Dik's Ravings

Dik Saalfeld '80
Washington correspondent
Fall 2006

Barry Lawrence and his tribe were in town for a few days over the summer. You know the drill - take the kids to Washington, DC and shove some history and culture down their throats, the little ingrates. Kids these days. No respect. When I was a kid, we had RESPECT. When we weren't stoned and stealing cars, I mean. The wife and I had the Lawrences over to dinner, and their kids were actually very polite and quiet. Of course, they are young adults. Brett Sylvester and his wife, Xin, brought their tots, too, and the boy raised all kinds of holy hell. He hadn't made the distinction between "drum" and "fish tank" yet, but he learned. Barry and his family, transplants from Long Island, live in Salt Lake City. Oy! It's a whole new breed of goyim out there.

Jeff Lowe and I had lunch recently. He is a legal recruiter. He tries to get folks to take lawyer jobs even if they only pay a quarter mil, because the other bennies are great, and you can earn bonuses. Oddly, he did not attempt to recruit me. In fact, he kept trying to change the subject. He's a coy one.

Speaking of jobs, I started a new one this past summer. After years of consulting, I signed up with Uncle Sam. Wait for it - I work in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer in the Department of Agriculture. They grow the beans AND count them. The new job combines my lifelong love of both agriculture and finance. Some of you may recall that I majored in history and refused to take math or science courses because, technically, I cannot add or subtract. I have never balanced a checkbook. My wife gives me an allowance. I am not permitted to pay utility bills or even look at the mortgage statement. My agricultural successes are in the form of growing mold and tracking dirt into the house. But life is full of ironies, and once again your tax dollars are supporting my lavish lifestyle! Thanks! Time to gas up the Jag and send a thank-you note to the boys in the hinterland! Man, I get 6 weeks paid vacation a year, about a hundred Federal holidays - Arbor Day, National Pet Day, Gibber's Birthday - and full health bennies for me and the old lady. Heck, I'm at work right now! You're paying me to write this twaddle! And there's not a dang thing you can do about it! It's like having instant tenure. If you're a farmer, it's probably a great time to start thinking about buying land in South America, because next year's crops are coming up ragweed, thanks to Dik and his raging personality disorders.

You know all the guys from the '40s and '50s who hate my columns? They're starting to die off. I'm getting fewer spit-stained postcards. I'll miss those geezers. They know who they are. But they can take solace in the fact that I am pushing 50 and don't understand the music kids listen to, or most of the commercials on television, when I can hear them. And while there once was a day when I simply could not believe that the saloons in Tompkins County closed at 1, it has been years since I have purposely stayed up that late, even counting New Years.

Jim Dake and his brood occasionally stop by, as they live in Connecticut, and his son goes to school in North Carolina. Jim and Sylvia are hale, as are their two kids. Jim is still perpetually upbeat. We reminisced about that old rattletrap he drove - wait, every car he had was a rattletrap - the one with the blue light and siren that took three quarts of oil to get to Wells College. He would get the cars ahead of him off to the side of the road with the siren, then they would pass him again when he had to pull over for oil. He's a nice guy, but he's no Alfred E. Einstein.

Zulu Rosenberg and I corresponded not too long ago. He lives in Atlanta with his family. He is living the life of Reilly now that he has ditched the northeastern Wall Street lawyer lifestyle.

Read Neil (Fidelman) Best's sports columns on the Newsday website. He gets paid to watch sports on television. His wife is a babe, and his daughters look like Shirley Temple. He is who you would be if you hadn't taken all those drugs.

Keep those cards and letters coming. And would it kill you to send a check?