This blog is now sugar FREE, fat FREE, gluten FREE, all ORGANIC and all NATURAL!!

Friday, May 31, 2013



Why are some people always late?  Psychologists have tried to answer this question.  Some say it is a function of ADD and the person can only concentrate when he is under the gun.  Some say certain people enjoy the adrenaline rush of cutting it close.  I have always been late, late to school, late to work, late to everything. 

People who are late are viewed as being disrespectful.  I can’t respect those people.  People who are late are judged as not caring.  I don’t care.  Experts claim people who are chronically late believe they are better than everyone else.  I think that is ridiculous…I am better than that.

Seriously, I have always been late.  I don’t know why.  It seems there are two types of people when it comes to tardiness, those who are always five minutes early and those who are always five minutes late.  The five minutes early people are incensed by the five minutes late people.  The worst thing in the world is for a five minutes late person to work for a five minutes early person.

When I was a paper pusher for a large brokerage firm, I supervised a unit of about twenty people.  As a supervisor, I was off the clock and my occasional tardiness was not a major issue.  One of my better workers, however, was a five minutes late person every single day and his tardiness was a major issue. 

Work started at 9:00.  Everyone in my unit showed up at 8:55, went for coffee and was ready to work at 9:10.  Lou, Mr. Five-minutes-late, came to work at 9:05, sat down and started his job right away.  My boss was incensed at Lou’s tardiness and was constantly on me to change his behavior or fire him.

I did not want to fire Lou, he was a good worker, and he was a fellow five minutes late person.  I told Lou, I expected him to be at work at 8:55 and that worked for a week or two until he realized that since he was not marked late when he came in at 9:00 he could probably come in at 9:05.  My hands were tied; I was going to have to fire Lou.

Just before I had to pull the trigger on Lou’s employment, my manager approached me with a problem.  He was getting complaints that our department was not staffed to solve customer problems after 5:00.  Could I get someone to volunteer to change his hours from 9:00 to 5:00 to 9:30 to 5:30?  I had just the candidate.

I told Lou he had one more chance before I would have to let him go.  Since he had trouble getting to work by 9:00 I would allow him to come in at 9:15 and work to 5:15, but if he was ever just five minutes late he would have to stay and work till 5:30.

Lou did not come in to work one day before 9:20.   He assumed he was always five minutes late and worked till 5:30 without complaint.  I got an extra ten minutes of coverage without paying for overtime, and my boss was astounded that I was able to turn chronically late Lou into a ten minute early employee.

It takes a five minute late person to solve the problem of another five minute late person.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


As I get older, I often wonder, “What the hell is it with this new generation?” They don’t listen to our wisdom, they have new ideas about everything, and they want to change how we do everything.  Almost nothing is sacred.

In my day, we never worried about how our babies slept.  On their back, on their side, on their stomach…either way was just fine.  Today’s parents…crazy.

In my day, we didn’t worry about our kids every minute.  They played outside, they rode bicycles and skateboards without silly helmets and when it got dark they would come home.

In my day we didn’t have cell phones.  If we did have them, we certainly would not give them to our children.  We didn’t spoil our children like they do today.

In my day music was music, and lyrics did not have filthy words.  Our children did not wear revealing clothes and they did not have to hear all about sex in school “sex education” classes.  Sex was dirty and not discussed in public.

In my day, gay people were “confirmed bachelors” or “spinsters” and there was no gay marriage nonsense.

In my day people did not divorce; married couples stayed together through thick and thin.

Yes, as you age you realize just how crazy the world has become.  Children are spoiled, and coddled from the cradle till they leave home which is now around 26 not 18.  People want it all, and are unable to accept societies rules.

Of course:

In my day some babies died unexpectedly from this thing called SIDS.

In my day, some kids crashed their bikes and were severely brain damaged.

In my day some kids never came home after dark. 

In my day, we worried ourselves sick when sometimes we did not know where our children were…would have been nice if we could have just called. 

