Thursday, November 18, 2010

Race Bulletin

Cosmic Song runs Saturday in the 10th race at Calder, the 1 horse in a field of eight. The distance of the race is 5 ½ furlongs, shorter than we’d like (she won last out at 6), and the competition is tougher, everybody having won a maiden race. Also, she will be in allowance company. If we had our druthers, we’d be running seven furlongs to a mile, but those races didn’t go. So Cosmic Song is up against it. To win, she’ll need to improve, hope for a speed duel on the front end and an opportunity to get through horses and close well. The odds aren’t posted yet, so you’re on your own.


After digesting one of my recent columns, my treadmill companion Barbara took me to task.

“You have an awful lot of girlfriends,” she observed.

Have had is more the operative phrase here, Barbara. I blame it all on my lack of assertiveness as a mere youth. I wrote a song about it. Oddly, it should be sung in Caribbean dialect—things like ‘yout’ instead of ‘youth’ and ‘troot’ for ‘truth’. Imagine marimbas and South American musical instruments, Yeah—now you’ve got it!

Whatever Happened To Kathleen Carroll (a tragic tale of lost opportunities, by Bill)

Whatever happened to Kath-a-leen Carroll,
That Shining Example of Youth?
Whatever happened to Kath-a-leen Carroll,
Won’t somebody tell me the truth?

When we were kids, she was always the best at
Whatever the games we would play.
And if it was hopscotch or if it was soapbox
She’d win in her own quiet way.
Her clothes always stayed clean, her hair kept its fine sheen,
No matter the bounce of the ball;
The rest of the gang looked like oo-rang-utangs but
Kathleen floated above it all.

Whatever happened to Kath-a-leen Carroll,
That Shining Example of Youth?
Whatever happened to Kath-a-leen Carroll,
Won’t somebody tell me the truth?

We sat on her back steps one evening past sunset,
Her parents gone out for a ride;
I was alone with her, I thought I might kiss her,
My heart moved in to overdrive;
Then headlights attacked us, a car in the driveway,
And me in a panicky flight,
“It’s only the neighbors,” her voice in the distance
I heard as I fled in the night.


Much later, in high school, and off by the park pool,
I’d see her occasional-ly;
She’d wave her big racquet, invite me to tennis,
My friends teased me merciless-ly.
Sometimes you don’t do what you really want to,
When you’re fifteen, you follow the crowd;
You live to regret it, you never forget it,
It can leave you crying out loud.

Whatever happened to Kath-a-leen Carroll,
That Shining Example of Youth?
Whatever happened to Kath-a-leen Carroll,
Won’t somebody tell me the truth?

Kathleen passed us all, she stood brilliant and tall
In the eyes of the class bourgeoisie.
She was soon recognized with valedictory prizes,
Her future was on a marquee;
I remembered that night and my untoward flight
And the opportunities I’d lost;
They say only the brave do deserve the most fair
And that lesser men pay a great cost.

SO! Whatever happened to Kath-a-leen Carroll,
Dat Shinin’ Example of Yout’?
Whatever happened to Kath-a-leen Carroll,
Won’t somebody tell me de troot? HEY!
Won’t somebody tell me de troot? PLEASE!

What I’ve Learned: (3) In Quest of the Damsel, Be Bold

When you see a girl walking down the street whom you’ve never met but would like to, you’ve got one shot. You will never see this person again if you don’t act now, but what to say? Almost any trite line will be rejected and you will feel like a fool, on top of not getting the girl. Wiser for the Kathleen Carroll experience, I always had a plan.
One day, driving down University Avenue in Gainesville, I noticed a girl, walking alone on the perimeter of the UF campus. She stood very erect, yet floated along like one of those Japanese trains that never touches the ground. I searched desperately for a place to park before she disappeared from sight, eventually finding an illegal spot. I jogged up to her.

“Hey, hold on a second!”

“Did I do something wrong?”

“No, you did a bunch of things right. My name is Bill Killeen. I work for Charlatan Magazine and we need a model for a Honda Motorcycle ad. Would you consider doing it for us?”

“Hi, I’m Pamme Brewer. Sounds interesting….what would all this entail?"

No woman ever turns down this kind of request. You’ve put her on a pedestal, selected her over all others and promised her a modicum of fame. Now, assuming you are not a moron, you have got your foot in the door and may proceed appropriately.

What I’ve Learned: (3A) In Quest of the Damsel, Be Romantic

When I first began seeing Siobhan, I realized she was much brighter and more sophisticated than the average girlfriend and requiring an elevated effort.

Early on, I discovered her love for Georgia O'Keeffe’s work, especially Red Poppy No. VI (1928). She had searched everywhere for a print, but came up empty. I found one, had it framed and put it in the trunk of my car before we travelled to St. Pete Beach for the weekend. Before dinner, I told her I wanted to go down to the hotel restaurant and check the menu to see if we wanted to eat there or someplace else. I found a nice private table with a painting hanging on the wall beside it. The maitre d’ agreed to replace his painting with my Georgia O’Keeffe.

Arriving for dinner, Siobhan marveled at the coincidence of having her favorite painting hanging over the table.

“It’s a good omen,” I told her. The restaurant staff always loves this stuff.

Upon leaving, the maitre d’ came over and told Siobhan that she could have the painting since she loved it so much. She was flabbergasted, but said she couldn’t accept. The laughter all around alerted her to the alternate reality. Such a performance stands you in good stead for, oh, say, 25 years. As they say in retail….Ka-ching!

What I’ve Learned: (3B) In Quest of the Damsel, Honesty Is Not Always The Best Policy

Everybody has a favorite Halloween Story. Mine is better than yours. For the first half, anyway. After tending to the vast flock of ghouls and goblins (people in retail just love masked customers, by the way) Halloween always generates, we were closing the Circus at ten to go join in the festivities. At ten to the hour, a beautiful blond named Pam Dubois walked in the door. Pam Dubois was a dormmate of Pamme Brewer (long gone at this stage) whom I had met during that relationship. Never more than a “hi, how are you?” between us.

After everyone but Pam and I had exited, she backed the door closed and kissed me extravagantly. Festivities, shmestivities, we went to my house next door and had our own tricks and treats. After the main event, laying there in the bed, Pam asked me if, after all the hassles I’d gone through, I was still an idealist. I thought I knew what answer she wanted, but I foolishly told her the truth. I was a little jaded now, a lot more cynical, I told her, and less optimistic of what could be accomplished. Pam was a poet. She was full of hope. She didn’t want to hear this. I think, in retrospect, I was her last desperate hope. The next time I saw her she had a girlfriend.

Old College Magazine Joke (from 1966):

Said the Bishop one day to the Abbott,
Whose instincts were those of a rabbit:
“I know it’s great fun
To embrace a young nun,
But you mustn’t get into the habit!”

That’s all, folks….