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The Idle American
Uncle Mort's Sad Song...
Wednesday, November 9, 2011 • Posted November 9, 2011

Unquestionably, my Uncle Mort is happy in his own skin. During his 99+ years in the thicket, he’s never wished to be anyone else. Or rarely to be any place else.Not until October’s final weekend, that is. Stunned by the Texas Rangers’ ever-so-close brush with a World Series championship, he’s reeling. With 20-20 hindsight, he wishes he hadn’t watched the games on his neighbor’s 60-inch TV. (It was painful to see Game 6 in such vivid detail and would have been tough enough on his 17-inch black-and-white.)He admits the games were viewed far too seriously. “I wish I could have been in India, caught up in the excitement of the birth of the world’s seven-billionth person on Halloween day. I doubt if many folks in India know anything about the World Series, much less who won it.”…*****“I don’t want to dwell on it and have decided to “get a grip” instead. He shifted gears into his usual devil-may-care mode, hopeful of pondering miscellaneous topics.He approached the tragic goings-on in St. Louis philosophically. “It may be gallows humor, but we better ‘toughen up’ to face months of ‘Ranger-bashing’ by the TV talk show guys.”That’s when he phoned to “try his lines on me.”…*****Here’s the gist of his giggles:Mort said he phoned the Rangers’ ticket office “to see if they’ve reduced the prices on season tickets for 2012.” He thought his call was dropped, then realized the gasping noise he heard was choking sounds.Avoiding the claim that the Rangers choked or were snake-bitten, Mort added, “But I hear they’re adding Heimlich maneuver drills in spring training and stocking the first-aid tent with snakebite kits.”“Can’t be too careful,” he surmised….*****He interrupted his lines with the recollection of his “one-at-bat” high school baseball career. Then, he reflected on the Rangers’ great regular season play.Mort remembers his lone personal “baseball moment” vividly. “It was a scoreless game in the bottom of the ninth inning. The coach called on me to pinch hit. ‘Look the pitcher straight in the eye, crowd the plate, keep the bat glued to your shoulder and GET HIT,’” the coach instructed.On positive notes, Mort bragged that the Rangers “were still playing in October when 28 other teams weren’t,” and that the manager’s “Wash Dance” may become a national craze when the Rangers win it all. He vowed to “join Ron Washington in the ‘jiggling’ when that triumph occurs.” Blinking back tears, Mort muttered, “This year, that’s the way baseball went.” …*****It is now “put up or shut up” time for the Dallas Cowboys, what with fan support of the Rangers pushing football news into tight spaces inside newspaper sports sections.Mort is a robust “boo bird,” venting wrath following the Cowboys’ miserable performance against Philadelphia.“I heard that the Cowboys all went trick-or-treating,” Mort said, “They rang doorbells all over Dallas, giving back the candy.”…*****Mort closed out our visit describing a bad dream that marked fitful slumber during the awful weekend when St. Louis “cleaned our clocks” in baseball while Philadelphia did a number on the Cowboys. “I dreamed that it was the final football game of the season—one that had gradually gone from bad to worse,” he said. “I called the Cowboys’ ticket office to find out starting time for the game.” The guy answered, “What time can you come?”Mort wound up rambling, as usual. He wondered if the guy who wrote “St. Louis Blues” had any kids. He thought maybe one of ‘em might visit Texas and write a new blues song here.He wound up the conversation asking if I know what he and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones have in common. Nothing came to mind. “Neither of us knows what to do next,” Mort laughed, “But in my case, it doesn’t matter much.”…*****

Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Metroplex. Inquiries/comments to: Phone: 817-447-3872, Web site:

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