I like Dave Barry. He is funny, creative, clever, and successful. In short, all the things I am not. But I am not jealous. A little envious maybe but not jealous. I subscribe to a feed from the Miami Herald, a terrible newspaper which dominates south Florida for no reason other than they ran most other papers out of the area. The Miami Herald was where Dave Barry first achieved success and fame. They, of course, stole him away from another newspaper, brought him to Miami and spoiled him rotten. The feed provides me with irregular links to archived columns by Dave (I am assuming he would not mind if I referred to him by his first name... mostly because he likely does not read my blog and wouldn't know, my being a nobody and all).
The reason I like Dave's work is because he views life in much the same way I do. He just expresses it so much better.
If you are unfamiliar with his writing, here is a link:
Go read it. But come back. Or, better yet, read it later after you have finished with mine. After all, you may forget about me soon after getting a taste of true talent.
In the link above, Dave writes about theme parks in Orlando. I have a special relationship with Orlando. I knew it when it was a virgin. That is, before Disney snuck in, ravished it, and left it with an addiction to theme park developers.
I lived in Orlando in 1963. At that time, Orlando was a nobody. A town primarily concerned with dairy farms and citrus groves. And a lot of very short teenage girls. It was a quaint place, even had some brick streets. We lived on the outskirts in a trailer park situated between a dairy farm on the east and a pig farm on the west. The interstate ran along the north. A wonderful place.
I immediately found friends who were of ill repute. It wasn't hard. I went to a high school which lost all its football games the year I was there and whose star football player was tossed out of most games for "unnecessary roughness" after attempting to beat up the first guy who tackled him. My friends were not the worst kids in the school. But they were close. My friends knew which bars would sell beer out the back door to the underaged and where the best hangouts were.
Even so, it was like purgatory to me. I was not in my normal surroundings. There was no beach. No motel/hotel strip where tourist girls could be found. No pool hopping, no game rooms to ply my trade as pinball hustler. Instead, there were things called "teen night clubs" where there would be local bands playing mostly Beatles songs (it was the first year of the British Invasion, after all) and soda served at the "bar". These were popular places mostly because of all the drinking of alcohol that went on outside in the parking lots.
Orlando is now a huge city, surrounded by theme parks, full of over-priced hotels and overwhelmed with traffic. Simply put, it is worse now than it was then. Something I couldn't have imagined being possible at 17.
Progress is not wonderful at times.
A Night Unremembered
6 years ago