I See Dumb People

And just like the new president, I see things; I hear things. But I see dumb people.

So for me, things haven’t been quite the same since November 8 and the election of a game show host to the office of President of the United States. Personally, I would have preferred Gene Rayburn but the Match Game host passed on way back in 1999. Rayburn was way smarter than the new Prez and his contestants would have made up a far stronger cabinet than the collection of billionaires and semi-illiterates that now hold the quality, and in some instances, the existence of our lives in their tiny hands. Sorry, I kinda lost it there.

And then there’s my seeing things thing that’s been going on lately.

Between November 8 and inauguration day on January 20, I experienced my share of sweaty palms, and night terrors; once I dreamed I was living in 1817 instead of 2017. A few times, the depression got so bad that I even came close to leaving spin class early. But avoiding spin class would have been a major mistake. As I’m writing, the chronic temporal headaches have finally abated and I’m fairly sure I still have some enamel left on the chewing/grinding surfaces of my molars.

On Saturday, January 21st, I was seated in a roomful of stationary bikes and surrounded by mirrors expecting to hear the usual club music crap and maybe even, gulp, Justin Bieber when a miracle happened. We started out with the theme of From Russia with Love and followed up with You’re so Vain, Me Myself and I, Highway to Hell, and finally REM’s End of the World as we know it, and then finally a cooldown with Stevie’s Heaven Help us All. I remained depressed after cooldown but less so because I was among friends…who actually speak in complete sentences. And even though the instructor rarely pedals through the toughest parts of class (a pet peeve) I’ve been there every Saturday morning since at 7-freakin-30 AM.

And just like the new president, I see things; I hear things. But I see dumb people. And the president is lucky; he sees millions of people who aren’t really there. I see people who voted for him and even though Hillary won 70:30 around here, it seems like they’re everywhere.

Maybe I’m a little like Tom Joad in Grapes of Wrath. I’m there in the dark seeing way too much but unlike Joad instead of righting a wrong, I’m mostly just profiling old white guys…old dumb white guys.

It’s like they’re everywhere and I don’t even hear them (Thank God); I just see them. And maybe they’re not ALWAYS dumb; maybe they just don’t see racism, misogynism, religion discrimination, and stuff like conflict of interest, mental instability, and grabbing as deal breakers.

The dumb old white guys I keep seeing don’t floss; they don’t brush. When they drive, they cut you off and flip you off; they take at least 5-seconds to react to a green light and suck at making lefthand turns. They never could parallel park and they pull into compact parking spaces with SUVs sporting BS bumper stickers like “There wouldn’t be a FIRST amendment without the SECOND one.” They wear New England Patriots’ gear even though they live in LA. They always take too long with transactions at the bank, the market, or the movies. They don’t have rthymn. They wear Hawaian shirts a little too often. They always sit in the middle of a row at the movies or at sports events and they never stop going for hotdogs. They don’t like Invisalign. When they do smile, they tend to look like hockey players with “gasid” indigestion. I’ve never seen one reading a book.

I used to be Smilin’ Jack but now I’m a hater; and that’s what happens when you see…dumb people.

And I don’t often actually interact with dumb people but when I do, I guess it’s my fate to just see them, not hear them. And for that blessing I thank God, who in the words of Depeche Mode…just might have “…a sick sense of humor.”

Posted in Politics and Government

Hidden Figures

Sitting there doing my popcorn thing at the Monrovia Krikorian, what I saw up on the screen actually brought some tears to my eyes.

So on January 21, the day after the Presidential Inauguration, I needed something positive; maybe something as unlikely on a long, dark day as…inspiration.

Since November 8, even my body had been rejecting the election results. And as January 20 approached, the headaches and teeth clenching just got worse. To put things in perspective, I hadn’t clenched my teeth at night or had a headache since January 4, 2006; the night USC somehow lost the BCS Football Championship to Texas.

So I saw a movie. I saw Hidden Figures.

Hidden Figures tells the biographical story of three African American women working as mathematicians at NASA during the 60s. And in spite of having to overcome all the odds presented by a lingering Jim Crow and sexist culture at NASA, the three women succeed…as did the U.S. space program, our competition with the Russia, and the social struggle to, at least at NASA, realize all of us are better than some of us.

