The senior moments seem to be coming at a fast and furious pace these days, but as the rest of this entry will illustrate, I was having senior moments even before I was old enough to vote.
This latest mea culpa comes from an earlier blog and my column in Sports Collectors Digest from June 25 when I was taking note of the 2010 inductees to the Baseball Reliquary’s Shrine of the Eternals.
Listing the three newest enshrinees – Pete Rose, Casey Stengel and Roger Angell – I cheerfully pointed out that Angell had written the classic book The Boys of Summer. Duh.
To say I know better is an understatement. The author of that remarkable book is Roger Kahn (pictured here), whom I have interviewed for SCD. And I read the book within a couple of years of its release in 1972.
I have loyal reader Richard Zamoff of Washington, D.C., to thank for pointing that out, and I am sure a number of others spotted the goof as well. I haven’t got any good excuse for doing something so dumb, in large part because I don’t much care for excuses.
I may be able to take some comfort in knowing that I am not alone in having the occasional spaced-out moment, nor is there convincing evidence that this is related to advancing age any more than it might be to my general state of confusion.
I read a short piece on the ESPN website from one of their megastar authors – I think it was Rick Reilly – who told this story about an anonymous author who had been doing a book tour of two cities per day, and doing it without such niceties as a tour escort.
As Reilly told it, the guy would get to a city, rent an economy-class car for the day and start hitting the bookstores to sign copies, etc. He flew into Indianapolis, rented the car and started driving away from the airport when he realized he LIVED in Indianapolis and had his very own automobile residing in the long-term parking lot. I liked that story; I could do that.
And now to my evidence that my gaffes are probably unrelated to aging. Five or six years ago I was in Stevens Point, Wis. (yes, home of Larry Fritsch Cards), and spotted the place where I had occasionally taken my dry cleaning.
With a well-soiled winter coat in the back seat, I turned into the parking lot, grabbed the coat and hustled into the facility. I flung the coat on the counter and asked how much it would cost to dry clean it.
“We can’t dry clean it,” said the clerk. I was instantly on guard, afraid that she was going to say it was too soiled and beyond redemption. “Why not,” I came back with.
“Because this is a copy center,” she replied without a hint of condescension. And I looked around and, sure enough, it was a copy center, with huge Xerox machines and the like and boxes of multi-colored paper stacked to the ceilings. It seemed pointless at that point to argue with her.
In my defense, the building had been a dry cleaners several years previous.
And one more, from 1971, when I was all of 21 years old and one of 30,000 or so servicemen working at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Getting off work at about midnight, I proceeded to look for my car in the vast Pentagon parking lot for the better part of 40 minutes, at which time I realized that I hadn’t actually driven to work that day.
So I called the same guy I had car pooled with the previous afternoon, and I can’t remember if he thought it was funny to pick me up at 1 a.m. or not. Probably not.