Tag Archives: Barry Bonds

I Love Tacos, and I Love Burritos

T W T W 11/10/07 to 11/16/07 

                        Taking Saturday off of at work is usually a pretty sweet deal for me, but this time I had to attend the funeral of an Uncle that I really have a lot of love for. Upon arrival after a short ferry ride across The Sound, my mother announced that she was disappointed in me, that she just “wanted more for me”. I reminded her that the feeling was mutual, and that I had not sat around when I was 15 years old dreaming that my life would turn out the way that it has. Uncle Rich surely didn’t expect that the ships he served on with pride as a U.S. Naval officer, would eventually cause his body to contract Mesothelioma, and that his dreamtime would end leaving his wife with only memories, a dog, and a home full of things. What we have is now and with it the opportunity to continue to grow and change and evolve and love. There is no time like the present to put aside our expectations of what could have been. While we can we must, continue to dream of what still might be.

            Work was still pretty busy for so late in the season, and when you work with stone, there is plenty of opportunity to become physically ravaged over time. Of course the payoff is sweet when the lights go down and the clothes fly off, but moving pieces of rock around all day can take a toll and make you sleepy at night. It seemed like every customer this week wanted the piece of stone at the bottom of the pallet, which meant that after removing a literal ton of stone, I had to put it all back later after the person I was helping had left the yard. My coworker James saw a show about the Spartans on the T.V., and found that our job was remarkably similar to the training that they endured. Wheelbarrows take on new significance when they are piled with several hundred pounds of stone and pushed across the yard repeatedly.

            When I heard the Barry Bonds indictment announced on the radio this week I lost my shit, because I have been saying to everyone for the last six months that the Feds were going to come with it. Of course I grew up in the same area that he did and even went to the same high school as him in the years after he had been there. His reputation as being a major dick was well acknowledged. I also read the book Game of Shadows, which details the whole affair that has caused him to, with consuming devotion toward his record of personal achievement, be indicted for lying under an oath that granted him immunity unless he lied. My bias is clear and I am inclined to enjoy watching his martyr like pleas in the press that nothing was amiss with his body chemistry during his golden, glory years, and that he is merely victim of the white man’s media.  All of this insignificant drama is the result of one man’s narcissistic and over inflated ego and the culture that knowingly inflamed it. In America, that is what we are all about, we hold them up high just so that they make a bigger crash when we knock the pilings out from under them. Of course when the icon that we seek to upend is more than willing to contribute to their own undoing, a la Britney or O.J., it becomes an engrossing public spectacle that we can all enjoy together from our vantage point high above.

            Midweek, my Dad told me that he has prostate cancer, and that they are weighing the options to decide how best to go about treating it, of course this means going under the knife or chemo, but they caught it early so that is good. Really I have been thinking about a life without my father since my teens. It was because of a strange turn in my own life that I became familiar with death’s stern and sudden way, at such a tender age.  Since then I have of considered death as an omnipresent force that, ironically, overshadows all of life, and that cancer is its biggest producer. I smoke and have for twenty five years, so I am pretty sure that I cannot be very far down on cancer’s “to kill” list, but really it is a non discriminatory disease that will lead to the death of many people just because. As far as diseases go it is the big, mean, biting dog that freely roams and it will go for your nuts every time you encounter it.

            Finally this week I discovered that a guy I did a couple of plays with back in high school has hit the big time down in Hollywood as an actor. He is cast in a major role in a big hit T.V. show that I never watched before but will check out now that I know he is in it. We touched base through the email and he reminded me of a crazy thing that I used to do back in high school when I would jump, with all four wheel off the ground, the tiny Honda Civic that used to drive, on this hill near the school we attended, to the immense pleasure of my fearless, (maybe some fearful), teenage passengers. Of course I was congratulatory of his success and honestly so, but I also felt really bad about myself, that I had made so many stupid decisions along the way and had squandered so many opportunities that could have enabled my life to have heft and/or relevance. Self reflection is a key for growth and I certainly want to continue doing so, but it sucks to be when the one staring back from the mirror is a warped version of the person you hoped and dreamed that you would be when you were young.           

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Not So Righteous Indignity

“This record is not tainted at all, at all.” – Barry Bonds at the press conference following the game when he broke Hank Aaron’s longstanding homerun record. “I ain’t got nothin’ to hide.”   Barry Bonds to NBC News’ Jim Gray.  

Finally, after a prolonged investigation that took several years, Barry Bonds, the literally and figuratively, big headed baseball player from San Francisco, has been indicted on perjury and obstruction charges by The Feds. Three months ago, Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s longstanding homerun record, to the chagrin and dismay of sports fans everywhere, and then sat in front of the cameras swearing up and down that his achievement was acquired via natural ability and clean living. If he is convicted on all five felony counts, he’s looking at up to thirty years in prison and he can also kiss the record that was oh so precious to him goodbye. Additionally, if he is convicted, Bonds will be able to watch his hopes for a spot in Cooperstown go soaring away, just like one of the pitches that he hit out of the park on his journey from fame to infamy.

            Everyday that he came to the park and everywhere else that he went, Hank Aaron had to endure taunts and scorn because the culture he existed within is, even to this day, inherently racist. When Hank Aaron achieved a record mark, it marked advancement for people who were not equal in their society and his victories, though ultimately personal, were held up by many as a step toward stopping an evil tide. Hank Aaron didn’t play to be considered sublime, his greatness became as a result of his willingness to play despite having the wrath of hateful people directed his way.   

Icons become, they are not conceived. To an old timer like Hank Aaron, who wouldn’t even take vitamins during his playing days because he said they were ruining the game, the idea of using; adrenaline, insulin, testosterone, growth hormones, and modafinil (a narcolepsy drug that is a powerful stimulant)*, to enhance his performance and achieve personal glory, is beyond inconceivable. We’re not talking J.C. level martyrdom here and I don’t even like baseball, but really now, what even happened to dignity.

   

  

* see page 57, Game of Shadows, By Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams. Go Padres, (pages 61-62).