Hiatus Interruptus: “Go Back Where You Came From!”

Source: Becomenomad.com

We are not the least bit amused.

Even with having to sleep with one eye open on my hammock (those pesky alligators, you know), it’s impossible to tune out all of the commotion during this fine, albeit sweltering July. The awful headlines easily found a way to invade my solitude. In my defense, I did make sure and steer clear of the news sources to which I’m usually addicted; I even managed to finish a few books since we last met up here. [1] My fidelity to a feed-free summer of beach visits and literary enjoyment had been in full bloom. Unfortunately the solitude I created was interrupted, and my glass of lemonade is now sour.

Very sour.

I long ago created a false facade designed to hoodwink my lovely wife into believing that I am strong enough to withstand any and all adversity. But I’ll admit to you, dear reader, that I sadly ain’t no Superman. Hatred and bigotry always hits me like a sucker punch to the kidneys.

So without further ado I’ll get right to the point here: in spite of his protestations to the contrary, the President’s racist tweet and subsequent comments about it appeal to the absolute worst traits in those who are amongst us. Forgive me, but I find this type of behavior to be, well, deplorable.

Although it is slightly amusing to see his apologists contort to rhetorical positions that I’m pretty sure are only (metaphorically) possible in the privacy of one’s own bedroom, it wasn’t so amusing to hear that crowd at the North Carolina rally last week ominously chant, “Send her back!” At least the dog-whistlers that we’ve all come to know over the last two years were decent enough to offer a thin veil of opaque when masking their venomous messages. How “kind” of them in hindsight.

So on that not-so hopeful note, my summer hiatus is now history. I return to the blogosphere with nary a sunburn nor a mosquito bite, yet also undeterred in my quest to offer an occasional changing of the narrative; any narrative. Hop aboard.

Summer Doings

And so how’s your summer going? Are you fulfilling all those hopes and wishes born during last January and February’s freeze? Is the garden flourishing? Have you taken some trips? Did you finally wash the car?

Other than trying to avoid those tweets, we do take note of two recent passings which deserve some mention:

Jim Bouton
Source: Ourgame.MLBlogs.com

Baseball pitcher Jim Bouton passed away on July 10th at 80 years of age. I read “Ball Four” the same year it was published in 1970, marking for me the first time I had ever read a best seller while it was actually on the best seller lists. I was all of 11 years old, and I suppose it was only because my over-worked and distracted parents hadn’t bothered to pick it up and look it over that I somehow got away with bringing it into our home. Its full title, “Ball Four: My Life and Hard Times Throwing the Knuckleball in the Big Leagues,” no doubt flew under the radar of whatever test they assigned to one another in scrutinizing my reading material. I was powering through lots of sports biographies at that time, but there hadn’t yet been anything quite like Ball Four for the impressionable me to absorb.

Bouton lifted the veil of what really went on off the field, and in locker rooms, bullpens, and dugouts. He not only broke the then-sacred clubhouse rule of “what goes on here, let it stay here,” but he revealed tales of pill-popping, sexual escapades, and players who ran onto the field nursing hangovers from a previous night’s debauchery. Everyone from jealous sportswriters to team management hated him at the time for lifting that curtain. Yet, he did it with humor, honesty, and a healthy dose of self-deprecation. I’ve read countless sports books since then, but Ball Four remains my favorite. Rest in peace, Jim.

Source: WUNC.org

Another notable passing from many of our childhoods was the news earlier this month that Mad Magazine will no longer publish a monthly magazine of new material. Like so many from my generation, Mad was the ultimate send-up of authority, be it parental, teacher, clergy, or elected official. Before we had Monty Python, before there was a Saturday Night Live, and way before there was David Letterman, Mad was there for adolescents of all ages to lampoon or otherwise mock conventions of the time period.

