When you’re used to reading fake news, sometimes you forget what’s real. I discovered The Onion, America’s Finest News Source, awhile back. Because the iPad app looks similar to other news apps, it’s easy to confuse real news with made-up news. The Onion is sort of like “Weekend Update” on SNL, which I haven’t seen in a long time.
Late Monday afternoon, I overheard some kids in the locker room at the YMCA. The conversation went something like this: “They caught a bad guy.” “What bad guy?” “You remember the Twin Towers?” “The what?” … I actually had no idea what they were talking about. I hadn’t read any news or been on Facebook in at least 24 hours. …
Many of you probably know about the latest Facebook viral campaign. Last week Facebook friends the world over were changing their profile pictures to that of cartoons, supposedly whatever their favorite was as a kid. I couldn’t think of a favorite, which is probably why I didn’t do it. Vanity Smurf maybe, because at least the picture would still bear my resemblance—the vanity part, I’m not blue.
So I’d stand at the deep end psyching myself up for what I know would be a frigid shock. The girls would urge me on, saying, “Come on, Daddy! It’s not that cold,” their blue lips betraying them. Like a shuttle launching, they’d count me down from ten and, disappointed, find me after zero still standing there, like someone forgot to light the boosters.
Perfect games are indeed rare, and there have only been 20, sadly not 21. Galarraga, whom I remember seeing as Mud Hen when I charted games at Fifth Third Field, didn’t pitch the 21st perfect game. Simply the 28th one-hitter in Tigers history. His game was nearly perfect, tarnished with two outs in the ninth inning by a blown call by first base umpire Jim Joyce, who was prior heralded as a fantastic umpire. Galarraga received first basemen Miguel Cabrera’s toss then clearly stepped on the bag ahead of the runner. Replays were obvious. The call wasn’t that close. Joyce flat missed it.
A lesser known fact about yours truly: my original surname was Esperanza. My father’s family probably referred to me as Mateo. I wouldn’t know. He left when I was a baby, probably about Micah’s age. How a man could turn his back on his son I’ll never understand. I wish I knew more about my father’s family. I did try to get in touch with him once, after Lindsay was born, but I got as far as his sister, whose name is Hope. Strange: Hope Esperanza. Redundant, actually, for Esperanza means hope in Spanish. I think about my natural father every once in a while. My mother re-married when I was a toddler. So, growing up in a Gringo home, I lost any sense of connection to my Mexican heritage. Of course, I lived in Arizona, so it was all around me. But for a long time I wanted no association with it.
I like to blame all my social dysfunctions on the three years I spent in private school. Fourth to sixth grade wasn’t all that bad, though the transition to junior high from a school of 75 (K-12) was a difficult one. The aspect of private school I most look back on with aversion was that we were all separated.