Different Floors of the House

Saturday, February 13, 2010

All I want for my birthday...it's not much, really.

Dwight Gooden.


I mean, what the Mets were, they were because of Dwight. What they will be, will be because of Dwight...or the standard of excellence he held high. My wife insists on Mr. Darling. Yeah, he's cute and all, was a great 'ass'et for the Mets in the 80's...but his nick aint Dr. K.

I'm thinking of starting thechurchofdoctorK.com, because I know there are closet Doc fans out there. Guys and gals who saw the man throw that hammer down, that lunging cannonesque fastball, that sweeping, parabolic 12 to hell curveball that made veterans like Wade Boggs and Dale Murphy's knees wrinkle. You never saw anything like this. Ever. I've seen them all. Doc was the greatest pitcher that ever played the game...even if that greatness was a mere flash-spark in the continuum that should have been a legacy.

Still, man, we miss those days.

When I was a kid, about 14 I guess, I used to cut the daily boxscore updates out of the newspaper and post them in a scrapbook. If the Mets won, I'd post the little blurb AP story on the page next to the standings. Every day I would update the book, add pictures whenever the local paper had them. Pictures of Dwight, Darryl, HoJo, Sid...all the guys. I submit to you it was the most totally awesome scrapbook of all time.

Not a lot of people know Doc's story, the "tragedy" that became Gooden's legacy. Certainly there have been poorly circulated stories about the events that took place starting in 1987, assumptions of the effects of instant riches on a poor black kid from south central L.A. The drugs, the altercations with police. The...disappointment. Mel Stottlemyre, in his book, Pride and Pinstripes, outlined a little bit of the problems with Dwight and the flawed friendship between the Doc and Darryl Strawberry. But it's not enough. Dwight himself has said very little about those days...very little that made anything easier to understand. But then, we were young, we just wanted our hero to be...heroic. Token assessments have since been made. Some apologies. We understand it a little better now, I suppose. So why does it still hurt?

I don't know, I'm not a psychiatrist, I only play one on the internet. But I do know that Doc, after suffering through his mistakes, miscues, and hard luck, pitched a no-hitter in 1996. And although that wouldn't prove to be the icing of success and for-once-and-for-all domination of Dwight's personal hardships, it was a beacon of light against the wall of fog which is Doctor K's persona. Turbulent waters can be overcome, right Doc? But the 'great shroud of the sea rolls on as it rolled five thousand years ago.' Right, Doc? I have to get past all these childish things, right Doc?

It's not easy, I can tell you.

I have a protective placard on my desk. It's a baseball card holder. Holds four cards. They're all Dwight. Two rookie cards, the the Fleer '01 fireballer card, the Member's choice card from Stadium Club. Under my desk there is the "Amazing Mets" Sports Illustrated--the one with the word 'Mets' crossed out and replaced by the word 'Mess'. Yeah, yuck yuck. I suppose my desk is my own little churchofdoctorK.com. But, sometimes its a chapel of pain. Today I'm thirty-eight years old and, I'm ashamed to admit, I still find myself staring at those glossy pictures of Doc in sorrow. Or maybe it's anger. Or maybe I'm just mad that it still makes me mad.

That's why I want Doc for my birthday this year. The Dwight Gooden who was the flamethrowin' hope of tomorrow. The Doctor K everyone feared and all admired. That's why you won't find any mugshots or post-incarceration interviews in this entry today. Because today, I let it all go. I'm taking the old Doc back, the Doc that inspired me to play a game I was admittedly never very good at. The Doc that taught me all the nuances of baseball and evoked my participation in the sport as a spectator, player and fan. Above all, I'm taking back the Doc that inspired me to rise above oppressions you don't get to know about and escape a fate worse than death--a life without the game.

So, this is my birthday present to myself.

Thanks Doc. You're still the man.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Imprisoning God

While perusing the state of Oregon's job opportunity website I came across a posting for something called The Transitional Services Division. This division is some part of the Oregon Department of Corrections. The job title is simply listed as "Chaplain".