One could argue the merits of Archie and Jughead vs. Batman or Spiderman comics (and we did, ferociously), but everyone agreed on Mad. You never tossed an issue of Mad when you were finished; it either got put in a pile in the corner of your bedroom, or it was passed around from friend-to-friend until it literally was ripped to shreds (and even then you still kept it). Mad will still publish special issues (such as this one), so I’m glad it’s not permanently leaving.

And of my own doings since we last parted? Lots to relay in upcoming posts. Ain’t YOU lucky! Gorgeous recently got new hearing aids; I learned about my core; and we’ve had several meetings with a financial consultant. Oh, and guess where I picked up some new summer duds, not just once but on three visits? Sears! Yes, Sears, the same place I surmised two years ago that it was nearly ready for the history books. Life is always evolving here at Snakes in the Grass.

So consider us back open for business. I’ll need to catch up on the doings of fellow bloggers this week. For instance, I’ve no doubt missed several good reviews by Bruce over at Vinyl Connection, Judy’s garden is probably blooming beautifully at New England Garden and Thread, I’m sure Kate continues to shame all other bloggers by her regular output at the Coffee Kat, and G-d knows what kind of trouble AGMA is up to. If one looks, there are healthy alternatives to the otherwise ugly.

Until next time…

 [1]John Banville, The Untouchable (1997 Alfred Knopf); David Browne, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young: The Wild, Definitive Saga of Rock’s Greatest Supergroup (2019 Da Capo Press); Dominick Dunne, People Like Us (2009, Ballantine Books)

32 thoughts on “Hiatus Interruptus: “Go Back Where You Came From!”

    1. Thanks! Oh, man, so much to catch up on. Yeah, they do apparently take some getting used to. Gorgeous’ new ones have a zillion options, but fortunately the audiologist pre-programmed a few such as “restaurant,” “TV,” etc. I hope you get used to yours.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I have in my life…seen but never read Mad Magazine. I have heard of…but never watched Monty Python…and I, to this day…have never seen one episode of Saturday Night Live.
    I did watch a few of the original Superman, but thought, “has anyone else noticed that he crosses his arms and smiles while the bad guys are shootin’ at him…but he moves out of the way when they throw a gun at him?” LOL
    Glad your back…with nary a scratch. 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I was very careful to not place any emphasis on gender here because my sisters all loved Mad, but in truth they were the only girls I know who did. Still, I knew there had to be others. I’m not sure how Mad got by the parental censors in my home. I guess my dad simply thought it was funny and that was that.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My parents were pretty lenient when it came to reading material, but most Baptist parents had very strict reading guidelines. I was the supplier of many a frowned upon book.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah… the dangers of naming anyone; if you mention one better, mention all! 😀 Love you both, Donna and Janis! How cool you guys got together again. I’ve got some catching up to do this week of my favorite bloggers. Must see what’s up in your worlds, indeed!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad you have resurrected yourself Marty!

    One recommendation for your reading list which even *I* wouldn’t expect me to be making: a golf book. It is written by a Sports Illustrated writer and the dedication page reads: “This book is dedicated to the truth. It’s still a thing.”

    Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump / Rick Reilly. I thoroughly loved how he documents all of the lies and boorish actions and just plain mean things that 45 does.

    One of the (future) judges on our court is featured on a few pages. Now you can understand how I came to read it.

    Like

    1. I remember hearing of him doing that at the time, but of course in those days there was no way to have been able to see it without traveling there. He also was the co-developer of the successful candy, “Big League Chew,” though I never tried it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Me too! Me too! I was very careful with how I spent my allowance…but every once and awhile good ole Alfred (or is it Alferd?!) would lure me to plunk down some cash for a ‘special’.
    When done reading it, and after having a giggle fest with my bestest friend in Jr High, I’d pass them onto my baby bro.
    Really.