As I was sitting there doing my popcorn thing at the Monrovia Krikorian, what I saw up on the screen actually brought some tears to my eyes. I’m still not sure whether it was pride, joy, frustration, or sadness; probably everything?

There was the pride in being an American, just like those three incredibly determined, brilliant, and courageous women. There was also pride in the American spirit coming from a few men who in the words of Robert F. Kennedy could “…dream things that never were and say, why not.” What an amazing place that could be home for women like Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson. There was equal pride in the visionary leadership of President Kennedy and the other-worldly confidence and courage of the Mercury astronauts and, in particular, John Glenn.

The joy was in the results and the budding opportunity for inclusiveness, a supposed American core value. You could see why America could be great…maybe even a model for humankind.

The film presented a snapshot of the decades-long struggle for racial and gender equality and fairness. The frustration is the current day notion of “Making America Great Again.” As if we weren’t being great electing the first African American President only eight years ago and selecting an intelligent, thoughtful, inclusive leader who guided the nation out of economic disaster and practiced American principles written into the Constitution, of which he is a scholar.

And lastly, as the credits were running, I was sad. What happened yesterday? Were almost half of the voters just pretending about stuff like liberty and justice for all? It seemed like Thursday night the Constitution and the American values of fairness and decency were hijacked by a driver who’d never read the document.

After having shared two hours of pride and ultimately joy with other movie goers, it was like the truth, dignity, and intelligence I’d just seen on the screen were just some ideas expressed in a fable that had been washed away in the rain.

Today didn’t feel real; if only that were true.

But I, for one, have always preached to my co-workers that to error is human and inevitable; and from mistakes, come the opportunity for change.

When I got home and took to social media, I saw millions of women protesting “Making America Great Again” and the possible end of growing racial, gender, and sexual preference understanding and acceptance. Talk about inspiring.

And I’m willing to bet that 98-year old Katherine Johnson, former NASA Physicist/Mathematician and 2015 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, was watching…and smiling too.

Posted in Local Voices

La La Land

So there was no way I was missing La La Land.

For one thing, there’s this woman I know who is beautiful; she also introduced me to Vibrato Grill and Jazz and Mexican scrambles at Yahaira’s…and she runs the Santa Monica steps maybe 20-30 times per visit…and…she actually took her kids to see La La Land at least five times at latest count.

And then there’s the director, Damien Chazelle. The dude’s barely 30-years old and last year he directed my fave film of 2016, Whiplash. I saw Whiplash, maybe five times on the big screen and a few more since via On Demand. I loved the music and the story. And just so you know, if you didn’t like Whiplash, you are officially dead to me.

I tried seeing La La Land several times before finally paying a visit to the Laemmle with a spinning friend who’s spent years in The Business. We had a difficult time matching schedules and even wound up seeing Rogue One together as a last minute replacement (thankfully, after a couple of Anchor Steams.) And the only way I survived Star Wars, Part Infinity, was by pretending the slow guys in the big white suits getting shot up on the screen were actually Trump voters from Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

When we left the Laemmle I was a little surprised by my entertainment biz friend; she thought La La Land was okay. There were basically six movie formulas; La La Land followed one of ‘em. I actually called the movie a masterpiece right out loud. As we walked out of the theater, I felt kinda like a dork.

And then, as if the upcoming inauguration wasn’t depressing enough, one of my fave Facebook friends shared “One hour into La La Land, with five of my besties, in New York, and we hate it.!!! Don’t get it. We are angry. #no chemistry/siblings kissing/ bad remake” and “Hated it, hated it, hated it…” And that’s why I love being a dentist living in Pasadena

My Facebook buddy is an actress; she could have been Mia. She would have been great.

But watching the film, an obvious homage to a musical genre of the past, I couldn’t help myself. I was drawn into the visual wonder, the imagination, the humor, and the performances. And…what the hell, even J.K. Simmons was back from Whiplash, firing another musician on the spot just like old times.

