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Rusty Saber

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by Joe McAdoo

This and that from the Rusty Saber notebook of ideas for column topics:

?As I write this, John Glenn's space flight is big news. The story might be called "Liver Spots in Space."

I'm pretty sure that when the media looks back at the top news stories of 1998, whatever it may be called, the Glenn story will probably be one of them.

He is an authentic American hero, and there aren't many of them around. In fact, the story is as big as it is because we're so hard up for heroes that we'll take one from the 1960s.

Where were you when you heard fellow astronaut Scott Carpenter say "God Speed, John Glenn" as Glenn became the first American in orbit? That's one of those events everyone who was alive at the time remembers.

I realize there are youngsters whose sense of history is that Columbus discovered America, and a few days later Ronald Reagan was elected president. They can't believe anyone could possibly still be alive who remembers Glenn's first flight.

Believe it. Some of us are still around. Not everyone was excited about Glenn's selection to make this "geriatric journey." Some said it was just a public relations stunt to give NASA a shot in the arm. Of course it was, and it worked. NASA needed publicity, and it got it. Others said the space flight was a payback to Sen. Glenn for supporting President Clinton. As I understand it, politics work that way.

Truth be told, some of us who can remember when a young John Glenn conquered space are jealous because he can still fit into his space suit. As for me, I'm happy that a real-life hero out of the past has become a newfound hero for today's hero-poor generation. From one old codger to another, I salute you, John Glenn.

?It occurs to me that there are some things you need to know if you are to enjoy life in the fast lane or whichever lane you're in. David Letterman has his top 10 list. By a strange coincidence, my list also contains 10 things you need to know, in no particular order:

1. You need to know the differences between microwave-safe dishes and those that are not. Believe me, this knowledge will save you, or whoever cleans up your kitchen, a lot of grief.

2. If you have never before driven an automobile with a manual transmission, be certain you learn to distinguish between the functions of the clutch and brake pedals. This could save not only your life, but the lives of untold numbers of others, as well.

3. Men, never argue with a man whose collar is the same size as your waist. Women, urge the men in your lives to strictly adhere to this bit of advice.

4. The above advice applies even more so to arguing with a big-necked man if he has tattoos that are clearly visible even when he is dressed so that only his face and head are showing.

5. Never, never assume that the other cars at a four-way stop will actually stop.

6. The above applies, only more so, if you are a pedestrian entering a crosswalk. If you assume drivers will stop for you, your heirs will know within a week what's in your will.

7. Never play poker with someone who can shuffle and deal the cards with one hand. Trust me on this one.

8. When you visit Las Vegas, remember that the gambling industry didn't spend millions of dollars building all those magnificent casinos so you could win their money.

9. On the subject of gambling, when the state lottery brags about all the money it provides for the schools, remember where the money comes from.

10. If you think you've reached the point where you have it made, ask yourself if the it you have made is worth what you think it's worth.

?In response to the recent Rusty Saber column about advertising that doesn't come out the way it was intended, loyal reader John Cantrell sent me his favorite silly ad. This ad appeared in the window of a downtown St. Louis jewelry store: "Ears Pierced While You Wait." Makes sense to me. It would be tough to leave your ears, to be picked up the next day.

(Joe McAdoo is former chairman of the communication department at Drury College and a Springfield public relations consultant.)

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