Not All Change Is For The Good; A Semi-Baseball Story


So. I was sitting at the big table in the kitchen reading the newspaper, and I started thinking about change. What sparked this line of thought was the thinness of today’s paper. It wasn’t ten years ago that even a Monday newspaper was a couple-pound bundle of newsprint paper and ink. Today’s paper hit the scales at less than a half-pound, and that was with the fat, tan rubber band that bound it into a loose log.

Which reminds me of when I was a kid and got a paper route, responsible for delivering newspapers for both morning and evening additions. I loved that job for the first three months I had it, which were June, July and August. After that, I know I felt like one of those eleven-year-old sweat shop slaves making sneakers fourteen hours a day over to Bimbolu Land, or whereverthefuck all of those sweat factories are.

I’d get up at 4:30 am so Granddad and Daddy could take me to town. They’d drop me and my bicycle at the corner in the neighborhood of my route where the bundles of papers were dropped. We lived in the country so I had to get a paper route in town. My paternal family men would drive over to Cisco’s for a huevos rancheros breakfast, and then pick me up for the trip back to the ranch. After school restarted, I went straight from pitching papers to the school house.

Then after school, Mother would drop me and the bike back to my corner where the evening addition awaited. I’d finish about 6:30 pm, when Gram would be waiting in her spiffy Hudson Hornet hot rod. My grandmother has always liked fast cars, a trait I managed to contract. She’d race me home to supper, then homework and then bed. The only time I had to myself was after throwing the morning-only editions on Saturday and Sunday. And even then I had chores on Saturdays and Baptist church on Sundays.

Newspaper rubber bands used to be red, and thin. Newspaper boys had to buy them from the newspaper publisher, and that was the subject of the first labor dispute with a non-family member I ever had. In fact, it’s how I managed to get fired so that I wouldn’t have to quit, because, as my Gram drilled into my head, “Johnson’s never quit shit.”

I remember how hard I worked to get the fat papers rolled tight enough to get the red rubber band double-looped on each day but Sunday. I’d get my papers tight as a baseball bat so I could first get them stuffed into the double handle bar bags, and second so that I could throw them effectively. And Sunday’s papers were sometimes so full of ads that it was tough getting the the entire paper inside the rubber fastener at all. And that ink. I think that I ingested and wore so much of that ink on my skin that when I do die, it will be from cancer caused by that fucking ink. It was nasty shit.

Having said that, I have been catching tremendous heat lately for my language. This morning, as I was bitching about the Republican fuckball who wrote the right-wing editorial in today’s paper was the latest. “Mooner, honey, you really do need to clean your potty mouth,” Mother said to me. “Do you have any idea how embarrassing it is for me when people ask if it really is you writing that Internet thing?”

Even after ten years of retirement, my mother still has that “school teacher” voice that makes me want to stuff a box of chalk up my ass one stick at a time. I spent a full dozen years of my life listening to teachers attempt to correct my behaviors with that fucking condescending voice. I blame all of that on the Baptist church.

I was in college at UT before I had the first fucking teacher, OK he was a professor, who wasn’t a church-trained Baptist evangelical shitball. Every time I did something not fully-approved under the tenants of the Baptist church, I’d get that fucking voice. Many times the chastisements had nothing to do with school policies. Like the time in Seventh Grade when Gloria Muckleroy’s bosom blossomed.

“Mister Johnson,” started Mrs. Leticia Browningwell, my Spanish teacher and wife to Pastor Browningwell. “What are you finding so very interesting that you are distracted from our conjugation of the Spanish verb aprendar?”

“Well, Mrs. Browningwell, Gloria has got some interesting lumps in her dress and I’m trying to aprendamos what they are,” my clever response.

“What are you speaking of, Mooner?” She had to ask. Mrs. Browningwell had to fucking ask.

I poked my pointy finger at Gloria’s right breast and said, “This right here, Teacher.” And with that poke, I ended up further exploring Gloria’s lush new bosom with both hands.

