Shootin’ the Breeze
are you yellin’ about?”
this jerk on the damned TV!!
How ya doin’ Bum?”
man yells at television sets.
For those of you who don’t know, Pappy is a biker
living in an elderly care facility. I first met him a
few years ago through a friend of my son. At 85 years young,
he’s been a biker since the early 1930’s and has more
great stories to tell than anyone I’ve ever met. The guy just blows
think television is one thing I wish I had nothing to do
helped invent it.”
boy! Here we go
again! You mean to tell me that you invented television?”
didn’t say that now, did I?
I said that I helped invent it. Ever hear of
think so...most people never did. He invented
TV. I just
helped out a little.”
kind of bull are ya tryin’ to feed me this time?”
ya don’t wanna hear it, that’s OK with me!”
GOTTA hear this! You
in the early 30’s my daddy was drivin’ truck regularly
from Pittsburg to Camden, New Jersy. What you’d call a
milk run. I was
16 years old, just got my license, and on one trip he agreed
to haul me and my motorsicle.
He had to lay over in Jersey for a few days and I
thought it would be fun to tour around the East coast a bit. Since I was new at
it he thought I shouldn’t ride too far alone.
soon as we unloaded the bike I was on the road headed for
sights unseen. A
few miles out of Camden I passed a car broken down on the
side of the road with a little guy leanin’ under the hood
yellin’ like crazy. I
turned around, pulled up and asked him what the problem was,
since I’ve always been good with fixin’ things.
out he was from Pittsburgh too, just moved to Camden and was
a scientist workin’ for Westinghouse. After we got his car
runnin’ he invited me to his house to see some gadgets
he’d been workin’ on.
One of ‘em was the original prototype for the
cathode ray tube.”
tell me more about this Vladimir guy.”
after we got his cathode ray tube perfected, he bought a
bike and we started riding together.”
I don’t have any boots on and it’s gettin’ pretty
ya bring any sippin’ liquor?”
time the nurses almost threw me out of here. I’m not even
supposed to be givin’ ya smokes.”
know the saddest thing ‘bout growin old Bum? Ya start losin’
yer freedoms one by one.
Starts when yer about 18.”
I’ve seen Pappy drunk, grouchy, pissed off, flirty and
even happy. But
I’ve never seen him feelin’ sorry for himself. I quickly changed
ever been to Sturgis Pappy?”
I ever been to Sturgis?
Boy, I was there when it was just a dirt track and a
bunch of prairie dogs! Hell, I got lost in the Black Hills near there for over a
month one year. That’s
when I met Crow Who Flies Crooked, my blood brother.”
this was the Pappy I knew!
me all about it.”
was wanderin’ around for days....Bike was outta gas so I
parked it. I passed a whole bunch of skeletons of critters that lay
half buried in the dirt.
Buzzards were circlin’ overhead. I ran out of water
and was just a-crawlin’ along thinkin,’This is it Pappy. Yer a goner now.’,
when suddenly out of nowhere this old Indian was standin’
there watchin’ me. I thought he was a vision or somethin’.
had a water skin and dumped some of it on my head before
givin’ me a little to drink. Ya got another
anyway he brought me back to his teepee and said I could
rest up there, but I’d have to sleep with his three
OK, I was just pullin’ yer leg.”
hours are over, you two!”
was my favorite nurse.
Pappy’s too. She
has a sense of humor and actually cares about the old man. Great legs are a BIG
I gotta git anyway Pappy.
See ya soon.”
time bring me some you know what.”
nurse just smiled and shook her head.
I got home I looked up Vladimir Zworykin and it turns out he
did invent TV. Ya
learn something new every day if ya pay attention. I doubt Pappy had
anything to do with it but at least the old man tells a good
story.... and I just love a good story. Sure is better than
watchin’ TV anyway. He
was mostly right about that.
[TOP OF PAGE]
the hell is that?”
cathode ray tube is what is now known as a picture tube in a
TV set. He was
workin’ on building the first TV. Ya got a smoke?”
fished one out, gave him a light and waited for him to go
that was his name, was born in Russia and moved to
Pittsburgh and was gettin’ to be pretty famous for some of
his inventions when I met him. Anyway, we got to
messin’ in his workshop and I helped him straighten out a
few problems he was havin’.”
mean the guy that invented the TV was some dude named
Vladimir that most people never heard of, and YOU helped him
“Yup. After we finally got
it goin’ we sat there and watched it for a while, but it
got kinda boring ‘cause there was nothin’ on.”
nobody invented TV stations yet. At least it was
ya just sat there watching snow?”
“Yup. After a bit Vladimir
made some popcorn, but it was still boring as hell. We probably would
have just broken the damned thing up if we woulda known what
folks were gonna do with it.
Hell, the only thing worth watchin’ nowadays is
“Yup. That show tells it
like it is.”
mean to tell me that you think that all that stuff is real?”
many screwed up people do YOU know?”
had a point there. “But
if yer selective there’s all kinds of good programming on
just bore me. Even
the History channel is mostly stuff about war! Seen enough of real
war to last me a few lifetimes. The news just makes
me sad or it scares the hell outta me, and I find all
infomercials stupid and offensive. They should pay us
to watch ‘em.”