Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Defying Medical Science, Stodg Turns 81

They haven't declared it a national holiday or even invited me to the White House in honor of my 81st birthday, but maybe they should. Why? Because I got this far despite breaking every rule in the book. Or perhaps it was because of breaking every rule in the book.
I am and always have been the poster guy for rule breakers. If they said that I shouldn't I decided I should. If the medics said don't do it, I did. When they said, "Don't put beans in your ears" to kids I went in search of beans. When they said don't eat this, I ate it. When they told me not to smoke, I lit up and went on my way. When warned against the demon rum, I signaled the bartender and said, "Set 'em up all around."
Now none of this was by design. It's just the way I am. What the heck, if you only do the things that good little boys are supposed to do, where's the fun in life? Where's the adventure, the excitement? Those have always been the things I look for: fun, adventure, excitement.
Sure as anything some somber person will start pointing out the horrible examples of what has happened to others like me. Strange, though, that none of them were around when I was 18 and was handed a gun and told to go out and shoot people. They weren't there to warn me those other guys might shoot back and that could be hazardous to my health. Nor were they anywhere to be seen when at the age of 26 I was again handed a gun.
No, those people just show up when they have a terrible fear that somewhere, someone might be having fun, might be enjoying themselves or be doing something they wouldn't do themselves because they have been told they shouldn't. It seems they believe they can tip-toe into the grave in a nicely preserved body and that this is a goal, a desire, that guys like me should share. Sorry, that just ain't my style.
So anyway, here I am and most of my friends who gave up everything they enjoyed and began jogging and stuff like that are dead. My idea of good advice to follow came from the writer Jack London: "I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time."
Certain things have helped me outlive several projected lifespans, of course. For example, I was very careful in choosing my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. Just about all of them smoked like chimneys, drank like they were dying of thirst, ate anything that tasted good, took all kinds of chances and lived well into their eighties or nineties. Who was I to point fingers and say, "Naughty, naughty, you're setting a bad example?"
And then there were people like Eddie Wolfe, my old platoon sergeant who literally dragged me out of some tough spots. And Nick Scala, who made a habit of shooting people that were about to shoot me. There have been others, too, probably a lot of them.
So anyway, if I've offended some people by living the way I have and by writing this, I apologize. On second thought, no I don't.


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