Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Year End Thoughts

·       What’s up with wacky Warren Buffet publicly advocating for higher taxes while his business is in a $1,000,000,000 scuffle with the IRS over taxes owed?

·       People who don’t pick up after their dog are crummy.

·       Separation of church and state simply meant that there would be no Church of America in the ilk of The Church of England. It does not mean Christmas trees should be banned from public buildings.

·       Gratuitous use of foul language in every day conversation. Stop the clutter. If you have something to say, make it worth hearing.

·       What’s up with Hollywood celebrities overwhelmingly advocating for higher taxes while their actions betray their words? High tax-state California, and Los Angeles County specifically – host to expensive local taxes, have been losing much movie production business over the last few years to other states and Canada. Reason? They’re being lured by offers of favorable tax treatment they can’t get in California.

·       ‘Right-to-work’ laws, having recently been signed into law in Michigan, now exist in 24 states. Right-to-work makes paying union dues optional instead of compulsory in unionized workplaces. It’s the kind of thing that may make a state more attractive to business and maybe spark an influx of jobs. Sure would be swell if California would join in a reasonable pro-business position.

·       One should not inflict their bad moods onto others. Stew quietly in your own juices and then return to humanity in better spirits.

·       Prison inmates in California have been released early due to prison overcrowding since 2010. In some cases the early release inmates have killed again. I’m disappointed there was no discussion for going the other way on the overcrowding issue. Instead of letting inmates out, the first option should have been to ‘zero out’ death row to make more room.

·       The Fiscal cliff. At this point I want to go off this proverbial cliff. That may be the only way the citizens will have to pay for what they voted into office.

·       Big ups to Wife Klem for keeping Santa Claus alive for our kids for another year. Christmas Eve presents are from mommy, daddy, and maternal family while Christmas day presents are from paternal family. But Christmas morning presents are from Santa Claus. Wonder how long we’ll be able to keep this going.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

President Obama Re-Elected

The people have voted and President Obama gets another whack at this thing. 24 hours after the election results I was still trying to figure out what the hell happened. The ‘oh oh’ moment for me came at 5:30 pm Pacific Time. The election results were trickling in and they were much closer than they were supposed to be. Commence sinking feeling.

Yes, the economy was in the tank when President Obama first got into office, but at what point does his name and failed policies get attached it? After five years, six, eight, or does he have immunity? With this complete lack of accountability maybe nobody should be surprised that we’re worse off than before he got into office. What will this country and economy look like after another four years? How are we possibly going to start to dig out from the deficit hole that’ll be awaiting us in 2016?

My first reaction after hearing of the reelection was depression. [‘Now what’s going to happen to this country?’] Next came disgust, disgust with the low-information and/or stubborn populace that can do such a thing as reelect President Obama. The next day brought anger. [‘What kind of people am I circulating amongst that would keep this man in office?’] And on the third day brought a want of fight. No, not fisticuffs, no jail yard scrapping for this guy, but a verbal sparring of ideas. Save the name calling and sloganing, the election is over and I accept the results. But I do not accept that the ideas and policies of the other team are better than my own. Their troops are merely more numerous.

Governor Romney’s concession speech was so classy. It would have been great to have that man and his family representing this country. But no, as a country we chose a divisive smothering micromanaging Federal Government to one that would reward self-sufficiency and try to get out of the way to allow people to become productive again.

So, what the hell did happen? Days leading up to the election it seemed that Governor Romney had pulled ahead in many polls. I believe the results were largely affected by two things:
[1] Hurricane Sandy. In the eyes of some voters this catastrophic destruction made President Obama appear presidential, like the guy to keep in office. Regardless of what he actually did to assist after the hurricane’s destruction, the appearance of being there apparently gave some folks a confidence boost in their president.
[2] Negative ads. The little known fact of negative advertising is that they’re not supposed to make you want to vote for one candidate or the other, but they’re intended to make you not want to vote at all. They make you want to skip the voting process entirely and stay home. Governor Romney received 2,000,000 fewer votes than John McCain got in 2008! That’s odd since people seemed excited about the prospect of a President Romney in a way that McCain never inspired. So how can the drop in votes be explained? The negativism. It worked.

