Some points to ponder as we wait for tomatoes

This Just In...

June 05, 2000|By DAN RODRICKS

IF I WAS Bruce Bereano, and if I had collected $417,750 in lobbying fees this year despite a federal mail fraud conviction, despite public humiliation and despite the loss of my license to practice law, I'd be buying snowballs for everybody. Is this a great country, or what?

If I was Mike Mussina, I'd get out of this town next season, start fresh with a new team and look forward to a fabulous second half of my career.

If not for the Cal Ripken bobblehead figure giveaway July 14, you wouldn't catch me at Camden Yards all summer.

If I was Peter Angelos, my head would have exploded by now.

If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I never would have believed there was a tropical fish store in Rosedale called "Afishionados."

FOR THE RECORD - In yesterday's edition, the date of the Cal Ripken bobbing-head figure giveaway night at Camden Yards was reported incorrectly in Dan Rodricks' column. The correct date is July 17.
The Sun regrets the errors.

If I was Linda Tripp, I'd be deluded by feelings of vindication, too, and I'd be just as in-your-face obnoxious about it, just as afflicted by a martyr complex, and just as comfortable among the Clinton haters.

If I was Baltimore schools chief Robert Booker, I'd be thinking about pushing up the clock on my departure from this town. Maybe I could get on standby.

If I was Marvin Hamlisch conducting the "Star-Spangled Salute" with the Baltimore Ravens Marching Band at the Meyerhoff this week, I'd throw in a little Alban Berg wind concerto, just to keep everyone on their toes.

If I see Bea Gaddy, I'll congratulate her on being the best shot among Baltimore City Council members at a recent council shootout at the police academy firing range.

If I was a more patient man who did not firmly believe the maxim, "If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is," and if I could force myself to select broccoli via the Internet on a Friday night -- or any night -- then I'd try Priceline.com.

If I was a Carroll County official, I would have tried to exert some tiny bit of control over growth in housing construction at least once during the last three decades, and not let every Tom, Dick and Harry developer build whatever he wanted wherever he wanted. And then maybe the county wouldn't have water shortages in the midst of this rainy spring, and the rest of the state would actually feel a tiny bit of sympathy.

If I had a swimming pool in Eldersburg, and couldn't fill it with water, I'd rent it by the hour to skateboarders.

If I was Ray Lewis, and if the jury in Atlanta found me not guilty, I'd own up to having known Shorty Sweeting and A. J. Oakley, then scrape them off as friends forever, and do that in a big, public way when the trial ends. From then on, I'd heed the advice rapper Mannie Fresh gives younger members of his group, Cash Money, when he tells them to stay away from guys from the old neighborhood: "We don't condone outsiders. We went through a long time where it was hell trying to get these guys to understand that. Because they're young kids, and because they think everybody's cool with them, but we don't know these people, and you might not really know these people, either."

If I was Art Modell or Brian Billick, and Ray Lewis was found not guilty, I'd skip the public celebrations, or even private ones.

If I was a Maryland tobacco farmer, I'd switch to Belgian endive and leeks tomorrow.

If I was Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, I'd get down with those folks from Middle River and sign that petition to allow a November referendum on Dutch Ruppersberger's big land-grab.

If I had a cell phone, I certainly wouldn't stand in the middle of a concourse at BWI yapping about my business for everyone to hear. (Recently, I observed a guy strolling around and carrying on the longest conversation, with phrases such as, "This is a $2 million-a-year business, and I can't be giving them lobby exposure at that kind of revenue level, so you tell Jerry what I've been telling you " and "Look, if we outsource the printing and get new estimates on the distribution " And it went on and on, blah blah blah, so everyone could hear, Mr. Big Important Guy, and it was so annoying you wanted to throw wads of wet toilet paper at him.)

If I was a columnist who speculated on political futures: Al Gore becomes president and appoints Parris Glendening to a Cabinet position, which makes Kathleen Kennedy Townsend acting governor and puts her in an even stronger position for a run at the state's top job in 2002. If Rep. Bob Ehrlich runs against her, Dutch Ruppersberger will run for Ehrlich's congressional seat, and there will be a mob scene as candidates, Baltimore County Circuit Judge Jim Smith among them, line up to fill Dutch's big pants as county executive.

If I have one hope this summer, it's for juicy Maryland tomatoes. And if there's one thing to be thankful for, it's that we have the freedom in this great country to stand over the sink and eat 'em.

TJIDAN@aol.com is the e-mail address for Rodricks. He also can be reached at 410-332-6166, or by post at The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

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