That’s a picture of Teddy Roosevelt putting some lead in Bigfoot.
And right now it’s the only thing that helps.
Why my long face? As you have no doubt heard, my team’s ace, the lovely and talented Adam Wainwright, is probably out for the season and facing Tommy John surgery. Needless to say, this likely dry-gulches our chances in the balanced (if unspectacular) NL Central. Given the subsequent pitching shortage and the lateness of this hour, I fully expect that an NRI will soon be extended to Charlie Brown or Scott Stapp or, worse, Jaime Navarro.
And here I am, left with nothing but beery regrets.
But then along comes Jonny Gomes. Gomes, sordid rumor had it, learned of Wainwright’s injury, and broke out into song. His song wasn’t the plaintive, minor-key funeral dirge that so often plays in my mind, which is what you’d expect on such a solemn occasion. Rather, it was a chipper, upbeat sort of thing with surf-guitar accompaniment and beehived, finger-snapping backup singers and confetti and a Sony Walkman with auto-reverse and a player-piano and everything. The lyrics, sordid rumor had it, went something like this:
Wainwright’s gone, Wainwright’s gone, Wainwright’s gone.
Ah, Gomes, you indecent cad! You masher! You clown, bounder and heel! You stinking Philistine! How dare you celebrate an opponent’s malaise in such an ungentlemanly fashion! I shall bellow from the cathedral spires of America and Gaul: You dick!
Pistols (fake ones, please) at dawn (noon-ish, actually), I say! Can you not see that I am in the streets with my fellow travelers and that our fists are in the air, which typically indicates that an afflicted people will no longer abide that which afflicts them? Can you not see this?! … !?
You … cannot see this?
So. Then. Well. Okay, what appears to be the real story has scurried into the light like a cockroach on opposite day … Gomes wasn’t singing, he was merely and innocently asking what had happened (albeit perhaps with a lilt). Gomes, by then in full buzzkill mode, went on to say:
To clear up everything, I came up with Wainwright. I know Wainwright. I think he’s one of the top notch pitchers in the National League and baseball. Outside of different uniforms that we wear and different cities we play in, playing in the Major Leagues, we’re all brothers. There’s a brotherhood there. There’s one thing you would never wish upon any other player and that’s an injury…
Off the field, we’re still human and we have families. There’s one thing you don’t wish upon anyone and that is an injury. Even if they are on the other team, you wish them the best of health. If Wainwright is gone, it doesn’t mean anything to us. It maybe gives them the opportunity to make a trade for another big ace.
Oooh, how mature of you! Oooh, you and your measured statecraft! I bet you win at board games!
Look, Gomes, this is an Internet Computer, and on an Internet Computer nothing disappoints quite like when a moment of imagined villainy turns out to be nothing more than something pitch-perfect, well timed and dignified, and delivered forthrightly and from a sensible remove. So, really, thanks for that. It’s a fine time for Anarcho-Hulk to bust out the Zen and ruin what was a perfectly good untrue narrative.
So … So I am left without an antagonist. I am left without someone at whom I can level my steely huntsman’s gaze and — in tones at once dulcet and so gravelly, so low, sooooo throaty — say, “Take your hands off the lady.” Or, alternatively, “Stop making fun of my favorite team’s injured pitcher.”
At this point, the distinguished reader might be thinking something like, “These things happen. No one is to blame. Whisper some prayers to St. Williamson the Great and Also Frail, patron advocate of bum elbows, and get on with your life.”
This is an eminently sensible and very adult thing to say. It sounds like something a level-headed diplomat like Jonny Gomes would say.
My rejoinder, courtesy of Groucho Marx: “A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.”
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