Risking becoming a dork to the nth power; my mom woulda loved this film.

And I can understand how, for those in the business, the arbitrary path to success in it could inevitably generate some serious cynicism. But for me, the fantasy of the film happening in my hometown was just the timely escape I needed.

La La Land, whose bitter sweet parting view was that of time relentlessly passing by, actually touched my heart. Even though, after almost 20-years of being an Ahmanson subscriber, I cancelled my primo orchestra seats several years ago because there were way too many musicals.

I love Los Angeles and Griffith Park and seeing the Rialto and “Suicide” Bridge up there on the big screen too. And I think Gene, Donald, and Debbie would have forgiven a few dance steps and musical notes for an imaginative, respectful, and beloved Los Angeles 65th “Singin’” birthday card.

Posted in Arts & Entertainment

Smelling The Roses

It was awesome seeing the hometown bring in the New Year…just in time to hear something wonderful, see a rainbow, and smell the roses.

So this morning it seemed like the birds were chirping “It’s a Wonderful World”; or maybe that was “Somewhere over the Rainbow.” And I don’t know for sure but I coulda sworn the sunrise on this, the third day of the year, was Cardinal and Gold.

And last time I looked, we still had a President who didn’t tweet, didn’t grab, and spoke in complete sentences without inventing words like, gulp…”bigly.”

Yeah, on the day after New Year a couple of cousins and a friend joined me for a brisk walk down to the Arroyo and the Rose Bowl. And after several hours of comradery, cold frosty beverages, and Claro’s subs, we experienced the agony of something half way between mostly dead and almost defeat, and the pure joy that comes with your alma mater winning a football game in front of 94,268 Pasadena guests, another 20 million on TV, and even over a million more streamers.

2016, for me, will always be a year impersonating a thief. At this point, with apologies to Webster (19th century Noah, not the TV kid,) “innocence” seems to be a little outdated. But did last year really need to take out “Decency” while it was killing off what seemed like half of the gifted creative world community?

And I know it’s just a game. And in this case, it really was a shame that there had to be a totally mislabeled “loser.” Because, I swear, seeing 20-year old kids compete and remain mentally tough throughout a physical and emotional struggle carried out at the highest level is indeed a memorable experience. But then seeing the same young men being reduced to tears for the winning or the losing and accepting the hard fought authentic outcome with a handshake is beyond memorable; it’s inspiring.

And I’m as partisan as they come. Thankfully, I only figuratively live and die with the Trojans. USC’s star quarterback/leader is only 19-years old; he’s athletically gifted and mature beyond his years. As time was stealing opportunity away near the end of an instant classic contest, the kid kept it simple in the huddle, “Just do your job.”

One of my Facebook friends vowed to stay up until midnight just to see 2016 die.

I’m sure glad I was around to see January 2, 2017. It was awesome seeing the hometown bring in the New Year…just in time to hear something wonderful, see a rainbow, and smell the roses.

Posted in Sports

Resolve This!

I love New Year resolutions; I write ‘em down. I even go public with ‘em.

So as I’m writing it looks like 2017 has arrived in what seems like record time.

And I suppose some of us who’ve attended many past rodeos might be a little cynical or resigned…as in…here we go again. But not me; in fact, as we open up a new calendar, I can’t wait to get my hands on that beautiful blank page that shows up every January 1. And…what better year to wipe off the face of the earth than 2016? Maybe times are really the best in the Universe when the city of Cleveland and the Chicago Cubs are the losers with whom we’ve become accustomed.

I see the pristine sheet as a reminder that I can be the author of my own life story. And what’s really cool is the chance we all have to share the experience.

I love New Year resolutions; I write ‘em down. I even go public with ‘em.

