Cumberland Times-News

Jim Goldsworthy - Anything and Everything

February 15, 2014

This wasn’t the best place to stretch out

First, an apology. The opening part of our Feb. 2 discussion (“Those people had plenty to argue about”) should have read:

“Tomorrow is the 149th anniversary of a minor footnote in American history but an important date in West Virginia history. It was on Feb. 3, 1865, that slavery was abolished in the Mountain State.”

I said it was the 99th anniversary. Dummy.

Adding and subtracting and coming up with the correct answer was never one of my strong suits. It kept me from getting A’s in high school chemistry and physics instead of B’s and C’s.

It seems that I ran afoul of Goldy’s Rule 77: When you try to do too many things at once, you will do something wrong, and it will be such a simple thing that neither you nor anyone else will notice it until it is too late.

 ——————

The EMT was on the radio, saying that the patient’s vital signs were good, and he was conscious, alert and able to respond to questions and was not intoxicated.

Those were good things, I reflected, particularly since he was talking about me.

It has happened before, and I should have known better, but — as it says in Goldy’s Rule 155 — you may learn more from your mistakes than you do from doing things right.

Hopefully, I have learned my lesson. This will be reflected at the end of today’s discussion in Goldy’s Rule 157.

The nurse at the hospital asked me for a contact person, and I told her about my cousin Cyndy ... except she lives about seven hours away from Gettysburg. She’s eight days younger than I am and I’m used to listing her as next-of-kin.

“What about ME?” asked Capt. Gary.”I’m HERE!” OK, I said to the nurse. Put him down.

Gary gave her the phone number at Gettysburg Eddie’s, where all this started. He doesn’t handle hospitals very well (all things considered, I don’t blame him) and wanted to go back to watch the Super Bowl.

He asked if I minded that, which I didn’t — the bar was right around the block — and I told him to go ahead. No use in both of us missing the game. Besides, we were there for his birthday.

Me, I’m used to hospitals ... if, that is, you ever can get used to them. I also know that if you are in a good mood, that makes it far easier for the people who work in them. So I tried to be that way.

The lady asked me my marital status and I said, “Divorced ... for 40 years.”

She laughed and said, “I understand where you’re coming from.”

The doctor said the tests and EKG were normal, so I could leave. I wasn’t even intoxicated — at least two beers short of DUI level, which wasn’t bad for being in the bar for six hours.

He said what happened to me sometimes happens to other people for no apparent reason.

I was reminded of a time I thought I had a serious health problem, but the doctors found nothing that could have caused it.

People asked if it bothered me that they couldn’t find anything wrong.

I told them, “Hell, no! If they’d found something, THAT would have bothered me!”

Gary had celebrated his 50th at Gettysburg and wanted to celebrate his 60th there. So we went, not knowing that the mother of all ice storms would join us there.

My feeling has long been that ice belongs in a glass, surrounded by some form of beverage.

We didn’t get back to town until Thursday afternoon, which is why last Sunday’s column was a rerun.

We celebrated Gary’s birthday on Tuesday at Gettysburg Eddie’s, where the owner Bill and his staff are like our family — our Band of Brothers and Sisters.

There was a cake — with the candles that don’t want to blow out — and a half-yard of beer for Gary to drink. He got three birthday cards, a bunch of balloons sent by our friend Jayne in Wisconsin, who was aided and abetted in the arrangements by Paula the beertendrix, and I don’t know what all.

He was almost crying while I was lying there on that hospital gurney, but the night of his birthday he was moved to tears for a different reason. It’s good to know that you’re loved.

Best of all, our buddy Andy — who got run over by a train and lived to tell about it — has left his wheelchair and crutches behind, only seven months after he almost died.

After I got out of the hospital, I went straight back to the bar. Everybody in the place stood up and applauded for me. I felt almost like Norm Peterson on “Cheers.”

The first person to come and hug me was the off-duty EMT who came right to my side when I began to totter and passed out.

Gary grabbed me by one side, and Mark, our buddy who runs the motel where we stay, hollered “Get the @$%& out of the way!” and grabbed the the other.

I was unaware of this. Next thing I remember is looking up and being surrounded by people who wanted to know how I felt.

I said. “I’d be a lot more comfortable if I wasn’t stretched across these damn bar stools.” That got a few smiles.

“You had everybody in the place worried,” said our buddy Brian. “But you were as calm as could be.” Which I was.

I told Gary we’d had a rare gift. We had it demonstrated to both of us that people you don’t know very well, if at all, can suddenly care a great deal about you.

As for me, I already knew that going for several hours without eating while I am drinking — even if it’s not enough to get me drunk — is not a good thing.

