Tuesday, February 27, 2007

This and That, Thanks to NPR

There was a report on NPR this morning about yesterday's auction sale of a Honus Wagner* tobacco card. This is the mother of all baseball trading cards, owing to its rarity. The story goes that Mr. Wagner was a non-smoker and didn't want his image being used to sell cigarettes, lest it set a bad example for children. Even in lousy condition the card can sell for over $100,000. Yesterday's mint condition card, which was once owned by Wayne Gretzky, sold for $2.35 million dollars.

I am not musing on the fact that someone, anyone, can place that sort of value on a bit of ephemera. It falls under the "people are nuts" category, which is really more Charlie's purview. No, I'm just thinking about all the things that one little news story made me think about.

First of all, I thought about baseball and how Opening Day is coming up and how I don't know if I care anymore because the ownership of the Mariners just seem bent of self-destruction. And if they don't manage to keep Ichiro....no...have to stop thinking about that.

I thought about my friend Honus, so nicknamed in college because the other guys thought he resembled Wagner (a bit because of his looks but mostly because, like Wagner, he was big and broad but fast). Honus went on to marry one of my best friends and become the father of my namesake. With the gravity conferred by marriage and parenthood, we all started calling him by his Christian name. But sometimes, maybe every 10th time that I see him, I'll slip and call him "Honus" and he always laughs

My college group was big on nicknames. No one used anyone's actual name. Ever. The core group were Lash, Willy, Eggs, Doc, Rotten (full name, Johnny Rotten), Pistol and Honus. It just occurs, though, that they never gave nicknames to any of the girls, maybe because this was a pretty insular group of guys and girls were mostly on the periphery. I, however, had a nickname -Quiche-owing, presumably, to the fact that I was on the inside, "one of the guys". I was also more or less Doc's girlfriend but my connection to the group predated that arrangement. We were a pretty tight group and for 2 years together we studied, went to concerts, learned about punk and New Wave, followed baseball and watched "Saturday Night Live". I gave the guys advice on the women in their lives. The guys, well, mostly they fidgeted and stared whenever I was having trouble with Doc. Probably because they knew what it took me years to realize, that I was better off without him.

And that got me thinking about the time the Boomtown Rats were coming to town.

We were very excited, me in particular, as I had a bit of a pash on Bob Geldof. We talked about the upcoming show for weeks and I decided to honor the occasion by getting a little more punk. I asked my friend Becky to double pierce my left ear, which she attempted to do using a sterilized needle and an ice cube. Only my ear lobe was rather, shall we say, intractable, and Becky had a date and she was only able to pierce the ear about halfway before she had to leave. So I went home and with probably half an hour to spare before the guys were to come get me I pretty much just jammed an earring through the beginnings of the hole. It hurt. Quite a lot. Which I thought just made the whole thing that much more punk.

But alas, the boys never showed up. That hurt, too. This was back in the olden days, children, before cell phones, so I couldn't call and say, "Hey, where are you?"

The next day we were all hanging out and they were talking about the concert. Actually, raving about it. And Doc turns to me and says, "What did you do last night?" and I said, "Waited for you guys to come get me for the concert" and he said, "Oh. You wanted to go?" The really sad part of this story? I dated that arse for at least another year.

Funny what one little news story can churn up.

"I Don't Like Mondays"

* "Who", you ask, "was Honus Wagner"? Only one of the best "all around" players to ever swing a bat. He played short stop for the Pittsburgh Pirates although it was said that he really could have played any field position well. He had a lifetime batting average of .329 and held a .300 average for 17 consecutive seasons. More importantly, he had a reputation as a likable, stand up guy. He was well-regarded and respected by his peers and fans. So he's always been a model to me of what a professional athlete should be.

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Blogger Citymouse opined...

i want to shoot the whole day down.

February 27, 2007 11:19 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Has the silicon chip inside your head switched to 'overload'? Suckage.

February 27, 2007 11:23 AM  
Blogger greeny opined...

Cool story, Lorraine. Quite enjoyable.
and Geldof? Love him. He looks like a crazy man now but still so alluring in his way. I have "Pink Floyd's The Wall" movie on vhs he starred in as "Pink".
Have a happy day.

February 27, 2007 11:52 AM  
Blogger jp opined...

You should really go delete whatever I wrote when I posted this song and put this story in there instead. Because yours is actually a story that people would enjoy reading.

A less stable person than yourself might not have survived such a tragic event, particularly if it had happened on a Monday.

February 27, 2007 12:23 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Greeny, Yep, that Sir Bob still kinda does it for me.

JP: I just make it a general point to avoid clock towers. That way no one gets hurt.

February 27, 2007 2:02 PM  
Anonymous stacy opined...

LOVE the phrase "sort of a pash..."
whoa! look up "pash" on wikipedia though!

February 27, 2007 6:25 PM  
Blogger Sling opined...

I love it when one thing leads to a thought,which leads to an idea,which leads to a reminisence..I'm pretty sure science has described it as the "Honus Effect"...fun read lorraine!

February 27, 2007 6:52 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Stacy: "Pash"...tongue kiss...well, uh, yeah. Young Geldof+my crush=fantasy kissing. Duh. ('k...just had a great idea for the wedding...the priest should say, "I now pronounce you man and wife...you may pash the bride"...huh? Huh?)

Sling: LOL - the Honus Effect...classic!

February 27, 2007 6:56 PM  

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