Dr. Don Newbury

It is bound to happen. Any day now, some pundit charting the “rags to riches” pilgrimage of Barack Obama in his race for the Democratic presidential nomination, will mention that he has “it.”

When he gets wind of “it,” Bill Clinton, who hopes to be “first man” when the new president is inaugurated, will bristle.

“It depends on what the meaning of ‘it’ is,” he’s likely to counter, altering by just one letter his much-quoted response to a grand jury a decade ago. It concerned what “is is.”

My old mamma’s oft-repeated line comes to mind in these days of overbearing campaign coverage.

“I’m just glad I got to live the simple life,” she’d mutter every time she heard about new technology expected up the way. Take voting machines, for example. She liked paper ballots much better.

Mom got much satisfaction from scratching through the names of candidates she didn’t like, taking along the softest pencil she could find. “I want to really ‘black out’ the losers,” she’d laugh…

This being leap year, of course, means an extra day of rhetoric on campaign trails, and it also means a one-day extension of the flu season.

Our friendly pharmacist/Sunday school teacher, Wayne West, feeling poorly a while back, was unsuccessful in “wearing it out.” (“It,” in this case, needs no additional definition. “It” is that upper respiratory stuff that strikes so many at this time of year.) Finally, Wayne went to the doctor, who prescribed antibiotics. “I’m always glad to take medicine,” he explained, “because it’s an important reminder to me that pills are good for something besides just selling.”

One of the reasons West’s class is popular is that he sometimes dispenses health tips we’d otherwise have to wait our turn, and/or pay money for, in other settings.

A while back, the effectiveness of flu shots was debated. Wayne’s dead certain that after 90 days, their potency begins to wane. Doctors say February and March are the months when most people come down with the flu.

“Why, then, don’t we get flu shots later, say in December?” someone asked. “Or maybe get a second shot each season,” West offered with a chuckle, perhaps wondering if he needed to order more flu serum…

Speaking of second shots, don’t we all know parents who’d like to have second chances to “get it right” in the naming of their children?

Jeanne Poole is still shaking her head about her first name. Coupled with her last name, it has resulted in much ribbing. She formerly worked in the pediatrics department at the Kansas University School of Medicine in Wichita.

Dr. Sechin Cho, head of the genetics department, claimed to have “his own Jean Poole.” And Jeanne’s mom was an RN who taught nursing, for crying out loud…

This brings to mind the musty joke about the lady seated near the front at church.

The music minister whispered to the pastor, “Isn’t that Fanny Green?”

“No, I think it’s just the way the sun is hitting the stained glass,” the parson responded…

On such a subject, former Los Angeles baseball manager Tommy Lasorda views the world through blue-colored glasses. Now 81, he’s Dodger-blue, through and through. Memoirs in his new book, I Live for This, suggest the kind of loyalty rarely evidenced now.

Growing up poor when few high school students had cars, he remembers the day a salesman knocked at the door, peddling encyclopedias.

“We aren’t interested,” his dad said, “Our kids can walk to school like the rest of ‘em.”

With the attention to “it” in today’s piece, it occurs to me to once again salute educators, some of whom are on the cusp of spring break and are counting the days until this respite. Some say this is the time they get their “second wind” to complete the school year.

I heard the other day of a kindergarten teacher who fielded a serious question from the mouth of an innocent.

“Why is it,” the youngster asked, “that we have a letter to end the alphabet, but numbers just go on and on?” Maybe “it” will be answered after spring break…

Don Newbury is a speaker and author whose weekly column appears in 125 newspapers in six states. He welcomes comments and inquiries. Call him at (817) 447-3872, or send e-mail to newbury@speakerdoc.com His Web site is www.speakerdoc.com.