I’m in a small town called Guilford in Northern Connecticut at the moment, and I thought I was appreciating my time here exclusively for reasons not worth mentioning on the blog because they weren’t entertaining enough—the scenery, the slow pace, the people who are so friendly that you suspect that they are trying to get you to let your guard down so they can rob you until you realize that they’re just that friendly. The usual stuff. That is until I realized that the town I’m in has a store called Uncle Guido’s Fireworks. I was driving when I saw the sign, and I obviously knew right away that I had to know more about it. I pulled into the lot only to discover that the store was closed, though the sign indicated that it was open. An accident, you say? Please. Don’t be naive. It’s a fireworks and novelty store. They’re obviously trying to be hilarious. Trying and succeeding. More than the name, the ironic use of the “Open” sign, the fact that it’s a fireworks store, I think the thing I love most about Uncle Guido’s Fireworks is that, in addition to selling fireworks, they sell paintball supplies. Wholesale and retail. Is anyone else pissed that they’ve been buying paintball supplies in bulk at retail prices all this time? Anyway, I did a little bit of research (and by a little bit I mean a quick google search that yielded one article), and my research revealed no information about anyone named Guido affiliated with the store. There is, however, a guy named Dan Spillane, and a firework ban in the state of Connecticut, which raises a lot of questions for me. But fear not. Spillane’s goods may not be legal, but it doesn’t mean they’re not safe and high quality, which we know because he goes to China personally to hand select them. Uh, what? Am I the only one starting to suspect that they’re selling something at Uncle Guido’s that isn’t listed in the catalogue? Well, whatever. I assume that the offer to sell me paintball supplies wholesale still stands whether or not Guido’s on the level, so what do I care? And I still have to commend them for their name, which is the best business name I have encountered to date with the word “uncle” in it. The worst one, for the record, is “Uncle Tom’s Barbecue” in Miami. I wish I was making that up, but I’m not. I am guessing that the goal was to be literary rather than offensive. It’s just a shame the people who named it never bothered to read the book.
Speaking of all that is not literary, I was listening to Mike and the Mad Dog a couple of months back. It was at the time when there was all that controversy over whether or not it was appropriate for Joba to be so expressive on the mound. (It amazes me the way some people out there can hone in on the most seemingly inconsequential aspects of the game and dissect them in a manner suggesting that they have WAY too much time on their hands. That was a joke.) Some guy called onto the show to put in his two cents on the subject. He defended Joba’s right to be who he was saying, “It’s like the famous saying: Manny is Manny. You know? Joba is Joba.” My initial reaction was, of course, to laugh at what appeared on the surface to be the mind numbing stupidity of the caller. One would think that anyone who is familiar enough with Manny’s now infamous speech to be calling Mike and the Mad Dog and quoting it would not have been so out-to-lunch as to have forgotten the real punch line, which is: “Manny BEING Manny.” In considering the unbearable lightness of Manny Being Manny, however, I have come to conclude that our caller, while forgetful, might be more clever than we initially realized.
In delivering his oration, Manny used the present progressive. This implies a state of being—I guess we’ll call it Manny-ness—that isn’t necessarily permanent. He was, in the moment, being Manny. His use of the present progressive suggested the possibility that there was someone else that he might eventually become. Maybe, someday, Manny would stop being Manny and be a player who wasn’t completely self-obsessed and seemed actually grateful rather than put upon to be making millions of dollars a year to play a game that he supposedly loves. In other words, it offered hope. The present simple, on the other hand, is a closed door. If Manny simply IS Manny, then it’s a wrap. What you see is what you get. And, sure, you get a .312 batter in your cleanup spot behind David Ortiz. But you also get someone who fakes knee injuries during critical games against your biggest rival and who clearly is not a team player. And the fact of the matter is that any active player’s batting average is always in the present progressive. Manny IS Manny, and his attitude is not likely to change any time soon, but his batting average probably wont stay .312 forever. Apparently, the front office at the Red Sox is starting to register this.
When I first heard Manny deliver his mind bogglingly idiotic and indecipherable rant, I had a hard time making out what he was saying. He commented, at one point, “This is the place for me. I’m just happy to be here.” I mistook it for, “This is the place to be. I just happen to be here.” Like the guy who called into Mike and the Mad Dog, I think I said what Manny had to say better than Manny knew how to himself. If Boston was truly the place to be the past few years (a point to which I will never concede—rings or not), then Manny just happens to be there. It’s written all over everything he does that he just happens to be there. And maybe, soon enough, he’ll just happen to be at Citizens Bank Park. (Well done, Phillies—worst name for a ball park ever. Strike that. I forgot about U.S. Cellular Field.) While it’s something I can’t imagine being proud of, Manny is the quintessence of Red Sox chowda headery. He epitomizes everything despicable about his era with the Red Sox. If the Red Sox are the bizarre-o Yankees, I’d liken Manny to bizarre-o Jeter. Given that it’s the team to which he owes his now legendary status, I would think that he WOULD be happy to be there—that he’d fight to stay.
Ultimately, Manny off the Sox works for me. If Manny IS a .312 hitter for the next couple seasons or even the remainder of the year, then let him be a blight on the ERA’s of the pitchers in the National League. I say good riddance. And while I used to think that the whiny Sox fan routine was the ultimate in annoying chowda-ness, it turned out to be even more obnoxious to listen to them gloat about having finally won a ring for the first time in eighty-six years. So it’ll be nice to hear the pitiful whimpers of disappointed Bostonians once again. I haven’t heard it since the Super Bowl, and the fact is I miss it. It’s a sound that indicates to me that all is right with the world
Speaking of idiotic Red Sox, I wanted to give Hansen points for originality for hitting A-Rod to retaliate for Joba accidentally almost beaning Youkilis in the facial hair. No one saw that one coming. Maybe, next time, less with the creative genius and more with the not allowing runs. What? Are your hands made of tits or something? But I like that you’re trying.
Cano, don’t you know? Who thought of that dumb cheer anyway? If I was making up the cheers, it would be, “To Cano him is to love him.” So much better, right? Want to know what would be better than that? If someone tricked him into thinking every month was July. But it could be worse. He could be Coco Crisp, in which case I would have to tell him that he sucks.