Reflections on playing by the rules
by Ron Swift | Patterson Irrigator
Jan 24, 2013 | 946 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ron Swift
Ron Swift
Some of us grew up in the generation when Jack Armstrong was the all-American boy — adventuresome, intelligent, brave and, above all, one who played by the rules. His adventures entertained us on the radio.

Obviously, cyclist Lance Armstrong and Jack are not related.

Lance, we now know, cheated. And then he lied about it — over and over and over.

His fellow cyclists, some on his elite Postal Service team, ratted on him. Yet he maintained his innocence throughout several years of denial, calling them liars and throwing them under the bus.

Many of us thought Lance to be a reincarnation of Jack — or maybe his grandson. He set an example: a clean-cut, articulate, highly tuned athlete who overcame dreaded cancer to reach the pinnacle of his sport. He grabbed the top rung and held onto it for years, beating back all competitors. We thought him invincible.

Several of those competitors, I might add, themselves fell to charges of doping. That’s another word for cheating in the cycling business.

And cycling at Armstrong’s level is a business. He’s a millionaire many times over. After all, the Postal Service paid some $40 million over the years for his team to ride under its banner. That’s a lot of stamps.

So now for whatever his motives, Lance has thrown us under the bus, too. He lied, we bought it, and he continued to lie until the truth came out and he was stripped of his titles.

At least I retain my memories of Jack Armstrong, still the all-American boy.

Ron-dumb thoughts

This recent male tonsorial look that features not a beard but a seven- to 10-day growth of whiskers is simply not acceptable at our house. I recently mentioned not shaving for a week or more and Housemate (HM) voiced her vehement opposition to the idea — her exact words not suitable for printing in a family-read newspaper. To be honest, I think the scraggly look is infantile. If you want to grow a beard, make it a full one. But don’t count on my face sporting one.

By the time you read this, many residents will have visited Patterson’s new Walmart store, which opened Wednesday morning. I had a tour Monday evening on Family Night and can sum up the experience in one word — amazing!

No doubt about it, Colin Kaepernick is highly marketable. Tall, handsome, intelligent, an easy interview, fast afoot, humble, and with inoffensive tattoos, he makes only a little more than $600,000 under his present contract with the 49ers — a pittance in pro sports. That will change, and watch for big endorsements to come. Besides, who could dislike a guy who has a 115-pound tortoise named Sammy for a pet?

And how about those Harbaugh brothers. Great Super Bowl matchup between this all-in-the-family duel, and one will end his season with a loss.

Anyone missing a raccoon? We have one who visits regularly, usually to be found just outside our back door dining on his favorite cat food. He washes his muddy feet in the water bowl and then drinks from the pool.

Life cut too short

Many Pattersonites this week mourn the loss of Gene Field, who last Sunday succumbed to a battle with cancer on his 72nd birthday.

Gene was not only an excellent high school teacher, but also a friend to many, including his former students. He was a staunch supporter of quality education who over the years claimed many admirers in our community. Although his death was not a surprise, it deeply saddened his many friends and colleagues.

Lesson for the week

All right, you kiddies who are enrolled in Fast Talk’s program of knowledge enhancement, ponder this week’s health class questions:

•If walking is good for your health, why aren’t mail carriers immortal?

•A whale swims all day, eats fish and drinks only water, so why is it fat?

•Why is it that a rabbit, which runs and hops through life, has a life expectancy of only 15 years?

•And the tortoise? He lives for decades.

For the sports fan

Those of us who grew up in a certain place in a certain time period are this week walking around with long faces. Stan Musial died last weekend.

And finally…

I often receive questions via email for which I have no answers. Here’s one.

Why do banks leave their vault doors open and chain their pens to the counter?

Ron Swift is editor/publisher emeritus of the Patterson Irrigator. He can be reached at

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