Archive for April, 2018

The Time I Tortured Myself for No Good Reason

Over the years, many people have questioned my intelligence, most notably several past bosses. You need look no further for damning evidence to back up this charge than Exhibit A: I once ran a marathon. And not as a court-ordered punishment for littering. No, I did it voluntarily.

If you’ve never run a marathon and you happen to be someone I strongly dislike, I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s a great way to waste four to fourteen perfectly good hours punishing your body and shattering your emotional well-being. During this endurance contest, as your will to live slowly disintegrates, you may catch yourself asking soul-searching questions like “Would anybody really notice if I cut off a few miles by taking the subway?”

A marathon is an absurdly long distance to travel without a car – 26 miles and 385 yards, to be exact. To put this into proper perspective, that’s twice the length of the island of Manhattan. It’s wider than the English Channel. And it’s 26 miles longer than I ever plan to travel on foot any time between now and when I die.

I did some research and found that the word “Marathon” comes from the Greek mara meaning “sea” and thonus meaning “lacking in thought”, or, roughly translated “a sea of idiots. This makes complete sense when you realize that every year, tens of thousands of otherwise sane people pay good money for the opportunity to inflict pain and suffering on their bodies over 26 miles of concrete.

I ran my first (and last) marathon on Sunday, November 4, 1990. It was the granddaddy of them all: the New York Marathon, which winds through all five boroughs of the Big Apple. I was one of an elite few selected to participate. They shut the door after 25,000 registrants.

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  • "sea of idiots" made me LOL. I love your writing. Your timing, self-deprecation, vocabulary and tight wit…
    Deborah Stehr
  • Published On Apr. 25, 2018 by TEJ
  • NIGHT OF THE DEAD (AIR)

     [The following is a true story.]

    The year was 1977. I was 22, just out of college, and working minimum wage for a top-forty radio station in Charlottesville, Virginia – WCHV.

    I completed a grueling course to earn my Third Class Radio Operator’s license, qualifying me to be on the airwaves – and make photocopies for the other disc jockeys. Perhaps because I broke the copy machine and spilled coffee on the radio control panel, the station manager wouldn’t let me near the microphone – except to read the T & T (time and temperature) on Christmas day when everyone else was at home for the holiday.

    My big break came the following Spring. It was 11:30 on a Tuesday night. I was in bed, unable to sleep because I lay there hacking and sniffling. I was sicker than a dog. Then the phone rang. It was the station manager: “Tim, Chris Furlong is under the weather and can’t do his midnight shift. I’ve called literally everybody, and nobody is available. So, what do you say? Want to be on the air?”

    Tonight?” I wheezed. However sick Chris Furlong might have been, I was feeling ten times worse. So naturally I answered: “Abso [cough] lutely, boss! [cough]. THANK [cough] YOU!”

    “Sure you’re feeling all right, buddy?”, he asked? “Never felt – ahhhhh-choooo – better. I’ll be right over,” I sneezed.

    I arrived at the station at 11:50 for the 12:00 to 6 am shift. At the stroke of midnight, the previous shift’s jock raced out of the studio, like Cinderella fleeing from the Ball. At that moment, it suddenly dawned on me: I was totally alone in the building. The fate of WCHV was upon my shoulders ALONE.

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    • Tim. This was hilarious. I can imagine how you felt when the studio went dark. Kerp them coming. Jim
      James RichesonJ
  • Published On Apr. 12, 2018 by TEJ
  • My Visit with Mom

    Recently, I flew across the country from Seattle to my hometown of Albany, New York, to spend a few days with my elderly mother. While my father died relatively young (at age 64 – a year older than I am now), my mom is like the Energizer Bunny. At 97, she keeps going and going and going.

    Well, maybe not exactly. She now needs hearing aids in both ears, her short-term memory has declined significantly, and she is legally blind, able only to make out shapes and colors but with no detail. And she needs a wheelchair to make it any further than two feet. But otherwise, she is doing amazingly well.

    While my mother knew I was coming to town, she kept forgetting exactly which day I’d be arriving. So, when I knocked on her room door at the nursing home facility, I entered the room only identifying my presence by saying “Special Delivery for Betty.”  She got momentarily confused, not knowing who was calling on her.

    I proclaimed I had a special order of Peanut M&M’s (her favorite candy), but she was still unsure about who was bringing her this surprise. She guessed a few names before I gave her a hint: “It’s your fourth son, Tim!” Suddenly, she lit up like a Christmas tree and hugged me like my visit was the return of the prodigal son.

    Her fragile frame, once 5’3”, now barely reaches 5’. But her smile is still radiant. I would be visiting her for the next six days, and all I wanted to do was be there with her and to hopefully add a little sunshine for a few precious days.

    Continue reading “My Visit with Mom” »


    • Wow, Tim. It is so nice to have a special person like your Mom (and my Mom too, Hi) in…
      Janice Strong
  • Published On Apr. 03, 2018 by TEJ