My middle school science teacher was a die-hard Giants fan. Our class listened to the ’89 NLCS game 5 clincher against the Cubs and Mark Grace on a portable radio while she scored the game on the chalkboard. (do these specimens of archaic learning still exist? and does anyone actually score a game anymore?) I pretended to read about black holes and sun spots while my eyes glossed over, staring at absolutely nothing with a slack-jawed bovine expression. Someone had drawn a heavy metal logo on page 237. Perhaps they were enjoying my current landscape of foggy faux-meditation when they had a primal urge to draw something, anything.
“Yesterday we explicitly agreed to quietly do our work as long as we could listen to the game.” she said.
We knew that this was a faulty agreement as she was going to listen to the game regardless of whether we agreed to the shoddy terms or not, and besides, some of us weren’t Giants fans. I couldn’t give a toss about the Giants or science at that time as I was more interested in girls and boobs; not necessarily in that order.
We had spoken about Carney Lansford a few days earlier and his time with the Red Sox. Her boyfriend was a “Southie” from Boston; a second generation working-class, red-haired Irish Mick from a long line of drunks, thieves and lowlifes. He had escaped the sludge and went to some long forgotten East Coast university and he and his stoner buddies would go to Fenway Park on weekends where they had acquired an affinity for Lansford. Of course, she thought all of this was cute and clever and was terribly pleased by it.
“No offense Mrs. Cleveland, but besides Will Clark your team just isn’t very likable. Rick Rueschel looks like a fat, middle-aged divorced dad and Scott Garrelts looks like a skinny nose-picking dork.”
It was true. Both starting pitchers looked like the antithesis of an athlete but the perfect working-class early 20th century farm boy baseball player. Some fans, probably the nerdy, isolationist type can get behind that “average joe” persona and root for them passionately, but in the era of super athletes like Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders I would always inexplicably choose the latter over the former.
“Let us not forget that your friend Carney Lansford looks like an accountant,” she said as she swallowed what was supposed to look an aspirin to the general viewer. A few classmates had theorized that she popped vicodin on occasion because of her seemingly more “relaxed” state as the day wore on. This wasn’t a great choice as it ultimately led to bouts of throwing up in the garbage can.
After the earth dies, some 5 billion years from now, after it’s burned to a crisp by the sun; there will be worlds, stars, galaxies coming into being, and they will know nothing of a place called “Earth.”
Sometimes when the stresses of life are getting to me I try to remember the above quote and how it applies to the meaningless of everything I do. I admit, sometimes it works, but mostly not.
The economic disarray, joblessness, and overall feelings of hopelessness in this country is akin to Karl Marx slapping me in the face and telling me, “I told you so.” I know that if I don’t kiss up to my boss–leading to an immediate termination–I could end up like one of the homeless folks that I see outside of my second story window. (I have nicknames for two: one is the “predator” because of his ass length dreadlocks and likeness to the alien in the movie of the same name, and the other is “Old Yeller” because he loves to drink beers next to the Starbucks garbage can and, well, scream at the garbage can before he passes out in front of it.) And as I’m daydreaming one day while being inspired by these gentlemen, my mind wandered to a time that had been long erased from my rotted cerebrum–a time when the only thing you had to worry about was school, when you were finally going to get laid and your measly pittance of a weekly allowance.
Carney Lansford was the third-sacker for the A’s during their dominating run in the early 90’s and one of my favorite players. His nerdy glasses and un-ironic mustache (I always thought guys did this because they had thin upper lips) gave him a comforting “cool dad” like quality. After tinkering a bit with batting stances, my 13-year-old self decided that Mr. Lansford’s hand jerky style was the one I’d mimic while rocketing balls off the cyclone fence intertwined with branches and leaves. (my cousin and I thought this made it look more like Wrigley) He was also part of the team that won the ’89 World Series, which was the last time the boys in green even came close to sniffing a title. (’06 ALCS doesn’t count as we were swept by the Tigers and weren’t even supposed to go that far) I sat there, lost in a myriad of unspoken emotions and feelings that had rushed to me in a fruitful and happy wave, and suddenly a burst of terrible 80’s classic rock comes pounding out of my clock/radio. Time to go to work. I must cut this story short, good reader… wage slavery calls.