...And That's My Opinion©

By Sandy Goldman

The Rogers Park Community Curmudgeon

That’s What Friends Are For!

When he called, he said he was desperate, at his wits end and he had to talk to someone. Would I meet him? The sooner—the better!  Of course I would.

I wondered what the problem could be. He is not a builder or developer, so he was not looking for a zoning variance.  Besides, he grew up in Chicago; he would have known how to accomplish that.  It’s called make a contribution(s).  No, that was not the problem. 

He isn’t a retailer, so he was not looking for SSA help.  He would have known how to do that also.  It’s called additional taxing. He didn’t need to be part of a TIF.

He doesn’t own a restaurant, so foie gras can’t be a problem for him.

He’s not a concessionaire at the airport, nor does he own a fence company, nor a trucking business, nor does he fabricate blue bags, nor own a business that separates their contents. He doesn’t own a parking lot nor was he involved in Millennium Park, nor the scandal at McPier.  He does not supply trucks full of asphalt, or own a waste dump in the suburbs.  He does not make sewer repairs, nor pour curbs and gutters.  As far as I knew he has never had his hand in the government pot of gold.

I have known him for years and he is just a normal citizen of Chicago’s North Side, having grown up and lived almost his whole life in Rogers Park. A college graduate, he is truly a renaissance man; knowledgeable, proficient and skilled in the ways of the world.

Although I am not a psychiatrist, I could feel his desperate call for help. I agreed to meet with him.

When I saw him I could tell he was severely traumatized.  Something awful was bothering him! Normally meticulous both in dress and speech, he looked run-down, disheveled, shabby, and unshaven and while he was clearly sober, his speech was garbled.

“Sit down,” I said, “Let’s start at the beginning.”

“Well,” he responded, “I didn’t see it coming, although I should have.  After all these years things change.  Life metamorphoses.”

I think that’s what he said, because his voice rose and then faltered.

“What do you mean”, I asked “And try to say it clearly.”

“Alright, I gave it many years.  I was always faithful.  I never strayed even when the going got tough and there were those moments.  I was loyal to a fault.  Always I was there through thick and thin, through rich and poor, through sickness and health.  I never even thought of another.  Sometimes there were glorious days and even better nights and sometimes not.  I understood everything is not Heaven, sometimes it’s Purgatory and sometimes it’s Hell.  But as we grow we understand that the bad comes with the good.  But then it happened.  I just wore out.  I gave it up and now there is no turning back.”

“My God,” I exclaimed, “I had no idea your marriage was on the rocks. You two have always been the perfect couple.”

“Marriage? Shmarriage!  I’m talking about the Chicago Cubs!  Those overpaid bumbling, mercenary prima donnas playing a child’s game in one uniform one year and another the next year.  Every season they have the same excuses for the lack of success: injuries, bad luck, corked bats, if only the pitchers were as good in the beginning as at the end, a biased media including and most especially the T.V guys like Steve Stone and Chip Carey… as if they drive in runs or strike out batters, then mix it all with a publicity-hungry manager.  Add to that an organization mired on some other planet, or is it a white tower on Michigan Avenue, which returns to earth only to squeeze the public, tickle the City Council for special concessions with special financial perks and then raise ticket prices.”

“Maybe, “he continued, “if they were winning I could put up with it—but they have led me down the path once too often.  I have sworn off Cub baseball, now I only look at the box scores of the Orioles to see how Sammy Sosa is doing… maybe I’ll just listen to football… even without Hub Arkush…maybe.”

Well I heard him…I’m not sure he means it…but he has my support because that’s what friends are for!

...And that's my opinion.

And I'm Sandy Goldman

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