Wednesday, June 23, 2004

And on the Seventh Day God Created ESPN, Opened a Beer, Turned on the Tube and Rested

I don’t suppose it’s possible to read me for more than a New York nanosecond without leaping to the conclusion that I am an intellectual of considerable gelidity, a frosty pinch-faced digital Nabokov whose vocabulary is polysyllabic and whose dreams are polychromatic and not infrequently iambic if I’m dreaming about trains going into tunnels.

Well, yes and no. Though Brain Fever is my middle name (sometimes hyphenated, sometimes not), as a deep thinker I am a James Joyce kind of guy, who thinks when they started putting days of the week on women’s underwear leaving Bloomsday out of the rotation was a big mistake. (Fact is my wife is so accustomed to doing Molly Bloom’s monologue that she says she could do it in her sleep – sub-fact is she says that’s when she prefers to do if you know what I mean, and I think that you do.)

So peel that manifestation of incredulity off your physiognomy when I tell you that I am something of a sports fan and have some thoughts – incisive, barbed, oaky with hints of caramel – on what the Golden State Warriors should do in the NBA draft when it takes place tomorrow. Those who know nothing else know that the league is going young, with kids just out of high school not uncommon (he said with knowing understatement in the manner of Beowulf and other Old English classics) at the top of the draft in recent years.

And I foresee it going younger! That 14-year-old in Compton: Warrior eyes are on you, sir. Those hulking 11-year-old Siamese twins in Stateline Nevada. If certain appellate decisions come down the way I think they will, enabling both of them to play as a single entity, there’s your sixth man out there on the floor rather than repining on the pine!

Look closely, Warriors, at those Satanists about to cut a deal with the Devil in regard to jump-starting the jump-shooting prowess of their six-year-old son. (Ignore those other Satanists with the nine-year-old. Satan is good, but you have to get on the playground early.)

Naturally, Warriors have an eye on the remainder shelf at some of the top in vitro clinics. And if you are really interested in drafting for potential, Warriors might consider trading for the last two picks in the second round so they can get rights to Mia Hamm’s ovaries and Nomar Garciaparra’s gonads for the next year. (They lawyered this one. If you lock up just one set of reproductive organs, you end up with rights issues, and the kid ends up playing for the Frankfort School.)

Sometimes, it’s not just thinking outside the box, it’s thinking outside the dimension. The Warriors are considering drafting Lech Popesbaby, since (and I’m quoting now from the press release), “Out there in some parallel dimension the Pope forsook the church, stayed in Poland, got married, sired a six-nine power forward who, unlike the typical European, likes to go inside, mix it up and impose more pain than the Via Dolorosa. And if you recall that TV series “Sliders” about the people who kept moving from universe to universe, well, next time the Warriors start to slide in the standings, who’s to say where we will stop?”

Thus, we come to 535 words, illustrating how a columnist wakes up with a lame one-note idea in his head and pushes it until it fills his space, though in this case I came up short so I have to pad, and what better padding than the explanation for the act as it happens, like Julia Child saying, “Now we whisk in the egg whites…,” 599, 600.


edith said...

You did it again big guy! Sports, big words and an incredible ability to write, not to mention think. You lack nothing! I enjoyed your playing with your audience. And yes, we can keep up with you, well almost ! Occasionally we double dribble and get called on it.

....J.Michael Robertson said...

And by the way: Bloomsday is once a year -- June 16. But in 1904, the day described in "Ulysses," June 16 fell on Thursday. Thus, if someone of a literary frame of mine decided to market the James Joyce Collection of Timely Underwear, Bloomsday should be substituted for Thursday. So my idea is not so fanciful as it seems. It would be an outstanding product line.

G Pabst said...

Joyce aside (good O/no D - could't track a ball with that crappy vision - but he knew enough to stand behind Hemingway once the brawling began) it occurs to me that, while satire is acceptible, even encouraged in a column, pure fiction is not. Nor is poetry, unless excerpted, and used to argue a point.

Can't think of an example of either. Unless you accept boxed poems in the New Yorker, Atlantic or Harper's as "columns."

I don't.

If you accept comics as a species of column, Mary Worth, Dick Tracy, Gasoline Alley, Spiderman, Apartment 3-G, et al, and - sadly - the excellent story-telling of the recently cancelled Prince Valient (I'll never buy another Sunday Chronicle!) provided a varying quality of serialized fiction while their neighbors slapped stick, quipped cute or, more recently, poked politics.

Art Hoppe told his fables. As did Kin Hubbard. And I'd posit that archy and mehitebel were satiric devices. As were the characters in Tales of the City - though that one came closeer to the F-word.

Why IS this, Master Po?

Or am I overlooking something again?

....J.Michael Robertson said...

Let's see: "Tales of the City" *could* have been called a column -- but it wasn't! It was called what it was, a serial. Implicit in the serial is finishing the story, though you could certainly have a "soap opera" in a newspaper, and they roll on forever. None come to mind, but I've never looked for that kind of thing. Still, no one would call continuing fiction a column because a column is an essay -- and thus expository, no matter how many flights of fabulist satire are undertaken -- AND the essay is lower in status than any kind of fiction. So a newspaper would want the status of the Fiction label. Also, if we get into the idea of the implied author -- the work revealing not the real person but the persona -- the column has one just as the piece of fiction does. The naive reader is far more likely to confuse the persona with the real columnist in the case of the column, I would think, though readers always are having that problem in fiction, no matter how sophisticated we/they think we/they are. Question is do all columnists realize the degree to which they are persona-building? So many questions to ask....