Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hero Worship Gone Amok

About a dozen years ago, I went on a job interview to write speeches for a prominent high-tech executive on Long Island. While waiting in the lobby of the steel and glass building, there was a bronze sculpture prominently displayed. I decided to check it out. The bust was the head of the company founder, and my potential client. I thought at the time, "This is a very bad sign. What kind of ego does it take to do something like this?" My instinct was, leave now. I didn't. I took the gig, at very high pay, and lasted but three weeks. I resigned via fax. The man was a nice guy but clueless. I told him I could deal with the difficult, not the impossible. I told him he needed "a stenographer and a shrink, not a speechwriter," and that I had neither of those skills. His outside PR firm told me that my resignation letter had made the rounds and it had everybody in hysterics for the entire day.

Today, The New York Times published a piece on the trend in Major League baseball to honor great players like Johnny Bench with bronze statues, usually located somewhere in the stadium plaza. There is one of Hank Aaron, one of Ty Cobb, and so on.

Now, here's my rant. Let's wait till these guys are at least dead. It's embarrassing. Aaron? An all-time great and one of the four or five best to play the game. Bench? Great catcher. Cobb was an asshole by nearly every account (see Ray Liotta's great comment in "Field of Dreams" on why they didn't invite Ty to play with them), but at least he's under ground.

Recently, they renamed the Queensboro Bridge in New York after ex-Mayor Ed Koch. Come on, folks. The man is still alive and bitching. Want your name on a bridge while you're around, pay for the upkeep, I say.

1 comment:

  1. Great reference to Field of Dreams: Shoeless Joe says "Ty Cobb wanted to play, but none of us could stand the son-of-a-bitch when we were alive, so we told him to stick it!"

    By the way are you sure you need that comma after Ty Cobb and before "and so on"?