Conservative thinking must move forward. No retreat or defeat, too cowardly would that be. We must aspire for victory. ‘How so, Klem,’ you may ask. For me, this grand disappointment makes me want to improve myself. Sure, I consider myself to be pretty swell already, yet I want more.  My plan is to seek knowledge then victory in the field of conversational challenge. This’ll take practice, especially maintaining one’s train of thought once engaged in the heat of ‘battle.’ When an opportunity is presented it must be engaged calmly, politely and patiently. Never angry, agitated, rude, or hurried. Ask questions of the opposing side, let them try to explain their reasoning. Ask follow up questions as their misguided statements unfold. Can they respond without calling names or attempting to demean my point of view? Then counter with the answer, the conservative solution, and await their challenge. Victory will be measured by who loses patience to the other’s calm.

Can minds be changed? Maybe. But surely I do not want to be relegated to listening to someone’s feeble swill without having a reasonable retort. I aspire to visibly and distinctly separate myself from the trough of humanity that voted for four more years. Not separated with anger or sharp words, but with my own productivity, self-reliance, and well-reasoned disagreement. This I will do for myself without the need for governmental validation.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Obamacare. One Man’s Gripes.

[Gripe 1] Affordable Health Care, the bill was called. It’s important to note that the bill is called ‘Affordable’ Health Care, not Good or Improved, but Affordable. The fallacy of ‘Affordable’ aside, let’s consider the meaning of the word.

Week-old bagels are more affordable than fresh bagels, but at least fresh bagels are available if you want them and can afford them. The problem with the Affordable Health Care bill is that to achieve the stated goal, only the ‘week-old bagels’ will ultimately be available. Fresh bagels (i.e., the world’s best health care as we know it) will become a thing of the past once the bill is fully implemented.

[Gripe 2] Analogizing Health Care to Transportation: Transportation is important. You can’t work if you have no means of getting to the workplace, but government doesn’t furnish the populace with cars. Instead, the government sensibly makes public transportation available for a nominal fee. It doesn’t make all citizens abide by this same means of transport. If someone wants better transportation than a bus, they provide for it themself.

I would’ve preferred that government take the Transportation approach to Health Care instead of sticking us with this bill.

[Gripe 3] Medical costs will increase as a result of this bill, despite being told differently. The Federal Government said they had to get involved in health care because it is too expensive. Citizens were further advised that the bill would provide expanded coverage and include more people with no increase in supply (i.e., no increase in medical professionals to provide these increased services) and still bring costs down? Under what economic model does that work? That, plus the expense of a new bureaucracy to enforce this debacle.

[Gripe 4] Access to health care does NOT equate to accessible health care. Tales have been well publicized about the long waits for health care services in England and Canada, countries with socialized health care systems. Is that our future?

[Gripe 5] The forthcoming loss of employer-provided health care. Effective 2014, under this bill, employers will have an incentive to drop health care for their employers. If an employer does not provide health care for employees they will be fined, but that fine is far cheaper than the expense of actually providing health care. Employees would then be picked up by the government-provided plan instead. Affordable health care means it’s more affordable to drop the coverage for employees than actually providing it.

Additionally, even if an employer decided to continue providing health insurance for their employees, a fine will be imposed if the employer-provided health care does not meet a certain standard of coverage. The fine for inadequate health care coverage is larger than the fine for not offering it at all!

Under such a ridiculous and perilous plan, what employer would opt to provide their employees with health care? Employees will be lopped into the government plan by default like so much ash in the dust bin.

[Gripe 6] If Congress is so proud of themselves for passing this bill, why did they except themselves and their family from abiding by it? Because they know the bill stinks. They’ll let the citizens wallow haplessly in this frothy mess while they hold a handkerchief to their nose and tell us how swell it is.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012


With much sadness we recently had our dog put down. We got her as a puppy from the Pasadena pound 13 years ago. They didn’t know with certainty what specific kind of pooch she was, they said a husky/shepherd.

Wife Klem and I bought our first home in 1998. Our dog, Kira (aka Koobi), would be the second major acquisition [not monetarily, but as it pertains to a commitment]. The third major purchase was unforeseen, Koobi’s knee surgeries, both hind legs.

Four months after we got her it became evident that both hind legs were faulty. We’d be playing in the backyard chasing tennis balls and she’d suddenly do what looked like a series of beleaguered bunny hops, then she’d lie down in the grass panting. It was gruesome to see. We didn’t have ample jack, but she got her knee surgery. Those improved knees, turns out, was money very well spent.

As a puppy, after her new knees and dog training, I would take her into the hills north of La Crescenta and let her off leash. She never ran off. She would run 20 to 30 feet away enjoying her sense of independence and, every so often, she’d look back at me as if to make sure it was still OK that she was off leash. It was. If people were approaching I’d call her back and she’d return without hesitation and easily allow the leash. I was really surprised how quickly and well she responded. Her dog training really paid off!

