Archive for March 2008
Bridgette and Doyle Popeye celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary on March 27, 2008. Bridgette Squeaky Moonloop was born in Corncob, LA on February 29, 1908. Her husband, Doyle Isakiah Popeye was born in Vegetable Leaf, MO on February 29, 1904. They met at the National Society of Leap Year Babies celebration on February 29, 1928, and just under a month later they were man and wife. On January 17, 1929 their son, Aristotle Ezra Popeye, who became a comedic star using the name Popeye The Sailor Man, was born.
Vegetable Leaf, MO was known for the abundant spinach crops each and every year. During the 1930s and 40s, spinach was a slang word for nonsense (there is no significance for this story, just interesting). Doyle Popeye’s family had the largest spinach empire in the State; just over 27,000 acres of greenery.
One day in the summer of 1937 while visiting his grandparents, Aristotle was chasing the family’s pet rat, Phoebe, through the rows of crops. Becoming exhausted from the frivolity, he rested a moment and witnessed Phoebe gnawing on some spinach leaves. Phoebe perked up with enthusiasm, daring young Popeye to chase her. Aristotle, being not a particularly bright child, decided to chew on a leaf as well. His forearms grew immense, and he developed a hankering to smoke a corncob pipe. His increased speed allowed him to catch Phoebe and they snuggled for hours. Aristotle Ezra Popeye knew he had happened upon a miracle weed (not that kind of weed).
After years of spinach-induced mayhem, and kicking a lot of ass in High School, Aristotle figured he could parlay his strength into a career. He brought his idea for a hit series to famed Hollywood Producer, Bluto Tandrum, who insisted on a part in any of the movies, cartoons, or other media invented during that time. Since Bluto was a very large, imposing fellow, it made sense he assume the role of villain. Popeye agreed to Bluto’s demands, and a series was launched.
Another son, Doyle Isakiah Popeye, Jr. was born on January 30, 1930. Doyle, Jr. could not stomach spinach. His parents tried hiding it among other foods, like spinach dip, spinach ravioli, spinach juice (they called it lime), and other dishes. But he was not fooled. Eventually Doyle, Jr. refused to eat any green leafy vegetables, and it was he who coined the term vile weed to emphasize his hatred of spinach. Eventually the term was used by Newman in a Seinfeld episode in reference to broccoli.
Although Doyle, Jr. never developed the large forearms and affinity for corncob pipes, he did understand there is a lot of money to be made in the entertainment business. Adopting the screen name, Gene Hackman, he became a famous, Oscar-winning performer. His early success was realized at the age of 41 in the film French Connection, in which he played Popeye Doyle, a cantankerous police detective, bent on destruction of the heroin trade through France to America. He was very tough in the Popeye tradition, even without the spinach.
Bridgette and Doyle Popeye have lived a long life. Both are centenarians, yet they have not been honored by Willard Scott or Smuckers (probably an oversight). Most vegetable authorities attribute their longevity to lifelong spinach consumption.
The Popeye name has been branded throughout the world in products such as Popeye’s Chicken and Popeye Spinach. There is even a club in Chester, Illinois devoted to the Popeye Picnic; an annual event, which includes music, food, games and such; all in the honor of Popeye. Somebody kill me . . . . now.
Bake My Fish
See the suitcase? That’s mine. Only blue. Don’t laugh. I’m serious. What do I know? I haven’t required a big suitcase in eight years. On my recent trip to Florida, a larger than usual piece of luggage was necessary, so I ventured to the basement, cleaned up the familiar Samsonite and went about my business.
I like the handle and wheels, which makes it easy to lug. Nothing can penetrate it. And it makes a good seat if necessary. My wife added a red ribbon to the handle for easy identification among all the other blue luggage that was populating airports in the 90s. Finding my bag was not a problem in February of 2008.
When we arrived in Ft. Myers, one of the cooler guys in our group saw the case coming down the chute and commented (not knowing it was mine) about the old commercial with the gorilla jumping on the luggage. He was having quite a chuckle. Then I walked over to retrieve it and he laughed. We both did. It was really funny. I had no idea of the archaic nature of my satchel.
Further ridicule was set aside during the stay at the hotel, since the satchelite was hidden in my room. Then came the day we had to leave. Everyone had their luggage in our meeting room due to checkout requirements. My trusty Samsonite looked like a broken thumb among all the other clothing luggers. It escaped my notice, because I was trying to learn my trade and was blubbering through role play. Then we had to go to the airport and Sammy would be alone among more common conveyances.
After returning to Baltimore, we had to pick up our bags. Not as many people noticed during the trip to Florida, but back in Baltimore, the Samsonite looked silly among all the other cases. The red ribbon had no place. “Poor Little Sammy” couldn’t be mistaken. There it was with the solid handle; waiting for my touch. I thought, “Maybe I can let it go around the carousel a bit and no one will notice (and honestly I didn’t want people to set their sights on the sissy ribbon).” But no, my friend had to yell, “Here comes your bag!” as he laughed his ass off.
The most biting rib was, “Bake, Bake, Bake, Bake. That’s the same suitcase my parents used to have.” That was particularly funny and I laughed, while slinky, ferret-like snatching my case from the conveyor. “Yeah, it’s mine” I thought in a decidedly dorky moment, fumbling with the bag and trying to get it quickly out of sight.
Alright, so trend-setting is not my forte, but I really was naively unaware Sammy was ancient. Sure, the luggage in the stores all seemed to be the soft baggage. I was not devoting an inordinate amount of time to thinking about the change, because I wasn’t looking to make a purchase. The transition to soft suitcases (if that’s what you call them) caught me by surprise.
I’m sure the embarrassment of being the only turd in the entire airport of two cities to be toting around the Samsonite bag will eventually subside. It will not fester in my craw for eternity.
It’s OK. I enjoy a good laugh. Even at my expense. But, we will be buying the soft stuff for the May trip.
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