Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My First Heart Attack...

The trials of a public relations writer are numerous and varied. It is a profession that demands an individual be capable of conducting astute economic analysis, be able to divine new industry trends, and be aware of the human element in news stories, while writing with the sincerity of a carnival fortune-teller, the tenacious blood-sucking determination of an aluminum siding salesman, and the ethics of an aging whore (condemned to haunt the lobbies of threadbare hotels).

I am the personification of this profession.

One day (the middle of last month), I was writing a impassioned speech for a client regarding the impact of a fragile economic recovery on the international professional meetings and conferences trade, which has yet to collectively make $70 since 2009 (when most companies decided it was more cost-effective to make employees stand outside the bathrooms of major industry conventions, listening to the side conversations of those pissing against the walls, as opposed to registering for the actual event). My opening line read, “The big decision facing many of us this year will be to either capitalize on the drama of jumping out the window of a luxury hotel, or to pursue the ignominious end of sitting in a running limousine parked in a closed garage.”

Client input had been scarce on this assignment. Yet even so, there was doubt in my mind that I was hitting the cheery note of optimism so desperately sought by my patrons. It was then I felt something odd, other than remorse for not becoming a plumber 30 years ago. It started as a sense of pressure on the center of my chest. In seconds, that sensation multiplied, spreading across my back as well, giving me the feeling that I was caught in the jaws of a giant vise.

Breathing was still possible. There was no pain per se, but the crushing pressure continued to mount. I called for Leslie.

“I’m afraid I have a real problem,” I said. “I think I’m having a heart attack. Could you stand by me for a bit?” (I really do speak like this at home. I either sound like Cary Grant or Leo Gorcey.)

“Do you want me to call 911,” she asked, reaching for the phone.

My first inclination was to say “yes.” I knew from reading a thousand articles, blogs and posts that the first few minutes of events like these often prove to be the deciding factors in minimizing the damage and hastening a recovery. But 2009 had been a real dog shit year. I took a serious hit on the chin financially... And had pulled myself back from the brink by investigating every bit of potential for getting my clients in print. I’d just gotten them into the headlines of the big papers again. I’d even managed to get interviewed by National Public Radio on a tragic plane crash. This would be the worst conceivable time to go to the hospital. The momentum I had salvaged could be so easily reversed. And if I went down, my clients could replace me with one of 10,000 writers now out of work.

I was at a crossroads in my career. I’d reached the point where death was preferable to unemployment.

“Don’t call them yet,” I said. “Let’s see what happens.” Leslie waited with me, and even took my blood pressure. It was elevated as I am ponderously fat. In fact, it was 567 over 124. The only recorded pulse higher than this was achieved by a hummingbird at the height of coitus. (Later on I had to admit that this data would be of little use to both of us.) The pressure on my chest began to subside after eight minutes, and would be all but gone in another 20. I went back to writing the speech, and altered the perspective slightly.

But I’d had a bad scare.

First of all, Leslie was not dialing 911 but a local knacker who picks up dead horses.

Then there was the event itself. It was like leaning a bike into a tight, wooded curve, only to find a herd of deer coagulating in the apex of the turn. I’d had some chest pain before, but wrote it off to the torture of flabby chest muscles being called into service to levitate my bulk in the absence of strong knees. I did think it odd that I experienced these twinges in the dead of night (when attempting to get laid) or when my clients were on the phone (ready to discuss some attitude characteristic of mine). C’est la vie. At 56 years old, something always hurts.

Two days later I brought the car into the shop for tires, and my mechanic’s waiting room (the one with the broken fan, not the other one with the broken toilet) had a stack of old magazines to read. I flipped one open and the feature article was, “124 Signs That You Had A Heart Attack While Writing A Speech!” Amazingly enough, I had 123 of them. I made a mental note to cut back on the toasted salt pork rings I usually eat for breakfast, along with the three tablespoons of Crisco I stir into my coffee.