In my day, girls got pregnant because they didn’t know they could.  Some of these pregnant girls died undergoing abortions by quack doctors in unsanitary rooms.  Some of these girls just killed themselves because their condition was so unaccepted in my society. 

In my day, people had to hide their sexuality and were shamed into lying about who they really were.  Some could not live like this and they took their own lives. 

In my day many married couples lived together hating each other in a sexless, loveless, miserable but acceptable partnership.  Sometimes one partner was constantly verbally or physically abused on a daily basis, but they would not leave, they would not divorce. 

In my day we knew how to endure abuse. We behaved the way we were taught we should behave, we did what we were expected to do and we believed what our leaders and experts told us to believe.  We were suspicious of new things when the old ways seemed to work just fine.

In my day we were ignorant. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013



My fiftieth high school reunion is coming up next year.  Many graduates seem excited about this event.  I will not attend.  I went to the tenth reunion.  I went one day late.  I took that as an omen and have avoided all other reunions.  Fact is I hated high school, had few friends, and considered the vast majority of the “popular kids” the very people who tend to attend reunions, to have been giant assholes kinda snobbish. 

I really don’t need to visit fifty years later and have many of these giant assholes kinda snobbish people who will be parading around their great lifetime success ask me, “And who were you?”


Two weeks ago I attended a mini reunion at my old friend Charley (I know…the gay spelling) “Wink,” “Ditmus,” “Chuck,” Widmer’s home.  He was holding the second annual baseball player reunion with Brian Doyle, Ed Thorne, Rob Schram, and Dwight Davies.  I didn’t play baseball, but since Charley (right guard) and Dwight (quarterback) also played football with me I was invited this year.
Doyle, Davies, Schram, Widmer, Cranky (Thorne is hiding behind the curtain)

Much of this reunion revolved around whether someone was out or safe in the final play of a championship game which they lost.  The consensus was they were “jobbed” by an umpire who did not like their team.  Further discussions intimated this ump may have disliked the team because Chuck, the catcher, had a habit of calling a high inside fastball and then ducking it so it would hit the ump.  This was generally done after Chuck did not agree with a ball or strike call.


The conversation eventually came around to football and in particular our coach Gary Kehler.  Kehler is a legend in the world of New Jersey High School football.  His teams always had winning seasons, and at one stretch he coached his teams to a record 48 straight wins.  That record is even more remarkable in that he did it with little more than average talent.  He coached many very good players, but his description of most of his teams was, “We may have been small, but we were slow!”
Legendary Coach Kehler (RIP) 

Three memories from our team in 1963.

First was the fact that before every game and practice we were required to take two salt tablets.  During games and practices we were never allowed to drink water, we could wet our mouths, but were told to spit it out…(we did cheat a little.)  The salt was to replace what was lost from sweating, and it was thought that drinking water would cause cramping.  Those who were overcome by heat exhaustion (myself several times) were sent to a fence to lose their lunch and then return to much berating and criticism. 

Years later Dwight recounts how he visited with the old coach.  They talked of all the kids he coached and how many lives he touched in such a positive way.  Dwight asked him, “Is there anything you regret from all those years?”  His response, “I wish I gave you all some water…I just didn’t know any better…I was lucky no one died!”

The second was a classic pregame “chalk talk.”

Coach Kehler was explaining how we would block on a run play around the right end.  With x’s over o’s in various positions he directed the blocking pattern and then asked for any questions.  Brad Zimmerman a second string lineman asked how to block a defensive scheme which essentially had nine x’s versus four o’s.  Kehler posted this situation on the board, stepped back and looked at it for a minute, and then with his best sarcasm said, “Well Brad we will either get our asses handed to us for a big loss, or Dwight will fake the handoff and skip around left end untouched for a touchdown!”  Zimmerman never asked another question during one of these meetings.

The third memory was the Thanksgiving Plainfield Game, the final game of our senior year.

Plainfield High was undefeated at 8-0 and was rated number 1 in the state.  We were 6-2 and unrated.  Plainfield had many “All State” stars, including a running back, Vic Washington, who would go on to be an all-pro back for the San Francisco 49ers.

