On The Trail With Stef

She was a naturopathic physician. They don’t disdain conventional medicine, but the deal heavily in herbs and natural things. “So, I should take hemlock,” I asked?

Stef went roller blading again today. I asked if I could skate along.

Last week she bought skates, was very unhappy with them and returned them. Now, with new blades, she’s a speed demon. It only took a few seconds for her to ask if it was OK to skate ahead (and leave me behind).

I plodded along with my skates, now questioning their ability to get the job done. Over time, the edges of the front wheels have been carved, hitting the ground at the point of a “V.” They look like tires on a car with bad front end alignment. Maybe it’s new skate time for me too?

People on skates and bikes were passing me by as I huffed and puffed along. I passed no one, other than those who had been eligible to vote for Harry Truman.

One woman on skates who passed me a few minutes earlier was resting as I crossed an intersection. As I passed by, she started up again and we traded small talk for a few minutes.

She was a naturopathic physician. They don’t disdain conventional medicine, but they do deal heavily in herbs and natural things. The doctor had a tattoo just below her shoulder.

“So, I should take hemlock,” I asked?

I hope she has great healing powers, because she wasn’t wearing wrist guards. That’s the one part of skating safety I never miss. The others biggies, head gear and knee pads… well, don’t ask.

She skated on into the distance as I tried to remain upright and in motion. There is little ‘coast’ with this current set of skates.

Stef was nowhere to be seen when I turned around. It’s tough to gauge when you’ve reached ‘halfway to death,’ so you don’t overdo it. It felt like I was properly baked and sat on a stone bench to rest a minute.

I began to chat with a man who was riding alongside his five year old daughter. She was on a ‘princess bike’ with training wheels.

I explained that his daughter’s path was now set. Form would trump function from here on out. Princess bikes were just the beginning. Cute would beat reliable. It’s only now, approaching her 21st birthday, that Stef is starting to back down on this… but only a little.

Greg, the five year old’s father, told me he worked for a newspaper in a nearby town. We both commiserated at the state of media, our job future and the blessing and curse of the Internet as it applies to old media.

By then Stef was riding our way. I looked at her and looked at Greg’s five year old. It doesn’t seem so long ago Steffie was that age.

Everything everyone said was true. It does go by in the blink of an eye. There’s no way to fully comprehend that until after its happened.

Stef rode off and I tried to follow. My legs are a lot longer, but I just couldn’t keep up. In fact, while I was still a minute or so from the car, my cellphone chirped. She wanted to know where I was!

Just Call Me Geoff

Over time, more and more people have taken to calling me Mr. Fox. It’s a little disturbing, because I don’t want to be that old.

I usually tell them, “My name is Geoff. Mr Fox lives in a condo in Florida.”

Of course Mr. is the least of the titles you can have with your name. You could be Dr., or Rev., or Senator, or… well the list is nearly endless.

A few years ago, while perusing the British Airways website I came across their choice of titles. I saw the list cited today on another website and thought I’d post it here – just for fun.

Some are so obscure, I have no idea what they could possibly be. I do know, few holders of these titles will ever be flying with me in Row 39, aft of the wing.

Click the list and choose a title. They’re free.

Reading Rolling Stone

Somehow, after buying concert tickets earlier in the year, Helaine ended up with a free subscription to Rolling Stone. I was once a subscriber, though at least 30 -35 years ago. I’m not sure whether Rolling Stone has changed or it’s just me. Probably it’s both.

I’ve got a 192 page issue in my hands. This is substantial reading, though the first thing I noticed was the quality and quantity of the ads.

The first two inside pages were a double truck Camels cigarette ad. Does Rolling Stone need the cash that bad? Actually, with the age of their readers, I’m not thrilled about the liquor ads either.

Cigarettes were followed by clothes. Levis, Abercrombie and Fitch (the Abercrombie guy in the ad is a dead ringer for me… if I was sculpted, shaved my chest and dyed my hair – 20 years ago) and K-Mart.

The ads are all slick and young. Everyone is slim. Everyone is pretty – even the boys. Everything is upscale in presentation, even stuff sold at K-Mart.

I am feeling older by the minute. This is depressing.

This issue’s raison d’etre was “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” Number one is Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone.” Like a Rolling Stone in Rolling Stone Magazine… coincidence? Probably not.

The writing is crisp, to the point and loaded with meat. I just learned three or four things about the Beatles A Day in the Life (#26), that I never knew… and which I’ll now remember.

I wonder how the target audience feels when the ‘chosen song’ for all of rock and roll is 39 years old. Would my 17 year old daughter even listen Dylan? It’s like asking her to watch a black and white movie – possible in theory – impossible in practice.

Once upon a time, dressed so fine. You threw the bums a dime, in your prime, didn’t you?

It will take me a while to get through this issue. Whether I read the contemporary reviews along with the top-500 is another story? Most of the CDs seemed to get 3 and 4 stars out of 5. That’s generous. The only bomb review was 1 star for the new Bridget Jones movie.

I will enjoy thumbing through these 500. The stories and some of the vintage album art are worth the price of admission.

It’s a list that’s age agnostic.


Once upon a time you dressed so fine

You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you?

People’d call, say, “Beware doll, you’re bound to fall”

You thought they were all kiddin you.

You used to laugh about

Everybody that was hanging out.

Now you don’t talk so loud.

Now you don’t seem so proud.

About having to be scrounging for your next meal.

How does it feel.

How does it feel.

To be without a home.

Like a complete unknown.

Like a rolling stone?

You’ve gone to the finest school all right, Miss Lonely

But you know you only used to get juiced in it.

And nobody has ever taught you how to live on the street

And now you find out you’re gonna have to get used to it.

You said you’d never compromise

With the mystery tramp, but now you realize

He’s not selling any alibis

As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes.

And ask him do you want to make a deal?

How does it feel.

How does it feel.

To be on your own.

With no direction home.

Like a complete unknown.

Like a rolling stone?

You never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns

When they all come down and did tricks for you.

You never understood that it ain’t no good

You shouldn’t let other people get your kicks for you.

You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat

Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat.

Ain’t it hard when you discover that

He really wasn’t where it’s at

After he took from you everything he could steal.

How does it feel.

How does it feel.

To be on your own.

With no direction home.

Like a complete unknown.

Like a rolling stone?

Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people

They’re drinking, thinking that they got it made.

Exchanging all kinds of precious gifts and things

But you’d better lift your diamond ring, you’d better pawn it babe.

You used to be so amused

At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used.

Go to him now, he calls you, you can’t refuse.

When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.

You’re invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal.

How does it feel.

How does it feel.

To be on your own.

With no direction home.

Like a complete unknown.

Like a rolling stone?