Now I’m an affable type, and I mentioned this odd string of coincidences to a couple of riding buddies in the Mac Pac. As I have explained before, the Mac Pac is the premier riding club of BMW connoisseurs in south eastern Pennsylvania, chartered by the national organization. The Mac Pac numbers about 250 active members, from Japan to Chicago, From Toronto to New York, and from Texas to West Chester, Pa. It is a society of white-collar executives, artists, musicians, engineers, craftsmen, arborists, and at least two medical professionals. One of these is a cardiologist.

The most amazing thing about the Mac Pac is how its members stand up for each other — with very little fanfare. Whether it is to help one move a household — or a body — these are guys who can be counted on... Both for their individual talents and for their discretion. All of these guys excel at something. They are all experts in their respected fields. I was strongly advised to call the cardiologist.

While I had had the privilege of meeting Dr. Peter Frechie at a number of club breakfasts, I’d yet to engage the gentleman in conversation. He rides a magnificent and thoroughly lethal-looking MV Augusta, rumored to have been hand-built by the College of Cardinals, at a cost $12.6 million, in addition to a Beemer he’s got tucked away someplace. Dr. Frechie typically wears black leathers (modeled after those worn by Michele Pfieffer in one of the Batman movies), with the outline of a kitten embroidered on the waist. His Mac Pac code name is “Cat Woman.”

Above — Doctor Peter Frechie on his 2005 MV Agusta F4-1000 Tamburini. 109 of the Mac Pac's 250 members have this model MV Augusta as "second" bikes.

My appointment at Dr. Frechie’s office was high on drama from the beginning. One of his medical assistants herded me onto a scale (of the variety used to weigh coal trains). The digital numbers indicating my weight were visible on a screen at eye-level. Yet they were cycling so quickly it was hard to see what the final number might be.

“Holy shit,” I heard the assistant mutter. “Your final weight has a comma separating the numbers.”

My weighted taken and logged for the Guinness Book, I was then told to remove my shirt. This is always a poignant moment for me in any medical professional’s office. Many people are unaware that my shirts are made of sheet metal and the buttons are sewn on with piano wire. This is because my physical shape is determined by my immediate container. Without one of my shirts, I am defined by the borders of Pennsylvania.

Above — Leathers worn by Michelle Pfieffer in one of the Batman movies provided the inspiration for leathers worn by Doctor Peter Frechie. Photo from the Internet.

I was asked to position myself on a steel reinforced table while Dr. Frechie probed my shapeless mass with a wand connected to some kind of sonar device. The machine was to produce an image of my heart, detailing valves, arteries, and a muscle the size of a catcher’s mitt that has been brutalized by women since I was 15.

“Something really catastrophic happened to your heart when you were 36 years old,” said the doctor.

“How can you tell,” I asked.

“Well, your heart has rings around it like the center of an oak tree, and ring number 36 has a spiked high-heeled shoe sticking in it,” he replied.

I’m afraid I presented something of a career challenge to the doctor, or at least to the probe. The handheld device was designed to emit a beam capable of penetrating a six-inch lead plate. The slab bacon encasing my body was diffusing the laser, apparently.

Above — Doctor Peter Frechie takes a corner at 156mph on Track Day, demonstrating techniques learned at the Jack Riepe School of Motorcycle Riding Prowess.

“You are one fat... Fuck,” muttered the doctor. “King Kong didn’t have man-boobs this huge.” The probe eventually found its mark and the second largest organ I have filled the screen. It was remarkable. Valves opened and closed like those on a three-cylinder K75 at 4 grand on the tach. Each beat made a noise like a battering ram, as blood enriched from generations of Irish kings surged through veins and arteries as tough as stainless steel hoses.

“That’s impressive,” muttered Dr. Frechie.

“Too bad you’re not a urologist,” I said. “You’d need a 27-inch screen.”

The next step was an EKG. This machine required my gut to be wired like I was a stooge for a federal law enforcement agency. Fifty or 60 conductive tabs were stuck to my arms, legs, and chest with dabs of red Locktite. Had there been a power surge, I’d have levitated off the table, stopped only by the ceiling. Once again, my fattitude was frustrating the latest technology. Stepping up the voltage drew St. Elmo’s fire from every metal object in the room, and the first beating thing to get measured was my spleen. (My spleen is the organ that allows me to read congressional legislation without taking a a shit of rage in my pants.)

