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The Idle American
Musings with Mort...
Wednesday, January 4, 2012 • Posted January 4, 2012

Surely he uses cue cards when he phones during bowl game intermissions, touching topics all over the conversation map in record time. Verbal responses lengthen calls, so I simply smile, nod or frown, relying on assorted expressions of bewilderment.Such was the plan when Uncle Mort, my 99-year-old kin, called from the thicket. He was awash in holiday excitement akin to a ten-year-old on Christmas morning.Like horses released from barn confines, his words fairly galloped. Committed to a vow of silence, I listened….*****First off, he spoke of 2011’s final meeting of the Lions Club. (No, he’s not a member, but he hastily accepts when friends invite him. Sure enough, they had turkey, dressing and pecan pie—two pieces, since Mort sat next to a guy on the front end of a diet dare.)At meal’s end, a usually-timid Lion—for whom joining in the Pledge of Allegiance was problematic and voicing a holiday prayer was unthinkable—approached the lectern. He wasn’t scheduled to speak, but requested a “point of personal privilege.”Members stopped at mid-bite, moved that the mild-mannered, “milquetoast-y” man might muster the mettle to make meaningful microphone mentions.… *****Gripping the lectern, the Wizard-of-Oz-like Lion admitted his fondness for juice of the grape and occasional indulgence to excess. “Sometimes I reach a state of amiable incandescence,” he said, “But this time, good judgment prevailed.”At a holiday party, he was warmed by “too many trips to the eggnog bowl.” When hours wound down to wee, a sunny thought broke through his cloudy mind.“I decided to take a bus home,” he said proudly….*****Listeners silently considered applauding, or at least offering back-pats and/or congratulatory notes.“I’m sure some of you have imbibed to excess, and that my decision to take a bus home comes as a surprise to you,” the speaker said. “It shocked me, too, since I don’t know how to drive a bus, don’t know where I found it and have no clue where I parked it.”Stone-faced, the speaker walked slowly back to his table to finish his pie…*****Switching topics, Mort mentioned feeling sorry for football coaches. “For the few who run championship flags up the pole, there are hundreds of others who feel run over at worst, or run down at best,” he said.He cited a recent high school state championship game at Cowboys Stadium.“The losing coach probably felt like he’d been run over by a truck—figuratively—and the winner’s response hit dead center of the truth button,” my uncle opined. “He likely felt as if he’d been run over by a golf cart—literally.”…*****Sometimes Mort reaches “way back” comparing current notables to historical figures. He asked what Dallas Cowboys defensive Coach Rob Ryan has in common with the late Gorgeous George—whose showmanship did for TV wrestling what Elvis Presley’s did for rock-n’-roll music.I kidded that since both showed partiality to long locks, maybe they had the same hairdresser. Mort agreed, adding that both of them seem better known for their bravado than for “delivering the goods.”My uncle remembered one interview with the wrestling star best known for his TV antics during a decade beginning in 1947. “I don’t believe I’m the most capable wrestler in the world, I don’t think I’m the most handsome man on the planet, and I don’t think I’m the most intelligent athlete in the history of sports,” the gorgeous one said. “But what’s my opinion against millions of others?”…*****Gorgeous George warrants Googling. A showman and well-above-average wrestler, his flamboyance propelled him to stardom. Wearing garish capes and sparkling jewelry, he sprayed the ring with what he called “Chanel No. 10” (Why be half safe?)His ring entry, set to music with assorted folderol, often took more time than the matches. Oft-quoted, his admonitions usually ended with zingers, such as “Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat!”With that, Mort signed off, I dozed off and the second half kicked off….*****

Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Metroplex. Send inquiries/comments to: Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site:

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