I had never been so disappointed as the day a troupe of Harlem Globetrotters came to town. On TV they were the finest club of ballplayers anyone had ever seen. Steven Brown and I had gotten into a fight because he said the L.A. Lakers were the best team in history, and before I shoved him and punched him in the ear, I informed him of the spotless record, impeccable dribbling, and shooting prowess of the Globetrotters.
My dad bought me a red, white, and blue basketball that was bigger than my head, and I had a tough time dribbling with one hand. He yelled, "Take that damn thing outside! This is the last time I'm telling you!" when I had my most successful attempt at rolling the ball down one arm, across my shoulders and neck, where it shot off my opposite arm and smashed into a shelf of religious figurines his mother had left him.
The day the Globetrotters came to town I wanted to show them I was a basketball player, too, so I put on my green shorts and tank top with the white piping around the arms and legs. Since Sonora was an authentic Western town and I thought I might shoot the breeze with the fellahs after their game and maybe show them around, I also wore my cowboy boots and hat.
"That's what you're wearing, huh? Shorts and boots?" the ol' man asked when I clomped out of my room and onto the kitchen tile. "Okay," he shrugged.
The game was set to take place in Old Towne Sonora, down the block from our house, and we met other neighbors who were walking to the game, and I yelled, "Hey Steve," at Steven Brown, who still had a purple mark on his neck from where I'd thumped him.
Steve and I took our seats along the handrail on Washington Street, and my dad bought us bags of popcorn from the vendor in the post office parking lot. From a red, white, and blue van, the black shaved head and long slender arms of a player poked out, and I told Steve, "That's Curly, he's the best," but I corrected myself. The man coughing and tossing food wrappers out of the van couldn't be Curly.
They were all fakes. The real Globetrotters, the ones from TV, weren't there that day, and their replacements were miserable, and the actor playing Meadowlark Lemon smelled of booze and cigarettes.
A couple of the players did okay, but it seemed that the Columbia Junior College Claimjumpers, the local team, might have taken them had they made a couple key defensive moves.
"That wasn't the real team," I told Steve, and I rubbed my eyes. "The real guys are probably busy being drawn for Scooby Doo , or they're trouncing Michigan State or someone. And they're in New York." And they were. Somewhere, gliding on air to the whistle of "Sweet Georgia Brown."
WHAT I WILL AND WON'T WATCH THIS WEEK
Thursday, July 6
Rock Star: Supernova
CBS 9:00 p.m. Apparently that Mötley Crüe and Jane's Addiction money didn't go quite as far as they thought it would, because Tommy Lee and Dave Navarro are cobbling together a new band on a reality television series. Reaching way into their bag of vocabulary words, they've pulled out the name Supernova . Super, meaning great, and nova, meaning new, combine in a compound word to mean, "good luck with that piece of crap."
Shallow Hal (2001)
FX 7:30 p.m. One entry found for one-trick pony . Main entry: one-trick pony
Part of speech: noun
Definition: any person or group with only one discernable trait, talent, or area of expertise
Etymology: from act in Cuffling Cousins Circus of mid-1800s
Friday, July 7
ABC 9:00 p.m. This week, on my new hit series, Corky LMNOP , Corky sets out to find his real dad. Is it the mechanic with the upholstered van and the jar of olive oil or the kindly gypsy with the eye patch and folk band? What mysteries lie in Corky's velvet bag of gemstones? Find out this week on a very special Corky LMNOP . Or you could punch yourself in the groin until you're purple and crying, whichever holds more satisfaction for you.
Saturday, July 8
WGNSAT 12:00 p.m. The reviews are in for Footloose . Dudley Redford of the Kentucky Derby Program says, "Sarah Jessica Parker prances across the screen and majestically trots through this role." Mike Alvarez, reviewer for New Mexico State University's student newspaper , adds, "Bacon sizzles!"
K35DG 7:00 p.m.The folks of Beta Pointe got along okay, but they always felt a little inferior. Their football team never took the county championship. Their tallest building was one story shorter. Stuff like that.
Sunday, July 9
FOX 10:00 a.m. Through advanced hydraulic nanotechnology, I've isolated and overcome the weaknesses in my robotic tail. My tail is now strong enough to punch through a car door while I'm comfortably eight feet away, but it's also dexterous enough to peel a banana or build a model ship in a bottle. Soon, my army of loyal baboon soldiers will storm the Gateway Arch of St. Louis, carrying the recombinant ray generators, and we'll begin phase two of my plan.
Monday, July 10
FOX 8:00 p.m. Better than the show I developed, Calcutta Bus Station Men's Room .
Tuesday, July 11
I Love the '70s Volume II
VH1 8:00 p.m. Milk it. When it stops giving milk, beat it. Ride it into the ground. Slap it. Club it. Wring the last breath from its lungs. Empty its guts into the dust. Stomp it. Spread around whatever remains and make it thin . Keep going. You can get more out of that one show premise where Q-list comedians make snide remarks about bell-bottoms. Harvest whatever grows where it once was and force the crop back down our throats. Please and thank you.