Monday, August 15, 2016

Since you asked:

About a hundred years ago, a popular writing technique was being taught that, while extolling proper reading and word construction learning as a foundation, it felt that spelling should be left up to the creativity of the far superior writer. 

Just like, thanks to the camera, paintings were breaking away from the rigors of realism with expressionism, thanks to the printed word, spelling of words, it was thought, should be left to the crafty writer to create and the intrepid reader to interpret. 

Like biskut for biscuit. Lafter for laughter. Sine for sign.

One hundred years later, the writers who adopted this once-advanced theory of boundless creative expression now look like complete and utter morons. (Or morans)

SMH at the WTF LOL of that. 

Anyone who believes Ryan Lochte’s story about fake policeman in uniforms pulling over their cab at 3:00 am and robbing them of just their cash and credit cards, and Ryan bravely standing up to a gun pointed at his forehead? Well, I have some blue hair dye I want to sell you for $5,000. 

Ryan got rolled by a hooker. 

That is how 99% of the people who lose their cash and credit cards in Rio lose them.  Same thing in Moscow. Same thing in Cuba. Same thing in Bankok.

Ten was a fascinating age

As a boy in the Sixties in the midwest, ten was a crossroads. At age nine you can be a cute little kid playing with toys. And when you cry, people hug and cuddle you. Because you’re still technically cute.

At ten, nobody announces it, but you are not supposed to cry in public anymore. And you can only play with toys in the privacy of your own room. It just happens. At ten, you’re not that cute anymore. Plus I was big for ten. 

Me, at ten? I loved playing pretend and I loved my toys. And I still felt like crying in front of people when I was upset. But now, suddenly, at ten I magically felt ashamed of all of those things. 

(The biggest hurdle prior to this was age 6. It is cute and encouraged to believe in Santa Claus at age 3 to 6. But believe in Santa at age 7, people look at you like you’re slow) 

At age ten, as a boy, you’re supposed to go from playing cowboys and pioneers - my favorite games - to playing baseball. Or playground sports like dodgeball, but not pretend games. Real games. No more cowboys. No more Daniel Boone. 

And baseball is by far the coolest game. At ten you’re too young to play real tackle football or basketball, sports  at which I would eventually be good.  So, suddenly, at age ten, the boys who are the best at baseball are now, without question, the coolest boys. 

But what if you suck at baseball at age ten, like I did? Your social stock plummets.  And I mean leper-level plummets. 

Cute girls who thought you were “kind of cute” now want nothing to do with you. Word of your getting picked last for softball at recess spreads during class like a gasoline fire. Which kind of rhymes with pariah. Which you suddenly are.

And it did not matter that, in fourth grade, I was one of the three biggest kids in school, including the fifth graders . The other two biggest kids, my best friends, Howie and Steve, were awesome at baseball. Even they gave me the cold shoulder when they found out how bad I was at baseball.

Even though I was never a bully, now, all of a sudden, the nasty, little a-hole kids who were bullied because they were small, but were coordinated and good at baseball, were allowed to bully anyone - even, me, the nice big kid -  if they sucked at baseball. And I did. Suck. Bad.

Tiny little mean runts, who I could have seriously hurt if I wanted to, but did not, like Pat Hayes, Jamie Benson and Dave Pickert, who were friendly before - because I was so much bigger and stronger than them - were now teasing and bullying the living hell out of me because . . .  I sucked at baseball. Not teasing in a nice way. Teasing in a mean, hurtful, wanting- to- make- you- cry way. 

One minute at age nine, I was the biggest and one of the coolest kids in school, and ten minutes later, when I turned ten, I was a picked-on and abused victim of mean, midget bullies. 

All because of baseball. 

The bullying- by- shrimpy- baseball- stars was unrelenting. That summer, when I turned ten, I was forced to go to an all-day baseball camp, North Shore Baseball School. Or NSBS for short. It was a living nightmare. 

I was picked last every single day. 

One day I wasn’t even picked. They just forgot me. I sat on the bleachers and did the only two things a boy can do at age ten to insure social suicide: One, I was not picked for baseball, and, two, I was crying. 

