Lifestyle

OFF THE RECORD: I’m suffering from several syndromes

Syndromes are serious stuff, not a laughing matter. Simply put, a syndrome is a group of symptoms that characterize a disease, psychological disorder or other abnormal condition. I didn’t make that up — Webster’s did.

The more common syndromes are Down Syndrome, Tourette Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the grandmommy of all —Premenstrual Syndrome, simply known as PMS.

Then there are the more obscure syndromes such as Asperger’s Syndrome, Restless Legs Syndrome, Guillain-Barre Syndrome and Rett Syndrome. Very serious stuff.

During the past week, I developed a number of strange syndromes. Blame it on the Mariners. Blame it on the Internet. Blame it on Jim Larsen. Blame it on the world. Maybe you’ve been experiencing some of these, too.

PMS — POST-MARINERS SYNDROME: Not to be confused with PMS, the condition that affects 100 percent of women at any given time. My personal PMS began with that sinking feeling that set in moments after the Mariners lost to the Yankees in Game 5 of the ALCS. There would be no World Series for Seattle, and those Damn Yankees did it again — for the fourth season in a row.

As one friend wrote in an e-mail, “I still can’t find enough room in my heart to root for the Yankees, tragedy or not.” I heartily concur, and will be cheering for Randy Johnson and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Do you think those East Coast talk jocks have ever heard of them?

ULWS — UNCONTROLLABLE LETTER WRITING SYNDROME: To paraphrase that infamous line delivered by Peter Finch in “Network,” I’m ticked off and I’m not gonna put up with it for one more minute! Most of this is directly related to PMS-Post Mariners Syndrome. The afternoon before what was to become the final Mariners game, I couldn’t take it any more. So I fired off the following e-mail to FOX Sports, broadcasters of the playoff series on TV.

“Dear FOX Sports Feedback Folks: What’s with your obviously biased announcers doing the Yankees-Mariners games? They are so pro-pinstripes it’s downright laughable. I keep waiting for the camera to cut away to the boys in the booth — undoubtedly, they’re decked out in full Yankee regalia. We’re not a bunch of mossyback slugs out here in Seattle; we actually get it. And that includes the fact that FOX is so locked into New York winning the World Series that no other team merits a raindrop of respect. I love New York, now more than ever. But I will continue to hate the Yankees. Thanks to your talking bobbleheads, you’re making it that much easier.”

I haven’t heard back from them. I won’t hold my breath.

TMEMS — TOO MUCH E-MAIL SYNDROME: Is your e-mail in-box starting to look like a paperless recycling center? Here’s an e-mail I received from a friend in Seattle who is fed up with all the junk folks send him. “There are certain things I hate getting in my in box besides spam, so as a small favor, please don’t send the following pernicious items: petitions about the environment, petitions about taxes, petitions about freeing unjustly imprisoned activists, warnings about computer viruses, warnings about telephone scams, warnings about losing my civil liberties, large attachments, small attachments, medium size attachments, .EX files, lists of humorous neologisms, epithets to make my day sunshinier, philosophical treatises that start with “Chicken Soup for the (insert saccharine subject here),” chain letters, stock recommendations, opportunities to make money off Microsoft.”

Hear, hear! If you want to check the validity of a virus, petition or any other urban legend, log onto http://hoaxbusters.ciac.org/ or http:// www.snopes2.com.

PLS — POST-LARSEN SYNDROME: You’ve probably heard or read that Jim Larsen has vacated the big chair at The Record. As somebody who has worked with Jim since the last millennium, this is tougher to take than the above-mentioned PMS, ULWS or TMEMS combined. Who woulda thunk that Lars Larsen, that Danish dude from Snohomish, would ever leave South Whidbey? Not me.

Jim Larsen is one of the funniest people I know; his wit is beyond compare. Over the years, folks would often ask me what he was really like — was he as weird as he came across in print? I would always tell them he was a good husband, a great dad and a person who really cared. That he was a throwback to the old newspaper guys, minus the bottle of bourbon in his bottom drawer. That he was the best darn editor I’ve ever had. On Nov. 1 I’ll begin my 13th year as a columnist for The South Whidbey Record. Thanks to Jim Larsen, it’s been one helluva ride. We’re gonna miss that guy.

Sue Frause can be reached by e-mail at

skfrause@whidbey.com.

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