He was probably heading toward jail when he cruised the main street of our little town back in the day, honking his horn, or when he crashed his car into a tree with teammate Darren Daulton alongside him back in his Phillies days.
Lenny was a thrill-seeker, surrounded by other thrill-seekers. Now he is a pariah to family and others who trusted him.
Whoo-hoo! Yippie! That was Lenny on a baseball toot. For a quick refresher course, Lenny 101, please check out my favorite favorite:
Lenny provided legal thrills in October of 1986, running the bases after his game-winning home run against the Astros, running out his shot inside the Pesky Pole in Fenway, reviving the Mets in the World Series..
The part that flummoxed me was Lenny’s career as financial guru and publisher. There was Jim Cramer – the man with the weird inflections of a street person talking to himself - taking Lenny seriously in 2007.
Cramer somehow made Lenny out to be a man of his time -- another admirable nervy dude who knew how to convert millions into billions.
Kind of makes you wonder about anything Cramer touts, doesn’t it?
The only place Lenny made sense was in a uniform with the No. 4 on the back. (The Yankees had the aura of Gehrig; the Mets had the aura of Lenny.) For a few fun years, Lenny was a personification of the franchise, hitting the dirt, head-first.
I know somebody who carried his Lenny photograph to the Midwest, to the Northwest, to the New South. He would set up the frame on his desk, just to tick off the locals – Lenny’s bum photographed from behind, his eager little paws swiping at second base. Yippie!
People could even shrug off Lenny’s new muscles, as he displayed unexpected power with the Phillies. He wasn’t the only one. Besides, who had lab printouts on Lenny? (Trick question: there was no lab test.)
Lenny kept circling the bases, until his body failed. For a brief time he was a New Man of the financial surge, the wise advisor who would help athletes hold on to their money.
Once Lenny heard stadiums roar for him. Now he hears another sound.
"The day after my 80th birthday, which overflowed with good wishes, surprises and Covid-safe celebrations, I awoke feeling fulfilled and thinking that whatever happens going forward, I’m OK with it. My life has been rewarding, my bucket list is empty, my family is thriving, and if everything ends tomorrow, so be it.
"Not that I expect to do anything to hasten my demise. I will continue to exercise regularly, eat healthfully and strive to minimize stress. But I’m also now taking stock of the many common hallmarks of aging and deciding what I need to reconsider."
--Jane E. Brody, my pal in the NYT newsroom, oh, a few years back, in the Personal Health column, Sept. 13, 2021.
"People have said to me, ‘You’re fully vaccinated. Why are you being so careful?’” said Dr. Robert M. Wachter, professor and chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. “I’m still in the camp of I don’t want to get Covid. I don’t want to get a breakthrough infection.”
---Tara Parker-Pope, The New York Times, Aug. 16, 2021.