So here they are; my Top Ten New Year resolutions for 2017:

  1. You’re in my dental chair. I say, “Almost done.” 3 minutes later I’m still working. You get 10-bucks!
  2. I will write at least one personal note per day…legibly.
  3. I will NOT verbally/physically abuse my computer, Hal…whenever possible.
  4. I’ll forgive the Lakers, Bruins, and the state of Michigan…because…they know not what they do.
  5. I’ll remember Dental Assistant Appreciation Day is every day.
  6. I will NOT run down Las Tunas wearing only a hula skirt and a bruin baseball cap because after ten years, Camellia Square (or whatever) development still lags behind the Republic of Burundi.
  7. I will prove even though Will Rogers never met a man he didn’t like…he never met Donald Trump!
  8. I’ll say, “I love you” at least once a day. And yeah, Team Leader Dani, no mirrors allowed.
  9. I will NOT mix plaid, stripes, and paisley attire…thus ignoring all fashion tips from my co-workers.
  10. I’ll be looking and listening for greatness, humor, and compassion…unless I’m in front of a banker.

Happy New Year!

Posted in Local Voices

Sometimes Maybe It’s Better Just Being Lucky

Denise and all of my co-workers aren’t a team by accident; they all really do want to make a difference…like…yesterday.

Courtesy of her sister, Dani, Denise was part of our extended Temple City Dental Care family years before she ever joined us full time.

Denise, who had been Dani’s very first trainer, had loads of enthusiasm, the will to do the right thing, and years of experience working in pediatric dentistry. Don’t know about you guys but I’m always impressed by folks who can deal with little kids all day under any circumstances…but in a dental chair?

By the time Denise was ready for a change in scenery, Dani had been with us for over eight years; Denise had trained an award-winning dental assistant and our new Team Leader. For me, it was like the NFL draft. I wasn’t looking for a position to fill; I was looking and listening for someone who could make a difference. And this time I got lucky.

We really didn’t have a dental assistant opening and Denise hadn’t had administrative experience. But I’d never witnessed Denise speaking into a phone without a smile. And I had always seen our extended family member engage people like each and every one of ‘em was Best Friends Forever. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Scheduling Coordinator Denise!

Denise is most often the first person you’ll see on arrival to our office; it’s not by accident.

We’re really committed to constantly training and learning. I soon discovered Denise, like me, was a training/continuing education nerd; and she read every self-improvement book she could get her hands on. And I thought we were the cool ones.

Denise soon mastered the phone skills just like I knew she would. And Denise soaked up training like a sponge. I had been doing the Chamber of Commerce breakfast tour for years and it was fun eating, BS-ing, and promoting USC Trojan Football domination a couple of times a month. It’s just that when we made the transition to Denise, we suddenly experienced a dramatic upturn in marketing effectiveness.

Denise established business relationships with the ease of Pavarotti humming the theme song of “Welcome back Kotter.” Denise actually set up a speaking circuit where Pasadena Chamber members could meet and inform other professionals and their customers, clients, and patients. And even more impressive, Denise actually started her own coaching business; organizing her own take on the training she’d experienced and then personalizing it to the benefit of other small businesses.

A few weeks ago, at a Pasadena Chamber Lunch, a speaker sharing a 25-second “commercial” moved Denise to tears. At the time, Denise was also steering our November marketing campaign; in the middle of the campaign, we entertained a visitor. We had lunch with Nancy Davidson, Executive Director of The Foundation for Living Beauty; don’t think any of us will ever be quite the same.

Living Beauty was founded in 2005; the organization provides emotional and physical support for women who have cancer. Nancy shared Living Beauty serves more than 450 women who are in various aspects of their “journey” with cancer. Nancy and the three-woman team organize and provide events, support groups, and resources; after about 5-minutes, we knew we wanted to be one of the resources.

But what could we do? How could we help? Sure, we could provide information and work at creating awareness but Denise and all of my co-workers aren’t a team by accident; they all really do want to make a difference…like…yesterday.

We had adopted families in the past back when I was on the Haven House Board (Dani and extended family member, at the time, Denise would do all the wrapping.) Were there families in need; if so, could we help them have a real Holiday?

Within a few days, Nancy provided five families facing the hardship of cancer, low income, and the reality of a non-existent Holiday. And with Denise on point, along with Dani and Dental Assistant Kolleen, the gift lists provided by Nancy were filled almost overnight…not to mention additional clothing and even Christmas Trees.

We delivered the gifts last Monday. When you can make a difference for someone you’ve never met and you can smile and still can’t find a dry eye, you know you’ve had a pretty good day.

