Wednesday, July 27, 2011

This and That

On a balmy Saturday afternoon a couple of weeks ago, Derek Jeter got the 3000th hit of his big league career, which to the surprise of pretty much everyone who watches Jeter play day in/day out was a home run. The young man who caught (or more accurately "retrieved") Jeter's milestone hit has caught a good deal of criticism since that afternoon - some good-natured but more than just a bit of it mean-spirited - for his decision to give Jeter the baseball. Christian Lopez failed to ask the question that everyone seems to ask (and I include in my definition of "everyone" the fella who stares back at me from my bathroom mirror every morning), which is "What is in it for me?" Lopez did what he believed was the right thing to do. While he was rewarded for his good deed, much has been written about whether Jeter and the Yankees did right by him. Baseball memorabilia is big business after all.

Exactly two weeks to the day after the New York Post was filled with "day after" tributes to Jeter and kudos to Lopez, the Post ran a piece about the big business that is the baseball memorabilia business. This piece was also about funny business. It set forth in detail the allegedly fraudulent actions of Barry Halper. Mr. Halper died six years ago. The piece makes some very strong charges against Mr. Halper and the goods he spent a lifetime passing off as legitimate, which power of persuasion was so good that Major League Baseball purchased millions of dollars of items from him. They put those items on display in Cooperstown. In the Hall of Fame. A national shrine at which Mr. Halper has a wing named in his honor.

In the interest of full disclosure, Mr. Halper's family continues to defend his good name, their good name, the quality of his character and the nature of his business practices. I do not pretend to know whether they are the tellers of the truth, whether that honor belongs to those who are aligned against them or whether the truth lies - as it sometimes does -somewhere betwixt and between the two poles. In view of all of the lambasting that young Mr. Lopez has taken for what he did, I thought it made for an interesting juxtaposition. If you were to make a reference to that juxtaposition being between Christian and the Lying, then perhaps someone would compliment you on your clever word play. Perhaps.

I stumbled upon a great little piece that Meredith Galante had in the Star-Ledger on Monday as well. Apparently web sites exist on which couples register NOT to get stuff for their wedding but to get actual, financial assistance paying for their honeymoon. It is a bit of a cottage industry it appears. In the Star-Ledger article on Monday, the one that the happy couple used as its registry was Honeyfund.

While I could not imagine at gun point asking someone else to pay for my desired vacation, after reading the article I totally got the method to the madness as it were. Instead of creating a "gift" registry jammed full of things you neither need nor want (we actually have an entire room on the first floor of our house that we use for no reason other than as an alternate route between the den and the staircase), you create an "adventure" or "vacation" registry. If someone was inclined to drop $50.00 to buy you a pie plate, then what is the harm of asking them to put that towards a tank of gas? Or a night's stay at a Motel 6?

Many years ago the Brothers Davies recognized the importance of giving people what they want. Why should that not be true in the arena of wedding gifts? Besides, the less unwanted crap given to people on the way into a relationship, the less stuff that has to be divided between them if and when fan and feces reach their point of intersection. And best of all, even if marital bliss and eternity prove not to be mutually exclusive concepts, it lessens - and perhaps eliminates altogether - the need for a garage sale.

A gift worth giving indeed.


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