Special guest columnist: Tom Donatelli

This week my brother Tom has guest-written The Joe Donatelli Column. From time to time I lend the column to loyal readers and people I share a mom with. This is a good one. – Joe

Something worth blogging about

I had a day recently that should set the standard for what the average person’s daily blog should consist of at the very least.

Writing a MySpace blog about taking your dog to the vet and finding out he has worms (the dog, not the vet)? BORING. Or writing about sitting in 45 minutes of traffic to get to a menial job and then argue about American Idol finalists? BORING. Or admitting to accidentally wearing two different colored socks yet having nobody notice? BORING and a little sad.

Bloggers, use this as your benchmark. If your story is as good as this one, blog your brains out.

I was driving to work (running late thanks to the tasty breakfast I made myself, tuna salad sandwich on whole wheat – a Joe Donatelli special) when I got a phone call from my co-worker Kacie. Kacie is not her real name. Her real name is spelled differently. Kacie told me that there was no power in our entire office complex and I should hold off on coming in because it sounds like the boss is going to let us all go home for the day.

I pulled into a parking lot overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Venice Beach to wait and – if I’m lucky – maybe see a homeless guy fight a seagull for a leftover In-N-Out Burger. I’m lucky today, but not that lucky. I got the official call. No work. Yes, that is correct. I got a snow day in Southern California! Take that, Mayfield City Schools!

(Above: Typical June day in Mayfield Hts., Ohio.)

What to do now? After calling my girlfriend, Pamela Anderson, (again not her real name, but makes the story sound much cooler) I rub it in her face that she has to work while I get to have a free day of no responsibility. Taunting loved ones makes life taste so much sweeter! It’s like adding sugar AND honey to already sweetened iced-tea, and drinking that with straws made from Pixy Stix.

In situations like these, I like to seek counsel with one of the few people I trust in this world. He has been with me through the awkward stages of life and the mildly less awkward stages of life. He is my best friend and knows all of my dirty secrets without judging me. He is my 12-Year-old Self. I am a man of 30 years, but today 12-Year-Old-Self is in charge.

Twelve-Year-Old Self said, “Play video games for 3 hours.” So I did. Twelve-Year-Old Self said, “Go look at old Playboys in the bathroom.” So I did. Twelve-Year-Old Self said, “These pants are annoying. Leave them in a crumpled pile on the floor.” So I did. Twelve-Year-Old Self said, “Go for a bike ride at the beach.” So I did. Twelve-Year-Old Self said, “Eat cold pizza for lunch.” So I did.

Like most 12-year-olds though, you get tired of them after awhile. So I sent him away right around the time I heard a FIRE alarm going off somewhere in my building. This happened at exactly 2:38 PM. I know this because that was the same time I paused the Brett Favre retirement news conference on NFL Network. Thank you, DirecTV with DVR! You are the reason I wake up in the morning. You are the reason I obey laws and stay out of jail. You are the reason I got up to find the source of the fire alarm. I wanted to protect you from danger.

I heard the fire alarm and looked out my balcony to see my neighbor’s kitchen on fire. From where I was standing I could see flames on her stovetop. I yelled to see if she was in the apartment. She was. (She was on the phone with 911.)

Outside my apartment is a fire hose and fire extinguisher behind one of those windows that reads, “In Case of Emergency Break Glass.”

I assessed that this was indeed an emergency and required some glass breaking. “Wow, my big movie moment chance to finally break some glass.” I used my elbow and gave it solid a whack.


I could hear my 12-Year-Old Self laughing at me from inside my apartment. I took a second, harder swing that would have made Jean Claude Van Damme damn proud. I grabbed the extinguisher, ran to my neighbor’s apartment and told her to stand back. I actually said the words, “Stand back.”

I extinguished the fire.

Greatest living American hero? That title might be a bit much, but thank you. Greatest living American hero on March 6th, 2008 at 2:39 PM in Marina Del Rey, Calif.? Highly accurate.

(Above: What the world might look like right now had Tom not put out that fire.)

Building maintenance arrived and helped my neighbor take care of whatever non-heroic deeds were left to handle.

How does one celebrate saving a $30 million apartment complex and
hundreds of lives from certain catastrophic annihilation? By taking the sweetest nap of one’s life, resting comfortably under the blanket of protection which I myself unfolded. That blanket smells like Snuggle Bear.

After waking, I enjoyed the rest of my day by umpiring a Little League baseball game, eating dinner with my girlfriend. Pam Anderson made fajitas, fresh guacamole and black beans. We watched LOST together and afterwards Pam fell asleep on me.

The perfect ending…

(Twelve-Year-Old Self whispered in my ear, “Touch her boobs.” So I did.)

…to the perfect day.

(To hear Sean, Mike, Carlos and Joe talk about Tommy’s column on The Second Column podcast on iTunes, click here.)

Joe Donatelli
Joe Donatelli is a writer in Los Angeles

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