Mike Parrott

December 19, 2006

I don’t know how things stand now, but in the late 1970s the corrective eyeware industry had not really mastered the operational aspects of eyeglasses that, theoretically at least, got darker in the sunlight and lighter indoors. There was this one kid in my grade, Craig, who had tinted aviator glasses very similar to the ones partially masking Mike Parrott’s apprehensive expression, and Craig’s glasses were never tinted enough outside or untinted enough inside. I sort of hated Craig because both he and I had curly hair and glasses and braces and played small forward on our constantly defeated junior high basketball team. I hated my curly hair and glasses and braces and losing and hated Craig because I guess I needed in some way to put all that self-hatred onto somebody else, especially a someone who didn’t seem to mind all the things that seemed like curses to me. In fact, I am pretty sure he permed his fucking hair to make it curlier, and somehow the fact that his glasses were tinted, that they featured this new, attention-grabbing technology, made his glasses the same as the perm, an embrace of his cursed status as a four-eyed brillo-head. By the time we were in tenth grade and putting in our fourth straight season of getting our brains beaten in on the basketball court, Craig’s refusal to realize that he was cursed had resulted in him even having a girlfriend that he seemed likely to be having sex with, which was something like the Apollo Space Program to my Caveman Banging Rocks Together And Thinking About The Moon. But even so, in my mind Craig was still the douchebag with the stupid tinted glasses. He had to be.

Anyway, Mike Parrott seems here to be on the brink of a humiliating discovery, his eyes fixed on the horizon as if an airplane skywriter is spelling out the last letters of a message that Mike Parrott’s wife has run away with some other Mariner that Mike Parrott has always fervently believed to be a douchebag. In the season to come, Mike Parrott will valiantly battle the creeping self-doubt apparent in this picture, going 14-12 with a respectable 3.77 ERA. He will even begin the following year with a win, but then he will lose every single other game that year, 16 games in a row, to finish 1-16. I don’t know if Mike Parrott’s tinted glasses contributed to the monumental losing streak, but one has to wonder why a guy whose home games were in the roofed Kingdome would be drawn to glasses that were always a little too dark when the wearer of them was inside.


  1. 1.  2 comments from old CG site:

    pete millerman said…
    …having myself spent the better part of the mid-to-late 1970’s sporting the model of wire-rimmed aviator eyeglass frames known as “the Ogilvie” in deference to gifted child thespian Alfred Lutter, I think I can pretty much state definitively that Banging Rocks Together and Thinking About the Moon is, in itself, no small achievement.

    6:32 PM

    Josh Wilker said…
    “The Ogilvie” model persisted in some quarters beyond the 1970s, though in those later years it was more often known as “The Koresh.”

    9:11 AM

  2. 2.  Did I ever mention that Parrott looks like my buddy The Wig back 20 years ago or so? Wig had aviator frames back then and a white man’s afro; it would’ve been a jewfro that would’ve made Ari Tennebaum proud. But he wasn’t Semitic, he was Irish.

    He got his nickname when we crossed over to border to Massachusetts. Anthony’s was the name of our destination. It was (is?) a titty bar near Westover Air Force Base. Unlike Connecticut, Massachusetts allowed the Canadian ballet to serve alcohol AND show full frontal nudity at the same time.

    In any event,there was a group of guys sitting across the runway from us. They thought that Ed was wearing a toupee and offered a dancer $50 to tear it off of his head. This gal was doing the bump and grind with Ed, steaming his glasses while the guys across the way were chanting “Wig! Wig Wig!” She chickened out and wouldn’t pull off his toupee and told him what was going on.

    “See this!’ He yelled across the catwalk while he yanked his hair. “It’s all real.”

    He’s had that nickname ever since.

  3. I had a pair of those stupid over-sized tinted glasses. My mom had to pay extra to get “feather-weight” lenses, because my vision was worsening every year (pre-contacts). They still looked really thick. One tough guy on my baseball team called me Coke Bottles. The next football season and baseball season I wore prescription “Sport Specs,” which were the kind that Chargers wide receiver John Jefferson used to wear. See http://i.cdn.turner.com/sivault/si_online/covers/images/1979/0820_large.jpg
    The same player that called me coke bottles started calling me Jabbar.

    These were a little cooler than the tinted lenses but they fogged up contantly under my football helmet. So I bought from the sports store an anti-fog stick. It was like putting chapstick on your lenses and then smearing it evenly so you can see through the shit. Sweat would create bizzare visual imagery across my lenses. Trying to catch kicks and punts through these lenses was like looking through a pastel Monet painting trying to catch a beebee.

    With contacts today all those great pictures of bespeckled ballplayers are just classic images of the past.

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