Brave Lad

Memory #9: Another recollection from our visit to an Atlanta Braves and Florida Marlins baseball game at Turner Field.

A dejected Bat Boy was shown the gate when he offered to help Security fight crime.

To make matters worse, outside on Hank Aaron Drive, Bat Boy found the Batmobile's windshield shattered by an out-of-the-park homer.

The remainder of the vehicle, however, had been stolen by several of Atlanta's finest punks.

Alfred was left unharmed up on blocks.

The Batmobile was located abandoned, firmly stuck in a Checkers drive-thru window lane. The perpetrators escaped a city-wide dragnet, police said, although extra Jim Beam BBQ Sauce packets were recovered unscathed, adding flavor to a distasteful caper.

Previous: Part 1: Braving a Braves Game | Part 2: TV or Not TV


TV or Not TV

Memory #8: I wouldn't have known the final score of the Atlanta Braves and Florida Marlins game if they hadn't shown the results on the jumbo television screen above the outfield fence. The Braves won 5-3.

I don't believe everything I see on TV, but I'm rather confident the televised scoring matched the plays on the baseball field underneath. As I didn't watch the actual game, please don't hold me accountable.

I'd sure like to have one of those big ass screens in my house. I could finally see all of Jennifer Lopez.

"It's not a jumbo. It's a J. Lo!"

While I wasn't captivated by the teams of dusty millionaires flinging balls and flailing the big sticks, I was intrigued to observe how the entire event was packaged and conducted like a TV show for the in-person crowd. There was always something going on across the outfield's gargantuan display, including instant replays, trivia quizzes, advertisements, music videos, or fans caught offguard by roving cameras.

I thought it would be cool to be seen on the mammoth screen, but the only sure way to be featured is to plant a finger up your nostril and do a puppet show for your nasal cavity.

I had nothing prepared, thus I declined to perform. I prefer to break-in those shows out of town

Besides, noses? It's been done.

And I didn't wish to jeopardize my "Vogue" cover.

So, I spent five or six innings in my seat, assuming various dashing poses and grimaces, all in anticipation of the swirling cams to point my way.

"Dear, eat more roughage," said the lady in the seat behind me during an especially good profile affectation.

"Dude, kick the suds, dude," said a dude.

"Dale Earnhardt, we miss ye," said another.

Two hours of forced handsomeness are debilitating, so I told myself to try one final pretension. I'd been saving the mother lode of poses. I induced tears, pushed out the lower lip, and held up a makeshift sign: "FREE KITTENS."

Nothing. I gave up. I wouldn't be on the J. Lo teevee this day.

I turned and eyed Donna. It warmed my heart to see her enjoying the Braves.

Impulsively, and tenderly, I said, "Hey, papoose, give us a little smooch."

Her eyes met mine. In her soft, caring voice, she said, "You've got to be kidding."

Just then, I sensed my appearance on the center field screen....

Next: Part 3: Brave Lad

Previous: Part 1: Braving a Braves Game


Braving a Braves Game

I have no interest in sports. I don't understand humans' deep fascination with them, except among the participating athletes. I'd much rather join Oprah's Book Club, put salve on my creepy toenail, or belly-flop into most anything besides those frittering wastes of time and money.

In nearly 25 years of marriage, I've endured three or four baseball games, all to please others. One occurred Sunday, when my wife and I attended the Braves vs. Marlins game in Atlanta's Turner Field with her mother and brother. I love these people and would follow them anywhere until the divorce is final.

I accepted the invitation because the lure of $200 in free tickets and parking privileges does have its appeal. Throw in the enticing promise of public displays of drunkenness and I'm there.

I must admit I did enjoy a nice afternoon in the breezy stadium. I spent the duration watching the crowd and surroundings, in lieu of the game. I realized long ago, sporting events are akin to a visit to an aquarium or to the zoo, so I treated this excursion as such, eyeballing the 48,000 caged specimens. Being on my best behavior, I did not feed the animals.

Here are my memories of the day.

Memory #1: Although we left our house three hours before the first pitch, a numbing traffic jam caused us to miss the entire first inning of the game. Things were looking up for Mikey!

Memory #2: Tailgate Parties. My understanding had been these get-togethers were conducted before and after sporting contests to elongate the occasions. Nope, there were people who arrived at the parking lots from great distances with no intention of entering the stadium. Groups of folks who had transported lawn furniture, beer coolers, meat lockers, and outdoor grills were congregated among SUVs and disheveled Pontiacs, happily listening via radios to the action out of view across the street.

Frankly, these swingers are among the craziest Earthlings I've ever encountered, even more psychotic than those nerds who live in the "Star Wars" ticket lines for weeks on end, and anyone who likes anchovies or the forthcoming, new Tab.

Psssst ... you can do that at home!

Memory #3: A small serving of peanuts costs six dollars -- and the majority of the content are shells!

Memory #4: A bag of cotton candy containing, perhaps, two handfuls of cleverly disguised air: five dollars!

Memory #5: The foot-long hotdogs may be 12-inches in length, but they were less than plump, narrow in diameter. Dachshund, I suspect.

Memory #6: I noticed hundreds of fans exit the game starting at the top of the eighth inning, many having paid upwards of $50 per seat. I don't understand people who go to an event and then don't see it. Maybe they had a glamorous tailgate party to attend.

Memory #7: The men's room was nicely furnished with urinals. What the--?

I felt nostalgic for the old days at the ballpark, when guys would line up shoulder to shoulder, eyes forward, and enjoy a communal pee on the wall, streams of steamy urine drizzling down cinderblocks into the floor trough below. THAT was being a man!

Psssst ... you can do that at home.

