I was 11 when I found my older brother’s porn stash in the hayloft. There was a John Deere tractor brochure, a 7R with an air-conditioned cab, and a couple of Philadelphia Phillies baseball cards, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley. I don’t know how he got that stuff, but every boy in Lancaster County knows who the Phillies are. It’s English, and it’s wrong, but there is something so exotic about baseball. It it’s modern, just like that big John Deere tractor.
My parents were having trouble then. Father was busted for refusing to use the slow moving triangle on the back of the buggy. ”English,” he said. Mother’s jellies weren’t jelling. It was tough at home, and I grew up tough and a little bit wild, and that stash of porn made me wilder.
You grow up wild and Amish you sooner or later come to a bad end. At the barn raisings I’d be the tough guy, preening for the girls, reminding the other boys that the Philadelphia Phillies had finished with a .300 or worse season record 6 times, 1928, 1938, 1939, 1941, 1942, and 1945. They were the first major league baseball team to reach 10,000 losses, in 2007. One day one of the other boys laughed and said, “oh yeah, what are you going to be, an Astros fan?” I didn’t know what that was, but I was a rebel, so I made it mine. I was an Astros fan.
Things finally came to a head at home this year. I would go into town and hang out with English girls, drinking coke and eating French fries. There was this one night, last week, I was high on corn syrup and eating twinkies straight from the cellophane, blasted out of my mind and the next thing I know it’s 10 pm and I’m at the movies, holding hands with this girl named Tiffany, eating popcorn with this artificial butter on it. I was fried, man, and Tiffany was making a scene and the cops came. I got into it with the cops and next I know I’m busted for Amish in Possession of Artificial Sweeteners. When they finally dropped the charges, father told me no more. If I couldn’t be simple, I couldn’t be home.
So yesterday I took off for Philadelphia and at Penn Station asked a cop where I could watch the Phillies play the Astros. “Hooters” he said. So I went to Hooters and ordered some chicken wings and a pop and watched my first major league baseball game.
I think I’ve had enough of the English life. I think I’m going home to Lancaster County.