March 07, 2006

Touch 'em All, Kirby

Way back in the day -- when Osh Kosh b'Gosh and Ghostbusters t-shirts were en vogue (well, at least in my mind they were) -- there was a guy who worked at the old Gulf gas station near my house. Name was Hal. In my family and I'm guessing in many more, Hal was known for his never-failing ability to deliver a single piece of bubble gum to me and/or my sister every time my parents stopped to buy gas. For all I knew about Hal, he could have been a beastiality-practicing member of the NRA, but at the Gulf station -- on his field of play -- Hal was a gentleman.

One day, as most people do when they can work no longer, Hal retired. And I had little time to lament the loss of my reliable source for bubble gum before I found out, only about a week later, that Hal had died. The lesson I took away: Some people's jobs alone keep them alive.

I bring up this anecdote not as career advice for any of you considering taking a hiatus from your current occupations, but because it reminds me quite a bit of what happened to Kirby Puckett. Like Hal the gas man, as soon as Kirby's livelihood was gone, he fell apart. Stocky became pudgy and soon ballooned to bloated. Once covered-over legal troubles became magnified. Without baseball, Kirby Puckett ceased to function properly. And regardless of what Kirby may have been to you -- your boyhood hero, the guy who killed the Braves in 1991 or just another deeply flawed sports star -- there's something quite tragic and hopeless about what happened to number 34, the once vibrant fireplug who became an emblem for deterioration.

But then again, perhaps there's a positive way to spin this -- maybe we should all hope to be so lucky as Hal or Kirby, to find that thing that keeps us alive no matter how quickly or spectacularly we flame out as soon as it's gone. There was a time when I thought that one thing was NBA Live '95, but then I stopped playing it and didn't die, so that can't have been it.

And now I'm rambling, so I'll get to the point:

R.I.P. Kirby.

-On that note -- the OCC has returned from exile. Just so you know: I no longer write about funny things. Only death and scandal (see below)

-This just in: Barry Bonds may have done some very bad things. Has this saga started to take on a surreal quality for anyone else yet? With seemingly so much proof that the man cheated, yet no sign of repercussions coming his way, it's almost like he's invincible. Or at the very least he's a cyborg. Honestly, I've lost all sense of perspective in this case. He's dodged so many damning accusations that I have no sense of how anyone's going to prove anything or who to trust for that matter. But I will say this: These latest allegations sure are specific. And disturbing. I now will never look at Barry Bonds the same way again for about the 100th time.


Blogger jimmyrad said...

Welcome back. Stellar return.

5:39 PM, March 10, 2006  

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