After we had kids, she was very protective, but never aggressive. If we were out for a walk with a kid in the stroller, if anyone came near, Koobi would growl, raise the fur on her back, and put on a good show, but she never bit anyone. Wife Klem and I liked how she considered the kids to be her babies too and wanted to keep them safe.

Since early this year her left hind leg had deteriorated to the point where she used it as little more than a pivot. Her right hind leg had recently also become a major problem. Near the end she had difficulty squatting and had trouble standing up from a laying position. Once she was up on all fours she could get around in a tentative hobbled manner but often looked as if she were in need of assistance. If she was outside and out of sight for more than a few minutes I was inclined to look for her, make sure she had not collapsed somewhere, lying out there in the sun unable to stand. Anytime we’d been away from home for more than an hour we’d hope to return to find her peacefully sleeping in one of her spots, instead of being splayed out on the floor waiting for help to arrive because she had slipped and couldn’t get up.

Kira was a sweet beast that brightened our home and softened our hearts. I hope she finds doggy heaven to be a place where she receives a Friday night pig ear every night.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Pink Uzi

[The following is a fictionalized account of an actual conversation.]


It was a lazy Saturday afternoon in Pasadena. A friend and I, we’ll call him Cassidy, and a friend of his, let’s call him Gates, had been chucking a baseball on a grass field at a local school. Having exorcised this urge we retired to the nearby home of Gates’ mother. With cups of cool water in hand we absconded to his former bedroom, a room he had vacated more than a decade ago when he had left for college, yet the room remained as it had been after his final day of occupancy. During a lull in our nonsensical conversation, Cassidy noticed something unusual in the closet through the doors that were slightly ajar, something pink.

“Dude, what’s that,” asking his pal Gates with an unexpected amount of excitement in his vocal inflection.

“Oh, that’s a pink Uzi. Want to see it,” having reached into the closet and retrieved the Israeli-made submachine gun, he was holding it out to us.

“No thanks,” Cassidy and I declined on cue wanting not to contribute our fingerprints to such a highly illegal possession.

The room’s window blinds were mostly drawn, but the bright late afternoon sunlight oozed through well enough to clearly see the gun. Pink, yes, it had been spray-painted pink, but the black metal did show through in the numerous scuffed areas. He was handling it with the familiarity one might handle a baseball bat well honed after many hours of swinging at pitches.

“You know it’s illegal to own that, don’t you,” cautioned the knowledgeable Cassidy who was like a databank of reliable information when it came to firearms.

“Yeah, I know, but there’s no way I’m going to give that up. Besides, even if I wanted to, to whom do I deliver it and what do I say,” countered the gun-bearing Gates.

“Where’d you get it,” asked Cassidy.

“I’ve had it for a few years, since I was in college,” said Gates holding our interest with a long pause.

“Go on,” I prompted being enthralled now with the tale that was being spun.

“When I was in college I let someone borrow my car,” he began. “They returned the keys the next day, this was on the floor of the back seat,” he said as he rewrapped the machine gun in an old jacket and placed it back in the closet. “Turns out they let someone else borrow the car, unbeknownst to me, and the third party had, what I’ve always assumed, was probably a drug run. Maybe they left in haste at the end of the night and forgot it.” Cassidy and I eyed the Uzi but said nothing. He continued.

“I usually just keep it in my old golf bag, but I went golfing last month. Luckily I remembered to remove it so I wasn’t lugging it around the links all day, and, so, I left it in the closet wrapped in this jacket.”

Nothing more was offered. Cassidy and I, not knowing where to continue the questioning, simply let the subject go. We went out for milk shakes then parted ways. The Uzi was forgotten and not discussed at length until now.

[It turns out that time has taken advantage of my powers of recall. I spoke last week with the above mentioned Cassidy regarding this long ago Saturday afternoon. This Gates did, indeed, find a firearm in his vehicle after someone had borrowed it. But it was a rifle, not an Uzi, and he did keep it. When asked by the car borrower, Gates avidly denied having found the rifle. The pink Uzi that my brain remembered in its place was from a subsequent conversation that immediately followed the telling of the actual sequence of events involving the rifle. The pink Uzi was merely an item Gates strongly desired to own, but in no way managed to accomplish ownership. Over 16 years my brain simply transposed the rifle with the Uzi.]

