by Clarence Brown
American Reporter Correspondent
October 23, 2002
PINIELLA AND ARMPITS
SEATTLE, Wash. -- When the Mariners faded this year, I thought, well, I can go back to rooting for the Yankees.
Then the Yankees evaporated.
Provisionally, I've been trying to cheer on the Anaheim Angels, with splendid results so far, but frankly my heart is not in it. There is always next year, I suppose, presuming that every able-bodied American is not trying to capture another city block in Baghdad.
In the meanwhile Lou Piniella, the Mariners manager, has asked the owners to let him out of the last year of his contract so that he can go back home to Tampa, a place for which, as the Mariners sank lower and lower in the standings, Lou developed an intense nostalgia. You'd think that anyone as resourceful and generally bright as Piniella could come up with a better motive than wanting to "spend more time with the family." Some fans are already proposing try-outs for Lou's replacement. The exam would have these increasingly challenging steps:
1) Blowing a pink gum bubble at least the size of his own face. (To require the candidate to blow one the size of Piniella's face was rejected as unfair.)
2) Throwing cap onto the earth hard enough to bounce it. (The cap, not the earth.)
3) Kicking dirt not just at but into the face of an umpire.
4)Picking up and hurling first base at least half way (45 ft.) towards second.
5)Learning to say in Japanese at least: a)Well done! b)Never do that again!, and c) You eat that ... r a w?
Be all this as it may, however, I have, you will no doubt be glad to learn, other things to think about.
News has just arrived from Easley, S.C., that my nephew - whose name I will not mention, but you know who you are, Matthew - has taken another step in his spiritual journey.
His first came shortly after high school, from which he did not so much graduate as leave through a negotiated settlement. He became a bouncer in a roadhouse called Ribs 'N Grits. From that he advanced to pizza delivery.
He has now joined a church that makes the Revs. Falwell and Robertson look like raging village atheists.
This organization - known as MAD (Mission to the Almost Damned) - is headed by a minister who is a doctor, not of divinity, but of veterinary medicine. His degree is from some elite institution in the Falkland Islands staffed exclusively by registered pharmacists and by paramedics wanted in other parts of the world on narcotics charges.
Here is a sample of their doctrine. They oppose not only dancing on Sunday, swearing, alcohol, premarital sex, spitting on the pavement, Viagra, and birth control, but also deodorants!
"God gave us armpits," says the Rev. X., "and the mephitic secretions of the glands therein for a purpose! That we keep a chaste distance one from another and avoid the dreadful consequences of propinquity!" (He underwent vocabulary enlargement while in the Falklands.) Aromatherapy is still being debated by the church fathers.
Clarence Brown is a cartoonist, writer, and Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at Princeton University.