On Sunday my wife and I were driving back from New Haven, listening to the Yankees play the Blue Jays. We were also in search of a copy of NEWSDAY, as a review of SOMETHING MISSING was scheduled to appear on Sunday.
It was a crucial moment in the ballgame when we pulled into a local 7-11, our fifth stop so far. NEWSDAY isn’t easy to find in central Connecticut. With our daughter sleeping in the back, I had been running into the bookstores, convenience stores and gas stations looking for the paper while my wife waited in the car, as would be the case at this stop as well.
The game was tied at four in the fifth inning. The Yankees were at bat, two men on, with Derek Jeter at the plate. He is about half a dozen hits from becoming the all-time Yankee’s hit leader, and he’s having a monster year. A hit machine.
The count was two balls-two strikes (any Yankee fan knows that Jeter never gets a hit before he has two strikes on him) when I turned to my wife and asked, “Please listen to what happens here, okay? I want to know if Jeter gets a hit and if the Yankees take the lead.”
She agreed as I leapt forth from the car and ran into the 7-11, where I at last found copies of NEWSDAY. I took a moment to confirm that my review was in the paper and then paid for the copy. I couldn’t have been gone for more than three minutes.
When I returned to the car, there was a commercial advertising hot dogs on the radio. The inning had ended, though in my heart of hearts, I was hoping that Jeter had hit a homerun and the commercials were signaling a call to the bullpen. Unlikely but possible.
“What happened?” I asked.
“What happened with Jeter’s at-bat? Did he get a hit?”
“Oh,” my wife said. “I wasn’t listening.”
“You weren’t listening? All I asked you to do was keep track of one at-bat. And it was nearly over when I left!”
“I know,” she said. “But I got distracted by that sign for Halal Meat. Look at that long list of food items, and stuck right in the middle of all that food is Calling Cards. Weird. Huh?”
I checked the result of Jeter’s at-bat later, when the blinding glare and psychic gravity of Halal Meat could no longer exert its influence upon my wife. Jeter walked, but the next batter struck out to end the inning.
The Yankees went on to lose 14-8 in one of their most poorly played games of the year. But the review, which is not currently available online, was great, and it included a photo of me and the cover of the book.