Happy Birthday Doug was written and performed by Drew Droege. Mostly we hear the one side of guests’ conversations with Doug at his celebration in a Los Angeles wine bar. As an actor, Droege was superb in creating the different characters with his body and his intonations. His writing was equally as good. In a few sentences, I could grasp the  essence of each character was. But I was confused by one thing. The credits, of course, listed Droege, a director, a production stage manager, and an assistant stage manager. But the credits also told me there were eight producers and an associate producer. The set was a few tables and glasses, and the play was sixty minutes long. I wonder what the eight producers and an associate actually did. I just don’t understand show business.

 “We all indulged in wine and were soon astonished at our scintillating wit.” Daphne Phelps, A House in Sicily.

Have you wondered what Covid-18, or Covid-12, or especially Covid-7 is?

I increasingly see “survivor” with discussions of sexual assaults. Apparently, this is the politically correct term instead of “victim.” Why?

Spring comes again. I think that’s nice.

It is a season of which I’m fond.

Soon the beer bottles on the ice

Will disappear into the pond.

                   Richard Moore

          In my running days, I ran a lot of races, most often ten kilometers long and more in Central Park than anywhere else. I was running 10K races before I tried marathons. When I started doing those long races, I saw the 10K races as speed workouts for a marathon. My goal was to run the 10K in 6-minute miles, and on good days I accomplished that. 10K was basically one loop around Central Park, but it was a tough 10K because the road went up and down with a big hill on the north end of the park. My indelible memory of that hill came from a couple of winter races.  We ran counterclockwise, starting on the east side of the Park near the Metropolitan Museum.  The hill came fairly soon with the road climbing and turning to the left. I could not see far ahead and was always unsure how much more of the hill was left. As I was struggling during those races, I would smell a cigar up above and around a bend. Then he would appear running against our traffic. He was older than most of the racers, maybe mid-50s. He seemed thirty pounds overweight. This was less of a guess than it might have been because even though it was well below freezing, sometimes in the teens, he was running bare chested.  And he was smoking a big cigar with a grin as he ran.  I saw him at least during two races, and each time I had not yet crested the big hill.  Seeing him made me smile, and somehow made the struggle to the top easier.

          Joseph Chamberlin, the elderly leader of the Opposition in the British House of Commons, supposedly replied when asked how he kept his seeming youth: “Never walk if you can drive; and of two cigars always choose the longest and the strongest.” (He collapsed shortly afterwards, and his health declined rapidly.)

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