I realized I am officially old when I turned to my friend Pearlman (he’s the dude on the left with the silly hat on) on Saturday while we sat in a sub shop in our beloved college town of Newark, Del., and asked “Were we this loud when we were their age?”
He said yes, we were. And with that, I sighed and realized that I’m almost ancient enough to be the parent of one of these kids. Not quite, but almost.
I had a fabulous weekend back in Delaware, flying up for Homecoming and for a dinner honoring my journalism mentor, a true legend named Bill Fleischman.
There were many highlights, including walking up to the old newspaper office where I spent thousands of hours and being amazed at how professional the place looked (In my day the carpet was hideously ugly and dirty, our work spaces were all on top of each other, and we still did “paste up,” which hopefully some of you will know about.)
I saw that a small piece of my legacy still exists up there, as a stupid joke that started 15 years ago involving my last name is still kept up by the current editors.
I got to walk around campus and reminisce, taking pains to point out to a friend the many places around the university I’d thrown up on the way back from drinking as a freshman (Hey, I was learning what my tolerance was.)
Most of all, though, I re-connected, after 11 years away from UD, with a place, and with people, who meant so much to me for four years. I was blessed with wonderful friends and terrific professors, and getting to see them all as adults, with lives and babies and problems of their own, was a terrific gift.
Also I wished for about 10 minutes that I could go back and re-live those years. Then I remembered the stale beer and the cold showers in the dorm (hot water? Please) and thought, “Eh, I’m good where I’m at.”
**A couple of thoughts from another Sunday spent in an airport, a place that I strangely love:
— I’m just wondering, I know we’re all supposed to believe that all liquids and drinks we buy from airport gift shops are safe and can be brought on board. But who, exactly inspects these things, and what’s to stop an evil person from going into the bathroom and tampering with his new bottle of Dasani? Just sayin.’
— One more reason it’s great to be alive in 2010: So while our flight back to Orlando was slightly delayed, many of the passengers were riveted to the conclusion of the Indianapolis-Philadelphia NFL game on the airport TV in the gate. With the Colts driving for a winning score, myself and several others had to tear ourselves away and board the plane.
Not to worry. When we got inside somebody had a mobile phone and called up the game on it. So 11 of us were craning to see a 1 ½ inch Peyton Manning, who threw an interception ending the drama. Pleased we wouldn’t have to wait to find out the outcome, we got on the flight.
I love being alive today.
**I have seen some improbable wins by the New York Jets in my lifetime (and many, many improbable losses), and Sunday’s “win” has to rank up among the most surprising. For 57 minutes my boys played horrendous, stupid, undisciplined football, and were about to be beaten by the un-good Detroit Lions (my friend Scott Sterbens uses that word, and I like it.). Mark Sanchez had been terrible. The Jets committed a ton of penalties. The receivers fumbled and dropped passes. They got a remarkably dumb roughing the kicker penalty.
And yet, because the Lions are a team that truly, truly doesn’t know how to win, the Jets survived. Sanchez woke up, LaDainian Tomlinson made some terrific runs after a catch, and Detroit made a few stupid plays of their own (throwing on 3rd down with 2 minutes left? A late hit on LT when he was five feet out of bounds?). Suddenly, the Jets tied the game at 20 and went to OT, where they won, 23-20.
Absolute grand larceny, the Jets performed. They had no business winning that game. But you don’t give it back, and thanks to the Patriots getting stomped by Cleveland (thank you, Eric Mangini! We love ya!), the green and white are back in first place.