We were over powered, out skilled and overmatched in all ways except coaching.  Plainfield was out coached.  Our team had few plays in the playbook.  We ran about eight plays, three to the left, three to the right and two up the middle.  We had two passing plays, both coming off play action.  Ten plays, but we ran them all really well.  We managed to score 14 points; two extra points coming on kicks which no other teams at that time were able to do very successfully.  Most teams ran for their extra points.

Westfield held Plainfield to two touchdowns.  Kehler assigned linebacker Jim Minnow to exclusively follow Vic Washington.  Their favorite play was to send Vic up the middle on a fake run and then pass it to him.  Jim “fell” for the fake every time and tackled Vic so he could never get open for the pass.  Whenever Vic got the ball he also got Jim!  He was shut down and frustrated.

When Plainfield did score their touchdowns we shut down their extra point attempts with a defense called “All In.”  Plainfield always ran for the extra point.  They always ran straight up the middle with their power formation.  Kehler decided to shut down that play by sending all eleven players against the middle run.  Plainfield did not adjust.  We won 14-12.

Great times, great memories, great company.  I don’t think the fiftieth reunion with all the super successful “popular kids” could be any better.

Maybe the seventy-fifth.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

WHY MEN CHEAT-a Cranky re-run

This re-run from May 2012

Mrs. Cranky recently sent me a video about “Why Men Cheat.”  It came from a love and relationship expert who was responding to a question from a listener.  Her answer was surprising.

This expert, a woman, asserted that men cheat not for sex, but because of a lack of appreciation at home.  They cheat because they are not treated special.  They cheat because they are not acknowledged. 

Very interesting.  It must be true because it comes from a love and relationship expert.  I would have become a love and relationship expert but they did not offer a love and relationship curriculum when I went to College.  I wonder what chapter in the love and relationship book covers “Why Men Cheat?”

Leave it to a woman to take the simplest question about men and make it all about feelings.  She took a question about men and answered it with a female brain.  To back up her position she questioned 30 men on the subject and they agreed with her assertion.

Where did she find 30 men who cheat?  Let me rephrase that…Where did she find 30 men who would admit to cheating?  As an expert on love and relationships she does not understand a very simple fact.  When it comes to sex, MEN LIE!

If you interviewed 100 men on the size of their manhood, you would learn that the average size is a little over eight inches.  When it comes to sex, MEN LIE!  If you ask men why they cheat, you will find it is because their wife doesn’t understand them and they aren’t treated special, and they are not acknowledged.  When it comes to sex, MEN LIE!

Men say this shit, because women believe it.

The real answer is very simple.  Men cheat because:

1.     They are not getting laid enough


2.     Men cheat because they can

A man who has a satisfying sex life at home and travels on a business trip will not look to get laid on that trip…unless he has the chance to get laid.  Then he will cheat.  (Well not your man, but most men.) 

Professional athletes travel, are wealthy, are in shape, are generally attractive, and are surrounded by women looking to score with someone famous and wealthy.  A high percentage of professional athletes cheat.  Is there something about professional athletes that makes a high percentage of them not appreciated, treated special or acknowledged by their wives?  I don’t think so!  They have the opportunity, it is easy, and they cheat.

Why do people make questions about men so complicated?  When you want to know why men cheat, why do people ask a woman?

Oh wait…I forgot…when it comes to sex, MEN LIE!        

Monday, May 27, 2013



Every Memorial Day weekend Mrs. Cranky, I, and the step-cranks go to Monmouth Park Racetrack.  Mrs. Cranky’s best friend Jackie H. invites us to a shindig her sister, a horse owner and racer, throws at the park.  We get free admittance, special seating right up by the rail, free food and drink.  It is always a good time…Thank you Linda H.!
Free Food!!
Cranky surrounded by Jackie and Linda H.
We always have fun, even though we always lose money.  Picking horses is HARD!  This year it was extra fun, because this year I actually won some money.  We bet on seven races and I won $32.60 total…I KNOW!!

