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Ralph Gardner Jr.

  • The absence of a dog is felt more profoundly, at least on an hour-to-hour basis, than that of a spouse or a child. I say that after our dog Wallie got sick and spent a couple of nights at New York City’s Animal Medical Center. That’s the premiere animal hospital where the room, or rather cage, rate is equivalent to a Four Seasons hotel.
  • An editor gave me some advice at the start of my career. “It never hurts,” he said, “to make one more call.” By that I believe he meant that just that little bit of extra effort could spell the difference between a story and a scoop, that there’s no substitute for doing the work.
  • A few years back I was a “super” at the Metropolitan Opera’s production of La Bohème. I don’t mean I was super – singing along to the radio’s the extent of my experience as a musical performer – but a super. If you have no idea what I’m talking about neither did I until the Met offered me the role.
  • Having heard all the summer travel horror stories – delayed or cancelled flights, altercations, lost luggage – I’ve decided to take only what fits into a carry-on bag for an upcoming two-week vacation. A couple of factors prompted this fraught decision. The first, obviously, is that airlines can’t lose your luggage if it never leaves your possession. The second is economic.
  • Until Tuesday night I couldn’t have told you who played for the Yankees and who played for the Mets. I still can’t. For those as ignorant about baseball as I am, New York City’s teams stand atop their respective divisions in the American and National Leagues. And after the game, at least the eight-and-a-half innings that I sat through – go ahead and say it, my daughter did; I’m a loser for leaving early – I still can’t name more than one or two players.
  • I’d heard of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, most of my life, though I hadn’t been able to place it on a map, or frankly even been interested enough to try, until Russia invaded the country a couple of weeks ago. Was it where my grandfather grew up? Or was that Proskurov? Adding to the confusion, between wars and revolutions the names and national identities have changed over the years from Russian to Ukrainian.
  • I wasn’t supposed to be sitting here writing this commentary. I was supposed to be skiing in Vermont and doing some male bonding. But a balky back changed my plans without asking me first. I suppose it was only a matter of time before the chiropractic or perhaps the surgical arts caught up with me. I should have known there was only so long my body would let me get away with working in bed.
  • There are lots of ways to measure success in life. But I like to think that one of them is raising children that share your cultural preferences. Two recent events filled me with pride, though credit should probably go less to me than the geniuses behind the work.
  • If money were no object I’d buy a Zamboni for our pond. For those unfamiliar with this important invention, Zambonis are those riding vehicles used at ice skating rinks and hockey arenas to resurface damaged ice, returning it to shimmering, unblemished perfection.