Seriously, remember to love each other like Rufus Valentine

Rufus Valentine hands As I’ve mentioned before, I lived in the South for 10 years, with six of those years spent in the suburbs of Atlanta. In the early 1990s, I was a restaurant manager operating in one of Georgia’s largest shopping malls — three stories of glass, sale banners and merchant space spanning six football fields’ worth of mall space.

As you can imagine, I’ve dealt with as many personalities as there are seats in a 280-capacity dining room. The fact that Rufus Valentine dug such a deep groove in my memory should tell you a little something about the man’s character.

I’d like to tell you more.

The first time I saw Rufus Valentine was during the Braves’ heyday in February of 1992, when all of Atlanta was anticipating the spring — and a run at the World Series. Essentially, you could be completely naked; but as long as you had a Braves cap on you were considered properly attired by most Atlantans. Continue reading

Never had food poisoning? Thank a humor columnist

Something every professional journalist should have: A current Food handler’s Card.

Being a journalist, I naturally have journalist friends who, whenever we get together, want to talk about (yawn) heady issues facing the nation and the world. This is done in a discussion format similar to “Meet the Press,” except that our debates are often interrupted by someone’s beer getting knocked over. Aside from that, it’s just like the show on TV. As you can imagine, our exchanges get pretty heated as each of us presents an important topic of debate.

What is our stance on the Middle East?

Should we overhaul social security?

How do we deal with North Korea?

Or, as I challenged:

Why does the new Bugs Bunny look like he’s been shooting steroids with Jose Canseco?

That’s usually when our debate comes to a screeching halt and I’m forced, once again, to defend my journalistic integrity by explaining the value of what I do, then underscoring it by offering to pay for everyone’s beer. Continue reading