The Imagination of PicassoA Chapter by HighBrowCulture
The Imagination of Picasso
The summer before Bob Dole lost the opportunity to read ‘Ivanhoe’ to kindergartners and crash at Camp David Duckett was dipping his fingers in all kinds of sports.
He learned how to swim, a requirement in any developed country, but could never float. He sank like a tease.
Duckett tried baseball but it confused him. Some days he could hit the ball every time and strike out every batter. But other days he was so terrible he couldn’t even bunt and threw crooked balls miles away from the heart of the plate. His Coach, Coach Mack, who had tootsie roll eyes and a bald head, would pull him off the mount and stick him in the outfield where nothing happened.
The poor performer’s punishment.
One time Duckett was so bored he sat down and started picking grass. After a ball was hit where Duckett was supposed to be playing Coach Mack went walnuts.
“What are you doing out there?”
Coach Mack grumbled and flicked a wad of chew out of his cheek.
“Playing baseball? Look kid, you got the edge, we just need to sharpen it.”
Coach Mack was a lucky kind of guy. He found out early as a second string short stop for a D2 school that he wasn’t destined to be anyone important. It gave him time to recalibrate. That was the second hardest thing he ever had to swallow.
When he was a kid he used to make baseball cards of himself in a Yankees uniform. He’d stick them in the frame of his favorite player, Lou Gehrig, and give them to his parents.
Lou Gehrig died of a disease that turned his muscles into mashed potatoes. They honored him by naming the disease after him. Like the Trojan Horse.
The hardest thing Coach Mack ever had to swallow was catching his father ditching his baseball card in the trash. His father didn’t even care that he’d autographed it:
To the best Dad-
The future Lou Gehrig.
Coach Mack decided that the only thing left for him to do was to create another Lou Gehrig. One with or without the disease.
“You know Lou Gehrig?”
Duckett was smacking Big League bubble gum and patting his glove.
“You’re gonna be him. I’ll help you. You’ll play for the Yankees some time. Just imagine. Sully Duckett. An All-Star.”
But Duckett didn’t care much for baseball. Wanting to be an All-Star is one thing, but working to be one is another and it requires, dare I say it, commitment. Duckett was too much of a dreamer to commit.
At the end of the season pizza party where every kid, even the ones who don’t eat a damn thing, gets a trophy made in China by other kids who don’t have time for baseball, Coach Mack made an announcement.
“MVP- Sullivan Duckett.”
The kids who really loved baseball sneered. The kids who were told all their loves that they were the best cried. The one kid who’d later get a full ride to UNC to play catcher was in the bathroom cleaning piss of his trousers because he forgot to shake. He received the Most Improved Player award. That’s the one for the worst kid on the team who surprises the coach so much by the end of the season that he wants to share it.
Duckett only cared he got the award because it meant that he was better than everyone else. But he never played baseball again. Even though he LOVED snack time.
Duckett dabbled in other sports after that, always a little bit above average. What he was best at was doing what everyone else thought he couldn’t do. That was his drive. Simply to prove he was better and move on.
In basketball he was the smallest kid. So no one bothered boxing him out. The funny thing was that he could jump higher than most centers. So naturally picking off shots and getting rebounds became his specialty.
For the one season he played.
The only sport he ever stuck with was soccer but I think that had something to do with his father coaching the first team he ever played on. It was tough. Sullivan Sr. was a tough coach. If Duckett didn’t pass or play right he ran twice as many laps as the other kids. Half on the field, half at home.
The one lesson Duckett never learned was taught to him by his father as half-time when the team was down two points.
“The race isn’t over until you cross the finish line. No matter how far behind you are, you don’t stop running.”
Their soccer team won 5 to 2.
The second lesson Duckett never learned was also taught to him by his father. It was a lesson on how to lose. Everyone always teaches you to win but not how to lose even though you lose far more then you win. And everyone is a terrible, terrible loser.
Like Attila the Hun.
Attila the Hun impaled deserters of his army. That’s when you take a civilized tree and sharpen it and shove it up a human rectum and plant the human in the ground like a giant daisy. But usually nothing grows.
Duckett wasn’t a natural athlete. He never practiced and he couldn’t read ‘the game’. And when he got bored or tired he threw in the towel and moved on. But Duckett was a natural con athlete planted in a machine of a body.
The only sports he really liked were sports he created and forced the other kids to play. One was based on the Aztec game where two teams use everything but their hands to get a ball through a hoop in the sky. The losing team was sacrificed to put smiles on the gods’ pretty faces. Nobody likes a losing team anyway.
Except the Redskins.
Katherine would have made a good athlete’s parent. She was the loudest in the crowd and specialized in pissing off the other team’s parents. She was removed from one of Duckett’s soccer games after giving the bird to a referee and giving a black eye to another parent. It was epic.
The parent who had the olive eye was named Ben. Ben was a cop, a terrible cop. He slept on the job 60% of the time, turned on his sirens to cut through red lights, and only patrolled rich white neighborhoods.
One night while Ben was sleeping on duty a drunk driver rocketed passed him and collided with another car. The driver of the car was killed on impact. His wife was transformed into a vegetable. They had only been married 3 months and 5 days. They were coming home from picking out a cradle for a baby they would never have.
When Ben arrived on the scene he found the dead driver’s wallet. He took the two twenties inside but left the fake baseball card of a kid in a Yankees jersey because it was worthless.
But there were some sports Katherine didn’t let Duckett play. She thought football was uncivilized.
“No different from those gladiators.”
“Gladiators? Not like anyone is being killed out there.”
Sullivan Sr. laughed.
“Paying for brutality. A dirty franchise, that’s all it is, a dirty franchise.”
She also told Duckett he couldn’t take karate lessons. This was because Duckett had a habit of pretending he was a power ranger and often smashed antiques he thought were those putty men. But for some reason Duckett never got into all that fake wrestling. Which was a good thing. Because something like 10 kids die every year pretending to be Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Darwin at work I suppose.
So sports never interested Duckett like they do for so many Americans. He never had a favorite sports team where he could name more than 3 players or an official jersey or a sports theme birthday party. And when you have a lack of interest in something so oddly important in the world you live in, people start to paint you black.
You know atheism is considered more offensive in most countries then rape. It’s also illegal in more countries to be an atheist then to shoot up heroin. Hahaha oh priority you tease.
© 2010 HighBrowCulture
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