Biff America: Let’s not mess up our free lunch
Dicky Taylor could screw up a free lunch.” That assertion was an often-vocalized observation by those of us who knew well Richard Taylor.
Dicky T. has been a friend of mine for over three decades. We met on Cape Cod when we both worked at the Seaside Dinner Theater. The establishment had singing waiters, dancing waiters and acting waiters. Being that I lack both rhythm and talent, I was an insulting waiter – kind of like if Don Rickles served food. Dicky was kept in the back of the house, away from the guests, working as a prep cook.
It was back then where I first heard the declaration that Dicky T. could screw up a free lunch. It wasn’t offered as an insult but more a simple observation.
Dicky was a sad-sack type – a good-natured guy who always seemed to do the wrong thing at the wrong time. He’d be the one who got too drunk at a wedding, knocking the bride’s mother off her feet on the dance floor. He’d be that guy who would lose his wallet 20 minutes after he cashed his paycheck. I was with him at a reception (free lunch) when a bee flew into his iced tea: When Dicky put the drink to his lips, the bee stung him on his mouth causing an allergic reaction that required a trip to the emergency room. I drove him to the hospital (his car was towed due to a parking violation).
And if those examples were not enough – Dicky had his nose broken by a female midget; but that’s another column.
I’ve been in and out of touch with Dicky Taylor for three decades. Last I heard, he was living in Maryland cooking at a restaurant his ex-wife won in their divorce.
It would be safe to say this about my old friend: He could take a good situation and find a way to mess it up; partly because he is human.
Let’s face it, as a species, humans can screw up a free lunch.
Not sure why that is. We are the smartest, most adaptable and emotional of all the animals God put on earth. Certainly we are not the biggest, baddest, fastest or strongest, and we do require toilet paper, but we have conquered the rest of the species with our brains, science and weapons.
But while doing that, we have certainly messed some things up.
Whether you believe that global warming is human-caused or not, there is no denying that we have polluted the planet and caused entire species to vanish. I just read that there is an island of plastic trash in the Pacific Ocean twice the size of Texas. The prevailing currents have picked up this mass of litter from around the world and left it in an ocean eddy. Our air, rivers, soils and streams are not as they were as recently as 100 years ago
Then there are the wars. I would acknowledge that some conflicts were unavoidable, but I just went on E-History archive and, under “Major Wars” from 1479 BC starting with the “Persia Empire War” (not sure who won that one) to Iraq, this planet has had 75 major conflicts over 4,000 years of killing. I think that is a little excessive.
If there is one free lunch I’m most disturbed about, it’s my kind messing with God.
Actually, we haven’t messed up God – we messed up the religions we have created to worship him/her; two thirds of the wars mentioned were fought over religion. Leaders, then and now have been able sell the populace on the idea that “Our God is better than theirs so let’s kill them.”
Whatever your faith, the will of God is not so much a mystery – kindness, compassion, love, acceptance. Mankind could simply work on that stuff, and we would be good to go. Instead, we have created endless derivatives and variation of a beautiful and simple message. For the life of me I still don’t know how Jihad, snake-handling, Crusades, polygamy, opposition to gay marriage and gay or female priests and the Pope’s hat figures into the package. All that stuff is man-made and missing the point.
But on the plus side, we have a multi-faith man-made holiday season that is all about (or should be) the best of the prophets’ intentions: compassion, giving, celebration of life and recognizing a power greater than ourselves. That’s a free meal of love that even Dicky Taylor couldn’t screw up.
Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be seen on RSN TV and read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at email@example.com. Biff’s book “Steep, Deep and Dyslexic” is available from local book stores or from http://www.webersbooks.com .
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