More Jackson County Opinions...

March 6, 2002

By: Virgil Adams
The Jackson Herald
March 6, 2002

Finding inspiration and motivation
Contrary to what some of you believe, these things don’t just jump on the page. Take this one. It was a struggle. Stayed awake most of the night trying to figure out the next sentence.
So early in the morning I drove over to Byrd’s and joined the Coffee Club that meets there regularly. I knew I would find inspiration and motivation – not to mention relief from the struggle.
Call them male gossips if you like, but their modus operandi is to disseminate information for general discussion that leads to action and solves local, county, state, national and world problems. Why Jefferson and Jackson County government officials don’t take advantage of their knowledge, expertise and diplomatic acumen, I’ll never know.
They gather at dawn with nary a clue what the day holds. One to three hours later they go out into the world with purpose, resolve and confidence. They believe they will make a difference. Their calling is clear.
And one day last week they sent this humble scribe home with a clear vision of the next sentence, no longer to struggle or lose sleep.
The day before, on my own, I had been trying to answer the question, How do you know if you are getting old? Only I was trying to answer it in some corny, crazy, reverse sort of way. Maybe that’s why I was struggling.
I had roughed out the following four paragraphs when writer’s block set in:
“If you like boom boxes, rap music, trash talking and athletes who carry on foolishness every time they make a play, you have a way to go, young fellow.
“If you detest those things, you’ve arrived, old friend.
“If you like the grungy look and kids who wear their caps backward and never remove them in the house, restaurant or any public building, you aren’t old yet.
“If you see nothing wrong with putting on make-up and eating breakfast while driving, or using a cellphone in a car, a café, a theater or a church, you aren’t eligible for AARP membership.”
Then I hit the snag. Five hundred words down and 500 words to go. So I went to Byrd’s to meet with my support group.
I have no idea how two old men sitting around that oblong table knew I was working on a column about old people. All I know is, John Kinney and Henry Asbury gave me identical e-mails that related to the subject at hand.
The material listed no author or source. Thanks to the Internet, I guess literary theft is a thing of the past. And I pity the poor copyright attorneys. Trying to prove that anything is original these days is nigh on impossible.
Anyway, what those old geezers gave me last week put me back on track. And it says better than I can what I was trying to say when I hit the wall. Listen up.
“Old geezers are easy to spot. At sporting events, during the playing of the National Anthem, they hold their caps over their hearts and sing without embarrassment. They know the words and believe in them.
“Old geezers remember World War I, the Depression, World War II, Pearl Harbor, Guadalcanal, Normandy and Hitler.
“They remember the Atomic Age, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Jet Age and the Moon Landing, not to mention Vietnam.
“If you bump into an old geezer on the sidewalk, he will apologize. If you pass an old geezer on the street, he will nod or tip his cap to a lady.
“Old geezers trust strangers and are courtly to women. They hold the door for the next person and always, when walking, make certain the lady is on the inside for protection.
“Old geezers get embarrassed if someone curses in front of women and children, and they don’t like the filth on TV or in the movies. They have moral courage. They seldom brag – unless it’s about their grandchildren.
“It’s the old geezers who know our great country is protected, not by politicians, but by the young men and women in the military serving their country.
“This country needs old geezers with their decent values. We need them now more than ever.”
I should stop right there. Leave well enough alone. But knowing me like you do, you know I had to check out “geezer” in the dictionaries.
Geezer: “a rather odd person (usually elderly and nearly always a man)” – World Book
OK, so it’s unlikely, but possible, that a geezer can be a young female, lady, woman, girl-type. If you know such a person, I sure would like to meet her.
Geezer: “a queer, odd, or eccentric man.” – Webster.
So you don’t have to be old to be a geezer. However, Webster seems to rule out females, Sorry, girls, you are not eligible for geezerhood.
I am not offended that Webster says we are odd or eccentric. (I’d just as soon he left out queer.) I don’t believe any of the men who sit around the Coffee Club table at Byrd’s are offended, either.
In fact, we rather like being odd and eccentric. We’ve earned the titles. Anyway, how else are you gonna solve problems in this crazy, mixed-up world?
I’d still like to know how John and Henry knew I needed struggle relief, inspiration and motivation to write the next sentence and come up with 500 more words.
Old geezers just seem to know somehow. They are a national treasure. Thank God for ‘em!
Virgil Adams is the former owner/editor of the Jackson Herald.