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Rock Tumbler


I was a young professional returning to my apartment on a weekday evening, an apartment I shared with three other mid-20s bachelors. Each of us had our own rooms and maintained good jobs. It was surprisingly spacious and comfortable, though cleanliness, as one might image with four fellas residing within, was a constant struggle. I do not recall from whence I was returning, but from 50 feet away from the front door I could hear a horrendous racket, the source, though, not yet evident. The noise was constant, no gap or pause, the kind of noise I thought that might be capable of driving someone mad should it not be extinguished before long. I smiled to myself confidently thinking, ‘I don’t know what that is, but it sure is nice to know I can go home to an apartment that would not foster such a noise.’

The smile was short lived. As I approached the front door the noise was indeed getting louder! As I unlocked the door and opened it, I felt as if I were walking straight ahead into a strong breeze. A look of horror on my face with mouth agape, I turned to the kitchen to see a roommate casually eating a bowl of cereal.

“Dave got a rock tumbler,” he yelled to me from 15 feet away. Yes, he yelled so as to be heard over said tumbler.

I looked at a five-foot tall tower of sofa cushions along the kitchen wall. The rock tumbler, as a courtesy to his three roommates, had been buried under every cushion from our four sofas. [Yes, our apartment had four sofas which had been acquired over time at no charge from friends. Sofas were positioned two-deep in the family room facing the television, plus one sofa on each side of the room.] Nice, I thought, he did what he could to temper the tremendous racket generated from the tumbler, but the decibel level remained unbearable. Not wanting to be the one to throw a tantrum, I went to my room without disabling the thing. The noise continued after I closed the door, the door having a negligible affect on reducing the noise.

It was some time after going to bed, lying in bed tossing and turning, that I finally tackled the cushion tower and unplugged the rock tumbler, or was it one of my roommates. Regardless, I slept. The rock tumbler lived on intermittently for another few days before finally becoming a thing of the past.

My son recently asked about getting a rock tumbler. This past experience came to mind. I asked if it were OK if we did not get a rock tumbler. My boy, lucky for me, did not push hard for the acquisition.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Healing Hamburger

Madrid, Spain

August 1996

I had been in Madrid for only 24 hours and something was wrong. A bodily ailment of some kind. I had eaten hardly zilch since my arrival, I classify buttered buns as such, still I felt no pang of hunger. I surmised that my body was at war but had yet issued an adverse noticeable result of said ailment. Experiencing no hunger after a day of little intake left me inclined to force a meal into my belly to dissuade my fear of collapsing of an unknown illness while traipsing through the streets of a foreign land.

Concerned as to whether or not I could force my belly to consume and still retain the meal I’d be tossing down my gullet, I aimed for something that my insides would readily recognize. Recognition, I thought, would increase the retention possibilities. My self-prescribed antidote, I’m embarrassed to say, but here it is, I went to McDonalds.

I know, ‘The horror! A land of wonderful and delicious foods and Klem eats at McDonalds.’ ‘This is for medicinal purposes,’ I told myself. As a form of penance I made myself order in Spanish.

“Dos hamburgesas con queso y una Coca grande,” I spoke to the Spanish cashier. I was flattered at my language skills when she responded in Spanish and handed me change. ‘I spoke well enough to make her think I’m a Spanish speaker,’ so pleased I was with myself.

I sat at the table staring out the window in the sunny street and, despite the total lack of hunger, consumed the meal in its entirety and in delight. I discarded my wrappers, placed the plastic tray atop the bin, and exited the franchise fast food establishment. I conferred with my map then continued en route taking in numerous wonders of the fabled city. Hunger later returned at the appropriate interval. Concern subsided and I pronounced myself healed.

A month later I met up with a friend of mine, McGettigan the Elder, with whom I’d vacationed with briefly in Barcelona immediately prior to Madrid. Turns out he suffered from the same belly ailment. With this knowledge we pinpointed our mistake to a walkup food kiosk in Barcelona where we dined the morning before our travels took us in different directions. It was a bad schwarma that did us in.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Jim Morrison’s Grave

August 1996

Alone in Paris. What to do today? Ah, yes, Pere Lachaise Cemetery. Jim Morrison, former flamboyant singer of the Doors, is buried at this reputed world’s most visited cemetery. He passed away in Paris in 1971 at the age of 27 of a presumed drug overdose.

I exited my flat this morning to engage a sunny glorious day. With a freshly opened room temperature liter juice box of peach-orange nectar in hand from the previous day’s shopping, I purchase a pair of quiches from the local quiche shop, selected from the glass counter display, to be consumed on the saunter. Yes, the shop sold predominantly quiche plus numerous other enticing bakery items. I ate the two and walked to the underground Metro which I had by this time become quite familiar. It no longer enjoyed any intimidation over me, what with its foreign words and illegible posted notifications, as my confidence was handsomely buoyant.

