Charlie Swagger On The MTA

January17/ 2000

 Have you ever noticed the difference between your first visit somewhere and return visits?  “First dates” can have a painful rigidness to them bred by unfamiliarity and disorientation.  Swagger had such an experience recently.  …   some comments on “BobLee on TV” and updating our campaign  “Don’t Let The Nuts Frame The Debate”.

   GU – “Geographically Unsuitable” … in the pre-Mizzus days this designation often came into play on whether brand new relationships should be given the opportunity to grow or be consigned to the “one and done” bin.   Anyone who has lived in a sprawling metro area might understand.  Having lived in Kansas City, Dallas, Atlanta, and Boston SMSAs I have found the situation universal.  

   In “micropolitan areas” such as one finds in eastern North Carolina, “Living in Greenville” can likely mean in a remote area of Pitt County but even then it’s a matter of 5-6 miles either way. .  “I live in Dallas” expands that  to 20-30 miles. Los Angeles is maybe the worst case of such sprawl but I only encounter that 1-2 times/year at most.

   I recall a brief encounter with a little gal “in Kansas City”  … VERY much pre-Mizzus.  We met in a business setting in the downtown area.  Although we both “lived in Kansas City” she really lived in Blue Springs on the eastern perimeter and I lived in Mission on the western edge … a difference of seemingly endless miles and probably various time zones, area codes, and maybe even hemispheres.  Bless her heart … it was a “one and done” encounter aided somewhat by the discovery that she was MARRIED albeit her husband had been in a coma for 6 years from a motorcycle accident.  Mega kinky! As I recall … she ended up in a long-term affair with Cincinnati Reds outfielder Vada Pinson.  Cute little gal but “geographically unsuitable” among other things.    


Swagger Stumper

 What was The Lone Ranger’s calling card?


   The BobLee Roadshow was in New Jersey this past weekend.  I fly into Newark 4-5 times a year.  I like the airport itself.  The terminals and the monorail system are pretty logical and efficient.  However … like LaGuardia and JFK, once you exit the airport you are a split second away from being “Charlie on The MTA”.  Unlike The Kingston Trio hapless “Charlie” it’s not a matter of a nickel to pay the fare but rather missing an exit or a road sign.  My status as a certified “road warrior” did not save me this trip … I descended into the depths of “out-of-towner HELL” and two hours of my life are a fuzzy blur.   

   Somehow I missed a road split intending to head west.  Suddenly I saw the Verrazano Bridge looming quite menacingly directly ahead … yes, you are right … that is NOT west of Newark.  I had no idea where I was but I was damn sure I was not going across that bridge (remember Mr. Swagger and scary bridges) … to answer the question “can you execute a bootlegger u-turn and jump a median on I-78” … Yes, if you are properly motivated to do so … the sight of that bridge was all the motivation I needed.

   It must have been akin to a religious experience because I found myself “speaking in tongues”.  I have amassed a pretty extensive profanity vocabulary over the years. Not a fact I am proud of … but a fact.  To exhaust that extensive vocabulary and resort to making up cusswords tells you all you need to know about why those two hours are a fuzzy blur.

   By the way … I equate a cuss meltdown when you are alone in an Avis rental car to singing Neal Diamond songs in the shower.  You know you sound ridiculous but it just seems like the time and place to do it.

   I did finally get to my destination … a Poconos-esque resort called Crystal Springs in northwest New Jersey.  My previous visit had been in a miserable rain.  My impressions this time were much more favorable.  Chris Webber was attending the same event   He was not calling TOs, taking $$$ under the table, or escorting Tyra Banks.  He seemed like a decent enough fellow; of course, I did mention my college affiliation.       

   On my earlier visit to Crystal Springs I came a different route and thought it was quite remote and isolated.  This time I discovered a Wal-Mart three miles away and all the assorted elements of fast food kitschy retail America surrounding it.  Ain’t it funny how the way you approach a situation can give you a totally different perspective?

   “BobLee on TV” went quite well … and guess what?  The SwaggerSays Tech All Stars are at work as we “speak” to post the video of the gig here on the website.  Give us a couple of days and VOILA!  It was pretty vintage BLS … some Spurrier stuff … Baddour stuff … “:New ACC”  stuff … etc. Nothing to alert the SwaggerSays legal defense boys about … as far as we know. 

   A hearty SALUTE to Brett Thompson and Jim Connors and the folks at News14 Carolina.  We had fun and got a coffee mug and a ballcap.  

   America is certainly NOT taking my sage advice to “not let The Nuts frame the debate” relative to this country’s ideological direction.  “The Nuts” are clearly at the controls as we descend pell mell into an uncompromising abyss from which we may not ever truly emerge.  Remember The Nuts come in all political forms and are as universal as the Lunatic Fringe in each fan base.

   I am old enough to recall when politics was pretty heated on election day and immediately preceding … kinda like “gameday” and the week leading up to “the Big Game”.  A short term period where hysterical abnormalities were expected and quickly put aside when the “election” or “the game” was over.  Those days are long gone.

   Alas … various candidates will outpoll their opponents come November and names on offices and parking spaces may/may not change … but I don’t forsee any “winners” … certainly not America “winning” and I say that regardless of whether “my side” comes out ahead or not.  Henry Clay – The Great Compromiser would be a lonely man in 2004.  The dominant political theme in America today is more Nikita Khrushev’s “we will bury you”.  Both sides in a scorched earth strategy … there will be no spoils to reap … they will all be spoiled … sigh!

   I see absolutely nothing to make me think the neighbor vs neighbor political split that widens each day will ever be healed … or that either side even cares if it is healed. I CARE but even an Internet Legend has limited powers.

   The Swaggers have had to adjust our social registry along political lines to avoid “bad scenes”.  I never thought that would happen.  For those of you who steadfastly avoid any political interest or concern I kind of envy you in a way.  But then I’m reminded “if you don’t stand up for something, you’ll fall for anything”. 

   I am also reminded of that great commercial for Keep America Beautiful with Iron Eyes Cody, the noble Indian, with the single tear running down his cheek … 

   We are pretty sure that our last column was the first time that Francis Marion, Erwin Rommel and Adolph Rupp had ever been grouped in one sentence.  Consider it an exercise in disjointed recall.

   As TV viewers saw … “the bad haircut” has moderated as predicted … and, as predicted, Mizzus Swagger has decided she likes the new look … go figure!  “James The Barber Butcher of Stamford” gains a reprieve.

   Reminder to new readers … check out the Archives … over 340 scintillatingly provocative commentaries just waiting for you to enjoy … and pass on to like-minded friends.

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