WEST PALM BEACH, FL – Been down here in sunny South Florida (aka, see latter part of today’s title) a little over a week now and it’s been a pleasant visit thus far. One thing I realized right off the bat is that when it comes to watching NCAA basketball or lazing around the pool with a beer or three, the latter will win out every time. I still have yet to watch an entire game. Caught the last six or seven minutes of the Ohio St./Gonzaga tilt on Saturday but that’s been the most at any one stretch. Yep, I’m realllllly growing up. What else? Yesterday my daughter and her cousin took in The Lorax (consult your doctor before taking Lorax) with my wife and her sis while yours truly wandered around Downtown Palm puffing away on a stogie Max Cady-style, taking in the local color. Here’s a sampling of the types of folks you run into in these parts:
The Incredibly Friendly Super Market Checkout Cashier: Just about every single supermarket employee you meet down here is ridiculously gracious… even the ex-cons working the deli counter. As I was checking out the other day two African-American gentleman toting a nice big bag of Publix Fried Chicken (sorry guys, just reporting the facts here) inquired of the lovely black woman at the register: “You wanna come have some fried chicken with us?” To which she replied in the most calm non-confrontational tone possible: “No thanks. I’m on a diet.” I cannot do this exchange justice in words. You really had to be there.
JG Clancy: To be fair, you can run into JG Clancy just about anywhere at any time and then not see him again for 10 years or so. He’s just currently hanging his over-sized sun hat (which he failed to bring to the Mets/Braves game on Saturday) down here these days. As always, our man Clancy is keeping a low profile and high spirits. I’m sorry to say that I may have single-handedly sabotaged his diet. The guy has dropped 30-plus pounds and then I show up and it’s nothing but beer, burgers, wings, and, yes, $1.00 hot dogs as we were leaving the game. You can’t say “no” to a $1.00 hot dog. In Clancy’s case, he couldn’t say “no” twice.
David Wright’s Helmet: David Wright was of course nowhere to be found. He’s off on the Island of Misfit Mets nursing a rib injury. But that didn’t stop his over-sized batting lid from making an appearance on top of a recycling can at Digital Domain Park. While E5 is off goldbricking, his Great Gazoo helmet is doing yeoman’s work. As Cheesy Bruin pointed out on Sunday, those five cent deposits can go a long way in paying off the $162 million the Wilpons have to fork over to Madoff’s financial rape victims.
The Hot Mom: They’re everywhere. I’m gonna leave it at that.
The New York Mets Exhibition Game Ticket Scalper: Ladies and gentlemen, I do believe I’ve stumbled upon an even lower life form than MTM columnist. When your means of income is re-selling Mets preseason game tickets for a profit you need to seriously think about about a new line of work, if not full government assistance. All of these guys always look the same too: Half pool cleaner, half meth head. The Walking Dead should cast for extras in Port St. Lucie. The best thing is that these ghouls camp out in the blazing sun around 50 yards from the stadium and tell everyone that the game is sold out. They have all the charm and charisma of the Republican Primaries, but sans teeth.
OK, gotta slide on over to the kitchen and make myself a Dark n’ Stormy. Tune in tomorrow for Lori Levine, who apparently is not down here participating in wet t-shirt contests. Believe me, I looked.