I don't know about you, but I found this to be somewhat ironic. The state is hiring religious mentors to:

"develop(s) and implement(s) an effective and efficient program of religious and spiritual services, music, educational material, equipment, and sacred spaces for all faith groups that will meet the spiritual needs of inmates from in-take through re-entry or remaining time of incarceration;"

Well, this is probably Good Work--if you can get it. But it also kind of puts the "separation of church and state" we hear so much about in tongue-in-cheek mode, doesn't it?

Meh...who cares about that whole separation of church and state thing anyway? The people that know the history of the country know that without God, it wouldn't have been possible to even have an enlightenment, let alone, a democratic republic in America. Without the idea, at the very least, of inalienable human rights bestowed upon us by the Creator and all that, we never revolt on the scale in which we did, because the foundations of that rebellion would have been, well, unfounded. So let's just move beyond that argument and look at this job opportunity from a different angle.

It's in a PRISON!

Imagine the dusty gray din, the faint, illuminated tungsten zap of institutional lights overhead...

Wait, I just thought of something: Who is the genius policy maker that thinks putting chaplains in prisons will make people better? Wouldn't that person think that putting a chaplain in, say, a school, before the criminal commits his crime, would be just as, if not more beneficial? Hmm? Yeah, if they think chaplains will "be aware of criminogenic factors that lead to recidivism and to address them in their programming" they are really saying that these chaplains will have some affect on the criminality of their parishoners in the future--thereby admitting that religion is a compelling, contributive factor in rehabilitation.

Well, I'm not one to disagree with that. Neither is Dino De Laurentis:

"Each individual man is the whole world." Hmm, rings slightly of which political ideology? Ok, back on track... Jesus associated himself with thieves, prostitutes, and fishmongers. Ok, being a fishmonger isn't a crime, per se, but they are stinky, right? And the tax man? Wow. Jesus certainly was tolerant:

Ok, Ok. So we (the state and I) agree that Jesus can make men change their ways...AFTER they've committed a crime. What would make me think that Jesus could prevent children from growing up to do nasty things (including working for the IRS)?

Well, I dunno. Maybe we should take that question in a different direction. Can the Christian idea that "Each individual man is the whole world" lead children into a more fruitful, more perfect union with one another? Maybe so. Strike that, definitely so.

Parse this at your own discretion: The Libertarian mindset of objectivism and selfishness can sometimes be misinterpreted...even by libertarians themselves. A good friend of mine in the party insists that no act conducted by man is entirely selfless. And while his experiences may confine him to this way of thinking, I would suggest that is because he doesn't view each person as the whole world. Christians, overwhelmingly, want other people to see that they are this important to their human peers and in the eyes of God. The Christian who instills this idea within another, isn't benefiting him or herself at all. They are elevating another person's sense of individuation and importance in the universe. After all, how do we know how important our individual potential is, if someone else doesn't grant us the opportunity to recognize it? If we were the only person on earth, of course all acts would be selfish! "Well," the godless libertarian might suggest, "The bible tells them they have to go out and spread the word of the Lord, and all that." True. But not to benefit themselves. For the benefit of the Other. The very same Other, the liberal academic structure indicts Christians of persecuting.

Now, we can argue all day long about the "value" of Christian contributions and the power of restitutive rehabilitation. But the fact of the matter is, ask any doctor, that preventative care is applicably more important in health care than is any procedure of curing or healing or...rehabilitation.

If the state believes that Christianity can cure recidivism, by a theology that teaches "each individual is the entire world", then certainly they MUST believe that an equal dose of that ideology would be a necessary step in preventing the outbreak of criminality in the first place.

After all, haven't you heard: Jesus loves the little children...equally as much as he loves the condemned sinner.

Last Kennedy Down

The drunken, rampagin', airport clerk accoster, Patrick Kennedy announced today that he won't seek to break his father's record for being the most embarrassing politician with that asphyxiating last name. He's quitting. Thanks be to God, eh?

Everyone wants to take credit for this monumental decision it seems. Who cares, as long as he's a goner!

Next mission: get Arnold out of power in Caleeforneea, and we'll really, truly, for really really see the toppling of the ash-heap that is/was the American Camelot.

Next, Next, mission: Get that Megan McCain (meh...I don't care how that bimbo spells her name!)to volunteer for the first manned mission to Mars...