A Lighter Side of... me.  

AnEnigma517 60M
243 posts
12/29/2005 8:04 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

A Lighter Side of... me.

I’m feeling kind of restless tonight. It’s nearly 11 pm here in Pittsburgh, and I just can’t seem to make myself fall asleep. So, I got to thinking… I’m really not so open about myself, and my last two posts, well, I still don’t know why I let them out. But they’re there now… revealing part of the mystery of AnEnigma517. I figured I’d offset that depressing stuff with some lighter sides of me… in case you’re interested.

Okay… here goes:

My name is Todd Philip Lentz, the first (and only since I never remarried and probably won‘t have another chance to be married and have my own kids). I entered the human race when Ike was still liked enough to be President, Mohammed Ali was still Cassius Clay, and the Lawrence Welk Show was live TV every Saturday night. (And the Bugs Bunny-Road Runner Hour was still two hours long on Saturday mornings!) In other words, I’m one of those baby-boomers who are getting older, but in many ways, in my prime six months shy of 49!

I was born in some maternity ward on the fourth floor of the old Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At least that’s what Mom told me, and she should know… she was there and semi-conscious at the time! So was I, but I don’t remember much about that first day. (I think it might have been a Tuesday, around eight o’clock in the morning.)

My childhood began in one of the more modest middle-class neighborhoods in Pittsburgh’s South Hills area. It was a little house but at the time we were still a little family, me being the third baby for Tom and Kitty. It was okay being the baby. My older sister adored me (probably cuz’ I was a live baby doll and not a store-bought one) and my brother was grateful not to be the baby anymore. Margaret, the last of the bunch, joined us toward the end of 1960, then I was the one grateful not to be the baby anymore. Not long after JFK had been buried beneath the Eternal Flame in Arlington, Dad loaded up the truck and we moved to Eighty-four, Pa. -- Washington County, that is. Cleaner air. Lots of space. And it was there that many of my adolescent adventures in “True Confessions” took place.

By the time Katherine graduated from Canon-McMillan High School in 1972, Dad had pretty much gotten fed up with the sudden growth of the once wide-open spaces where the former gravel road had suddenly turned into black-top. So, we loaded up the trucks again and ended up in the boon-docks of Prosperity, Pa. -- Old Concord, that is. Farming folks. Cows for neighbors. With the obscene profit from the sale of our seven-year-old house, Dad paid cash for eight acres of wooded land (that was part of an old farmer’s cow pasture) and a custom-built mobile home to put on it. (It was in those woods that the village MILF taught me more about the joy of sex.)

Nothing much out of the ordinary happened for me beyond that. I didn’t have any trouble fitting in at a new high school, and was even popular in spite of my non-jock status. I was one of those geeky kind of guys… chorus, drama club, honor roll, science club, yada-yada-yada. Fell in love for the first time, and lost my first love when I chose the Navy over a teen-age marriage. (Turned out that she really wasn’t pregnant--just desperate to leave a miserable home life with her parental units.) All in all, it wasn’t a bad life those first 18 years. No regrets.

Six wonderful years of global travel courtesy of the United States Navy were followed by two not-so-wonderful years in Los Angeles working for a defense contractor. My college sheep-skin came a couple years later: Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, B.A. Communication, (because there was no such thing as a B.A. in Journalism, and only English teachers get B.A.s in English!), Class of ‘85... and, uh, magna cum laude.

My first (and only) marriage began in my junior year at SRU. She was a 31-year-old virgin, she said, still living with her parental units and I was a 27-year-old almost-settled-down Navy veteran. Opposites do attract, I suppose. A couple of months before graduation, I interviewed for a newspaper job in Baltimore, and as excited as I was about the possibility, Becky was not. I guess the thought of moving so far from Mommy and Daddy kind of freaked her out, so we separated, then surprise-surprise! In the spring of 1987 I got a certified letter from the Clerk of Courts for the County of Allegheny, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania informing me that my divorce had been granted. I didn’t even know there was one pending! I later learned that she had filed for a No-Fault Divorce, but chose not to let me be informed of it because she didn‘t want me to contest it. Which I wouldn‘t have done anyway, but oh well, shit happens.

