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Playing possum.

Baptisms & Dogs in Times Square

Senior Trip, 2003.

My classmates had been subjected to my antics for the better part of a decade (see previous post titled, Flamesh). Our school (RIP) was a K-12 system with everyone in the same building’s infrastructure. I graduated with less than 50 peers.

We all knew one another.

Favorite foods, hobbies, nicknames, played sports together. It was a close-knit family moreso than an awkwardly large high school that you see in Class 3 through whatever number they go to now (5, 6, a bazillion). It was a great time. Imagine a school-setting where the student body was so close there really wasn’t room for the term clique to exist. Pretty amazing, now that I look back on it (and us being teenagers)!

So we took this trip (like every Monticello HS graduating class before us had done). We rushed onto a charter bus at the high school and departed for a week’s worth of adventures from southern KY to Washington DC to NYC. Our already close group learned every more about one another. Inside jokes were common knowledge on that bus. Assigned seats were non-existent, because everyone sat beside someone different at each stop it seemed.

In Virginia we goofed about Virginia is for Lovers signs. In Washington, DC, JT and yours truly were left behind at the Robert E. Lee exhibit. Then, we caught up to our bus, and we made it after another day or so to NYC.

Times Square, THE Howard Johnson cafe, and Broadway. The sky was the limit for us. The Milford Plaza was a beautifully maintained, older hotel situated right alongside Times Square, and we could just round corners and be in some other really exciting street, in this amazing town in seconds.

I remember many of us broke away from the pack and reconvened in Brooklyn for the Yankees game. I vividly remember sharing a frightful cab ride to CBGB’s (again, RIP) to see where the Ramones once played.

Then, we eventually came to week’s end and the return trip back to the land of plenty–Kentucky. On the departure from NYC, I had been savvy enough to drop in at the Virgin Record Store and pick up a VHS cassette for the trip home. (The on-board movie experience had been lacking on embarkation, and I wanted to remedy this. A VHS in 2003? I know, but it was the charter bus’ limitation [not my own lack of technology prowess.])

So, VHS in-hand–a Jim Carey flick, I booked it back onto the bus, and we headed to Monticello. Simple story, right? Nothing life-shattering about this.


I remember the excitement surrounding the option for a “new” movie. My classmates urged the senior sponsors on the trip (again, small school, so, sponsors were my own baseball coaches, teachers, and everyday mentors at church), and the VHS was pushed into the tape deck. And, I was equally excited…

Then, the movie started playing.

It was Me, Myself, and Irene.

Do you remember that one?

I surely didn’t, if I’d seen it before this moment. I remember getting nudged by my buddy, Adam, and him saying “Don’t you remember what’s in this one?”

And I just cleared my throat, and said, “It’s Jim Carey. It’ll be funny.”

He just said, “Oookay” like he knew something I didn’t, and it didn’t sound good.

The movie was rated ‘R,’ and it had some questionable stuff in it, but what made this til-the-day-I-die awkward was, again, our closely-knit group.

Have you ever wanted to be a good example?

I’m sure you have.

Have you ever felt like you let others down?

I’m two-for-two here.

On this bus, I remember the movie firing up, and having 23,000+ uses of the F-word, salacious content involving Jim Carey, and I must add that the movie’s content paled in comparison to the looks people were giving on the bus.

First off, I remember my baseball coach, asking pretty loudly, “Who would pick such filth?” for the entire cabin to hear.

No answer.

The movie played on.

It should be noted that also on this bus trip was my English teacher/youth leader at church/mentor/respected member of the community, and….his 10 year old daughter.

Yes. Dagger into the heart.

The movie played on, and a few more scandalous events happened.

Again, baseball coach stands up, “Who would pick such filth?” And then yells for the VHS to be “STOPPED!”

At this point, I’m past the pointed of baffled/startled/embarrassed. So, I do the only thing a man at the end of his rope can do…I played dead.

Coach walked up and down the aisles begging for the culprit to come forward. He asked everyone, “Who did this? It’s okay if you share it with me. They need to be talked to,” he said.

Surprisingly, my amazing friends stuck to their guns. I had head down, resting on the seat cushion, and I remember my eyes were pinched shut, trying to will Coach away.

I heard, “Wake Tucker up!”