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By:Angela Gary
The Jackson Herald
March 6, 2002

Having fun in the audience
Once you’ve had a taste of the bright lights glaring at you, the non-stop cheering and clapping and the celebrity spottings, there is no going back.
I had my first experience in December and now I have three notches on my belt. I’m going to tell you what I’m talking about, but you shouldn’t read this unless you want to be hooked too.
What I’m talking about is being in a studio audience for the taping of a television show. I started off with Most Wanted Live on CMT which wasn’t a big deal since I planned to be in Nashville anyway. It’s not like I made a special trip to Tennessee just to be in the audience. But, I have to admit, that it was so much fun that I planned another visit to the CMT television set a few months later to be in the audience again.
But I really went off the deep end last week when I went to New York City for a whirlwind, and exhausting, 24-hour period to be in the audience for a taping of the Rosie O’ Donnell show. It’s one of the hottest tickets going now because she will end her six-year run as a talk show host this spring.
The tickets to Rosie are free, but you have to request them well in advance. For those who get the tickets for free and can’t use them, they are selling them for over $150 each on the Internet.
When I got the blue postcard in the mail saying I would get two free tickets for Feb. 28, I knew I had to go. I had asked for tickets for March 28 because I am going to New York City then for a long weekend vacation. They apparently messed up my request, but the card clearly stated that there were no rescheduling or changes allowed. I had already made plans for the trip later in March and couldn’t go for another long weekend, but I thought I could fit a 24-hour trip into my schedule and my budget.
I’ve always wanted to be in the Rosie audience. It’s not that I’m a huge Rosie fan. It is because she gives away a lot of free stuff and has great guests. It doesn’t matter whether you like Rosie or not, you are sure to like all of the free stuff and the guests. The audience members really look like they are having a good time
I wasn’t disappointed last week. Every member of the audience got the following gifts: a CD, two DVDs, a Trivial Pursuit game, a T-shirt, a pin, a magazine, a fold-out scrapbook, a craft kit, a bag of assorted candy and a stencil set. I’m sure other things were in the huge shopping bag that I’ve forgotten already. It was well over $100 worth of stuff. A bag filled to the top with the gifts was waiting in the chair for every member of the audience. We also each had a carton of cold milk and a chocolate snack cake. And, then as we left the studio, staff members were shoving more free stuff at us.
If you want to be in the audience of one of the shows taped in New York, you have to have lots of patience. Just because you get a ticket in the mail doesn’t mean you will get in. They actually send out more tickets than there are spaces. That means you go early and wait in line. A friend and I arrived in line at 10:30 a.m. and there were already 30 or more people in line in front of us for the 1:30 show. We settled in for a long wait.
It was actually interesting to talk to the different people around us. One mother and daughter from Kentucky had flown in just for the show. A group of girls from Michigan drove nine hours straight to get to the show and said they planned to head back home as soon as the taping was over. A bored husband drove in from New Jersey. He was a last-minute replacement for his wife’s friend who called at 6 a.m. and said she was sick and couldn’t go. The time passes faster than you would think as you get the stories of those around you.
Around 1 p.m., we were herded through security. They go through your bags pretty thoroughly and you have to walk past the metal detector. Then, you get outside the studio where you wait in line some more. The staff comedian, Joey Kola, comes out and “warms you” up with a few jokes and picks someone at random to do the announcement. He apparently likes chocolate and those with something to bribe him with fared well.
Once inside, we barely had time to look at all of our free stuff before the show started. It really went by fast. The guests were Cher, who performed a song from her new CD, and Olympic medalist Apollo Ohno. It was over all too soon and we were headed back to Georgia.
I wonder what tickets I can get next. I’m ready to find those bright lights again. My long weekend vacation to New York City is coming up soon and I’m ready to hit the audience again. It’s certainly much more fun than the usual audience I find myself in–city council and board of commission meetings. I don’t find free stuff and snacks in my chair in those audiences.
Angela Gary is editor of The Banks County News and associate editor of The Jackson Herald. She can be reached at
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