Friday, December 08, 2006

Christmas shopping with Ebby Calvin 'Nuke' LaLoosh

Spontaneity and shoppping? Well, that would be me. Hold on. Conditionally, yes, that would be me. What conditions? Shopping in a book/cd/exotic foods/kitchen or tools supply/Lowes store. Take me out of those retail milieus and I'm a keg of TNT waiting for a spark. Come the Christmas season, the sparks are usually a-flying.

The ever-loving wife and I finally did something this past weekend that we'd promised ourselves to do since the dawn of our relationship (in some history books also referred to as the Dawn of Time). We (almost) completed our Christmas shopping before Dec. 24th.

How was this conceivable?
Two things.
1) The kids had, for all practical reasons, flown the coop.
2) My ever-loving wife did a mind-meld with me and 'Nuke' LaLoosh.

For those dear readers already familiar with Mr. LaLoosh and Bull Durham, you can skip the next paragraph and go out for a stroll, pet the dog, acknowledge the cat’s superior powers, peel a grape, partake of a bon-bon. Yeah, just move along to the stirring conclusion, if you will.

For my non-American readers (because I assume all Americans knows Bull Durham like they know the words to the national anthem. Well, perhaps a lot better), the following synopsis is offered.

As an American, even a naturalized one, it is understood that there are certain facts of American life that have to be studied intently and committed to your sub-conscious such that future generations of your fine self will already have it in their chromosomes. Some of these items are:
1) Joe DiMaggio hit in 56 consecutive games.
2) The Yankees are the Evil Empire.
3) You don’t order Chicago-style pizza in NYC.
4) You don’t order Brooklyn-style pizza in Chi-town.
5) Whatsamatterwhichyou!!? It’s "tomato gravy", not "tomato sauce" that goes on top of pasta in Philly.
6) You must have at least 78.9% of the Bull Durham script committed to memory.
7) 78.9% of the Bull Durham script can be dropped into any conversation you are having with aplomb (or any other fruit at hand).

Bull Durham is a movie not merely dealing with baseball. The undercurrent subjects include:
1) The game of baseball as a microcosm of the Game of Life.
2) Listening to one’s elders, and
3) Susan Sarandon’s literary and beguiling ways.
Ms. Sarandon, as a general manager of her own life, drafts one lucky minor league baseball player each year to play on her 1-man team. Through means of her own invention, she mentors and molds him for the next level of baseball. For the baseball season that the movie covers here, she has “signed up” one Ebby Calvin 'Nuke' LaLoosh, a pitcher of whom Annie Savoy (Ms. Sarandon) says, “Honey, you are a regular nuclear meltdown. You better cool off!”. LaLoosh’s control problems extend, so to speak, from the pitching mound to the Turkish-ish boudoir of Annie Savoy. In an effort to correct ‘Nuke’s meltdown, the resourceful Annie suggests to LaLoosh that he should try to breath through his eyelids like a lizard and, allegedly, like the real-life mysterioso LA Dodger pitcher, Fernando Valenzuela. In addition, being a practitioner of Baseball Wicca, she searched through her bag of potions, spells, and lingerie and decided that LaLoosh should wear one of her garter belts. As any baseball or sports enthusiast knows, the higher the level of improbability rises, the stronger is the belief. These two gambits were pitched to ‘Nuke’ so that he could take his mind off of his pitching because, as we all know, a guy can’t think and do at the same time, unless he happens to be sitting in the house. Needless to say (but say, I will) Annie’s concoctions do the trick...for ‘Nuke’, but no trick for her. She’ll have to rely on CJ’s for her tricks.

This all came up as the ever-loving wife and I were meandering through the quickly filling stores last Saturday. My discomfort with excessive amounts of people doing the willy-nilly dance as they careen through the ever-narrowing aisles quickly turned to an immobility caused by the sucking out of my soul.

Ever Loving Wife (ELW) (seeing me deflating onto myself as I leaned on a wall at Macy’s): You’re taking all of this way too seriously.
Me: But this Christmas shopping is serious business. This is the Big Leagues of relationships. One false gift and you're sent down for a year to the bush leagues with folks who chew and spit tobacco.
ELW:Well, I'm glad you're bringing up baseball, because I've got an easy cure for your malevolence toward the gifted.
Me (sequestered on a bench now): Mel Ovents? Third baseman for the Seattle Pilots?
ELW: Don’t get specific with me. Specific doesn’t get you to inner peace. Let me re-introduce you to ‘Nuke’.
Me: LaLoosh? But, he’s all over the place. Uncontrollable emotions and passionate urges. He’s the poster boy of a teenaged guy. Plus, he has moldy shower flip-flops.
ELW: You’re right about the urges and the emotions. What I’m talking about is his cure?
Me: You mean Annie and her literary ways? Or, are you referring to her constant playing of Edith Piaf? Now, that’s a cure! A continual barrage of the Sparrow’s La vie en Rose is enough to cure you of ennui, le temps perdu, and ingrown toenail.
ELW: Thickness is not a virtue, you know. Possibly not even a quirk. No, what I’m referring to is lizard-breathing and garter belts.
Me: Ah yes, the famous reptilian lingerie connection. Go on, my ears are pricked.
ELW: Well, you remember how Annie had provided ‘Nuke’ with a set of her garter belts and then how Crash had correctly fitted said accoutremont on Mr. LaLoosh.
Me: Yes, there was a certain je sais quoi too much about that scene.
ELW : Discomfort brings self-realization, I always say. Was he not a successful pitcher afterwards? Yes! Because he was not thinking about the pitching. He was too busy breathing through his eyelids and wondering what stockings he’d clip on (with care, naturally) onto his garter belt. His mind was elsewhere than the task at hand. You think about this Christmas shopping such that you get your knickers in a bunch. Thinking and bunched knickers are a rough combination; it’s difficult to get oxygen to the brain.
Me : Well, it’s worth a try, at least for one Christmas season. So, which part goes in front? The dangling parts?

So, if you happen to be shopping this weekend and you come upon a guy squirming and fiddling with his pants, no need to shield your eyes. It's most probably me, adjusting my ‘Nuke’ and breathing through my eyelids, just trying to get through the maelstrom of gifting.

Ho, Ho, Ha! A Very Successful Shopping to All!

Note: Some memorable quotes from Bull Durham are here and here. Apologies for duplications.

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Ha! Indeed. And let me just say that this post reads a lot better when one takes the time to either a) read the synopsis that you've so kindly provided (which is better than the movie, imho), or b) re-watch the movie before jumping ahead to the "stirring" conclusion. If, instead, one does decide to jump and starts reading about fiddling with one's pants and dangling parts in the front, all in the context of Christmas shopping, well, pictures of that infamous Uncle of yours come to mind. ;-)
Appreciate your kind comment, although your continued interest in that infamous Uncle of mine is starting to concern me as regards your proper image.
I was beginning to think that the only sound that I was going to hear on this post was the crickets chirping in my head.
Hmmm. Was it too much of a bash on Christmas shopping? Excessive mauling of Mr. 'Nuke" LaLoosh? Was I totally out there in left field thinking Americans had Bull Durham memorized?
Not sure, but definitely a minimum of commentary. Not even some "Poor guy. Must be burned out due to NaBloWriMo.
It was actually an excellent post, with just the right amount of bashing, but I don't have Bull Durham committed to memory, hence the regrettable result involving your Uncle when I tried skipping ahead. It won't happen again. I promise. ;-)
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