Above — Doctor Peter Frechie showed up at the Mac Pac Guinness Book Record Breaking Ride on an immaculate BMW "R" bike.

Dr. Frechie has the kind of bedside matter that I am most comfortable with. His face is a mask of thoughtfulness, that yields no information before its time. Going into this historic meeting I was positive that I had days, maybe hours, before my heart exploded into a paste of misspent youth, scorched romance, and unfulfilled promise. At the moment when I was held in that vise-like grip (at the beginning of this story), I knew three things... That I wanted Leslie with me (not only to hold my hand, but to be buried, alive if necessary, by my side like the wife of Pharaoh)... And that I had neither fucked enough nor ridden my K75 far enough to justify dying in this fashion.

As it turns out, my heart is fine. There is no evidence of a heart attack. My arteries are not clogged. My valves are not worn out. My heartbeat has not been disturbed by legions of women who climbed on top, just to use me as Cupid’s trampoline.

However, Dr. Frechie had another message for me: “You are too fat. Figure out whatever you have to do to drop the weight, and get started. I want to see you in three months, and you should be noticeably thinner.” He is a “no bullshit” kind of guy.

I have started... Again. But I don’t want to embarrass myself, nor betray the confidence of my club and riding friends. So I will succeed at this. Two days after this visit, I met some friends to honor the passing of the Senator Byrd of West Virginia. We met in a barbecue joint. I had six plain chicken wings and a cup of cole slaw. And so it begins.

# # #

©Copyright Jack Riepe 2010
AKA The Lindberg Baby (Mac Pac)
AKA Vindak8r (Motorcycle Views)
AKA The Chamberlain — PS (With A Shrug)


gary5410 said...

"It is a society of white-collar executives, artists, musicians, engineers, craftsmen, arborists, and at least two medical professionals. One of these is a cardiologist."
What! No mention of shit pumpers.....I never get any respect!

Great to NOT have a heart now that you got good news on that, it worth losing the weight.....that's a TOUGH job!
When you get to that number that let's you tough out a Saddle Sore 1000, I'm ready and waiting!
Gary Christman
'07 R 1200 GS Adventure

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Gary541:

Frm one professional shit pumper to another, I providerd the craftsman category as our refuge. I want to see what I can do by the end of the month. I like to be able to do 250 miles without feeling like a cripple.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Woody said...

Glad to hear the ticker is OK. For the record, my son would like to correct one trivial error in your prose. "Man-boobs" are called "moobs".

John said...

Excellent story as always Jack.

Electra Glide In Blue said...

Jack, two words to get that weight down, Cottage Cheese.

BTW, Dr. Frechie does kinda look like Michele Pfieffer.

Unknown said...

Jack, I certainly wish you the best. Come by my place and I'll share some of our home-grown lettuce with you.

Go read _The Shangri-La Diet_. It'll help.

Joe Dille said...


Great story as always. I am truly concerned about your current tonnage. May I suggest puffed millet for breakfast.

I also think the whipped cream pie should be garnished with used crush washers.

Ride Safe,


BeemerGirl said...

Dear Jack!

So glad the heart analysis was so good. Scary incident and I can't believe you weren't on the phone within seconds of the pain screaming like a little girl. Because I would have!! :-)

Good luck with the weight loss. I'll take you out for that 250 mile ride on some pothole filled road to jiggle everything like those old-fashioned belted exercise machines.

Best of luck! -Lori

Unknown said...

This is why I never do anything to try and help Jack in any way. He savages thoses who do. If you savage him first he (sort of) leaves you alone. After what you said about Frechie, you better check your crdit card statement again. I guess our date at the Mexicvan restaurant is off now. Your buddy Scott

Anonymous said...

Skin that chicken, Jack (this sounds, I hope, really vulgar).

Best advice is to get a juicer and start squeezing the shit out of beets and kale, among other things. You will drop weight easily and sayonara, man-boobs and faux cardiac episodes!

Very relieved to hear that you are all right!


zrll16 said...

