When you last heard from me I was feebly complaining about getting sick after proclaiming to all who would listen, that I never do. I had some interesting comments to my Top 11 movies to watch when you're sick, and enjoyed hearing what you all thought should have made the list. But mainly, I was more than happy to make light of my misfortune and actually cobble a column out of it.
After a few days of rest, a box of Emergen-C, and a Jenga-size pile of DVDs, I felt better, but still not great.
I awoke the day after Christmas with a vibrating feeling over my whole body. My pulse was pounding and my chest ached. As Goldilocks might have said, "something was just not right." Posthaste, we were off to the emergency room for a battery of cardiac tests to get my raging 170/100 blood pressure back down to earth.
Long story short; the doc said I had a little situation that was treatable. It's in the electrical department-not the plumbing area-I just have some extra beats going on in the ticker. I tried to explain to him that I am only 50 years old, which is the new 30, but he wasn't listening.
Blood pressure meds and no strenuous activity until further notice were my marching orders. "Does that include surfing, skateboarding, playing drums, working on my car, and making whoopee?" I asked. "Yes," "yes," "yes," "yes," and "yes" he said. To which he then added, "no coffee, no chocolate, no alcohol."
Geez, who was this guy? The Minister of Where Fun Goes to Die?
So now religated to the bench, I could feel myself starting to swirl in a toilet bowl of self-pity.
Back at my humble abode I sulked in my man chair and flicked on the TV. As I channel-surfed, it was readily apparent that everyone in the world was having the time of thier life except me. The pity swirl turned into a full on rip tide and my mood darkeded.
Then the phone rang. I wasn't in any mood to chat, but as I glanced at the screen I saw that it was Eric, one of my oldest pals, who I met while living in Ireland during my teens some 30-odd years ago. My raging river of pity slowed to a trickle and my spirits rose.
I picked up the phone and barked, "How the hell are you, you crusty old SOB?" "Great, you deadbeat surfer," he replied.
He, like me, spent his teen years across the pond in the land of Leprechauns, and any time we get a chance to talk, which isnt often, we always reminise about the good old days of our rambuncious youth.
Somewhere in County Kildare circa 1976
As we chatted, I suddenly remembered a killer weekend he had on the farm he and his folks lived on in County Kildare. Shortly before I arrived, his pops came home from a business trip to America with what to me was the birthday present of the century: a top-of-the-line off-road Go Kart. This was no lawn mower engine strapped to a couple of two by fours. Nope. This baby had balloon tires and a fiberglass body; a teenager's dream come true.
We drove the snot out of that thing all weekend, stopping only to hose off a layer of mud or do some chores to earn more gas money, but damn, that weekend was sweet. It was a standout moment and defiantly an inspiration into a life-long passion for all things motorized.
When two car guys who haven't spoken in a while start talking cars, forget doing whatever you had planned. Our conversation quickly transitioned from the old days to the present. Switching the TV channel from the NFL playoff game to the "Real Housewives of wherever" was my girlfriend's way of telling me I had departed reality.
Eric told me he had read my column on getting started on a project car and was inspired to get back in the game now that his kids were grown and he had some free time and a few nickels lying around.
I promised to keep my eyes peeled for somethin' tasty out here, and I may be a little biased, but I'm thinking an early second-gen Camaro would be a good canvas to get Eric going in the right direction.
After we said our good-bye's, I noticed my mood had gone from "poor me" to "lucky me." I felt better, alot better.
I quickly realized that a good old-fashioned telephone call from a great old friend was just the right medicine.
I'm Just Sayin'
I Want To Hear Your Story!
Coming Next issue:
The One That Got Away.
I've heard a million stories, and I want to hear yours. Be it a marriage, a war, a crash, whatever. Send me a paragraph describing the car that slipped away along with a digital photo (if possible) of that car you had to get rid of and wished you still had. I will include as many as I can. The more unique, the better.
Send your e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with "attention Jack Stavem" in the subject line.