Welcome to our regular Saturday feature “What Aggravates Me”
By Comedian John Knight
Received some sad news last week. We lost another of the old crew from lower Race Street in McKees Rocks.
There were four sets of brothers. Donnie and Mark, Jackie and Tommy, Randy and Wayne, and me and Ronnie. We all had sisters, but they weren’t part of the group.
Tommy was the first one to leave us, with my brother Ronnie following him about eleven years later. Both died from tragic accidents.
Wayne was the first to go from health issues.
He was the youngest of the group, whose ages were all over the place. At a time when a few years mattered, he was the baby.
This was a time before video games and cell phones. Kids actually went outdoors in the summer and didn’t show up for the first day of school, looking like overweight, pasty white zombies.
Before we felt he was ready to play ball with us, Wayne would play games by himself.
He would pitch the ball and then run in and grab a bat and try to hit. Of course he struck out every time.
It was when he started hitting out of his hand, running the bases and playing the field, it got really interesting. Watching him throw himself out at the plate while doing play by play as it all transpired. Jackie was the oldest of our group. He said Wayne ate too many nuts and turned into one. He gave him the name “Squirrel,” and it stuck for life.
We gave everyone names back then. The guy that drove the ice cream truck was a stoner. He wore sandals and his long hair in a ponytail. He always wreaked of pot when he showed up.
I don’t know if they still have the drivers name on the side of the truck, but his said, “OB.” We asked him why his name was Ob. He got out of the truck, looked at the sign and blurted out a big old stoner, “Ohhh, bummer…somebody stole my B.”
The rest of the summer, he was Ob. He was a cool guy and probably sold a lot of ice cream from contact highs.
One time Jackie borrowed Donnie’s mother’s old Chrysler. That old tank was huge. You could fit four in the front and four in the back and nobody touched each other.
There were six of us that headed out to the Dependable Drive In, to see the X-rated movies. Jackie was the only one old enough to get in, so we had four in the trunk. I would have gone in too but Jackie said he didn’t want to look like a weirdo going in by himself. Yeah, because it looked so much better with us two guys going to the porno movies together.
We had a lot of laughs that night, because if we didn’t it could have gotten too strange. The funniest moment was walking into the concession stand with Donnie in between movies. I think he was around 13 at the time but could pass for 10. Looking back, it probably wasn’t the best idea for him to wear his pajamas.
Anyway, a lot of old memories came rushing back this week. Back from a time when we were all still immortal. Back when Squirrel could still round the bases, and throw himself out at the plate.
Follow John on Twitter @jknight841