So, I’m riding down Park Street in Lewiston when suddenly I behold a one-eyed prostitute riding a unicycle and wearing nothing but earmuffs and a two-piece …
But, who am I kidding? I can’t sit here babbling on about downtown stuff. Not today. Today the Kansas City Royals are playing in the World Series, an event so unlikely, you are more apt to get struck by an asteroid while petting a unicorn after winning the lottery.
The Royals are in the World Series, the result of a near-impossible convergence of circumstances I’ve been dreaming of since I was a 7-year-old boy with a face full of tears and an Amos Otis baseball card clutched in my fist.
Relative to the state of the world, it doesn’t mean much. Baseball is a child’s game played by overpaid prima donnas and like all professional sports, it sucks up far too much of our consciousness that could better be spent on more important things. But damn it, it’s been 29 years and the waiting was hard. I’ve got nearly three decades worth of fading baseball cards, tattered T-shirts and sweat-stained KC ball caps that can now be dragged out of boxes and displayed with a purpose.
And yes, I realize that not everybody here is a baseball fan and that two-thirds of you aren’t aware that there is a professional baseball team in Kansas City. To compensate, I’ve come up with a list of things that might relate what it feels like to have patience and loyalty rewarded after a span of 29 freaking years.
It’s Christmas morning in a lean year and you’re absolutely sure you’re getting nothing but socks and underwear under the tree. That’s exactly what you get: socks and underwear. But 29 years later, you get a bike!
Twenty-nine years after your beloved beagle Daisy suspiciously “ran away” — on the same day you caught your mother bleaching the driveway — your long-lost pet comes bounding up the driveway all flopping ears and dangling tongue. Out of the blue and completely unexpected, your cherished dog is back in your lap, licking your face and nuzzling your neck. You’ll probably have to put him down eventually, this is a 30-year-old dog, after all — but for now, what a moment!
Twenty-nine years ago, that pigtailed girl with the cute little overbite broke your heart in first grade when she laughed out loud at the hand-drawn Valentine you sent her. She laughed! But now, nearly three decades later, there she is sitting at the end of the bar and making eyes at you. Go for it, stud! You’ve earned this! Of course, when she leaves in the morning she’ll take your wallet and car keys, but so what? You had your moment and it was glorious!
The tax man cometh, but not with dire news for once. This time, they’ve come to admit to a mistake made 29 years ago when they collected taxes on your hard-earned paper route money. Compounded daily for 29 years, and with 7 percent guacamole interest paid on the Peter principal, this means a million blessed dollars in your pocket! Celebrate! Go wild! Loan me some money!
You think you might be pregnant. You go to the drugstore and get yourself a kit and then perform the gymnastics necessary to pee on that little stick. Will it turn blue? According to the instructions on the box, you’ll have your answer, but it’ll take 29 years.
You’re broke, borderline homeless. One night, after your fourth meal of ramen of the week, you start fiddling around in a junk drawer and invent a simple device that will alert a person when his zipper is down. Shazam! You pitch your product to the big corporations and they want it! The top bidder offers you half a billion dollars for The Zipper Tipper and you accept the deal. Hands are shaken. Backs are clapped. And it only takes 29 years for that check to hit your mailbox!
You want more than anything for your beloved daughter to be happily married. Finally, after 29 years of losers and bums, she connects with the man of her dreams. He’s fast as hell, can catch anything you throw at him and boy, what a bullpen! Congratulations, Momma. You deserve this.
So, as we can plainly see from the above scenarios, there is no lucid way for me to pass this feeling on to the rest of you. Twenty-nine years ago, I was an 18-year-old gas station attendant with a Chevy Vega and a pregnant girlfriend. Ronald Reagan was president, gas was about a buck a gallon and computers were the stuff of science fiction. The only thing that stayed consistent between then and now (if you say this in a James Earl Jones voice, it sounds awesome) were these perennial dreams of baseball glory.
Worth the wait? You betcha.
Mark LaFlamme is a Sun Journal staff writer. If you say that in a James Earl Jones voice, it sounds royal. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.