Wimmin, Baseball, & Foot Fungus
This is Susie, my very first girlfriend. Even at the tender age of three, older women were attracted to my boyish good looks and devil-may-care attitude. Susie was a mature woman of four and a sucker for a little kid in a sloppy uniform. Never mind that I couldn’t hit the side of an elephant with a bat—it was the uniform and rakish tilt to my cap that made her swoon.
You know, it’s eerie about the baseball thing. When Susie grew up, she married a real ballplayer. When I grew up, I fell down a whole flight of steps at the ballpark in my frenzied haste to catch up to the beer guy.
And then there was the day Susie and I played a spring training exhibition game behind the outfield bushes in our shared back yard. “I’ll show you mine if you’ll show me yours,” she said, and I was . . . game.
We were innocents, of course, but somehow we knew that one does not push one’s pants down in public to satisfy one’s curiosity. We weren’t too intelligent, though, because it never occurred to either of us to hide from the lady who lived in the house behind the bushes we were hiding behind.
As luck would have it (and of course we had none), the lady who lived in the house behind the bushes we were hiding behind was the neighborhood snoop and town crier. Within minutes, everyone within fourteen blocks knew about the two village idiots. If we’d had a neighborhood newspaper, Susie’s and my mugs would have been on Page 1, above the fold, with this headline in 36-point bold type:
BOY, 3, SHOWS HIS TO GIRL, 4, WHO IN TURN SHOWS HERS TO BOY, 3!
Justice was swift in the world of small people in 1951. Arrest, booking, arraignment, trial (with no defense counsel), automatic verdict of “guilty” (with no chance of appeal), and automatic sentencing to death row (with no chance of appeal) were all carried out by Judge Mom in less than fifteen seconds.
Death was equally swift. My pants weren’t up for more than ten minutes before they were right back down again so Mom could spank my little fanny. The irony of exposing myself because I exposed myself was entirely lost on me, but I remember thinking that, at the rate I was going, the elastic band in my brand-new baseball pants wasn’t going to last even half a season: up, down, up, down . . .
But even though the whole sordid and tawdry affair with Susie was traumatic, I learned two valuable lessons from it:
1. Never play any game more dangerous than solitaire with a woman—and make damn sure it isn’t strip solitaire.
2. Never go behind any bush, shrub, hedge, evergreen or nevergreen, tumbleweed or standingstillweed, potted plant or sober plant with a woman, even if she is your wife and she is screaming at you.
“Hey Charlie, c’mere and look at this! I think I found the source of your disgusting toe fungus! HEEEEY, CHARLIE!”
“I hear you, I hear you, but where the hell are you?”
“Back here, behind the bushes.”
One interesting fact, however, is worth mentioning. You know the bushes Susie and I were hiding behind, the ones where the circus could have been in full swing and we would never have known it? They were the dreaded pukeberry bush, the same ones my wife found in our yard and the reason I’ve had this disgusting toe fungus for nigh on sixty years.