I accidently swallowed an ice cube whole two days ago and still haven’t passed it yet.

I’m not sure how worried I should be and I’m getting very concerned as I write this, but I went ahead and wrote a column anyway …


Recently, Guilford County Health Director Merle Green nearly killed Guilford County Commissioner Alan Perdue, who served as the head of Guilford County Emergency Services before becoming a commissioner.

I don’t think Green intended to do it, but here’s how it happened …

First of all, you need to know that Commissioner Perdue has a huge latex allergy. Until the commissioners meeting the other night, I had honestly never heard of any such thing in my life; I didn’t even know latex was something people were ever allergic to – much less that it could be deadly.

But clearly it can be. I saw in the news the other day that Pooja Newman – a mother of three with a severe latex allergy – almost died at an Adele concert in Australia when, for festive effect, they dropped a bunch of balloons on the crowd during one song. While everyone else cheered the balloon release, a terrified Newman with no chance of escape went into anaphylactic shock as soon as the balloons hit and the reaction nearly killed her.

Alan Perdue said he has a very bad latex allergy and that, at times in the past, a small amount of latex has caused his throat to close up, making it very difficult to breathe, and the allergy has also had other very serious effects on him. (Interestingly, he told me, it’s fairly common for people in the emergency services industry to develop a latex allergy as they get older since the material is used commonly in the emergency response field for a number of purposes, such as protective gloves and masks.)

So the other part of the story is that, at this commissioners meeting, the health department was celebrating the board’s declaration of April as Public Health Month – which leads us to Health Director Merle Green and her giant batch of celebratory latex balloons that, before the meeting, were placed right in front of the commissioner’s dais just a few feet from Perdue’s seat.

When Perdue came in and sat in his seat at the meeting, he suddenly found himself face to face with the deadly killer balloons, but, rather than bolt from the dais, he kept his eyes trained on the ominous sight, hoping no indoor breeze would tilt the balloons his way. He said later that he was keeping highly alert for the first sign of trouble from his body. (Fortunately, current Emergency Services Director Jim Albright is always at the meetings, so he, presumably, has an EpiPen on hand.)

Green was unaware of the situation with Perdue even days after the meeting and, when I informed her that she had nearly killed Perdue, she was very alarmed.

Or was she? Was the whole thing an accident? Or, was it a clever case of the health director sending a message to Perdue and the other commissioners that the health department had better get fully funded in the county budget this year.

I will not even point out here the amazing irony that would have resulted if the head of one of the county’s life-saving branches had killed the former head of the county’s other life-saving branch because of a proclamation recognizing Public Health Month.


Speaking of Guilford County officials and their adventures, I have managed to obtain this photo of the grandson of Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Jeff Phillips during his delivery of the county’s first ever State of the County speech, which was televised on local cable Channel 13 earlier this month.

Jeff said his grandson was astonished that he was seeing his granddad on TV, but it’s clear to me from the picture that the grandchild simply doesn’t agree at all with Phillips’ policy positions. This picture was taken during the part of the speech where Phillips announces that Guilford County is implementing mandatory community service for all preschoolers.


Moving from county business to other items of interest, I continue to watch Family Feud, where the questions just get weirder and weirder. Recently, I expressed astonishment that they would ask contestants to name, “Things a stripper might ask a man to remove from his pants pocket before a lap dance.” I am not making that up – that was an actual question on Family Feud.

I guess I thought that question might have been a one-off, and so I was going to let it slide, and I kept on watching the show. But the other day I did a double take again when Feud host Steve Harvey asked this one …

“Name something a near-sighted dog might try to mate with.”

Now, I didn’t even continue watching long enough to find out the answer. (But I feel certain it was “anything under the sun” or “pillow” – though, on second thought, I’m sure “your leg” was probably pretty high on that list too.)

Really, Steve? Things a dog might try to mate with? I guess Family Feud has simply run out of questions.

Can that show, after 41 years on the air, not just simply admit that they are out of ideas and announce that they are now going to go off the air with the same quiet dignity as Devious Maids.


I’m very concerned about this upcoming generation of children because of the way parents are coddling them and being so overprotective of them. I don’t have any kids that I know about but I do see other people raising their kids all the time and I have plenty of advice about the best way for them to do that.

And here’s my current advice: Parents, stop worrying about every little thing regarding your child. And teachers, this goes for you too: Kids are not China dolls.

The latest crazy thing about kids is that there is a national debate over kids being caught in school with a banned item – sunscreen of all things. Why is sunscreen banned in many schools across the country? I read somewhere it is because it is classified as a drug by the government. (If sunscreen really is classified as a drug, I can tell you it is like the worst drug ever.)

And the crazy part of this story is this: Who knew sunscreen wasn’t allowed in schools? Is it just that everything is banned for children now? Everything under the sun?

This has just gotten ridiculous. It is completely out of hand.

Listen, if I had a son and some teacher called me in for a conference because they had caught him with sunscreen lotion at school, I would be like, “Well, why did you call me down here? What was he doing with it? Rubbing it on his teacher’s nude body? Cause that’s the only reason I can think of that you called me down here about sunscreen.”

Sunscreen? Give me a break. Stop freaking out about the children. Listen, stop obsessing over your kids. They will be fine. They are pretty much indestructible and will be all right no matter what.

To help put our fear about anything and everything related to our kids in perspective, let me call your attention to a picture I came across the other day of a kid’s playground about a century ago.   Look at this playground. It is unbelievable. There is nothing at all remotely safe about it in any way shape or form, and these kids are all having a blast. As you can see in the picture, the kids are fine.

And do you know how these kids got to the playground?

By hitching rides from complete strangers.

And here we are, 100 years later, worried about sunscreen. And we now make our children play on safety-certified low-to-the-ground playground equipment that can’t be nearly anywhere as much fun for them.

Listen, your children will be fine climbing on things like this. I once saw circus performers walk tightropes and do tricks on high bars that were much higher than the playground bars in this picture and none of those performer were hurt during the show. And the Flying Wallendas were doing stunts on high wires all the time and I’m sure nothing bad ever happened to them.

[Editors note: Jan. 30, 1962, Wallenda members fell to the ground at the Shrine Circus at Detroit’s State Fair Coliseum, killing two, paralyzing one and severely injuring another. One female member fell into a safety net, but bounced off, suffering a major head injury.

1963: Wallenda member falls to her death in Omaha.

1972: Wallenda troop member Richard (“Chico”) Guzman killed while performing.

March 22, 1978: Group founder Karl Wallenda falls 100 feet to his death during a tightrope walk between the towers of Condado Plaza Hotel in San Juan.]

Listen, trust me on this: There is nothing scary about heights and nothing to be afraid of when it comes to letting your kid have a little high-flying fun every once in a while or letting him or her use some sunscreen for that matter.

Come on, parents, loosen up a little. I mean, think about it – at birthday parties you already let your kid sit in the lap of the killer clown with the deadly balloons.