This year I had a system.  I only bet one horse a race.  I only bet $6.00 a race; $2.00 to win, $4.00 to place.  I tried to bet a horse that was NOT a long shot, and had a name that somehow struck a chord with me.  Sure- fire right?

We missed the first two races. 

In the third I bet “Angelofdistinction,” a favorite whose name just stood out to me.  He finished second and I won $1.00.

In the fourth I picked “Rock Star Royalty” running at 4-1.  I recently referred to someone as a “Rock Star,” so I had to bet this horse.  He won, and I came away with $5.00.

In the fifth, I chose “Wellingtons Appeal” at 5-1.  I watch Gordon Ramsey’s “Hell’s Kitchen” every week, and he always has the contestants prepare Beef Wellington so…The horse came in second, and I pocketed 2.40.

The sixth was my big score.  I made $16.20 when “Big Dealer” finished second.  “Big Dealer” was owned by someone with the same name as one of my son Mike’s best friends in high school.  Who wouldn’t take that bet?

The seventh race was even easier.  I bet “Sweet Mike.”  “Sweet Mike” was out of a horse named “Thunderous Waves.”  My son lives in Santa Monica, Ca. and he surfs almost daily.  “Sweet Mike” came in second and I came away with another $8.00.  I would have won even more if I had gone with “Michael With Us” who won the race, but what can you do?

Eighth race no name struck my fancy, so I just bet “Elba,” a 3-1 favorite.  “Elba” won and I cashed another $6.00.

We were going to leave after this race, but we had to stay for the ninth because a horse was running named “Go Joe Go!”  “Go Joe Go” was the eight horse.  When I got to the teller I found out that the eight horse was a scratch.  I was going to bet nothing, but then I looked down the racing form and what did I see?  The nine horse was named “Katrina’s Prince.”


Katrina is the name of one of my favorite bloggers @  Katrina is the longest, if not the best, commenter on the internet.  Katrina is due to deliver her tenth baby any day now.  The baby is going to be a boy.  Katrina’s Prince!!  Got to be a lock.  I put all $6.00 on this horse, a 7-2 favorite, to win.

It was a long race, and “Katrina’s Prince” stayed in the middle of the pack, just waiting for the final stretch to blow buy the other horses.  I had not lost a race today; with this horse’s name I was sure to win again…

or not.

“Katrina’s Prince” ran out of gas and finished last.  So much for my system.  Still I won $32.60, Mrs. C lost $24.00 and the step-cranks and the step-crank’s GF all won $70.00 each after they picked a longshot winner.  It was my first time ever walking away a winner…until…

I found out that Mrs. C gave each of the “kids” $20.00 to bet with, so we actually lost $51.40…damn!!

It was still a great day.  We had a blast, and I know any day now the real Katrina’s Prince will join the human race, and that Prince is sure to be a big winner!!

Happy Memorial Day everyone...Thank you to all that have served and sacrificed so we may have our FREEDOM and live in this wonderful  Country!!

Sunday, May 26, 2013



It is time once again for:

And if you MUST take poison, please take it responsibly!

 This week’s stupid headlines and my stupider sophomoric and sometimes offensive comments


One headline is completely made up.  Guess the fake and win a mention.*


Thousands of French Households Taxed 100% - Well I guess they’ll just have to work a little harder!

'Toilet of the future' solves global issues – I think this was a misprint, should have been tissues.

Bacon restaurant shut down for smelling like bacon – Restaurant owner Kevin Bacon vows to shower more often.

More Americans Murdered In Mexico Than In Any Other Country In The World – Well yes, as technically Detroit is not a country.

Phil Jackson Once Dreamt About Spanking Kobe Bryant – It’s going to take a while to get that image out of my head.

Nepal slams climber's 'illegal' call from top of Mount Everest – Apparently it is illegal to yodel in Nepal.

FCC proposing to allow more sex and profanity during kids’ television viewing hours – Well, I guess since it is allowed on our streets, busses and trains, why not on TV?

