There were these three guys…

There were these three guys…

If only it had been one of those old jokes. Like “There were these three guys in a bar” or “Three guys were cast away on this desert island” or “There was this priest, pastor and rabbi.”

But it wasn’t a joke. They were real people who looked a lot like me. All men. Two white, one black. Sitting outside on chairs, about ten feet apart. I got a hint about their political persuasion when I noticed the absence of masks. Except for that, they could have been Democrats. Even be my close buddies.

It was ten days after the election, and they were being interviewed by ABC’s Martha Raddatz in Youngstown, Ohio. I’ve seen Martha do interviews in a well-reasoned manner, willing to accept responses without argument. She’s definitely no Rachel Maddow. Maybe more like PBS anchor, Judy Woodruff. Someone whose rants are usually limited to no more than a raised eyebrow.

It was unseasonably warm in Youngstown. The three men were in short sleeves. The setting reminded me of my teenage years on Chicago’s north side. Flat, green with no hint of drought, a few solitary trees…boring. What kind of angst was it that brought them before the cameras, instead of in their usual Saturday morning positions on the local bowling team.

Pleasantries were brief and then Martha said to Tony, “So you think that Donald Trump has won the election?”

“Absolutely. Joe Biden could never have gotten 78 million votes. No, not ever. The most votes ever? Give me a break. And even if he did, I could never accept Joe Biden as president.”

He went on, “I used to be a Democrat, but I promised myself that if I ever found a guy who sounds like me, I’d vote for him. Then I found Trump; a guy who talks just like us.”

Eric chimed in, “As soon as I heard there were gonna be mail-in votes, I knew it was a recipe for disaster. I don’t think there’s any way of proving that the person who mailed it in is the person who actually did it.”

Martha turned to Gino, “Do you feel the same way?”

“Absolutely. Too much smoke and mirrors. Ballots appearing and disappearing. Those globalists and liberals. I put nothing past them.”

Martha brought herself to her full five-foot-two-inch height and said, “But what about the fact that election officials have said this is the cleanest election ever. No widespread irregularities.”

To which Eric said, “Nope, just doesn’t smell right. Too many irregularities.”

Martha packed up her gear and walked down the street to where she found Teri, mother of four and a staunch Republican.

Every bit as sure of herself as Gino, Tony and Eric were, she was positive there were massive ballot counting misdeeds. “I went to bed winning, and I wake up a loser. They kept finding lots of Democrat ballots and no Republicans. I don’t believe it and never will.”

It reminded me of when the Cubs lost the 1984 National League championship series to the San Diego Padres. The Cubs had a terrific year. It was the first time they were in post-season play since 1945, when I was 6. They had won 96 games, and more than 2 million people bought tickets to Wrigley Field. Ryne Sandberg won the NL Most Valuable Player award, and they had a pitcher who lost only one game the whole season.

They won the first two playoff games to the Padres in Wrigley Field. I wasn’t cocky but I figured they were a shoo in. Then they lost the next three in San Diego, effectively renewing their reputation as losers.

I was crushed. I walked through our Northridge neighborhood mumbling, “I can’t believe it. It can’t be true.” Over and over again.

But my rants changed nothing. The truth was right there, permanently etched in the books for all to see. There was nothing more I could do but live with it. So I did for another 32 years until the Cubs won the World Series.

I’m sure those three guys, Gino, Tony and Eric, are doing the same thing. Wandering around their Youngstown neighborhood, scratching their heads and refusing to accept the truth.

And what irritates me most is that they probably won’t have to wait 32 years to be back on top.

2 Responses to “There were these three guys…”


  1. 1 jackielakshmi November 19, 2020 at 11:44 am

    Such a clever account of that newscast !
    I saw it with you!
    Love the analogy with the Cubs!
    Well done as always!
    Love you❤️

    Like

  2. 2 Maureen Celusta November 23, 2020 at 11:54 pm

    I went to all 3 Cubs/Padres games in 1984. Bought tickets from a scalper, who came to our hotel room on Sat. night and would only sell us 4, so we took an in law with us on Sunday. I saw the ball go through Leon Durham’s legs at 1st base and knew it was over for the Cubs, even though there were several innings left. Billy goat curse got him…one of the best players the Cubs had ever had Rode home with husband driving, crying all the way. Never felt the same about them after that. While happy when they finally ended the curse in ’16, it wasn’t the same as it would have been in ’84. There are times one falls out of love and nothing the lover does later can bring it back, not really.

    Like


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