You’re In Troouuubbbble

I’m sitting here in my big, comfortable, manly , black leather poppa chair in my living room, and I’ve just read what might be the best Louie Louie Generation poem ever written. Proud Podcast Participant John Lancellotti sent it to me. He wrote it a long time ago. It’s called, HANGIN OUT. And It goes like this:

We did it in the dark street

as daytime turned to night.

You’d find us hangin’ out

benearth a corner light.

Or maybe down the block,

we’d gather in a group

to spend the evening laughing,

noisy shadows on a stoop.

We dared the night to harm us–

with danger always near —

but hangin’ with the crowd

was a room we closed to fear.

For boys it was a passage

that led to being men.

We learned that life was struggle,

the gutter’s great Amen…

For girls it was a time

to test a woman’s ways,

to learn about the magic

that turned their men to slaves.

That’s how the city brewed us

in the kettle of the street,

where hangin’ out with friends

made being kids so sweet.


John’s poem set off a sound in my head that I hadn’t heard in years. It was  the front door bell ringing, and my buddy Eddie Kelly from across the street was standing there again…just like he did all those years ago…and he’s saying, “Hey, can you come out to play ?”  Eddie is about a year older than I am. I’m eight. He’s talking stickball, punch ball, box ball, two hand touch football, or maybe buck buck. Buck buck was a Brooklyn game that involved jumping over a line of guys and landing as hard as you could on the guy in front to see if you could make him fall down. It was a little rougher than today’s NFL…almost approaching the level of last year’s NHL playoffs. 

As the neighborhood guru, Eddie taught us younger guys life’s lessons. Like, touch a toad and you’ll get warts. Stick lead from a pencil into your hand and you’ll die. Make a face when somebody slaps your back, and the face stays there till you die. Step on a crack, and you’ll break your mother’s back. You’re in TROUBBBLLLE, but it’ll be ok if you say, PLEEEEZE. And there are alligators in the sewers. Like all the other younger guys in my neighborhood, I pretty much looked to Eddie for life guidance, until one day when he was about 13, and I was really noticing how Jeannie Cambell next door who was 14 was beginning to change…and I was really liking it…Eddie said, “Hey Dick, we’re going to get girls.” I wasn’t quite sure what he meant by getting girls, but if it had anything to do with people who were beginning to look like Jeanie, it sounded good to me.

Then he blew it. I realized in one crushing moment, that Eddie really hadn’t thought life through. He said, “We’re going to go to school at this seminary in upstate New York. There’s a girl’s school just a few blocks away and the girls all love the guys who go to the seminary school.” He didn’t want to hear my first question which was…you guessed it…”How are we going to get girls when we graduate and become priests?”

Eddie and I kind of lost touch after that. Eventually, I went to college, and he didn’t. In my senior year, I finally scraped $25 together, and bought his old car. It was worth $25. Top speed was about 28 MPH…after that it got too noisy, and the smoke became a hazard to the traffic behind me, and when you turned the wheel, a block or so later the car would tend to move in the direction you wanted to go. Usually. I got to see some neighborhoods I’d have never seen if that steering wheel had been a little tighter. The car was the very essence of a jalopy. But it was my first car. And it ran. Sometimes. And it had a functioning back seat. And as I keep telling you in my book Staying Happy Healthy and Hot…you’ve got to have the Gratitude Attitude.

Dick’s Details Quiz. All answers are in the current podcast.

  1. Why do they call it Mississippi ?
  2. What do the letters PMS-1 mean on a license plate ?
  3. Why do guys who have sex three times a week have to be careful about what they tell their wives/girlfriends ?

Dick’s Details. They take your mind off your mind.

