We all have favorite places from our childhood in our memory bank, always there and ready to be tapped when we need them.
You had them, I’m sure. Maybe it was a local bowling alley or a pizza place or the playground. It only takes a smell, or a taste, or a few words, to bring it all back to you, even decades later.
I re-visited one of those special places from my childhood this week, while back on Long Island for vacation. The Suffolk YMHA (or the YMCA for Jewish people, as we sometimes called it) was a place I went to, literally, hundreds of times as a kid.
We went there to swim in the indoor pool. We played pickup basketball games in one of the gyms, usually getting into many arguments about fouls but having a great time along the way (I was a terrible shooter, but I was a good passer and was always an enthusiastic teammate).
We learned how to lift weights in the weight room there, and how not to do it by watching the grown-ups. We thought we were big shots when we went into the sauna and the whirlpool.
We saw way too many old, shriveled, naked men in the locker room. Saw things an 11-year-old should never see.
I went to summer camp there, too, a few times, though my memory of camp there is hazy. (I seem to remember really long hikes in the woods and getting poison ivy).
The Y was a gathering place; it was where you saw old friends, hung out with new ones; it was so much a part of our lives that I never really thought about how much I loved it until I moved away.
While at home this week I went a few times to work out with my Mom, who’s still a member. The locker rooms were much nicer, as was the weight room. In the gym, though, there were still teenagers playing full-court hoops, arguing with each other over who should take the next shot.
I overheard them and smiled, and suddenly I was back in 1988 again.
It was a warm, cozy feeling.
**Sadly, this is real. My favorite is the tagline. “Bibs aren’t just for babies!”Vodpod videos no longer available.
**I know it’s hard for college professors to keep kids’ attention these days. Just the other afternoon I was talking to one of my friends about how much worse my grades in college would’ve been if we’d had the Internet back then. The distractions of college were plenty, but if I could’ve spent hours surfing the Web? My GPA would’ve been sub-zero.
So I’m all for professors doing what they can to pique interest. But my man Jack Rappaport, a statistics teacher at La Salle University, may have gone a tad over the line.
He reportedly hired strippers to perform at a March 21 extra-credit seminar at a satellite campus.
Strippers, statistics … I’m sure there’s at least three jokes I can make here. “OK students, time to count how many times the woman named Brandy touches that man’s groin.”
Or perhaps the strippers could be used to illustrate the statistical improbability that that fat slob with his shirt untucked and the barbecue sauce stain on his chin would actually get to go home with the platinum blonde with the big boobs currently shaking it in front of him.
Either way, my friend Frank on Facebook, who alerted me to this story, said it best: “At what point did this seem like a good idea?”