Jack of all trades, rockstar in my own mind

Jack of all trades, rockstar in my own mind

Tonight’s assignment, sent to us at 9:00 PM CDT is to write a blog on the following subject and publish it exactly at 10:00 PM:

Without trying to be humble, write about something you’re really good at.

I spent the first five minutes staring at it, trying to decide if that “at” is a dangling preposition.  I can’t help wondering if it should be, “Without trying to be humble, write about something at which you’re really good.”

Damn, sometimes I just can’t help myself.  If I had to pick one think at which I am really NOT good, it’s controlling the urge to correct things.  I don’t just correct other people, which I’m sure sends them away in droves, I correct myself, as well.

It would be incorrect to say that I’m an analyzer.  I’m an over-analyzer.  Right now I’m listening to Bruno Mars on my iPod.  It’s the only way I can stop my mind from its endless search for imperfection.

That was significantly off the subject, wasn’t it?

I’m good at doing things the first time.  I played hockey the first time I put on skates, although I think our team lost.

It was circa 1960, and Chicago had just been paralyzed by an ice storm.  There were no “storm teams” back then, the only way you knew about the weather was to go outside.

I put on a pair of hand-me-down (figure) skates and off I went to Chippewa Park, about two blocks from my house.  The ice was so thick on the sidewalks that by the time I got to the ice rink at the park, I was skating pretty well.

There was a hockey game going on, but Johnny Kramer had to leave, so he gave me his stick and told me to take over for him.

When I was 14 I found an old motorcycle in my alley, got it running and the rest, as they say is history.  I’m still riding, still haven’t dumped my bike. (Knock on wood)

When I was 15 my sister and her husband left their car in front of our house when he was transferred to New York.  If you don’t think I drove that car around the neighborhood everyday after school, you are wrong.

When I was 16, my other sister came home in a green Volkswagen (see above featured image) with a guy named Gary.  Trying to impress my sister, Gary asked me if I knew how to drive a stick (shift), to which I replied with the only answer possible, “Of course.”

The first few blocks were a bit herky jerky, but by the time I got Arnie Zuckerman’s house (about a mile away), I was rocking that Bug.

Lenny took me skiing for the first time in 1968.  We hitchhiked from Dekalb to his house in Peterson Park, “borrowed” his mother’s car and drove up to Wilmot, Wisconsin.

After renting all the necessary equipment, we headed for the rope tow and he gave me some very detailed instructions:  “Follow me.”

I followed Lenny right down that hill without falling.  I didn’t make any turns and stopped the only way I could manage; I ran into someone.

I’m still skiing.  Still running into people, too.

The first time I took apart an M16 was the first time I ever touched a gun-sorry, drill sergeant, I mean a rifle.  I was also the first in the class to put it back together.


Learning how to fly took a little more effort, although I flew my first solo flight after only 4 hours.  I keep my pilot’s license active, but I haven’t been current on my flying for a long time.


I’m a Master Scuba Diver (not a Dive Master, which is an instructor’s rank) and I feel as much at home on a wreck in 120 feet of water as I do sitting at Oak Street Beach.


I had a 47 foot boat that went 100 MPH.  That was pretty exciting and took a little skill to drive.  I don’t know where that skill came from, but it was there the first time I took the helm of that boat.  You may have seen “Witchcraft” (below) cruising the shore or hanging in the Playpen.

47 Fountain - Witchcraft

47 Fountain – Witchcraft

After a while, I got tired of having to be the only sober person on the boat.  You can’t cruise around Lake Michigan all sideways with that kind of power.

I’ve never done sky diving.  If you ask me why, I’ll tell you that it’s just not something that interests me.  You can interpret that as me saying that I would ruin my pants just standing in the doorway of a jump plane.

Besides, my flight instructor-a great, great lady named Leslie Henninger (pictured below)-once told me that if your plane is still flying, stay inside.

Leslie Henninger - Best flight instructor ever

Leslie Henninger – Best flight instructor ever

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