Jewish World Review May 18, 2001 / 25 Iyar, 5761
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- "…and in other news, the major-league baseball strike continues into yet another season!"
“The WHAT?” you ask. “Are those millionaire ballplayers on strike AGAIN?
No, not the players. ME!
Yes, the official Barry Rabin Strike-Against-Major-League-Baseball continues into yet another season. I’m proud to report that I have been on strike continuously – refusing to attend another pro game – since the last players’ walkout, however many years ago that was.
As you picture George Will angrily deleting my name from his holiday card list, let me explain: The last time these spoiled, overpaid millionaires walked out and refused to play, it occurred to me that here we had guys who were getting paid seven figures to play a game that millions of Americans play every summer for free. Gratis.
So I asked myself, Why should a poor working schmuck like me (or you, for that matter) pay inflated ticket prices and exorbitant concession stand fees to watch these guys crank in the bucks? And thus began my baseball boycott.
And what would it take to get me to pull down my picket signs and come back? Simple: I’ll come back when some major-leaguers come pay money to watch ME work for a day.
Their exciting day at my “ballpark” will start around 9:00 a.m., when they and their families begin pulling their expensive sports cars into a parking lot about a mile from my office. Each car will be charged $10.00 to park, which fee entitles them to… well, just to park. They can then begin the long, thrilling walk to my office.
After paying $15.00 each to enter (no discounts for the kids!), they’ll be ushered in and seated on hard plastic-and-metal chairs, which will be dusted off by an elderly usher with a filthy rag. (By day’s end, each of them will be suffering from a terminal case of “Bleacher Butt,” which they are free to ameliorate by standing up and sitting down again).
Then the excitement begins: They all get to sit there and watch me work.
Most of my day will be spent sitting in my chair parked at my computer desk. Yippee!!! This pose should look familiar to our guests, whose own exciting profession consists of each team sitting on a bench for half of the game, while the other team stands around in the field and waits for something to occasionally happen between beer commercials.
Of course, watching “action” like this is enough to make anyone build up a big thirst and a hearty appetite. That’s when the food and beverage service begins.
A hairy guy named Phil will come walking through my office periodically, giving our guests the opportunity to feast on the likes of microscopic hot dogs ($5.00 each, mustard extra), sodas ($3.00 each, and mostly melted ice), and beer (here the Big Choice: Flat, local-brand draft at $5.00 each, or bottled “premium” at $7.00 a pop, with the bottle confiscated for obvious reasons).
Of course, our guests aren’t here just to sit there; they’ve paid for the thrill of watching me “play.” And play I will!
I’ll be busily tapping away at my keyboard, stopping at intervals to think, rewrite, gulp down a beverage, or just take a break.
But it won’t be all work. As a special treat, I’ll also stop at intervals to chew gum, “hock floogies,” scratch myself in my “personal areas,” adjust the crotch of my pants, and spit repeatedly into a bucket. All of this should look familiar to our major-leaguers and their lucky guests.
For some REAL excitement, I might even (only occasionally) grab a bat and tap away at the heels of my shoes, hoping to dislodge a piece of dirt or something.
Of course, there’s no telling how well ANY columnist will “play” on a given day. If they’re lucky, and come on a day when I have good “stuff,” they’ll be treated to line after exciting line of hilarious political satire and clever social commentary.
If they’re not so lucky, they’ll have to watch me grind away for hours at a column that’s mildly amusing at best (they can always leave early; no refunds, of course).
I might even borrow a page from their book, and call in a “relief columnist” from Boise or Topeka to finish up for me. (Get this, guys: Some of us actually have to FINISH our work, even days when we don’t quite “have it”).
So that’s the deal, fellas. YOU pay through the nose to watch ME work, and maybe you’ll see me again at the ballpark soon.