That’s when you know for sure what it feels like to be lucky.

Thanks Denise.

Posted in Community

Saved by the Movies?

“…for delicate, sensitive flowers like me, movies can be magic.”

So I just saw another one of those movies that reduced me to the kind of tears shed by the likes of the Donald when he’s actually paying a vendor, sharing his tax returns, or watching Saturday Night Live.

And now I have “Lion” to add to my short list of films that really get to me. The other Best Weeping Von Bulow meme nominees are “Stand by me” and “Field of Dreams.”

I’ve written weekly pieces for local rags for going on twenty years but since November 8, I just haven’t had the energy. Seriously, for a while there I almost lost the will to even finish a plate of Lasagna Bolognese; I even started passively rooting for the Raiders. I knew I was getting rustier by the day but for delicate, sensitive flowers like me, movies can be magic.

And it’s also true that sometimes when I share the thought processes that are mostly all my own, people have been known scratch their head and fade away into the friendly confines of space existing just outside my field of vision. So consider yourselves forewarned.

Thing is, the three tear-jerkers above are all about loss, coping and rebirth. Two of ‘em relate to the loss of an older brother and the other about the unsaid goodbye to a father and an unlikely mystical second chance. They’re personal; each film connects with my heart and soul…especially now.

On November 8, I really did feel like someone close had died. Some of my friends were ridiculed for comparing their sense of loss and emptiness to the events of 9/11. For me, the emotions ran closer to June 5, 1968, the night RFK was assassinated, along with the sense of hope and fairness he generated and inspired. But actually, even though I’ll never forget the details of both dark days, this time felt far more personal…and I don’t think that will ever change.

I’ve always shared about my being the luckiest kid in the world, growing up with a family that remains my mentor, even though, these days, it’s just me, my co-workers, and the movies.

And maybe I’ve just been fooling myself believing America was as good as my mom, dad, older brother, and my business family away from home.

I grew up in a home that was all about accountability, fairness, love, and respect. And on November 8, of the 50% of eligible Americans who felt compelled enough to respect the sacrifices of all those who had secured our right to vote, only nearly three million more chose my family over hatred, dishonesty, ignorance, and fear. And guess what; this time the losers won.

In “Lion,” (Spoiler alert) a five-year old little Indian kid falls asleep on a train and becomes separated from his family; he is hopelessly lost. And after a harrowing series of narrow escapes from adult predators, starvation, and the elements, he’s saved. The little boy, Saroo, is finally rescued by an Australian couple who adopt to make a difference rather than raise their own children. 25 years later, having never forgotten the images of his mum, older brother, and sister, the young man rediscovers who he is…with obsessive determination, a trip, and an embrace.

I’m hoping a rediscovery can happen for us. Thank God I still see my family the way Saroo, Gordie Lachance, and Ray Kinsella saw theirs…if only in movies I find loving and therapeutic…because I do need the therapy.

Otherwise, I’m not so sure I’ll ever recover from November 8 and my having been ashamed to be an American.

Posted in Politics and Government

Hallelujah

“…there is a crack, a crack in everything- that’s how the light gets in…” Hallelujah, Leonard Cohen

Man I’m glad my dad and big brother gave me the chance to embrace sports.

And last week, Saturday in Seattle was the medicine that made a difference for my Tuesday’s wounded soul.

So I’ve lived through a few self-perceived sports tragedies in my day. In 1986, Dad’s and my Angels came within a single pitch of going to the World Series for the first time. And I was there, seated at the south end of the Rose Bowl when, in the final seconds, USC lost the BCS Championship after winning 34-straight. The game is widely regarded as the best ever college football championship game…unless you grew up living a few blocks away from campus and you’d worn Trojan gear since you could barely stand…thanks to your big brother.

My dad and brother were my official coaches up until high school. And every single morning I give gratitude for my having had the most awesome childhood a kid could have.

When I was 19-years old and trying to figure out Organic Chemistry, I got the call that told me my brother had died. Almost 8-years later, I was there for Dad’s fatal heart attack in our living room three months into my brand new dental practice. I really don’t think I’ve ever been the same. For numerous reasons, my team members will probably tell you some serious counseling would have probably helped.

