Hope springs eternal. When I was a kid, I always took this expression to mean one thing: That this was the year the Phillies were going to win the World Series. The “hope” signified that this year, finally, was the season the Phils were going to pull it off. When it’s the month of March and the boys are taking the field down in Florida, everyone is 0-0. Why can’t it be us? You waited all fall and winter to break out the bats and gloves, why can’t one hope? Yeah, I get it, my old man, who was born in 1912 for crying out loud, had never seen the Phils win a World Series, but why would I let a little fact like that get in the way??
The “spring” part of the expression came from just that. The season of spring. The arrival of baseball. That’s what March brought. It’s hard to believe, but “March Madness” didn’t even exist when I was a kid. Heck, the year Magic Johnson and Larry Bird squared off in college, the tournament was still on tape delay, that’s how little interest there was.
The “eternal” part was, well, I was never sure about that part, but being raised Catholic, I took it to mean the Phils better win or we were all going straight to Hell, for eternity.
Hope. It’s a terrific word if you stop and think about it. So let me apply it to some other ideas.
Routes 42 and 295
I can only hope construction will be done on these routes in my lifetime. It’s only been a mess for 47 years now. What I love about it is that the backups always seem to be caused by three dudes in orange vests drinking coffee. No matter what direction you’re headed, you know it’ll be backed up. How can this be? You would think that if three directions were backed up, the fourth direction would be smooth sailing, but it never is. Rest assured you’ll be banging on your steering wheel in a matter of moments.
I can only hope that someday when I call to go over a bill, that someone who grew up in South Jersey, will pick up the phone. Look, without sounding like Donald Trump here, I have absolutely nothing against folks from the Philippines. I’m sure they are just trying to get through their day like you and me. But it’s extremely difficult to have a financial conversation with someone who you can’t understand. I can only handle saying, “what’s that?” a few hundred times. It makes me wonder if someone from Gloucester City picks up the phone when a Filipino calls to complain about their bills. “Hey, I’m in Gloucester City. How the &^%* would I know why you’re paying $400 a month for HBO? Call someone in the Philippines” is how one can imagine that conversation would go.
I can only hope that someday we are rid of this nuisance. With the way Mother Nature is pounding us with more storms than I can ever remember, maybe I get the need for these tags now. Maybe. I’m always under the impression that South Jersey relies on money from the government to replenish the beach more than it requires dough from your Aunt Edna who wants to simply spend the day sunbathing by the surf. Before the beach started getting bombarded, I was always told that beach tags were needed to keep the beaches “clean.”
Hmmm. Since beach tags for most South Jersey beach towns didn’t really exist until the early ’70s, we can only assume that the beaches were filthy in the ’30s through the ’70s. Which they were not. I buy six beach tags a year. I really don’t mind because I am a beach nut and sit on the sand all day during the summer. I have written most of my summertime articles for this magazine on the beach.
Most of your beach tag collectors are polite. I have become friends with many. But occasionally you bump into one who, in another life, must have been a member of the Gestapo. You’ll show them your tag, and maybe a couple hours later, you might go up to the Boardwalk to buy a slice of pizza—which the township wants you to do, right? When you return, the beach tag col- lector will insist to see your tag again. When you explain that the tag is on your beach chair and that you have already shown it to them earlier, they will say to you, “Well, you’re going to have to go down to the surf, grab your chair, and walk back up and show it to me.”
Not to mention that you can’t get on many beaches without walking through a beach tag person and when you get to the beach they have more beach tag collectors roaming the beach in case a couple teenagers managed to sneak on somehow. That’s overkill and comes off as greedy.
It is exactly the kind of treatment that the vacationer does not want and wants to get away from when they’re on the beach. I sometimes wonder if the money that beach tags generate is worth all that bad public relations.
Now that I have your attention. I keep weird hours. I don’t even go on the air at 94WIP until 2 a.m., so I try to keep quiet while I am still in the house past midnight as my wife and Ava are asleep. (I hope you’re catching Ava on the Morning Show. I’m so proud.)
The other night I was laying on the couch reading, quiet as a mouse, and I kept hearing this odd clicking noise. I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from when I came upon the laundry room, which is on the first floor. It was one bra all by itself in the dryer and the bra clasps were rattling off the inside walls of the dryer. I’m looking at this thinking to myself, “Who runs an entire dryer cycle for one bra?!” The electricity bill! Then it dawned on me that this same one bra probably ran through the washer cycle all by itself. Dag, how dirty do breasts get? I can hope all I want that this never happens again, but who am I kidding?
My Daughter Keely?
My daughter Keely, a Clearview High and Rowan University graduate, and my son- in-law Matt are having twins! This will be a first time granddad thing for me. Already friends and listeners are calling me “Big Granddaddy Graham.” So obviously, I simply hope for good health for everyone involved. They are due in August and it’s going to be an exciting year.
Big Daddy Graham is a renowned stand-up comedian and overnight personality on SportsRadio 94WIP. Check out his new podcast, Big Daddy’s Classic Rock Throwdown, at BigDaddyGraham.com.
Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 12 (March, 2017).
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