never know who’s inside those big furry outfits.”


2017 All-Mascot 1st Team 

The Chamber is seeking a court order that would limit the number of bracket sheets a secretary could fill out at companies with fewer than 40 employees.  “In a mom-and-pop company, you can’t have somebody doing three different sheets based on who’s got the cutest coach, where their mother went to college and an old sweatshirt their boyfriend gave them in high school,” says Kramm.  “It gives your secretary too many ways to win.”


“There’s the wind-up–and the pitch!”

 

An NCAA spokesman said it would try to reach an out-of-court settlement with the powerful trade organization, but was not optimistic.  “Your average businessman is about as flexible as Bobby Knight on a bad day,” Allen Barkley noted.  “They don’t negotiate–they throw stuff.”

 

Available in Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collection “This Just In–From Gerbil Sports Network.”

Volunteers Raise Like Millions for Liberal Arts Major Disease

LAS VEGAS, Nevada.  It is Sunday morning in this desert city and the streets are quiet.  Inside the casinos, where there are no clocks, gamblers who have played through the night order breakfast at blackjack and craps tables.

At the edge of town in the studio of channel KQJA (for “King-Queen-Jack-Ace”), a small crew of technicians is working as comedian Sheldon “Shecky” Felton begins the final day of his national telethon to raise funds for his signature charity, which doesn’t have enough clout to pay for air time on Labor Day weekend.

“Ladies and gentlemen out there in the television land–I’m begging you,” he says, exhausted from two straight days of singing, cracking jokes and talking to guests.  “Liberal Arts Major Disease cuts down our kids in the prime of their youth, just as they’re about to begin their journey into adulthood.  It’s the saddest thing in the world.  So please-give and give generously.  Now we have two little girls who’ve come all the way from Calumet City, Illinois to dance for us–please welcome–The Tapping Twitchells!”

Liberal Arts Major Disease–the delusion that all big numbers are essentially the same–is an affliction that affects more than 80 million Americans.  Its onset can be traced to the realization among high school upperclassmen that they have completed the minimum number of math classes required in order to graduate.

“A lot of kids basically shut down the left side of their brains as soon as they finish Algebra II or Geometry,” says Dr. Philip Heyman of the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago.  “The degenerative process begins the moment they know they’ll never have to take another math class.”

Experts say that Liberal Arts Major Disease, or “LAMD,” effects America’s productivity as well as its long-term future.  “You look at China and India, they are cranking out more engineers and obtaining many more patents,” says Erskine Hollins of the Council on Economic Progress, a business-government group.  “Of course those kids have been chained to their desks for two decades, but we should be able to overcome that competitive advantage with a little more discipline.”

Back in Las Vegas, a contingent from the National Council of Plumbers and Pipefitters makes their appearance on the KQJA set to present an oversized check in the amount of $125,000, which Shecky Felton, who himself suffers from LAMD, graciously accepts.  “Guys–this is just fantastic.  A hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars!  Wow!  Let’s see-we had a million nine hundred thirty-thousand before so now we’ve got, let’s see . . .”  His voice trails off and the producer, sensing trouble, cuts to a commercial.

Meanwhile, across the country in Wellesley, Massachusetts, a stream of volunteers is holding a walk-a-thon along the 26.2 mile route of the Boston Marathon to raise money for LAMD.  “Hey look, everybody,” says Meghan Morrissey, a first-year student at Wellesley College from Saratoga, New York.  “The sign says its 13.5 miles from here to Hopkinton,” the walk’s starting point.  “That means we’ve only got like-uh-15 more miles to go!”

Available in Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collection “The Spirit of Giving.”