And last week, I really missed my two coaches. I really needed their help in finding some light.

And I know sports is the toy department. But for me, sports is still all about family. It’s probably the therapy I thought I never had. My caring so much about sports and how 20-year olds occupy a fall Saturday afternoon undoubtedly can be seen as trivial or shallow but it keeps me connected to Dad and my brother, Jay; when they were around, I always felt safe.

So when Mom died and a few years later in September, when we all lost our sense of immunity from terror, Dad was with me when Erstad caught the fly ball that finally made our Angels World Series champs.

And Jay was there with me as I was welcomed into Notre Dame Stadium for the first time, along with the new USC Head football coach, Pete Carroll.

And this week, when hatred and racism won out and the great Leonard Cohen passed, the light I saw came from kids wearing Cardinal and Gold competing in the Emerald City, the jewel in the crown of an amazing Blue State. It was hard to miss the light I desperately needed to see. No hate; just competitive excellence from two teams who finished up three and a half hours of emotion…with a handshake. I saw the light courtesy of a 55” screen and I know Dad and Jay saw it too.

And now it’s 2:45AM and I’ve managed to explain why a football game was the medicine I really needed. I hope now, maybe, I’ll finally get a good night’s sleep. Fight on!

“…there is a crack, a crack in everything- that’s how the light gets in…” Hallelujah, Leonard Cohen

Posted in Sports

Continuing Care

This is my final commentary on the election. I need some closure. I’m done with all things political until 2018.

So this morning I woke up about 3:30AM; couldn’t sleep. It felt like there had been a death in the family…and yeah, the news was pretty bad. After a year or so on life support, they finally pulled the plug on stuff like decency, respect, and class. We had a new President-elect; in my mind, a dummied-down bigoted version of Chucky…born on third base and successfully stealing home.

I’ve been voting since the day Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated (yeah, I’m old); and this morning I still had a similar emotional hangover.

But I couldn’t be prouder of being a Californian. On November 8, the Golden state and the 6th leading economy in the world lived up to its name and administered the 61-33% drubbing hatred and fear deserve.

I just really wish my anger and disappointment would somehow vanish. I know my Facebook un-friends would like me to move on, “enough already.” And I will leave November 8 in the past and move on. But I need some closure.

I just haven’t found the medicine you take that makes you numb to racism and misogyny. Why does incompetence get a pass when it’s mixed with entitlement and narcissism? Why do almost half the voters trust a guy who’ll be in court for fraud and racketeering a few weeks after the election?

I don’t have any answers. I just take solace in 61-33%. Two-thirds of my California peeps said no to Make America White Again.

And I apologize for taking this stuff so personally but I just can’t help it. It’s like my Financial Coordinator isn’t a murderer or a rapist. My associate doctor didn’t invent climate change. And my team leader sure as hell better never be profiled as a stop and frisk candidate.

For me, the climate change toward hope is a tough one; it’s a lot easier preparing for the worst when a patient of over ten years feels comfortable enough to drop a racial slur on a family member on Election Day. My co-workers are family to me; and insults to my family project to insults to my mom. I see my team as I would see my daughters and I also see them as young replicas of my mom. They are not “crooked”; they’re not here to be groped, and it’s not acceptable to have others refer to them as “…a piece of ass.”

So I’m taking the advice of a trusted mentor. And thank you Mr. Gary Kadi.

Here’s our strategy for keeping us in the bubble and focusing on only the things we can control while we serve others; hope it works for at least some of that noble 61%

  1. People in our bubble can have their feelings and share them in a safe place without judgment.
  2. We’ll focus on what’s really important: family, health, success in our work and faith. We’ll shut down the news and Internet and focus on productive things like exercise, reading for inspiration, and maybe even trying some yoga or meditation.
  3. We’ll hunker down and come together with a focus on our company’s culture, core values, and vision.
  4. We’ll support one another and provide hope that this too shall pass and accept the things we cannot change; have the courage to change the things we can, and strive for the wisdom to know the difference.

