September 21, 2012

Mickey Mantle

Mickey Mantle

I met Mickey in 1956 in—where else?—a nightclub. I was with the sexiest and naughtiest actress ever, Linda Christian, and Mickey had designs on her. Once he sat down, however, we hit it off and he forgot all about Linda, or at least he pretended to so as not to offend me. Mickey was an extremely good-looking, all-American crew cut type. He played hurt throughout his career, never once using an excuse or taking himself out of a game. The Yankees with Mantle won seven World Series championships. He played drunk and sober, with or without sleep, and no one matched him in batting or fielding. Above all he was a gent, a farmer’s boy from Oklahoma with inherent good manners and respect for those less talented than himself. He died of liver cancer in his early sixties.

I was thinking of Mickey as I downed the first vodka and turned on the telly. I got the Yankee channel, leaned back, and had the first of many nervous breakdowns of the evening. The game was broadcast in Spanish. Margarita, my housemaid for the last 35 years, pled innocent when I accused her of being responsible for the mess. Margarita is Colombian and brought up both my children. After 35 years she still cannot speak a word of English except for the word “hello.” She pronounces it “allo.” She’s no good with appliances, but under threats of physical violence she did manage to find the porno channel, also in Spanish. (“Oh mi vida, oh, oh, hijo de puta, coño,” etc.)

Even more frustrating than watching the all-American game while an excitable Hispanic screams hyperbolically is the fact that nowadays multimillionaire players give the impression of dogging it. Lazy Spic buggers jogging to first base are un-American, so I downed vodkas nonstop. Toward the end of the game I found myself screaming in Spanish at the screen and waving my arms in the manner of our excitable southern neighbors. 



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