St. Loo, they got more TV sets which work

November 29, 1993|By Milton Bates

THERE was my septuagenarian sidekick, Fats Drobnak, getting shorn at Tony's shop on South Highland. I had dropped by for a trim, secure that Tony's fingers were still nimble. Fats, I knew, was a longtime patron. Each fractured the English language in a different way.

So what's new, my man? I asked.

"Well, I'm glad it's finally settled," Fats replied.

You mean NAFTA?

"Naw. Me and Clara been fightin' about when to get the TV fixed. Thing's been actin' up, and givin' it a belt don't work no more. Gotta be out of warrantee. It's a Muntz."

Safe assumption, but what's the issue?

"Well, she likes the soaps and games durin' the week, and me, I watch college ball and bowlin' on Saturday, but we decided it's ** goin' out Tuesday."

That would be the 30th.

"Right."

And why then?

"The NFL money men'll lower the boom on Balmer that night, and the stations are gonna fall all over theirselves coverin' it like they did last month. Clara, she was mad when they cut in on 'Jeopardy' to talk to some stiff who had nothin' to say. Good thing they didn't mess up 'Wheel' or she'd of been up there picketin'. She likes to see 'em spin. And me, I don't need to see the guv weepin' no more on the tube. Once was enough."

So, Fats, you are not sanguine about the hometown being selected?

"You kiddin'? St. Loo, they got more TV sets which work. That's where the bucks are, and where the bucks are the owners are. Period. Case closed."

That sounds a little Perotesque.

"Look, we been gettin' along all right up to now, so if you're comparin' me to that big-eared 3-dollar bill Perot, knock it off, OK?"

Accept my apology. Still, you must agree the governor's intervention to produce the Lerner bid will help our cause.

Hey, the whole town knows that's a crime. The guv goin' to that Cleveland guy at the last tick is 'bout as bad as when he talked up for Bush against the kid. And now he gets that tough Republican broad to run for governor. It'll do about as much good, which is to say nothin'."

Please, Fats, if you can't be politically correct, at least try to be civil.

"Well, let's be honest. Some of 'em is ladies but certain others is broads."

Whatever. Still, Schaefer seems fixated on returning pro football to the city.

"Yeah, mostly I like the guy but sometimes he gets a little nuts. S'pose Irsay wanted to come back here? Would he say: 'Great, all is forgiven.'? Prolly would, and wouldn't that be somethin'? Way I look at it, some things you do, some you don't, 'specially when you got no shot."

You seem to think Boogie was ill-treated.

"Don't you? Like he said in that ad he took out, Lerner's bank come to him, clocked all his numbers, and then he's bumped by them phony three-piece suiters and the guv. The poliicians shoulda got behind Boogie and his boys from the break. Forget the ponytail. They got the what-with, and they're locals. Paterakis, he's from the East Side like Angelos. What the hell we need with more like Irsay and Bennett Williams and Jacobs? Buncha bums."

Strong words. Still, many support the governor's all-out effort and wish him well.

"Look, if the guv was thinkin' straight, which, like I said, they's plenty proof he sometimes don't, he'd know this is a boat race."

Boat race?

"Track talk. Fixed. Where all the jocks know the winner before. Oney these jocks is bigger 'cause they eat better."

Disheartening.

"So Lerner loses and we lose twice. We get no team plus they's plenty egg on our face. Cincy or New Englad or Tampa'll be knockin' on our door soon enough, so we coulda lost this one with some class. Flat out dumb."

My friend shook his head, and at last Tony spoke. "You finish, Mr. Fats. How you like?"

"Them sideboards is pitcher-perfeck as per usual. And you got me smellin' good. Clara'll like that. I got a hot horse at Laurel, and we get the TV back Wednesday. Team or no team, things is lookin' up."

Milton Bates writes from Baltimore.

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