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Smell the Coffee
Leigh Montville
October 10, 1994
That's all sports fans can do now that they have no morning box scores to savor
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October 10, 1994

Smell The Coffee

That's all sports fans can do now that they have no morning box scores to savor

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"I went to the mall last night," you tell the lump. "I always used to stay in the car, listen to the games, while everybody else shopped. Last night I found myself in a gift shop. I was talking with the saleswoman about the price of Hummel figures."

"I was at the farmers' market," the lump replies. "Never been there before. A man was telling me how to grow turnips."

You do chores. Your front lawn never has looked better, like something imported from the 18th green at Pebble Beach. Your basement is as tidy as a Marine Corps barracks at Camp Lejeune. You have found screwdrivers that were missing for a decade. Your bills have been paid for next month rather than last month. You rent movies so often that the teenage girl behind the counter at the video store knows your name. You not only read books but have also obtained a library card.

Nobody talks about you or your problems during all the strike meetings, all the press conferences. Don't the owners and players understand what has happened to your life? Sometimes you feel as if you were locked inside a room, left with magazines you don't want to read, waiting for a dentist who never appears. Now there is talk that pro basketball will also be shut down.

"Here's a dream I had," you tell the lump. "The only two people left were Madonna and me. We were running through all of these ballparks and arenas across the land. The ballparks and the arenas were perfectly clean, but all the people had disappeared. We kept going down long concrete corridors, opening doors, finding nobody. Madonna didn't know what to do. I didn't know what to do. We had lunch, I believe, at Comiskey Park. Madonna whipped up some nachos."

"Madonna," the lump says. "Now there's a woman who knows her look."

Floating. Just floating.

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