Embarrassingly Old Work: Personal Narrative: Memoir – From 1994

I’ve always loved sports, especially baseball. When I was seven, I started looking at my brother Adam’s baseball card collection. Within minutes I was enthralled. Not only had I actually heard of half the teams, but it was something that my grown-up, twelve year old brother loved, and being a little seven year old pest, I had to do it also.

Adam said that he would help me pick my first pack. He also said he had a special system of picking them, and he would do it for me. So, we set off for Queens Boulevard, each with forty cents in hand, and a smile on our faces. As he said he would, Adam shuffled through the packs and got one especially for me. I gave him my money and he, in turn, gave me my very first pack of baseball cards. The three blocks home seemed like miles, although I’m not sure whether it was because of the suspense of opening it, or just because I was walking with seven year old legs.

When we finally got home, we ran to our room, and he opened his first. I didn’t know who all of his players were, but I noticed three Mets, including Lenny Dykstra and Wally Backman, then, my favorite players. I couldn’t handle the suspense any more. I tore into the pack with the ferocity of a man-eating-tiger and stared down at a face I had never seen before, the face of Mike Aldrete.

“Adam”, I said, “Who’s Mike All-Dirty?”

“He’s a rookie.”

“What’s a Rook-key?”

“That means it’s his first year. He’s on the Giants.”

I didn’t understand.

“I thought that these were baseball cards”, I said.

“They are. Those are the San Francisco Giants.”

“Oh!”

I still didn’t understand, but I could tell he was getting annoyed. I continued through the pack. Tim Pyznarski, Pat Dodson and a lot of other no name, no price, non-Mets. In fact, the only player I had heard of was a commemorative card of Reggie Jackson, a Yankee. He was the enemy, and as far as I was concerned, my brother got me a Yankee on purpose. I started crying, and threw the cards on the floor. Luckily they weren’t ruined, but still feeling angry, I went to bed that night in a huff, and left the cards on the floor.

The next day, my brother picked the pack up off the floor, and gave it to me. I felt bad for what I had said the previous day, so I thanked him and opened it up. To my surprise, the seventeen cards were now all Mets. Mike All-Dirty, The Yankee foe, and all the rest were gone, While Doug Sisk, Bruce Bereni, and half the rest of the Mets replaced them. I was ecstatic, yet confused at the same time. Adam explained to me that he put my cards in his collection, and gave me some of his Mets doubles. Although I now have 25,000+ cards, one of which is worth $225, and am now a Yankee fan as well as a Met, the prizes of my collection are still the 1987 Doug Sisk and Bruce Bereni, priced at seven cents a piece.

After a year of accumulating, I decided that I wanted to combine my brother’s and my collections in to one. Unfortunately for me, he wasn’t as keen on the idea as I. I tried convincing him for months, yet nothing seemed to work. One summer day, my luck changed, or so I thought.

Adam was on the phone, and decided to switch in to the other room. He ran in to the kitchen, picked up the phone, and yelled “Steven, hang it up”. My response was quick.

“No”.

He tried coaxing me into doing it, and I refused. The one thing that had changed since I was a pesty seven year old, was merely the fact that I was eight. After four or five minutes, he started getting desperate, and yelled, “If you hang up right now, I’ll share baseball cards with you.” moving at a clip faster than light, I sprung out of my chair and leapt toward the phone. I hung it up in 1 second flat. When he got off the phone, he walked into our living room with three cards in his hand. They were all 1988 Topps Denny Wallings, and this puzzled me greatly.

I then found out why Adam had chosen his words so carefully. He told me that when he said he would share baseball cards, he never specified which ones. In a rage, I threw them out and stormed up to my room. We have been collaborating on one collection for two and a half years, and by now, those three Denny Wallings are probably rotting away in a land fill. With the net loss of all three cards being only fifteen cents, I don’t think I mind that much.

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