11 February 2003
A sheanachie is an Irish (or Celtic) teller of tales, the historian for the clan in
ancient times. I found this description on the Internet:
Bards, pipers, storytellers, and seanachie were members of honored Gaelic
professions who passed on a clan's history and culture. Their poems, stories, songs, and
music recounted the Chief's and Clan's victories, and on rare occasions, their losses, but
never defeats! They also traced the genealogy of the family of the Chief.
The need for the telling of tales is deeply inbred in the Irish and though I am Irish
through and through, I've never quite found in my own family the compulsion to tell and
retell the old tales as strongly as I find it in Walt's, the familiar old stories told
with all the enthusiasm as if they were being told for the first time. And then the old
stories blended with the new--some of which will be melded into the cache of old stories
and continue to be passed down to future generations, some of which will be told a few
times and then fade into unrecorded time.
Cousin Ernie came to town today. He's a director for Comcast Sports Network and is
presently traveling around with the Washington Wizards, who will be playing the Sacramento
Kings tomorrow. (Michael Jordan's last appearance on a basketball court in Sacramento--a sold out house.)
As happens when any member of the clan comes to town, as many as can gather to visit
gather to visit. A small group of us this time. Walt and I picked Ernie up at his hotel
and drove out to Walt's mother's place, and from there to a restaurant where, in time,
Walt's brother Norm, driving up from the Bay Area met us. They sat around and told tales.
The tale that frequently gets told at gatherings of the clan is the tale of the Hope
Diamond and how Walt's uncle, Ernie's father, was the son of Walt's grandmother, the companion of
Evalyn Walsh McLean, whose husband founded the Washington Post and who at one
time owned the Hope Diamond. The story goes that the family was traveling from Washington,
DC to Florida and taking the diamond with them and to avoid attracting thieves, they hid
it in the 5 year old's suitcase--because who would suspect the son of one of the hired
employees of carrying one of the world's most famous jewels?
We've always considered the Hope Diamond to be part of the family jewels. But it's less
stressful to let the Smithsonian take care of it for us (it doesn't go with my jeans, for
But a new chapter in family lore was added this time around, and it's hard to know
whether it will ever reach the rank of the Hope Diamond story, but Ernie tells it well.
His wife, the lovely Lucille, has an extensive background in media and presently works
as--I think--the media director for the Montgomery County, Maryland police department. I'm sure I don't
have her job title right, but in whatever capacity her job demands, she coordinated the
media blitz that went on during the time of the infamous Washington snipers--nearly missed
the recent wedding in LA, in
fact, because she was hobnobbing with the big guys from the networks in their frenzy to
cover every second of the hunt for Muhammed and Malvo.
When we picked Ernie up at his hotel, he had a twinkle in his eye and said he had a
Lucille story--but he'd wait until he could tell us all at once. When we were all
together, he announced proudly that his wife had finally made it: she was in Playboy.
"But tastefully done," he hastened to add.
As it turns out, it really is the articles. There is apparently an article in
the latest issue of Playboy which mentions Lucille's role in working with the
media. It's nothing that the mechanics are going to hang on the wall of the toolshop to
ogle in slow times--but how many guys get a chance to say "My wife is in this month's
(Lucille went and bought a copy of the magazine to bring back to the police station so
she could xerox the article...and then she shredded the rest of the magazine.)
In other news, as they say, on Tuesdays I generally write something based on the
results of my weigh-in that day, but don't look for it tomorrow. I probably won't
have time to go to weigh in. As it turned out, I have finally solved the problem of
the office copy machine.
After being disgusted with the lack of customer service at Staples, following Dr. G's
similar disgust with the lack of customer service at Office Max, I called my
brother-in-law, a Canon copier sales rep to see if I could either buy a machine through
him or if he could direct me to someone more local. Well, it turns out that the
Staples and Office Maxes of the world have cornered the market on home/small office
copiers and so you can't get one through a Canon dealer, unless you are ready to
upgrade to one of the bigger, heavy duty models. So that put me back at square
one--the local office supply stores with the rotten customer service departments.
Then Cindy uttered those magic words: "Office Depot" and
"Internet." I let my fingers do the shopping and in a matter of minutes, I
had purchased a copier (which included a 3 year service warranty, which I would have to buy
from Staples for an additional $100), and they will deliver it free of charge.
The catch is that it will be delivered tomorrow "sometime between 8 a.m. and 5
p.m." (you know how that goes--he'll show up at 4:45, I'm sure!) so I will miss the
WeightWatchers meeting, which, given how I've eaten this week is probably just as well.
And besides, by not writing a weight entry tomorrow night, I'll get to use this space
to talk about what I'm going to do tomorrow night: review "Puppetry of the
Penis," which is sure to be infinitely more entertaining than beating my breast about
weight gained during the week.