Monday, June 05, 2006
Thus far, this is the softball season of my discontent.
First and foremost, the teams I play for are a combined 2 and 6. The won-loss record is disturbing, but the small number of games played is troubling in and of itself. In a normal season, I would have played in at least twice as many games already. This year, it's been play a game, get two games rained out, play a game, rain, rain, rain, a couple more games, rain again.
I really needed to play this weekend, but we were once again rained out. The reason I really needed to play was because I had the worst game of my career this past Thursday. I went 0-for at the plate, including a weak strikeout, and I made two hideous errors playing first base. A cardboard cutout of myself would have been at least as useful; perhaps more so, since a cardboard cutout might have stopped one of the balls I let through. The team lost by slaughter rule in five innings. I estimate that the two errors cost us six or seven runs and my failure to reach base cost us another two or three. So, I really needed to get back in the saddle again and get the bad taste out of my mouth.
(Good mixed metaphor, that.)
I also count on softball to keep me in some sort of decent physical condition. It's about the only exercise I enjoy, so it’s about the only exercise I do. Every time I've started to feel as though I'm getting into some semblance of shape this year, it rains. I then have four or five days in a row to do strenuous exercise such as bring chocolate chip cookies up to my mouth. No softball and I am quickly in danger of becoming a big tub of goo.
Speaking of big tubs of goo, on Sunday night The Learning Channel had a marathon of shows about grossly obese people - Welcome To Fatland, The 627 Lb. Woman, and The Half-Ton Man. MY WIFE and I figured it was about the best entertainment option for the evening, which says something about the state of Sunday night TV - as well as something about us, I suppose. In any case, I had some coupons for good deals from KFC, so we decided we'd get a big bucket of fried chicken to eat while watching the shows. It seemed like a good fit.
I drove over to the KFC in Waltham. When I arrived, there was a long line of people waiting to order their food. Now, I'm not horribly out of shape. I'm probably about 10 pounds heavier than I'd like to be at this point. However, I don't currently consider myself to be the best looking guy in the world. I have a small roll around my middle, since I'’ve missed 8 or 10 opportunities to sweat it off playing ball. Standing in that line, though, I was by far the most physically fit specimen there. I felt like if I stripped down to my boxers and started flexing, I could have taken home any woman in the place. Not that I wanted to; I'm just saying.
I ordered an 8-piece bucket, with mashed potatoes, gravy, cole slaw, biscuits and some miniature apple pie-like fritters. The order was made up and I carried it out to my car, giving the rather large women one more look at my relatively Adonis-like physique.
I got home just in time for the first show.
The nice thing about watching shows about fat people is that, no matter what sort of shape you're in and what sort of crap you're eating, it's OK. You feel svelte and healthy in comparison. In addition, we could pretend to be doing a good deed. We could pretend to be saving these unfortunate individuals from eight deadly pieces of deep-fried chicken. It seemed the least we could do for the entertainment they were providing us.
We would be flying over Lardass, Kentucky, in our marvelously well-tailored spandex costumes. MY SUPERWIFE, using her wifely supervision, would spot a bucket of deadly chicken about to be unwittingly consumed by the beloved town schoolmarm, Bertha Tubbs, and her husband, Rollie. We would swoop down at super speed, while inspiring John Williams-style theme music played in the background. As we grabbed the bucket from them, with the first pieces only inches from their mouths, we would say...
"Do not worry, fat people! We will eat the chicken!"
And then, after doing so, we would fly off at a significantly lower altitude in our considerably-more-bumpy-looking costumes, burping copiously, while Rollie asked, "Who were those relatively-thin people?" and Bertha replied, "Damned if I know. You gonna eat those fries?"
(It would do a fellow's heart good to perform such a public service. Well, not literally.)
Actually, all kidding aside, I really liked the people featured in these shows. Their stories were interesting and you'd be hard pressed to find something to dislike about them. Especially touching was the 627 lb. woman, whose name is Jackie. She lives in North Carolina, has a kind word for everybody, and if you weren't rooting for her after the first five minutes of the show, then you'd have to be a no-good heartless bastard. By the end of the show, she had had a number of serious operations and had lost over 230 pounds. Good for her.
(If these folks had turned out to be both fat and not nice, this piece would have been entirely different. I would have trotted out every vile fat joke I could have dredged up from my vile memory. You have them to thank for the fact that you didn't have to sit through that.)
That's about all I've got for you today. I'll forewarn those of you who don't give a rat's ass about sports that my next piece will more than likely exclusively concern softball. However, it may be something of a valedictory, filled with memories and semi-funny stories. It mostly depends upon how well I play Tuesday - if I get to play at all on Tuesday. Anyway, it might be worth your while. Or not. We'll see.