Village not off to a good start in the new year

Opinion

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By JOHN HUBBUCH, Columnist

The New Year is only five days old and already I'm mad. A number of stories in WEDNESDAY JOURNAL's January 5 edition got the old BP into the hypertension zone. All the good feeling (metaphorically speaking) I got from my recent successful colonoscopy is gone.

First was a story about one Les Golden, an Oak Park astronomer, who had calculated that an earth day was a teeny bit shorter because of the Sumatra earthquake. Well, Mr. Golden, I knew Copernicus and you're no astronomer. How did Mr. Golden get to be an astronomer? Does he work at the planetarium or the U of C? I took physics at college, does that make me a physicist? I went to a Billy Joel concert one time?#34;does that make me a musicologist?

Next, John Rice, an ink stained wretch of a columnist like me, wrote a column in praise of night. Heretofore, I always liked Mr. Rice and his column. Now I know he is insane. Simply put, the morning is for God's creatures like birds, rabbits and newspaper delivery people. It is a time for reflection and achievement. Night is for drunkards, criminals, Desperate Housewives (and other bad TV) and Dracula. Enough said.

Then there was a story about some village people who had submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to village government. One concerned citizen had filed 104 such requests as of the first week of December making him the Barry Bonds of this activity. Second and third FOIA persons had filed 31 and 20 such requests. What made me mad was that this perversity was treated as a legitimate activity. There are people who can turn their eyelids inside out, but we don't want to encourage them. At the Ripley's Museum in Gatlinburg there's a picture of a guy with a ball of string that must be 10 feet around, but he's there as a freak, not a real person. Mania is not citizenship. We all have weird tendencies, but better to keep them hidden.

And finally, our Villager of the Year was an architect and some developer fella known as "the Russian." Interestingly, there were three pictures of the architect, but not "the Russian." I was concerned that "the Russian" maybe had sinister reasons for not wanting to reveal his identity. Maybe he's really Keyser Soze. Hopefully, he hadn't been disfigured like the Ukraine presidential candidate who was poisoned by dioxin. (At least he won the election).

I don't think the Villagers of the Year should be honored for figuring out how to work our village government and make millions. And, so, I must announce my Second Annual Villager of the Year winner.

You may recall that the inaugural winner was Lee Kleidon my next door neighbor who snow blowed my walk for two years while I waited for my snow-blower to heal from some mysterious ailment. Good job and congratulations Lee.

This year's very worthy nominees included: The high school's non-certified staff. These people actually make the high school work. Earning much less than teachers and administrators, these men and women, many of whom have college degrees, affect the lives of kids every school day. No big retirement. No prep periods. No recognition until now. Keep up the good work.

The paramedics who came to my house after the Chicago Marathon because I had passed out in the hot tub. ("Beer on whisky, mighty risky." "After the race, no 104 degree water place." Moron.) They came to my house in a fire truck just as the guests arrived. They were dressed just like the CSI guys, bristled with efficiency and were highly professional. They asked me some questions like my name, address and age which I nailed just like Ken of Jeopardy fame. Great job, gentlemen.

Marissa who checks me out at the Dominick's on North Avenue and Harlan who often bags my groceries. I see them most Saturday mornings around 7:30 a.m. (When, Mr. Rice, there are few people shopping). They always seem glad to see me. Great people.

But this year the winner is the homeless guy that opens the door for me on Saturday or Sunday at Einstein Bagels at the Harlem/North Avenue intersection. I don't know his name, but he's awesome. He always opens the door and tells me to drive safe even though I hadn't driven there. I usually give him a dollar, but if I don't have change he never gets mad or even seems disappointed. I'm afraid of most homeless guys because they're mean or crazy or fake being friendly. This gentleman is not like that and he has caused me to rethink my relationship with all homeless people. In fact, when I retire I might volunteer at a homeless shelter, or help him open doors at Einstein Bagels.

Congratulations to all. Now I feel better.

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