BRONX, NY – Today is March 25th, and it’s officially spring, the worst season of the year. What’s that you say? Spring is lovely? A time of rebirth and romance and regular tires? Bullsh~t. Spring sucks. If it’s not still snowing, it’s pissing rain. Your taxes are due. You put on crap-load of winter weight. And your NCAA basketball bracket is sporting more X’s than Times Square circa 1977. Here’s what else you’ve got to look forward to.
Spring Training. In Florida and Arizona this means bright blue skies, warm temps, and every baseball team thinking they have a shot to win it all this year. However, spring training in New York involves mass transit and massive delays (ask Mrs. Matt about her A Train adventures), and this year a very special fare hike courtesy of the MTA. That’s right, we’re now paying a quarter more to stand next to barely literate Yankees fans on the 4 train wearing stupid “Got Rings?” t-shirts and sit next to dumbasses who think the Broadway Local is their personal nail salon and just bask in the glow of natives and tourists alike as they shed their winter layers and treat us to all manner of unusual bodily aromas. Indeed, when it comes to New York subways, balls and strikes and steals and whiffs take on a meaning of their own.
Sweet 16. Like I said, your March Madness hopes are probably already dashed. But this time of year always seems to bring about the beginning of another topsy-turvy tournament of sorts: the beginning of spring Sweet 16 birthdays. Back in my day, these events were kinda the kickoff brunch to your future career as an alcoholic. These shindigs, always thrown for girls, came with the usual streamers and soda and Cheese Jax, but also the tacit approval of so-called grown-ups that the pimply-faced teen attendees could consume a bit of alcohol in this controlled environment and then commence ritualistically throwing up on one another. Amazingly, these parties still happen today, but with the added bonus of parents being carted away in handcuffs. Good times.
Spring Cleaning. To many, these two words trigger horrific flashbacks of clueless moms carting box after box of Topps Baseball Cards out to the sidewalk where equally air-headed sanitation employees would dump them in a white truck with a filthy, over-sized stuffed bear sadistically tethered to the front grill and take them away forever. Today, portions of Staten Island and countless retirement communities across the country are built on mounds and mounds of Tom Seaver rookie cards and countless other rare cardboard collectibles. This time of year also leaves Yankees fans wondering if it’s finally time to ditch the A-Rod and Igawa jerseys and hockey fans reticent to clean anything so long as their teams keep winning.
Prom Season. That’s right, prom isn’t just a single event, it’s a full blown season. It’s that special time when doting parents fork over fistfuls of cash for dresses and flowers and limos and tuxes and pray to God that their kids make it home alive. Prom brings about the kind of insanity that Dock Ellis’ worst acid trip couldn’t conjure. Derek Bell living on a boat in Flushing Bay makes more sense than this. It’s like New Year’s on steroids with teenagers who are most likely never going to see each other again. Sweet Jesus Alou! Someone better start my morphine drip now.
Allergies. The snowy, sleety, slushy, February-that-wouldn’t-end is ready to bestow yet more gifts upon its adoring public, this time in the form of springtime allergies. That’s right, if you’re any allergy sufferer who made it through the winter relatively healthy (aside from Knicks-related nausea), by May you’ll feel like you contracted the Hong Kong Hantavirus on top of Anna Benson Ebola. With this pollen plague on the way, I’m reminded of a favorite anecdote involving famed jazz drummer Buddy Rich who, upon being admitted to the ER for a heart attack, was asked by a nurse if he was allergic to anything, to which he replied, “yeah, country and western.” Anyway, I’m not much of an allergy sufferer myself, although I do admit that I broke out in hives the other day when the Mets announced that Bartolo Colon (himself allergic to salads and exercise) would be their Opening Day starter. In any event, I just hope that Colon, Wheeler and Edgin are the only itches and scratches the Metropolitans have to worry about this lousy spring.
Come back tomorrow for Grinding Ax Walter (?), who’s been springing to Pete Rose’s defense of late.