Raising a Fuss Over Pooches and Pitchers

NOBODY took video pictures of this one, so it didn't get into all the papers and on the big television, but I surmise you'd like to hear about it just the same.Well, it seems that in one of our lesser Maine towns a gentleperson, female, went to the municipal office to pay the fee for her dog's license, approaching the proper minion in good spirit and clutching the money in her hand. This lady was, at the time, a senior citizen, and well past the impulsive days of her youth. With a pleasant smile and cheerful good morning she stated the purpose of her call, and was told that it was late for such a transaction, that dog licenses were due some time since, and in a ddition to the fee there would be a penalty of $4. Our heroine considered this, and asseverated calmly that this didn't make sense to her, and that she was not about to pay any penalty. The fee, yes, but nothing more. The minion aforesaid didn't agree with this, and as a consequence the confrontation was concluded - the lady offering the fee but no more, and the poor, abused minion refusing to take the fee unless the penalty were paid as well. According to our local newspaper, that's where things stood at that moment. Presently, however, a police cruiser from the town constabulary arrived at the home where this lady's dog resides, and the unfortunate pooch was obliged to stand by while the uniformed officers arrested his mistress, applied handcuffs to her wrists, and took her away. The lady, it seems, was delivered to the police station and entered and received in due form, where she got the full treatment - mugshots, fingerprints, shakedown, and all. I'm making some of this up to help fill out space, but not to the e xtent that it makes any difference - for a $4 crime in a small Maine town you're entitled to your money's worth. As I said, nobody got any videotape of this heroic episode, so it might possibly be that the policemen concerned have a version of their own which, if not faithful, would have the merit of being droll. Be that as it may, the same issue of the newspaper that told about said episode had another story which took my fancy. It said this same police force, so ready and handy at going after delinquent dogs, is the beneficiary of a $7,000 appropriation. This sum will equip the officers with the most modern semiautomatic, anticrime firearms. Changing the subject abruptly, I'd like to tell about our center fielder back in the 1920s. Well, I watched Roger Clemens pitch on the TV for the Red Sox at Toronto, and it seemed to me that every time he threw a pitch everybody in Canada knew exactly where it was going. This is not, really, good. Jimmie Pearsall, who used to play center field for the Red Sox, said once that if he could guess where the ball would be, he could hit any pitch out of the ballpark. Now, back in the 1920s, our pitcher for the Town Team was Hank Prout. The difference 'tween him and Roger Clemens was simple but expansive. When Hank threw a ball, nobody knew where it was going, not even Hank. This contributed a certain hilarity to the sport, but in our league at our time it made Hank an effective pitcher. Our only problem was that nobody could catch Hank. We all took a try at it, but such was Hank's erratic manner that we did well, like the Ancient Mariner, to stoppeth one of three. We did play our catcher some 10 feet behind the plate, where he would have a better chance, but this left us open to bunts and was not the best answer. Accordingly, we moved the catcher back behind the plate, and brought our center fielder in to become assistant catcher, and he stood a rod or so toward the backstop, ready to shag anything our catcher couldn't handle. That worked dandy. We moved the left fielder to the right and the right fielder to the left, and thus covered the outfield with two players. Opposing coaches used to complain at this deployment of our team, but our coach said there was nothing in the rule book at that time which said a center fielder has to play in center field. One coach countered that there is no rule, either, against a pitcher's working off a stepladder. We counter-countered by fetching a stepladder. But our best, and most compelling, argument was that with Hank Prout pitching, the enemy wasn't about to win anyway, so why raise a fuss?

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