Blame it on Barb…  

Issue 74

By:  Ron Brounes  

January 2006


Just when you thought it was safe to check that mailbox again…guess what? I’m baaaack again!!!  (I may have used that line a time or two in previous writings.)  In actuality, I have been overwhelmed and incredibly touched by the outpouring of requests for a new “For What It’s Worth.”  Hardly a day goes by that I’m not stopped on the street by some loyal reader (enough already, Mom) and asked why I have been so lax with my musings.  Well, truth be told, my attention has been so focused on the compelling events of the day that I was simply unable to find the time to tackle them in a newsletter (that, and I require much longer naps in my old age).


Since last we spoke (rather, I wrote and you read/skimmed/tossed in the circular file), the world has changed dramatically.  Houston is no longer the nation’s fattest city, thanks to Chicago.  (Somehow a World Series trophy makes that designation far more bearable.)  We learned the definition (and devastation) of tsunami and were the recipients of a few unwelcome guests named Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.  We watched a guy named Scooter get indicted, cheered/jeered (depending on your affiliation) as a local politico named DeLay fell from grace, and monitored the “private” last few days of a woman named Schiavo (on global TV).  We mourned the death of a popular Pope, a Supreme Court chief justice, and celebrity game-show participant Nipsey Russell.  We were entranced over the relationships of Jennifer and Brad, Brad and Angelina, Jessica and Nick, Ron and Barb, Tom and Katie, and Heath and Jake.  We “hooked ‘em horns” all the way to national championships in baseball and football and debated the merits of Vince vs. Reggie until we were blue (rather “burnt orange”) in the face.




Now, I know what you’re thinking.  Just when did Nipsey Russell pass?”  Next to Burt Convey and Charles Nelson Reilly, that guy was the best damn Match Game player ever.  Rather, “who the heck are Ron and Barb?”  For those who don’t know, I have decided to say goodbye to my “wild” bachelor days (much to the chagrin of swinging singles and underwear models everywhere) and will be married on April 1.  And, that’s no joke (haven’t heard that one too much).  Yes, I finally met the woman of my dreams and have decided to join the ranks of the happily married (my friends have been recommending it for years…you all know who you are).  Her name is Barb (though she may legally change it to Eunice).


Whether it was a chance meeting, destiny, fate, or simply a couple of hungry folks craving a slice, we ran into each other at a neighborhood pizza joint (here’s a plug for Romano’s on West Gray) about 16 months ago and it was truly “love at first sight.” (Well, actually we had already met 16 years prior but shared a mutual disinterest at that time.)   This time, we were both older and wiser so I lived up to my well-known motto that best defines my personality…“When you know it’s right, don’t hesitate to take action.”  (Well, actually it took me about a month before I finally got up the nerve to call her, choosing instead to develop that close relationship via the intimate confines of email.)   


When I did finally schedule that first “date,” we sat and talked endlessly about every topic in the world for about five hours over dinner.  (Well, actually I learned later that I was so caught up in the conversation that we never even ordered a meal and merely nibbled on appetizers the whole time.  Talk about a cheap date…literally.)  From day one we were totally on the same page, sharing mutual interests, completing each others’ sentences, knowing what the other was thinking without having to utter a word.  (Well, actually after a few hot months of intimate emails, she broke up with me before I even realized we were dating….apparently, that was the problem.)  I quickly came to my senses and realized that I was about to screw up the best thing that ever happened to me.  (Notice I am not even following that up with my typical sarcastic quip). 




At 42 (now 43), the commitment and intimacy phobias were getting old and tired.  Seinfeld had long been canceled, and it was time to abandon the Jerry/George approach to dating.  While I often chose to portray my dating escapades as legendary, most loyal readers will be surprised to learn I haven’t stepped foot in a downtown bar in over 15 years (once they started charging covers).  Those nameless, faceless, brokenhearted one night stands I have written about for years were becoming fewer and farther between.  (OK, but I did once ask a girl for her phone number back in college.  She was in my accounting class and I wanted to compare journal entries before the upcoming midterm exam.) 


Try as I may (and I tried very hard) to analyze and overanalyze every insignificant detail of Barb and our experiences together, she continued to pass with flying colors every obscure test I (unknowingly) put her through.  She laughed at my jokes and even put me in my place a time or two (not such a difficult task).  She was beautiful (not that such superficial qualities really matter), smart, successful, interesting, well-read, and tolerated my obsession with UT sports.  (She even wears burnt orange on game days.)  She shared my political philosophies and commiserated with me when the “news of the day” did not materialize to our liking. 


She has a great many friends (who have come to accept my shortcomings as well) and instantly embraced my family and friends (and I have some weird friends…present readers included).  In fact, in most cases, I am convinced my friends prefer her company to mine.  Many have come out of the woodwork to get together with us over the past few months.  (Did I suddenly get funnier and more interesting?)  She has read each and every FWIW newsletter and even suggested a Website to allow loyal readers the opportunity to stroll down memory lane with past issues.  (Please check out and remember the fine folks at for your Internet-related needs.)  She was patient with my issues of commitment and made me realize that I was far happier with her than I had ever been at any time in my life.   




Just a few short months after determining we had similar pizza tastes (a crucial consideration), Barb moved from distant acquaintance to sarcastic email responder to occasional (very occasional) dinner/appetizer companion to girlfriend to fiancé.  I can confidently say that she was “well worth the wait.”  I am ecstatic that I was so picky (with those past underwear models) and Barb and I finally found each other.  (Though, in reality, had I taken a little initiative 16 years ago, we may very well have our 2.3 kids by now and be sending out Bar/Bat Mitzvah invitations like everyone else I know.) 


So there you go; it’s been quite a ride these past few months: the Astros in the World Series, two national championships for the Horns, Ron Brounes is engaged to be married, and “For What It’s Worth” is back in circulation.  Hopefully, this issue was “well worth the wait.”


FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH is a Ron Brounes publication focusing on not much of anything other than personal anecdotes, musings, and mindless thoughts about life.  Please call Ron at 713-962-9986 (or email at for questions, comments, or just to say “hi.” And for all you brokenhearted underwear models, I have a 35-year-old cousin who is still on the market.