Featured Column
Week of 10.17.2005
          It was Henry David Thoreau who said, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” I’m sure that Thoreau also knew that all of us men have numerous fantasies of which we could rely on to dream and add some excitement to our desperate and quiet lives.
          Many hours of my life have been spent with creative fantasies, imagining myself doing Walter Mitty kinds of heroics.
          Last week, while waiting in line for a teller at my local bank, I quietly imagined a robber walking past me. He had a gray, hooded sweatshirt on. His eyes were hidden behind dark glasses. I watched as he walked to the front of the line and headed for the nearest teller, where he shouted, “Give me all your money, I have a gun!” The young female teller’s eyes grew wide as she obeyed the orders. She placed a pile of bills in front of the robber and he stuffed them into his pockets and turned to leave her location.
          On impulse, as he walked past me, I grabbed the hood on his sweatshirt and slugged him with my closed fist right on the point of his chin. He went down, unconscious. I turned him on his stomach, held his arms behind him and waited for the cops.
          Shortly after, the police came and got my statement as well as from others who saw my bravery. Afterwards, the bank manager came up to me and said, “That was the bravest thing I’ve ever seen.” I replied, “Thank you, nothing any other guy like me wouldn’t have done.” My fantasy quickly ended when the young woman teller called out, “May I help the next person in line.”
          For years I’ve imagined myself playing a round of golf with Tiger Woods. Just him and me on a beautiful golf course. A million dollars to the winner. I sink an eighteen foot putt on the last hole to go one stroke ahead. Tiger, visibly shaken, misses his final putt and I win, beating the world’s greatest golfer and pocketing a million bucks.
          I’ve dreamed of being given an extremely difficult calculus problem, one that professors at three leading colleges cannot solve. It’s handed to me and in less than 5-minutes I have the problem solved to the gratitude and amazement of much of acadamia.
          Years ago I imagined that I was one of the world’s leading research scientists and, after years of work, I had discovered the cure for all cancers.
          Not too long ago I fantasized that I had actually tuned up my own car, replaced the spark plugs and the car started right up and ran without missing a beat.
          I still smile when I think of my fantasy of sitting next to Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner as they record a new version of “The 2,000 Year Old Man.”
          My eyes still glass over when I think of the time when, in the dying moments of a tied Super Bowl game, I take a handoff from the quarterback on our own one-yard line and scamper 99 yards for the winning touchdown and I’m carried off the field on the shoulders of my teammates to the applause of 100,000 spectators.
          There was the time when I took a pass from a teammate in the finals of the NBA championship game, looked up at the clock and saw that only 10 seconds remained in the tied game. I dribbled past my team and the five members of the LA Lakers, who were trying to stop me. I took off at the free throw line and gracefully sank an arching dunk to win the championship for my team.
          I’ve picture myself sprinting down the final 100 yards, passing runner after runner, to win the Ironman Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii, in record time.
          Years ago, following an excellent dinner, I sat down in my comfy recliner and imagined myself talking with Albert Einstein as he calmly explained his “Theory of Relativity” to me. I nodded to the world’s smartest man as he described how the universe works. As he talked about the theory of the speed of light, he asked me, “Do you understand what I’m talking about?” I told Einstein, “Yes, I’ve got it. I totally understand what your theory is about.”
          I’ve dreamed of doing the research and finding the miraculous and little known stock on the N.Y.S.E. that doubles and then triples in a week.
          My fantasies have included facing Roger Clemens in the ninth inning of the seventh game of the World Series. “The Rocket” throws one at my head to intimidate me. I dive for cover, get up, brush myself off and wait for his next pitch, which I slam over the center field wall to win the Series for my team. I circle the bases, listening to the roar of my hometown crowd. Rounding third base I glance at Clemens and notice tears rolling down his cheeks. I smile as my left foot touches home plate and I’m surrounded by my elated and victorious teammates.
          Not too long ago I pictured myself hosting a gourmet dinner for over a thousand needy and homeless people downtown. Each person was treated as royalty and given a new set of clothes and $500 in cash. Every guest was also given a lead for a good job in a local company.
          My list of creative fantasies goes on and on. Like the time I saw myself in a rocket ship, headed for Mars. Or the time I imagined myself brokering a peace treaty in the Mideast.
          All fantasies. All dreams. All could have come true in my lifetime.
Oh, maybe except for the dream of successfully tuning up my own car. That one goes a little too far!
The author dreams of success
      Ron was born in the Bronx, New York. He was raised in Southern California and lived in Honolulu, Hawaii for three decades. He attended Inglewood High School and U.C.L.A.. His youthful goal was to become a major league baseball player. In Hawaii Ron played on a series of championship softball teams. He is an active tennis player.
      Ron’s career began at the Inglewood Daily News where as a youngster was enrolled in a publisher training program. He served as an advertising salesman, circulation manager, writer and layout and design staffer. He has been a newspaper publisher at the Oregon City Oregon Enterprise Courier, the Beloit Wisconsin Daily News, the Elizabeth, New Jersey Daily Journal and This Week Magazines (Hawaii).
      Ron lives with his wife, Marilyn, in San Diego, California. His two children, Douglas and Diane also live in the San Diego area. Ron’s interests range far and wide and are reflected in his columns diverse topics.
Ron Cruger