The Old Coot visits a peer (a nice name for another old guy)

I stopped in to visit John Bowen the other day, to compare notes on the aging process. It’s always nice not to be the oldest guy in the room. John and I share the same birthday “day,” but not the same year. We learned of that coincidence at a Fire Police meeting, or maybe it was at an Ambulance Squad meeting, neither of us can remember. 

We also discovered that both of us went to Binghamton Central High School and that Helen Foley was our English teacher. She was Rod Serling’s mentor, of Twilight Zone fame. Her work with us was more basic; she taught us to say isn’t instead of ain’t, and why a sentence with a double negative not only sounds bad, but it turns the negative into a positive. “I don’t have no money,” means you have money. Ain’t that cool?

We also discovered we both were in Alpha Zeta, a high school fraternity on the order of Delta Tau Chi in the movie, Animal House. We were more interested in having a good time than doing good deeds. We both spent considerable time in the principal’s office and also mastered the art of sleeping in class by resting our forehead on our hand, with our elbow on the desktop, making it look like we were staring down at the text book on our desk.   

It was no surprise to learn that we each spent too much time in the Lottis brother’s pool hall, a half block from the school. We just did it a decade or so apart. There’s nothing like shooting at the money ball in a game of nine ball with a Lucky Strike cigarette dangling from your lips, squinting because smoke is in your eyes, a week’s pay as a soda jerk on the line. It was a great visit and a trip down memory lane. I hope one of us remembers it.   

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