I get lightheaded and, in this case, passed out. I’ve heard of it happening to other people.

Ironically, I was hungry and would have eaten, except that it was Super Bowl party time at Eddie’s, and the food was about to come out.

By the time I got back from the hospital, I wasn’t even hungry (when I sat down at the bar, they gave me a big glass of ice water).

The sandwich I ate didn’t go down very easily, but it go down it did — and the next morning at breakfast, I made up for lost time.

So I have now instituted what I think may be my favorite Rule of all:

Goldy’s Rule 157: Goldy eats.

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Jim Goldsworthy - Anything and Everything
  • He means well, and this time they spared his life

    Our pal Phil is the only re-enactor certified in writing by both the Lee and Custis families to portray Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee (whose wife was Mary Anna Custis Lee). When he’s in uniform, he generally stops at the bottom of the path that leads to the summit of Little Round Top, salutes Capt. Gary and First Sgt. Goldy and asks permission to join us. (Get it? Generally ... General Lee?) We always return his salute and grant him permission, in part because he’s our friend and also because the real Lee never got to see what it really looks like from up there. (Get it? Grant ... Grant? U.S. Grant? Real Lee ... really? OK. I hear you. That’s enough. Seriouslee.) Phil gets a kick out of being able to sneak up on us while we’re distracted by tourists.

    July 20, 2014

  • They’d have fallen like Autumn leaves

    So there we were, minding our own business (at least momentarily), leaning against the cannon at Little Round Top.

    July 13, 2014

  • Better read that french fry before you eat it

    People give me otherwise-insignificant items they hope will amuse or inspire me. I appreciate this. I’m always glad for free entertainment, which as Goldy’s Rule 33 says is everywhere. All you have to do is wait and it will come to you. Also, I have been writing columns for 37 years and embrace inspiration anywhere I can find it.

    July 6, 2014

  • The moose is loose, and it’s coming for you

    So how would you like to look out your kitchen door window onto your porch and see a moose looking back at you from close range?

    June 28, 2014

  • There are some debts you can never repay

    Today’s column will be relatively short, as my columns go, for reasons that should become apparent, and I thought long and hard before writing it.

    June 21, 2014

  • It could have saved the county a lot of money

    Random thoughts sometimes occur to me when I least expect it, usually when my brain has become tired.
    When I voice these thoughts at work or in other places, people may tell me, “Goldy? It’s time for you to go home.” Yes, ma’am.
    Here are two random thoughts of recent vintage:
    • If Bugs Bunny were an Emergency Medical Technician, would that make him a MedicHare?
    • If Daisy Duck got a job driving for United Parcel Service, would she be an UPS-a-Daisy?
    I wouldn’t blame you if you think that sounds Goofy — or Daffy.

    June 15, 2014

  • These two were part of the Not Top Ten

    Occasionally, at this time of year, I see reference to a “class orator” or a “class speaker.”

    Nothing wrong with that — people can call such things whatever they want, as far as I’m concerned — but it makes me wonder. Have “valedictorian” and “salutatorian” become politically incorrect, and I didn’t notice? It may come as a surprise to you, but I really have not kept up with what is politically correct or incorrect. That’s what people tell me, anyway. With some of them, it actually seems to be a compliment.

    June 8, 2014

  • Coming soon to a highway near you?

    People say to me, “Goldy? Can I ask you a stupid question?”

    In theory — and theory only — the correct response is: “The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.” Not so much. There ARE stupid questions, some of them so stupid that to call them stupid is to damn them with faint praise. Other questions are — on the face of it — legitimate questions, but shouldn’t be treated as such ... not if you subscribe to the same philosophy that I do: Free entertainment is everywhere; all you have to do is wait, and it will come to you.

    June 1, 2014

  • This was a skill that proved very useful

    The Belmont Park stewards have decided to let California Chrome wear his nasal strip during the Run for the Carnations. Nasal strips usually are worn by people who snore and may have saved numerous marriages. It helps the Triple Crown hopeful to breathe, and some twolegged athletes wear nasal strips for the same reason. In this case, Chrome’s nasal strip may keep him from (wait for it) ... losing by a nose.

    May 25, 2014

  • He made a big splash by asking this question

    “I don’t know who you were talking to last night,” said Capt. Gary, “but you were talking and moaning in your sleep. Never heard you do that before.” Neither has anyone else, I said. Besides, I had told him not to be surprised if we had visitors. I wasn’t at the top of my game for a couple of days, and he said some of our friends asked him if I was all right. It’s not the first time for this, so now I’ll know to watch out for it. It can affect you and is not something to play around with — as our friend Cathy found out.

    May 18, 2014

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