Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Life is a highway

I look at it like this: if everyone I knew who has found him-or-herself on I-526 in scenic South Carolina - the southernmost of all Carolinas - and said "Oh,  I have to get a picture of this road sign for Mark!" had actually taken a picture of the road sign, I would be able to cover several walls with pictures of the sign of the highway named for my namesake, Mark Clark.

Having the same name as a famous dude has always been interesting, and of course, having that rhyming thing in the name was a clear indication that my parents knew I would grow up to be a disc jockey.  As a matter of fact, there were reports that when I arrived that sunny Saturday in June, 1951, Mom and Dad heard an angelic choir singing my name..."Maaaaaaaaark Claaaaaaaaark....plays the mooooooooost musiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiic!" 

That might have been just a story they told me; I don't know.

Anyhow - famous Mark Clarks include the Black Panther leader gunned down in his sleep by Chicago police in 1969, a big-league pitcher for the Indians, Mets, Cubs, Rangers and Cardinals from 1991-2000, a state senator from Arizona, a guy who blew himself up in his van in Essex in 1995, a lawyer down South somewhere whose email addy is one character different from mine (so he refuses to forward to me any erroneously-addressed email) and, most famous,  World War II General Mark Wayne Clark, who chased Rommel across Egypt, invaded Italy in 1943, and later became America's youngest general.

I, in tribute, became America's youngest general nuisance.

Another similarity, and believe me, this is probably the last between me and an Army general, was that Clark was well-known while attending West Point for his ability to smuggle candy into the dormitory, and I became renowned for smuggling beer into baseball stadiums.  (Put it in a bag and cover it with peanuts..lots and lots of peanuts...)

General Clark retired down South and became head of The Citadel, a military college in South Carolina.  That's where the Mark Clark Expressway is, down there between West Ashley and Mt. Pleasant.  Doesn't that sound like a pleasant place to be?  

I guess it was the mid-80's when I first had greetings from friends just back from vacay down there who said, "Dude!  You won't believe it!  There's like this highway named for you down there!"

In all modesty, I have to admit to them that the road was not named for me,  but if I ever get down there and take a drive, the least I can expect is that they won't charge me a toll!

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