Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Who's Looking Out For The Big Guy?

If we can get this "embed video" thingy to work we can have a chuckle and make a point about health care...

I had to fire my chiropractor over the health care issue yesterday. He decided it was a good idea to put one of those obnoxious yellow "Don't Tread on Me" flags--the one with the coiled snake on it--in his front office window. Well, don't tread on me, neither buddy. There are enough people in his field that I don't have to go to no teabagger to get my back worked on. My back is actually hurting today after having played hockey on it but I'll ice it down and grit my teeth until a find a new guy. When I told the receptionist yesterday I wouldn't be coming back and she asked me why, I pointed at the snake flag in the window and shrugged.  That said it all as far as I was concerned.  You shoulda seen the look on her face.  She asked, "Are you for real?" Now, I have to confess that I was a little taken aback at having had my very existence questioned but I recovered nicely. "Of course I am," I told her.

Jeannie and I were at a big health care town hall a couple of weeks ago and we got to see these moronic haters up close (in your face up-close when we got down to it, in fact) and a lot of them were waving that very flag with the snake on it. They were haters. I don't know what the whole "don't tread on me" thing is about. I know it has some historical significance but I'm too lazy to Google it. All I can say to this clown is, "If you want money for people with minds that hate, all I can tell you is buddy you have to wait..."

Anybody know a good chiropractor in the Farmington area?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Ernie Harwell

Ernie Harwell announced today that he has inoperable cancer.  Mr. Harwell was the play-by-play voice of the Detroit Tigers for over 40 years.  He is to Detroit what Vin Scully is to Los Angeles; what Harry Caray was to Chicago.  I've led a lucky life.  One of the reasons is that I got to know and I got to work with Ernie Harwell.  I wrote the following about him for the monthly column I write for my professional organization, the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association:

I hope that when I die, if I get to go to Heaven, that when I get there Ernie Harwell will still be my friend.

I just heard the news and it made me think of so many things.

The first was about Ernie’s courage. I heard him being interviewed this morning and he talked about how he’s ready for the next adventure God has in store for him. He sounded so totally at ease. I don’t know of too many people who could take in stride the news that they had inoperable cancer, but that’s just what Ernie is doing.

I thought about how I got to drive Ernie from his place in the suburbs to our Christmas party at Sinbad’s and back last December and how those couple of hours that I got to talk baseball with him made the day about the best day I’d had all year.

I thought about his asking during that drive what the DSBA was up to these days and I thought about the check he wrote right there in the car for our grant fund after I told him our primary function now is to raise money to support high school broadcasting programs and young broadcasting students and I thought about how he made me promise not to tell anyone about it and so I didn’t.

I thought about the story I told about Ernie at that same party. The same one I always tell about him. How, when I was just starting out, when I was just 22, when I was covering the second Tigers game of my career, Ernie came up to me while I was standing near the cage and stuck out his hand and introduced himself to me: “Hi, I’m Ernie Harwell,” and how I thought to myself, “Well, duh.” And then I thought, “Dude, you’re talking to Ernie Harwell. Ernie freaking Harwell! I was just a kid and he made me feel like a big shot. I’ll never forget that. That was the moment I stopped worrying about fitting in when it came to covering Big Leaguers. If my being there was good enough for Ernie Harwell…

I thought about how he announced one night during a Tigers broadcast that Jeannie and I had become parents that day. In so doing, he did the impossible. He made the best day of our lives, the day our Laura was born, even better.

A few months ago, Ernie called me at home to pass along a web address he thought might help me find that elusive next broadcasting job. I was out and Laura took the call. I took Laura to the ballgame the other day. When Detroit gave up six runs before recording an out I told her that based on my experience we could safely leave at that point but we wound up staying to the bitter end. On the way out we passed Ernie’s statue. I said, “Look, Laura. It’s Ernie Harwell.” Laura said, “He must be pretty important to have his own statue. Wow, he called our house.” So there’s Mr. Harwell, making another generation of Kincaides’ feel like big shots.

I love you, Ernie. Thanks for everything.