It was the first day of March in 1978. The bell rang and a bunch of excited screaming kids hurried out to the school yard. This normally meant baseball, football, jump rope, hopscotch and the like. But this day was different at Joseph J. Greenberg elementary school in Northeast Philadelphia. A phenomenon swept the recess grounds. Each of us kids was quoting our favorite television show by saying “na-nu na-nu” and sticking out their hand in an odd manner. These were truly Happy Days.
I remember this scene vividly. It has reappeared in mind after Robin Williams’ passing earlier this week. I enjoyed many of Robin Williams’ movies and count ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ as one of my favorites. I was moved by ‘Good Morning Vietnam.’ However, it is this scene from my elementary school that I recall as the truest testament of the power that Robin Williams possessed
My children through time.
You always end up making extra spaghetti – right? Luckily, spaghetti is one of the all-time great leftover foods. I have been known to eat cold spaghetti a day or even two after it was originally served. Yes, spaghetti can be saved in order to be eaten later.
You ever have a topic seemingly just keep popping up? It’s as if G-d or fate is tapping you on the shoulder and imploring you to listen. Well, that’s what happened for me with the movie Boyhood. First, a buddy of mine brought it up and asked me if wanted to see it. A few days later I saw a review on the How To Be A Dad site. A few days after reading the review, my brother and sister-in-law mentioned Boyhood and praised the movie greatly.
So, this past weekend I actually saw the Richard Linklater movie. For the uninitiated, Boyhood takes place over 12 years and follows a boy, Mason, from the time he is in kindergarten till the age of 18 and his first day in his college dorm. The boy is now a man. It literally took 12 years for Linklater to make the movie as he filmed for a few days over each of those 12 years.
Patricia Arquette stars as the mother of Mason and his sister Samantha. Ethan Hawke is her estranged husband. Arquette goes through some turbulent times as she suffers through two marriages to drunken men. She does grow tremendously professionally and becomes a college professor. Hawke goes from a shiftless guy who means well to a responsible man with a new wife and child. However, the focus of Boyhood is the children and Mason in particular. The audience learns about him through snippets of his life and sees him grow into adulthood.
“So, what do you think?” SL asked.
“It’s nice,” I replied.
“So, you think you want one?”
“Nah, not for me.”
“Just not interested.”
“It’s not like it hurt much.”
“That’s good, but still not interested.”
SL, one of my best friends at the time was nearly incredulous by my blasé attitude towards his first tattoo. After all, we were 19 (or thereabouts) when this conversation (or some semblance of it) occurred. He probably looked at the tattoo as a statement, a declaration of independence. He always wanted to push the envelope.
It’s 1974, and I’m sitting in the front seat of my mother’s 1965 Blue Green Plymouth Fury. She has me bundled up and ready for errands. Before we can leave, the car needs to warm up. To pass the time, my mother leads me on count up to 30. This is my first experience with numbers.
I’m sitting at the dining room table. My back is to the door that leads to the basement where my oldest brother, HB, is hanging out. I call out my math homework questions, and HB calls up the answer. This is another of my early experience with numbers.
Yes, I learned my numbers in an unconventional way. If you look deeper at my history, this is not surprising. You see, I come from a numbers family. My father was an accountant. My mother can recall the birthday of people she has not seen or spoke to in years. HB majored in accounting. My 2nd oldest brother crunches number in some capacity in his job. My next older brother has held a number of jobs where numbers were required.
Numbers dance in my head.