Former Congressman Anthony Weiner announces bid for NYC mayor – Could we please have a law that people who text pictures of their penis to young girls cannot run for Mayor of the greatest city in the world!
Ex-congressman Weiner doing his Eagle imitation.

Teen Who Invited Kate Upton to Prom Gets Best Consolation Prize Ever – Is anyone else getting tired of these dweebs inviting movie stars and athletes to their prom?

Scientist receives $100,000 Government Grant to determine if chicken or egg came first – Next will be a grant to determine why that chicken crossed the road.


Last week’s fake headlines:


Kosher Shrimp Co. Ferclempt Inc. third quarter comes up short, declares bankruptcy – Shrimp comes up short? Pleeze!

Dunkin Donuts sued for reverse discrimination – Apparently White Men can’t dunk.

TexWisGirl, Lo, and Val all guessed the Kosher Shrimp but did not get the Dunkin Donuts and therefore these bloggers:


Will not win a mention, and I will not suggest you visit their very entertaining posts!


Fran @  knew that Shrimp are never kosher, but claimed all the other headlines were real based on some faulty Googling.  Because of this error and because Googling for answers is strictly forbidden,


Has been disqualified and will not be awarded a mention!  Even though Fran's posts are also very entertaining and always good for several out loud gaffaws...PLEASE do not visit her site!! 

I hope you have learned your lesson Fran @
*use of Google or other internet searches will disqualify any "Fake Headline" guesses!

And thank you all that have sacrificed and served to keep us free!  

Saturday, May 25, 2013



A Cranky Saturday opinion post


Opposing opinions are welcome, (wrong, but welcome), however, please…no name calling…that means you, you big stupid head!


There have been several stories in the news lately of parents who chose to teach their children a lesson by forcing them into embarrassing situations. 

Several weeks ago, a girl who was caught stealing was forced by her parents to wear a sign saying “I am a thief.”

The latest story is of a mother who made her daughter wear thrift store clothes because she was teasing another student about the tacky clothes she wore. that's why my daughter got mad at me.  Who knew they were heinous clothes?
I guess this is punishment for a 10 yo girl.

These make interesting stories.  There is some kind of satisfaction in hearing of these brats getting a taste of old fashion medicine, kind of an eye for an eye thing, but is shaming your children an appropriate punishment?

The experts say no:

Shaming can damage the parent-child relationship. Children quickly learn they cannot trust their parents. Children need to feel safe and secure and to be able to trust their parents. Without such safety and trust, children’s brains do not grow and organize optimally. That means children are at risk for thinking, acting and behaving in detrimental ways."

I’ve read this piece of wisdom several times and it seems to me you could just as well substitute spanking, grounding, taking away allowance, lecturing, time-out or withholding dinner for “Shaming.” The expert's opinion sounds like gobbledy-gook to me.


I don’t think the sign holding thing would serve to adjust a child’s behavior.  The shame of holding a sign and admitting to theft would only work if the child was in fact ashamed of stealing.  If he was ashamed of stealing then any less conspicuous punishment would probably be a preferred method to adjust the behavior.
(If I could throw "optimally" and "detrimental" in there I could be an expert.)


The case of having the young daughter wear cheap tacky clothes as punishment for the bullying behavior of making fun of another girl’s wardrobe might just be very productive.  Letting a bully get a taste of their own medicine, which she surely did get, strikes me as an effective way to make a point.

Experts of course disagree

“The National Association of School Psychologists says parents who discover their child has been bullying should take active steps to curb the behavior. NASP suggests explaining to the child why bullying is wrong, discussing alternatives to aggressive behavior by role playing, establishing rules regarding such behavior and reporting incidents to school officials.”

This sounds very professional and authoritative.  If the parents were trained psychologists perhaps they could give role playing a shot.  Certainly explaining why bullying is wrong and establishing rules regarding such behavior would solve the problem.

I believe the above advice should be the last resort. 

