Dead Guys I Will Miss
As another year comes to an end there is time for reflection and resolutions, but for some folks this is a time of year for review. The 2015 lists have begun to appear and there is one year end list that is always disturbing and that is the list of celebrities who have passed on, bought the farm, cashed in their chips, breathed their last breath or in the most simplest of terms, died. It will happen to everyone and has been called the great equalizer but the loss of some folks seem to affect us more than others. There was one celebrity loss in 2015 that will definitely leave a hole on the “quotable quote” scene and that was in late September when baseball’s Yogi Berra was called up to the ultimate baseball league in the heavens. I became a fan of Yogi Berra during the sixties when I became a fan of Yogi Bear, who was a cartoon character named after the diminutive New York Yankee’s all-star catcher. I was very impressed once, when as a manager for the New York Mets, Yogi (5’ 7”) ran out to argue a call with a much taller umpire and after a short time of yelling at the ump’s chest was tossed from the game…after some dirt was kicked, which became a classic manager’s move. I was even more impressed when I began to hear the Yogi quotes. I was quoting Yogi Berra without even knowing it and I was quoting Yogi Bear as well, “Hey Boo Boo, let’s get ourselves a pick-in-nic basket.” The Yogi Berra quote I most often use is, “When you come to a fork in the road…take it!” but there are so many others I was not aware of that are totally Yogi-isms. When I order pizza for pickup or delivery I always use the Yogi-ism, “You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I am not hungry enough to eat six pieces.” For some reason, the pizza guy knows who is ordering. Another Yogi-ism that seems to apply to most of my old timer’s hockey games is, “We made too many wrong mistakes” but what might be his best quote is, “I never said half the things I said.” Rest in Peace Yogi. When I heard that Spock, or more accurately Leonard Nimoy the actor who portrayed Spock, had died last February the first thing I honestly wondered was if the funeral ceremony would be a Vulcan Celebration. The second thing I thought of was, if there was a funeral home that had services in Vulcan, would it be proper to wear Star Trek uniforms. After portraying the same character for almost 50 years and a few others in between it is logical to confuse the real with the fictional. It is also logical that a logical character that has had so much influence in entertaining us science fiction fans would logically be missed. Logic was Spock’s forte, and I would like to think that there are others out there that like myself that will approach a problem with the thought, “What would Spock do?” When the solution I have logically arrived at to solve a problem will not have the desired effect, I often hear a little voice in my head saying, “That was illogical” and that little voice sounds like Spock or rather Leonard Nimoy. I have adopted and changed Spock’s Vulcan farewell of, “Live long and prosper” to a more hippy-er greeting for Christmas, birthday and retirement cards by adding the phrase, “in peace and harmony.” “Spock to Scotty…Please beam me aboard one last time.” My heart was heavy and filled with the blues ever since May when BB King passed on after a long and prolific career as a Rhythm and Blues guitarist. Just not any Rhythm and Blues guitarist but one of the most influential guitarists of all time with a ranking by Rolling Stone Magazine of top 50 guitarists of all time. BB King’s signature song, Grammy Award winning “The Thrill Is Gone” is rated at 183 of the top 500 hits of all time and is a song I would like to have with me if I were to be stranded on a desert island, or is that a dessert island. I often try to imitate BB’s string bending vibrato style and have even gone as far as owning a copy of his famous Gibson ES355 guitar he named “Lucille,” but it has not help me play like the “Mayor of Bluesville.” After winning just about every award in the world except the Nobel Peace Prize, BB King will missed and “Lucille” just became a collector’s item. I wonder if his estate will trade her for this accordion I have in my closet? These men are gone now but I can only hope to be as logical as Spock, as comical as Yogi and be as creative as BB.