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Thu, Nov. 14

Williams: For the man who has everything

Enough with the socks, ties, belts, aftershave and underwear as birthday, Christmas and Father’s Day gifts. Regarding the penultimate gifting solution, this column is the one that will imprint my name onto something more permanent than the shifting sands on California’s Pismo Beach at low tide. With the revelation in the next paragraph, I’ve at last achieved the promise of immortality. The overarching achievement. I’ve crossed the goal line in the penultimate end game.

I can’t think any more hyperbolic statements to tease the colossal announcement that is the focus of today’s message. Which is this: For the man who has everything, for the man who really, really needs nothing, the greatest gift you could give him is … a personal stunt double.

My life would have been coated with top-quality Teflon if I’d had a stunt double during my earlier years. Running into her very large boyfriend in 1966 on my second date with Bobbie Broadmore wouldn’t even have been a minor inconvenience if, broad-shouldered Rick, my stand-in, could have stood in for me that night.

I wouldn’t have minded Army basic training, or KP, or the endless calisthenics if Rick had replaced me in the ranks at the time.

That damned statistics final in college wouldn’t have caused a severe case of hives if Rick had intervened with his grasp of parameters, representative samples and numerical variables. He was nowhere to be found so I had to face my academic demons alone.

I absolutely know that Rick Sylvester could have paved my path to serenity. He did it for actor Roger Moore, who starred in seven James Bond thrillers in the early 1980s. Stuntman Rick Sylvester made Moore’s life much more survivable as James Bond in “The Spy Who Loved Me.” In that movie’s downhill-ski chase, it was Sylvester, not Moore, who jumped from the El Capitan Cliff face in Yosemite National Park, using a parachute to descend 3,000 feet to survive the landing. If stand-in Rick can master mountains on two laminated sticks of wood, he could certainly have elevated my sense of well-being in life.

For example, where was Rick when I went out for high school football in 1962 and immediately qualified as the official team tackling dummy? Where was he when I received that left hook in the middle of a scuffle in the middle of North High Street in Columbus, Ohio, in 1964? Where was he when I received that stunning right cross in boxing class at Ohio State University in 1965? I don’t think I needed Rick in 1966, but he was still missing in action.

I was curious to see how the concept of receiving a personal stuntman would play with some of my colleagues about town. Neighbor Luiz stated, “I’m proud to say that I’ve always done my own stunts.” I could sense that he wanted to provide a much richer response, but he decided discretion was the better part of valor, as they say.

Fellow Lions Club member Mike Best had just finished a senior softball game when I put the personal stuntman question to him. Without hesitation, he said: “My personal stuntman had better be fast enough to reach first base before the throw.” Mike always has been unreasonably demanding.

I unfortunately asked Cliff of our Wednesday morning breakfast group the question about a personal body double. It’s his opinion that “The only thing you can give a guy who has absolutely everything … is a shot of penicillin.”

At this point, I decided to stop asking for opinions.

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