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Finneran: Old School

Friday, June 01, 2018


It was an “old school” weekend.

It was not planned that way at all. Rather, it was quite accidental. In fact, it started off in a cold fury, with the kind of homicidal anger you feel whenever Comcast or Verizon wets the bed. Which they do quite often you know.

How these two over-promising and under-delivering organizations manage to stay afloat is beyond me. I’m seriously considering monthly holdbacks from their outrageous bills. For example, if my service stinks for ten days in any given month I should be able to withhold a third of that month’s bill. If I buy two pounds of hamburger at the store, they don’t charge me for three pounds. Why then should I be expected to pay for a full month’s service if the service is non-functional half the time?

In any event, we had absolutely no service---no internet, no cable, no television. This was seriously old school stuff. I almost expected to hear FDR doing a fireside chat!

The service went kaput late Saturday night and it was quickly established that no technician would be available until Tuesday at the earliest. That meant Sunday and Monday were fully destined to be the equivalent of the ‘20s and ‘30s, the golden age of radio and of newspapers! Of course, Sunday night was the Celtics big seventh game showdown against the Cavaliers—and again I remind you, with no internet, no cable, and no television.

My mind wandered to Johnny Most, the long-time voice of the Boston Celtics from “high above courtside”, the most colorful radio broadcaster in history. As a kid I used to love to listen to Johnny Most and that memory triggered my hunt for the radio. It had been put up in storage while a home repair project was underway and now it was time to find it. Got it!

The Celtics’ radio broadcasters today—Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell—do a superb job. That they are not Johnny Most is evident but that’s because Johnny was sui generis—one of a kind. Grande and Max are very knowledgeable and very entertaining. The radio and their broadcast proved to be my salvation. It was an old-school salvation to be sure but I got into the flow of the game---the good, the bad, and the ugly---and I realized that the mind’s eye, is as good as a 60 inch plasma screen.

Of course, the next day was Monday, with still no internet, cable, or television. On top of that, it was a rainy stay-inside kind of day. My old-school solution you ask? Buy a newspaper!

Slowly read the several accounts of the Celtics game. Read about the streaking Red Sox, the Patriots’ practices, and the Bruins’ off-season plans. Read about the NBA, the NFL, and MLB. Read about the Las Vegas Golden Knights’ pursuit of the Stanley Cup

Do the crossword and Sudoku. Read the comics. Skip the editorials. Always skip the editorials.

I was reminded of the pleasure of the old school habit of actually holding a newspaper and reading it slowly, from cover to cover.

To do so with a Bloody Mary on a rainy morning is truly old school.

Maybe I should send Comcast a thank-you letter. They brought me back to happy days. Old school days and old school ways.


Tom Finneran is the former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, served as the head the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, and was a longstanding radio voice in Boston radio


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