“That feels nice, Mrs. Browningwell, I like when Mooner does that,” Gloria said. “They just showed up all of a sudden. You want to see them?”

First time I ever got to second base. Found out later that Gloria’s daddy beat me there. Beat us all to home plate as well. Just like the asshole that raped me as a kid, Gloria’s daddy was a Deacon at our Baptist church. The same Baptist church attended by my family and as where Mrs. Browningwell’s hubby was the pastor. Still is the pastor.

It’s a wonder I don’t hate the fucking Baptists.

Anyway, it was re-brought to my attention that more people would read my shit if I cussed less. This was re-brought by Mother and also at breakfast this morning. I had my mouth full of food when Mother admonished me, so I couldn’t immediately respond. The pause allowed my grandmother to speak for me, and I think quite eloquently at that.

“Oh who gives a shit, Mother. If’in cuss words hurts yer delicate fuckin’ feelings, then go fuck yerself, and the shithead what brung ya too. Now pass me them biscuits an summa that blackberry jelly. That jelly tastes better an a college freshman’s honey-dipped pecker.”

Mother got this disgusted look—her disgusted martyr look—and opened her mouth but couldn’t get any words to come out. Gram winked at me and broke her biscuit in half to butter it.

I love my grandmother and in spite of myself. One minute I want to stick her with a butcher knife and the next I want to hug her to death. “I love you, Gram,” I told her, and I moved her way to give her a hug.

She shrugged away from me and said, “Don’t you touch me with them dirty fuckin’ hands, Mooner. Don’t ya know that newsie ink will give ya tha cancer?”

I think I had a point about change and how quickly the world is changing, but my brain has gone into full ADHD fritz mode. It was a smart observation about how maybe things are changing too fast for us to assimilate the realities of modern life. Now. All I can think about is how wonderful Gloria’s new titties felt all those years ago. OK, and the other fifteen lines of thought swirling around inside my skull.

It’s got to be Five O’clock some fucking where. I’m cracking a Carta Blanca beer. Manana, y’all.

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7 Responses to “Not All Change Is For The Good; A Semi-Baseball Story”

  1. Okay, this has NOTHING to do with your post today….but I just found your book on Amazon and I wanted to say WHOOO! HOOOO! to you, you crazy fucker! That’s awesome!! Super proud of our craziest blogger bud!!!! And just so you know, my review of your book will be totally based upon how awesome your autograph/personalization in my signed copy is…

  2. admin says:

    Reck. Yea, I’m so excited I’ve already shit my pants twice. I’m working on your personalization already. It starts:

    “My darling and most revered future fiance and thirteenth ex-wife.”

    OK, maybe I should remain optomistic and say “thirteenth wife” and drop the ex dealie. I have a strong sense that once I make it to lucky number thirteen with you, the ex part will be an occurance with my timely, or not maybe so timely, departing this golden orb.

    I think I just shit myself again.

  3. Uh, Mooner, you crazy bastard, I’m slated to be wife # 11. Get yer shit straight.

  4. admin says:

    Reck. Uh, well, er ah, uh… I think I overdrank last night with all the good news. Eleven is the number.

  5. Squatlo says:

    I thought we were all getting free copies signed by the author… I’m pretty sure I played along months ago for such bounty.

    Congrats on the book, Don, and especially for getting to second base with whatshername. I kept hearing Bob Hope singing “Thanks for the mammaries” while I read that part.

    Our Monday paper here is about the size and weight of a church bulletin now…

  6. admin says:

    Squat. That would be correct. I’m bringing books to you guys when I come. I figure the best way to become “Best-selling author Moner Johnson” is to give enough books away.

  7. Squatlo says:

    Mooner, you could do what Herman Cain is doing, just spend your campaign cash on your own books, thus driving them up the best seller list, spurring more purchases… Oh wait, you don’t have campaign cash. Hey, how would you like to run for public office? I’ll handle the books…

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