Anyway, after the pomp and circumstance of my December 1985 graduation from good ol’ SRU, I packed my own truck up and moved to Baltimore -- Maryland, that is. The Orioles (yeah!). Chesapeake Bay. I lasted in that newsroom exactly two weeks. I got fired for mouthing off to a junior editor--a kid about four years younger than me who, in my opinion, lacked the basic maturity (and talent, for that matter) to be my boss. I wasn’t real crazy about that “just the facts ma’am” kind of writing anyway. Lucky for me my typing/keyboarding skill was rated at 100+ WPM, because I was just what that temps agency was looking for, dontchaknow! My first gig with them was with a decent-sized CPA firm where I did data entry of computerized tax returns. Four months later, I was a bona-fide employee of the firm and in charge of the data processing section of the tax department. Over the course of the subsequent six years, I created the firm’s first public relations department, and in one of those divine “fuck-you” kind of circumstances, I became a frequent contributor of tax and financial planning commentary to the same paper where that little prick junior editor was still struggling to assign obituaries and other shit jobs to the entry-level reporters who worked for him.

And every once in awhile, I’d send a short story to either Playboy or Cosmopolitan. Back then they were paying around $2,000 for original submissions, but they never had the pleasure of paying me. Playboy’s rejection notices were pretty snobbish--form letters addressed to “Contributor.” Cosmo had class, though. Their form letters were addressed “Dear Mr./Ms. blank line“ with the name neatly scribed in the appropriate place. I did achieve moderate success with some of the regional travel and special-interest magazines, certainly never enough to quit my day job, but publishing credits nonetheless. (Playboy has since become more civilized in their rejection letters, following Cosmo’s lead, but still, they have yet to have the pleasure of paying me!)

My luck (or fate) took a sudden turn around the beginning of 1991. I had just purchased my very first brand-new pickup truck (Dodge D-150 fully loaded!), taking advantage of my really nice salary to pay for it, and the connection my Dad had with a New Castle, PA dealership that got me an incredible price. While I was on my way home to Baltimore that evening, I managed to get stuck in the beltway traffic at rush hour. I guess I wasn’t giving all of my attention to the road ahead of me, still being pretty awe-struck with my brand-new 1991 Dodge Ram D-150 (bright red) with it’s fantastic stereo system. I probably could have stopped in time when I saw a truck stalled in my lane ahead of me, but the 18-wheeler behind me couldn’t. I woke up some time later (days, I think) in the ICU at Johns-Hopkins in a body cast. I spent the next couple of years learning how to walk again.

I had resigned my position from the CPA firm… didn’t think it was fair for them to keep me on when I couldn’t do my job from a hospital bed. And besides, the insurance settlement, even after paying all the bills (and getting me another brand-new Dodge Ram D-150, fully loaded, silver instead of red) was more than enough to guarantee that I wouldn’t have to work again. So, with nothing keeping me in Baltimore, I sold my house (got lucky on that deal!) and moved back to Pittsburgh for awhile. I got active in the local chapter of the American Red Cross with my Mom, who was already a well-known volunteer RN in the area, and started participating in the Red Cross’s “Health and Safety” education programs as a first-aid and CPR instructor. And, I was part of the National Disaster Relief Team, helping out in the first bad flood in New Orleans (May 1995) and later that year in parts of Alabama when a series of tornados ripped through the rural areas around Montgomery. After working on those disaster events, I got interested in Habitat for Humanity (and I don't care what anyone says, Jimmy Carter really is a nice guy! Hellava strong hand-shake, too.) To keep things really interesting, I joined a local volunteer fire department in order to become an EMT. By the middle of 1996, I had accepted permanent employment with the professional EMS company in Erie, Pennsylvania, and joined another VFD up there. I would probably still be in Erie, maybe even an officer of that VFD by now, and most likely a paramedic, too. But things happened on the home front in the fall of 1999 that brought me back to Pittsburgh again. That was when my mother died.

(If there’s a word limit for blogs, I think I’m about to hit it. And this seems like a good place to stop for now.) Stayed tuned!

jadedbabe78 107F

12/29/2005 10:30 pm

Once upon a time (like 2 yrs ago) I was a Journalism Major (since they do have tha option at some colleges nowadays ). Switched to Accounting when I realized I didn't want to write what someone told me I had to, I couldn't stomach the thought.

Interesting life you have led.

Light_N_Truth 43M
50 posts
12/30/2005 5:08 am

Enigma, please e-mail me so we can figure out if you figured out the Truth about the Light!

Your Lord and Master

And always remember, Truth Crushed to Earth shall Rise Again!

AnEnigma517 60M

12/30/2005 9:26 am

Jade - in a way, I'm glad Slippery Rock didn't offer a separate journalism degree... "Communication" opens much more doors!

AnEnigma517 60M

12/30/2005 9:29 am

Hemorrhoid -- it's not necessary to email you... we both know the "truth" and if you really don't want anyone else to figure it out (which wouldn't be hard to do), then just stop this silly game and go back to being just you, the "true" you.

saddletrampsk 55F

12/30/2005 5:17 pm

Glad to know more about you Todd..

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