Sunday, May 29, 2016

I Lost My Job to an Immigrant Way Before Trump Came Along

Three decades before Donald Trump began his presidential campaign by railing against a foreign invasion of workers, I lost my job to an immigrant. He was legal, from Puerto Rico. Doesn’t matter. It wasn’t my real job, but it was one I cared about. It was my position as starting pitcher on my company’s corporate softball team.

Teammates from the mailroom and maintenance department—Carlos and Efrain—brought Jose to one of our games. We had a strict rule that only company employees could play. After watching him warm up on the sidelines before a game in Central Park, our president immediately hired him for the mailroom and put him on the mound. 

Truth be told, and it always is on, Jose was the better pitcher. He could spin the ball, make it curve or rise. I just had a fastball, which he had also, though, again to be honest, his clocked in faster than mine. 

I still pitched some of the games, but Jose was our ace. He remained that way until we stopped playing in the corporate softball league a few years later. And then Jose was gone from the mailroom. I, on the other hand, stayed with the company for 32 years until I retired.

Speaking of retirement and softball, it looks like my playing days on the temple softball team are a vision of the past. Between intermittent back issues and no desire to get up early Sunday mornings, plus trips to visit the grandchildren, I have yet to put feet inside my cleats this season. I can’t say I don’t miss the competition, but unless I’m needed in an emergency, after more than 30 years pitching for the team I’m content to let the younger generation play ball.

Do you watch Antiques Roadshow on PBS? Gilda and I do. We’re constantly amazed by the serendipitous finds, particularly paintings, uncovered at tag sales or obscure antique shops. For a few dollars treasure hunters have brought home artwork valued at thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars. So I was a little excited to find a Renoir among the junk at a recent tag sale.

Alas, Pierre Auguste Renoir’s La Grenouillère (The Frog Pond), painted in 1869, still hangs in the Stockholm National Museum. Ah well, for only $5 ($7 before bargaining) my bonanza still represents a treasure, though at 8.5” x 10” my print is a fraction of the size of the original 26” x 32” Impressionist masterpiece.

Guerilla Marketing: Along the Henry Hudson Parkway on Manhattan’s upper West Side, in the shadow of New York Presbyterian Hospital, an Adopt a Highway sign proclaims the roadway’s upkeep is sponsored by NYU Langone Medical Center, an East Side institution. 

Ross Douthat is a conservative columnist for The New York Times Op-Ed page. I usually don’t agree with his opinions but his latest piece on a mock Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump debate may be one of the most prescient, spot-on satires I’ve come across. It’s painful to read because it might well come true. Read it and weep?

Your electoral witticism of the day, as compiled by

If voting made any difference they wouldn’t let us do it. —Mark Twain