Tag Archives: Smokey and the Bandit

Top ten list of things I have difficulty or am unable to do because of seizures and my cerebral palsy

Greetings, readers. Today, we are going to have a top ten list, a long overdue top ten list, and I think I’ve found an interesting topic. It is jobs and hobbies that I have difficulty doing or am not allowed to do by law because of my health issues and medication. As almost all of you know, I have cerebral palsy, and every great once in a while one of the side effects of it is a petit mal seizure. There are many professions I dreamt of doing and would have loved to do but at age 16, when the first seizure hit, those doors were slammed shut. Those professions will be featured in choices two and one. Okay, so here we go, let’s start it off.

#10. Circus performer. [Now, I know some of you are thinking, why did this even make the list. I’ve never dreamt of being a circus performer; however, with my bad balance due to my CP and that minute risk of a seizure, anything like a trapeze artist or a high wire act is absolutely out of the question. I could be a clown or some other act on the ground, but really the whole circus thing really wouldn’t appeal to me.]

#9. Mountain climber. [Again, I have absolutely no desire to go climb a mountain, but if I did, it would be one of the most unsafe hobbies I could try. You need two strong hands to grab on to the rocks; I only have one strong hand.]

#8. City high-rise window washer. [If I lived in New York City or Los Angeles, that could be a job that I could try, but I think my bad balance and fear of heights would petrify me so much that I would freeze in one spot and not be able to move. Now I know there is harness equipment to keep you from falling to the ground, but I don’t think that would be enough to overcome the blind panic.]

#7. Police officer. [A police officer has to be strong, well-coordinated, and able to run fast. I am none of those things. Oh, I could drive the police car, no problem, but if we were chasing someone in a car at 80 miles an hour, my bad coordination would come in to play and I would most likely wrap the squad car around a light pole. It would be a fun job, but … no, not for me.]

#6. Firefighter. [As a child I loved the show Emergency!, and later the short-lived series Code Red wasn’t bad either. It made me dream of wanting to be a firefighter. I’m sure I could hold the hose on the first floor, but carrying heavy things just isn’t going to happen. I would tip over and fall, or drop the heavy piece of equipment or person. Not good.]

#5. Drive a train. [I love my train simulator game, and I wonder what it would have been like to drive one in real life. My daily medication regiment makes that dream impossible. ]

#4. Play professional sports. [When I was a child, most boys, myself included, dreamt of playing sports. Ah, the dream of scoring the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl, or the game winning hit in game seven of the World Series. Now, I don’t mind telling you, I was a pretty fair Nerf football quarterback, but as far as going out for the high school team, forget about it. I was not strong enough, big enough, or coordinated enough.]

#3. Do all tasks of my job and do them fast. [At my fast food job, there are a few jobs I can’t do, like the take out window, because the drink lids are different from the coffee lids, and I will tend to spill the drinks when my shaking left hand gets in the way of my firm right hand. That tends to make my manager an unhappy camper if I goof up and spill a drink. I take pride in getting thinks correct. That means at the register I will take a couple of extra seconds with each customer. People have rewarded me through good reviews for my extra effort. If you want speed and accuracy, well I can’t count change as fast as anyone else. I might be one of their friendliest cashiers, but I am in no way the quickest. Every day I do get a little bit better, but with these fingers, I’ll only be able to get just so fast. I have to remember to stay within myself, and be the best me that I can be. What else can anybody ask of me.]

#2. Truck driver. [The thought of driving down the interstate in a big-rig filled my dreams many times, especially after watching Smokey and the Bandit thirteen consecutive Friday evenings at the movie theater. Yes, the movies were only $2 back then. When my seizures began, again there went that employment opportunity. I doubt highly that any trucking company would hire anyone with seizures and who is medicated to the point where at the end of the day his favorite word is nap. I guess I’ll just have to stick to playing Euro Truck Simulator 2 for my gaming channel.]