Being picked last was not bad enough. I had to invent being so bad I wasn't even picked last. I was forgotten. 

Not sure why I was so bad at baseball at ten, but I really was. Charlie Brown bad. Struck out every time up. Could not catch a ball with any reliability. I could throw fine, but that doesn’t matter much if you can’t catch. (My brother, John, I can honestly say never caught one single ball his entire life)

By age 13, I was good enough to make the seventh grade All Star team as the backup first baseman. Only because I had the guts to stick my face in front of balls that were one-bounced in the dirt. And, by then, I harnessed my strength and could hit with power. 

But at nine- turning- ten, I sucked. Kids-with-thick-glasses sucked.  And the good kids were cruel to us bad kids. 

Especially one tiny, but older 12-year-old kid, named Tony Pinella.  The camp was only supposed to be fourth and fifth graders. (Tony was an old fifth grader who had been held back one year) 

Tony's family owned and ran the only Italian restaurant in town. It always shocked me how nice Tony's mother, the hostess, was considering how mean Tony was. Tony was the worst. He was tiny and had a chip on his shoulder and he was great at baseball. Shortstop. Pitcher. Got a double every swing of the bat. Jet black hair. Handsome guy. Muscular. Tiny a-hole.

Tony teased and abused the hell out of me just out of pure angry meanness. Tony had two way older brothers who defended him no matter how obnoxious he was, so he became intolerably belligerent bully.  And Tony loved to pick on me because, A, I was big and, B, I took it. (Truth is I was too chicken to fight back)  And C, I sucked at baseball. 

One day NSBS was on a field trip to a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field. This should have been fun for me because I did not have to play baseball and thus was not picked last. But it wasn’t fun because Tony Pinella was bored at the game and decided to ramp up his bullying of me. 

Finally fed up with the verbal abuse, I left to go get a 7-Up. Tony followed me with his three or four henchmen in tow.  Ragging me - as they call verbal abuse in baseball - mercilessly. 

(Why, you ask, is a just-turned-ten-year-old going to a concession stand at Wrigley Field by himself? Because the counselors of NSBS were high school kids and not very bright high school kids if memory serves) 

As soon as I bought and held the giant 7-Up cup, Tony knocked it out of my hands on to my white Converse Jack Purcell tennis shoes, soaking them to my socks. And my blue jeans. 

Tony and his thugs laughed with sheer delight. So, of course I started crying.  Tony and his gang laughed harder. Adults in line were consoling me and wiping my shoes and pants with paper napkins. 

Then I snapped.

In a pro wrestling move I had seen on TV by Dick the Bruiser, I picked up Tony in a bear hug, lifted him up in the air arching my back, when he was parallel to the ground, I turned and body -slammed him full force on to the cement with me on top. Body -slammed on the cigarette, cigar and mustard covered grey painted cement floor in the bowels of Wrigley Field. 

Tony was genuinely hurt, his head bounced. But his high-pitched crying for the rest of the day destroyed his street cred for the rest of his life.  (Soon after, the family restaurant failed, his parents got divorced and they moved out of town. No connection to the body slam, I do not believe) 

Yes, I got in serious trouble with the staff at NSBS and was not allowed to go to the next Cubs game. Yes, Tony’s brothers threatened to beat me up, but after hearing what I did to Tony, even they stayed away from me.

All the trouble I got in was worth it. And the trouble was not all that bad because, while he was a great ball player, everybody generally agreed Tony was a dick.  

The bullying from being crappy at baseball by Tony and everyone else? It stopped the instant I body-slammed him. And, oddly enough, when the bullying stopped, I started getting better at baseball. 

On the last day of camp, I got an award. Most Improved. That is the crappiest award in sports. It basically is the "You Don't Suck As Much As You Used To" award. 

Bullies, like Donald Trump and Tony Pinella, never stop being bullies. They enjoy being mean. And they only respond to force. Once bullies are subjected to force, bullies turn back into what they really are: frightened cowards.

Donald Trump was a crying bed-wetter at his military school. Donald Trump is a sniveling frightened coward, and the sooner he is proven to be a coward to the world, the better off this country will be.