Next: Part 2: TV or Not TV


You Didn't Have Me at "Hello"

My wife attended one of those outdoor arts and crafts festivals. Afterwards, she telephoned home. Actual conversation:
Mike: Hello.
Donna: [Unintelligible]
Mike: Hello.
[More static intermingled with static]
Donna: Hello? Hello?
Mike: Hello.
Donna: Can you hear me?
Mike: Can your hear me?
Donna: Hello? Are you there?
Mike: I'm here! Can you hear me?
Donna: Hello? Hello?
Mike: Hang up. I'll call you back.
Click. Dial. Ring.
Donna: Hello.
Mike: What did you do, buy a cellphone carved out of a gourd?


Pump and Circumstance

SURVEILLANCE CAM -- A phony Clydesdale was plopped inexplicably on this gas station's front lawn. In the days and, perhaps, weeks that followed, I never saw anyone show any interest whatsoever, which just goes to prove if you want a plastic horse to stick out there, get a Penthouse Pet.


Things To Do Today

Photo, content copyright 2005 Mike Durrett. All rights reserved.


100 Things About Me

  #34: It's for Me!  

Sometimes, when I'm lonely, I set my cellphone to "Vibrate," put it into my pocket, and then call myself.

#1 | Previous | Next


Things to Do Today

Mike Durrett's Things to Do Today list. Busy man.

Photo, content copyright 2005 Mike Durrett. All rights reserved.


Exciting Office Picnic Action

As I do each summer, like a good husband should cower, I attended my wife's firm party at the lake.

There was swimming, hiking, and sparkling conversation. The frolics never ceased.

I did have a fine lunch, as seen in this photograph. I'm holding onto the meal for it's protection.

The fear was my stomach would fall off the swing to the ground, followed by my body rolling over my gut. My flab would then be yanked across me to the other side, followed in kind by my body again, starting the rhythmic downhill pattern of me tumbling into the water like a Slinkyfied manatee.

That dread, however, was unfounded and I have since shed two pounds.

I passed the volleyball.

I should never nap with my mouth open so close to the net.

Photo copyright 2005 Donna Durrett. All rights reserved.


My Night With Elvis Redux

It's been slightly more than a year since "My Night With Elvis," an evening of Elvis Presley movies and music, yet I remember only one thing.

Related: Mike's Trendy Tailbone Tattoo


The Adventures of Jerry Lewis and Maynard G. Krebs

With Bob Denver deceased, I've been reminded of the torment plaguing me for more than 40 years. Please forgive the public opening of an old wound and stand back, I'm a bleeder.

As a child, I was an avid consumer of comic books. My favorite series was "The Adventures of Jerry Lewis," which ran for nearly two decades, beginning in 1952 as "The Adventures of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis." Jerry was so cool.

These magazines were produced and published by DC Comics and contained the same high quality one would expect from the keepers of "Superman," "Batman," and other prominent heroes.

One day, visiting a revolving rack of comic books at a drugstore, I picked up my first issue of "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis," based on the TV sitcom, which featured Bob Denver as beatnik Maynard G. Krebs. I loved the show, so I knew I'd love the print version, too. I thumbed quickly through the pages, looking for Maynard. He was so cool.

Then, I saw him. Maynard G. Krebs is Jerry Lewis with a goatee. It's the same guy!

I was crushed. That was a day I realized the adult world is a hard one in which to live. Grown-ups have secrets and they shield the young. It might also have something to do with our baby soft skin, which continues fabulously into my middle age. I couldn't say for the others.

Soon, I also learned the truth about the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and the second Darrin.

Recently, I've been told exactly why I must leave the toilet seat down, and, beyond those tears, I'm scheduled to be briefed on Dame Edna next week.

There are no shortages of mysteries and deceptions for us mature minds to be dealt.

And, hey, while I'm feeling exorcised, that Olsen girl is twins!

What I can't figure out is if Bob Denver died last Friday at 70, how did Jerry Lewis do his live telethon later the same weekend, claiming to be almost 80?

Perhaps Jerry is just doing the one role now. No more Bob Denver characters. He's retiring a bit. Yeah, that makes sense. He's so cool.

But where is the goatee?

I need more memos. I'm not getting my memos.

More: Remembering Bob Denver, 1935-2005


Wisdom by the Slice

Our local pizzeria features a buffet. Actual conversation:
Mike: (Examining the meaty pizzas on the serving bar.) Excuse me, sir, are there any veggie items here? I'm a vegetarian.
Manager: (Strolls over.) You're a vegetarian.
Mike: Yes.
Manager: (Glimpses and touches several pizzas.) So, what do you eat?
Mike: I eat nothing with meat.

Long pause as the manager contemplates his various pizzas on display.

Manager: (Eyes light up.) Do you eat bacon?
Mike: Um, bacon ... is ... a ... pig.
Manager: Bacon. You don't eat pigs....


Waves Goodbye

ISLE OF PALMS, South Carolina -- The ocean beckoned. I turned for one last look at the water. Swimming directly at me, a dolphin with a seagull on its back. I'd never been Flippered a bird before.


Sibling Revelry

ISLE OF PALMS, South Carolina -- One week with family, sharing close quarters, concluded. Actual conversation:
Deborah: Glad you came. We had fun.

Donna: Can you believe it? A whole week! ... There were no arguments! ... We all got along! ... There were no fights! ... No one got their feelings hurt! ... No blood was shed...

Mike: (Shakes head, bewildered.) I don't know what happened.


White Wading

ISLE OF PALMS, South Carolina -- On the final morning of our vacation, Donna and I posed for our class picture.

Photos copyright ©2005 Donna Durrett. All rights reserved.
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