Hi Jack,,
What a scary thing! What was it, indigestion? Man, take care of yourself. I think you can do it this time, what about those fiber cookies? They fill you up (like sawdust would).
Take care,

sgsidekick said...

Holy Moley, Jack! What a scare! Losing weight is so hard, but it beats being on medication and having surgery, so please do what you have to to stick around. There is no other writer/rider quite like you, ya know!

Steve Williams said...

Six plain chicken wings and cole slaw isn't going to work. For someone as creative as you I can't believe you don't already have the Jack Riepe Virility and Dominance Diet well underway and ready to be published and make your 12th million.

So we will all await the secret to weight loss that only you can discover and give thanks that you are ok. Heart wise that is.

PS. Tell Leslie to make sure the guy who picks up dead horses only supplies enterprises who render for pet foods. Animal feed and lawn enhancements is not environmentally kind and I'm sure you would not want to participate in anything that might harm water quality or crabs in the Chesapeake.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

cpa3485 said...

Just to be optimistic, I don't think the title should have been "my first". Let's hope it never happens again.
Weight loss could be beneficial in a number of ways, not just the heart, and a lot of us would like to continue reading your crap for a long time. Just saying.

Premeditated Scootin'

Anonymous said...


If you die and I can't read your column any more, I'll be really pissed. Your readers are what's important here - right. So good luck with the weight loss.

Unknown said...


I was really worried for you and glad you are Okay. I was wondering why you had been so quiet for the past while .

an epic journey starts with a small step, so you have started and knowing you, will reach your goal.

Your K75 will perform much better with half the weight on top

Wet Coast Scootin

redlegsrides said...

Jack, as the others have mentioned, damn glad your heart is OK! I think your knees will thank you for the upcoming poundage loss....

Great commentary on your doctor visit...quite amusing, though I wonder about the wisdom of making fun of "cat woman", he does hold your life in his hand doesn't he? :)

That and I learned through the comments that it's moobs not man-boobs.

Good post, had me worried there at first but glad you'll be around a while longer....

BMW-Dick said...

Dear Jack:
You've taken a giant step in the right direction. Now don't fuck it up! I'm sending you the Obama Dept. of Agriculture pamphlet, "101 Ways to Prepare Lettuce, Feathers, and Agricultural Byproducts" so your trip to Rogers' farm won't be a total loss.

DC said...

Dear Jack,

I've just finished making a round of calls to all the deli's, Chinese food, and pizza joints that deliver in a 10 mile radius of you. They are all instructed to NOT deliver to your house. As incentive, if they do get a call from you, they are to charge Mike Evan's "friend's" Visa card $12 for doing nothing.

Jack, succeed in this, will ya?! Some of us want to ride with you more than 14 miles between stops. Please explore every possible avenue, including hypnosis. I'm glad your heart is healthy, that's a great start!

Dave C

mq01 said...

:( jack! shit thats no fun! plain chicken wings? eeeeekkkk... ;) im glad you are ok! i had a blood clot travel to the heart a few yrs ago, at 39, while dealing with a full plate of other just general stressful economy shit. it felt just like a heart attack, scary bad shit. stress is hazardous to our health my friend!

sex! (oh and the Mediterranean diet) thats what i say, lots and lots of sex. oh i should say cardio, but you know - same difference and way more fun! :)

i want to read about you doing the saddle sore soon...

S O S since 1975, Ihor said...

A congratulatory "I've been telling you so!!" since Jimmy Carter was president. And don't get all proud and comfortable following the heart assessment. The cardio-vascular system is but a piece of your jumbled puzzle. Some pieces fall face up, it's statistics. However you do accomplish this latest climb, young Sisyphus, don't give up until your BMI is down to 2 digits! Man-boobs, moobs, or not, just try not to be a Boob about this. The rest of your guts and innards will likely be grateful.

And who is this 'Scott' who has commented on the past two postings.

Cantwell said...

I'm glad your visit with Dr. Frechie didn't end you up in emergency surgery. I would hate to think of this world without you (at least so soon anyway.)
To show support for your weight loss effort, I will participate in your effort to lose that weight as well. My blood pressure(medicinally regulated) and cholesterol (soon to be medicinally regulated) are really high and I would benefit from the weight loss as well.

