I turned 65 yesterday. Okay, that’s over with. So thanks to everyone who sent well-wishes. Also thanks to everyone that didn’t want to mention my age or didn’t know about it or just didn’t give a shit. You all are very special to me.
And thanks to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who along with his great staff, (I know they’re great because I heard President Trump say they were) sent a nice gift in the mail. It was a book. No, it wasn’t Big League Dream (bigleaguedream.com) that gets released tomorrow on Amazon, I already have a hundred of them. The HHS book is one I haven’t read before called “Medicare & You.” It looks fascinating and something I will get to, right after I finish Mr. Trump’s new release, “Great People, Great President and Great Healthcare.”
Jason and Scott came into town from Los Angeles but all they wanted was to sit down and review my portfolio. It was a short meeting. But they did give me one of the more innovative gifts I’ve ever seen and glad I was on the receiving end. My portrait is now on the ‘Wall of Honor’ of my favorite restaurant – The Las Vegas Palm. If you know The Palm, you know the magnitude of this. It’s huge. Thank you boys.
Apologies to Lou Gehrig but I do feel like “I am the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” I have a great wife, great kids, great family, great dogs and a wonderful, caring and genuine inner circle of friends and colleagues dating back to the mid-1960s.
And, not knowing how much more of the game remains, I’ve done what I wanted to do and then some. I’ve played baseball in major league stadiums as a total hack; I’ve gotten to meet and become friends with some of my childhood heroes of the game; I’ve traveled the country and the world and even became one of the first Jews to ever get into a race car at Talladega. In fact, I might be the only Jew who can even spell Talladega.
I’ve come face to face with lions and cheetas in the jungle of Botswana. The only thing more scary is coming face to face with Andi Berger when she’s miffed. And I can proudly say I put two kids through college who have gone on to blossoming careers!
But the one thing I’ve always want to do, but never did, is run a political campaign. Finally, deep on the back nine of life, I now get that chance.
This won’t be a modern day political campaign as we’ve come to know. It won’t be dirty, we won’t hurl insults, we won’t do polling nor do we have much time to shape public opinion. It’s a two week campaign and unlike just about any other election you’ve ever seen, there is no loser.
Eight years ago, over my stern objection and great trepidation, Andi convinced me we needed a dog in the house. I never, ever had a pet before, save for a parakeet named Sammy, that my mom froze to death circa 1962 when she turned the old wall air conditioner up high and Sammy in turn fell down cold. Today, if he had worn a sweater, Sammy would be 55 and flying high.
Andi was right. She likes it when I say that. No longer can I imagine life without Ibis. He is the king of our castle (more on that in a minute) but the real trick is he made me a better person. I know those who have known me for a while have a hard time believing I can be a better persona than I was before. But it’s true. Adopting Ibis was the best decision I have ever been coerced into since the blonde chick came into my life in Dubuque, Iowa.
As a by-product of Ibis, and a mission I truly believe in and care about, I became a Director of the GBHS (Greater Birmingham Humane Society) almost three years ago. I love the organization, the people and our genuine cause. In fact, Ibis’s new seven month old step-brother, Deuce, also is a GBHS alum.
Coming up on Saturday, May 20 is the biggest day of the year for canines and their owners in Birmingham, Alabama. It’s Do Dah Day, our celebration of our household loved ones. Some 50,000 people will gather at Caldwell Park and celebrate our good fortune – that our pets adopted us! On that Saturday morning Highland Avenue, Birmingham’s “Fifth Avenue”, is closed down and turned into a parade route. And what’s a parade without a parade king? It’s like trying to eat a twelve ounce filet without a fork.
So when the fine ladies of the GBHS Auxiliary asked if they could nominate our Ibis as their candidate for Do Dah Day King, Andi ran to make him a robe and crown. However, if ESPN’s Lee Corso was on the committee, he would surely say, “Not so fast my friend.”
There’s competition in the race for King of Do Dah Day, but nothing this campaign chairman says can’t be beat.
A 10-year old pit bull, aptly named Tyson, is certainly a worthy competitor and would probably win a royal rumble, but he’s nothing we can’t beat at the polls. We certainly recognize and appreciate eight-year old Mulligan, who will get his share of the “awww” votes for being a three-legged cancer survivor and therapy dog. They are worthy opponents, but we believe there is no shame in Tyson and Mulligan being runners-up to Ibis and ready to serve if the newly crowned King can’t!
You see, Ibis was whelped to be King. He’s stately, handsome, magnificent and looks like royalty. HIs chow breed is very distinct. He cannot be influenced by propaganda paddlers as he is anti-social, and that makes his daddy very proud! In fact, we have a saying in our house that ‘Andi has never met a stranger, and Ibis and Roy have never met a neighbor.’ We plan to keep it that way!
Ibis wasn’t nuts about the idea of running for Do Dah Day King until we told him even Mr. Trump isn’t a king. He might think he is, but officially he’s not. And everytime we bring up Trump’s name, Ibis perks his ears and wags his tail. Maybe it’s because every time his momma sees Trump she shrieks “I can’t stand that guy!” and Ibis goes to comfort her knowing a treat is in the offing. So mention Trump to Ibis and he’s smilin’ like 42% of the country.
Much like an election in Chicago, in the race for King (and Queen) of Do Dah Day, you can vote as many times as you’d like and dollars are votes. Much like the U.S. Army, we need you! Not only is Ibis worthy of being crowned King, but proceeds go to the GBHS to help offset our program costs and save lives.
So vote now and vote often. We will fight a fair race but we have no electoral morals. We’ve already gotten a very generous check from an anonymous donor postmarked “USSR” which we believe to be the Universal Scheme to Secure Royalty. The donors initials are “VP”. The note said they weren’t trying to influence the election, only support the most worthy candidate. We appreciate that, VP!
Go to https://www.dodahday.org/royalty-pet-king and hit ‘Donate’ and give whatever you can afford: $5, $10, $25, $50, $100 or more, whatever your number is. Every buck is a vote for Ibis and we will need a boatload of them to topple Mulligan. We also will accept PAC funds – Pet Action Committee. We’re not picky. Money means votes! Plus you’ll be hard pressed to find a better cause than GBHS and all the great things they do.
However a word of caution when voting. It appears there might be an outside influence trying to muck things up and we know it’s not VP from USSR, because they told us they wouldn’t do that. When you hit the drop-down box make sure you select “Ibis For Pet King”, because the ballots also have “Iris” in the running for pet Queen, and we need to make sure the votes go where they are intended. Do not let a hanging chad or errant vote to Iris take votes away from our candidate. Do not get caught in this sinister ploy, undoubtedly devised by our enemies, to funnel votes away from Ibis. Remember, ‘Ibis For Pet King’ is the ticket.
Of course we will take our campaign to the people and if you are within barking distance of Birmingham, come on down to the Rogue Tavern on Thursday night, May 11 from 5:30-8:30 for the Ibis campaign fund raiser. There will be live music and food and drink specials. We can’t stop believing in tomorrow.
Go ahead. Make my 65th birthday the best ever. Put Ibis (not Iris!) in the front seat of the convertible rolling down Highland Avenue a week from Saturday and make me a campaign manager winner in my rookie attempt!
Vote for Ibis (not Iris) and happy birthday to me!