With the winds of change swirling through the air, combined with the horror of an unwindable overseas conflict, our future was laced with question marks.
Within the hallowed halls of Bishop Amat, we may have been a bit more protected from these changes, but certain cultural norms flourished. The Los Angeles Dodgers won the National League Pennant in the fall of 1966 and faced the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series. In those days I was still under the spell of Dodger Blue, a condition that existed until I relocated to the Bay Area, following my release from the Big Green Machine in 1974.
Having won the whole enchilada only one year earlier, in 1965, the prevailing logic was that the Dodgers would out-pitch Baltimore with their handy duo of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. What no one anticipated was that it would not matter how well the duo pitched if the Dodgers could not score any runs.
|Sandy and Don|
I was a rookie at this game called high school. I had attended St. Martha’s with the same crew of students from third through eighth grade, where we became almost like siblings. I got a rude awakening at Bishop Amat. I learned quickly that it was better to keep one’s pie hole shut, and have the other kids think you were a geek, than to open it and prove them correct. Only back then I would have been labeled a spaz. Methinks I overdid it by being a bit too cocky about the outcome of the series.
Even a seven-game, highly contested affair, would have gone far to protect me from ridicule. Instead, LA could not even muster one measly run in the final three games of the series, thus opening up the floor for comments from the peanut gallery. The final score in both Game 3 and Game 4 was 1-0, Baltimore.
"Hey, O’Neill! Your team can’t score any runs. Maybe it just can’t score at all." Ha, ha, ha.
"What happened, O’Neill? LA forget to eat its spinach?"
"Hey, O’Neill! Maybe Koufax and Drysdale better learn how to hit!"
"The Orioles swept the Dodgers? With what? Their tail feathers?"
Can you say, “Ba-dip, ba-dip?” Try it-nonstop-for say, a month.
It could not have made one iota of difference in my life one way or the other, but there were ramifications of this action that my parents did not care for. What these were remains murky, but it translated into my being-once again-far too vocal for my own good. Sigh.
Somehow my prattling on about the evils of being annexed by West Covina, transformed me and all those from that little neck of the woods, into being represented as The Little Rascals. We were portrayed as marching off to battle, complete with upside down buckets on our heads and go-carts. New to this game called sarcasm, I had no defense, except to once again point the finger inwards.
I was a kid back then and I thought like a kid. I am 69 now and I can’t say categorically how I think, be it like a kid or like an old fart, but I can tell you this: The most valuable lesson I ever learned was to stop caring what others think about me-if they do at all.
Bette Midler summed it all up quite nicely with her catchy phrase, “Fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke.” Whereas some might object to the earthy language, I might counter with a casual-
[Editor’s Note: STOP! You’ve made your point…]