Tuesday, December 21, 2010



                     by Angelo Spagnolo
Once upon a time there was a guy who decided to celebrate his wife's birthday in grand style...He decided to spring for a weekend trip to New York City in early December. On the agenda was shopping, fine dining and of course, a broadway play. The play was to be "42nd Street", one of the biggest shows at the time.

Once in the "Big Apple" and after getting situated, this guy decided to take a walk along Broadway with the missus. While walking down the bitter cold street he saw the theater where the hit show "Cats" had just debuted a month or so before. It was all the rage. 

"Oh honey, look" he said excitedly! "It's "Cats" ! "Would you like to go?"

"Oh yeah, sure, like you're going to be able to get a ticket," she replied sarcastically.

"It doesn't cost anything to ask," he said while approaching the box office window.

"Do you have tickets for tonight's performance," he asked while half-expecting the cashier to laugh?

"Yeah, we have tickets," the street-tough cashier responded. "$200 bucks."

ABOVE: How not to "win friends and influence people". Buy tickets for you and your wife to see "Cats" and then do the unthinkable.

He wheeled around and asked the birthday girl if she wanted him to splurge for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. She nodded "yes" excitedly and then they had about five hours to kill before the show.

In between, this couple shopped, walked, ate, walked, shopped, walked and got colder and colder as the day wore on. A half hour before the big show. they headed for the theater, cold and tired. But this was their big night! They were going to see "Cats"!

Once inside the theater, the guy noticed that they had about the worst seats in the house. They were so far away from the stage that he felt like he needed a telescope to see what was going on. On top of that, he noticed how warm it was inside the theater...or was it because he had been frozen solid all day long in the frigid, windy New York air?

As the show started and the lights went down, the man got more comfortable in his seat. He had now taken off his coat and he had it across his lap, almost like a blanket. Yes, he was really starting to get comfortable.

Meanwhile, the musical was not exactly holding his attention. A bunch of people dressed up like cats singing and dancing and jumping around wasn't exactly his "cup of tea". But yes, he was at least feeling more and more comfortable.

His eyelids began to get heavy. "Oh no," he thought. "This can't happen. I paid $200 for this seat!"

Then, out of the blue, he was overtaken by a sudden pain in his ribcage. Was he having a heart attack, gall bladder maybe? No it was his wife elbowing him because he was snoring loudly. So much for spending $200 wisely.

Fast forward about 20 years to last Wednesday night. This same guy has been looking forward to seeing the replay of the 1960 World Series game seven. Fortunately he has the MLB network on his satellite package so he'll finally be able to see it (he was six years old when it happened and outside of pandemonium, he remembers little else about the event).

He watches Bob Costas from the Byham Theater introducing all the celebrities and players in attendance, then follows intently watching each inning unfold. His wife, not a sports fan in the least, has long since vacated the room in search of another television. The game is captivating, but for some reason, he has a chill and so he gets a Steeler blanket to help warm him up. It's now the eighth inning and it's getting to be rug cutting time.

ABOVE: Dear Mr. Mazeroski: Please accept my congratulations and most-sincere apologies...

Once under the blanket and warming up, he was truly enjoying watching this all-time classic, but  was now lying down and had his head on a pillow!

Oh no, not again!

It seemed to him as though he had closed his eyes for just an instant, but when he opened them up and looked at the clock on the wall he saw that there were two hours of "missing time". On the television was a commercial for a vegetable chopper. Had he been the victim of an alien abduction? Possibly, but more likely it was just another case of "Mr. Sleepy Head" playing another cruel trick.

Sleeping through "Cats" was an expensive mistake, true. But missing Bill Mazeroski's homer was a shameful act that will take a long time for him to recover from.

The moral of the story: Do not ever lay anything on you to raise your body temperature...a coat or a blanket... unless you want a painful rib shot or even worse, the guilt of knowing that you'll have to wait how much longer again before you finally see the ninth inning of game seven of the 1960 World Series.