Alex nudged me and I “woke up,” and I said in my best, concerned voice to Coach, “What’s the matter? What happened, Coach?”

He could see I was sweating; he wagged his finger in a “Follow me” gesture to the front of the bus. I stood on shaky knees and obliged him.

I looked at my English teacher as I passed him (and his daughter’s seat), and he didn’t make eye contact. Still to this day, I’m apologetic about the “Me, Myself, and Irene” experience. It was truly a sad, detrimental day.

But, I hope some can now look back on it and see, just how wonderfully awkward life can be. Especially the teen years.

Have you had anything so horrific happen to you that you played possum, or, faked being alive?

That trip to NYC was a great bit of closure to a wonderful high school experience, and even though it had its blunders, I wouldn’t trade that group of people, in that place and time, for anything in the world.

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Origin, 1932.

The word newsworthy is fairly self-explanatory. It’s adjectival meaning directly describing something that is considered “news + worthy”. My question for today:

What is newsworthy to you?

I picked up a copy of the USA Today (today). The Weekend one. Yes. They lump today, 3/6 together with 7 & 8 in anticipation of news over the weekend.

Today’s copy does encompass the story about the 127 passengers that avoided a near-fatal landing on the front page. Yet, above even this “Icy Escape in New York” heading and parallel to the USA Today Weekend logo is the update of “Harrison Ford hurt in L.A. plane crash…Actor ‘battered’ but OK, son says”.

Given the placement and its proximity to the Today’s logo, it would be appropriate to consider this the most newsworthy update of the weekend, would it not?

Don’t get me wrong. I love Harrison Ford. I’m glad he’s OK. Yes. I love him in pretty much anything he’s ever starred in. But, the gloves must come off somewhere. He’s 70something years old. Had the choice to fly the plane, and even was fortunate enough to come away from the accident OK. His son being able to confirm this might permit it to be enough to call it minor news…tuck it away in Section E of the Entertainment section?

My point for bringing this up is simple. In 1932, the word newsworthy held meaning in its controversial first year. Like most words it suffered from overuse and took on a much less certain definition like words such as “wish” and “hope” do today. Think about what topics come to mind when you hear the word newsworthy in 2015. Does it have something to do with truly spectacular (or sadly, sometimes horrendous) events? Events on both ends of the news spectrum? We know 2015 has events “interesting enough to report to the general public,” and boy, do they. But, let’s keep this word away from lukewarm, everyday overuse.

Here’s a list of some of the newsworthy events that occurred in 1932:

  • January: Hattie Carraway of Arkansas becomes the first woman elected to the U. S. Senate; China and Japan go to war again in the January 28 Incident; Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World is published;
  • February: Japan declares the “independent” state of Manchukuo (Manchuria).
  • March: Infant Charles Lindbergh, Jr. is kidnapped; the January 28 incident ends;
  • May: Jack Benny’s radio show premieres; the Lindbergh baby is found dead; the Bonus Army of WWI veterans marches on Washington, D. C., demanding payment of the military bonuses promised them;
  • June: the U. S. imposes its first tax on gasoline; Germany lifts the ban on the Nazi SS and SA organizations.
  • July: the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaches its nadir at 41.22;
  • August: Carl Anderson discovers the positron, confirming Paul Dirac’s prediction that it existed.
  • September: the Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd becomes the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  • October: Babe Ruth makes his famous “called shot” in game three of the World Series; Britain grants Iraq independence; the “unsinkable” Titanic survivor Molly Brown dies.
  • November: Franklin D. Roosevelt is elected president of the United States; German President von Hindenburg almost asks Hitler to form a government, but opts for Kurt Schleicher instead;
  • December: the BBC Empire Service, later known as BBC World Service, begins broadcasting; Radio City Music Hall in New York City opens it doors.


**These are all *ahem* newsworthy events. Heck, even April was skipped, I guess, because nothing notable (or, big enough) shook the foundations of journalism that month.

***I’d like to also add that this was the year Oxford English Dictionary gave its first citation of the plural noun “cojones”, found in Hemingway’s 1932 Death in the Afternoon.

Maybe if we choose to become more selective in our descriptions of events (or, even better, more restrained), then, we can discover news again and appreciate it for all of its insight and remarkable coverage.