#1. Commercial airline pilot. [This was my big dream as a child. I loved airplanes and still do. I was in awe in big airports. Everything jumbo jet fascinated me. I wanted to fly for TWA or Pan Am. And again, then the seizures hit. Not to be too redundant, but no airline in their right mind would hire someone on four different types of seizure medications. Plus, with my weakness in my left side, yes I could lift the yoke up and get the plane to fly, however, if the hydraulics failed, I know right now I would not have the strength in the arms to keep that aluminum bird flying straight and level.]

Well, there you have it, the long overdue top ten list for today. I’m planning on taking a personal day tomorrow, so Rebecca will do the entry for Thursday. Until next time, have a great weekend, take care, and as always, happy reading.

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Top ten list of things we might remember from our childhood

Greetings, readers. This top ten list was going to be a general list that anyone could relate to, but as the list got going, it seemed to get more specific to the time I was growing up. I’m 51 years old, so I think anyone around my age will be able to remember the same things.

#10. Mom or Dad would say, “Sorry, but we can’t do that. It’s a school night.” [There were many things I enjoyed doing, from playing ball outside to watching that 9:30 TV show, and there was always that cut-off time on school night.]

#9. Snow days. [During the cold snowy winters of the mid to late 70s, I eagerly anticipated each snow storm with the high hopes of those beloved snow days. I know we had to make up the days off from school at the end of the year, but to stay home, warm and cozy, was always fun.]

#8. Older cars and cheaper gas. [Back when American cars were big boats, with plenty of room and large gas tanks, no one thought anything of going for that long Sunday drive. Most big cars were fancy, stylish, and sounded cool. The cheapest gas I can remember was 40 or 50 cents per gallon. Yes that was more money back then, I know, but if you just look at the numbers compared to today you’d get a chuckle.]

#7. Saturday morning cartoons. [When I was a youngster, I could not wait for Saturday mornings. I would run downstairs, fill my cereal bowl, and plop in front of the TV to watch three hours of really good cartoons. The cartoons they make today are not nearly as entertaining to me and some Anime cartoons are quite violent. It is a pity that the Saturday morning cartoon is actually gone.]

#6. That disco craze. [The music of the 1970s was funk and disco. I don’t love all disco music, but some of my all-time favorite songs are from this genre.]

#5. Roller skating. [Before roller blading, there was roller skating. When I was a teenager, roller skating was just on the way out. There used to be a place called Sir Skate here in town that would do a whooping Friday and Saturday evening business. Lots of school kids could not wait to flock to the rink and skate the evening away to good music.]

#4. Going to a Friday evening movie or drive-in. [Many an evening was spent by me going to our local theaters and watching such hits as Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the 1976 version of King Kong, Smokey and the Bandit, and of course, the original Star Wars. Ticket prices were cheap, as were the refreshments.]

#3. Baseball games on the radio. [This is more something of the 1940 and 50s craze, but I can still remember my mom listening to the Pittsburgh Pirates on the radio. In the mid 70s, one of our local TV stations starting showing the games and we began to watch instead of listen to them. My favorite radio announcer recently retired, the LA Dodgers’ Vin Scully.]

#2. Walter Cronkite, Tom Brokaw, John Chancellor and Johnny Carson. [I always associated certain times of my life with certain celebrities. Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show was one of them. I would always watch his opening monologue on Friday nights when I could stay up later. My three favorite news anchors were Tom Brokaw, Walter Cronkite, and John Chancellor. Today the world is so depressing I no longer watch the news. Sorry current news anchors.]

#1. Holidays at home with family. [Some of my happiest memories are at Christmas time as a child. I enjoyed big Christmas trees, lots of presents, Christmas carols and a great holiday dinner. In elementary school of course my favorite part of that time was the holiday break. Three weeks of no school. Back then, yes, it was called Christmas vacation. So sorry for not being politically correct. Lol.]

There’s my list. If anyone has a question, comment or wishes to add your list, please feel free to do it here.

Until tomorrow, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Joe gave a personal and memorable show last Friday

Joe will remember December 2, 2016 for the rest of his life.

