issue 10  october/november 2001
page 10

Only Seat in the House
by Christopher Dean Heine

When the Ball Quits Bouncing

With the extreme tenets of competition reeling around the globe in high-speed spy chases for the sake of our very own American lives, sports talk reeks of greed. Big bosses are whispering everywhere and Paul Simon’s DiMaggio is little to be found. Springsteen is supposed to seal the deal by telling us we shall overcome, but the commercialism of it all, simply, knocks reality-fearing children upside their temples. Can we listen to Greetings From Asbury Park in the same way? None of us really have much time anymore to care; but, yes, I believe, we can.
      Yet, I think of dead people and what their contribution to the current game might be. What would Babe Ruth, Lucille Ball, Martin Luther King and Jesus Jones have to say about right here, right now? Would their words entertain? (Not Jones.) But you know they would all sell ads, for Christ’s sake. Ask the Red Cross. All culture -- tragedy and sport included -- is entertainment and as green as $100 bills.
      David had his lions.
      Queen Victoria looked into a mirror long enough until no man was big enough.
      Napoleon and Hitler had eyes bigger than their stomachs.
      God knows that it’s not out-of-the-question to guess that the late Wilt Chamberlain done fucked himself into an early death. Twenty thousand women, after all, is an average that exceeds a new one every so hour for some long length of time. His multi-faceted life of happiness, pleasure, desperation and sadness just might be the bile of America. And, what other kind of man would need to score 100 freaking points in one game to … a-hem … measure himself against history.
       Nevertheless, it all sells. You might be right here with me right now because we are bombing the bejeezus out of Afghanistan. As a resident of New York City, I say, good and well. Harbor this, fine gents. I have seen Ground Zero and the Pentagon first hand. You want to dance…someone’s got to pay the fiddler.
       But rage and revenge these days are neither fishes nor vowels. We don’t know what those hijackers got us into, do we? Anybody got one of those eight balls? Shake it and tell me something, please; for the night skies and day clouds are all mud-yellow out my way. Three months after Tragedy Day, my paranoia seems ongoing. Christmas is on the horizon, and so is fear for all who travel or think. Any Judeo-Christians reading out there, right here, right now? Meanwhile, Kennedy’s moon glow, the idea of better highways, the obligation of beating Japan at our own game and cheaper canned food have all been delayed and replaced by the usurping of uncertainty via no-terror with entertainment and blind faith in footballs, baseballs and incoming basketballs. When the business of infrastructure is hushed in this country, it is bad news or 1863. Sport, no doubt, makes us forget about the industries that might or may not help or haunt us.
       Though, the ball does bounce. Every single one does, unless it is dead and out of air. This ball seems to have a little life in it yet. That’s why we still watch CNN when we can, folks.
       With all that said, and American optimism yet at least momentarily ushered to the fringe, please forget the Roman Empire…think about Wilt the Stilt. If he unfortunately happens to be our metaphor, it’s been quite a ride, but the fast pace that built our giganticness would also have an end unthinkably near in sight.
       Hopefully, the old goal speaks and this sudden mean horizon is but a mirage.
       Fuck ‘em, baby. Fuck ‘em until they lay still and done.

next: Brad Sonder