Pound for pound, I'm here for you!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Woody:

There are several words in the English language rthat do not resonate with me. "Noob," short for "Newbie," is one of them. And I don't like "Newbie" either. The concept of "Man Boobs" is utterly disturbing on so many levels, but the idea of "moobs" is far worse.

Ther fact that the word "moobs" can even be remotely applied to me will have me on the straght and narrow indefinitely.

It is always nice to hear from you.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear John C.:

I am delighted you got a laugh out of it.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear EGIB (Jeff):

Cottage cheese has far too many calories in it. I am on the new Bataan Death March Diet. Essentially, you fill a swimming pool with water, add a handful of grass, and serve. For variation, add a mouse.

You are not the first person to notice that Peter Frechie looks like Michelle Pfieffer, when he puts his leathers on.

Thank you for your kind response,

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Rogers:

What is the status of yor bike these days? It has been a long time since we ran into each other at the Guinness Record ride... Too long. Let's remedy tha with a ride someplace as son as the weather cools down some.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Joe:

Do yiu really eat puffed millet? What does it taste like and what are its advantages? I usually eat steel cut oatmeal or very coarse oatmeal (cooked dry) for breakfast. I'm cutting this down to three times a week... But I swear its one of the thngs that kept my heart in good shape.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Lori:

Thank you for your kind note of concern. I'm hoping to make a strong riding comeback with the loss of unnecessary tonnage. It s my understanding that the BMW Rally for 2011 will be held in Bloomsburg, Pa. That's a scant 90-miles from my driveway.

I hope you decide to attend... I'll introdce you to the Mac Pac, and we can do a nice lopp through the Pa countryside.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Scott:

It is always a pleasure to hear from you, as the resultimg pain in my ass takes my mind off other things. Please don't scratch lunch yet. I'm sure they have some kind of salad in the Mexican place and the real purpose of the ride is to shhot and the shit and such.

Brergstein and I are still looking forward to it.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Gainesville365 (Suzana);

Thank you for your kind note of encouragement amd recommendations for juicing vegetables. I am moving along the salad and raw fish route (while there are still fish in the ocean). It is my intention to drop 150 pounds before making my Duval Street debut. That may mean putting it off until next year.

Still I am hoping our paths will cross in that cool bar you described in you last post.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear zrll16 (Rita):

Hey Cupcake! How are you doing? How's life with "Little Ricky?" I bet each day is like finding yourself locked in a closet with "Mr. Happy." ("Damn Pig-Fuckers")

I'm doing better now that I am eatimg less and thinking about considering as to whether or not I ought to ask someone if they know anybody who might have a recommendation for exercise.

The doctor said that chest pain that day could have been anything. (You know that I am allergic to work, so that could have kicked in that day too.)

Leslie and I should come down to visit you guys. She has never seen the Blue Ridge Parkway and I think she would like it. The trouble is finding the time to get away for a weekend.

Plus I know you guys have your hands full with family.

Thanks for dropping me a note. It was a nice surprise.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear SgSidekick (Tena):

I've had worse scares. Did I ever tell you about the time I fell asleep in a bar and woke up married?

Thank you for your kind note. I'm afraid this places me at the point where everything I put in my mouth either works for or against me. Oh well, what the hell!

I got an early warning sign and a glimpse of what the future could hold. That's good enough for me. Lettuce patch, here I come.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Steve:

I'm working on it... But trust me, there are few diets or workouts that start out with, "Head over to the ocal strip joint..." When I an through with this though, there will be at least one.

Leslie has put my body up for sale, organ by organ. There's a gravel company that wants to bid on my kidneys and a PR firm who wants my mouth. A company that builds arch bridges wants my stomach to use as a form. So it is very unlikely that I will go out of here in one piece.

Thanks for your kind note of support.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear CPA3485 (Jimbo):

I was thinking of collectimg some of my better stories and publishing them for posterity, in the event all this dieting and exercise blows up in my face. Your note gave me a great idea for a title. I may call it, "Crap On The Road."

