I am told that this is the sound a car engine makes when it’s about to fall out.

My mind has not so much been wandering as it’s been speed-jogging through vast wastes of half-remembered things I’ve done and things I’ve seen.  This could either be the result of an unusually busy time at work or an extended stroke. 

If it’s a stroke, I have to hand it to my neurons, who’ve sought to bring me back to the days when I watched The Naked Gun 2 1/2 every other day for nearly a year.  I left the house Thursday singing the film’s version of “Besame Mucho.”  That brought me to O.J. Simpson, who, if you recall, had a supporting role in each of the Naked Gun movies before the… unpleasantness.

Where were you when O.J. Simpson and Al Cowlings were “fleeing” the authorities in the white Ford Bronco?  I was in a van myself: a brown Chevy, owned by a family friend who was driving a group of guys up to a house in Sullivan County, NY, to build a deck.  My father went; I came along.  I was in sixth grade.  Sat on a milk crate in the back, with the tools.  Bob, another Bob (but we called him Robert to distinguish), Frank, my dad, and me.  Up the highway from Brooklyn in a two-seat Chevy van.  And we followed the news via radio (we left the city at 7p).

Lest you think this post a less-than-tasteful rehash of the Simpson trial, I’ll have you know that I was annoyed that we were listening to the coverage of a low-speed car chase, the whup-whup of helicopters only enjoyable when WATCHING ON TELEVISION.  No, I wanted to listen to the Mets game.  They were playing the Marlins that night out at Dolphin/Joe Robbie/Pro Player/Pro Player again/Dolphin/LandShark Stadium, and I had the fool notion that this would be Pete Smith’s chance to shine.  Nevermind that he was already 3-6 on the year.  Also, I’d rarely listened to baseball in the car, and being there with “the guys” made me think we’d be “the guys” riding up and listening to the game.

But these guys, to a man, are jokers and wise guys, and there was not much fun to be had in baseball that year.  And certainly not with the Mets.  In the Mets’ defense, they walked off the job just three games below .500.  Our current crop of Mets are seven below, which is chilly even in the dog days of summer.

See what I did there, with the double meaning?

As it turned out, however, it wouldn’t matter what we were listening to.  When we broke out of getaway traffic, Bob hit the gas to make up for lost time.  Thirty-five miles an hour.  Forty.  Forty-five… what’s that hum?  Fifty… Dad, something doesn’t feel right here.  Fifty-five… it’s not a hum; it’s a rattling.  Is something shaking loose back there?

Sixty: BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRAP!  The thing shook like a gallon can of Benjamin Moore in the auto-mixer.  But we weren’t going to drive forty-five miles an hour up to the house; we’d get there in the middle of the night (and “middle of the night” reminds me that Billy Joel’s “River Of Dreams” came out that year; what the hell is going on with me?).

So we dealt with it.  Robert got car sick.  My dad was hoarse from laughing so hard.  Bob, ever the even keel, went on like nothing was wrong.  He even waved at the people passing us, most of whom, I’m told, were laughing and pointing.

We got to the place around eleven, which is about when O.J. was taken to jail and well after the Mets had lost; Retrosheet tells me the game was played in a tidy 2 1/2 (see?) hours.  They’d fallen to 30-36.  There were no highlights worth watching, but I had to wait until the next day to find that out, because TV was wall-to-wall lurid that night.  My father said, “Eh.  They’re gonna strike anyway.”

His biggest concern, and frankly mine as well, was whether we’d make it back at the end of the trip with our respective fillings still in our heads.

There.  I’ve just told you a more interesting story than last night’s game (vs. Astros, L; 5-4), which I watched via fast-forward recap, mildly hungover from a colleague’s housewarming the night before.  I caught a glimpse of Gary Sheffield in one of the freeze frames, and thought about how, fifteen years ago, I thought he’d be a remarkable improvement over Joe Orsulak.

Why the hell do I remember now that I thought fifteen years ago that Sheffield would be an improvement over Orsulak?  Why do I get the feeling that if Sheffield didn’t have his endless cramp, he’d be batting third now, just like he did then?  Why are the Mets a van that rattles like the Rapture’s coming whenever you need them to go the speed limit?

Again, I am told this is the sound a car engine makes when it’s about to fall out.

I’m locked in the death throes of a staff retreat until Tuesday evening.  And then I go to a seminar on retirement planning.  Until then, and after, let’s go Mets!  Trading deadline’s coming; avoid cheap gas.

*I know I’d said that I’d write something on Bernazard, but it’s been rather busy.  Besides, the thing’s been talked to death already.  Fire him or trade out one of the T-shirt launches for a regular mid-inning fight between him and Batdad.  That’s essentially my opinion.

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