I challenged art students to paint the ceiling of the college’s fieldhouse.
They replicated Michelangelo’s fresco in the Sistine Chapel, but substituted famous basketball players for the Biblical figures.
In the center was The Creation Of Adam, where Charles Barkley reached to touch the finger of Kenny Smith.
“Instead of a brain-like cloud, he’s perched on a giant meatloaf,” said the lead artist.
We laughed. Until a drip came down from the ceiling.
“It’s coming out of Kenny’s eye,” I said. “He’s… crying?”
Some of them called it a miracle.
I called it an expensive leak to repair.
When I was growing up, I remember having one of those creepy crawlers bug-making factories.
You poured a resin called Plastigoop into molds, put it in a hot plate to cook, then let it cool and set.
It was really fun trying to make the creatures look realistic with different colors of the Plastigoop.
They changed the formula around so that instead of heating the resin with the hot plate oven, you’d heat the resin, then pour it into the molds to cool and set.
These days, if I want creepy crawlers, I just leave the dishes out for weeks.
Pro Football player Junior Seau killed himself today. He’d been having awful problems as a result of all the concussions he’d suffered by playing football for so many years.
Last year, Dave Duerson from the Superbowl-winning Chicago Bears put a bullet in his gut.
It’s a problem many players have been experiencing, and they want to raise awareness of the dangers of concussions, but some just can’t take the pain and the suffering, so they kill themselves.
It’s sad, but then when you bash yourself against other huge guys for twenty to thirty years, what the fuck do you expect?
People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
Visitors shouldn’t throw them, either.
In fact, nobody should be throwing stones around glass houses.
Are there glass houses? I’ve seen houses with outer walls of glass, but I’ve never seen a house made entirely of glass.
The furniture and carpeting’s not made of glass, right?
Maybe the clever scientists at Corning are working on that. If they can invent fiber optics, they can invent a glass house.
And it would be shatter-resistant too.
Unlike that window you broke playing baseball in the yard.
That’s coming out of your allowance, Bobby.
What if maple trees used our blood to make a syrup for their pancakes?
That’s absurd. Maple trees don’t eat pancakes.
What if pigs used our skin to make a ball to play games with?
That’s absurd. Pigs don’t play football.
What if elephants used our teeth to make billiard balls.
That’s absurd. Elephants don’t play pool.
Or so I thought.
I watched the elephant chalk his cue and run the table on a young punk.
The kid put down another hundred. And lost it just as quickly.
The elephant pointed his cue at me.
“No thanks, shark,” I said.
I took you out to the ballgame and bought peanuts and Cracker Jack.
“Are you sure about this?” I asked. “You know what peanuts do to you.”
You didn’t even look up from your program. “I left the Epipen at home. I don’t care if I ever get back.”
So, I handed you the peanuts.
The announcer asked everyone to please rise for the national anthem, but I could tell from your blue skin and the foam at the corner of your mouth that the convulsions weren’t far off.
After the third, I felt your wrist. No pulse.
Martin was from one of those frozen European countries.
Fuck if I can remember. I was nine. It was a long time ago.
What I do remember was that the teachers encouraged us to expose him to culture and that kind of crap.
So, we took him bowling.
“Knock down the pins with the ball,” I said to Martin.
He grinned, ran down the lane, and swung the ball like a wrecking ball.
“I go on strike!” he shouted, and went to the next lane… and the next one…
We got thrown out.
Martin kept the shoes.
Growing up, I didn’t have a basketball hoop and backboard over the garage.
It wouldn’t have made sense. The driveway was at a 15 degree angle.
Instead, several of our neighbors had them, including one on a pole in the cul-de-sac our driveway connected to.
It didn’t matter, though. I sucked at basketball.
Even without the dribbling, I lost enough times at Horse to provide mounts for all of Genghis and Kublai Khan’s armies.
So, how did I get that varsity letter in basketball?
It’s for women’s basketball. My high school girlfriend.
She left it to me in her will.
Other kids set up their toy soldiers in battles, arranging men and tanks and plastic barbed wire on their basement floors.
Ralphie’s different. He stages courts-martial, using a television court drama’s action playset to bring the war criminals of his toy chest to justice.
He also turned a hospital set into a VA hospital in which to treat the wounded members of his plastic green army.
Then there’s the brothel…
His sister stomps into the basement, demands her Barbies back, and kicks the courtroom and hospital over before returning to her room.
The door slams.
Ralphie blinks, and shouts: “TORNADO!”
Back in the Seventies and Eighties, the Russians were known to put explosives in toys, scatter them over Afghanistan hotspots, and let kids bring those toys back to their homes where they’d blow up.
Sometimes, their mujahedeen fathers and brothers would be at home, and the explosion would take them out.
Other times, it would just kill the kid out there in the field of rocks.
So when NATO troops thought to dress up as Santa and hand out gifts to the locals, yeah, that explains why they opened fire on them.
Thank goodness the Santa costume belly-padding was Kevlar.