I think the way to stop bullying behavior is to hug the aggressor.  Love the mean right out of them. 

When that doesn’t work, make them wear funny clothes to school and embarrass the hell out of them. 

If that doesn’t work, try the expert's advise. 

Try role playing.  Take the role of the bully and beat the crap out of the child.  Then explain why that was wrong.  “Friggin hurts don’t it!” Establish rules regarding behavior, “Do it again and I’ll beat the crap out of you again.”

The preceding opinion was that of a cranky old man, and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky.

Friday, May 24, 2013

COMPUTERS…can’t live with em can’t live without em

COMPUTERS…can’t live with em can’t live without em
I don’t know how I used to live without my PC.  Maybe it was solitaire with actual cards, TV, or even reading, but I can no longer survive without it.

My first laptop worked great except for some reason the wireless function only worked at home.  The frustration this caused when I visited my son or we went on a trip was unbearable, so I broke down and bought a new laptop.

The new laptop picked up a virus which turned off my virus protection. 


I paid the Geek Squad to fix that issue and along with a few bucks, it cost me all my files.  Fortunately my files were backed up, but bringing them back in a form I could work with was a royal pain.  Six months later my computer would not open at all.  It was another virus, even though I paid for Norton Antivirus.* 



I took the PC back to the Geek Squad and they removed the virus along with every file on my computer.  This time I lost a bunch of unpublished posts, which I hate rewriting stuff because…hell that’s another post.


I spent a day reloading my “new” PC with Microsoft Word, Norton Worthless, and all the files I did have backed up.  When I tried to do some actual surfing on the “fixed” PC, it was ponderously slow.  So slow that is was unusable.

I brought the PC back in to the Geek Squad and demonstrated its unusable slowness.  The on-duty geek was confused.  He finally decided it must be my browser as he has seen issues with IE 10.  He changed my browser to Chrome and voilà!  The machine was back up to speed.

Back home again, I took some getting used to the new browser (Change and I do not get along without a fight) and all was well with the world.


I decided to play a little online poker to which I am addicted.  It was like 1998 and a modem all over again.  I lost 4 million fake dollars (still painful to an on-line addict) folding pocket aces and then timing out and getting thrown off the table when I was the big chip leader. 

Suddenly, all my applications were slow again.  For jollies I switched back to IE 10 and WTF, the PC was once again back up to speed.  The next day it was crap again so I switched to Chrome.  It was good for everything except the on-line poker.  So…back to IE 10 and it works great again for all applications.

OMG, I have a female PC, and it must be the wrong time of the month.  My backup PC works just fine, so it has to be masculine as I understand the monthly thing lines up with cohabiting females. 


What do I do now?  Sometimes the PC works well. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes IE 10 is the cure, sometimes it only works with Chrome.  You know that if I take the PC to the Geek Squad she will work just perfectly. 

These lady PC’s don’t act up with those that understand them.  



*Norton Antivirus did not pay for this mention…though I’m thinking they might just be that stupid and incompetent. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I Wrestled In High School...Part II: The Chest

I Wrestled In High School, But I was Not A Wrestler

When we last left the Young High School Cranky, he was preparing to wrestle a 225 pound human chest.  Emaciated from losing seven pounds in one day, young Cranky was waiting to get his ass beat.

If you missed part I, find it here:

Part II: The Chest

By the time my match was to begin, the varsity had finished with a win.  They all gathered around the mat to watch me be destroyed by “The Chest.”

In the first period, I stayed away from “The Chest” and the second period started 0-0.  “The Chest” was huge, but he was slow and not very skilled.  In the second period I scored a point with an escape, and stalled as best I could the rest of the period…1-0.

In the third period my man escaped and tied the score 1-1.  Then with less than a minute in the match I managed a takedown for 2 points and took the lead 3-1.  In a desperate attempt to escape, “The Chest” made a beginners mistake and raised his inside arm.  I leveraged his arm and had him almost on his back for a near pin making the score 5-1.  With 20 seconds left, I could have stood up, giving “The Chest” one point and then stayed away until the horn blew giving me a huge upset win as everyone in the gym had expected me to be easily defeated.

