Rowland Office, 1976September 25, 2008
Part 2 of 3 (Continued from Skip Jutze, 1976)
I have written about Rowland Office before. But since my shoebox at the time of that writing was sadly and mysteriously lacking a single Rowland Office card, I had to attach my thoughts on the subject to a 1975 Braves team card that included the young outfielder in miniature, sardine-canned in with the other dour blurry figures from that year’s forgettable Atlanta collective. Over a year after that posting, which attempted to describe the strange gleeful hold Rowland Office’s yearly appearances on baseball cards had on my brother and me, and to speculate why all the Rowland Office cards I was sure I had owned as a child had somehow vanished, a reader named Jeff Demerly contacted me and kindly offered to cure the inexplicable Office-less wound in my collection by sending me his double of the 1976 Rowland Office card, shown here.
That was several months ago; I’ve been speechless on the subject ever since. How do you thank a guy for sending you a Rowland Office card? How do you then write about that Rowland Office card, especially since it is exactly how you remember those disappeared Rowland Office cards of childhood? To really get it right I’d have to be eight years old again, in the bedroom I shared with my brother, both of us sprawled on the floor, cards scattered all around us loose and in rubber-banded stacks. One of us holds up a new find, our version of this Rowland Office card, for the other to see. The holder of the card has his lips clamped shut, trying not to laugh until the other has silently mouthed the odd mellifluous name and taken in the strange narrow face.
Looking at the card now, I honestly don’t know what caused us to roll around on our bedroom floor laughing so hard we cried. The name is cartoonish, the face unusually long and thin, the lips pursed as if a sour remark is about to be uttered about the stench of a teammate’s flatulence. I mean, I guess he’s kind of funny looking. But now, weighed down by all my years, I also see a young guy, much younger than I am now, trying to stick in the majors, trying to hold on to the what is probably the only thing he knows how to do. I find myself focusing on his eyes, which seem alert and unsure, like those of a deer ready to bolt at the first sign of trouble. I see a human where once I only saw a ridiculous god, a god who had and still has few peers in my imagined personal Mount Olympus. He was the god of brotherly laughing fits, returning year after year to sacrifice himself in our rituals of mockery and bonding. What could be more important than that? Moments when I was living a shared life with my brother, like when we played catch in the yard, or talked about the Red Sox, or lowered the record player needle onto a new album we’d both been dying to hear, or laughed our asses off over a Rowland Office card, were the best moments of my childhood.
Instead of trying and failing to fully articulate my gratitude for those moments and for the echo of those moments that come to me through these cards, I’m going to wrap things up today by providing what will probably seem to be a nonsensical list of words and phrases. In fact they are some of the Internet search engine terms that brought searchers here, to Cardboard Gods. When I look at the list I recall players I’ve been lucky to spend time thinking about, and I recall stories I told about my life in relation to the players, and I recall stories that readers told in the comments attached to the stories I told. When I look at the list I also see things I would never have expected to see, ridiculous ripples that make me laugh, the world wider than I thought, more full of unanswerable questions and mystery and life. When I look at this list, as when I remember laughing with my brother, as when I remember Rowland Office, as when I opened an envelope from Jeff Demerly and discovered that Rowland Office had once again found his way to me, I smile. We’re all in this together. I get happy.
what is the baseball card where the guy is giving the finger
show me baseball uniforms with brown shirts
bad news bears bob watson let them play
most muscular white basketball player
a couple fornicating on green monster
famous blondes who got pies in face
why not to live in kansas city mullet
game winning bunt gary allenson
what is steve brye doing now
carl yastrzemski kielbasa
what does sixto mean
where is richie hebner
jack clark jerk
(continued in Steve Ontiveros and Doug Capilla)