Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Odds and Ends

I noticed a Facebook status this week that got me thinking.  It was a Dr. Seuss quote which I will try to quote from memory:
"There is something that is truer than true, that there is no one that is youer than you."
I am very grateful to Dr. Seuss.  How else will I remember the sound that the letter "F" makes, except by knowing that there are four fluffy feathers on a Fiffer-Feffer-Feff?  Anyway, being the ever-so-egocentric person that I am, the above quote (which I undoubtedly butchered, but you get the idea) got me thinking about those things that make me unlike any other person who has ever lived before in all of history.  Here are a few of the oddities that make up who I am.

  1. I have never been in a Dollar General.
  2. I have never eaten at White Castle.
  3. I have been investigated by the Secret Service for threats made on the life of the President.
  4. I consider myself an expert on James Bond movies, Hardy Boys books and the making of the perfect turkey sandwich.
  5. I don't drink coffee, milk or wine.
  6. I have one wife and one dog.
  7. I have two sons, two daughters, two cats and two cars.
  8. I have three dollars in my wallet.
  9. I am a lawyer, but you would never know it from the car that I drive.
  10. When I was in law school, I proposed to a girl who had just graduated from high school.  We were married five months later (and no, she wasn't pregnant).
  11. I once stood in line for over an hour just to get into a McDonald's.  Once I got inside, I was so hungry I ordered two Quarter Pounders, two large fries and a strawberry shake.  I wolfed it all down and thought it was one of the best meals I'd ever had.
  12. I am especially obsessive-compulsive when it comes to sports.  When I was in high school, I would shoot 200 free throws every day.  When I was in college, I would spend 2 hours a week working on my snow skiing my living room.  Next was table tennis (you really don't want to know about this one, trust me).  And then I started running.  I have run six marathons (26.2 mile races) and on May 23, 2008, my good friend Mike Acock and I ran 36 miles together to celebrate our 36th birthdays.
  13. I hate McDonald's.
  14. I was born in Michigan but have not stepped foot in that state in 38 years.
  15. I love music but am a lousy musician.  I've taken piano lessons, guitar lessons and saxophone lessons and am not especially good at any of them.

I am a huge fan of the Seinfeld show.  Just this past week, I had a new experience which was right out of a Seinfeld episode (the Pez Dispenser episode for you Seinfeld freaks).  I was in Joplin for my daughter's high school state soccer tournament.  While driving down I-44, I noticed a few things.  First of all, are there any armadillos left in the world or were they all hit by cars in between Lebanon and Springfield last week?  (Seriously, I had no idea there were so many armadillos in Missouri.  And my oh my do they make a mess when they get hit on the highway.)  Secondly, there were a number of classy looking billboards for casinos that caught my eye.  I live right off of I-70 in Columbia and drive by a casino billboard every single day and I can honestly say it has never once got me wanting to go visit the Isle of Capri in Boonville.  (Never been there, but hear that the regulars who go there refer to it as the "Pile of Debris."  How nice.)  But while driving to Joplin, I was captivated by one of the billboards and thought "I've got to go check this place out."

But in order to get the full sense of the story, I have to provide a little background.  One of my best friends growing up has told me stories about going to casinos and dog tracks in his home state of Wisconsin.  Before the days of legal gambling on the "boats," I tried to explain to my friend that I didn't think he had really been to a casino in Wisconsin since Nevada was the only place in the country at that time where casinos were legal.  I will never forget his response: "Oh but this was on an Indian reservation.  They can do whatever they want there."  When I first heard this explanation as a 12-year old, all sorts of images filled my mind of my friend at a casino on an Indian reservation where they can do whatever they want there.

Lo and behold, the casino being advertised on a billboard along I-44 was a casino just across the border in Oklahoma...on an Indian Reservation.  It was seven minutes away from my hotel in Joplin.  I have been to Las Vegas and walked through the ding-ding-ding-ding-ding-ding casinos of the Bellagio, Treasure Island, Mirage, Paris, Caesar's Palace, Flamingo Hilton, Venetian, but I had never been to a casino anywhere else.  Imagine my surprise when I walked into the casino in Oklahoma and Tonto was not there to greet me at the door.  Pocohontas was not serving drinks and I didn't see a single freakin' headress or anything that looked Indian anywhere in that casino.  What kind of Rez is this?  Where are the teepees?  Where are the buffalo being hunted and the red men?  I was shocked.  I had these images so seared into my brain of what a casino on an Indian reservation looked like that I was having trouble believing my eyes.

So how was this like a Seinfeld episode?  Well, the Pez Dispenser episode has some great dialogue where George admits that he has never understood why anyone would go to a flea market....because he just assumed that there were fleas there.  (I think this is hilarious because I've never wanted to go to a flea market for that exact reason!)  Anyway, I had similar misconceptions about what a present-day Indian reservation was like.  I'm not sure why I thought I would just cross the border into Oklahoma and all of a sudden be swept into the Wild West with Indians on horseback directing me to the blackjack teepees where Chief Silver Scowl would be dealing out of an eight-deck shoe. I know.