Blackhumouristpress's Blog

September 12, 2011

Harry the Angry Clown or The Cubs Suck

Every city in the United States has that local figure that is known by most of the inhabitants who are native to that city.  Harry the Angry Clown, is well known in Chicago for snapping one day the way a suicidal gun man does at a shopping mall.  Harry never hurt anyone and never really wanted to.  He was and always will be a clown and clowns really love to make people happy when happiness is hard to find.

            Harry was a smallish Jewish boy who grew up in an area of the south side of Chicago that was Italian, Irish or Black.  Harry’s father joked that having to dodge the micks, dagos and schwartas, would either make him fast or tough.  For all of Harry’s disdain of the south side and ethnic groups, Harry never left his home.  Harry stayed and took care of his parents and when they passed on, he remained in the home he always lived in.

            Harry’s parents had wished that Harry would have become an attorney or a doctor or even a slick car salesman.  The choice to become a full time clown did not sit well with either of his parents.  Harry’s father would generally say the same things over and over to him about the logistics of not having a conventional vocation.

            “Whaddya gonna do if you get sick?  You want the government should take care of you?  The goddamn government is broke and corrupt.  They’ll find a goddamn loophole to leave you out in the cold.  You wanna sit at Cook County with all the schwartzas?  Huh?  You smoke and don’t exercise.  You eat nothing but fatty food.  You’re gonna wind up a heart attack patient by the time you’re thirty years old.”

            At the age of forty, Harry did wind up with a scare that left him waiting in the lobby of the country hospital for hours just as his father had prophesized.  After real heart attacks, strokes, stabbings, shootings and overdoses, Harry would be seen by a physician.  Harry didn’t much mind the wait because his favorite baseball team, The Chicago Cubs, was just beginning a road game on the west coast against San Diego.

            Most intelligent people who analyze why it is that grown men live for and follow sports as if the sport had some sort of true direction on their lives, will tell you that these men are borderline delusional and lacking fundamental depth to their own lives.  Following the statistics of individual players, spending larges sums of money on tickets to games, alcohol and food, when truly viewed properly appears to be a waste and a terrific diversion from reality.  Those that run over small children in attempts to retrieve foul balls or home runs are usually cut of the same cloth as those who call sports radio and refer to their teams as if they were truly part of the team. “We just didn’t have it tonight…” These same individuals stand in line to have transitory athletes sign all sorts of things for them so that one day someone will enter their homes and ask who it was that signed that T shirt, that bat, that photograph?  That moment will bring depth and meaning to their lives.  Hopefully.

            Harry was one of those men who in their mid forties, had followed the Chicago Cubs so closely that he could actually be put on a panel and quizzed game show style on obscure statistics and players who nobody remembered or cared about.  Sitting in the hospital lobby really didn’t bother Harry.  There he was in a red and yellow outfit with a red bulbous nose and white and black make up on his face.  He held his chest as he slouched in his chair glued to the small television screen which was strapped to the ceiling.  Other occupants either lived in the lobby because they were homeless or were poor people without insurance.  Just about every seat in the lobby was taken but Harry felt fortunate to have a seat in front of the television.  A burly and surly security guard sauntered through the lobby to make sure nothing too strange was happening.  Harry stopped the guard and asked/demanded that he turn up the volume enough so that he could hear the commentators babble.  The security guard refused to do it.  Harry approached a young black child that was sitting in the lobby with his mother and his brothers and sisters.  His youngest sister had swallowed a bell from a toy.  The mom packed up her five children and took two buses to get to the hospital.  Harry eyed the young boy who was about ten years of age.  He thought the boy was strong and agile enough to reach up and turn up the volume manually to the television if he were to climb up and stand on Harry’s shoulders.

            “Hey son!  How would you like to make five dollars right here?  No funny stuff even though I’m a clown.  Five dollars and a candy bar.  And I will give your brothers and sisters each a candy bar too.  Doesn’t that sound swell?  Whaddya say?”

            The young wiry boy climbed up Harry in his clown suit as if he were a tree.  He reached up and turned up the volume.  The security guard was behind a podium talking to another security guard and never noticed the event taking place.  The young boy scared the death out his mother and awed those sitting around watching when he did a backwards flip off of Harry’s shoulders and landed on his feet.  The boy got a lot of claps.  The clown got to watch the Cubs game with the benefit of audio.