One of the reasons for that is the Going for Broke show, as he called it, that he performed in the community room of Addison Court for friends and a few special people. Regular readers know that David Trost, his buddy from childhood who he considers to be a brother, came to visit for a few days. Joe was happy to have Dave here for one of his shows. In attendance were also Joe’s girlfriend Traci and Traci’s sister and nephew. Joe included songs in the playlist for them and the show was one of his most personal performances. He shared with the audience that his first show was for his family when he was 10 years old, and he still enjoyed doing them for friends and loved ones. I will get into his actual show in a moment, after I talk about the special event in the middle of it, which is the main reason Joe will remember this day.

Joe finished his first set with a special song for Traci from the Rocky movie soundtrack, “You Take My Heart Away” by DeEtta Little and Nelson Pigford. Joe sang this love song directly to Traci, and she got tears in her eyes. He finished singing, then got something from the next room. Joe approached her chair, got down on one knee, and proposed to a very surprised Traci while her family shared the moment. Traci joyfully said yes. There was a break in the show, while pictures were taken and congratulations were said. The second set, understandably, was a little difficult for him to focus on for a couple of songs.

The first set was tighter than the second set. Joe started the show with three TV show theme songs, from Eight is Enough, The Dukes of Hazzard, and The Love Boat. The first two themes are about family and the third is about finding love, which set the tone for the show. His next two songs were “Shout It Out” by B.T. Express and “Show Me the Way” by Peter Frampton. Then he performed the first of two Pat Benatar songs, “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” after observing that he also does songs by female artists. He had two songs to honor family members. “Seasons in the Sun” by Terry Jacks was a request from Traci’s sister, and “East Bound and Down” by Jerry Reed from the soundtrack for Smokey and the Bandit was for Dave. He finished the set with three love songs that he sang with great feeling, obviously for Traci. “Love Will Keep Us Together” by Captain & Tennille, “(Do You Love Me) Just Say Yes” by Highway 101 proceeded the above mentioned “You Take My Heart Away.”

Joe was nervous leading up to the proposal, but he was able to focus on his performance as he cued up his playlist selections on his computer, sang, and periodically added some air guitar and air drums. The second set did not go so well, and he almost canceled it at one point.

Joe was running his playlist off a website called Spotify, and needed an internet connection to play the songs. Because of some work being done in a nearby room, the connection he was using was off at the end of his break. We waited fifteen minutes, and then the show was able to begin again. Joe still had challenges. Last October, Joe was forced to postpone this show because of a sinus infection. Even though he is over it now, he was not able to rehearse as much as usual, and he forgot the lyrics a few times. He is also still recovering his energy and endurance and sat down for most of the second set. He said he was embarrassed, but we in the audience assured him we didn’t care if he sat, we just wanted him to be okay. He was still a little rattled, and had to start one of the songs twice to get the lyrics right. And then an employee brought in a big bin that had to be stored in the closet behind Joe, so he had to stop singing. With all these issues, it was not one of Joe’s favorite performances. But he persisted and gave his audience a second set.

He began it with a song for Dave, “Just Fishin'” by Trace Adkins, which was the song Dave danced to with his daughter at her wedding reception. It was a touching tribute to his buddy/brother. He sang “Foolish Beat” by Debbie Gibson, followed by the second Pat Benatar song, “Heartbreaker.” Then Joe took out a picture of his niece for a song that he first heard when he was spending time with her one summer and sang “Pieces of Me” by Ashlee Simpson. Her photo stayed up for the rest of the show. His next two songs were for the holiday season, “Silver and Gold” and “A Holly Jolly Christmas,” both by Burl Ives. Joe’s next song, “Clyde” by Waylon Jennings, was added just five days before, but Joe knew it so well that he sang it perfectly. He finished the show with the two songs “Don’t Bring Me Down” by Electric Light Orchestra and “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins.

Joe may have had problems in the second set, but he succeeded in giving us in his audience a personal show that touched the heart.