My neighbor Jerry was always one to take things apart to see how they tick. He liked to play his Grand Funk Railroad at Ear-Splittin Louden-Boomer until the speakers exploded. Then he'd take apart his woofers and tweeters and make them as good as new.He was the same way with his electric guitar and amp. You could hear him halfway up the block on Carpenter Street.
He had one of those gas-powered airplanes. It made a lot of noise when the engine was running. It sounded like a wild lawn mower. But I don't remember him ever getting the plane to fly. And even if he did, it would surely have crashed in to one of the gazillion trees on our property.
Did I mention Jerry got me to join the Boy Scouts? Then he got too sick to ever go on any of the camping trips. We tried to send each other Morse Code signals bedroom-to-bedroom with a flashlight. I never could get the difference between a long and a short flash, so, to tell him I was finished, I put the light on my chin and looked like Herman Munster.
No wonder he became a computer program ... when the first PCs came out ... and later made a career - from which he retired - out of keeping a New York bank's computers humming.
He was also a cable TV installer. That was when it was all brand new. He was the first person I ever heard of to have a carpal tunnel operation.
When you looked at the scars from that operation, you'd think he tried to kill himself.
He was the first kid in the neighborhood to play the Woodstock album - and the Fish Cheer really, really loud. It was like we were getting away with something.
Anyway, Jerry always came down from Pennsylvania for my book signings. Once he came down and had to rush back because it was his daughter's prom and he had to take her pictures when she was all dolled up.
Nobody was surprised when he told us that his daughter was an honest-to-God rocket scientist.
Copyright © 2008 by Anthony Buccino, all rights reserved. Content may not be used for commercial purposes without written permission.