Thursday, November 4, 2010



Not only am I about to show my age, but I am going to show you that I can pull up certain pieces of information when given the right piece to lead me to its heart. This is a story about Detroit, what it takes and means to represent the city, and why it was harder to leave town this time than any other time before.

From a young age I got the opportunity to see how Detroiters, including folks from the Metro, were seen in out state Michigan as well as simply out state. Being from the Motor got you a certain respect that was different from Chicago, L.A. or even New York. ‘Made in Detroit’ was like the stamp on an engine block from Dodge Main or Ford Rouge, and you had the kind of credibility that money could not by.

Because it was the early 80’s and the four major sports franchises were in such states of fail that even the locals came up with terms of derision for them. Before this was ‘Hockeytown’ and Stanley Cup banners were hoisted at the Joe, the Olympia was the home of the ‘Dead Things’. Before the Pistons turned their brand of thuggery into championship basketball, ‘the Bad Boys’ were just that, bad. And prior to George taking over the team, a local sportscaster came up with phrase, ‘bless you, boys’, as a sarcastic jeer for a Tiger victory, they came so few and far in-between. Even Detroit’s proud music heritage was teetering as Berry Gordy took Motown record out west. Sad times, with the beginning of a major valley for the auto industry, there wasn’t a lot to be proud of here, and all we could do was ride with the punches.

Riding with the blows is an appropriate statement, because it was the heritage of another dormant sport, while not a franchise or ‘team’, it would began a rise of civic prominence and esteem, and that was boxing. Then came baseball and it would be the arrival of the already legendary manager George ‘Sparky’ Anderson, that the fortunes of the Detroit Tigers would turn around. And once said in derision, the phrase ‘Bless You Boys’ took on another meaning as the ’84 Tiger begin a season for the ages, with the best 40 game start in the history of baseball. By July, the only thing that need to be decided was the team destined to be obliterated in the World Series by the ’84 Tigers, who while with many good professional players, had only one ‘maybe’ Hall-of-Fame player, pitcher Jack Morris, and his irascibility will prolly going to keep him from ever being voted in by the press.

The point is, the ’84 Tigers were perfect representative for Detroit because they were good at what they do, and they showed up ever single day to do the job that they were paid to do. During the Sparky Anderson era, you didn’t hear about player grumbling, because that was not what the group did. When the bigger names moved on for bigger money, it was understood and Detroit never ‘hated on’ those cats… hell, when I think of Jack Morris gutsy 10-inning effort for the Minnesota Twins in the ’91 World Series, I still thought of his performance as the kind of stuff that made him not only a Tiger, but in my mind, a Detroiter.

What made this today’s topic and how it factors into the calculations for the tacking in my voyage(s) is that Sparky suffered from dementia. His mind at the end couldn’t even function at a level to allow for speech, much less control his actions or remember names. It also has a role to play in why I did the Ex-list thing and why I could not include my wife in that plan.


Yeah, I got some chips on my shoulder. No, they are NOT going anywhere and I am not going to dare you to knock them if, but if you do, what I promise is a beat-down of such proportions that Joe Theisman would look at you and say, ‘Dude, you got effin’-blitzed!’

I knew what I wanted to do with my life when I met her. Though I did not want to ‘add water and stir’ a family, since I was raised by a single mother, I thought it screwed to discriminate against her and we dated. Can’t blame her for the rush off the cliff, because I went willingly, but sure, I cut her a bigger slice for our fail than I do myself.

She did not have a plan. I did. What I believe is that if you don’t have either a plan or a way to improvise and come up with a reasonable alternative, then you go with the cat is holding the map. She couldn’t do that, in all her ghetto-fabulous glory, her Daddy issues (Laws yes, she had them a plenty, she did!!) and her want for a ‘Calgon solution’ to all the instability in her mind and life. Had I not only slowed my roll but followed my FIRST MIND, as there was enough evidence to get out of the relationship… aw, hell, it reminds me more of the FBI having dots in both Minnesota and Phoenix, and being unable to connect them before 9/11. The lesson that stood out clearly for me from my marriage was this… you can tell me WHAT to do (because if you know and I don’t, it makes sense, right??) or tell me HOW to do it (when AKA's Dad had me doing yard work and gardening, he showed me what he wanted then, he sat down somewhere and let me get it done… mission freakin’ accomplished!!) My ex-wife is one of those ‘I don’t need a man’ girls who at the same time are desperately seeking to be in a relationship.

Odds-Bodkins!! That is what makes me take back the share of blame that gives her the larger piece because I KNEW SHE was like that. Ugh!! We would never have peaceful days because I was still willing to try to balance working my plan and being a husband/father while she was off on some other stuff. We could literally not communicate effectively with each other, as the only time I was able to speak up with her in the room and tell my side of the marriage was a short-lived attempt at counseling, before that final straw would break.


In college the environment is ripe for experimentation. The biggest obligation you have is one that has been the focus of your life outside of family since you were five, and that is, to go to school. Yeah, many folks had to get a job and go to school and all that, but the focus never did. All you had to do was get an education… what for, who really knew what for?

That also applied to a lot of the things you thought you knew, believed and would be shocked at. When I got to school after the fail of marriage and the service, I had thismuch more life experience than the rest of the students. Not only that, when it would come to the co-eds, I had mad game as if my name was Scott Skiles! (not only DID he have mad game @ State, that line was a lyric from a hip-hop song!!)


So for the interested parties, this is all going to wrap up neatly, whenever the end comes. I know it is there, because it casts a shadow. What I hope is that I am clear and the ‘plot’ as it were, was easily followed. I think as a writer I would like for my stuff to be more accessible and if I were to use ‘them big words’, that I could mix them in like a William F. Buckley or a Joseph Campbell, you feel me? Until then, I am out!!


Toon said...

I always root for the Tigers. I figure somebody has to.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

The Metro has a special karma, and you will have that with you no matter where you travel.