Now to tell you this now it seems almost foreshadowing my career but just sit back and enjoy this tale anyways…
In a Strat-O-Matic game, each athlete is represented by a player card, on which are printed various ratings and result tables for dice rolls. A player, who may play solitaire or against another player, is in charge of making strategic and personnel decisions for his/her team, while determining the results of his/her decisions by cross-referencing dice rolls with a system of printed charts and tables.
The year was 1987 and I was a seventeen year old boy struggling in Fairview Park, Ohio. My best friend Shawn McCormick and I would go to the comic shop over the summer and try to read as many comics as we could before the owner Jack would force us to “get a drawer” or in my case a folder of new comics that we would intend to buy.
I wouldn’t spend as much as Shawn would as my money went to my college fund. (Okay, stop laughing, but that first year at Adelphi was a pain in the butt).
Well, one summer a Strat-O-Matic league was started and we both played in it. We paid for a chance to win money and somehow I ended up with the WORST two teams in the league, the New York Mets and either the Toronto Blue Jays or the Texas Rangers, I can’t remember.
I lost consistently over the year and would try and psych my opponents out by popping up a tape deck and introducing the players with musical backup for each player.
Yes, I know that I was such a geek, just shut up and listen.
So all during this time Jack would always refer to me with a Yiddish term. Not knowing this term , wanting to be accepted I just let it go on.
It wasn’t until I looked in the library to find out what the term was that I got mad.
Yup, derogatory is a slight understatement to the word that he nicknamed me, as I was pissed.
I just disappeared. I was pissed off, and mad at the way Jack treated me and he lost my business forever.
When I was in New York , my mom called me from Cleveland and asked me about some rude guy from a comic shop who was asking for his Strat-o-matic baseball cards back so he could complete his collection.
I told her that he was a jerk but if she could find them, she could give them back to him.
I told her where I thought they were and she returned sheepishly later telling me that she had thrown that box away since she thought it was junk.
So Jack never got his cards back. His precious collection was missing two of the worst teams in baseball and I was out the money for the league. But it didn’t matter to me.
The whole reason I brought this up is that I saw the game the other day and it brought a memory to mind how I was so mad to be called what I was called and yet I didn’t get Jack back.
And for the record the statute of limitations is over.
I don’t feel guilty, I feel lucky because I didn’t have to stoop to his level to get him back.
My mom did for me.