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Imagine yourself in a multiplex movie theater. Curiously, no walls separate the half-dozen theaters that form the multiplex. Miraculously, you are watching six different screens all at once, thoroughly understanding and enjoying every scene, word, character.

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CelebrateFour sibs (and JB, in spirit!) celebrate “many” days in the life of Mike …

This week brings the 64th birthday of Michael, oldest Blackwell brother and  –

Big Boy No. 1! cheers Screen Two.

We lesser beings – Younger sibs, explains One – celebrate our generation’s fearless leader surviving another year.

Surviving? spits Six. As if he barely made it? Mike does not limp through life, Boss. He lassos the critter, throws it down, hogties it and wrings every last drop of joy and excitement out of it, roaring toward his finale in style and strength.

Recaps Five with pride, Predatory cancer tried to carry off what it mistakenly thought would be an unresisting spirit.

Mike would have no part of it, growls Six.  He decided the disease would never be given anything but a lowercase letter “c” – that IT would be little and his heart would be BIG.

Why, asks Three, are we giving the “little c” any time at all? Remember, your brother wisely created the unofficial rule of celebrating deceased Blackwells’ birthdays rather than annually observing the loss of loved ones. So come on! Let us joyfully sling the mud, using the words of Mike himself!

Nice, warm Sunday, blue skies and a strong beach breeze! I body surf in waves much bigger than usual, rushing to the beach at what feels like 100mph. I am on top of a BIG wave – arms and hands out in front of me, Superman-style – when THE WAVE JUST DECIDES TO STOP.


Iron Mike with Jeff’s and Dianne’s girls

My right arm jams, hurts, holds. But the left shoulder pops. Swimming gets hard. Rough surf both forces me underwater and pulls me out into deeper water. I suddenly wonder if I will even make it back up to the surface.

Amazing thought for such an experienced and courageous lifeguard, muses Four.

After struggling for what feels like two hours but only is 60 seconds, I escape the water and make it as far up the bank as I can before collapsing in pain. A lifeguard calls the EMTs, who take me to the hospital, where the ER doc – a great guy, jock and big kite-surfer – tells me my nasty separated shoulder has the head of the radial bone out as far as he’s ever seen.

It is, gags Five, down where … the bicep … should be.

Mike’s own mind overhears some tech’s reckless words, then repeats them: Pulled a 50-year-old guy out of the same water last week, his neck broken.

An hour passes as the team tries to work the “head” of my arm back into the socket – think “Ken doll” repair, whispers Two – but Doc says I am too tense, the radial head is too far out, and too much muscle keeps it out.

Hey, defends Six, those are the words of the doctor, not Mike!

Medication knocks me out, loosens my muscles, allows the doctor to force my arm back into the socket. Suddenly, I am together again.

Is Mike related to the Scarecrow? asks Three with a laugh.

But the drugs make me throw up four times on the way home … and another eight times that night.

Now that is “tossing” and turning, sighs Two.

I’m still amazed it all even happened. I mean, get real – I was body surfin’ just like 10,000 other times.

Here it comes, Mikey, cautions Five – and you set it up!  

I know, I know … I’ll even say it before you guys do: I’m too old!

Screen Four smiles in agreement, then says, We still celebrate you, champ! Please extend your “life contract” four decades. See you at the century mark!


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Postscript: Oh, did you think we were done roasting Mikey? Let us conclude our column with one last shot from the Birthday Boy himself.

A huge thunderstorm knocks out lights while I am in Lowe’s department store. I find my way in to a restroom and have a seat so as not to miss the toilet.

Ladies, beams Screen Two, you all know you wish your husbands were so considerate.

Two stalls down, a horrendous burst of bodily noises is followed by a small, “Excuse me.” That voice requesting pardon is female!

The plot thickens, whispers Three.

We step out of our stalls as lights come on. There stands a fat little granny, maybe 73. I shouldn’t have, but I asked, “Did all that noise come out of you?

She looks down, nods “yes.”

“And you’re even here in the men’s room,” I add. “Aren’t you embarrassed?”

Granny looks up in surprise, walks swiftly past me, opens the bathroom door and reveals a sign which reads, “Ladies.”

She turns to me. “Aren’t you embarrassed?”

Post-Postscript: That last story – I had not quite finished adding it to this column – blows up in my face this very afternoon when I stroll in to an unfamiliar restroom on the Owens Community College campus.

Puzzled at the absence of urinals and the presence of stalls – even a loveseat –

Please remain seated during the entire performance, ribs Screen Three.

– I pace the room a moment, then pull wide the exit door.

Allowing entry, smirks Six, of a collegiate female who eyes your “instructor” badge (name broadcast in 24-point type) and shoots you a withering look.

Sighs Five, Another great job down the toilet.

* * * * *

Blackie’s Weekly Wonders

This guy’s got nothing on you, Mike …

Neither does this guy

We know this won’t happen to you, Big Boy No. 1

Maybe for your 65th celebration?