Sunday, June 8, 2003

'Aren't you Borgman?'

This job is like riding a rodeo bull in a dunk tank


There are days when this job is like being the clown in the polka-dot suit in the dunking tank. Everyone gets to step up and throw their best pitch at me. Sometimes they miss, and sometimes I take a bath.

Other days it's like riding bulls in the rodeo. I just hang on as long as I can until I fall off and get stomped by a ton of bull.

And then there are days when it's like having a key to the city that actually works.

Tuesday was all of the above.

It started as usual, opening e-mail from spammers who want to retool my body, open a Hustler store in my mind and surgically remove my cash. There must be a column in that somewhere.

But then I had to run off for lunch at Junebug's Barbecue on Linn Street in the West End.

Hall of Fame boxer Aaron Pryor was out in back by the slow-cooker.

We've never met, but he spontaneously told me how much he loves God. Amen, brother. There must be a column in that.

Then owner, George Beatty, showed up.

He also runs the Parktown Cafe nightclub, next door, which I wrote about a few years ago when it was a crime magnet.

Just like 'Barbershop'

"This is the guy who called me the swizzle stick of crime," he announced loudly to the restaurant. Payback time. I felt like the guy in Barbershop who dissed Jesse Jackson.

Then I discovered Junebug's doesn't take plastic - and Beatty spotted me $20 to buy lunch for Valerie Lemmie. Only in Cincinnati.

I ordered the ribs, then almost ordered a side of CPR when I inhaled Junebug's hot sauce. While I was gasping, the city manager somehow managed to polish off her ribs while still looking like Oprah on the cover of Vanity Fair.

There may be a column...

Then it was back to the office, for a surprise visit from Ross Love, chairman of the CAN commission.

Maybe CAN really can

After 16 months of appearing only on milk cartons, CAN suddenly turned up with a credible list of programs - all funded by private money. Amazing. This would be great news if anyone was still paying attention.

"Yeah, we bit off a lot," Love admitted.

No kidding. CAN swelled like a broken leg, to 500 volunteers. But now it might help the city throw away its crutches.

There may be a column...

Then I had to run off to the annual Dave Thomas Celebrity Cook Off for Adoption, in which real celebrities such as Marvin Lewis and Bengals cheerleaders get to cook with artificially flavored, imitation celebrities like me. We try not to burn the steaks or the cheerleaders on the 400-degree grills at the Tri-County Benihana, then we auction off our cool chef's hats that make us look like our heads are exploding in white mushroom clouds.

I sold my apron for $100 to a guy who then asked me to draw a cartoon on it: "Aren't you that cartoon guy?"

I thought of drawing a stick man and telling him it was Bob Taft.

Who would know it's not a Borgman? But I straightened him out and he donated $100 anyway.

Then I was teamed up with P. Ann Everson-Price, a talented singer and WIZ radio personality who was hotter than a grilled habanero.

She had our table barking "Who Let the Dogs Out?" When the smoke cleared, we had raised $300 by singing "The Star-Spangled Banner," among other things. A guy named Tom Hoffman donated $110 to get his name in the paper. But I explained I couldn't do that.

Then it was outta there and home by 10:30 to burn my clothes that smelled like takeout from the House of Soy Dragon Breath.

There's probably a column in all that somewhere.

E-mail or call 768-8301.

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