With no difficulties I located the noted celebrity graveyard and entered. Very old, as estimated by the dates on many gravestones, but impressively well maintained. I possessed no French tongue so I didn’t burden the guards with an unprofitably cumbersome query as to the whereabouts of the American singer’s resting place. I walked the grounds leisurely reading the names on the head stones fully expecting to accidentally come across Morrison. After a brief respite on a bench where I read a book, refreshed, I resumed the casual search. I was certain of a victorious outcome, and, in the end, my expectations were not betrayed.

I came upon a large swath of grounds that was very heavily shaded. Shortly, I heard weeping. Not the lonely weeping of a single human, but that of at least two weepers plus additional folks in the distance coupled with the ambient noise of a small crowd. Possible funeral? Or folks spending time with a loved deceased family member? No. This was the crowd of about 15 people visiting the grave of Jim Morrison. The crowd was not together, meaning they were not of the same visiting party. The crowd was waxing and waning in a constant fluctuating roster of rotating personnel. Several would leave, another small group would appear. They were sight seers, as was I. Seeing this ridiculous scene of the crying and gawking, I was suddenly embarrassed of myself for now being part of this same silliness.

I stood 25 feet away and observed the goings on. Two girls appearing to be in their early 20s or late teens openly weeping and writing notes to the deceased singer. The tear stained documents were lain at the foot of the head stone. Several male members of the crowd retrieved bottles of liquor from their backpacks and left them unopened for the singer’s ghost to imbibe, I guess. A collection of five or so bottles had already accumulated. The guards certainly were very thankful for the offerings of these youthful buffoons, gifts of booze they would gleefully divvy up after hours.

It was a silly scene, one I could not muster the strength to embrace. Unable to overcome my embarrassment I turned and absconded with the balance of my dignity.

I next stopped at a nearby grocery store to purchase a number of croissants, a piece of chocolate, and a bottle of water. A snack to remain properly fueled.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Day I Became a Conservative

Summer 1996

I entered my adolescence as a Republican on the merit of my parents having been on that team. The nonthinking acceptance continued until one day in the summer of 1996 when I became a Conservative under my own volition, my own conscious choice.

My job entailed much driving and I’d recently become burned out listening to music, I needed a break. Acting on a recommendation from a colleague with whom I worked, I tried talk radio. On this sunny summer morning driving around Southern California there had been a discussion about a bill President Clinton signed. The bill provided a segment of the population with free phone service. My initial thought was, ‘That’s OK with me. The phone company can afford to give it away to a few folks.’

I naively figured the phone company would carry the burden of being required to furnish the free service. But the discussion continued that this was not the way it worked out. The radio host insisted that the phone company passed those lost service charges forward to the paying customers by simply adding a fee. ‘No way,’ I thought to myself. ‘There’s no charge back. This guy is a wind bag.’

My next phone bill arrived and I scrutinized the thing. There it was, the fee! The guy on the radio may be a bag of wind, but I was indeed paying for someone else to have the same service that I paid for. ‘This sucks!,’ was my prevailing amended sentiment. My naiveté was rendered a powerful blow. I was a singe fella renting a 500 square foot hovel in a 40-unit apartment complex in Pasadena at the time. Why was I paying for other peoples’ goods when I had few things of my own?

Turns out nothing is free, especially if the government says it is. Free, in government parlance, just means that the folks receiving the service or benefit aren’t paying but everyone else is.

To look at it another way, let’s consider milk shakes. I’m a guy who is very fond of milk shakes and am wildly in favor of them being available to the populace. Yet, I have no interest in being required to pay for someone else’s milk shake. Those who desire this wonderful concoction should be prepared to either pay for it or pass it up.

Certainly phone service is more important than milk shakes. [Note: This even holds true while we’re within grasp of McDonald’s seasonal Shamrock Shakes.] But the point is that the Government, both Federal and state, are much more generous with give-aways than I prefer.

While the ‘Free Phone Service’ discussion may have some merit, the scenario just brought the reasoning home for me. And so it came to be that my politics turned away from the language of enablers and took a large step toward self-reliance.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Four Eyes


I was a generally well behaved 7th grade kid which resulted in me being assigned a seat at the rear of the class. Trouble was, my eyeballs couldn’t see the chalkboard. I wasn’t aware of my vision deficiency, I just assumed the other kids in the back row couldn’t see either, so I squinted and never thought to complain. The annual school eye exam was the revelation. It was under these conditions that Dr. Dressler, now retired, fixed me up with my first set of glasses. The chalkboard was restored to my visual realm.