We’re gonna live for the day, stay away from projecting into the future, and help another person today.

Easily written and now it’s time to go to work.

Von Bulow…out.

Posted in Politics and Government

Winners Never Quit

“Cleveland vs. the Cubs. Game 7. Rain delay in the 10th inning at midnight. 160-something years of combined losing. Kinda poetic.”

So it was Game Seven and just like with Presidential debate #2, I was seated at the bar within the friendly confines of my fave neighborhood Italian joint. And this time around, the Margherita with pepperoni tasted oh so much sweeter.

I’d been texting back and forth with two of my most respected DDS/Invisalign types coming from Boston and on this night, Houston by way of New York. As the game, matching up two of the historically most unlikely opponents, progressed into extra innings, smart-as-they-get Doc Anna signed off; sorry she managed to squeeze in a photo of shirtless doughboy Mike Napoli running through the streets of Boston after a Red Sox championship.

I texted, “Cleveland vs. the Cubs. Game 7. Rain delay in the 10th inning at midnight. 160-something years of combined losing. Kinda poetic.”

One of my all-time mentors, if only for the past two years, Dr. David Galler aka the Wolf of Invisalign typed out, “I sense an article Jack.” The “Wolf” is seldom wrong.

Hope you guys don’t think I’m weird, even for a dentist, but baseball can freakin move me to tears…and I don’t mean from boredom. For one thing, I’ll probably never make it through Field of Dreams without crying like a USC sorority girl down to her last maxed-out Nordstrom card. I think it’s a dad thing.

Baseball takes me back to good times with my family, especially with my dad. We were Angels fans together all the way from the minor league Angels at our own Wrigley Field in South Central, to the birth of the major league Angels for Year One at Wrigley to a few years leasing Dodger Stadium and onward to Anaheim. Before the Los Angeles Angels became the California Angels and then the Anaheim Angels and finally the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Dad and I were season ticket holders. We saw Jimmy Piersall run the bases backward after hitting a homer and we saw Bo Belinski’s no-hitter.

I can still remember 7-year old me holding my dad’s hand as we walked through the tunnel and into the splendor of old Wrigley’s green geometric masterpiece. It was like seeing the Pacific for the first time. It took my breath away.

Years went by, Dad passed away…but not before seeing Nolan Ryan throw four no-hitters within a span of only 86 games. In ’86, the Angels came within an out of going to the World Series. The Champagne was bubbling in the clubhouse. Losing pitcher Donnie Moore committed suicide a few years later.

In the spring of 2002, my Pasadena buddy/fellow Angel fan, Doc Bob Shimasaki and I were privileged to do oral cancer screening for the entire Angel organization. Later, we saw an exhibition game between the Angels and my National League favorite San Francisco Giants; seven months later, they met in the World Series.

On a typically gorgeous SoCal Saturday afternoon in October, I got a call. Doc Bob had two tickets to Game Six.

I still have the two deflated Korean thunder-sticks. The rally monkey from Game Six still resides in treatment room #2. The ticket stub is framed and the words beneath it read “Winners Never Quit and Quitters never Win.”

I can clearly remember the late-Rory Markas’ call with the Giants down to their last out the next night in Game Seven, “Erstad says he’s got it.” And the long-suffering, LA second class Angels were World Series Champions.

Earlier this year, retiring Hall of Fame sports announcer Dick Enberg was interviewed and asked about the Angels’ Game Seven (With the Angels, Enberg and Dodger great Don Drysdale were the best baseball announcing team I’ve ever heard.) Near the end of the interview, the producer re-played Markas’ call. And 14 years after the fact, Enberg cried openly on the air. So did I.

In fact, every time I hear “Erstad says he’s got it” it’s like I’m seeing the Pacific for the first time. I think it’s a dad thing.

Congratulations Cubbies!!! Winners never quit.

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Posted in Sports
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Jack Von Bulow, DDS
Jack Von Bulow, DDS
Temple City Dental Care

9929 E. Las Tunas Drive
Temple City, CA 91780
Call: 626-285-3161
Fax: 626-285-5379
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