Thank you for your kind note of support. I found it so inspiring, that I have decided to interview you for my blog (at some point) so I can drop you into the text where it seems most appropriate.

This would be easier to do if you lived closer, so we could ride together in a strange sort of pack. It is always a pleasure to hear from you.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Anonymous:

I am thrilled that you enjoy my writing. But many of my stories are interesting because I live life to an excess. Now it has caught up with me, apparently. I have today signed on as the social director for a group of cloistered nuns. There will be no eating, drinking, or screwing around until my life is turned around.

Who the hell wants to read about that?

Thanks for your kind note.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

Thank you for yoir kind note of concern. To me, an epic adventure starts with pushing the button dowm on a K75's starter. An epicurean adventure begins with a damn good headwaiter handing me a menu.

The road ahead, however, will be marked with the triumph of resisting those meals that have become my chains. It is my hope that the constant and consistent loss of weight will increase my endurance in the saddle, and enhance each ride.

I never go out without a fight.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

As I said, this whole episode just left me pissed as there were at least two things of which I have not yet gotten my fill. Ridimng this BMW Motorcycle is one of them.

The really good news is that there is no time bomb ticking away in my chest to further limit me in pursuing weight looss on the most aggressive level (considering my current limitations).

I full expect to ride to the Pacific one day, and to ride with you in Colorado enroute. (That way, I can pose my bike in some great pictures too.)

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dick:

I was thinking of calling for lunch at the Himalayan tomorrow. Now I realize the only thing I can eat there is the Tandori chicken.

Well that's better thsn nothing. Thank God plain steamed crab is on my diet.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dave Case:

Would you believe I found an "All You Can Eat" All Nude Dancer place not 20 miles from the house. In some regards, things will be looking up.

I am looking forward to taking a ride with you guys in which I will not be balancing a hemisphere on two wheels everytime I come to a stop.

Thank you for your kind note of concern.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ms M.:

Actually, I am long overdue for an epiphany of this nature. And sheddng this tonnage will make it possible for me to have sex in other rooms of the house, other than the garage -- where there is lift expressly for this purpose.

I am lookig forward to dropping this weight for other reasons too. I have promised myself a custom Cycle Port basllistic mesh jacke and a matching pair of psints, to the tune of $1100, as soon as I can fit into a size 42 waist again.

Thank you for your kind note.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear "Gloat Or Die Sypko:"

I will be delighted if I live just five minutes longer than you... So that your last image of this world is me lighting up one of your cigars and drinking your expensive Scotch.

The "Scott" who has commented in the last two blog postings is "Scott Royer," of the Mac Pac. You and he are a lot alike in that each of you reminds me of broken glass in a jock strap.

I just bought a case of ensure. It looks like a chocolate shake and smells like baby shit. I can tell you right now that this next chapter of my life is not going to support illustrations.

Meet me for clams and oysters on the half-shell next week?

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

redlegsrides said...


you'll not regret getting the cycleport gear. That's what I've worn exclusively while riding since May of 2008. As you know, it's been crash-tested by me (unintentionally) and I'm a firm believer in its ability to protect the rider wearing it!

Here's my review of it

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Cantwell:

If you lose 5 pounds they are going to start proofing you in bars. I'm wondering what a ride upstate might feel like if I dropped 15 pounds.

I'm going to try and find out.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Allen Madding said...


I strongly suggest the next time you converse with Dr. Frenchkiss you ask him to quit mincing words and tell you what he really thinks. All of his beating around the bush only leaves you tired and him frustrated.

I am highly impressed with the pump you have for a heart and recommend you sign a living donor card so upon your demise, your heart can be used by the local fire department for engaging large structural fires. Or you can donate it to Christman for evacuating septic tanks. The latter would probably be the best application has it has years of experiencing pumping septic content already.

Kudos to Leslie for not being buried alive. I imagine the inside of a piano case would have horrible cellphone and wireless internet connectivity.

Next time I get up your way, let go for a double fried bologna sandwich and some onion rings. Because cottage cheese and a pineapple slice blows.