    Welcome back!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A unique ‘Me Too’ reference, I must say. 😊 But don’t forget what you plunked was also Cheap! I do recall thinking by the time I go to high school that I was probably still missing something because I had mostly stopped reading it by then. I’d see it in a store and feel wistful; I guess I still do.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I saw Mad Magazine making the rounds when I was a kid, and tried to read it, but it held no appeal. I didn’t like the feeling of rage that shrieked from the pages. Also, I think I had an underdeveloped appreciation for irony and/or sarcastic commentary. That, and barely concealed scorn and contempt.

    The latter, of course, is far more readily accessible these days for you know who.

    Welcome back!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Maggie! I had three older sisters, and the oldest two felt as you did. They had a healthier sense of which activities would offer them comfort and enrichment. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t think Mad held to any innate gender biases; but I do think as a general rule girls were smarter about their interests, and boys tended to go for the inane. 😉

      Like

  5. I’ve been wondering about you and what you’ve been up to. I left blog world for a few weeks and came back to find out you’d left blog world for a break. Ships [blogs?] that pass in the night [day?]. Anyhoo, nice to see you in my feed again.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ohhhhh….now I get why you’re back! And hey there Marty – thanks for the shout out!

    At this point, I think deplorable is not nearly a strong enough word for the evil that sits at the head of our government. And for the minions who idolize him. I’m sorry that your feed free summer is ruined but welcome back to the RESISTANCE!!

    I too am sad about MAD. I know that it wouldn’t surprise you to know that I LOVED Mad as a child. I think, in some cardboard box up on our 4th floor, I have a couple of vintage Mads from the 60’s that I saved…

    I’m curious about your reaction, as an 11 year old, to the Jim Bouton’s tell all book about baseball… Were you shocked?

    Finally, what, exactly did you learn about your core?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, yes. Grateful to be back within the friendly arms of the Resistance, AGMA. Present company included!

      Sadly, the only Mad Magazines I have are two book reproductions that they published which in fact are several “specials” bound into one retrospective. Better than nothing, I suppose. I wish I had my original monthly issues from back in the day. I would love to blame Mom on tossing them. But to mangle Cassius, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in mom, but in myself.” I no doubt tossed them in a cleaning fit.

      Re: Jim Bouton and Ball Four. I wasn’t shocked, I was in seventh heaven! Here were ball players who said the “F” word, who openly admitted to having sex, and who taught me about something called “beaver shooting” (hey, this was the 1970’s and I was too young for “Me Too”). I thought I had died and been sent to a grown up candy store! I read that book countless times before I turned 13. Then, by religious proclamation, I became a man and read it six more times. It’s only due to the miracle of good professors, great health insurance, and women smarter than me that I turned out okay. Roy Moore should have had such tutelage! But I digress (sorry). I loved that book

      Re: my core. Shame on you, AGMA. You ought to know that a blogger never reveals future posts. You’ll just have to remain in suspense. 🙂

      Like

  7. I wondered what caused the return as I knew you were planning to take a summer hiatus. It’s good to hear your voice even if I cannot relate…I’ve never read Mad Magazine nor am I a biography reader (nor a baseball fan). So many things seem to be passing away …. it’s hard to not feel sadness about them even if I never knew them. But it is good to hear your voice again… and to hear catchup’s on other stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Pat. I think not relating to others’ interests (or views), perhaps especially in these divisive times, is a good thing. So on that score, many thanks for reading and for your always thoughtful comments.

      I was “roused,” as it were, from my sleeping summer stupor. Perhaps that’s the nice thing about retirement: we don’t have to be so consistent as in the working years. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Marty, It is difficult to avoid the headlines, even when I think I am unplugged.

    Jim Bouton sounds like he was an amazing man with integrity and balls (I mean that in an appropriate, admirable way). Even at the young age of 11, he was a role model for you “humour, honesty, and a healthy dose of self-deprecation.”

    MAD was definitely a big part of my growing up years, too.

    I love your narratives, Marty. I am informed, entertained and I always leave with a smile on my face. Thank you and welcome back!

    Like

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