February 2012

Both Klem kids have been issued glasses. The boy, 5th grade, needs spectacles for seeing distance while my daughter, 2nd grade, needs them for reading. Each, curiously, has a properly functioning eyeball countered by a crummy one.

“How do you feel about getting glasses,” I asked the boy after the eye exam with the optometrist.

“I’m OK getting glasses. Anything that will help me do better,” came his mature response.

“Did you know you needed glasses,” was my follow up question.

“Yes, because we had a test at school and it said I needed glasses,” he replied. Before the school test, though, he said he thought he could see just fine.

He and Wife Klem joked that it’d be cool to get a monocle for his one problematic eyeball. Luckily the monocle option was no pushed forward.

“I can read the titles of the books on the fireplace,” he said of the Harry Potter series on the mantle from 20 feet away while sitting at the kitchen table wearing his new glasses and a smile. His formerly blurry world had regained some range.

And so it starts, another generation of four eyes. Cute looking four-eyed animals, though, these ones.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Drive

It’s true that I’m a football fan. My team is the Cleveland Browns, a troubled franchise that is one of only four NFL teams (there are 32 football teams in all) to have never advanced to the Super Bowl. We can wax and wane effortlessly for hours as to the number of ways in which this team is troubled. But I prefer instead to share with you the closest the Browns have been to the Super Bowl. The following tale recounts what transpired during the closing minutes of the ball game and my sentiments as the game crumbled and fell away.

The Drive
1987. January 11

I was in my second year in the dorms at UC Santa Barbara. The tv reception in my dorm room was poor, only ABC was rendered watchable. Sadly, Sunday football and the playoffs were on CBS and NBC. Since I didn’t get those channels, I had simply given up Sunday football as a viewing option. So much so, that I hadn’t been watching the football playoffs even though my Cleveland Browns were a viable participant.

I recall this particular Sunday morning, I was having breakfast at the on-campus dining commons with several chums. We got to talking about the AFC Championship game between my beloved Browns and John Elway’s Denver Broncos, winner would advance to the Super Bowl. As we dined someone mentioned that the Browns were ahead in the 3rd quarter! Game was still on when we got back to the dorms so we traversed the the tv lounge to catch the end. The game was being played in Cleveland, it was now in the 4th quarter and the Browns were leading 20-13!

The tv lounge was surprisingly packed. I ended up in the back of the room on the floor, but I didn’t mind because my Browns were winning and I figured it’d only be a few minutes to finish this thing off and I’d return gleefully to my dorm room to either study or take a Sunday morning skate through campus on my skateboard. And so I watched.

After a muffed kick return by the Broncos they were backed up to their own 2-yard line with five minutes to play. A field goal would not suffice. My confidence was strong knowing that they’d have to drive 98 yards for a touchdown just to tie the game. Giddy almost, was I. It was under these circumstances that Broncos QB John Elway took the reigns on a possession that would be dubbed The Drive.

The first play from scrimmage had Elway in his end zone to pass the ball, a short five yard catch. Then came a scramble, another pass, mix in a sack somewhere, more short catches, it was agonizing to watch them move the ball steadily downfield. When the Broncos converted the 3rd down and 18 from the Browns 48 yard line with 1:47 to play, that marked the onset of panic for me. They scored a touchdown with 37 seconds remaining to tie the score 20-20. This game was going to sudden death Overtime.

Bernie Kosar and the Browns had a quick three plays and punted. The Broncos went on to win 23-20. Cleveland Browns tanked in the playoffs again. My gripe with Elway before this game was that he had giant teeth and a too-confident swagger. To my grave disappointment his giant teeth would slide from the radar of angst as he completed the first of a three year annual decimation of my beloved footballers in the AFC Championship game.

Looking back 23 years later I am confused as to how I was not watching this game from start to finish. What was I doing with a leisurely breakfast in the dining commons with an important playoff game underway? An important playoff game hosted in Cleveland Municipal Stadium with Quarterback Bernie Kosar at the helm? I even recall talking smack to someone at a party the night before about how my Browns were going to ruin the Broncos. And then come game time I’m absent?

Two weeks later the New York Giants would beat the Broncos in Super Bowl XXI by a score of 39 to 20. The Drive still hurts to this day, thankfully though, not nearly as much as it did immediately after that game in the winter of ‘87.