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Just Another Point of View: I'm ready to live the dream, but what was it again?

The other person who lives at our house and I are in the process of trying to figure out what we’re gonna do now that we’re living the dream.

I like that “living the dream” expression, because on the morning of my last day of work, I ran into Bob Miller, who was scooting out of the Pamplin Media Group World Headquarters building as I was coming in. (Note to the uninitiated: KPAM occupies the bottom floor of the building where I used to work.)

I asked him how it was going, and he proclaimed, in his big-city radio announcer voice, “I’m living the dream!” That’s when I told him it was my last day, and as soon as it was over I would begin to do the same myself.

Bob was very nice when I took the opportunity to ask him how he and retirement were getting along. (I mention that only because radio and TV people don’t always get along that well with newspaper people, but he seemed genuinely happy for me as I was about to embark on the after-work adventure.) He admitted that he spent a while adjusting to not being on the workaday treadmill — and, let’s face it, the reason I ran into him at all was because he still comes in every once in a while, either to fill in for somebody or else to do commercial work.

Of course, nobody’s going to give me money to say anything on the radio (and I wouldn’t do it even if they did), so I’m still working on what my dream actually is.

This morning I was sitting in the hot tub beside the swimming pool at the new Tualatin LA Fitness, watching the sun come up over Nyberg Woods. For those not familiar with that area, Nyberg Woods is not a forest but a shopping center. There’s no way Hansel and Gretel could get lost in there, unless they wandered into the Best Buy and couldn’t remember where the door was.

The new LA Fitness is a wonderful place, though. It’s certainly part of the dream I’m trying to live. Though I’ve been a member of this organization for several years (and paid my bill with near-robotic predictability), I’m only now making good use of it. The new facility (next door to the Cabela’s in the now-bustling center that used to house a sleepy K-mart and a grocery store) has it all: a salt-water pool where I can swim, a basketball court where I can relive my youth by shooting hoops (always winning big games in the closing seconds of a nail-biter of a game), and more weights, workout devices, treadmills and elliptical machines than you can shake a towel at.

It doesn’t hurt that I get to use all that fancy stuff for free, now that I have my Silver Sneakers card. Yep, I’m a card-carrying geezer and proud of it.

Maybe this is my dream, I thought, as the sun beat in the east windows, blinding me a little and probably frying my corneas. Naw, I reckoned. Getting in better shape will definitely help me enjoy this latest chapter of my life, but it isn’t really THE dream.

My dream used to be that I would write the great American novel, move to New York, become so rich and famous I would be too good to talk to you or anybody else, with the possible exception of talk show hosts.

Another (earlier) dream was that I would grow to be 6-foot-6 and would graduate from Duke or UCLA and have a long, distinguished career in the NBA, alongside super-studs my own age, like Kareem Abdul Jabbar. I would be famous for my ability to sky-walk and slam dunk from the free-throw line and would, of course, never talk to any normal people. But that never happened, thanks primarily to the fact that I topped out at 5-foot-9 and possessed average physical skills at best.

Another dream was to be such a brilliant singer-songwriter that my songs would not only sell in the millions, but they also would change people’s lives and inspire shifts in world events. Of course, I would be so revered I would refuse to give autographs or talk to ordinary people.

Those were the more practical dreams. I also intended, at various points in my life, to be the next Rory Calhoun, with a big hat, pearl-handled six-shooters and a spotted horse named Biscuit. Or a Viking, or Tarzan, or a fireman, or George C. Scott, or the editor of Mad Magazine.

It never actually occurred to me that I might be a writer of a newspaper column. But hey, you take what you can get, right?

Meanwhile, what am I doing? I’m living the dream, people! You know, like Bob Miller. Now get out of my way; I’ve got places to go and things to do.

Mikel Kelly used to work for a bunch of different newspapers. Now he just sits at home in his underwear and writes an occasional column.


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