Print

Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

Sorry, I need a moment to bend your ear

Fair Game Toms new headshotI’ve been struggling since before the holidays with the subject of getting old. It’s not so much about me, but of course that worries me, too, it’s mostly about a loved one around me.

One of the crass sayings in life about aging is, “It’s a bitch getting older.”

Mickey Mantle said, “If I knew I was going to live this long, I would’ve taken better care of myself,” or Walt Disney’s whose two cents were, “Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.”

Some people, like comedian George Carlin laughingly said, “I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older, and then it dawned on me – they’re cramming for their final exam.”

In that same humor vein: Bob Hope noted, “You know you’re getting older when the candles cost more than the cake,” or golfer Jack Nicklaus, who so eloquently pointed out, at least to golfers, “The older you get the stronger the wind gets – and it’s always in your face.”

Some with more matter-of-fact views of aging I found were the Rolling StonesKeith Richards who said, “Getting old is a fascination thing. The older you get, the older you want to get”…or another one from an unknown origin that simply said, “Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.”

But the one that’s probably been most on my mind lately and touched home is that from Sir Norman Wisdom, who said, “As you get older three things happen. The first is your memory goes, and I can’t remember the other two.”

You see, my mom has Alzheimer’s and it’s been a constant struggle to watch her get all the way there. Sure, she’ll be 92 this year, so it’s hard to argue that she hasn’t lived a great life, and, she’s surrounded by a family that loves her, and, perhaps most importantly, she’s happy.

But when I hear stories such as my sister calling her several weeks ago and our mom asking, “How are your mom and dad,” it troubles me tremendously.

I’m going to be honest; I feel like I’ve been a terrible son recently because my telephone calls to her down in Arlington, TX where she lives are now few and far between. I try to justify it to myself by saying she doesn’t even really know who I am, or she doesn’t even realize anymore that I don’t call.

That doesn’t help. Each day that passes, the guilt increases and the worse I feel. It seems so simple, just pick up the phone and call her…but it’s not! I struggle.

Yesterday, after nearly a month, I did just that and called her at the home she lives in with a group of others in similar conditions. Just as I expected, it was a struggle. The conversation was totally one-sided, all on my part. She had trouble even putting a simple thought together.

The conversation was short, and ended with me saying, “I love you, Mom,” and her replying, “I love you, too.”

Maybe that was enough.

Still, it hurts and makes me tremendously sad. I really don’t know what else to say, other than I’m not the only one struggling with these types of issues in my life.

It’s a New Year for all of us, here’s to better days ahead.

• • •

Congrats to my friends at FONBAS (Friends of Newport Beach Animal Shelter) who announced their initial steps in preparing for the new home for animals in Newport Beach. You can read the story elsewhere today in Stu.

One point I wanted to make, however, is that as wonderful as everything is for FONBAS and as great as they’ve done raising money and making friends, they still have an overall gap of $350,000 in the overall $3,000,000 needed to complete everything.

So, if you love animals and can find it in your heart, FONBAS is looking for you. Check them out at https://fonbas.org.

• • •

Do you remember Harley Rouda? Well, of course you do. Harley ended the long-term reign of Republican Dana Rohrabacher by winning California’s 48th congressional district and serving in Washington D.C. from 2019-2021.

Then, Michelle Steel came along and sent Rouda back to the sidelines, where he’s since patiently waited, regularly offering criticism of many of the Steel moves along the way. His sights remained on another anticipated challenge of Steel later this year.

Then came the re-drawing of district lines and both candidates and current office holders scrambled for their next opportunities. Enter incumbent Katie Porter whose district now includes that which Rouda had visions on, forcing Harley, again, to remain out of the game.

That apparently changed this week when Rouda announced his new PAC, Join Together for America, that “will support people running for office who will fight for common-sense values. We’re committed to electing people who put their constituents’ needs before anything else.”

In case you’re interested, his PAC is currently seeking input from voters on “what issues do you want elected officials to focus on in 2022?”

• • •

Ben Broughton was a 17-year-old young man who was tragically killed in a “freak car accident” on Friday, Jan. 7, according to his family. He was also the son of Suzanne Moshenko, one of the bright and friendly faces at Arbor Real Estate in Newport Beach, where she is an agent & Director of Digital Marketing and Branding.

On the same day of Ben’s death, he had just graduated from the leading-edge intensive afterschool ASPIRE program at Hoag Hospital for adolescents aged 13-17. 

ASPIRE is a program that “promotes emotional wellness using a holistic approach built on education, training and active participation from teens and their families. The program provides a structured, supportive environment that teaches and trains healthy behaviors and shows teens how to effectively regulate emotion, manage distress and engage in healthy interpersonal relationships.”

Ben’s family said he loved the program. So, in support of that they have created a GoFundMe account with the wish to start a memorial scholarship fund in his name for other ASPIRE kids in need of the support and teachings the program provides.

According to the family, “The program costs upwards of $10,000 per student and is only partially covered by insurance. We believe that with the help of the ASPIRE program, kids can grow and thrive as Ben did.”

May Suzanne and her family find comfort in the days ahead. 

For more info on the ASPIRE program go here.