Young Dai said...

I had a stinging reply mapped out at work today, on a theme of how you wore out your heart and hips like you whore out your writing talent.

Then I saw my emails and learnt of the death of a member of my motorcycling group following a collision with a lorry that cross in front of her. She was riding with a group of her friends who both witnessed it and were involved with the roadside CPR, she a leaves a daughter.

Jane was a far more skilled rider than me who could wring the neck of her Fireblade on track days until it begged for mercy. Yet for all her skills (she also taught machine handling techniques as well) in the end there was still a truck with her name on it.

Life is a crap shoot enough without loading your plate, then going round again. The world needs more people who march to their own band. Time to step away from the buffet Big Fella

BTW Any chance of posting up the Sara Miles photo ?

Cantwell said...

Here's one of Sarah Miles and Dick Bregstein. Enjoy...

Anonymous said...

Dear Jack,
Great story
I work in cardiology here in Florida (God's waiting room).
Please change your life and lose the weight. Life change is the best way to describe what you must do to succeed.
It's far easier to die than change, please don't take the easy way out.
Just another appriecative remote MAC-PACer Don Farmer

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Allen Madding:

Here it is, I pour out the source of my innermost fears and tribulations, and you laugh in my face. Your response was one of the funniest I'd read all day.

But it's the truth. The time has come for a reckoning, and I have walked through the valley of death one more time. The diet is on and I am in a race to dump the fat.

Thanks for making me laugh the hardest today, Allen.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Young Dai:

I'm sure I can speak for all of my readers and fellow riders at the Mac Pac in expressing my condolences for your friend Jane. We are all given a finite number of days, and we need to make the most of them.

May God cradle your friend Jane in his hands and bless us all when we ride.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Don:

As I previously stated, I am looking forward to rewarding my dietary efforts with a CyclePort Ballistic Mesh Jacket and matching pair of Pants next year -- with a size 44 waistline.

Thank you for your kind note of encouragement.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Nikos said...

Rest assured Jack that the only people that I have known to conk out prematurely due to heart failure have been skinny ones.

It's all in the DNA.

kindest best wishes

Doctor Nikos

BS Shield deployed, Ihor said...

Five minutes longer, isn't that what's written on that pocket prayer wheel you have just enough energy and dexterity to spin every 5.1 minutes. Don't drop it, who will pick it up if you're alone or in the can?
Ensure is fine ice cold and should be a good introduction to Austerity Forever! After this case is done, trade up to Boost, my preferred ration. I'll bring some along when we meet(where and when?). The first one is free, mwahahahaha!!

Joke?, Ihor said...

Fifteen pounds less on a ride North would feel pretty much like doing the ride now; after emptying your pockets and taking a dump.
Does Ringling Bros. produce a line of ballistic clothing? Some of the sideshow folk or menagerie denizens must ride in their spare time, trunk to tail. And what waist size are you shooting for, is 42 or 44 the stock upper limit?

In the meantime I hear there's a Charles Durning look alike competition being held in Baltimore. I recommend his portrayal in "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" as your costume guide.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Nikos:

And many of them, former fatties on crusade, deserved it too.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ihor:

The motorcycle event I'd like to attend is in Pownal, VT on the 29th, 30th, and 31st of July. If I ate nothing but hummingbird tongues and fairy dust, how much weight could I lose in 20 days?

Bear in mind that my joints are as tight as a duck's ass right now (and that's waterproof).

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Ever the cheery optimist, Ihor said...

In 3 weeks at maximum restraint and dedication I'ld say 20 pounds isn't impossible. Much of the first 20 to 30% of total weight loss is not difficult to achieve. Plateau will be reached where the loss will be greatly reduce to perhaps 2 to 5 pounds a week. But why am I telling you, you've watched Biggest Loser, while knoshing on pizza and pie a-la-mode no doubt.

If this event is an annual gathering, mark it on your calendar for 2011, by which time a real reduction will make it a stroll in the park, instead of a medieval seige of Jerusalem.

Leslie said...

I've been hearing about this non-heart attack for months. I'm taking applications for pall bearers in the unlikely event that you actually do have one. Applicants must be able to carry a large load as well as fix stuff around the house.