Jalopy is an interesting word. Wikipidea says it’s a car that is often old and neglected and is in a barely functional state. I do tv commercials for a living. And I was thinking about how I would describe it if I were doing a TV commercial for a Jalopy manufacturer. And I think there should be jalopy manufacturers. Some wise Louie Louie lad should become a jalopy manufacturer. Louie Louie guys have a sense of humor, and an understanding of practicality. I think the first guy to sell new torn jeans must have been that kind of Louie Louie guy. His jeans making machine probably screwed up, and tore up a big batch of them, so he figured life gave me lemons, so I’ll make some lemonade. Step number one is don’t call them torn. Call them distressed. That makes them hip. Step number two, hire some people who look like Jeannie Cambell was beginning to look to wear a very tight pair, and do some tv commercials. And that’s just what some guy did.

So why shouldn’t some smart Louie Louie lad do the same thing with cars. Point out the advantages of driving a really beaten up old car. Nobody wants to challenge you to go first at a stop sign…your car looks like you’re really up for challenges like that. Who’s going to bother stealing it ? Tail gate ? I don’t think so with all that smoke coming out of the exhaust. And think of the way you can explain why they’re called jalopies ? You could claim they were imported from the Jalopa-goes islands, where they were first discovered by Charles Darwin, the guy who came up with the theory of how humans developed from animals, by carefully observing how well the ladies on those islands were developing. We know this because he took pictures of the better developed ladies to prove his theories, and later  made a fortune by selling those pictures to National Geographic magazine purely to advance scientific research of course. I think the sales of distressed cars would go through the roof. And think of the positive effect it would have on the employment figures. New car dealers everywhere would hire parking lot attendents to cosmetically alter their vehicles. Only they wouldn’t be called parking lot attendents. But with Political Correctness we couldn’t call them parking lot attendents. We’d call them dentists.

There’s a story about a woman who works at an automobile dealer’s in the Night Connections 2 Personal Audio CD. The woman’s husband stopped paying attention to her. Paying attention is the sexiest thing you can do with somebody. You’ve got to pay attention when your lady says she’s got a headache. And it’s nice when you pay even more attention when she doesn’t have a headache. So pay attention. Because like the woman in this story, if you stop paying attention, eventually, she’ll stop having a headache with somebody else.

“The Joy Of Giving Thanks is from the Night Connections 2 Personal Audio CD. If you like it, you can just keep the current podcast. Or if you want a fresh copy, just check out the Night Connections 2 icon on the home page.

It was wonderful being a kid back in the days when we had side vents in car windows, Howard Johnsons with orange roofs, double features at the movies, with a newsreel thrown in. We had great toys then too. The best was a hollow hard rubber ball we called a Spauldeen. You could play an amazing number of games with a Spauldeen. Some people think toys aren’t necessary. That’s not true. Toys help you have a happy childhood, and then go on to the next stage of your life. And when you look back at it from the Louie Louie perspective that’s pretty clear. When girls are little, they like dolls. When boys are little we like soldiers. When we grow up things switch around. When girls grow up they like soldiers, and when boys grow up we like dolls.

Actually, as my Lady Wonder Wench and other Louie Louie Ladies know very well, most boys really don’t grow up. I mentioned last week how crayons are so important to the continuation of civilization. And I’m not alone. Just now, a box arrived at the front door. It was sent by Proud Podcast Participant California Dennis…the mis-placed New Yorker. In it is the biggest, best set of crayons I’ve ever seen. The note in the box said, “I like crayons too.” Thank you Dennis for your crayons. And thank you John for your poem. And thank you Eddie Kelly… wherever you are. If you went to that seminary, don’t be too sorry you weren’t elected pope. Remember the gratitude-attitude in my new book. Being the pope is the kind of job where if you screw up you really get in Ttrrroouble. And it doesn’t do any good to just kneel down, look up to heaven and say Ppllleeeze.

I just had a great time on the air with Bob Burns. We were talking about my book Staying Happy Healthy And Hot. I think you’ll get a kick out of it.

 My Lady Wonder Wench and I are taking a couple of weeks off to play. We’ll look forward to being back in touch with you on or about April 6. Happy Spring.


Dick Summer




Comments are closed.