The author was born in 1960 at St. Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan (town motto: You Talkin' To Me?). Despite the best efforts of the world's finest medical and scientific minds, no one has ever been able to locate his middle name. As an infant, he was routinely abducted from his stroller on the streets of Greenwich Village by disenfranchised shelter-challenged street persons with alcohol-abuse issues, known at the time as drunken bums. Why the bums attempted to steal the child is unknown, however it is speculated that as a baby, he strongly resembled a bottle of Elderberry Night Train.
At age five the author was stricken with a tragic disability known as a Catholic education, a debilitating affliction from which he would not recover until his college graduation some 16 years later. Signs of trouble came as early as kindergarten, when he was locked in a confessional and forced to recite the entire Vatican II encyclical in Latin after a troubling incident in which he colored outside the lines. Sometime during fifth grade, the author developed an inordinate fear of mathematics and to this day is given to fits of garbled sobbing when faced with arithmetical challenges no more complex than wrapping pennies.
In 1971, the boy's family moved upstate, to the rustic hamlet of Catskill, New York (town motto: Progress Kills). It took the author many years to adjust to life in a small town whose greatest claim to fame is its self-declaration as the home of Rip Van Winkle, a nearly 200-year-old fictional character who got drunk while bowling with some imaginary gnomes and slept for 20 years. (Gnomes, evidently, brew some powerful hooch.)
The author attended St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York (town motto: Bring Mittens), where during his four-year course of study he was rumored to have been sighted in at least four classes. He received his journalism degree and, in a career move rivaled only by the likes of Maclean Stevenson's and Shelly Long's, he moved back to Catskill and began a career as a newspaper reporter. Bored with interviewing farmers who'd grown pumpkins larger than Dom DeLuise, he began a humor column: "The Lighter Side." After winning several awards, he one day wrote a column titled, "101 Uses for a Dead Mary Lou Retton" and was nearly run out of town by irate readers who bore a passionate adoration for the tiny, insufferable gymnast.
Frightened by the Rettonites (and sick of winters so severe it became almost a daily chore to chip the dog out of a fire hydrant-shaped glacier of urine) he moved to Florida (state motto: It's the Humidity) where he lived for 14 years.
He and his lovely wife Rhea have since moved to the winter wonderland that is upstate New York. They share their rural home with a hyperkinetic poodle and a hyperkinetic wannabe poodle. Their free time is joyously spent chopping firewood, stacking firewood, and hauling firewood into the house. They are rarely bored.
© 2011 Steven Ricci
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