By ROGER MILLS
© St. Petersburg Times, published October 22, 2000
He became a father two weeks ago, watches the History Channel, has a take on James Bond and has fallen in love with sand after being raised in snow. Here's Jerry Wunsch unplugged.
RM: You're a Wisconsin boy living in Florida. What's up with that?
JW: When I first got here, I wasn't at all accustomed to the pace of life, the heat, the water. I thought I would hate it. I could never have imagined living in an area like this. We bought a home here, though, on the water. It started off as an investment for me, but then I started to fall in love with the area (St. Pete Beach). Every day I drive over that bridge, and I'm able to leave all the worries of work behind me. Driving along the water is very therapeutic. Sometimes on the way in, you see the sun rise, and it's just so peaceful, and it prepares you for the day. I'll never forget the first morning I drove into One Buc Place and saw the sun rising over the city. It was beautiful. I knew this is where I wanted to live.
RM: Your wife, Melissa, is one of triplets. What's your take?
JW: They're identical, but I can tell them apart. Maybe it's the hairstyle or style of dress or something. But then there are days when they freak you out, and they all show up dressed the same way with their hair the same way, and you're like, "Whoa!" I tell the guys, it's like I'm married to all three of them.
RM: For a guy who has done so much with kids, what was it like to have your first child?
JW: It was the highlight of my life. It was a brush of emotions. Can I lead him the right way to becoming a man? I can see myself be much more proud in seeing my son succeed and becoming a good man than in seeing myself accomplish anything. That would make my life absolutely complete. I asked myself, "What have I done to be worthy of having something so special?'
RM: Fess up. How are things with your mother-in-law?
JW: My mother-in-law has been an absolute blessing. We aggravate each other, but it's done in fun. We do the stereotypical mother-in-law versus son-in-law battle, and we do it well. But when it comes down to it, we'll back each other. But, like, when my wife was in labor, my mother-in-law and I were sitting there arguing back and forth about something, and my wife is losing her mind.
RM: So, you're a history buff?
JW: History is awesome. I'm fascinated how people deny history. (History) scares the crap out of people. They don't want to accept the possibility that things like that happened and could happen. It makes them feel very insecure in their own world. It's like when your neighbor's house gets broken into, and all of a sudden you realize the danger and become paranoid and then go into denial. I think today people are more concerned about where they're going than where they've been.
RM: Okay, Mr. Historian, who would you want to be on the day of the moon landing?
JW: Neil Armstrong, no question. That is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I mean, I'm a very generous guy who will give the shirt off my back to anyone. But you know what? I think I might have to keep that one for myself. I'm very accommodating, but in a situation like that, I'm on the moon first.
RM: On the Titanic?
JW: I don't want to be the captain. I want to be the guy who's driving the ship at that point when they see the iceberg. I have faster hands than that guy. I could turn the rudder in time. I'm pretty sure I would do it a lot quicker than that guy.
RM: On Normandy beach?
JW: I want to be the guy in charge. I tell you what. You're giving lives for lives for the rights of humanity. What are we going to stand for, what are we going to allow to happen? I want to be the guy with his back against the wall, the guy with the odds against him. That's why I have the utmost respect for veterans of war. I can't fathom the amount of courage it had to take to have bullets flying past your head and watch fellow comrades dying to climb those walls and be in a situation where it didn't look like they had a chance in hell. But they fought through it. That's why I love the war stories because in many ways they carry over onto the football field.
RM: Little Big Horn?
JW: I would want to be the Indian general, I think it was Sitting Bull, who made the call to outsmart Custer. I would love to be that guy. He was a pretty sharp guy the way he outsmarted Custer and came up from behind and just smoked him. It was great the way he set it up. If he had the weaponry, it would have been over quicker.
RM: Berlin Olympics?
JW: I would love to be Jesse Owens. That's the man right there. He was unbelievable. To do what he did, in the situation he did it in, in front of a whole country that didn't want him to succeed, in front of a man who definitely didn't want him to succeed, that was amazing. In the face of the utmost adversity, at a time when things weren't great for him at home, to go there and make a statement about African-Americans was pretty cool. Without carrying the torch, he carried the torch.
RM: Oklahoma City bombing?
JW: I would love to have been a firefighter or rescue worker getting kids out of the rubble. I would want to be someone who helps saves lives.
RM: Can you explain why James Bond has so much success with the ladies?
JW: Well, he always dressed sharply. He had all those funky gadgets and always has a nice hotel room. He looks like he's got a lot of money all the time. It gets to the point where he keeps them reeling.
RM: Who was the bigger Mac, Bond or Capt. James T. Kirk?
JW: Capt. Kirk had his share, but they were all aliens. I'm going with Bond. Of course, I met William Shatner once, and I didn't like him. So I'm biased.
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From the wire
From the state sports wire
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