Today's Word is "Disappointment"
Before I get too deep into
this week's column, let me first apologize
for my lengthy absence. Not that there hasn't
been anything going on in my life -- quite
the contrary, in fact. Since last we met
('Lobo Means Wolf'
back on 2/5), the ol' home life has been
in a state of, how do you say, upheavel.
And for the first time, I
wasn't the one that instigated the upheavel!
End result, it's a month-and-a-half
later, I'm working out of not-quite-as-palatial
new digs, but I've got a smile on my face
and things are starting to look up. So,
how's about you?
Anyway, personal recap aside,
the theme for today's column is "disappointment."
You know, nobody could throw that word around
like my father. In those days when your
success and self-worth was measured by a
report card, I'd have gladly taken an ass-whipping
over being told that I had "disappointed"
my parents. No man, smack me upside the
head, go down to the hall closet and get
out "The Belt," send me to my
room without dinner for a week... anything
other than The D Word! Aigh!!!!
Instead, he'd give me that
look, toss that word out there like a nuclear
bomb, and let the chips fall where they
may. It was never a pretty scene, but it
did inspire my ass to get better grades.
Jesus, anything but that. Anything.
Well, I've been disappointed
a lot these past few days. Disappointed
that my own dear sister continues to treat
me like I'm 13. Disappointed that my mother
doesn't feel I'm capable of selecting the
right shovel to dig a tree out of the garden.
(We won't even get into the fact that I'm
moving the same tree I planted LAST year.)
But all of this pales in comparison
to how I feel about the local pro hockey
franchise and a boyhood stomping ground.
Flyers -- and 99% of the other NHL teams
-- entered the real season last week for
the (seemingly) nine month run at the Stanley
Cup. Now, I know most sports fans that don't
follow hockey can't understand what there
is to get so worked up about, but these
friggin' Canadians have a passion for this
thing that is heretofore unseen in pro sports.
Plus, you get to keep the Cup for a day
if your team wins it. That's cool. (Check
out some of the Cup's unique
While I wasn't so much of
a hometown fan that I thought the Fly Guys
had a realistic shot at tossing the Cup
in their pool or taking it to dinner with
the governor, I figured they'd at least
get past the Buffalo Sabres, their opening
round opponent. Two home-ice losses and
some pansy-assed play later, and I'm beginning
to question the merits of that decision.
While I know that regular-season
domination means nothing, it disappoints
me that the Sabres have had little trouble
finding the sieve-like opening between goalie
Roman Checkmanek's pads, and that the Flyers
have given little support in front of their
first-year netminder. Granted, having the
walking wounded like John LeClair (hey,
maybe turning that offer down wasn't the
best idea in the world Johnny!), Simon Gagne,
and Damon Langkow return to the lineup a
little creaky isn't doing them any good.
And they certainly miss the big, imposing
presence of Keith Primeau. But maybe it's
time for Clarke to put aside his stubborn
pride and get something for The Big Baby.
Maybe I'll be writing next
week's column full of pride that the orange
and black have turned the tide on our neighbors
to the north and are ready to put 'em away
in six as I originally predicted. But something
tells me that beating The Dominator in four
of the next five (with three potential meetings
in Buffalo) is a task this team may not
be ready for.
notes aside, we also learned this week that
The Pennsauken Mart -- one of our fave stomping
grounds for the last few decades -- is rumored
to be on its last legs. The Mart (as we've
always referred to it) is a unique indoor
flea market of sorts that has undergone
several transformations through the years.
When we first started going there in the
early 1980s, it was still living off its
reputation as the home of Crazy Eddie's
Beef and Beer, where you could get a roast
beef sandwich, cold pitcher of beer, and
a pole dance from Tiny Tim's ex-wife all
in one sitting. (Honest to God!)
But there was more than flesh
under the Mart's tin roof. We ventured past
the blacked-over window of Eddie's (later
just Pennsauken Beef & Beer, still filled
with ceiling-to-bar poles but, alas, no
dancers) and found that the Mart was an
ocean of cheap merchandise just waiting
for us to wade through its skanky, fetid
my LP collection was growing to back-breaking
proportions thanks to The Frontier Trading
Post, where a catch like 'Suzi Quatro's
Greatest Hits' was a couple bucks away.
The Liquor Mart may have housed ice-cold
40's, but a fine selection of mix-and-match
imports that gave our swinging pads the
cachet of a downtown hotspot were also available.
And, of course, there was that store in
the middle. I never knew its name and still
don't. But I know that they offer "Personalized
Bra Fittings" in hard-to-find sizes,
and a recent trip confirmed that cheesy,
flammable lingerie in cup sizes up to H
& I apparently never goes out of style.
In recent years the Mart has
been a shadow of its former self. Sure,
you still get to see patrons of questionable
ethnicity, and nothing gives my self-worth
a shot in the arm more than a 300-lb woman
wearing leopard-skin tights (and I do mean
tights), topped off by a shirt that proclaims
her station in life as a "Classy Lady."
In puffy, gold lamé lettering. But
the merchandsie has changed, giving way
to more dollar stores than you can shake
a "meat stick" at, and the areas
where you have to hold your breath for fear
of taking in some of the rancid, what's-that-meat-under-the-hot-light
air into your lungs have become the rule
not the exception.
Or -- as someone suggested
when I complained about my most recent venture
through the Mart's sticky, greasy doors
-- has the transformation really been the
other way around? Has the Mart simply evolved
as it should have, and I'm the one that's
changed? Am I no longer able to appreciate
the finer things in life, like chrome and
glass furniture, knock-off toys from China,
and Playstation 2 games so cheap that they've
obviously "fallen off" the backof
a truck somewhere in Camden?
This is a question and a topic
yours truly can't possibly tackle in one
week's column. More soul-searching lies
ahead. Hopefully, I can give the topic more
thought if JOSIE
& THE PUSSYCATS really sucks ass.
Hey, don't forget to check
for toys, games, and other unrelated merchandise
as well as our current
auctions going on over at eBay!