I suppose parents are always aware that this little person they've made will one day declare something that cements his Otherness. Control is an illusion, after all, and every dad needs to nurture any attempt by his son to think for himself, to evolve into his own person with his own dreams and allegiances, no matter how objectionable they might seem. Accept a child for who he is, or lose him forever.
So you can imagine my inner conflict when Robert took his stance in the batter's box last week and steadfastly affirmed, "I'm Alex Rodriguez!" Which is roughly on a par with:
- I'm Stalin!
- I'm Press Secretary for the Bush White House!
- I'm a divorce lawyer!
For the last few months, I've come to grips that my son is ... wait for it ... a Yankees fan. [As the bile bubbles over my epiglottis.] The sad truth is that I'm the dipshit who brought Robert to Yankee Stadium for his First Live Baseball Experience, thus igniting what might be a lifelong passion for the Stupid Dumb Yankees. It's also true that A-Rod is the best hitter in baseball this year, and that if he stays healthy he'll eventually shatter the career home run record that Stupid Dumb Barry Bonds is bound to break.
All that notwithstanding, A-Rod is still the namby-pamby nellypants who tried to swat the ball out of Arroyo's glove and bush-leagued the Jays into letting a pop-up fall for a hit. I'm too old to really hate any team or any player, because life is complex, and everyone has good in there somewhere, etc. But I hate A-Rod and all that he stands for. And the thought that my sweet little boy wants to emulate him makes me want to stick fondue forks in my ears until they meet in the middle.
Yesterday provided an interesting problem, because both Robert and his friend Seamus wanted to be A-Rod. So Robert said, "How about this? You be A-Rod, and I'll be Alex Rodriguez, and we'll pretend that we forget they're the same thing." My esteem for his problem-solving skills was tempered by having two nellypantses to deal with.
Tonight I'm trying the only A-Rod Antidote I can think of by taking Robert to Shea Stadium, courtesy of one of the most rabidest Mets fans I know. Much of the night will be spent trying to get A-Rod off his radar; if I have to bankrupt myself on Stupid Dumb Metsaphernalia, it'll be worth every penny.