Saturday, April 17, 2010

Casting A Vote For The Muck & Mire

Next fall, the first time I am tempted to throw something at my television screen after Eli Manning throws an interception, I hopefully remember that it could have been worse. The Giants could have Belligerent Ben Roethlisberger as their quarterback. Every time that idiot's name appears in the press I am reminded of the old saying, "Million dollar arm, Nickel Brain." Perhaps if he does one more thing to piss off the Rooney Family - who pay his salary and who have traditionally had a zero tolerance policy for the men they pay to play football for their Steelers comporting themselves - he will have to hope that the Jets (who have turned into the NFL's new home for behavioral miscreants) will need a quarterback.

Proving that excessive wealth is not necessarily related to ignorance, consider the case of Matthew Clemmens. It seems as if on Wednesday night Clemmens and one of his idiot friends went to see the Phillies game. Clemmens and his fellow knuckle-dragger reacted badly to the friend getting ejected from the stadium. Apparently at the Phillies' ballpark the Phillies have neglected to post signage telling their patrons that spitting on another patron is expressly forbidden. And especially so when the human spittoon is an 11 year-old girl.

Subsequent to his friend spitting on the younger daughter of the world's most patient man, Mark Vangelo of Easton Pennsylvania, and being afforded the opportunity to beat the post-game traffic jam, Clemmens proved that in spite of his size he really is an infant at heart. He first threatened to - and then in fact did - deliberately jam his own fingers down his throat, which permitted him to vomit on Mark Vangelo and Vangelo's 11 year old daughter.

Imagine if you will the heights of imbecility and incivility we have scaled as a species that permits one member of the tribe to make a conscious decision to throw up on another member......and his child. Imagine as well being an 11 year old child, enjoying a Wednesday night at the ball park with your Dad and your big sister and being first spat upon and thereafter puked upon by two other members of the crowd. Reading this story in the paper yesterday, I flashed back to Rob's first trip to Yankee Stadium. Fan Appreciation Day in 1996. Yankees vs. Red Sox. Extra Innings. Jeter knocking in the game-winning run with a base hit. A great day.

Mark Vangelo is a Captain in the Easton Pennsylvania Police Department. Wednesday night he was off-duty - simply being a Dad enjoying a ball game with his two girls. According to the story in Friday's Star-Ledger he kept his cool. He resisted the temptation to invest the 38 to 45 seconds it likely would have taken for him to dismantle Clemmens because he never lost sight of the bigger picture.....even after Clemmens apparently punched him in the face. "I was thinking about my children — what would happen to them if I was arrested?" he said. "I also was thinking about my job and providing for my family. I thought, 'I can't get arrested, I can't have that happen.'"

Unfortunately for Clemmens, the folks in the section next to the one where Vangelo and his family were sitting had no such constraints upon their response, which is why Clemmens' mug shot shows the little fat bastard with one of his eyes swollen shut. From across the Delaware River, the actions of those folks eradicates the stigma of the fans at Veterans Stadium booing Santa Claus all those years ago.

The distance between right and wrong is sometimes tantalizingly close and maddeningly far away. And every time someone makes a decision to do the wrong thing, the rest of us are left to wonder how hard it would have been for him to have decided to do the right thing. And whether he will have the quality of character to do the right thing the next time.

Part man, part monkey. And so it goes.


1 comment:

Adam Kenny said...

Thanks for taking the time to stop and read. I suspect (and I hope) that your sentiment vis-a-vis Mr. Clemmens' conduct is shared by many.