Bell Blog: Beach, Fish And Cars – Things I Did While On Sick Leave

So what does a big mouth do when he can’t speak for two weeks?

Man am I bored! After three weeks off the air I am climbing the walls. I can’t wait ’til Monday when I return to work with Carl, AT, Jarvis & Mike Conti on Dukes and Bell.

For those who don’t follow the show regularly (what’s wrong with YOU people?) my voice had been getting scratchier over the past year to the point where I sounded like Frank Pentangeli from Godfather 2 or Marge Simpson’s sisters on a good day.

Dr. Adam Klein from Emory Voice Center performed surgery on me three weeks ago and removed polyps on both of my vocal chords and cleaned up some scar tissue.

Basically I was paying for over 30 years of hard-charging as my Dad used to say. Yelling at Falcons games, yelling at craps dealers, late-night shenanigans plus working through colds and the flu did a lot of damage.

Good news: I’ll be ready to go Monday, albeit without most of the impressions and voices for at least the first couple of weeks. Although I did learn that Bob Rathbun and Mark Richt impressions are therapeutic in that they help the vocal chords vibrate the right way for rehab.

That’s right! There’s healing power in the smooth sounds of Coach Richt. Big thanks to Carissa Maira (my voice therapist) she’s been a huge help! She mentioned in my first examination that I had a really strong tongue. I said “Yes, I’ve heard that before.” (Hey Now.)

I really appreciated all the get well-wishes on social media!

The low point would have to be green Jello with a Vicodin floater the day after surgery. The absolute worst St. Patrick’s Day ever!

By Day 3, post surgery, I was driving my wife crazy scribbling on dry erase boards or snapping my fingers when I wanted her attention.

I learned just how tough “radio silence” was gonna be at the Atlanta United-Chicago Fire match. Folks saying ‘Hi’ walking into Bobby Dodd, and all I could do was wave, leaving Becky to have to explain to the guys sitting around us I was on voice lock-down.

Josef Martinez scored two goals in the win, the second of which was literally a zero-angle shot and it happened right in front of us. It’s hard to fight the impulse not to howl like a banshee after seeing something like that. So I just bit my lip and clapped like a maniac.
—-

What do ya do when you’re a loud mouth who’s ordered not to speak for two weeks? My philosophy: When the going gets tough, you tough it out on the beach.

I rolled down to Naples, Florida to crash at my Aunt’s condo. Talk about being the perfect house guest! No annoying conversation from me and I picked up all the dinners.

What else was I supposed to do? If I’m gonna lose a bunch of sick days and a few vacation days too, I was sure as hell gonna get a tan out the deal.

And as we all know tan plus fat equals muscle. Plus it was spring break and the new bikinis are nuts this year!

Every day was gym, beach, dinner repeat. Oh did I mention I couldn’t have alcohol or caffeine or spicy foods? That takes about all the pages out of my playbook.

So in no particular order here’s what I did and some of the things I observed while I was off the air:

The Falcons’ Super Bowl loss demons won’t be exorcised until we get back and beat New England in the big game next year. I say the Patriots because of the moves they’ve made so far.

If ya didn’t know better you’d think Belichick and the Pats lost Super Bowl 51. The offseason moves so far look as if they were aimed at stopping the Falcons, don’t they?

By the way, I love the Dontari Poe signing for Atlanta. I thought the price was right. If we can find a true pass-rusher in the draft opposite Vic Beasley, the sky’s the limit for this young defense.

Being a Falcons fan surrounded by chowderheads from New England for two weeks is a real drag. Naples is like the Midwest meets New England in The Gulf Coast version of Palm Beach.

There is nothing you can say, other than ‘Yeah you guys were crapping your pants when we went up 28-3.” Yeah, that’ll show ‘em. Look, the whole country knows we choked so let’s stop dancing around the semantics of saying collapse.

We blew it. And when you’re blowing it with the greatest QB of all time on the other sideline, what did ya think was gonna happen?

I apologize for bringing it up, but a day didn’t go by where I was wearing a Braves hat or Falcons gear on the beach or in the gym when some jack-leg Boston fan would start in.

March Madness

Like a lot of folks, I was really pulling for Coach Frank Martin and the Cinderella Gamecocks squad. But overall I thought The Final Four with all the dumb fouls and dumb plays was a tough watch at times.

Especially when the referees think they’re the show in the biggest game of the year. As Bill Raftery said Monday night, let the players establish a rhythm within the game for crying out loud. There were way too many ticky-tack fouls.

Have you ever seen so many air balls and just awful shots in a national final before? That was ugly. The ratings were up big time but aesthetically it was hot garbage.

Watered Down College Hoops

You really wish the NBA and it’s Player’s Association would look at the success of the NFL and say we have to follow suit with players waiting three years from high school graduation to be eligible to go pro.

It would make the college game and the pro game so much better. McDonald’s All-Americans with three years’ experience under their belt would be so much more complete players and make the NBA draft actually interesting.

I know kids can jump from high school to Baseball, but they have years in the minor leagues to hone their skills.

It’s a no brainer, but the NCAA and NBA won’t change. Still one-and-done is not the answer.

I-85 Collapse

Two things we have no plan for in this town, traffic and the homeless.

The Hawks (speaking of collapse)

If they can hang on for the 6-seed, who feels this team is capable of anything in the playoffs? I think most Hawks fans would agree we’ve all seen enough of Coach Bud as team president. Bring in a new GM with a fresh set of eyes on the problem. Coach Bud needs to be just Coach Bud. All the good will from the fans from the 60-win season and Danny Ferry engineered turnaround is out the window.

Braves

I can’t wait to get my first look at SunTrust Park. I’ve got tickets (and parking) for next Sunday versus the Padres. I’ve heard nothing but good things about all the bells and whistles and restaurants & bars. I will reserve judgment on the traffic until I experience it firsthand.

Seafood

You ever heard of the Hogfish? Me neither. Man is it good eating. Like tilapia meets swordfish. My buddy Mike caught one spear fishing off of Marco Island and it’s delicious. And no it doesn’t taste like bacon.

Last Bit Here; Just For Car Guys

Want a new definition of frustration? See a car dealer in Miami having a customer communicate with him on a dry erase board.

With time to kill and my Cadillac XLR-V turning 10, I was looking to get into a new ride while recuperating in Napes.

I perused dealerships all over South Florida, test drove everything from Audi R8’s
and used Ferrari California’s to Maserati’s and Mercedes AMG’s.

But I kept coming back to the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Corvettes since my Dad picked up a used 1970 Stingray convertible when I was a kid. And like my Dad, I’m a ragtop man.

I love the Corvette, it just rarely loves me back. My 1987 Vette was the biggest pain. The water pump was replaced every other month. I would get it detailed; have it looking sharp, then hop in to cruise Ocean drive… and only one headlight would pop up.

But they have come a long way and I bought the super-duper extended warranty (just in case).

The Z06 with 650 bhp was awesome, but the only ones I could afford were manual and I’m not driving a stick in Atlanta traffic. I’d be burning through clutches faster than I’d burn through new tires in that rocket.

I found a black-on-black beauty 8-speed automatic with the paddle shifters. It’s money!
And it’s already cost me some. Got popped driving it home from Florida.

The dealer said before ya get that first 500 mile oil change, be sure to vary the RPMs on the road trip back. I was varying it up to a hundy when a Turner County Mounty lasered me around 2 a.m. He didn’t buy my story.

Thanks again for all the well-wishes. I can’t wait to talk you Monday!

More from Mike Bell
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