Instead of standing up and taking the virtually guaranteed win, I tried for a pin.  I had “The Chest” three quarters of the way on his back.  The entire Varsity and Junior Varsity teams were chanting, “PIN, PIN, PIN!” I reacted to the chant by pressing further and further for the pin.  As I attempted to force “The Chest” to his back, I slipped more and more over his giant thorax until my weight was suddenly too far over the mid-point of his body.  With 8 seconds left in the match, “The Chest” simply rolled over and dragged my unbalanced body onto my back.  The referees hand came down with a slap a second before the horn went off.  I lost a sure win by getting greedy.  I lost by a pin.

In three seconds I went from having my back slapped by my teammates for a great upset victory, to having my back slap on the mat for a loss.

Ten minutes later, weak from famine, exhausted from the match and dejected from the last second loss, I hit the shower.  My head under the cold spray of water trying to cool off, “The Chest” came over hand extended and offered me congratulations, “Hey, great match, for a while there I almost thought I was going to lose!”

“Thought you were going to lose!  Thought!!  Are you kidding me!  You were beat, all I had to do was stand up and the match was over.  You lost except I got greedy and your only freaking move the whole fight was to roll over on that gigantic chest of yours!”

Actually I didn’t say that at all, I just shook his hand and said, “Thanks, good match.”

By the time I got home, I was over the lost match that I should have won.  It would have taken days for a wrestler to get over such a loss.

I wrestled, I was never a wrestler.   

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I Wrestled In High School, But I was Not A Wrestler

I Wrestled In High School, But I was Not A Wrestler

 Part I: Making Weight

In high school, I wrestled.  I was on the team, I wrestled, but I wasn’t a wrestler.  I was on the team because the football coach was also the wrestling coach and he told me to be on the team.   I hated wrestling, but it did give me some good stories.

See: “Bridge Tommy Bridge”

Not great stories, but good ones, and here is another.

As I said, I wrestled but I was not a wrestler.  Wrestlers are a different breed.  They are Spartans.  They live to train and work and sacrifice and win with all their heart and soul.  I did most of those things, but my heart was never in it.

In my junior year I wrestled on the JV team, not Varsity.  I weighed all of 174 pounds, but because we had a better 177 pound wrestler than I and we had no heavy weight, I often wrestled at the heavy weight class.

The day before one match, the coach came up to me and told me to lose seven pounds, “I want you to wrestle 167 varsity tomorrow, Earle Vigne is sick.”

I practiced that day with extra sweats to shed water and make weight.  I worked extra after practice.  At home I skipped dinner.  Some water, a carrot and some celery was dinner.  The next morning I had orange juice for breakfast and skipped lunch.  Instead of a study hall, I hit the gym for an hour before we had to weigh in for that afternoons match.  I sweated some more, and spit in a towel till I could spit no more.  I weighed in at exactly 167 pounds.  I lost seven pounds, mostly water, in one day!  That kind of weight loss was not unusual in the sport.  Some wrestlers did it for every match.  I wrestled, I was not a wrestler.

I made weight, but I had no strength.  Weak and wrestling for Varsity for the first time, I figured I would lose.  My job was to not get pinned and thus save the team a couple of points.

Twenty minutes before the match the coach came up to me.  “Vigne is feeling better; you’re back to JV…heavyweight."

Damn, I lost seven pounds, was weak as hell, and now I had to wrestle heavy weight!

When a match begins, each team marches in and takes a seat in the order of their weight class.  You can look across the mat and see who your opponent is.  My opponent was a brick.  Six foot 225 to my five-ten 170.  He was a tiny head, with two tree stump legs all attached to a chest…a giant barrel chest…the biggest chest I’d ever seen.  The coach came down the line to my chair and with a big smile said, “See your man?  Good luck!”  He laughed and went back to the varsity bench.

Tomorrow Part II: The Chest