By RICH FOLEY
It’s seems like it was only four years ago when I wrote my one hundredth column and after a mere 100 or so attempts at page-filling later, it’s time to celebrate 200 of these little communiqués.
Actually, 200 columns is nothing when you consider the young fellow who occupies the column space to the right of this has probably written, what, 10 million columns? OK, maybe it’s closer to a thousand or so, but he’s been here a lot longer than I have.
Regardless, a lot has happened in the eight-plus years since I started writing this column. I took a look back through some of my earlier efforts and got a kick out of how dated some things now are.
For instance, back in 2000, I purchased a Chevrolet Caprice and was dismayed that it took nearly $40 to fill its 25 gallon gas tank. Now it would take over $80 to slake the Chevy’s thirst. That’s assuming it’s still around.
When I last saw it about three years ago, it was for sale in Adrian at a home which was also holding a moving sale. Whether the survivor of a collision with a horse-sized deer found a new home, moved to another state or ended up as scrap metal is a mystery I may never solve.
Also, in 2000, I wrote about a cell phone commercial that starred an attractive young Jamie Lee Curtis. Now, she’s doing ads for a yogurt for those with, shall we say, “regularity” problems and she’s looking like she’s right in the target market for the product. Jamie Lee, can’t you pick up an endorsement from some hair color manufacturer?
Four years ago, I moved to Fayette and found a whole new batch of column material in the Buckeye State. So far, I’ve been unable to interest anyone in changing the state’s official rock song from “Hang On, Sloopy” to something more to my liking.
I also had no luck in moving Sterlena, the giant fiberglass spokescow, to a location in my yard so the planned Big Cow Apartments never came to fruition. Luckily for her, she scored a new gig as frontcow for a new milk company. Not only is the company named after her, her picture is on the package. Maybe we can get her to make a promotional stop in town.
I have continued to add to my Fayette Ranch for Homeless Snuggle Bears. “K. C.”, a handsome stuffed orphan bruin from the state of Kansas, was adopted via eBay and became the first to join the group via the internet. He arrived on Christmas Eve, bringing the current Snuggle population to eight. Yes, I know I should seek professional help.
The sad part about looking back over the last eight years comes when you start thinking about the people who have left us. For me, that means my Aunts Liz and Sue, leaving two cousins and my much-older sister as the oldest members of the family. I still miss my yearly trips to Missouri to celebrate Aunt Sue’s birthday (and to miss out on catching Chuck Berry’s concert appearance every trip). I also miss the tater tots at the Sonic Drive-In in Vandalia, Ill., along the way.
Other personal favorites leaving us include David Brinkley, Tom Snyder, Waylon Jennings, Warren Zevon, Johnny Cash and Evel Knievel. And I’m still waiting for that $2.8 million that the late James “Scotty” Doohan supposedly left me in his will. I never believed that for a second, of course, but it was, by far, the most creative cyberscam I’ve ever received.
Along the way, I’ve learned how to detonate soap in a microwave oven, eaten Pringles containing fish and lived to write about it, survived a bout with bursitis, passed on buying scented tires for my Buick and questioned the sanity of an Alaskan biologist who thinks marking bears by painting them is a good idea (his first attempt killed the bear when he hit a vital organ with his tranquilizer dart).
I see I’m about out of space for this little trip down memory lane, so I’d better wrap it up. We’re now on our way toward 300 columns and I’d like to end this one by acknowledging some of those people out there who helped to fill the space along the way. So special thanks go out to Kinky Friedman, the late Warren Zevon, Jared (the Subway Nerd) Fogle, Meat Loaf, The Knack and as always, the Miracle Box of Donuts. I couldn’t have done it without all of you.