What did we ever do without cell phones? The land line in my office rang Tuesday afternoon, and when I answered, the voice at the other end sounded surprised. We can all relate. (Hate those automated answer machines). The caller then introduced herself as Marilyn Merritt, a 70-year-old, long haul trucker calling from rural Pennsylvania. Frozen foods, mostly. In a previous life, she said, before the economy tanked, she was retired. Before that, she was a librarian at Sac State.
The kicker is this: She travels with her husband - didn't catch his name - and says the two somehow co-exist despite the fact she's an impassioned Kings fan and he's a rabid Lakers partisan. "We have to negotiate," she laughed. "We share space (in the cab). We have a TV, fridge, a double-bed. I try to keep up with the Kings in the local newspapers. It's a really hard life, though. We live in a small town between Grants Pass and Roseburg, Ore., but my son lives in Sacramento. Our truck broke down, so we're here waiting. I'm going to miss my granddaughter's first piano recital."
Her hope is to get back out West by next week, and possibly take her granddaughter to the Kings-Hornets game on March 31 for the Vlade Divac jersey retirement ceremony. "What a sweet guy," she said.
I hope she calls back. I forgot to ask her handle.
Don't get him started
As I noted in my column in today's Bee, Joe Maloof is more than a little chippy of late. Fans seated near the tunnel area during the Kings-Cavs game last Friday at Arco Arena might have caught the Kings co-owner in a major rant. No, he wasn't ripping into me for something I had written, though that's happened. He was venting about Bernie Madoff and wondering why his family was erroneously listed in published magazine reports - though later deleted - among the scam artist's victims. "Where did that come from?" he asked angrily. "We don't even know the guy." After I noted that The Bee was innocent of all charges, he calmed down. As for the Maloof finances, he acknowledged the Kings are a mess, but said the Palms is withstanding the economic crunch better than most Las Vegas hotel/casinos because of its niche clientele (young, hip, international) and that the family beer business - which speaks to the gut of their empire - is booming. But I still want to know: What's the difference between millionaires and billionaires anyway?