            The game ended and then the post game ended and then reruns of Friends ended.  The late news came on and then infomercials for bras and a waist band that hid fat.  Then the Cubs game aired again about 2am in the morning.  Harry was still waiting.  The young boy who did the flip was asleep, leaning against a younger brother.  Harry watched the game for the second time.  The Cubs had a commanding 10-0 lead.  Zambrano had enough runs to hold him through three games and yet the Padres whittled away at the lead until the Padres were up 16-10 in the ninth inning.  The Cubs would have had to score a touch down and kick and extra point to win the game at that point.  Seeing the game a second time put Harry over the edge.

            It is hard to say what it is that makes marginally sane people throw down their cards and opt out of the game.  For Harry it was a culmination of several events that day.  His wife and secretary had sent Harry to 7200 South Central when the party was at 7200 North Central, which was about twenty miles away.  Harry missed the party and was being yelled at by the parent who said they had nothing else planned for twenty screaming and crying five year olds who were bored watching movies they had all seen many times.  While Harry was listening to the berating, a Chicago Police officer noticed the clown talking on his cell phone while driving.  Within the city limits of Chicago, it is unlawful to speak on a handheld device.  Harry was ticketed for the use of a hand held cell phone, no seat belt, expired license plates, expired license card and a broken mirror.  The cost to Harry was going to be hundreds of dollars.  Harry called his wife and began swearing at her about not paying attention to north and south.  His wife had no sense of direction and since she lived on the south side, she assumed the call came from the south side and never asked the client if the house they lived in was north or south of downtown Chicago.  Everything just seemed to fall apart at once for Harry.  He felt a tightening in his chest and decided that he needed to get to a hospital at once.  Upon trying to get admitted to the nearest hospital, he was directed to the county hospital that had to take people with no insurance benefits.  Fourteen hours later, Harry felt no more tightening in his chest.  He was just incensed that he was still waiting and that he had to endure one of the most miserable Cub losses twice in a day.  Harry walked out of the hospital and went directly to a bar on the north side that closed at four in the morning and then opened up again two hours later at six.  The Cubs were scheduled to play the Pittsburg Pirates later that day as a make up for a rained out game earlier in the season.  Both Pittsburg and the Cubs would have rather told the league that they both were happy to forfeit the meaningless game but the league wouldn’t let them do that.  Instead the Cubs had to catch a red eye back to Chicago and be at Wrigley Field by 11am.  It was a tough day for millionaires but they worked it out.

            Harry drank beer and ate nuts and said nothing to the other patrons that were getting off of a third shift and wanted a beer or two before going to sleep.  At about 11:30, Harry paid to get into Wrigley Field and was one of the first fans to enter the park.  It will forever be known as the game that never happened.  No rain or snow or other acts of God stopped the game from happening.  The game was cancelled due to a hostage situation where by the entire Cubs team was being held at gun point by a man in a clown outfit in their clubhouse.  Harry yelled into the faces of players as he made them kneel on the ground with their heads down as if they were praying.  Nobody noticed at first that the gun was one of those guns that shoot a daisy out.  One of the players who was an avid hunter in the off season realized that the gun was a fake.  Several players rushed Harry and held him until the authorities arrived.

            Harry wrote a book about his devotion to the Cubs and how he came to snap one day.  This was after receiving psychiatric help and paying his debt to society in jail. Upon being released from prison, Harry did talk show after talk show and even had a cameo on Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm upon becoming a free man.  The Chicago White Sox gave Harry a life time season ticket four rows up behind home plate in full view for the viewers at home, watching the games on television.  The caveat was that Harry had to attend all home games in full clown gear with an oversized White Sox hat and T shirt.  The White Sox were nearly as frustrating as the Cubs but at least they ended each season with a winning record and a tease of post season play.  Harry became less enthralled with baseball and spectator sports in general.  When asked about professional baseball by a sports reporter in Chicago and the allure they hold with the common man, Harry had only one comment while smoking a cigarette outside US Cellular Field.

            “It’s all pretty much a clown show… Right?”

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