Musings & Observations / Barry Halpin
Weather patterns around the world are going berserk and weather forecasters are predicting another busy Atlantic hurricane season.
The Northeast -- where over the last few years, my favorite season spring has been incredibly short lived -- has already been drenched by the first storm of the season, tropical storm Andrea. The next storm will be named Barry; as storms go, I'm hoping it'll be more a mild mannered Clark Kent than Superman, the man of steel.
Three storms after Barry will be Erin -- the name of one of my daughters -- and if the storm is anything like her, it'll be a real doozy (an expression my dad used with great regularity).
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As with the weather, the world is changing at a dizzying tempo. Compounding the dizziness is the staggering amount of information available on just about anything; it's up to each of us to navigate through all the misinformation, disinformation, urban myths, half-truths and bad information and separate the wheat from the chaff. It's human nature to believe what you want to believe, usually the stuff that conforms to or reinforces our world view; perception will always trump reality.
What slows things down and gets me through the craziness has always been and will continue to be: Family and friends; music; Indian, Japanese, Mexican and Irish food; my sense of humor; and those everyday special moments, some that take my breath away, some that put things in perspective, and others that have a down-home, feel-good quality and bring a smile to my face. The value of the human connection is immeasurable; face-to-face meetings heighten the experience of being alive.
Recently, I've experienced quite a few of those special moments and lots of laughter. Following is list of my favorites.
Lately, I've been getting quite a few emails from dating services that either want to hook me up with my soul mate -- the person who will bring an infusion of love and sanity to my world -- or someone I can just go out with and have a good time, where love is only a keystroke away and marriage is not the endgame.
The email that brought the biggest whoa was the one from the China Women Dating Team that wanted me to step into action -- whatever that means. I have been on a few double dates in my time but never team dating; however, it did give me pause for thought.
I'm at Eastern Middle School in Greenwich -- where to some students I'm known as the Improv Guy -- to run improv workshops; Kristin Walsh and Rob Walsh, eighth-grade English teachers, have been inviting me in for years to work with their students. They hand me a gift bag with a T-shirt inside, designed by a student.
I pull out the T-shirt and on the front is written, "Hi, I'm the Improv Guy." I chuckle, say thanks, and start to put it back when Kristin says, "Check out what is written on the back." It says, "Not Bon Jovi," and I break up.
I'm making my usual morning pit stop at the local gas station for a cup of coffee and USA Today, when the overnight guy says, "You know who you look like?" I go with Bon Jovi, then Steven Tyler -- two rock 'n' rollers I've been told I look like -- and he just shakes his head. "Nah. If you put on a headband and wrapped a scarf around your neck, you'd look like Keith Richards."
I tell him I'll take that as a compliment, since I'm a big Keith Richards fan. I will never forget meeting him in Dam Square in Amsterdam, and the fact that years later he responded to my letter asking if he and his band the X-Pensive Winos would be interested in playing at the Palace Theater in Stamford.
Viola, the manager, laughs out loud and her boyfriend, Dave, yells, "Dude, Barry doesn't look like he's 80 and there aren't crevices in his face."
I'm channel surfing, when I come across "Doo Wop Love Songs (My Music)" on PBS. The Demensions, a Doo Wop group from my old stomping ground in the Bronx, are singing their killer version of "Over the Rainbow," and my wife and I, like the audience, start singing along. Next up is The Teenagers -- originally known as Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers -- singing "Why do Fools Fall in Love?" We chime in, put on some dance moves, look at each other and laugh. Priceless!
Barry Halpin can be reached at email@example.com.