“The Life and Death of Dom Spino”

How’s that for the dramatic? 

In my overly theatrical and mostly twisted mind, I envision the title of this, the final installment of “Outside the Bubble”, illuminated in flashing lights, and there is a line of dancing girls doing high kicks around the block, welcoming folks in for the final show into my sometimes bitter but always satire soaked thoughts.

Tickets will of course be free as people in Ocean City will do just about anything for free stuff.  (For example, see “100 Crazy and Insane Acts People Do to Win Free T-shirts” by DJ Batman (available in paperback)

In addition, everyone will receive one free copy of Gideon’s Bible, a $10 off coupon to a seafood buffet, and a used Ocean City bus ticket. 

The lights will go up and there will be one single microphone standing at the center of the stage.  The curtain will be drawn and a circus midget (or little person for the pc) dressed in a top hat will open the curtain to show the carnivale that is Ocean City in the summer.

The opening will show people throwing down their newspapers in disgust or just shaking with either elation or indifference as they wait in line at Thrasher’s French fries, as the crowd sees the headline from the discarded papers blowing in the boardwalk wind: “Dom Spino is dead.”

Suddenly, the crowd breaks into a dance number where they all, despite being strangers, know all the dance moves, and they sing in perfect five part harmony a little ditty to the tune of “Jud Fry is dead” from ‘Oklahoma!” and instead of Judd Fry they decree…. “Spino is dead, poor Dom Spino is dead.”

A narrator comes out from stage left and reads the audience the obituary, which tells the tale of how Dom Spino, literary genius and small town rebel, was tragically hit by a city bus after failing to use the crosswalks.

The “Spino is dead” jam ends and the carnivale goes back to their normal hum-drum existences of being too rich to notice and perhaps too drunk to care.

The lights go down, and a metaphorical bubble bursts.


The show would be one night only to say the least welcomed to one star reviews and cast aside as a weird and self righteous attempt at “concept art.”

I hope you realize that was as tongue and cheek as the majority of this column always was.  They say that nothing lasts forever, except for herpes and the Grateful Dead, and this column is certainly neither of those.  I never wrote this column for acclaim or even recognition, but rather used this little weekly soapbox in order to shine a light on some of the things that go on around here free of the normal literary checks and balances that usual towns, cities, etc, are held to outside the bubble.

So, after 129 of these weekly rants, insights, columns, etc, I’ve decided to finally move on to other things as I feel that the voice that this column carries perhaps has run its course.  Again, it’s not that I have nothing to say and it’s not that I feel that no one is embracing the things that I am writing.  I never wrote for the people that didn’t get it or wrote it in hopes that I might sway readers opinions towards my side of the fence.

I am not dumb enough or self-absorbed enough to believe that for a second.

I expected readers to get it, and if they didn’t I never attempted to slow down and wait for them.  If you didn’t get the satire about how ridiculous the real world gauges success, normalcy, and the American dream, this column wasn’t written for you.  If you are one of those people that think that Ocean City is perfect up, down, left and right, not only was this column not written for you, but I probably wrote about you at one time or another.  There are certain things that a man cannot change so instead of being swallowed whole by this notion, I chose to find humor in it, and for whatever that was worth, I hope that the people that enjoyed this column every week miss it as much as I will miss writing it on some level.

One of the most widely recognized Shakespearean quotes that gets butchered from most people who attempt to sound intelligent is from “Hamlet” and it is spoken by the queen: “Thou doth protest too much, methinks.”

Usually, people consider this to mean in a “methinks” kind of way that if you protest all the time, that you start to lose some credibility for whatever you are really trying to say or prove.

Some have argued that after 129 columns, the voice of this column is just cast aside as a protest piece, so essentially, that makes at least half of the audience cast-off my words before they read it as this is a political world that is split in half and I’ve been an open book in saying that I’m not a red stater, conservative, or captain in the “God Squad.”

I get the whole “old guy” mentality and it’s kind of like the calloused New York reporter type who thinks that they’ve seen it all.

The world would be a much better place if everyone saw it the way they (meaning the old guy and the NY reporter) see it, and in both cases, the person that believes, thinks, or says it, is blinder than all the people that he/she is pointing a finger at.

That is called irony, and this is as much of a world filled and saturated in irony as it is saturated in politics, and the pursuit of all things American and dream-like.

I will finally put to bed the Dom Spino penname, and I think that it has served me far better than I ever could have imagined when I asked the real Dom Spino, a funny and boisterous fellow with an unforgettable voice, name, and a flair for the dramatic, if I could use his name as a penname in a Pennsyltucky bowling alley in 1997 over Milwaukee’s Best Lights.

It’s been a good run, and like the real Dom Spino, should be able to rest in peace.

So for those that read this column when it was called “Take it For What’s It’s Worth” or “Important Sports Commentary” or this installment “Outside the Bubble”, I thank you for you time and I hope that I said some things that needed to be put in print.

I was always trying to figure it out while I was going along.

Just remember, Ocean City is a wonderful place, but it isn’t perfect.  There are extremely intelligent, personable and hard-working people, who are overshadowed by the folks, who are more self-righteous than I will ever be, who think that the fortunes they made with the fortunes they inherited are far more important than a pithy column written in a weekly free paper by the sea.

And that is one of the things that will always make me laugh….no matter how big their belt buckles may become, they are still just a big old joke to those…..who think outside the bubble.