I’m madder than Pagliacci trying to hold back his laughter while he watches the “History of the World, Part I” over the fact that as I get older, I become more and more of a softie, and sometimes I cry my eyes out for no reason whatsoever.
Look, you all know that the ol’ Screecher is known the world over for making noise, but what most people don’t hear me do is shed a tear, because in the old days I was as tough as they come, whether I was saving people’s lives at the Ravanhall Baths or teaching ballroom dancing in Manhattan, I always completely contained myself.
Now, of course, the years have passed, and there is a whole lot more of me to contain, and sometimes, when I least expect it, I burst into tears like George Steinbrenner did when he was interviewed by Warner Wolf.
Still, it took me by surprise last month when, while listening to the kids from PS 100 sing their little hearts out during the Kingsborough Community College Legislative Breakfast, my eyes welled up faster than old Lake Harway during a thunderstorm!
I mean, what better way to warm the hearts of everyone than listening to the sweet voices of children singing. And, man, was my heart warmed.
Thankfully, I immediately stopped crying when we needed to get down to the business at hand: making sure our college gets the funding it needs— things like libraries, computer rooms, electrical upgrades, and auditorium renovations — anything and everything is needed so the school can function without handicapping the children’s education.
But then something completely unexpected happened: I started thinking about how well those darn kids sang, and began bawling while Mitch Bonder and Cleon Wellington were showing off their Intel-GE Care Innovations gizmo that gives students who are behind in reading the opportunity to catch up with classmates. Students using the Intel Reader could increase their reading comprehension test scores by 23 percentage points, they claimed as I blew my nose.
Between gasps for air, I heard them explain how this scientific toy of the future is something every young-hearted billionaire texter must have, because it can read the text to the receiver who has it. Imagine that, this $600 toy will read the text in a pleasant voice.
I got myself together long enough to question why these kids don’t just use the “phone” part of their cell phone to communicate in the first place?
But I guess I’m just jealous because I can’t text! My fingers have gotten so large that every time I go to hit a key, a whole sentence comes out.
Well, a bunch more presentations were made, and, of course, each elected official came up to me afterwards to make sure I get their name in my column, which is apparently worth its weight in Google gold, so here’s the roll call of our beloved electeds who showed up and spoke: Assembly members William Colton (D–Gravesend), Steven Cymbrowitz, (D–Sheepshead Bay), Peter Abbate, (D–Dyker Heights), Alex Brook-Krasny, (D–Brighton Beach) and state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge).
Oh, and what would a breakfast be without food! Well, there was plenty of it, and I left with a belly full! And I got to see some new friends and old friends.
For instance, Community Education Council 21 president Yoketing Eng welcomed back superintendent Isabel DiMola, and then made a presentation to the retiring principal of IS 281, Steve Rosenblum.
And I’ve gotta hand it to Mary Montemarano, who single-handedly organizes this breakfast every year. My personal thanks to Kingsborough’s Maureen Daly for always being there for us when we need her.
Now you know why Tornado is getting a hernia taking me to all these great events with unlimited food. But I would like to point out that I wasn’t not quite the gavone I used to be: I put Sweet’n Low and skim milk in my coffee!
Man, did that ever make me cry!
Screech at you next week!