The Gospel Truth

The Food Team…and Other Stories | March 29, 2011

When I go to see my attorney, which is quite often during the tax season, I have to pass a suite of offices that advertise for the food team.

I am always amazed at that nomenclature.  It congers up all sorts of interesting questions.

Just what is a food team?

Is this one of Michelle Obama’s ideas?

How does one sign up, join or try-out?

How do they compete—against other food teams?

Are they like an Olympic sport?

Are there different categories, such as a pasta division, red meat, poultry, fish?How about desert?

Does a team member have to make a certain weight?

These are all questions that I ponder in the elevator ride to the 10th floor.


At the outset of the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt stated, all we have to fear is fear itself.  He never met me.  I am afraid of everything.

I think I came into this scary world in fear and trembling.  I could have been the model for Edvard Munch’s heralded painting The Scream.

That could be me!

It was probably because my dad was a physician.  I could get all my diseases for free.  I spent many a clandestine moment perusing his old medical books.

Gory pictures of skin diseases and physical deformities shocked me with morbid fascination.  I remember comparing my body with these pictures to see if I had any of the illustrated diseases or conditions.


My dad also used to give me cold shots, four times a year.  He would get the vaccine, two days in advance, which allowed me ample time to agonize over the syringe, cooling in the refrigerator.

The torment of anticipation was often worse than the actual injection.


As an adolescent, many things scared me besides needles and infectious diseases.  We had the bomb to worry about.  My school had periodic air raid drills.  I envisioned some Russian fighter plane strafing me in the schoolyard.


Heights have always been a problem.  Every time I go to a sporting event and I have to sit in the upper deck, my head starts spinning.  Unless someone is sitting directly in front of me, I feel I am going to fall over the edge.  I have been to the Seattle Space Needle.

Space Needle in Seattle - New Years Eve 2007

I am afraid of all needles–especially this one

I needed two stiff drinks just to stay up in their restaurant.  The Toronto CN Tower was even worse since it is a lot higher and the drinks much weaker.

That’s why I don’t like to fly.  It gets very high when you are suspended in the air in quiet desperation.  I was terrified of flying, long before the attacks on 9/11.

Take-offs are especially terrifying to me.  It is the inverted position, plus wind shears and maybe an errant missile or exploding shoes that give me fits of anxiety.  To me a plane is just a large coffin with food service.

Scratch the food service!

View Image

A coffin with wings


I have stopped reading the newspaper and watching television.  The news is just too scary.  People are dying all over the place.

Our water has arsenic in it.  I am afraid to open my mail.  Alar, whatever that is, infects our apples.  I just love apples.

Cell phones cause brain cancer.  Everyone on the highway is an escapee from a mental ward.  Second hand smoke kills.  The rain forests are dying.

Global warming will burn us up.  The ice age is coming and we will have a nuclear winter in July.

Please somebody stop the world I need to get off.


I was asked the word agoraphobiain a trivia contest.  While the correct answer was fear of outside places, I thought it was fear of Al Gore.

The fear of Al Gore?


Over 20 years ago, my wife Judy and I treated ourselves to the luxury of a personal trainer.  (It was all her idea!)  Of course I did not mind the idea so much once the wholesome blonde Stephanie (23 and about 5’10”) jogged into our lives.


After six months, loneliness and near starvation forced her to move back to her parents’ home in Littleton, Colorado.  Just before the massacre hit her local school.

We (my wife) did not quit.

The exercise company then sent Liz, about 16 years Stephanie’s senior but a thoroughly attractive combination of Tex-Mex and patented discipline.

We had substituted Stephanie’s lean and clean for Liz’s mean and clean.

Since then we have watched Liz get pregnant.  Let me re-phrase that.  We huffed and puffed while Liz endured the nine months of her pregnancy with quiet grace and dignity.

When Lauren was born in August of 1997, we were almost as happy as when our second grandchild was born.


If a coward dies a 1000 deaths, I think I am getting close to expending all of them.


I was only on a rollercoaster one time in my life.  That was once too many.

It was at Rye Beach in New York in 1957 and I was seated next to Ned McDonald, the only person on earth that suffered through grade school, high school, and college with me.

We were never close…until that afternoon.

As our car reached the summit of the ride, my heart immediately stopped, and my eyes darkened because I shut them unnaturally tight.

All I remember is grabbing Ned in virtually every part of his anatomy, hanging on for dear life.  When it was over he had this strange Mona Lisa-like smile on his face.

Had he been a girl, I probably, according to cannon law, would have been forced marry him.

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Ned’s Mona Lisa smile


I am also a technophobe.  When I got my first expensive car, it was loaded with all sorts of electronic gadgets.  It was hard driving an auto that is smarter than I was.

I was always afraid something would go wrong.  I had to stand in the parking lot just to make certain the lights did go off automatically.

Picture of Smart Car - Free Pictures -

Too smart for me!

Computers?  Forget about them.  They stare at me with their superior intelligence and I can-rule-the-world attitude, just daring me to make a crash landing.


I have only had one major surgery and that was for a dislocated shoulder after a headfirst dive into second base.  I fretted so much over the operation that six months later I was diagnosed with high blood pressure.

I went to a shrink to determine the cause of my anxiety.

Just before he committed suicide—I wish I were kidding— I learned that the fear of death was the root cause of my anxiety.

I later read of a study that reported that the number one fear in America was not fear of death but public speaking.

Death was only third.  I wondered what was number two: Fear of dying while speaking in public?

My latest fear is no one will read this post.



  1. A great piece BB…..We need more humor to get thru the Socialist Democrat Rulers.

    Comment by Jim — March 29, 2011 @ 5:38 pm

  2. Although you call it humor, I am not sure that your fears are as you stated them???? I am fearful of lots of stuff for real. Pax

    Comment by Mary B — March 29, 2011 @ 7:35 pm

  3. No need to fear that “no one will read this post,” Pop. I did. And I enjoyed it immensely. ‘Twas a lovely piece, and thanks for sharing it. I must admit that I nearly lost my breakfast on the keyboard after inspecting the ghastly photo of the hand with the hot-dog fingers. Yuck.

    Comment by Matt — March 30, 2011 @ 3:28 pm

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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at







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