Hugs and kisses.

Leslie said...

And Ihor, you are hysterical.

NedM said...

Just caught up on your recent writings so am covering two items:
1) Most important is to wish you success in your weight loss quest.
2) Can you share more on your train room? What scale do you favor? Have a layout?


mtlcowgirl said...

Dear Leader of the Pack,

I'm sure I speak for Mack in wishing you luck on your weight loss program. Cardio works, too. I lost 20 lbs in two years without even changing my diet. And I was carrying Jack at the time. I am, of course, referring to the 10 lb. tumor that I gave birth to. My surgical team named it.



Jack Riepe said...

Dear Leslie (Stiffie):

I took great comfort from the fact that you stood near me as the demon in my chest slowly began to spread. Right up until the point where you pulled the phone out of the wall, tossed it beyond my reach and said, "What are you going to do now, you fat bastard?"

Quite frankly, I was shocked.

Equaly disturbing was the realization that several of the Mac Pac planned to be at door before my body was cold to get their shit hooks on my K75.

I have decided to live. So there.

Hugs and kisses back...
The man in the front room.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ned:

Who the hell are you and what do you ride?

I collect "O" gauge trains (modern, scale models) and have a modest layout 6' by 15.' Yet in the space I have a main street, two platform station, an industrial area with two sidings, a fiddle yard, 13 animated structures, working signals, 9 locomotives 62 freight cars and 40 passenger cars.

I primarilly collect Erie Lackawanna. I'll post some pictures next blog.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear MTL Cowgirl (Karen):

What a nice surprise to hear from you! I am off to another running (limping) start to a weight loss campaign, now that it is apparent that I am not going to drop dead. Losng 150 pounds can only do me good.

And as I have said, I am looking forward to ordering ballistic gear from CyclePort, about 12 sizes smaller than I am now.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Like Groucho with a tool-belt, Ihor said...

Leslie, you are correct, I am hysterical. I've had 3 decades of hysteria while admonishing John about his weight. Funny how a bout of gas gets his attention while I and others have usually been ignored or derided as mis-informed. Get a pack of Tums next time you're shopping for his Boost. And trash anything remotely appetizing that is still in the larder. He should be limited to huffing Raid if a snack is contemplated.

My deepest sympathies, Ihor

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ihor:

Speaking of gas, if you couldn't pontificate, you'd fart yourself to death.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

It's not popish, Ihor said...

if it is accurate and correct. Data such as you display is hard to ignore. And "I'ld rather be right than president" is one of my favorite quotes. So turn off the nad-less whining, you big fat girl, and just loose the weight. No one will miss it, least of all you, "fat Jack Falstaff".

ADK said...

I'm impressed that you have a heart!

You could try settling your outstanding tab at the Tavern. The immutable 'you' wont be any smaller, but your wallet should shrink by several hundred puonds.

Call me, I have a ready printed diet for you in my "Piss and Vinegar" file.

I like Dr Frechie. Seeing as you screwed me out of Fireballs by surviving your getoff, if you die in a fiery wreck of bacon and sausage fat, do you think that I could have HIS bike?

niteowl said...

Hello Jack, glad the ticker is ok. Good luck with the diet, we're starting one also, so easy for the pounds to creep up.

My son just started a job with CSX. I told him you loved trains. Rode down to Atlanta on the July 2nd for a weekend visit. Heat about killed me.

Someday we'll get a ride in.

Best regards, Wayne

Anonymous said...

John, I sent you an email to AOL. Please call me.
- Susan

Classic Velocity said...


Only you can make a story this good out of NOT having a heart attack !! I hope you are keeping your public promise....

Wayne (Classicvelocity)

irondad said...


I believe an activity has to last for 20 minutes or more to qualify as aerobic. Just sayin' Jack.

Saying the "f" word doesn't count towards the time, either.

Seriously, I feel for the seriousness and the scare. There but for the grace of God go I.

Notice how I somehow managed to put the "f" word and "God" in the same comment. I'm going out to put my asbestos jump suit on layaway, now.